Sunday, September 11, 2005

L.A. stories

My recent trip to L.A. brought back a lot of memories of my time there. Lot's of stories to tell. I'm gonna start jotting some them down here for fear that someday I'll forget.

circa 1993: It's 7 in the morning and my cats aren't letting me sleep. They're hungry and throwing a shoe at them doesn't shut them up. So I walk to the 7-11 to grab some cat food. As I'm trying to decide between Purina and Meow Mix, I hear, "Hey... PR?" I freeze up. PR means Pinoy Real, a local Pilipino gang. And in L.A., your life could depend on how you chose to continue a conversation like that. I turn around and see a Latino kid (couldn't have been older than 15). He's got his hand in his jacket pocket and he's looking me over but keeping a safe distance-- far enough that I can't touch him, but close enough that he wouldn't miss if that were a gun in his jacket. I immediately break eye contact. "No," I say, grabbing whatever can of cat food I can and walking toward the check out counter. I'm digging through my pockets for change trying to look "in control" but also trying to get the hell out of there fast. I'm a nervous wreck, but so is he. I get the impression that he's one of the new recruits out to prove himself to the veteranos. I'm probably his ticket in. He follows me to the checkout counter, mad-dogging me the whole time. I can tell the store clerk is edgy. It's then that I notice his crew out in the parking lot. They're in a car with the windows rolled down, engine running. They're watching both of us. I finish my business at the counter and make a conscious effort not to make eye contact with the kid as I turn for the door. I walk into the parking lot fully expecting something bad to happen. One of the guys in the car gets out. As I walk by he acknowledges me with a knod. Respectfully, I return the greeting and keep walking. I make it back to my apartment two blocks away feeling like I just walked 10 miles.


Blogger Humour and last laugh said...


9:44 PM


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