"After that, I didn't know," he went on, "except that I didn't want to be a businessman. Law? Nah.
'Then when I was seventeen, a captain came to my high school and talked about police science."
"You mean fingerprints? Things like that?" I asked guilelessly.
"No. You're being a girl. About being a cop. The badge and the gun. The camaraderie. The humor. I knew that was what I wanted to be."
Ah... Friends at last; even a fraternity.
His years at LAPD have been written about extensively but some events are not so well known. He never killed anyone, he said, even when, on one occasion, doing so would have earned him a commendation. (The perpetrator turned out to be more crazy or high on PCP than criminal.) But he did once break a prisoner's skull when the guy, also high on PCP and being carried on a stretcher, bit Mike on the testicle.
After leaving LAPD, he had a series of low-level positions: Selling guns (he loved guns but not the job;) putting together amplifiers; working a UPS route where he met a man who became his hypno-therapist.
"I don't like thinking about my past except for the years of FTW, LAPD. The rest was just so much loneliness and poverty."
He also acted as a security guard at the Oscars, escorting Vanessa Redgrave the night she gave her controversial acceptance speech for Julia.
When he recounted that episode, I mentioned that she was doing a one-woman show on Broadway, in Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." We bought tickets and Mike left a copy of Rubicon for her at the stage door with an inscription saying how they had met and how her speech that night had given him courage to write the book.
Her assistant called the next day to say that Ms. Redgrave thanked him and would definitely like to meet. But we never heard further.