Amanda and I had been together for three years, but it was about to come to an end. Things have been getting worse for some time and it’s been harder for us to communicate with one another without it leading into a fight or, at the very least, some low-level resentment that would eventually turn into a fight. She had been working too much and I have been smoking too much weed. There seemed to be a mutual disinterest in making love to each other. It had been three months. The relationship was about to end. I was ready for it. 

It was a cold day in Los Angeles when she told me we needed to talk and asked me to meet her at the patio at Salazar’s. It was where we had our first date all those years ago and I appreciated the dramatic irony of having this happen there. I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about how to respond to the inevitable reasons she would give for why the relationship needed to end. She would say it was my fault, that I didn’t appreciate her the way she deserves. That may be accurate, but the truth is sometimes people just grow apart. I could have tried harder though. 

When I arrived at Salazar’s she was already seated. She was anxious and when she stood up to hug me seemed to be shivering from nerves. 

“Are you okay?” I asked as we sat down. 

“Yes, yes, I’m just going through a lot,” she said. “How was your day?” 

“Good, real busy,” I said even though I had only spent about 20 minutes on a freelance graphic design assignment and the rest of the day playing Madden. “What about you?” I asked to which she brushed off what I’m sure was a hectic day at the lab. 

We ordered our food and sat silently for a few minutes. “What’s going on, Amanda?” I asked, wanting to get this started. The temperature had continued to drop and I began to feel drizzles of rain on my head.

“Well, I have been thinking a lot about us lately. About all of the years we had together, the memories we built, and how thankful I am for them. But it hasn’t always been easy…”

Here it comes. I can’t take it– 

“We should break up,” I interrupted. 

“What?” 

“That’s where you’re going with this, right? You want to break up with me?” I asked. 

“Is…is that what you want?” she responded. 

“I think it is,” it was the first time I said it out loud. The rain had started to fall harder but neither of us moved. “Amanda, we both deserve to be happy, don’t we? And you and I can’t have a conversation without it ending in a fight. I’m not going to fight you on this, I think this is for the best,” I said.

“I didn’t know you felt like this,” she told me, tears washed away by the rain. We were the only two remaining on the patio. 

“Isn’t this what you want? Why did you ask me here to talk?” I asked. 

“I’m pregnant.” 

Jeremy and I had been together for three years. It’s not a perfect relationship, but the two of us have fun together. On our first date he took me to this crappy Mexican restaurant called Salazar’s that he said was his favorite. “I love it because it’s not perfect,” I remembered him saying. And that’s Jeremy, you know, he appreciates the ugliness in things. I thought he would appreciate the dramatic irony of telling him we were going to be a family at the place where we first fell in love. I hope it doesn’t rain.

It hasn’t been great for us these last few months. It’s mostly my fault, I work too much and when I get home can’t seem to turn that part of my brain off enough to just enjoy his company. Still, he could help out more. We aren’t as intimate as we used to be. It’s been three months, but it was then when this happened. We had gone to Phoenix to visit his sister and, well, would Phoenix be a good name if it is a girl? 

“You’re pregnant?” he asked me. 

“And you want to break up with me?” I responded. 

We sat another moment just staring at each other as our bowl of nachos finally started to overflow with rainwater. 

“I wouldn’t have said that if I knew you were–“

“Then you shouldn’t have interrupted me, Jeremy! You’re always interrupting me.” 

“I’m sorry,” he said. How long had he been wanting this? After all I’ve done for him he’s going to do this to me–

“How far along are you?” he asked over the sound of the storm. 

“Three months,” I said. 

“Can we start this over?” he asked me as if I could forget. As if I could ever forget.

“Sure,” I said. What choice did I have? I’ve seen first hand how hard it is when a woman raises a child on her own. 

“So do you have some news for me?” he asked. 

“I’m pregnant,” I said again, the rain finally starting to let up. 

He said nothing. He just stood up and walked over to me and took my hand. 

“It won’t be perfect, Amanda. But I’ll be here for you and,” he placed his hand gingerly on my stomach, “whoever is in here.”

The two of us, still soaking, embraced for a few minutes until the waiter finally came out and asked if we would like to move to a table inside. 

“I think we’re good here,” I said, staring at Jeremy. 

“Yeah?” he asked. 

“For now,” I told him. “But actually maybe we should move inside, I don’t want to catch a cold.” 

BREAKING NEWS: Your office’s Thanksgiving potluck lunch will feature 15 side dishes and not a single god-damn entree. Just like last year.

