the miracle at weed

She had blue hair and reeked of weed when I picked her up at the Silver Lake gas station.

not old lady blue hair, punk rock blue, but she wasn’t punk. More like homeless-y but something different. Some people you can’t put in boxes.

I had fucked up and this ride was going to West LA, way further than I had thought when I accepted the trip for $17. But I’ve learned sometimes the best rides are the ones I wanted to cancel before I got there or the ones I accidentally clicked.

She was going to be one of those, I realized almost right away.

First she told me that her former fiance had died in a head-on collision a few years ago. Then she told me *she* got hit by a car and won a half million dollar settlement.

Then she told me she was newly engaged to a saudi businessman whose assets had been frozen.

As you may know, I’m pretty good with tall tales, and I suspected perhaps the skunky aroma in my vehicle was not satan’s sassafras, but the shit from a bull. Since it would be 27 minutes until her destination, I decided to challenge all of her statements.

Weirdly, she had pretty good answers for all of them.

Q: why did you get $500k for getting hit by the car?
A: he had good insurance and my back was fucked for a year.
Q: why didn’t you buy a car with the money?
A: i hate driving.
Q: do people who win huge sums tip outrageous amounts?
A: i can’t tip at all, my lawyer controls my Uber account.

that fact, tragically, checked out. Sometimes with very old people or car dealerships or pimps, drivers will get an automatic message when we approach the pickup that says “please call the passenger when you arrive at the location.”

that message popped up as i got near the gas station.

just my lucky, crazy stoned nouveau rich punk homeless person can’t tip me a dime. fine.

we had to go east on the 101 to get to the 110 south in order to take the 10 west, an excruciatingly long roundabout in the afternoon but at least she was entertaining. so i asked her more questions.

q: how did you meet your new man?
a: a friend introduced us through Whatsapp. he likes white girls but wasn’t having any luck.
q: white girls don’t like rich guys?
a: who said he was rich?
q: you’re engaged to the only poor saudi businessman?
a: he’s rich. his money is just tied up. thats why i have to go to the credit union, then western union and wire him some money.
q: wire him money? is he in jail?
a: no, hawaii.

at this point i said to myself, “i hate my life.”

“why?” she asked.

whoops turned out i said it out loud.

“you don’t think you’re being scammed?” i asked. “the only way this rich dude in Hawaii can make due is from your nest egg?”

she was a fast talker. nearly as fast as me. we were like two expert typists just rattling off sentences but verbally. it was ping pong. and we were both olympians.

“my credit union has to obey the court, and the court says i can only have a grand a week for now. i give him half and he’ll pay me back when he can get at his money,” she explained casually. zero concern.

“wanna know why i like you?” i asked, doing my best to make things weirder. hell if i was gonna let her outweird me.

“i like you because, like me, you’re a true romantic,” i stated as we finally got on the 10 west.

“im not a romantic,” she said. “i just like fucking and he has a huge hog.”

i looked in my mirror and noticed her eyebrows were tattoos of eyebrows. was she punk rock? who. was. this. woman?

i looked down at the app to read her name: mallory.

“is your name really mallory or is that the court or the bank or the credit union?” i asked.

“thats my lawyer. my name is Rainbow.”

the 10 was moving along way better than the 101 and 110 were. i barely noticed her weed stench any more. but i was concerned the next passenger might think it was me who was responsible for it, so i cracked the sunroof to let some of our unseasonably crisp air in.

“i was a romantic until darryl was killed in that crash, but then my heart broke. i cried all the time. we had just moved in together and he had decorated the place with all his black light posters and tapestries and then all of a sudden i was staring at them every day thinking about him. then it got creepy. like i was in his tomb. i had to get out, so i packed up my car and drove down from Oregon. have you ever heard of Weed, California?”

as a matter of fact, yes, yes I had heard of it, I said.

“in Weed i was at a starbucks and i just started crying uncontrollably. sobbing. and this woman made friends with me. i told her about darryl and she said she knew a guy nearby who, he isn’t Jesus, but he looks like Jesus and can heal people,” Rainbow said.

