A short, very unofficial sequel to “Blade Runner”…
“The river of the world is wide, but its waters are boiling away” kept going through my mind as I sat next to her bed in the hospice, holding her hand and waiting for her to end. The quote was from a movie I took her to see a year ago in San Francisco. It was about the Off-world colonies and the death of Earth. One of Eldon Tyrell’s numerous subsidiary companies produced the film, and another subsidiary had done the special visual effects.
When I was still a cop I used to know things like this, that a wealthy, powerful man like Tyrell had a vast cultural reach he kept hidden from little people.
And he had, somehow, used his wealth and influence to spare Rachel’s life from other blade runners and let me take her out of L.A. Since then she and I had had two years together, up north in San Francisco and a few remaining small cities beyond. This meant she was six, and for all I knew the oldest replicant who ever lived.
But she wouldn’t live to be seven. A cancer seventy percent of humans ordinarily survive was eating her bones like carnival midway candy. Unnaturally aggressive. The unlicensed oncologist said maybe it was a flaw in her genetic design. Who knows? Tyrell never said anything about human diseases. Until the cancer started killing her a month ago she’d never even had a sniffle or a runny nose.
For two years I had loved her. Her laughter, when she eventually found it, had helped kill some of my pain and taken Roy Batty out of my nightmares. Now she was minutes away from gone, and once again all I could do was just watch someone die.
At least a bullet in the back wouldn’t take her life. She would die in my arms and part of me would die with her.
After she retires, I think I might go back to L.A.
It was a few days before Halloween in Tokyo, so I think these ladies were going to a costume party. But my Japanese being what it is, I didn’t have all the words required to properly ask them. It didn’t matter, they were happy to be photographed. Because it was Tokyo, they were beautiful, and that wouldn’t change whether they found Waldo or Wally or Wōrī later or not…
(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)
As of August 31st, 2016, I have been in California for 27 years. I moved here with my best friend Brian, who had accepted a job offer in San Francisco a few months after graduating from Lehigh University. Knowing that I didn’t like my job in Maryland just outside the D.C. Beltway, and that I was losing my free room and board because my parents were moving back to Dallas, Brian suggested I move to San Francisco with him.
I thought about it for five minutes, said “What the hell, I’m in”, and by the second week of August, 1989 we were heading west from the Jersey shore in a Ford Aerostar minivan loaded with clothing, minimal furniture, and Coors Extra Gold. We drove the southern route and saw a lot of weird shit in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. This old scanned photograph from a campground near the Grand Canyon is just one example…
By now I have lived in California longer than any other place in my 52 years. If I could I would trade some of the shitty times during my 27 years here (like being a poor student in Santa Barbara in 1991) for an extra year or so in Singapore when I was a teenager and in Tokyo when I was in my twenties.
But I met my wife here, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. And I finally found a rich creative life here, after several crummy careers that didn’t suit me or that I didn’t suit. Yep, I have my wife and her love, and my view of the world through a camera held by the man that California has helped me become. And barring a couple of chronic physical ailments and psychological quirks, I am often at peace with who I am and who I still want to be.
So for me it’s California. It’s good here.
(Picture taken at Flintstones Bedrock City, Williams, Arizona, August 1989)
At the DoubleTree Hotel in Brisbane today, there was a seized asset/estate sale auction open to the public. Some legitimate art was on display, including bronzes by Remington and original drawings by heavy hitters like Picasso and Miró. Seems the seized assets came from drug dealers with decent taste. There was entertainment memorabilia as well, including an L.A. Lakers Fletch jersey signed by Chevy Chase. It’s clearly an humorous extension of the Fletch character’s basketball fantasy from the 1985 movie…
(DoubleTree Hotel, Brisbane, California 2016)
A Comcast installation technician, taking a short break while installing cable service for my new neighbors next door. He piloted this boom truck bucket skillfully to the top of the utility pole near our houses to do whatever magic he’s paid to do to bring television and internet to the entertainment-hungry masses.
(Brisbane, California 2016)
I was bored one afternoon last November, waiting to leave my short-term apartment rental in Nakano 5-chome to go pick up my wife at Haneda. To kill the time, I turned on the television. The TV happened to be tuned to a kid’s program on NHK Educational TV (NHK Eテレ)…
I barely understand Japanese TV, because I barely understand the Japanese language. But Japanese TV is always visually interesting, so I rolled with it for awhile, looking forward to seeing my wife.
I have no idea what the shirtless guy with the obviously oiled skin was advertising…
(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)