Martin Foreman
First and Fiftieth

The Stories
   Kitchen Table
   Night Traffic
   Foucault's Nightmare
   Homophobia, Darling
   Cold Silence
   Los Feliz
   Ten Million Years
   The Last Saturday in May
   First and Fiftieth
   Ben and Joe's


The Publishers

The Author
picture of Martin Foreman by mitamada
   Also Available

   A View from the Edge
   Arbery Books
   Arbery Productions
   God would be an atheist

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Los Feliz

An Angeleno in his thirties
opening paragraphs

Freeways? Nothing you can tell me about freeways. I wrote the book on freeways. I know every mile of freeway in LA and Orange Counties. Go on, try me. Name me two cities and I’ll tell you how to get from one to the other. La Cañada and West Covina? Come on, give me something difficult. 210 east then 10 west or 210 east, 605 south and 10 east, depending on traffic and whether you want the Plaza or the Country Club. Give me
another. All right, I’ll give you one. San Pedro and Montebello. Now most guys would tell you the 110 north and the 10 east. Sure, and get caught by all that traffic Downtown. You listen to me and I tell you the 110, the 91 and the 710. You get there half an hour before the other guy, you’ve time to put your feet up, grab a bite, call the wife.

How do I know? Because I drive the freeways, every freaking day of the week. Eight, ten hours a day. I’m a consultant. Office equipment. Photocopiers, computers, the usual. A troubleshooter. A problem anywhere in LA and I’m the guy they call in. Orange County too if the local guys can’t handle it. Sure, I do some repairs. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but that’s not my job. I’m the guy who deals with the problems the repairman can’t handle. I’d tell you about it but it’s too technical and it’s the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is talk about work. Let’s forget work. Let’s drink to the good things in life, like early retirement, your horse coming in first, wine, women and song.

No, I’m not married. Used to be, then the wife and I had a disagreement. She pulled out. One. Six years old and the cutest little girl you ever saw. Not that I’ve seen much of her lately. The wife took her to Arizona, back to live with her parents. I pay child support but, let’s be honest, I’m not much of a Dad. Never was. I was too busy working. I’d come in at eight. The kid would be asleep or she’d be all over me wanting to play a game. I’d just want to flop out, see what’s on the sports channels, watch a sitcom. It would be okay if she was a boy, she could watch with me, but a girl, you got nothing in common. Maybe when she’s grown a little things’ll work out better.

No-one. Not at the moment. I’ve been looking around all right since Linda left, but... Except one. Now there’s a story, sums up women in a nutshell, it does. Tells you why a man should remain a bachelor all his freaking life.

Next story: Judy

All Rights Reserved / World Copyright © Martin Foreman 2015

"Sometimes you sit, watch the trains, the sunset, the rain. Sometimes you talk. Tell your story if you've a mind to. Trouble is, memory changes things. Things you want to forget. Things you want to remember that never happened. Happens to everybody. Gets so, nobody's story's true. Not yours, not mine. But it's all we've got."

First and Fiftieth

Background & Comment

I'm not sure where the inspiration for this story came from. The narrator, the woman and their very different perspectives all emerged at the same time, but neither character is modeled on anyone I know.

It will not surprise you that when I lived in Los Angeles (in the mid 1990s) I was fascinated by freeway system. After three years there, it still gave me a thrill to get on the 101 or the 10 and drive for hours, watching different faces of the city slip by.

The story itself may not be the best in this collection, but it's one of my favourites...

Los Feliz forms part of Californian Lives, which will receive its second production in September 2013. Details on

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