“so i went to him and he took all of that pain and grief right out of my heart.”

i felt like a sucker for believing her, but i *did* believe her. her stories were just too wild. if anyone was gonna meet quasi Jesus in Weed it would be Rainbow.

“were you two sitting across from each other? did he put you in a trance? did he touch you?” i asked. i couldn’t stop asking now. and she was way into it.

“he didn’t touch me,” she said, “he just…” and then she touched my back “put his hand near my heart and yanked the air away and i could feel it all leave my body.”

“what left you?”

“the pain. the sadness. all the dark crap left behind from darryl,” she said.

“did you cry out of happiness?” i asked.

“no, i laughed SO LOUD. I WAS HAPPY AGAIN!”

as we got near the credit union she did a little back seat driving, overruling the Waze and when we got there she said, “you are a great listener.”

$0 tip, as promised.

i feel great today

today is a day off, but i will go on a walk, eat a taco or two and listen to next weeks episode to make sure there are no mistakes

then i will come home and try to do as much on the blog for it as i can bc i really need to clean tomorrow and work and write

bc on wednesday, after 22 years, im getting a new kitchen floor, a floor that is probably 40 years old.

today is kurt cobain’s birthday and also leah in texas

this is a picture of OJ in 1984, the summer i moved to LA

he is carrying the torch up The California Incline

i was there

it was a cool moment

and then incredibly cool and touching when he passed the torch to a kid with cancer


everyone cried because first we see big strong OJ

then we see this little kid who needed help to walk

but he did it.

this is one of my earliest memories of LA

and one of many many reasons i love it so.

call me abi

Any time you pick up someone from LAX with no luggage, you’re in for a treat.

This week I actually took a family of 5 from a grocery store in Inglewood to LAX, Turks claiming to be headed to Hawaii, and they had no luggage.

Dad sat in front, mom and the three 6 to 9 year old kids in the back. I was all, “I hear Turkey is mostly Muslim.”

“That’s right,” the dad said.

“Are you Muslim?” I asked, remembering that in polite company you shouldn’t talk about religion or politics, but I think there’s a polite way you can do it.

“Yes we are,” he said. They seemed poor. But outside of my Mercedes I probably seem poor. But thanks to you and all of my other friends, I have had the richest life.

“Tell me something about the Quran I probably don’t know,” I asked.

The kids were enthralled by me for some reason. Huge smiles. It could have been because when I asked them where they were flying to, and they told me Hawaii, I asked them to tell me the Turkish word for brother bc I want to be their brother.

Turns out there’s several words for brother, one being specifically older brother: abi.

I’m your abi now, kids, I told them and they laughed and hugged each other as they giggled.

“The virgin Mary has over 100 pages dedicated to her in the Quran,” the dad said.

WTF?! Why? I asked.

He said, “Muslims recognize Jesus as a very important figure because he was born as a miracle – no sex, no father, just a mother. But Mary gave birth while being a Virgin. That’s a bigger miracle.”

And now I’ve gotta read the Quran to see what those 100 pages are all about.

Which brings us to today’s luggage-less traveler. A gentleman named Petey from Miami, Oklahoma. “Not that Miami,” he stressed, very quietly. He was a very timid fellow.

We were headed to Hollywood Presbyterian hospital where Petey was going to do something that, quite frankly, I’m not sure he will succeed at.

9 months ago he knocked up a stripper who he had met two years previously. Prettiest girl in Miami, he beamed. They met on Facebook because she was looking for someone who could drive her home after work.
Petey was about 30 years old and when I asked him what he did in Miami he told me he was a Box Boy at the supermarket. Normally he would get around 6am to go to work but once he met his lady, he would wake up at 3am to fetch her and drive her home.

Once there, she would do meth and he would try to score with her. Apparently he had a few lucky nights. But as soon as her parole (!) officer found out she was pregnant, he informed her that no court would grant her custody because she has a police record, strips, and has a raging meth addiction.

So she skipped town and landed in Hollywood. Blocks away from my apartment, it so happens.

“I love her but she’s crazy.” he whispered.

“No offence, Petey, but you’re a little crazy too,” I told him with the tone of an older brother, an abi, if you will.

