In the last six months of 1996, I lived with a Holocaust survivor who had about 25 cats in the apartment. In exchange for looking after the cats, I only had to pay $200 a month rent. I thought he was crazy. He knew I was a writer and he wanted me to write a movie based on his story. He said it was more incredible than Schindler’s List. I had no interest. I preferred to write about porn stars.
I kept berating myself. I was a convert to Judaism. I was fascinated in all things Jewish but somehow I spent my spare time around comely shiksas when I had a great Jewish story in my very own apartment.
In late 1996, the survivor accidentally started a fire in our kitchen that threatened the whole complex and he got kicked out and we went our separate ways. The roommate service I went to automatically assumed I was gay and only sent me out to gay roommates. One was a philosophy professor at UCLA who specialized in ethics, a great interest of mine. We had a great talk over the phone but he doubted my ability to pay the rent on time. So I moved in with another gay guy. He ran a nude cleaning service that was featured on Jerry Springer.