”This is a complete disaster,” said Deborah, the office manager, to herself as she placed yet another bowl of mashed potatoes onto the table. “This party has way too many starches,” she thought as she welcomed Hector from accounting who brought the party’s third bag of tortilla chips.

“Ummmm, is this gluten-free?” Wendy from marketing asked Deborah about a bowl of mashed potatoes.

“Potatoes don’t have gluten in them. They are potatoes,” answered Deborah, to which Wendy just looked really confused. 

“Ummmm, ok, cause I legit have celiacs disease,” said Wendy, even though she doesn’t. 

“Uch, why do we even have these fucking potlucks,” said Deborah under her breath as she placed a package of some of the hardest and most unappealing dinner rolls she had ever seen on the problematic vinyl tablecloth she picked up without noticing its pattern of jolly Native American caricatures she knew was going to be the subject of a conversation with HR before the day was over. 

CEO James Morales told the Avocado that he insists on having a Thanksgiving lunch every year because it cultivates a familial environment at work. “That’s why people love working here so much. We’re each other’s family — isn’t that right Vanessa?” James called out to his assistant Vanessa Ireland who hates him.

“How’s everyone liking the party?” James asked a group of employees scooping up mashed potatoes and tortilla chips like he had anything to do with organizing it. 

“Hey, where’s the turkey? How can we have a Thanksgiving potluck without turkey?” James began to complain loudly.

“Deborah, why isn’t there a turkey? Weren’t you supposed to make one?” James asked Deborah, who was just told to organize the party on top of her already busy workload just last week and was what? Also supposed to cook a turkey for 20 people too?

“I have to cook a turkey for my own ungrateful family for Thanksgiving! Why on earth would I cook a turkey for this stupid party? Who even wants to eat a turkey two days before Thanksgiving? No one even likes turkey to begin with. This whole party is a fucking disaster. I have a masters degree, what am I doing with myself?” Deborah thought to herself as James and the whole office awaited her answer.

“I’m sorry,” Deborah apologized for some reason before scooping up a ladle of cold mashed sweet potatoes onto her plate and going back to her desk to cry. 

“What’s with Deborah?” James asked Vanessa rhetorically before going back to telling his staff all about his new Tesla. 

As a non-union comedy writer with no credits, I know I’m ready to write for television. Truth be told, I don’t watch a lot of TV because, my god, who has the time? But what I lack in commitment to developing my craft I more than make up with in confidence and diverticulitis.

I heard that you need to be persistent to break into the entertainment industry, so I send my writing sample to whoever is on Fallon that night. It’s a spec of Malcolm in the Middle that I wrote when I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. I don’t want to give too much away without having you sign an NDA, but the plot involves Frances leaving military school to join Al Qaeda. It’s 170 pages long and fucking dark, but also a brilliant piece of writing if I do say so myself (something those idiots at NBC’s Writers’ on the Verge wouldn’t know if it bit them on the ass or was sent to them fourteen years in a row). 

One night during my evening punch up of the Malcolm script I watched Nick Kroll on Fallon promoting that Ozzy Osbourne show of his about the kids who have sex with monsters or whatever. I’ve never seen it, but know about the premise because my buddy Jaden in Florida knows one of its writers, Victor Quinaz and is always going on about it. “This is perfect,” I thought. I’ll write for Big Mouth! I called Jaden and asked him to introduce me to Victor, but he refused even though he’s read my Malcolm script and agrees it is way more violent than a normal Malcolm in the Middle episode. Fucking Jaden. “It doesn’t matter,” I thought, I’ll just send the script directly to Kroll and get on the show myself. 

Boy, is it difficult to find Nick Kroll’s email address online. I searched for hours, but the closest I could find is the information for an orthodontist named Dr. Nicholas Kroll, DDS in Lansing, Michigan who told me that he had no capacity to hire an inexperienced screenwriter at his dental practice and also that he felt my Malcolm script was “ill-advised.” Everyone’s a critic. 

I had lost all hope until I learned that Nick Kroll has what I assumed is his own production company and, just my luck, Kroll Inc. was hiring! 

Unbeknownst to meKroll Inc. is not a production company, but a high-end corporate investigation and security consultancy started by Nick’s father. Not realizing this mistake, I sent them a copy of my Malcolm script along with a cover letter in which I pitched an episode of Big Mouth based on several instances of early childhood self-discovery that occurred in the clearance racks of a Filene’s Basement. Needless to say, I was very confident I would be hearing back from Kroll asking me to write for Big Mouth.