“You flew out here with no change of clothes, you don’t even have a duffle bag or backpack. And your plan is to somehow take a newborn child and, what, fly home with it by yourself? You’re gonna need a carseat just to get in the Uber.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. “I did not plan this very well.” And then he told me that this would be his first child and he couldn’t sleep knowing that she surrounds herself with drug addicts, dealers, hookers, and pimps.

Just then his phone rang. It was the soon to be baby mama.

“I’m on the way,” he said. “This is so weird being here. I see the Hollywood sign. The driver showed me where Biggie was killed.”

They exchanged I love yous numerous times which confused me and he later explained it was the only way he figured she would sign the Declaration of Paternity and allow him to sign the Birth Certificate when the boy is born in a few days.

We drove by a giant billboard advertising condoms. I pointed. He laughed.

He told me his daddy was a pool shark and his momma was a thief. He didn’t want his son around either of them or anyone except for his actual girlfriend back home who was “a cougar” with three grown kids who cant wait to have an infant in her arms again.

“Fine fine fine, but how are you going to feed that baby on the airplane on your way home? Isn’t the baby momma going to get suspicious when you ask her to pump a dozen bottles of mothers milk into bottles? Also, how will you keep them warm? Also WTF Petey?!”

He told me he only has money for bus fare home, not airfare. And he was planning on getting formula at Walmart.

AINT NO WALMARTS ANYWHERE NEAR HOLLYWOOD PETEY! I said thinking, do I need to let him crash in my living room? Do I need to raise this baby?

Then I asked, “are you a Christian man?” He said he was.

So I said, lets pray. And I took off my Cubs cap at the stop light.

“Lord please help Petey figure out how to get his child to safety. He’s going to need your help. His heart is in the right place. And this looks like a job that he can’t do alone. So please guide him.”

“Amen,” Petey said and when we pulled up to the hospital, he got out, empty handed except for his Samsung phone, and said thank you.

$3.88 tip.

you do you, king

t was 445pm. I got a ping to drive someone from the middle of South Central to Anaheim for $50.

The Uber app swore it was only an hour trip. But it always lies. I, however, am a college man, and I can figure out how to get there in around that time. So I clicked accept.

As I drove the 10 minutes north to where he was in the 60s, I thought to myself “whats the catch? why are they offering me $50 for a 60 minute trip? They usually give you fifty cents a minute not nearly a buck.”

Stopped at a light where an abandoned Pastrami shop swayed in the wind and a stray dog limped up the sidewalk, I thought, oh, because you’re the only person in the hood at this hour and not one damn body wants to be in Anaheim at 615pm on a Friday night. Uber is finally paying what they should.

Plus the passenger could be anyone. It’s a crap shoot. Ironically, a group of my passengers’ neighbors were shooting craps next to a stairwell as I approached.

First an old woman came out of the modest apartment complex. What could I possibly talk about for an hour with her, I worried? Then an extremely large man with an LA Kings jersey and an LA Kings cap emerged and got in.

Hit it, he said and pointed west.

Anaheim was south east, but whatever. I peeled out. Starled pigeons scattered.

His name was Darnell. Before we even got to the 110 I knew where he worked, that he was a Christian, didn’t smoke weed because of his asthma, the old woman was his mom, and he had a short fuse if you praised either the Angels, the Clippers or the Ducks.

“Oh so you’re a homer,” I chided.

“One star,” he said, straight faced and mimed like he was pressing a button on his phone.

As is common knowledge, I get along pretty much with everyone. If I am on bad terms with someone, they fucked up royally and never earnestly apologize.

But the people I get along best with are light skinned brothers like myself, particularly sports fans. He was headed to the Ducks / Kings game and he really wanted to be there in an hour.

We talked about everything. Sex drugs rock n roll, the gangs, the projects, the venues, the hookers, we said a prayer to Jesus, and we spent a good chunk of time debating grits and whether it was sacrilege to put sugar on them.

For a Black man who spent his entire life in South Central he knew an obscene amount of information about hockey. I asked him how is that possible.

“Oh because I’m Black I can’t like hockey?” he said looking over his sunglasses.

“You can only like hockey if I give you permission,” I replied.

