A short Story by Katy Odell Radcliffe:
I never see celebrities when I’m out and about. I either don’t recognize them or I’m just oblivious to them, and if someone doesn’t tell me who just walked past, I’ll never know. I once had a conversation about the difference between g-strings and thongs with some woman in a valet parking queue and I didn’t know I’d been talking to Patricia Arquette until my friend told me, later.
Some years ago, I went on a first date with a man named Vincent. First, we walked along the Venice Beach boardwalk, where I found a hundred-dollar bill on the ground. That seemed a good omen for the day ahead. Then, we went to Malibu, and had lunch at a taco stand by the beach. I went up to get some condiments at the window and when I got back to our table, Vincent told me “That guy next to you in line, who was checking you out, was David Spade.” As you probably know, David Spade looks exactly like himself, so I don’t know why I didn’t notice him until he was pointed out to me. I thought this was terribly exciting, although Vincent probably made up the part about him checking me out. Vincent was a real gentleman in that respect.
We walked onto the sand, where we sat on a towel and drank mimosas Vincent had brought in a cooler. I’m afraid of water, so sitting and people-watching is about all I’ll do at the beach. I was feeling pretty flush with found money and flattery, and generally feeling like I was having the best day of my life.
Then, I noticed this older guy walking up and down the beach. He wasn’t a remarkable looking man in terms of physiognomy, but he caught my eye because there was just something odd about him. He was pacing up and down the beach in this very self-conscious way that simply seemed weird, and I marvelled at him. When he was passing by us for a third time, about thirty feet away from us, I remarked to Vincent, “Look at that man. He looks like he jacks off in the mirror!” I said this in a fairly subdued conversational tone, so I was surprised when Vincent murmered, “That’s Robert Blake, and he heard you.”
“How can he have heard me? We’re at a noisy beach and he’s not that close.”
“Because he’s insane, and crazy people hear everything. I saw him flinch.”
As we watched him walk away Vincent told me a bunch of stuff about the crazy things Robert Blake was known to have done. I think there was something about running down Hollywood Boulevard in a dress, or naked, or something, but I can’t remember now. At any rate, I wasn’t convinced that Vincent was right about Robert Blake having heard me, as it just didn’t seem possible.
A couple of minutes later, Robert Blake came back towards us, and this time he had this sort of tight smile on his face. I became very absorbed in brushing the sand off my feet.
When he got to us, he turned and walked around us, keeping a distance of about 20 feet. When I got the nerve to look over my shoulder, he was circling around behind us, looking straight at me, smiling or grimacing at me.
He circled us repeatedly, never taking his eyes off of me, still smiling that angry little smile. I didn’t exactly feel scared of him, but I was definitely creeped out and afraid that he was going to actually confront me on my comment about his masturbatory habits. I didn’t know what I would say if he did, because I was becoming more and more certain that he *did* jack off in the mirror.
He didn’t say anything, though. After about three laps, he seemed satisfied that he’d made his point, and walked off down the beach.
The rest of the date was fantastic and the Robert Blake incident later came to seem like just another fun part of a really romantic day. I eventually forgot all about it. But, several years later, when he was arrested for the murder of his wife, I didn’t have any doubts that he was guilty.
Vincent's PS:The story is true, but I feel I need to throw in that I have been a fan of Robert Blake and his work since I was a kid. The reason I knew his crazy back stories was that Robert Blake told me and the rest of America in multiple candid and honest interviews on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.