Indeed, it was only a few days after sending in my application that I received a call offering me a job. I was with my usual confederacy of elderly men that congregate at the North Hollywood Weinserschnitzel every morning to discuss immigration policies and their love of Leonard Cohen. Kroll wanted me to fly out to their Washington D.C. office the next day and I was nervous about starting on such short notice because I’ve never actually seen Big Mouth. I was ultimately convinced to go by Moshe, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who told me that life is full of uncertainties and that I owed it to myself, and indeed all those who perished at Bergen-Belsen, to pursue my “dreams of writing that fakakta sex show before some Guatemalan agrees to do it for next to nothing.” He meant well.

The next morning, I flew to D.C. where I was met by someone from Kroll and escorted to their headquarters. I was tired from my flight but told that they needed me to start right away. I remembered hearing a Big Mouth spinoff was in the works and figured they were desperate for some fresh ideas. “This must be how Hollywood works,” I thought as we made our way from Dulles to Georgetown. 

When I arrived, I was met by at least 10 Kroll executives. I was a little nervous being around what I thought was a room full of surprisingly well-dressed comedy writers and, perhaps feeling the need to overcompensate, immediately started pitching story ideas. It wasn’t until around three hours into my meeting that I realized that this was not Big Mouth’s production company and that they didn’t want me as a writer. 

“I’m going to stop you right there,” said General Deepak Gundersen, as I wrapped up a very graphic story that involved a chance encounter with someone I thought was Michelle Branch but who, in retrospect, was very clearly a pre-Pasion of the Christ Jim Chaviziel. “We need you to infiltrate an Al Qaeda sleeper cell and don’t have much time.”

General Gundersen, it turns out, is not a comedy writer for Big Mouth (or a Jim Chaviziel fan, apparently. But I guess who is?). He heads Kroll’s Private Security and Risk Management team and informed me that I was hired after he read my Malcolm in the Middle Script (suck a dick, Writers on the Verge!) which although he felt lacked the “tone and charm” of a Malcolm episode (that is actually consistent with what NBC thought), displayed a surprisingly adept understanding of Al Qaeda’s western recruiting tactics. 

“This is Maryanne Frankel,” said General Gundersen as a photo of a striking woman in her mid-50s displayed on a PowerPoint. “We believe she operates one of the largest terrorist recruiting channels in the United States.” Over the next several hours I was convinced to go to Canton, Ohio to make contact with Maryanne to find out the source of funding of her sleeper network. As I made my way back to the airport I wondered if I really knew enough about Al Qaeda to complete this mission. Most of the terrorist stuff from my script was lifted directly from a 20/20 episode. Maybe Kroll would be better off hiring Hugh Downs? These self-doubts continued until, needing to take my mind off of things, I signed up for a Netflix account and finally got to watch an episode of Big Mouth on the plane. It wasn’t really for me.

I was told Maryanne ran her terrorist operation from a Bob Evans in Canton and decided to head straight there from the airport. As I drove through the Ohio countryside I was taken aback by its open space and fresh air. You always hear about how awful and ugly Ohio is, but in reality, only most of it is awful and ugly. Some of it is less so.

I recognized Maryanne as soon as I stepped inside Bob Evans and asked the hostess to seat me in her section. “I hear I have a fan,” Maryanne said as she approached my table. She was remarkably beautiful, even at her age and in her Bob Evans uniform and really stood out in a place like Canton. I couldn’t help think that with a face like hers she could have easily made it in Dayton or even parts of Cincinnati. I ordered a biscuit platter and the two of us bantered playfully throughout the meal. When she finally came around with the check I asked her if I could take her out to dinner.

“I’m sorry, hun. I don’t date customers,” she said with a genteel smile.

“You don’t?” I panicked, trying to think of anything I could say to make her change her mind. 

“Sorry.” 

“Well…death to America?” I whispered. 

“Death to America,” she smiled. “Ok. Pick me up at 8:00!”

I spent the day reading a dossier Kroll prepared for me about Maryanne and walking around Canton. I was impressed with the number of monuments the city had to its kidnapping victims, and also perhaps not unrelatedly, how friendly and trusting everyone seemed to be. Los Angeles can be a hard place to live without growing jaded and I wondered if I would have been a happier person if I lived somewhere like this. Had I ever really been happy before? Certainly not since Diane left.

I picked up Maryanne at the end of her shift and had her show me around town. By the time we made our way to Canton’s nicest Walmart I decided to make my move. 

“Canton seems great,” I said.  

“Oh, it is!” said Maryanne. “When I was a little girl I used to dream about seeing the world, but when I finally got old enough I realized this place has everything that I need. We have three Walmarts, you know?” 

“So why do you hate America?” I asked bluntly. 

