Days in the Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Always something.

A couple days ago I was in downtown. I like to swing by Little Tokyo, drive down 1st street, see what’s happening. Not much was going on in front of City Hall, nor in Little Tokyo. Dead is the word for it. I go to Chinatown.

I like to be immersed in how other people do it. The Chinese were sequestered there for over a century, they made a circus of the place. During covid its got the twilight zone effect times 20.

Half the time I go to Hong Kong BBQ. I like the way they do business, everything is $10/lb. Chicken feet, 10, duck neck, 10, pig head 10. It’s straightforward.

But Won Kok has a dim sum window. It's convenient. So, I’m in line and a black guy in filthy cloths, missing teeth, no mask, rides up on our little group of consumers. He's beaming. He just got out. He’s got that just got out, the world is heaven, I can’t believe I never saw this way vibe.

He’s asking for food, he’s happy, but they starved him before release.

Somehow he got ahold of a bicycle, and he’s got to ride to West Covina.

He says, “I just got out, but I’m starving, and I got to ride all the way to West Covina, I don’t know why but the buses aren’t moving, and nobody is talking to me.”

I see it plain as day, a few jails are close by, there’s twin towers, and county main. A homeless person maybe traded him the bike for his useless bus tokens, maybe gave it to him, or maybe he stole it. It’s the kind of bike you couldn't give away unless someone had just gotten out of jail.

I say, “I got you, you got anything you don’t eat?”

He says, “What?”

I say, “Like pork, some people don’t eat pork. Or allergies.”

He says, “Oh, I eat everything.”

I ask, “You ever had dim sum?”

He say, “I don’t even know what that is.”

I say, “You’re in for a treat, I got you.”

Turns out he’s been in for 10 months. Imagine that, coming out from incarceration having gone in early March 2019. I see it.

I give him the run down, some masks, six bucks, and enough dim sum to get to West Covina on an old ten speed. He’s overjoyed. He’s the happiest man in the world. It only took 12 dollars, and I got to think about that and wonder.

I was driving down PCH yesterday, past a stretch north of Broad Beach where billionaires have blocked off the beach access as best they can. I’ve bartended at one of the estates there. I found a pic of the actual backyard online, I was under the awning there pouring drinks. Two dollars in tips that day. I let the other bartender keep both dollars for her kids education.

 

I’m thinking about those places, they all have 24/7 armed guards. The guy in charge was one of those foreign legion guys, short, muscular, intense. He wore an open sidearm, and patrolled the place religiously, verifying ID’s. 500K a year gets them that year round. The places are wide open on the beach side, because they’ve done such a thorough job disenfranchising surfers they figure meh.

There's no work for 10 months now because of lockdown. No more getting shorted on tips. Today I’m at the food bank, I’m asking them where do I set up a tent after I get put on the street. The lady asks why I’m being put on the street when there's a moratorium. I say because I can’t work, so I can’t pay rent, and eventually the moratorium will end. She says that’s too bad. She suggests I live in my car like a lot of people do. I tell her the car is a lease, and will be repossessed. She say’s that’s too bad.

A guy comes in, he’s looking for a shower. They let the homeless take showers there on Mondays, and Fridays, but there are only five slots available, and you have to set up an appointment 2 weeks in advance. It’s Thursday. She tells him to come back tomorrow, but not about needing an appointment.


Submitted: January 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Mister Clint. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Serge Wlodarski

Good story.

Sun, January 10th, 2021 12:01pm

Serge Wlodarski

Good story.

Sun, January 10th, 2021 12:01pm

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