Faberglasted. He said, “I don’t need anyone’s permission.”

“You say you like the Kings, name all their players.” I said and turned down the Slayer.

Darnell cleared his throat and said, “Moore and Arvidsson on the wings. Danault at center. There go your first line. Second line is Kempe, Kopitar and Byfield. Third is Fiala, Lizotte and Iaffalo. On D you got Doughty and Anderson; Roy and Durzi, Walker and Elder. In the net is the legendary Jonathan Quick. His wife is Jacqueline.”

I let that last fact of his hang in the air a little and said, “Everyone knows that. Who plays the organ at Staples for the Kings?”

“Dieter Ruehle,” Darnell yawned.

“The best in the game,” I said.

“No competition,” he agreed.

We were flying down the 105 to this freeway and then that one. Did I mention how big this man was. The orange and brown colors from a Dunkin Donuts sign blurred by. His head whipped around.

“WTF?” I asked.

“I thought that was a Whataburger,” he explained.

“Negro, you know there aint any Whataburgers in LA.”

“I know. That’s why I had to make sure,” he chuckled.

“You are soooo big. Are you always hungry?” I asked.

“Zero stars,” he said.
Turns out Darnell does security all over LA: the forum, sofi, staples. Almost every night he gets a call for the next day or two. He takes them all.

“Is this one of those jobs where you have to stand all night?” I asked.

“I get a few breaks. But honestly, I could use the exercise.”

We were becoming friends.

“What was the best concert you did security for? Prince? Beyonce? The Weeknd?” I asked.

“I don’t work at the Grammys any more after what they did to the Weeknd,” he declared, super seriously and then went down the list of all the acts that have beaten his guy at the Grammys.

Then he said, “but the best show I saw was Linkin Park.”
Got there in an hour and seventeen minutes.

$0 tip.


she was probably too young not to have a kiddie seat. nobody has explained the rules.

babies, sure. they need a car seat. but she was not a baby, she was just small. 6 maybe? but she was with her mom and her older sister who appeared to be 11 or 12.

they were going to childrens hospital in hollywood.

thems the dice you roll when you accept short trips. some short trips are incredible: the person is waiting for you and they’re cold or they have high heels and they just dont wanna walk those three blocks. they’re apologetic, embarrassed, blushing.

but what a better way to make $3.82 than to swing up a block, pick up someone and drop them off in minutes? if i could do that 5 times in an hour ive burned very little gas, never had to fight traffic, and made $19 in an hour no big deal.

sunday, for example, i really wanted to get out of anaheim so I accepted a ride from disneyland to LAX for $22.

sure i made $3 more but i bet i burned $8 worth of gas because that trip was 33 miles and my car only gets about 22 mph on the highway. so yes short trips for the win.

both little girls had some sort of caps on their heads. cloth. were they religious caps? did they have cancer? you never know in LA and their english was not good.

“ok we’re going to childrens hospital?” i confirmed.

“yes, childrens,” the mom said while the older daughter sneezed into her mask.

“best hospital in LA. we are so lucky to have it.” i said. the trip would be 4 minutes long.

“hospital.” the mom said.

the youngest girl convulsed unhappily. she didn’t really want to be in the car. i was hoping if she had to barf most of the mask would catch it. but i knew it would be terrible.

instead i focused on the bright convention of fluffy clouds who had floated in for a little vacation.

we turned the corner and the little girl started to cry/whine simultaneously. the sister sighed audibly and the mom hugged the little girl who was also sneezing.

i scrolled down my iphone to apple music and typed in Disney and clicked Let It Go.

the crying subsided into lil hiccups.

the song has a long intro but every kid from the wealthiest mansion to, well, my neighborhood, knows that fucking song and thank Peter, Sneezy with the cap on knew it too and as we were a few blocks away there she was singing loud and with her whatever it was accent


and we got into that childrens hospital driveway just as the song was fading out. they sneezed one last time while fumbling at the door handles and finally popped out.

bye i told the group, waving

and i got one bye bye back.

from the littlest angel who couldnta said it cuter.

home depot charlie

Sometimes you get people at grocery stores, drug stores, Targets. He was a middle aged Black dude at the Home Depot.

