Baby Yoda reaches for their second consecutive American Spirit, lighting it thoughtfully and holding in the first drag, just so. Their long ears relax to the sides of their wide head, their large watery dark eyes closed for a pregnant pause.
“I mean, I’ll do the coo, if it’s legitimately for a kid, or it’s gonna make someone’s day behind the counter.”
Though smoking was banned in California in most indoor spaces in 1995, and presently in all private establishments, celebrity exception still has its place at Andres Balaz’s patio restaurant at Chateau Marmont. There aren’t other diners to ogle the young star, or take umbrage with the continuous string of smoke slipping away from their long fingers, or the corner of their wide mouth. Fear hangs over Sunset Boulevard, and the world today, as the Corona virus reaches the level of pandemic.
Their mood is true to character, meditative, but in these confusing times, even Baby Yoda showed signs of strain; “People keep asking me if I’m scared I’m going to get it. I’m not a fucking Pangolin, I don’t eat bat shit, and I’m not human. I don’t mean to be obtuse, but this is on you guys.”
Cutting them off, or maybe right on time, their Wild Salmon Tartar arrives, and they’re quick to dig in. It is clear from the onset not to ask them about the way in which it is presumed that their species speaks English, but they do get there. They, for one, are fan of yiddish, and the Jewish tradition, but there is a degree of nuance to the situation; “I understand what George (Lucas) was going for back then, and I think he made the right call, but I’d be outright lying to you if I wasn’t sick to fucking death of people talking at me like a Zadie or something. Also, why would you approach me doing an imitation of my accent if you think that’s my real voice? It happens all the time, and I’m a laid back being, but it’s still a little unsettling, ya know?”
Which brings us back to the cooing. Their character has been verbal in every episode, but not unlike the high school characters of dramedy past, Baby Yoda is playing a character 100 years his junior. “I’m just psyched for the work, are you kidding me? (John) Favreau really came through like an angel from heaven. It was such a blessing that he didn’t want to just CGI me in for the Baby stuff, he could have just hired me for voiceover, would have been way cheaper. Like, Pedro (Pascal, his costar) had the mask on all season, so that wasn’t Pedro a lot, right? Brendan (Wayne) and Lateef (Crowder) played a huge role with their expressive physicality, and I got to film the whole time. Big difference in pay scale, and I learned a lot, ya know?”
Spending any time with Baby Yoda and you’ll be struck by their awareness, of budgetary concerns, of public perception, or maybe you won’t be, as nobody seems to be able to seperate the being and the character with this extra terrestrial. They don’t have a large team, there’s no press operation trying to pass on his likes and dislikes in pop culture (they’ve been on a Radiohead kick as of late) as well as their appreciation for the world of artisan scents (they have spiteful words for Le Labo’s omnipresent ‘Santal 33’, but knowingly rib themselves for knowing what it is at all).
Like all things currently, our conversation circles back to CoVid19, the tables around us have remained empty for the time we’ve been here, and the bare bones staff all appear quite nervous, as they have every right to be. Baby Yoda’s presence, it seems, is making them more concerned, and not lightening their day. The extra terrestrial isn’t surprised;
“I really didn’t go out much before The Mandalorian came out, humans are fuckin’ scared man, I get it. You (People, Humans) don’t get out much. There’s definitely a pizzagate style reddit thread devoted to calling me patient zero for Corona, which is not the case, but sure, whatever.”
They trail off, mumbling again about pangolins, lighting what is either their fourth or fifth cigarette, those deep black eyes luridly drifting, if only for a moment, to a lithe server who crosses the patio by the fountain. And then it happens; he lets out a coo.
The server turns as the burble leaves his lips along with the continuous stream of smoke, and in one motion she is circling back to check on us, taking her gazelle-like strides in a sea of empty tables. Baby Yoda has the drink menu out and questions at the ready when she arrives. “So a couple questions-” There is deliberation, gin or rum? No tequila, they agree. Baby Yoda forms a team with the beautiful woman just as quickly as we’d struck up a deep conversation about art and perception.
Instead of placing the order, they agree to go back to the bar together and “figure out the right bottle together.” I wonder how long I’ll wait after five minutes alone on the patio. When I go to the bathroom another five minutes after that, I hear the very human sounds of intercourse as I pass the ladies room, mixed in with more urgent cooing. Baby Yoda never returns to the table. This is the last interaction I will have before the statewide shelter in place order is given.