“Oh, that. Who are you? F.B.I.?” Maryanne asked as our hands casually touched, slowly making their way into each other as we strolled down the electronics aisle of the Super Walmart. 

“No. I’m with Kroll. I think it’s like a spy company or something. I’m not sure. I’m actually a comedy writer.” 

“I don’t hate America. I just think America could be a lot better than it is right now. You would agree with that, right?”

I did. 

“So, what’s wrong with trying to connect with others who also want to make America better?” 

“But you work for Al Qaeda? How is that going to make America better? Don’t they hate us?” 

“Oh, Al Qaeda is just an alternative! It could be any organization though. It’s just a symbol that America as we know it right now could be improved.” 

“Shit,” I thought as I realized I agreed with her. Recognizing there was a real connection developing I told her that what we said would just be between the two of us and that I hadn’t felt this way since Diane left me. We spent the next several hours discussing politics and the America of our childhood and what she called the “impending race war,” which sounded bad but I was so focused on the beauty of her eyes that I missed most of the details. She told me about how a chance encounter with a Sudanese arms dealer named Alfalaun Malah-Sadiq made her start to question things and how he encouraged her to connect with other “open-minded” Americans who believe their country could do better. “What’s so wrong with that?” she asked as she invited me back to her house where we continued to talk deep into the night. As the conversation flowed I knew we had fallen for each other. When we finally began making love beneath a bookshelf of Korans and a framed picture of Ayman al-Zawahiri I realized that fate had brought me here. As my eyes drew shut for the night she whispered أحبك into my ear.

“What’s that mean?” I asked, pretty sure I knew the answer.

“I love you,” she said. I was right. 

I woke to a loud bang early the next morning. I sprung up and saw Maryanne was not in the bed. As I ran into the living room I saw her on her knees in prayer facing west. 

“What’s going on?” I yelled out just as what must have been 20 armed men in unmarked military tactile gear stormed inside. As I watched the soldiers seize Maryanne, General Gundersen came up to me grinning.

“Great work!” he said as he shook my hand. 

“I don’t get it, what’s happening?” I asked as Maryanne looked at me for help. 

“Timothy?” she screamed. That’s my name, by the way. Timothy Penisfeldschmidt. “What is going on?”

“We tapped your cellphone and used its microphone to hear your conversation last night,” said General Gundersen. “You got her to admit that Alfalaun Malah-Sadiq is funding her operation and that she has been actively conspiring against the United States.” 

“So, it was all a lie? How could you do this to me? To us?” Maryanne screamed as they took her away. I never saw her again. 

I was flown back to Los Angeles that afternoon where I was debriefed, paid $125 for my time, and told that Kroll Inc. had a permanent job for me if I wanted it. 

“No thanks,” I said. “I’m a comedy writer.” 

“I thought you’d say that,” said General Gundersen. “As a thank you for protecting your country we pulled some strings and Nick Kroll has reluctantly agreed to hire you to write on that Ozzy Osbourne show of his where the kids have sex with monsters or whatever.” 

“Thanks,” I said as we shook hands. My dream had come true, but I couldn’t shake the memory of having love ripped away from me so quickly after finding it. 

The next day I went to Big Mouth’s production office where I met Nick and the other writers, including Victor Quinaz, who said he didn’t know my friend Jaden in Florida. Fucking Jaden. 

Ultimately, I didn’t last long at Big Mouth. Maybe it was my unfamiliarity with the show or that my scripts were what the producers described as “hundreds of pages too long and lacking in humor.” It could have also been that I found it impossible to stop thinking about Maryanne throughout the day or the way she looked at me as she was dragged away, but whatever the reason I found myself back at the Weinserschnitzel listening to Moshe and the gang go on about Leonard Cohen every morning. 

“Boychik,” Moshe interrupted, noticing I looked particularly down as the fellas discussed the lyrics to Chelsea Hotel #2. “There will be other women, you know? Don’t be so upset.”

“I know,” I lied. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do with myself now.” 

“There is no ‘supposed.’ It doesn’t matter what you do, you have to live your life because you still have a life to live. That’s more than a lot of our people can say.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was Presbyterian.

When I went home that night I sat down at my computer and began to write for the first time since being let go from Big Mouth. Turns out Moshe was right and I found the creative process cathartic and before I knew it had completed a 220-page spec of Black·Ish in which Dre and Rainbow move to Ohio to start a terrorist sleeper-cell that will make the people at NBC’s Writers on the Verge program finally take notice.

