Not Exactly Journal Du Voleur-- SpongeBob... And More Otto

I was never a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants, the TV cartoon series that began in 1999 and, I think, may still be running. But I am a fan of Andy Paley, who was involved with the show’s music— and produced The Best Day Ever, which I think my record company released and included guest performances by Brian Wilson, and members of the Ramones and NRBQ. Andy, an old friend, introduced me to his co-writer, Tom Kenny, who was (is?) the voice of SpongeBob and the TV show’s narrator. Tom lives in my neighborhood and I think I tried hooking him into doing some promotion for some of the Blue America-endorsed candidates at one point. I don’t remember how that turned out and the posts I mentioned Tom in back in 2005 and 2006 give me no clues.

I’m writing a memoir and what keeps standing out to me is how much I don’t remember. I probably remember 10-15% of any particular event. A couple of days ago I wrote that I was looking for letters from the various prisons and halfway houses Otto wrote to me from and mentioned that “I still have a bundle of his letters. In fact, he’s the only person in my life whose letters I happen to have saved.” That turned out to be inaccurate. I found letters from Otto but also found even more letters from another guy who I had apparently had an affair with but who I have no recollection of— not even after reading his letters from prison! Not a clue!

Anyway, yesterday I got an e-mail from a friend in Florida, Adam: Word-for-word:

Do you remember years ago you took me to meet Sponge Bob Square Pants? I stole his sunglasses and then you took them from me because you said you would return them lol, do you still have those?
Those were his signature glasses, worth a fortune I bet! Haha did you ever sell them or keep them or return them? Do you remember?

No recollection whatsoever. But I’m sure if Adam is correct— and I’d bet he is— I gave Tom Kenny his sunglasses back. I spoke with Paley on the phone yesterday-- first time in over a year and first time since he moved to Vermont-- and he thinks he remembers a lunch that he and Tom and Adam and I went to, but he didn't recall anything about the sunglasses. [More about Paley soon.]

Otto has a whole fan club among readers of this blog now but let me say again, I have no photos of him. I looked everywhere— NONE. But I’ll tell you what, here’s a word-for-word transcription of one of the letters he sent me from prison (Vacaville) in 1987, which I think was soon after I left San Francisco for L.A.

I really didn’t expect to hear from you. I had no intentions of getting in touch or writing as for that matter. I really don’t know what to say!!
I got arrested in Oct. for pretty theft. The case was kicked out of court but Mr. Pepo revoked my parole for absconding and drug use. The parole board gave me 10 months. But due to a new lawsuit passed pertaining to violator I only have to do 6 or 7 months.
At least I got one little smirk out of your letter. Howie, there’s no such thing as a recreational type prison facility. They all suck. But I’ll survive. Don;t really have a lot of choice. I’m as healthy as can be expected minus a few thousand brain cells or so. I haven’t been caught up in any bullshit so I can’t really complain.
I’m glad to hear everything is looking good for you. I hope your new townhouse didn’t put too big a dent in your bank account. I’m just curious— how much? The Comet still holding up?
I’m trying to figure out how to explain my idiotic actions so you’ll sorta understand. I guess the truth never hurt. Coming home from Reno I bought a half gram go coke and fixed on the [illegible] bus. I should’ve never called you ’til the next day cause I was trippin’. Which I hope that sorta explains why I just left your going away party. I felt like I let you down and I damn sure wasn’t going to tell you I was high. The next day I bought some weed and went to sort things out and do a whole lot of thinking. I finally figured my situation looked like this. 3 or 4 days and you were moving to L.A. My parole officer wasn’t going to just just let me up and go without first confirming a lot of odds and ends. I think that’s more of an excuse though. I didn’t want to go with you. I felt I would have become more of a nuisance and expenditure than anything else. Plus I was thinking not even 48 hours on the streets, I’d shot coke, smoked weed and drank more booze than the law allows. I don’t think L.A. was going to really be any different, right? I just didn’t want to be a stumbling block for you considering all the changes you were going through yourself. As much as you think I am a “ass hole,” at least I was that considerate.
I was high every single time I talked to you, even that morning on the phone at the parole office. I felt like [illegible] a world apart and never could really tell you what I felt. So I just thought maybe it’s bets to just let you go on your path and me on mine. I knew I wasn’t going nowhere but back to where I’m sitting now.
I guess that what Mr. Pepo said the last time I saw him sums it up.If you don’t let the dope go, your futures outlet is dismal at best.
Inhaven’t been thinking about the future when I’m cut loose again especially since I can’t seem to stick to the game-plan anyhow. At least I can say one thing: I’m consistent. Consistently fucking up that is. Such be life I guess.
I’m sure your new position at Sire keeps you busy and on the move. I’m kinda amazed you still took the time to sit down and write, let alone think about me. You must be into S&M. All the pain and disappointment I dish out and you still went out of your way to get in touch with me. But I want you to know I was real happy to hear from you even though it was a fucked up letter.
Write back and tell me what the lifestyles of the rich and famous is like!!! Until next time, this is Otto Leach saying champagne wishes and caviar dreams.