I think I’ll go out for a smoke. I can’t stand sitting here writing anymore. I just checked the temperature outside. 71 degrees. Another awesome night in LA. Where are my smokes? Ah, yes. Left hoodie pocket. Got my shoes on still from that run I took with the dog. Let’s see, where’s my lighter? Shit. Eh, fuck. I’ll just grab one from the kitchen. No, Ghost. Stay. STAY. Good girl.
Where are you going? I’m going out for a smoke, Dad. Oh, well, be careful. Dude, I’m not going anywhere, but the front. Oh, i know. I’m just, tired of doing all this, fucking work. I’m going to bed.
I’m going to take your lighter.
The front door is locked again. I don’t know why they still always lock this. Anyone who wants to get in isn’t going to go away just because the door doesn’t open when they turn the knob and push. Do i have my smokes? Yes.
Damn, it is nice out tonight. It’s refreshingly cool. I still feel fine in my shorts. Running today was good. The dog kept up at a trot and didn’t just walk fast. It’s been a few days since I’ve done it. Easter weekend at the Packer house is no mere Christian holiday with the family. There is considerable drinking. Not that I get much exercise on the weekends. It’s not like I need to celebrate the actions of Jesus to tie one off at home. I can’t remember the last weekend I didn’t celebrate not having anything to do on a weekend. Tour, maybe. But I had something else to celebrate then: something to do on a weekend and not being at home. Damn, it is kinda cold out here.
Lighter is in my pocket. Pull it out. Pull out the pack with the other hand. Let’s see if I can pull one out with one hand and not drop it. Nope. I’m thirsty. Should have brought a drink out. Cig’s in mouth. Light. Cough. Exhale. Not as satisfying as after that meal. But, still it’s nice to have an excuse to go outside. Is the wind picking up? Shit. Pull the hoodie up over my head. I hope it doesn’t tangle up my hair too bad. Haven’t washed it in 4 or 5 days. Tomorrow, I take a shower.
Pretty quiet tonight. It’s always quiet here. This is the most boring town around. I’m so sick of being here. There’s no bars around, no one my age, no one even remotely interesting. Just churches, old Asian people, maybe some shitty teenagers, but mostly old Asian people. The grocery store isn’t even open 24 hours anymore. Maybe I should have brought the dog out. She could have seen a squirrel. At least I’d have to restrain her while she pulled and jumped. No matter. I have a smoke.
Hey, what do you know? Someone is walking down the cross street. Kind of a big fellow. Big Buddha looking muther fucker. He stops. Looks like he’s checking out the house to his right. Almost like he’s casing the joint. Weird. Oh, there he goes, continuing down the street, kind of a waddle to his stride. He’s got a black jacket on and dark pants. Keep walkin, fat boy. This is my neighborhood.
I can’t believe I haven’t showered in 5 days. I know I need to wash my hair. It get’s tangled, it looks like shit, more falls out when I brush it if I don’t maintain. And I probably smell. I wonder how many times I’ve got with a girl while as ripe as this. That’s disgusting. Well, it’s not like some 16 year old Chinese girl is going to walk down the street right now, see me smoking on the stoop, and then love me long time. But I’m so depressed right now I just don’t have the motivation to even shower, let alone work or go to the DMV or ride my bike. If it wasn’t for that orange powder crap from the nutrition shop I wouldn’t have mustered the energy to run today. Fuck, at least I got myself to write a little bit, for about 7 minutes, before I earned a smoke break. I can’t see the stars with this damn tree in the way. I’ll go out to the street.
Fuck, they look nice! Everyone hates on LA for having no star visibility, but on nights like this I can’t imagine there’s one extra burning ball of gas above my head that wouldn’t be superfluous. Such magnificent color and wonder in all that black above my head, bespeckled with pulsating white spaces dwarfed by the darkness that surrounds it, and yet so voluminous and enchanting. All those little spots of white: how many might be home to life? There’s got to be a couple. At least…
Is that dude walking toward me? Ugh, I hate these moments. Should I smile, say hello? He probably won’t say anything back. Having to talk to someone casually like this kills a little piece of me every time. He’s approaching me. Maybe he want’s a smoke. No, mine’s been out for a while.
What are you doing? I’m looking at the stars. Yeah, you live around here? Yeah, i’m just walking around the neighborhood. Same as you. Yeah, right. Let me see your hands. Excuse me? Show me your hands. What’s your problem, dude? Hey, don’t get excited. I don’t know you. I don’t fucking know you either, dude. Let me see your fucking hands. Fuck off.
Who is this asshole? Dude, I live RIGHT HERE. Where the fuck do you live? He steps closer. I don’t know you. You don’t look like you live around here. You look like you’re up to some shit. He’s in my face now. You got a hoodie on, your hair is sticking out. You look like you’re looking for trouble. He points his finger into my chest. You look like a fucking bum prowling for doors to open up. Oh, that’s it.
I show him my right hand first. He blocks and hits me in the jaw with his palm. My left elbow is next. Boom. Hits the right temple. He buckles over. Time to show his balls my foot. My blood is roiling now. But my mind is the clearest it’s been in weeks. I’m so ready to fuck this guy up. I’m so sick of the neighbors, of the soccer moms dropping their turd kids off at day care, of the fucking police driving through looking for an excuse for anything, all these civilian assholes looking at me like I don’t belong here. I don’t, but here I am.
I live here, asshole. Get the fuck off my street. I’m going in. He rolls over and looks at me in the eyes with surprise and disgust. I walk past him and head for the door of my house. I can see Ghost looking at me through my window. She’s been barking and I hadn’t noticed. Muther fucker, he says. Ghost’s barking gets more agitated. I turn quick to look at the dude. I don’t need him getting up and hitting me from behind. He has a phone in his hand. Don’t bother calling the police. You accosted m-. That’s a gun, actually. Ghost. Oh, shit. Dad. Should I kick the gun out of his hand? Mom. I need to run.
I turn and bolt. Before I hear the shot I’m on the ground. Went down like my legs left my body. Did my instincts cause me to fall? No. It hurts. It hurts bad. I can’t breathe. I have to get inside. Ghost needs me. I’m crawling for the window. She jumps out and runs toward me like lightning. She buries her face next to mine. I reach for her head. Her ears are so soft. I try to look back at this guy, but it hurts too much. I told you, I live here. The dog licks my face. Ghostie, go get Daddy. But, she won’t leave. She looks up at the night sky. I can see the stars reflect off her brown eyes. They look bigger than I’ve ever seen. She looks back down at my face, her ears perched, and I can’t see the stars anymore. Ghost. Go get Daddy. She won’t leave me. I pull my hoodie up more over my head. She’s such a good dog. I wonder if she’ll ever leave me.