Life is unpredictable and, as Moshe always says: “Hashem has a plan for us.” I think Moshe means specifically the Jews, but I like to think god has something worked out for all of us. That night I saw Anthony Anderson on Fallon and decided to send him a copy of my script. Soon after his people reached out about producing a spin-off based on my spec called Terror·Ish. He’s seeing if Malin Akerman is available to play a character based on my dear Maryanne. I think she’d like that, wherever she is being detained. 

“We want the LA Auto Show to represent what car culture is in Los Angeles,” said conference spokesperson Timothy Penisfeldschmidt. “This year we have set up several exhibitions we believe replicate what it’s like to drive in Los Angeles and think guests willing to sit in traffic for a couple of hours to get to the Convention Center are going to really enjoy them.” 

The Avocado asked Mr. Penisfeldschmidt to describe some of the features of the Auto Show that he is most excited about: 

The “Your Boss Describes His Tesla While You Try To Get Work Done” Talent Pageant

“We want to celebrate that the auto industry has embraced the “Green Revolution,” said Mr. Penisfeldscmidt. “Not in a real way, since the majority of car manufacturers support Trump’s efforts to roll-back environmental standards. But in a superficial, self-serving type of way. We feel the best way to do this is by highlighting some of Los Angeles’s environmental heroes: Forty-something yuppies who have a Tesla and wear Patagonia vests. 

“I love my Tesla. I’ll never go back to a gas-guzzler,” said 44-year-old divorcee and your boss, David Huck, during the Auto Show’s talent competition in which electric car owners compete for the title of “Most Oblivious.” 

“I don’t even miss my Lexus,” said Mr. Huck during his winning performance of talking about his Tesla without prompt while wearing a Patagonia vest at 4:45 PM on a Friday as his employee politely tries to finish her work.

“Shit, I was actually going to say the same thing,” said second-place winner, a different 44-year-old CEO in a Patagonia vest who segued telling you about his Tesla into a discussion about why he supports Andrew Yang.  

The Indecipherable Vanity License Plate Gallery

“Nearly 70% of vehicles in Los Angeles County feature vanity license plates, and all of them are indecipherable and stupid,” said Penisfeldschmidt. “We want to give these vain owners a place to showcase their art and explain themselves.” 

Among the plates featured in the Auto Show’s collection is a plate that reads “BGDGRFN” on a 2017 C-Class, a Nissan with the plate “Titayz” and a mini-van with a license plate called “GASPAIN.” 

“Why would someone want a license plate that says “Gas Pain?” said one of the gallery’s guests, a 44-year-old in a Patagonia vest. 

“Like all great art, it makes you think,” replied Penisfeldschmidt, whose own car has a license plate that reads “PEN15FS” and isn’t allowed at his daughter’s elementary school. 

The WAZE-MAZE : It’s a Labyrinth That Allows You To Negligably Shortcut Conference Lines By Taking You So Inconveniently Out Of Your Way You Wish You Just Stayed On The Fucking 405

One of the most frustrating things about driving in Los Angeles is traffic. But luckily, our corporate sponsors Waze allows Angelenos to get to their destination sometimes seconds faster by taking them deep into dangerous residential areas where there are no street lights or cell service.

“We wanted to replicate that experience so we developed a “Waze Maze” which allows conference guests to short-cut long bathroom and food lines by making them walk several miles on a circuitous track to save what will amount to only a few seconds off their total wait time. We think the Waze Maze replicates all of the inconveniences associated with using a tool that was trying to make your life more convenient,” said PEN15FS. 

Public Transit Corridor 

“Even though this is the Auto Show, we support public transit in Los Angeles,” said Mr. Penisfeldschmidt. Accordingly, we have worked with Los Angeles’s Metro Authority on our “Public Transit Corridor” which is what we are calling the back entrance where the Auto Show’s mostly Hispanic support staff can enter the Convention Center.  

The Avocado asked whether guests of the Auto Show could take public transit, but were told that while someone could technically take the Metro Blue line to the Convention Center and get off at the Pico Station, doing so would add at least an hour to their commute and it makes more sense to just drive. 

The LA Auto Show is at the Los Angeles Convention Center November 22-December 1. It will take you two hours to get there and will cost you $30 to park

Scarlett Johansson just took a DNA test, turns out she’s 6% Asian and will be starring in next summer’s Joy Luck Club reboot. 

The casting comes following a partnership between Warner Bros. and 23AndMe to provide mandatory DNA tests to all SAG members to ensure actors cast as minority characters are sufficiently that minority. The requirement was initiated after it came to light that Julia Roberts was actually, for realsy considered for the role of Harriet Tubman.

Hollywood hasn’t always been sensitive when it comes to casting,” said Warner Bros.’s CEO Ann Sarnoff, who it turns out is a sliver Ashkenazi Jew. “But oy, gavalt, we’re trying to make things less, how do you say it? Verklempt.” 

For actors and their representatives, basing a casting decision on an actor’s unique genetic makeup presents both challenges and opportunities. 

It’s really bad optics to cast someone outside of their race,” said four 25-year-old junior CAA agents while outside of the Coffee Bean at Century Park. All of their names are Connor and they all went to Dartmouth. “But now that we know Billy Bob Thorton is .05% Cherokee we can cast him in Disney’s upcoming Sitting Bull biopic without everybody freaking out.” 

As the Connors sat around the table looking at the genetic breakdown of Hollywood’s biggest stars, one of them, let’s call him Steve, questioned whether it really was progress to look to an actor’s distant relative as justification for casting them in a minority role. “Is 6% Asian really Asian enough to represent oneself as an Asian?” Steve asked the other Connors. 

“Bro,” said a Connor. “That’s super racist. Who are you to deny someone’s identity?”  

As Steve the Connor contemplated the question he started to panic. The issue of race and how it impacts art and culture confused him. He had hoped to get some insight on the topic by examining his own genetic history, but the DNA test he took said he was 96% German and 4% Argentinian, and we all know what that means

“I wasn’t trying to be racist,” Steve Connor finally answered. 

“As a cisgender white man you should be more sensitive,” said a Connor.

“Well,” said Steve, “my family is actually partially from Latin America.” 

“Oh my god, good for you! I had no idea,” said a Connor. “You should apply to CAA’s Latinx Future Leaders Program.” 

“I think I will,” said Estephan. “Creo que lo haré.” 

“Oh my god, no, no, no, no, no,” said 12-year-old Broadway enthusiast Amanda Palmer after watching the new trailer for Cats. “How did so many people think this is okay?”

The musical adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s perineum Broadway show features anthropomorphic feline representations of stars like Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson that live squarely in the uncanny valley.

As the reaction to the nightmarish special effects has been met with universal terror, the movie’s director Tom Hooper said he was confident in his vision. “Wait, all of them? They all hate it? Every person that viewed the trailer? Literally everyone? Oh shit,” said Mr. Hooper as he finally conceded he done messed up and called the team from the Sonic the Hedgehog movie to help him out.

“We know what it’s like to put years of work into a family-friendly movie only to have it criticized for looking like something out of hell,” said Jeff Fowler, the director of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie. “Luckily for the people working on Cats, the effects can be fixed by doing simple things like making their eyes bigger, getting rid of the breasts on the humanized cat ladies, and overall making the actors look less like they’re from the Island of Dr. Moreae. Does that reference still work? It basically means the main characters in a movie shouldn’t look like the result of inhumane science experiments. That’s the first rule of movie-making.”

In other daily news, the President is being impeached, and Jason Reitman has been cast to re-reboot an all-male version of Charlie’s Angels in 2020.

“I am God, and you can’t tax God,” Kanye West told IRS officials Monday in a petition we made up to recognize him as his own distinct tax-exempt religious entity. The artist rationalized his position by stating: “I mean, where are you gonna send the tax bill? Heaven? You can’t send mail to Heaven, bruh, that’s why Santa lives in the North Pole, and you can’t make me move to the North Pole because I’m God and I have rights.” 

West, who believes he is Jesus, recently released an album titled “Jesus is King” that documents his devotion to god, Chik-Fil-A and money. He also hosts church services every Sunday where he performs songs alongside a gospel choir and sells $250 sweaters to his disciples. As a tax-exempt entity, Kanye would be able to pursue these, and potentially other revenue streams, without paying federal income taxes.

The artist reportedly got the idea to apply for tax-exempt status after hosting a church service alongside mega-church preacher Joel Osteen and learning that Osteen has a 65 million dollar jet. “I want a 65 million dollar jet,” said West, and with that, a new religion was born…again.

“It appears West’s religious devotion is directly tied to his desire to make money,” said religious tax expert Hamish Winterbaum. “So in that sense, what he is doing is no different than literally any other religion and he should also be exempt from taxes.”

The Avocado was taken aback by Mr. Winterbaum’s blunt assessment, but then started thinking about it and I guess if Scientology can get away without paying taxes then why shouldn’t Kanye? At least Kanye gave us all College Dropout. Maybe he deserves it?

UPDATE: After publishing this article, we received several notes accusing us of having made up this story to prove an unclear point. The Avocado agrees with that assessment and is accordingly applying to be recognized as a Church.

