Many people perceive the job of a chauffeur in L.A. as glamorous and exciting. As, Max, the jaded, somewhat misanthropic young man in these stories set in 1978 says, “They don’t know s**t. ... Maybe it’s different now, but I doubt it. When I did it, it was airport pick-ups and drop-offs, catnapping in LAX terminals or the front seat, hanging around the car-barn waiting for a ride, idling in underground garage gas-chambers at some awards show, enduring the boring old f**ks who want to tell you what it was like to drive Jack Dempsey or Betty Grable or some other corpse nobody remembers, and long nights in parking lots behind some restaurant, arena, or concert hall. Very glamorous."
If you’re looking for beginnings, middles, and ends, don’t bother. A driver lives a life of starts and stops, episodes and vignettes, with very few happy endings. Take a ride through Los Angeles with Max in the days of posers, power-brokers, Peruvian “pep rallies,” and big-hair bands. (Adult language)
One of my most enjoyable reads of 2013 was J.W. Nelson’s soon to be published Joey’s Place. Review here.
I've had this on my kindle since the week after I read Joey’s Place and December was as good a time as any to get to it, bearing in mind I was on a mission to get to 120 books total for my reading year, irrespective of length and this was 70 pages long. 70 pages short in truth; too short because I could quite happily have read more of these pieces based on John Nelson’s own experiences as a limo driver in Los Angeles back in the late 70’s.
Crappy, cheapskate bosses; irritating and annoying fellow drivers; half-cut, doped up and arrogant passengers that don’t have any regard you as a person………I can’t say these vignettes have me rushing to join the rank of the profession, but I did enjoy Nelson’s jaundiced recollections.
On picking up a couple of hefty, well-made up ladies……with outfits of ….baggy blouses and jackets that baggy women use to camouflage baggy bodies….. Cotton Candy Head…..was going for a “B-52’s” look and only making it to 25 or 29.
In our next tale of a couple of LA wannabees and the legendary Willie Nelson being driven to a meeting and back. It’s the small kindnesses from Nelson that stand out…….oh …and the put down to the wannabee after he stole his massive doobie.
This big office, big expense account, big salary mother-f^*^*” is walking off with my f^”*ing bud … And what I can do is absolutely nothing. Because he has the power and I’m the guy in the cheap suit who’s making minimum wage…….When the guard opened the door and stepped out to usher him in, I knew I had to do something, so I shouted, “Thanks for the blow job, man! Best I ever had!”
Pretty juvenile…but it’s what I could get away with. Sometimes, that’s all you've got.
Flight 18 ….. a great recollection of a seat of the pants ride to the airport. It felt like the car chase in The French Connection!
The car and Candice…… another great tale – a street lady, a ride, a chat and more human kindness.
4 from 5
I’m looking forward to whatever he writes next.
J.W. Nelson’s website is here.
You can catch-up with him on Twitter at @JWNelsonAuthor
Bought on Amazon UK in 2013