Thoughts Cast Shadows

Stories and Essays by Lou Lesko

It’s 9 a.m. at Charles de Gaulle airport. A man in his early thirties has just extinguished the butt of his sixth cigarette. He’s a driver for Success Model Management, sent to pick up a model flying in from America. Her flight arrived at 8 a.m., but she’s nowhere to be found. It’s Sunday; there’s no one at the agency he can contact. He resigns himself to wait another hour.

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Nineteen-ninety-one, my girlfriend Michelle and I were asked to house-sit her parent's place in a remote part of Morgan Hill, south of San Jose, California. One had to drive for two miles on a dirt road through a running creek to get to the house deep in the woods. It was magical. The place ran on generators and a massive array of batteries.

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I’ve been accused of misplaced optimism because I tend to find silver linings where societal expecations say one should not exist. I’m not special or anything, I just feel; a little despair leads to some healthy humility, and a lot leads to an emotional hangover.

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Am currently in my divorce digs, the bedroom of a friend’s daughter. She’s currently in London attending graduate school.

Accidentally discovered a minor hazard staying here. The other morning, still dark out, I plunged my hand into the top dresser drawer to grab t-shirt, and came up with black bra.

Ooh, ack, uhh.

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Twenty or so years ago I was writing semi-regularly for print magazines. I recall a memory from the Knightsbridge Inn, London.

Under heavy deadline pressure to complete two articles, the trip from California to London left me jet lagged and sleep deprived. Resolved to finish the pieces before a Chelsea dinner party the evening after next, I locked myself in the hotel room leaving instructions to have food and coffee brought every four hours. After two long days in a fugue state of writing my room reeked of stale espresso and decaying croissant bits, but the work got done.

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Chapter 1: An All Night Party

I departed an all-night pool party north of the Golden Gate Bridge and rolled into the Café Bugatti in San Francisco at 7 a.m. The barista, a conspicuously beautiful red-haired girl named Sheri, banished me to a corner table because I smelled of tequila and chlorine and because I was being a nuisance trying to flirt with her during a customer rush. So I shuffled over to the newspaper rack, grabbed the San Francisco Chronicle, and sat among a cadre of curmudgeonly Italian men from the neighborhood who frequently slapped their papers and swore under their breath when they read something they disliked.

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