Venice under the influence
I was walking down Venice Blvd. today and found a yellow iPhone XR in the gutter. It was unlocked and the Notes app was open. This is what was written inside.
Friday September 13th 2019 #
My father was an influencer.
His father was an influencer.
And his father before that.
Three generations of my family, working in the like mines of Venice Beach.
These days though, there are so many influencers that there’s hardly anybody left to influence. I spend most of my afternoons sitting in the influencers union hall, known to the locals as Intelligentsia, drinking matcha and checking my DMs.
More of the old timers are getting sick. Filter face they call it. But neither instagram nor snapchat are willing to acknowledge it or kick down a single dime for us. So we wait.
We take selfies and we wait…
Not everybody waits though. The smart ones left a long time ago. I can still picture my dad at the top of the stairs on the night my brother left. “No son of mine will ever be genuinely interesting or useful to society!” he shouted at a slamming door.
That was the last any of us ever saw of Tony. We think he’s in medical school now, but nobody knows for sure. He won’t accept our follow requests.
“lmao fuck this 🤣🤣🤣!”
I startle at the voice on the other side of hall. It’s @macayleighcakes. She’s been influencing longer than any of us.
She looked directly at me.
“If the union’s not gonna give us work, let’s go rustle up some influence ourselves. 💯?”
“💯,” I replied and I followed her out the union hall door, into the harsh daylight of Abbot Kinney.
First we hit the murals. But just as we expected, too crowded to take a shot. Most of the good murals had professional photo crews on them, modeling for nearby boutiques. The rest were choked with no-names on vacation.
We finally found an open mural on Washington, practically in Marina Del Rey.
“Brunch O’ Clock” the pink cursive neon read. It was 6:37.
“No one’s gonna buy this @macayleighcakes,” I said. “Let’s get out of here.”
We walked to the beach. By the time we got there, it was too late to get a story of the sunset. Another day down the tubes. @macayleighcakes had had enough.
“At least I can do makeup tutorials. You staying out?” she asked.
“I dunno,” I said.
“What?” she said, looking up from her phone.
“Err… nevermind. Be sure to like and subscribe.” I said, waving goodbye.
“Like and subscribe,” she replied and climbed into her lyfted prius.
I walked to the railing of the Venice skatepark and watched the skaters in the fading dusk light, idly fondling my iPhone for comfort.
“These lucky motherfuckers,” I thought. It would be so much easier to influence if I had some kind of talent, a skill. Or just something remotely interesting about myself, other than all this supreme gear.
Just then, a ripped guy in boardshorts snatched my iPhone right out of my hand and took off toward the basketball courts.
I chased him like my life was in his hands, because it was. Fortunately other goodhearted influencers saw it all go down and chased him with me, recording everything. A drone even joined in the pursuit.
We surrounded him at the graffiti wall.
“Give it back!” I yelled.
Shit. This dude was way bigger than me.
“Give it back bruh. Just walk away. Bruh… Bruh…”
I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do. This guy looked like the Russian from Rocky IV and was a head taller than me. No way I could take him, but there were five of us at this point, so I didn’t see his next move either.
“Bro… it’s a prank!” he said.
“See these people?” he gestured around to the others who had him surrounded.
“They’re filming the whole thing. It’s just a prank for our youtube channel.”
I’d been had.
I took my phone back from his outstretched hand, and forced a smile at their success. It was good content and we all knew it.
By now it was dark out, and there still wasn’t a single post for me.
I hear the influencing’s better in West Hollywood, or Malibu, or even Orange County. All I know is… there’s nothing left for me here.
I see a nearby Bird scooter and scan it with my phone. 7.4 miles of range left the app says. Not sure if that’s enough to get me where I’m going, but it’s enough to get me away from Venice lmao.
I grabbed the handlebars and waded out to the nearby traffic light. I could feel the tears starting to well up.
“Please! I beg you!”, I yelled out to the Universe.
“Smash that like button!”
The light turned green. I took off down Venice Boulevard (South).