Celebrities didn't start popping up in my dreams till I moved to Los Angeles. Now they are regulars. I've never met a real star but bumped into a bunch of B-listers. Even if you don't see them, you know the movie people are only a stone-throw away if you live here. You can drive through Beverly Hills or down to Malibu. Graumann's Chinese Theatre is a frequent host of movie openings.

No wonder so many people with big dreams flock to the City of Angels—the stars here seem almost reachable. Hollywood itself is a place for tourists now. The actual movie making happens in the Valley.

Writing a fun, suspensful romp taking place in the shadows of the Hollywood Hills seemed like a no-brainer. I even got to invent my own movie stars. Any resemblence to actual persons is purely coincidental. :P


Karma cursed me because I called her a bitch.

Ms. Karma Jones worked for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and she’d had my car towed because of unpaid parking tickets. She’d only been doing her job, but I’d seen her actions as a personal fuck-you. I’d been too full of myself—and several legal and illegal substances—at the time. I’d said some very rude things to her, and in response, she put a curse on me. I should’ve known not to mess with a woman wearing a uniform and magenta hair—such an ominous color.

Ever since I could remember, I’d had a thing about colors. They talked to me—not literally; that would’ve been crazy, and I was not a fruitcake. A bit superstitious, but who could blame me? Colors had moods and personalities that changed shade by shade. For example, black was the color of secrets and mystery. I used to be the black sheep of my family, but these days I got to be as beige as the next guy—except for the black mark I carried on my skin, hidden out of sight. Everybody hides something, stuff they’d rather not have others know about. I was no different.

Dark blue exuded the musk of power. No wonder the inky hue of LAPD uniforms and their starched lines were irresistible to many people, including me.

I spotted the hunky cop guarding a film set on my way to work, and the sight woke up in me all the instincts of a kamikaze moth. I could hardly wait for my first break to slip out for a closer look. Fortunately, the shoot took place only a block down from Fred’s Trade Post.

In this town, only newcomers and tourists gawk at movie sets; Angelenos remain blasé, and so did I. Honestly, I couldn’t care less what movie or TV show they were shooting with the cop standing there. His shirt stretched over a sturdy chest, clearly all muscle, no fat. The short sleeve of the shirt strained to hold his biceps. Totally butch. The dark hair on his arms begged to be touched, but I held back my urges. Petting cops in public can get you in trouble. I gave him a casual smile, and he returned it with a stern, move-it-along-now glare. I saved one last eyeful of him for later use before hoofing it back to work.

Copyright © 2013 Lou Harper
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. Publication