The day before Halloween.
I went to Venice Beach today. I was there all on my own and I took the bus to get there from way out in Pomona. I wore cargo shorts. Sports socks. And a white t-shirt that shrunk from a dryer that got too hot. In my backpack was a sweatshirt, baseball cap and a bottle of tequila. It’s my zombie apocalypse bug-out-bag.
The ride felt like it took many hours. These rides usually do. I stood as my stop was coming up. The driver let me off. I exited from the back of the bus so I didn’t have to face the driver again. I was drunk and had pissed my seat. I was on the sidewalk and the sun and the day were very bright. I wiped my hands on my shorts. Took a long drag from the bottle. I’m not sure why it came to mind when it did, but as I stood there, I thought about my empty refrigerator. And the empty seat of piss that I left on that bus. The bus pulled away.
I walked 2 blocks south, 4 west, till I was on the boardwalk and the Pacific welcomed me back.
There was a woman. She claimed to be a clairvoyant. She wanted $5 and a drink from my bottle. I told her I’d give her both if she’d let me hit her joint and tell me something that I didn’t already know about myself. She said she’d tell me about my past life, but made no promise about the weed. And she opened her legs and what I saw both repulsed me, but also drew me to sit with her.
I gave her the bottle. She pulled down from it 4 or 5 big chugs. I had to yank it from her mouth. I heard it hit her teeth. She just laughed. And I thought about that awful thing I saw between her legs. Like a bird’s nest that fell from a tree.
She watched my face and wiped her lips and her laughter came to an end as she told me that maybe I should go home. I gave her the $5 and told her to pass the smoke. She lit the thin hand rolled cigarette, took a hit and handed it to me.
I took a long, deep drag. She told me that I was a dog in my former life. She said that my name was Barkie. I felt drunk and the weed hit me fast. She held out her hand for me to return the cigarette. I twisted away and hit it again. She yelled loudly and lunged at me. Scratched my nose as she snatched the joint from my fingers. I wanted her bird’s nest. She told me to fuck off. Made a scene. People stared at us. I walked away.
I stomped out across the sand. My shoes and socks were under water as the Pacific lapped at my ankles. There were children laughing and screaming. There were plump and fleshy teen girls in bikinis. 50 year old couples jogging through the damp sand.
I slipped off the backpack to get to my bottle. I closed my eyes and drank. When I opened my eyes again, the water was still there. So were the kids. The young girls. The sun. And so was I, but I didn’t want to be. So, I put the bottle away, onto my back and headed for the bus to take me home. I hoped that it wouldn’t be the same bus I’d pissed on, but even if not, I knew my refrigerator would still be empty.