1992 Los Angeles Riots Excerpt from ‘Diary of a Hollywood Nobody’

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

This is an edited excerpt from my novel, Diary of a Hollywood Nobody.

Wednesday, April 29, 1992

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaOn Monday, I began a new assignment in the basement of the Union Pacific Bank. There were several departments in the sprawling basement and I got lucky as the lawyer I worked for took every Wednesday afternoon off in order to perfect his golf game at the Wilshire Country Club.

George, the guy in charge of the mailroom, came over to the desk where I sat. My work consisted of alphabetizing loan applications for another secretary. I noticed his serious expression as he told me that the four cops who’d beaten Rodney King had been acquitted out in Simi Valley. The look on his broad Samoan face told me that he didn’t agree with the decision. Neither did I. “People are outside the court house yelling guilty, guilty.” He shook his head. “They’re saying it could get ugly…”

Quitting time was five o’clock and I drove home the usual way and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Until I got home and turned on the TV. I still didn’t have cable but that didn’t matter as every channel was broadcasting the events. Fires were set, looters invaded stores, and my adopted city was in a state of chaos. The only noise I heard was that of sirens screaming down Melrose and helicopters overhead.

Thursday, April 30

Early that morning I called Alltemps and asked if I should go in to work. The answer was yes. I guess being located in the middle of Beverly Hills changed their perspective.

I took Sunset to downtown and parked at the usual lot east of the business district on 6th and Bixel. There weren’t many cars. In the distance, I saw plumes of smoke. L.A. was on fire and I had to report to work in the basement of a bank.

The bank office was abuzz with static-filled radios. Iesha, a South Central resident, spoke of a night of terror. Luckily, her house remained intact and her kids were unharmed. Her husband was out of town so she and her three grade-school aged children endured a night of fires and looting and helicopters buzzing overhead. The nearby mini-mall was looted and burned. No more convenience store, video shop, or Chinese takeout remained.

Sybil was another black woman who had a firecracker of a night. She resided in Koreatown, a hard-hit area near 8th and Vermont. Her apartment was unscathed, but she received a free fire show. Windows broke. Gunshots rang out.

Every so often, someone would remember the employees below street level and announce another mishap. Looting on 6th Street. Fires burned everywhere. No work was done.

By noon, we were dismissed due to the ‘civil disturbance.’ Nerves were wrought. Various forms of panic seized the employees. George was accompanying Rosalinda to her bus stop near Skid Row.

I was driven to the outdoor lot across the Harbor Freeway. Two other cars remained in the $3 per day lot. Behind me, the smoke was billowing higher and darker. I locked my car doors. I was leaving work at lunchtime and wasn’t pretending I was sick; there was a legitimate excuse for going home early.

It started gradually. I noticed more pedestrians on the sidewalks than usual. Teens. Little kids. Mothers.  They headed westwards, about a half mile from Vermont Avenue. People trotting, some running. Uphill, at the intersection of Beverly and Vermont, traffic stopped at a green light.

Read more about the riots as well as the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood. This unique diary is available here:
Amazon link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

B&N Nook link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

iTunes link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Kobo link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Scribd link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Smashwords link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

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Diary of a Hollywood Nobody ~ A Show Biz Excerpt

Copyright 2011-2015 by Lisa Maliga

Wednesday, July 22

9:20 PM. Back in the world of show biz. 

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaHollywood Financing. The office was on Sunset just east of Beverly Hills. I was a receptionist and the pay sucked but I could have all the free beverages I wanted. Reading on the job was okay. Eight executives worked there and they were a decent bunch. Jack, the lawyer, was in his mid-thirties, but his office was furnished like a kindergarten classroom. He had several cans of Play-Doh and had created some pretty weird sculptures. A fleet of Matchbox cars was parked on a Persian rug. Comic books were stacked on a couch in his suite overlooking Sunset Boulevard. And best of all, there was a kid-sized table and chair for his frequently visiting son that housed an array of coloring books and a box of crayons. Jack rarely accepted any calls and the messages multiplied between the scripts and contracts on his cluttered desk. 

I was allowed to read scripts so I didn’t bother bringing books. Everyone knew I was an aspiring screenwriter and I was glad to work in the Biz again. Leona was from Pennsylvania and said I could call home if I wanted. She was a production coordinator on a recent movie that hadn’t been released yet and had worked with Stallone. She was almost my age and drove a Chevy Blazer and lived in Beverly Hills. I imagined she was making more than what I made.

Here’s the official book description:

Chris Yarborough is a Midwesterner as green as the corn back home in Ohio. This former bookstore employee moves out to Los Angeles to pursue a profitable career in screenwriting.

She finds an office job in a Century City-based tax and financial planning company. The business closes in six months and her career as a temp is launched.

Chris temps in various locations from East L.A. to downtown to Santa Monica and the Valley. Jobs in movie studios bring her in contact with famous actors. As a temp she’s a nobody that’s as disposable as toilet paper.

Searching for a literary agent and that elusive script sale, Chris encounters an array of unusual characters. A partying apartment manager, an important film director who can launch her career, a lawyer with an office furnished in kindergarten motif, and several household names. Sometimes working in the entertainment biz, including stints at Playboy, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros, to jobs in unrelated fields, the plucky screenwriter perseveres.

We’re shown the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood.

Available at Amazon and other online bookstores. See the following page for a full list of online book stores: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Diary of a Hollywood Nobody ~ New Cover + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

In Hollywood, nobodies are as disposable as toilet paper.

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaAlthough I’ve written a little about Hollywood in NOTES FROM NADIR, the majority of that book takes place far, far away from Hollywood.

What really happened in Hollywood? How easy is it to sell a screenplay? Did I work in the entertainment industry? Did I meet lots of celebrities?

DIARY OF A HOLLYWOOD NOBODY is partially based on my years working in wonderful world of showbiz. My character, Chris Yarborough, is someone who might have a few similarities to me. This book is based on people I met in Lalaland. I’ve also incorporated other peoples’ stories to make this a better read. Some of the characters names have been changed to protect the innocent … and the guilty. The following excerpt takes place in 1993.

***

I arrived at the studio and parked in visitor’s parking. I went to the admin. building and the person who was in charge of processing over 2,000 invitations wasn’t located in the studio head’s office.

Marybeth, my contact, was a gregarious young woman in a cream colored pants suit. She smiled and escorted me into a little room containing a copier and office supplies. There was a typewriter on a folding table along with an ancient plastic chair. My job was to type the addresses directly onto the envelopes. No labels were used. The typewriter was old enough to vote and whenever I got any speed going, it jammed. I felt like I was in a bad movie. Every time I hit the CAPS key, the machine locked up and spit out different letters than what I typed! Finally, I told Marybeth about the Jaws-like machine and she tried it. The same thing happened to her.

It was lunchtime, so I could use another typewriter at the opposite end of the building. I grabbed the list, the envelopes, and my tote bag containing my purse and sneakers, and set up in another area. I was a portable temp. Cramped copier room, lunch-going secretary’s desk. Didn’t matter. Chris, the port-a-temp. Then Marybeth emphasized the obvious:

“Don’t get too comfortable.”

I nodded and continued lining up the tabs on the typewriter. It was the story of my port-a-temp career–I wasn’t ever comfortable. I got told what to do by secretaries and junior secretaries. Even clerks. I did other people’s work for less money.

Read the book’s description here: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody