works two jobs but no car

his name was Jamaal. picked him up at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City. many call it the Westfield Culver City now, but Black folks overwhelmingly call it by its original name.

we were heading to the Ralph’s in nearby Inglewood. he asked if he could vape weed. i said just roll down the window so i dont catch a buzz.

my nigga he said, relieved.

met this bitch on facebook he said while exhaling an enormous cloud out the back window of the benz. rain stopped so i cracked open the moonroof a tad because i feared he smoked stronger stuff than i do.

my cousin knew her and told her i could get her some weed. but i had been staying in Lancaster not LA so i didnt have any, or any money, but when i saw her FB picture i could see she was fine so i told her id chill with her and we could share my last pre-roll. it was a big ass spliff of the kush. not this hood shit.

she was cool. lived in a house! kids toys were everywhere. but we turned on a little movie, smoked, chilled, immediately bonded. maybe i moved to fast. fucked up.

next time i came over she told me she has five kids. i could only hear two. but if you saw her body you’d ask where did they come from? not from that! she was fit. funny. and very giving.

very.

we didnt have sex for the longest but she took care of me every time. without asking.
why didn’t you have sex?

it wasn’t even like that. i felt a connection. maybe she was someones side chick. i dont know. i liked her.

after a while the kids started getting annoyed with me. asking when do you go to work? where are your kids? they were jealous of the time their mother was spending with me and not them.

that first night no one knocked on the door, but because they were 5 to 11 years-old, after a while one would knock, she would tell them to go play, and then 10 minutes later another would knock. i had to put a lock on the door because some of Bebe’s kids just walked right in.

but i kept going back.

could she cook?

that’s what got me. she could cook anything. with a smile. with dat ass swaying to the music, being all nice to the kids, all who had different daddies. she’d give me plates to go to work with. i work nights. i always had food. my stomach my head and my soul were right.

five kids, does that mean she was strict about the condoms or not at all strict?

no trojans, ever.

the ride was going to pay me $20. one side of town to the other. which meant he was paying probably $50. so i said, so wait you also work nights and you take ubers every night to these jobs? where’s your car?

so she had bad credit. i had good credit. she had no car and all these kids. she said she would put down the down payment on a mini van / suv if i put it under my name.

bet.

but after she got the car she sort of changed. and i didnt like it. but i was stuck. i had clothes over there, now a car. she wasn’t doing all the things any more. and i was like, how am i taking some other man’s son to football practice and picking up some other man’s daughter from school in the morning when i should be sleep?

and im not the king of the castle?

so i told her i needed to take a little time out and you know what that ho did? she put sugar in the gas tank.

No!

so i stopped paying the payments and let it get repoed. but here’s the thing. repo sells it and you owe whats left on the loan. i bought it for 25, they sold it for 15, so i owe 10.

how did they sell it for 15? wasn’t it destroyed?

her nosy ass neighbor told me about the sugar before i started it. so it never got in the engine!

what?!?!

anyway new subject. but thats why i usually have this other uber driver who ive worked out a deal with, he takes me back and forth for half and i give him weed. but he couldnt do it tonight, but im glad i got you. his car stink.

so theres this white girl at my other job at Ralphs. she lets me rub up against her. fine as hell. booty. eyes. everything. but married. she giggles and says ive been so good until now.

where do you rub her?

up against her ass, legs….

no, where in the Ralphs? arent there cameras everywhere? Black man cant be doing that with a white girl in the back room.

back room? this be in the aisles. any where nobody at.

worse! what about the cameras?

im a manager. who you think erases those tapes every night?

he laughed and blew a cartoonishly looking cloud out of the window.

i have a friend going through a lot right now

and i have texted her saying im here

in the past i might not have been here as much as i could have been

but since amber died im 100% here

which is ironic bc amber’s death taught me i can’t fix anyone or save them or get in the way of destiny or whatever you wanna call it

hopefully i made some of the last years of her life better than what her alternatives were

and i did love her and said so and bought her gifts and took her everywhere i could and i tried sooooo hard

i swear.

but sometimes someones number is just up

no one knows why them and why then

which is why im just trying to squeeze out everything i can from my head and heart bc one day i could go justlikethat

and in the meantime im here

while im here

drove alot today

heres whats fucked up

im happier when i drive

but theres no money in it.

i could just be a tour guide and bank off my experience and resume

but fuck that

part of the reason i like driving rideshare is the randomness of it all

you go somewhere fuckedd  up with a stranger, then you gotta pee, then you need gas but they wont let you pee there, and then you gotta eat AND make money

i love it.

drove 160 miles today and make 188$

lax to dtla to fairfax to vermont to palmdale to granada hills to weho

i love every single part of what i did in that car today

im doomed

its very hard to make money on tuesdays

sergio calls them Terrible Tuesdays

i wasnt able to get out of the house until 5pm

so i thought maybe i should do an experiment where i intentionally drive when traffic is its worst and see what sort of money i can make

my nephew plays video games on the easy mode to learn

i play them on the hardest mode to learn

got a beautiful chinese woman from usc going to her boyfriends house in laguna beach

seems long. is long, but in the middle of the night it only takes an hour and i get $40

usually i wouldnt do it but $40 for any ride on a tuesday is great.

she said where she lived in china was during a time when ppl could only have one kid.

some families would kill the newborn girl or get an abortion if they knew it was gonna be a girl. but what happened was there were Alllll these guys and not many women.

i asked her if that was true

she said yes

i said so is it true that the men would try super hard to woo pretty girls like you because they were competing against like 10 other dudes for the same hot babe?

she said yes.

i said so did you ever make them do crazy things like buy you shoes or coats or top hats?

she said no. that she didnt want to take advantage of anyone.

also she said it was hard for the guys. lots of them visited the philippines or africa to find wives.

and i said, so is your boyfriend from your part of china?

she said im not dating a chinese man. mine is italian.

i said omg poor poor chinese guys. one of the few super smart super beautiful chinese girls in their town and she runs away to america and hooks up with an italian guy!

we laughed.

no tip.

not all the rides end cute

white oak blvd. afternoon. 24. so calm. we were in traffic but who cares.

she asked, were you in a frat?

do i look like i was?

lol no but you’re really outgoing

thank you.

i wanted to join a sorority because i didnt know many girls and i was going to rush one where my only friend was

but she gave me the heads up and said

you might not want to do this, they’re going to make you sit in a row

with the other girls rushing

and make you wear a dress or a skirt

and tell you to take off your drawers

and sit on the paper towel on the chair

and then they’re going to turn on the tv

that is showing lesbo porno

and you all will have to watch it for a half hour

and then you have to stand up

and if the paper towel is wet

you’re gone.

no lesbians in our house.

someone my age just had a health scare

am i in health scare age?

i really need to start walking more.

maybe as soon as i wake up.

im full of energy then and i blow it by surfing the web

i should walk to house of pies, get a pie, walk home

throw the pie right in the trash

maybe give it to the poor

all i know is im tired and now sad because this person was and is very very very nice

as is his family.

life is so weird.

achtung

 

im sad i didnt get to see u2 at the sphere

or otoboke beaver at the belasco

but im way ahead of the curve for things ive gotten to see

in my lifetime

hoping i get to catch some ohtani games

now that he works five miles from my bachelor pad

the librarian

im very happy today. might have been from Rosa who i picked up in the Arts District last night in the rain.
 
i have a terrible time with ADHD and even though i love recreational drugs these pharmaceuticals they have prescribed to me are the devil.
 
one made me wanna kill. one made me wanna kiss. and the one im on now suspiciously does nothing even though its 2x the dose of what they had given me.
 
one thing my condition does tho is allows me to drive beautifully in the rain in traffic on a highway of drunks at night while a young woman in super tight ripped pants tells me dirty things.
 
i can see every rain drop and predict all the cars movements. i can also hear intentions.
 
and last night, dear reader, 29 year old Rosa wanted some.
 
was she beautiful? am i?
was she dying for it? was i?
 
is there one thing i would risk my job as a rideshare driver for which would end this slow drip of tales? um.
 
messy hair. thick glasses. sloppy firehouse red lipstick. all the things i love. and worse: she wanted to talk about books.
 
talk rosa. tell me everything.
 
i am a librarian, she said.
 
libraries are my safe space. she explained. when i love a book its my new friend. i dont want the book to end. i speed read through most of it and hit the brakes as its wrapping up.
 
omg rosa ive never finished my favorite books.
 
ME NEITHER she shrieked, then leaned closer.
 
what are you reading now i asked, knowing this was foolish because i havent read a book other than the bible in forever because of the previously stated condition and impotence of the meds.
 
i listen on “tape” now. is that reading? nah.
 
im nearly done with a very dark version of harry potter she said sheepishly. ironically, as we splashed along the 101 into the Valley past Universal Studios where the wizard’s LA castle looms.
 
its about after Harry dies and many of the witches like Hermione are rounded up and bred like in The Handmaids Tale.
 
bred?
 
bred, she said in a way that sounded a bit guilty and confessional. as if i was the only person she has ever admitted to loving this book.
 
so wait, is it Fan Fiction?
 
omg yes! she said and flung back into her seat, beaming. you know of this genre?
 
im a million years old, young rosa, i know more than i should.
 
turn around, she said, as we were now speeding down the soaked 170 on our way to porter ranch. i want to see you.
 
instead of obeying and crashing i lowered my rear view mirror and turned on the dome light.
 
you dont look old anthony, she said.
 
youre only as old as yr girlfriend feels. but wait a minute – what Valley library has dirty ass Harry Potter Fan Fic i asked.
 
oh im in a No Judgement Book Club Facebook Group where we burn through books like these in a week and then talk about it.
 
you know what the Good Book says about judging one another, i asked.
 
she said yes i do, i was baptised two years ago, i love the Bible.
 
Rosa, you wont believe this, but the Bible is the only book-book that can hold my attention any more.
 
there was a silence from the back seat. and then a quiet i love the bible so much.
 
then, america, two turned on strangers got in a very deep discussion about how amazing the bible is as both a book, a sci fi novel, a collection of puzzling poems, and a fascinating study of human nature.
 
are we in love, rosa?
 
nervous laughter followed by this is the best uber ride ive ever been in.
 
we got to her gated community and she said the code is {redacted} which i punched in.
 
the gate slid open and she said
remember it.

im not nice to myself

i need to knock that off

i put these crazy to-do lists in my head i never achieve

i hate real ones. so i dont make a list. but i should. only 5 things should be on there.

and if its a normal day heres what theyd entail

  • write about rock music
  • uber for a few hours
  • work on hear in LA for a few hours
  • work on your short stories about driving website
  • [free space for ONE important thing that day]

ok fine

blonde. bleached.

something in her nose. 28. wonderful.

she gets in i asker how shes doing and she says fine with a sigh so i look at Waze and say you have 16 minutes. lets hear it.

pisces. alcoholic, almost always bad relationships. so sweet. good clothes. way into fentanyl.

what kind of high is it?

she couldnt say. for the first year she told me she’d get sick. every time.

why would you do something for a year that made you sick?

she couldnt say.

picked her up in encino. we were going to universal. i coulda taken the freeway but ventura blvd was just as slow so i kept on it thinking about how there used to be a tower outlet over there, moby disc over there…

tell me about your first time doing fentanyl

my boyfriend blew it into my face. i barely inhaled. I was scared. but after a while i let it in.

what was it like?

it was good then it was bad. then i got sick. but it was like i had been dope sick, like i had been taking it for years.

i told her fentanyl seems so scary because you could OD over the smallest amounts

she said, i have six cans of narcan at all times because one time i blacked out and my boyfriend used two cans of narcan on me but it didn’t bring me back to life. he freaked out, tearing the apartment apart looking for another can and finally found one. he said my lips were losing color. the third one worked.

did you see a light at the end of the tunnel? did you see god? heaven?

i saw nothing.

so when you come back from death, how do you feel?

she said, the problem with narcan and fentanyl is narcan blocks all the nice parts of opiates, so you’re immediately withdrawing and fentanyl withdrawals ARE THE WORST. i have kicked everything. ive been doing this for 10 years. fent withdrawls, you want to rip off your own skin.

so should people duct tape a joint to their narcan to help ease the come down i asked her

you know that might be a good idea. or a beer.

or she said
a hug.