In August 1985 I was awakened by a call saying "Are you the Night Stalker?" I hung up, thinking it was a weird prank. But it kept happening. That's when I learned - from a reporter on the other end - that I was a prime suspect in that grisly RIchard Ramirez murder spree.
The reporter explained that my car was found at the crime scene, which made no sense because I looked out my window & saw it was still in the parking space of my Westwood apartment. I had to hang up because the police were walking up my driveway - but weirdly slowly.
They had an odd attitude when they arrived, saying something about needing to just "check it out" because it was already not seeming likely that I was "the one." (Also: I had obviously just woken up and was - I suddenly realized - wearing only my tighty whiteys).
Apparently by the time they'd gotten to my place there was new information, & now they were just kind of annoyed - like they'd been given busy work and the *good* stuff was happening an hour or so away. (I actually think they only knocked so one of them could use the bathroom.)
They wouldn't tell me anything about why they suspected me - which I have to say was exceedingly surreal (and I remember I had just read Kafka's The Trial, which made it even But in the morning I saw the news - and I figured out what happened.
3 years earlier my (then) roommate (& best friend) was buying a used car, & since he was in med school & I had an actual job (my Laverne & Shirley gig), he had me sign (or maybe co-sign?) for his loan. As such, the car was registered to my address, even though he'd just sold it.
The guy who 'd bought it was eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant downtown, where the car (a crappy red Toyota station wagon) was stolen - by Ramirez - and driven to the murder site, where it was abandoned. The irony is my 2 roommates (new ones) were in jail for the night.
That's because a neighbor had seen the pot plant they were growing in the window, and called the police. (I only found this out the next day when they returned.) The only reason I wasn't in jail with them was that I hadn't been around when they were arrested.
I remember my roommates coming back later that day & saying something like: "Oh my god have we got a story for you." And I remember replying with something like, "Okay, me, too.. but you go first."
Addendum to address a few things that have come up since I posted this a couple hours ago. My entire "ordeal" only really lasted - from initial call to tepid knock on my door - for about 5 minutes. (Though I didn't really sleep after that as I neurosed over how it came to be.)
And there was never a sense - aside from the jarring first call, which I hung up on saying "Who is this?" and then "Ha ha ha whoever this is" - of any real threat to me. Certainly because by the time they'd arrived they'd appeared to have already figured it out.
The irony of it was that the guy from whom the car was stolen was in a restaurant writing a thank you note to my friend who'd sold it to him. (He'd sold it for $1, because it was on its last legs and wanted to give it away to someone at his church who could really use wheels.)
He was, apparently, a super sweet guy. And my roommate - and great friend - is a true humanitarian and wonderful guy. Weird how stuff overlaps, though, and things take super strange turns.
A friend just pointed out that now when people search my name they'll also get "People Also Search For: Night Stalker."
Update: my old friend sent me this. It's an interesting look - from an entirely different angle. (And I realize I had a fact wrong: it was not the night he stole it in Chinatown but rather a few weeks later, after a different one, that the calls came.) Posted w his permission. Image

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More from @ed_solomon

24 Mar
Garry Shandling died 5 years ago today. In thinking about him this morning, I realized the very first - and last - time I saw him involved the same kind of restaurant and the same exact joke. "The Cow Joke." Which became a 35 year running mock "argument" for us (well, for him).
We met 41 yrs ago this week. March 20, 1980. I was a student stand-up in The UCLA Comedy Club. We'd each do a short set, then a professional headliner (we paid $50) would close. Garry was the headliner. He saw my set and asked if I wanted to try writing with him.
We went to The Good Earth in Westwood, where I pitched: "Why is it whenever people pass a cow on the side of the road they stick their head out the window and say 'moo?' Are they expecting the cow to be thinking: 'Hey, there's a cow driving that car?'"
Read 10 tweets
9 Nov 20
Let's be clear: Biden was WAY up in the polls. Trump TOLD his supporters NOT to vote by mail (even though he did). And even if he hadn't, more D's believe in science than R's do, so even if Dems didn't traditionally vote more by mail (hence Trump trying to dismantle the USPS)..
..there were going to be more D mail-in votes this year. There was always talk of a "Red Mirage" (with R's going early and in person) and then a "Blue Shift" (as all the ballots were counted. This is not a surprise. I'm sure the shock of many on the right comes more from..
..their believe that because they'd disenfranchised so many, injured the USPS's ability to deliver, & made it so difficult to vote in certain urban areas, etc, they had it in the bag. More people voted - which is a great thing - than ever before. People were energized. BUT..
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2 Jun 20
BISHOP MARIANN BUDDE: "The President just used a Bible - the most sacred text of the JudeoChristian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese - without permission - as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus & everything that our churches stand for.
"And to do so... he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard. I am outraged. The president did not pray when he came to St Johns, nor... did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now, and in particular that of the people..
"..of color in our nation who wonder if anyone in public power will acknowledge their scared worth, and who are rightfully demanding an end to systemic racism and white supremacy in our country. And I just want the world to know that we in the diocese of Washington, following..
Read 8 tweets
5 Apr 20
I keep trying to find good news & can't. So here are a few of my own personal silver linings:
1. I now realize most meetings I travel to are a waste of time.
2. I like seeing into the background of people's homes.
3. Air quality! Companies should adopt more days of teleworking.
4. I'm enjoying hanging out w family at home and just.. talking.
5. Less stressful choosing a movie in the evening.
6. I like having an excuse to *not* go to stuff.
7. Realizing there's folks I've been taking for granted.
8. Realizing there's folks I don't really need in my life.
9. Looking forward to appreciating the little things again; small kindnesses of strangers, for instance.
10. I realize I've been eating out too much in general.
11. I like when people are united over something.
12. I have upgraded my ideas of what good governing means to me.
Read 5 tweets
18 Jan 20
This may be controversial, but I think the belief that one must be "passionate" about what they're writing screws up more people than it helps. First of all, it's difficult to maintain. And it sets an unrealistic expectation. Try CURIOSITY. That will take you farther.
Being *curious* (as opposed to feeling you need to be "passionate") will lead to something deeper: like intimacy, even love for what you're writing. PLUS, when you feel like you have to be "passionate" all the time, it puts you in a mindset that makes you miss the little wisps...
..and more often than not, the "little wisps" are where the magic is. But when you think everything needs to be super-charged, you can miss the subtle things. (& don't even get me started on the idea of "inspiration" being crucial.)(Spoiler: I think - like "passion" - it's not.)
Read 6 tweets
3 Nov 19
When I’m around people who are wealthy &/or famous &/or successful I like to ask “When was the happiest time of your life?” And I invariably get one of two answers. Either in childhood before responsibility, or in adulthood, but before they became rich/successful/famous.
Not *one* person has attributed their happiness to their success.

Additionally (and this is anecdotal), but around my own friends/peers I’d say to the extent there is *any* correlation between wealth/fame/success I’d say it’s a negative one.
In fact, as I look at my friends/colleagues/peers, I’d say - in general (and there are definitely exceptions) - that the more successful/rich/famous they are, the less happy they are.

Again, a generality. But overall true, at least in my own observations.
Read 6 tweets

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