Friday, May 12, 2006

2006-05-12 Aryan Kaganof

2006-05-12 Aryan Kaganof
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
A coupla days ago I'm at Bookdealers of Melville. It's my favourite second-hand bookshop. Across the street is THE ANT, a little coffee-shop.

Lo and behold, sitting at an outside table, waving at me, is Aryan Kaganof.

He's a filmmaker, artist, poet, and he's currently finishing off his new movie, SMS Sugarman. It's the world's first feature movie shot entirely on a cellphone.

So I wander across the road, and we end up spending the afternoon together, talking about love and loss and other heavy things.

I take a snapshot of him on my cellphone as a reference pic to do a portrait of him. This is the result.

A coupla days later, I pop in to visit Eran Tahor at his new house in Melville. Aryan is also visiting. He and Eran are going to head off to the Bohemian later to play pool.

We start talking about the fact that my girlfriend, S, had been rearended two nights before by a drunk driver.

I was on the scene, driving my car, and I saw the whole prang.

I had to play the whole Starsky and Hutch thing. I leapt out of my car when the guy stalled after he tried to bash S's car out of the way so he could drive off.

His window was open, and I reached in and grabbed his keys. I opened his door and yanked him out of the car, saying VERY authoritatively and calmly, 'Get OUT of the vehicle! Put your hands on the roof.'

I frisked him to make sure he didn't have a weapon, and then I called the cops.

It took two hours for the pigs to arrive, and the drunk guy's buddies also arrived. I overheard him on the phone. 'Kiran has gone to the autoteller to draw some cash to bribe... I mean... to draw some cash.'

S also heard him. But that's not proof. And we needed to be sure that all of the insurance details were sorted, so we didn't want to start asking awkward questions of the cops. We decided to leave it to the next day to sort out.

Next day, we called the cops. The relevant department was closed for the weekend. Phoned Meshan's insurance company. They'd never heard of him. Phoned Meshan. Voicemail. Phoned Kiran. (I'd overheard Meshan telling the tow-truck driver the number, so I wrote it down in my Moleskine.)

Some dude answered the phone, 'Hello?'

'Hi, this is Roy. I'm looking for Meshan.'

'Uh... uhm... I don't know that name.'

'Sure you don't know that name? You were at the scene of an accident last night which was caused by Meshan. Are you Kiran?'

'Uh, uh, uh... no... I'm... uh... Shane.'

'Ah. Shane. Meshan and Shane sound very similar. Well "Shane", please tell Meshan that he has precisely twenty minutes to get back to me or else we go to the police. Where IS Meshan?'

'Uh... he's... uh... somewhere else at the moment. I'll... uh... I'll ask him to call you.'

I think Shane and Meshan were the same person, cos when Meshan phoned me exactly twenty minutes later, they sounded remarkably similar. He apologised, admitted that he hadn't been arrested, and offered to pay for all the damage to S's car. 'Please just don't report my name and ID number to the insurance company,' he said.

Too late. We were playing it by the book. But the fact that he was phoning from somewhere that WASN'T a prison cell meant that his bribe was successful.

So, Eran, his girlfriend Jade, Aryan, and I, are talking about how this country seems to be fundamentally unsafe, and that the cops are intrinsically crooked, and that the person with the biggest bankroll is the one who'll get their protection, and that we've got a real problem.

Which puts Aryan into the mood to play some pool. He goes to his car. And comes back thirty seconds later. 'It's been stolen,' he says. 'And they got my pool cue too.'

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