It’s a tale as old as Thom, that handsome new guy you’ve been seeing with the surprisingly flexible schedule. He seems perfect, but with more than 60,000 Angelinos lacking a stable, permanent residence, you have to ask yourself: Could your new man be homeless?

Here are four questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to take him back to your place for the night for a hot meal and a place to sleep.

  1. Are his tattered clothes high fashion? 

Differences between the homeless and ultra-rich have blurred in recent years. Not economic differences, wealth inequity has reached record highs, but certainly when it comes to how they dress. Today’s richest and poorest bachelors all wear the same 90s street clothes, the only difference being some get their clothes from a thrift store while others get clothes that only look like it came from a thrift store.

This is high fashion…I think

While it can be hard to tell whether your new man is dressed in a couture oversized gray T-shirt with fashion holes (HOT!) or a gross oversized gray T-Shirt filled with poverty holes (EW!), a simple trick is to compliment his sneakers. If he says anything other than “thanks” or “huh?” then he is loaded! Poor people don’t have time to memorize shoe names.

2. How often does he hit the gym?

We all want a man with six-pack abs, and your new guy has some to spare. He always seems to be coming from the gym when he meets you for your dates, but is he spending all his time working out because he wants to look his best or because the gym is a place where someone can shower and take a long poo without being bothered?

Homelessness affects more than just that crazy guy screaming on the corner. In fact, most of L.A.’s homeless have jobs but still can’t afford the ever-increasing costs of living in Los Angeles even though they work hard and enjoy less expensive necessities like gym memberships and weed.

Quick Tip: If he has a membership to a 24-hour Fitness then he probably is homeless. If he has an Equinox membership then he’s rich but probably uncomfortably into BDSM.

3. Is he trying to make it in Hollywood? 

Lots of people come to Los Angeles to make it in the entertainment industry, and many of those people end up homeless.

A quick rule of thumb, which may seem counterintuitive at first, is if your new guy has a low or no-paying internship then he is probably not secretly homeless and has loads of family money. Low paying assistant jobs in Hollywood are damn near impossible to get if you don’t already have high-level connections to the industry and only the ultra-rich can afford to take a job that pays in experience.

If your man isn’t at the bottom-most rung of the Hollywood machine, you may need to consider the type of art he is pursuing. Here are some quick tips:  

Actors: The better looking he is the more likely he is homeless. Great looking guys from Missouri come to Los Angeles every day without having had to develop the life skills that average and below-average looking men need to obtain for basic survival. Just make sure that your new guy isn’t actually the handsome son of a famous Hollywood actor. The last thing you want is to repeat my mistake by assuming your new boyfriend is homeless when it turns out he is actually Kurt Russell’s son. 

Musicians: They are notoriously difficult to categorize, but you should assume that if he plays guitar in a band that could have been popular in the late 80s and early 90s, then he is either homeless or will be at some point. 

Screenwriters: As a rule of thumb, all aspiring screenwriters are homeless.

4. Is he way out of your league? 

It’s your typical meet-cute: You’re passing by the dumpster of a Whole Foods when you hear a rustling come from inside it. You assume its a raccoon or opossum, but then you hear someone start to hum a Phish song in between rants about corruption in the agricultural industry. You stop to listen for a moment when suddenly he emerges, and oh my god is he gorg. 

His name is Thom and when you ask if he is one of those “Freegans” you have always heard about but were pretty sure didn’t really exist he says “let’s not talk about me, tell me about yourself.” You start hearing wedding bells, but it turns out to just be an alarm from the CVS down the street where Thom’s friend “Mayo” went to liberate a box of Sudafed. “Don’t worry about Mayo, he’s harmless,” Thom tells you as Mayo hyperventilates his way through the alley screaming “we got to go!” 

You and Thom agree to meet that evening at “The Overpass”, a place you assumed was a trendy bar but turns out is an actual freeway overpass where Thom likes to hang out. As you spend the evening listening to Thom’s opinions on Maoist China, you find yourself too distracted by his perfect cheekbones and muscular arms to track his arguments. You don’t even mind his dredlocks which on other men would be problematic but on Thom make sense. 

“Could this really be happening?” you ask yourself as Thom leans in, a bit smelly, and asks if you wanted to go back…to your place? Your heart races, he’s not like the other boys you dated. He’s so interesting and handsome and, oh god dammit he’s homeless and needs a place to sleep for the night, isn’t he?

Testing the waters, you tell him you can’t take him back to your apartment but that maybe they could go back to his place. He tells you that he can’t. You press him and after a few minutes of needling, he admits that he is embarrassed about where he lives. Poor thing, so handsome. So you tell him that he doesn’t have to be embarrassed about living under a North Hollywood overpass. 