Who knows why these folks don’t have cars. Maybe theirs is in the shop. Maybe they lost their license. Maybe they did the math and car ownership is more $$ than taking Lyfts.

Didn’t ask. Didn’t care. He was nice.

“Get everything you needed at the Home Depot?” I asked. It was a gentle Sunday afternoon. Nice sun shine. Little traffic. Simple drive down the road a few miles to this man’s home.

“We’ll see. This is just my third time here today.” he grumbled.

“Man, I wish I was handy.” I admitted.

“Me too. I’m like that dog at the computer. I don’t know what I’m doing,” he chuckled.

“So how do you do it? Do you have a pal? A book? YouTube?” I asked.

“Almost all YouTube,” he said. “The instructions are worthless.”

“Because they’re written poorly?”

“Because they’re so damn SMALL! Who can see those words? I’m gonna burn down my house and it’ll be because the ‘warning don’t touch the red wire with the black wire’ is written in the tiniest font size.” he complained.

“Tell me about it. I like baseball cards and, granted, I’m getting older, but I feel the text is laughably small on the back of the cards. Yes, they’re for kids. Some of these cards, but at the price of some of these packs, I don’t know how many kids can afford them.” I said.

Did I ask him what he was working on? No. Why get that in the way?

“You ever hire any of those Mexicans standing outside in the parking lot?” He asked me.

“Sure!” I said, “they know way more than I do.”

“Accurate. But they have a little cartel going. Everything is $75. Big job, little job, easy job, hard job: $75. What in the name of new math is that?” he asked, seriously perplexed.

“I don’t like to take advantage of our migrant friends, but I usually show them my $40 and ask, ok who wants this money for the job I have back at the crib?” I said. “Someone will go for it. And if it turns out big, I’ll give them some weed or something. A six pack.”

His name was Charlie. I know some Black guys have that name. Charlie Parker, for example. But he didn’t look like a Charlie. If it was a longer ride I would have told him that.

“God bless these motherfuckers who make these 2 minute YouTube videos, though, man,” Charlie said, rolling down the back window and spitting out some worn down gum.

“True,” I said. “What is their motivation?”

“I don’t know. Maybe to feel important? Maybe because they banged their head against the wall and when they figured it out they set their camera on a tripod and said, ‘imma tell y’all negros what i learned and here it be.'” Charlie deduced.

“Is that what you’re gonna do if the third time’s a charm today?” I asked.

“Hell naw. You think I know how to make a YouTube?” he chuckled.

Got him home. He got out. A few minutes later:

$3 tip.

i got covid, finally, shockingly

i could feel a scratchy throat on thursday and it only increased on friday

i had driven a week without a day off so i just thought i was exhausted

turned out i had gotten the thing i had avoided for years

was it the sweaty lady who was running late for work and wouldnt turn her head to the right when i called her and said “if you could just walk to the end of the block i would have to go alllll the way around the block and then turn around”?

was it the lady who coughed several times

what about the man who wanted the windows up the whole ride?

how about the new yorkers, one of whom sat next to me?

i did 300 trips in January. who knows it could have been all of them.

went to the doc today because it was close and cheap.

otherwise i was just gonna sweat it out with nyquil and benadril

they saw me almost right away, swabbed my nose and told me to check the website in two hours

when i did it told me i was positive

so weird. for some reason i thought it would be worse.

sunday i had to do 18 trips for the bonus. i could have spread it out until tuesday but that tickle made me worried. i coughed so hard and long that i had to pull over on sunday in dtla. i was dizzy.

my doc today told me sometimes people pass out or faint during coughing episodes.

if not for that moment i wouldnt have gone to urgent care at all but that was unusual.

right now im pissed about a few things. covid has made me cranky.

im pissed that i had a pysch appointment today at 5 but the lady canceled on me but i didnt know about it til 530 so i was sitting on the kaiser website for a half hour like an idiot. the appt was so i can get adhd pills, which i am hearing, are in short supply.

im pissed because my cats want to play a lot. do they think im dying? am i dying?

if im dying please gather together and complete hear in LA

today kpcc announced it is now going to be called LAist

which cracks me up

i dont mind giving away my best ideas

When he got into my car he looked to be crying. He put his guitar, in its soft case, in the back seat and slid in next to it. He was going to the Musicians Institute in Hollywood about 20 minutes away.

