Have you ever poured boiling water over Cuban espresso beans in a second-hand French press? I’m doing it naked. Right now. In my kitchen with a north facing window that stares into my window neighbor’s living room.
It’s 6:00 a.m. Bright and early! Actually it’s overcast. I’m dipping dried mangoes from the Philippines into a small bowl of Tapatio. It’s delicious. I chew on the Tapatio-soaked mango while pressing through the hot water and grounds. I make myself a cup.
I should not be allowed to make my own coffee.
I take the cup to the window and stare into my neighbor’s living room. The TV is still on. He’s sleeping in a La-Z-Boy with his right hand buried into his jeans. This reminds me — I have guests.
Last night I left three bodies in my living room. No one was doing particularly well, after all, it was late and a weekend. Now there’s just one body, buckled over, with his head in his hands.
I walk to my bathroom where I find a line of emaciated and severely hungover youth. Or relative youth. We’re getting older. Some of us are, at least.
I knock on the door, Jared?
Jared, it’s me. Can I come in?
Well, since this is my house, I think I’ll come in anyway. How about that?
In the hallway, I leave the youth to stare at their navels, to contemplate their waistline, to think about the hair that they have, to think about the hair that they wish they didn’t.
The bathroom is long, like a bar, and hooks at the end into a toilet and a mirror. That’s where I find Jared. He wears a beard and tiny jeans, which hang loosely on his gaunt frame. Jared Leto is an old man now. He’s sinewy and his eccentricities make him look less like a heartthrob and more like a deranged cult leader.
Come here, he says.
He’s standing in front of the mirror. His face is partially covered by the lens of the camera he’s staring through.
Look at this. I mean, really, look at it.
Jared, it’s just you.
I know, but look. Isn’t it amazing?
It’s not really a question. He’s been staring at himself, his emaciated frame, for days. He’s ridged and dedicated and truly believes that this is art. This is what artists do. They starve and study the form and re-create it. Like Michelangelo. Only Jared isn’t creating anything.
Four girls who are half his age sleep at his feet. They wear oversized, button-down jean shirts. Some might be wearing underwear. They were promised a photo shoot. They were promised time with Jared Leto. Instead they’re just sleeping at his feet, dreaming of 30 Seconds To Mars and Jared Catalano, and the stories they’ll tell about the night they slept at Jared Leto’s feet in my bathroom.
It is amazing.
I thought I was on to something.
Do you want some coffee?
The kind in my kitchen.
Oh. No thanks. I’m fasting.
I take another look at the man in the mirror. At one time this would’ve been a moment of note, but as of today, he’s been here for a week. He rented out my place for a shoot because he thought it looked “authentic.” Like people might live here. Some of us do. He pays me $300 dollars a day and keeps saying that this is the last day, that he’s just doing pick-ups. New girls cycle in every few days. They find him on Instagram, geotrack it and show up at my door. They think I’m his guru or his drug dealer or just some guy who isn’t Jared Leto, which is true.
I tap Jared on the shoulder.
Yeah, Jared. The money.
He reaches into his pocket and hands me a wad of cash—maybe five grand—I peel off six fifties and put the rest back in his pocket.
Hey Jared, a few of us might be going to the beach.
The one by the sea.
I like that one. It’s nice.
Then Jared lets out a bit of flatulence, which is how he says no.
And you’ll be here when I get back?
He gives me smile and shakes a floozy from his shin, This work won’t finish itself, now will it?