He looks at you like you are crazy. “I don’t live here. Do you think I’m homeless?” he asks.

You struggle to answer. “I, I, I assumed because of how you are dressed.” 

He laughs. “How I’m dressed? This is a $600 couture oversized gray T-shirt with fashion holes!” You ask him about hanging out in the dumpster, which he chalks up to his Freegan lifestyle. It turns out that Mayo is actually very homeless though. 

You feel like you’ve blown it with Thom, who it turns out is an aspiring actor and is the middle son of Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn. You ask him what Kate Hudson is like and he tells you that they aren’t close. 

As you and Thom Russel sit under the overpass in a moment of awkward silence you turn to him. “I actually think we maybe should go back to my place.” 

He laughs to himself. “Now that you found out I am rich I can come back home with you?” You just smile, not knowing how to respond to being so transparently caught. 

“I was hoping you were different. This could have been nice,” he says as he stands up and walks toward his Audi parked on the curb. 

As you contemplate what could have been Mayo comes up to you. “I’ll still go back to your place.” You politely decline. “Well, fuck you, bitch!” he says, before adding, “spare any change?” You give Mayo a few bucks and head back toward your own car, frustrated you didn’t ask why Thom and Kate Hudson aren’t on speaking terms. 

“North Carolina is beautiful this time of year,” said Los Angeles travel expert Kiki Palamero when asked what travelers headed to Los Angeles should know. “Maybe go there instead?”

“Uch, fine,” said Ms. Palamero when pressed to advise travelers intent on a trip to Los Angeles: “Try and fly into LAX at least three hours earlier than you planned to if you have to catch an Uber or Lyft. Oh and stay out of Silverlake.”

The advice comes after LAX changed its ridesharing policy to require passengers to now be picked up at a dedicated rideshare lot. The new “LAXit” lot’s rollout has been called a “complete disaster” and plagued by painfully long wait times for passengers needing to leave the airport so they can go sit in traffic on the 405 for a few hours. 

“Oh, you plan on arriving any time between 7:00 AM and Midnight?” asked Ms. Palamero. “Then you need to fly into LA four hours earlier than you planned because of traffic. But seriously, have you ever been to Salt Lake City? There is like no one there!” 

In an effort to expedite exit times for ridesharers, LAX has partnered with its airline tenants to allow their priority and first class passengers incentives upon leaving LAX such as access to a slightly shorter line for Ubers and the ability to look smugly down at the people around you. Oh, and also trail mix.

“Los Angeles is synonymous with luxury,” said an LAX representative. “That’s why we are so pleased to offer luxurious LAXit-ives, which are incentives at our LAXit lot to priority travelers.”

“If you need to get your shit out of LAX quickly, just sign up for our LAXit-ives,” said the LAX spokesperson, who immediately realized what he said and excused himself to make an emergency call to his marketing department. 

By Glen Dale

Désirée Martin lives in Hyde Park and commutes to her office near Pershing Square every day. “It’s exhausting,” said the 32-year-old community organizer, who spends nearly 10 hours a week commuting to and from work. But for residents like Désirée, an ambitious plan by L.A.’s Metro Agency will connect communities without access to light rail to Los Angeles’s growing public transit network. 

“They’re expanding the Metro line to Hyde Park?” asked Ms. Martin. “Shit, I’m going to have to move.” 

Los Angeles’s Metro Rail is undergoing an unprecedented expansion with new routes currently under construction and even more in the design phase. The new rail services are being funded through the “Measure M” permanent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2016.

“We believe Los Angeles should have a world-class, commuter-friendly public transit system,” said Metro CEO Phillip Washington, who expects his ambitious slate of new transit projects to be completed shortly after the residents currently living along the expanded service areas get priced out.

The Avocado spoke to Devin Duplass, a 28-year-old software engineer renting a studio in Santa Monica for $3,800 a month who was excited about the metro expansion. “I would not live in Hyde Park now, but once the new Metro project is completed and they build an Archstone and a few Veggie Grills it may be a more affordable option for guys like me who are rich, but aren’t like super villain rich, which is really what you need to be to live on the West Side. It’s so unfair.”

But for Désirée Martin, who has lived in Hyde Park her entire life, these improvements to her community are bittersweet. “On the one hand, it’s nice to see Hyde Park finally get some much-needed infrastructure improvements. But for those of us who don’t own a home, we’re going to have to move out to like Commerce to afford anything in L.A. County. And Commerce fuckin’ sucks.” 

Proposed Map of LA Transit in 2028