To Live And Write In L.A.: The Ballad of Hassel and Kylo

By Hassel Velasco

Currently working on: HTTAN, And Other Love Stories.
Currently Listening To: “DAMN.” Kendrick Lamar
Currently Reading: 100 Love Sonnets, Pablo Neruda

No, really, don't call it a comeback. It's me. Still living in Los Angeles with no hope of changing that anytime soon. I was also advised against "Flo-writah," and I guess I put too much value into that opinion, but I'm here nonetheless.

What's happened in the last eight months you ask? Oh, you didn't ask...

Buckle-in, I'm going to tell you anyway.

Act 1

With what seemed to look like my last two weeks in Los Angeles, my hope for finding an inexpensive place to live was rapidly escaping. I had come across a couple of apartments within my price range (and 3 percent of those were not crack houses!). The problem I encountered often was this ludicrous belief that in order to rent a place, you had to also put down a deposit equivalent to two white tigers and a blood diamond.

I don't get it...and I don't think I ever will. With a week to go, a place opened up, a bit outside of my price range, but fuck it, I had already ordered the blood diamond and didn't want any negative feedback on my eBay account.

Oh, I forgot to mention I also got something to try and warm my cold dead heart. His name is Kylo. He has big ears, a bigger heart, and he likes to party. Here's a picture.

And yes that's a Hawaiian shirt.

He's a fan of Bark-a-Ritaville. Get it...

Act 2

My place was slowly coming along and becoming my own. Kylo was settling in, getting along (somewhat) with the cat. I was surviving and this city wasn't going to take that away from me. Scratch that, I mean this city was going to try its very best to take it all away from me like a studio that's no longer happy with the seventeenth draft of "Giraffic Park," starring Amy’s recently birthed calf Tajiri. (Production on hold.)

At the end of 2016, Kylo got sick and so did my computer. I made the mistake of thinking a seven- to eight-month old puppy wouldn't be curious about a garbage bag and its melted chocolate contents at the bottom. I was wrong, but luckily he recovered and I still had my blood diamond. Not for long though. One computer logic board failure later and poof! I had trouble picking up my computer from repair because of my lack of funds (the blood diamond market is very saturated), and this in turn caused me to miss an important deadline.

Goodbye, HBO. Oh, hello, rent...

Life has a weird way of bringing you back down from the clouds.

Act 3

So, by this point 2017 had gotten off to a dreadful start, but I kept my head up. I kept working and soon enough I found myself up for a promotion at work. A promotion I had applied to and been turned away twice before. But this time it was different. I was prepared and I knew the role. I had been living it.

Life has a weird way of bringing you back down from the clouds. As Leo (Leonardo DiCaprio, to strangers) would tell you...amazing work doesn't always pay off. And like Leo prior to 2016, my work was overlooked and I was turned away once again. It's just the way life goes.

Maybe I'm not meant to succeed, maybe I'm the person pushing the people around me to succeed. Maybe I'm a better “Best Supporting Actor” than a lead. I do somewhat feel like the perpetual silver medal. Everyone's back up plan. But, hey, let's keep this going. Can't quit now. And if I am going to the worthy sidekick, I’ll be the Christoph Waltz of second bananas.

I wish the circumstances were different, but for now, I am glad to be writing again. But at least my high maintenance roommate lightens up the mood when I need it!