Warriors

1986 – Wilmington, Southern Los Angeles


That was then …
 *

“Admit it, David—you saw your no-good brother steal that car.”

Gray light filtered into the room, and the smoke from the Detective’s cigarette seemed to add to the general murk in his coffin-sized office. David Reese did not look up. He already knew very well what he would see and he did not wish to see those small, cold eyes of Detective Felt.

In fact, none of the kids who were caught by Harvey Felt wished to ever sit in The Chair again—or the ‘Electric Chair’ as his colleagues referred to it, exchanging knowing glances over their stale coffee when he hauled a new underage suspect into his office for questioning.

The A/C had broken long ago and the smell of old cigarette buds from the pool of ash in Felt’s mud-brown tray at the center of his metal desk appeared to have seeped into every nook and cranny on the wallpaper. It seemed as well to have seeped into the ruffled papers sticking out from black file folders, and even into Felt’s half-open shirt. He didn’t seem to care—about that or anything else except getting another little trophy.

David had to fight himself not to hyperventilate, to look calm.

Fight, fight, fight …

“Come on, David,” Felt pressed, with the same determination as a construction worker turning a screw until it absolutely cannot be tightened anymore. “– Jonathan does not deserve your loyalty. You were the lookout. You saw everything. It’s that simple. Admit it.” Continue reading

Like The Wind Through My Tree (II)

The next afternoon after work I decide to go by the gym, anyway. But after the time I know she has been here. Or usually is here.

Forlorn concrete boxes on the edge of some dusty Arizonian town – that’s the gym and the nearby pool. They are as shitty as they look, but they have what people need.

To come here. Often.

They have it.

I step through the doors and then remember I haven’t brought any gym clothes.

“Hey champ!” Dylan calls from his cave behind the desk.

“Hey – uh – I guess I am getting old. Forgot my clothes.”

“Why did you come in then, champ?”

“Got nothing else to do, I guess.”

Dry laughter. My best attempt.

“You here to see Carrie?”
Continue reading

Like The Wind Through My Tree (I)

“That’s the problem with being in love,” Hammond said, “most guys don’t want to admit it.”

“What makes you an expert on that?” I quickly shoot back and chow down some more fries. And cola. And then more fries.

Anything to concentrate on … just concentrate on eating.

Hammond leans over the diner table, conspiratorially:

“I have figured it out,” he half whispers. Not low enough so it’s completely certain she doesn’t hear. Even with all the noise from the rest of the noon-time diner.

Asshole.

“What have you figured out, amigo?” I say, but keep my eyes where they are supposed to be:
Continue reading

The Finland Station

Girl:

The sweat is everywhere.

It’s in my hair, on my brow, cheeks, throat.

It’s under my arms.

It’s in creases and folds of where my jogging trousers touch my legs.

It’s between my breasts.

Crotch …

I ignore it.

I push – lift – push – lift – push … and keep going until it feels like my arms are going to break.

I try not to look at everyone in the room.

It’s not as if I just committed a sin or something, though.

It’s a gym. We’re all used to each other’s war cries. And the smell of sweat. The smell that doesn’t get better when it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit of scorching merciless Arizona-sun outside.

In here it would be a boiler, if the fans weren’t running wild. Great big rotor blades making the whole ceiling turn, like they want to heave this suburban concrete-carcass turned fitness center into the heavens.

Fat chance.

I look at the others, without looking. I don’t want to be seen. Just alone.

Glistening sweat, war-cries, bulging muscles, bulging fat, big asses, skinny asses … it’s all there. It doesn’t look back and I am glad.

I want to be alone.

But I have to move when a lady sometime past her 50th b-day over and asks politely if she can use the machine.

“Uh, yes, ma’m. Sorry for sitting here, counting the stars.”

“That’s okay, dear. Was it a tiring workout?”

“It was hard enough. I put on a bit of extra weight – on the machine, I mean.”

We both smile politely.

“That’s good, dear. That’s good,” she says, slams her skinny ass in the seat and puts on some extra weight, about 10 pounds more than me. And begins lifting. I try not to look.

Damn. I’m only 26 but I already feel 26 years older than that lady. It’s not as if I don’t run around. It’s not as if I don’t move. You should try waiting tables all day in a Flagstaff road-side diner.

But it’s not as if I’m getting any skinnier. Still a few lumps too much around the belly and hips. Others might call me a hysteric. ‘Typical women’, you might cry. But I’m not. I’m not one of your ‘typical women’.

I really don’t care about the pounds. It’s as if I’m trying to wash something off. That’s why I keep at it, after a long day at the diner, when I really should just worship telly.

Those two Latinos are watching me. While they pump all the iron in the gym. Thinking about pumping the little blonde? Probably. I’m still good-looking enough for a mag or two. Others would say slim. Only I can see the extra lumps. So, yeah, they think it for a second:

‘Is she in on something – with us?’

If only they knew. If only they found some of the shit on the internet from my past life. I don’t think they’d be so eager not to conceal their staring. Continue reading