I wanted to say “why the long face?” BUT HE HAD A LONG FACE so I just said, “is that one of those 7 or 8 string guitars?”

No, just 6, he mumbled, and sniffed.

He was a wholesome looking, young, Chinese student from Shanghai, I learned, who had been here since the fall. I kept asking him to speak up because I needed to know how I could cheer him up.

Finally I turned off the music and said, “look Amigo, you’re in LA now, even if you’re sad, you have to express it. You’re an artist, a music maker. I’m a sensitive poet myself, but you’re in a safe space here. However, there’s no mumbling in this Benz. If you wanna cry, we can cry.”

I took off my Cubs cap to reveal my freshly shaved bald dome, “TRUST ME, WE BOTH HAVE THINGS TO CRY ABOUT. So tell me what’s got you down.”

He looked up at me and smiled. I put back on my cap. And he said, “I don’t have many friends. There are many better players in school than me. I don’t fit in. I will go back home to China a failure. I will have to work in a factory.”

OK good, thank you for telling me. Now whats the name of your band? I asked.

He said he wasn’t in a band.

Mistake numero uno, I said. In Isla Vista you’d have two bands. In Austin you’d be in 5 bands. In LA, you need to start a band by the end of this month. Stop being so serious. Just find a bunch of other lonely loners at your school, start jamming, drink some White Claws or some shit and cull the Spirit!

He didn’t say anything. Just looked out the window as we waited at the light in Echo Park. I had picked him up at some cheapass apartment complex near downtown.

You know what I’m gonna do for you, Chaichi? I’m gonna give you my best rock n roll idea. Steal it, improve on it, ignore it if you want, but pay attention, I am twice your age and have seen most of the great bands and I am so envious that you can do the one thing I cannot do: rock the devil’s banjo.

What you do is get three guys who are even more shy and quiet than you. Tell them to get matching outfits. Doesn’t have to be fancy. Maybe matching tshirts and the same color pants. They will be the fake band. Give them a name like 69 Count Topsheet. It doesn’t matter because no one will remember it.

They will get on stage, and as soon as they start playing, you and your actual band will bust through the doors dressed as burglars. You know what a burglar looks like?

Bro said no. So I pulled over, searched for the Hamburglar on Google on my phone, showed it to him and went back to driving. Was I making him late? Details, details, I was changing his life.

So you and your band, dressed as Burglars: striped shirts, black pants, and ski masks with eyes cut out, grab 69 Count Topsheet, tie them to each other with rope, another one of your friends, also dressed as a burglar, with his hand in his hoodie pocket yells at them DO NOT FUCKING MOVE!


And you rock, you man.

I don’t know if they believe in the devil or dragons or eagles or thunder or darkness or what over there in Shanghai but you embody it for 45 seconds of yelling and playing and staccato rhythms and the tightness they probably teach you in those worthless Fusion classes over there.

“Hey I like Fusion,” he sniffed.”

Then use it in the punk rock. And after that 45 seconds, the Burglars stop on a dime, theres a breath silence, and then you solo as fast as you can.  Show that crowd of 13 people what you have up your sleeve. Rock out with your cock out as the Bard used to say.

And then you stop on a dime again and you say. Thank you, this one is called “100 Miles And Runnin'” from our favorite band N.W.A and you play the fastest version anyones ever heard of that song.


“Who’s N.W.A?” he asked.

Doesn’t matter. Learn it. Teach it to the boys. BE WORTHY OF YOUR INSTRUMENTS. And fucking deliver that shit down the gaping maws of the 20 people who have suddenly appeared in the crowd.

“I love this,” he mumbled.

One thing tho, do not say the n-word when you sing this. Say Ninja, I advised.

“What is the n-word?” he asked, intrigued.

Look it up. Never say it. Ninja. Only say ninja.

Then play one more song. Don’t make it longer than 2 minutes. And when it’s over, run out with their guitars to your awaiting van, and speed off.


