Call it the Case of the Phantom Secretary. When Ted Stryker returned to his parked car in Hollywood, he discovered that his cellphone "with every number I have in the world" had been stolen.
Naturally, he phoned himself.
A woman answered and said, "I just bought this from somebody. It's my phone now." She hinted she might give it up but added, "You don't want to come to me. I live in the 'hood."
Well, as long as he had her on the line.... "Did anyone phone me?" asked Stryker, a personality on KROQ-FM (106.7) radio.
"Yeah, you get a lot of calls," she answered.
She read off the names of the callers. Then Stryker asked about text messages and she read those to him too.
"I thought, I have an assistant now. The only problem is, she has my phone," Stryker said.
A few hours later, he phoned again and asked if he could get the number of his friend J.J.
Done. And the woman offered to meet him on a Hollywood street at midnight. He declined and had his carrier shut off service.
The Phantom Secretary (cont.): The next day the woman with Stryker's cellphone called and tried to resume negotiations but he refused. There were no hard feelings on her part.
"She gave me more of my messages," Stryker said.
Talking dirty: Jim Fox of Hollywood chanced upon a cleaning service that handles X-rated work (see accompanying).
Choose your speed: In Japan, Steve Sichi of L.A. noticed a sign for two types of tourists (see photo).
From Russia with laughs: At McCabe's in Santa Monica, David Macaray heard comic Mort Sahl talk about a visit to Russia by his friend Alexander Haig.
"You stand outside the Intercontinental Hotel in Moscow," Sahl quoted Haig as saying, "and you see all these big Mercedes sedans drive up, with these 60-year-old guys getting out. They're all wearing Armani suits, Rolex watches, and they all have gorgeous 20-year-old blonds on their arms. Then they go inside the hotel bar and order apple martinis.
"If you didn't know better, you'd think you were in Beverly Hills -- except there are no Communists."
miscelLAny: As a public service this summer, I cite a snapshot from an anonymous reader to warn you about the aging effects of tanning parlors (see photo).
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at email@example.com.