In 1981, I was held up at gunpoint by a 6′ tall man with dreadlocks in the parking lot of the Variety Arts Center on Figueroa St. in downtown L.A. I was leaving my cigarette girl job in my French maid costume with my bag full of 20 hard-earned one dollar bills. Tips. My stupid-red-Dodge-used-car wouldn’t start as usual. It was 1 a.m. Suddenly, a man’s face and a gun were at my window, the gun pointed toward my face. I wondered, “can a bullet go through glass”? The car wouldn’t start. He shouted, “Open the door!” I opened my door, so he wouldn’t shoot. He pointed the gun at my head, put his arm around my neck, and said, “Gimme the bag.” I didn’t. Everything was going in slow motion although it was probably only a few seconds of time passing. My dad’s voice came into my head, “They are going to do what they are going to do anyway, you might as well scream and fight. At least you have a 50/50 chance.” The tall man was pushing me into the alley. I was trying to hit and kick him. I screamed a blood curdling scream. He looked around and ran away into the shadows while the elevator operator in his 1930′s bell-boy costume ran out of the building. I ran into the elevator operator’s arms shaking. I said, “Did you hear me scream?” He said, “I thought it was a police siren or an ambulance siren”. I filled out a police report and drove home about 3 a.m. I wish I’d had a gun.
For a few weeks after, I couldn’t sleep. I lived alone in a one room apartment on Edgemont Ave. in Hollywood. I kept thinking someone was at my window, or coming to kill me. I was paranoid. One early morning, I actually called 911 and the S.W.A.T. team circled my apartment building while I ran out of the window in my nightgown and into a stranger’s home down the street. They were eating breakfast, and stared at me curiously. The police found no one.