But you’re not speeding anyway, you are driving around the corner. There you will tear off your burglar clothes, and put on your cop outfits. You will then run into the club and say “WHO CALLED 911?”

69 Threadcount will say “THE BURGLARS STOLE OUR EQUIPMENT!”

And you, as a cop, will say, which way did they go?

And then you will run back out and, Friend, if you do this right, all 30 people who witnessed that will never be able to stop telling their pals about what they saw. It’s theater, punk rock, and if you’re any good at that six string: true rock n roll the way the Blacks intended.

The Burglars, he said.

The Burglars, I said, and turned back on the radio.

$3 tip.

i should be sad, but im not

i should be mad, but nope.

dont be in awe, i am not in control of my emotions.

the only therapist ive ever had challenged me to examine my emotions. i told her i do not have their phone numbers or addresses.

i wouldnt know them if we passed each other in a dark alley.


hey paul

i was nearly home but i hadn’t been to the movies since puss n boots two weeks ago.
the only problem with the movies is they charge you $7 for coke,
so when i saw a trip request to burbank, sorta near the batman statue amc, and it was paying $20 bc it was rush hour. i took it.
the pickup was four blocks from my house. my weed vape was on my nightstand and it was getting chilly, it sure would be nice to have a jacket if i was gonna be out at night.
so as i was heading toward “paul” i got the courage to do the impossible: to ask him if it was ok if i swung by my place so i could get my jacket. andmyweed.
paul was in a jean jacket, jeans, work boots. the place i picked him up was a house getting a remodel. not the greatest, but a house, nevertheless.
i asked him if i could swing. he said sure man, of course. and i was so grateful. did the thing and we were on the road.
so were you working at that house? i asked.
no, i work in compton, thats my homies’ place. we were celebrating bc he just got out of jail.
what was he in for, i asked, definitely feeling i was crossing a line, but shoot your shot mj
some bullshit, he said.
i was never good at getting people to tell me why they were in jail.
theres a few areas of los feliz and silver lake where during rush hour traffic is near stand still. i was eluding those and somehow catching every light as it was about to turn yellow.
and then he said, as a matter of fact, i was in the same joint he was at.
the supermax in valencia
i turned down the ted nugent and said
go onnnnnnnnnn
he laughed and told me about a failed armed robbery he had nothing to do with other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time
for you, i asked every question and he gave me every answer.
q: on the tv show Oz, everyone is seperated by race – the Blacks, the whites and the mexicans. is that true?
a: no. the whites and the latinos are teamed up against the Blacks and the Others. also, i have never heard of Oz.
he was 21. seemed older. but trusted me for some reason. maybe bc he saw earlier how the bike security guard from the church next door was waiting for me at my car outside my apt when i returned with my jacket andweedthing
q: Oz was hbo’s first great series before the sopranos. it was about a penitentiary. in Oz the whites were white supremacists even if they weren’t. they had to fit in. so some played along.
a: even the real white supremacists had to partner with the latinos because they would be outnumbered by the Blacks and Others.
i told him i appreciated him being cool with all of my questions. he said it was chill. and, you know, it was.
q: if i was in jail id want to do shitloads of drugs and work out. how do you get drugs?
a: the best way is Happy Mail. the guards check everything that gets sent to you and they read everything. so you can’t have them write you anything other than they miss you and they cant wait to see you again. and then they’ll be a picture of them in there. that picture has been dipped 100s of times into heroin or pcp or meth. when you get it, you put it in hot hot water.
q: and you drink it??
a: no you lay on your back back, and slowly snort it.
q: and that gets you high?
a: it fucks you up. hardcore.
i had done 15 trips up until then, most of them really good, this one though. woah.
q: please tell me rape in jail is a terrible myth.
a: at the supermax there is only one small shower, and only one man can be in there at a time. at county it’s a different story, big showers, lots of people. things happen if you haven’t played your cards right.
q: what was it like being in there during covid?
a: the a/c was broken and they never let us outside. i never saw daylight because the one little square of window we had in our dormitory faced the hill.
i asked him if he would be a guest on my podcast. he said yes. they all say yes.