What follows is a personal account by Asylum reader Daniel Levine -- a tale of a brush with semi-greatness that ended in paranoia and conjecture. Here's what really happened with movie star Val Kilmer.
It was a Friday afternoon. I was in New York City, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by myself.
So I'm at the Met, on the roof. There is a strange sculpture exhibit -- this metal tree-like thing with branching dendrites all over the space -- and I'm walking around, when I see this guy. He looks familiar, and a second later I place him: Val Kilmer.
He doesn't look good. He's overweight, his hair is down to his shoulders. He's dressed in an untucked button-down shirt and baggy pants, sporting square sunglasses and this huge hat, like red-faced tourists wear in Australia.
As I'm watching over the sight that is Val Kilmer, a surfer-dude in Ralph Lauren walks up to him and says, "Hey man, you were in one of my favorite movies, I loved 'The Salton Sea,' man," etc., etc. Val's like, "Thanks." The dude wants to take a picture with Val, and Val's like, oh, all right. I turn away, amused, and text my friend Hilary, "Val Kilmer on the roof at the Met."
The picture is taken. Val walks away with his lady friend, and I see him approach a security guard. The roof isn't large, so he's maybe 20 yards away. They converse, and a moment later Val starts pointing across the roof, right, ostensibly, at me. But obviously
he's not pointing at me.
I start strolling, casually, across the roof, and when I glance over again I find that Val is pointing, once again, at me. There's no mistake now; I've changed positions, we're about 10 yards apart, and he's pointing at me. A little thrill runs through me; I'm vaguely flattered, and also vaguely alarmed, as though I'm 8 and at recess, and some kid is telling on me for something I haven't really done, pointing me out across the playground to the teacher on duty.
I should mention I was wearing my souvenir dark-green Israeli guard T-shirt (pictured left) that my parents brought back from Israel. My mother had warned me about wearing it around, and I thought that was funny and ridiculous. In fact, I've found that I attract a conspicuous amount of attention when I wear that shirt around New York. (One time outside of a bar I got roped into talking with this small jazzed-up Jew who said he was going to Israel to join some division in about two weeks, and he assumed that I had been in the s**t and I didn't bother to correct him.)
After a few seconds, Val is still pointing at me. I pull one of those, "Who me?" deals, pointing quizzically at my own chest and then turning around to see who else he could be pointing to. Val doesn't respond ("Yes, that's right, you") instead he finishes his report and just turns and walks off toward the elevators. It's over.
Surely, I am thinking, I invented my role in this particular drama. But no. The security guard is ambling over to me. My heart is drumming.
We both lean against a pillar, like men of the world. He has a Russian accent. "I don't know if is true or not," he begins, "is not really my business. But he is saying that you are ... stalking him."
"What?" I said. "That's preposterous."
"Is possible he's crazy, I don't know, but I just thought I let you know, he says you have been following him. For an hour. I just tell you, in case, I don't know."
His name is Nick, and he is very sympathetic. We shake our heads at the presumption of celebrities. We talk about the sculpture on the roof, and he recommends I look up the artist online. Then we part.
Here's what I think. Old, crazy, paranoid Val Kilmer saw me, an Israeli guard tough guy, looking at him, and turning away to send a text message: Val Kilmer on the roof at the Met.
"S**t," he's thinking. "They found me. Time to leave the state again. Let me throw some roadblocks up in this guy's path before I go, though. Let him try to follow me from jail. Heh, heh, heh."
I stayed in the Met for another hour, continually convinced that I was going to run into him, in some small room off the modernist wing, for example, where I'd be unable to deny that I was, indeed, following him. I sort of hoped I would see him. The story needed an epilogue, I thought. But, alas, I didn't, and it doesn't.
Do you have a bizarre tale of Val Kilmer? Let us know in the comments.