Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ASKING FOR TROUBLE

I can’t call my dad. He’s getting rained on. No one else up north would accept a collect call. Not enough change for a long distance payphone. No friends here. That means I have to tell you.

Whoever you are.

My name is Trey and this is the only way I can let someone know. I’ve gotta thank Sarah for telling me what a blog is. A few years ago, in high school, we would look at the internet at her place. Never knew a bed that comfortable. Sex blogs. That’s what we’d read. But I saw the other stuff, cooking and survival knives and restaurants and hot-rods and things.

This blog is about getting killed.

Might happen soon. You’re the only person I can tell. If you’re listening. But I don’t want to just disappear. When I do disappear, Trey’s doing it with style, his way, and all you’ll hear is my laughing.

I’ve been sleeping in the park. But I’m homeless, not a bum. I had a home, now I don’t but that doesn’t make me worse than you. I might be better than you. Better looking. Trey is no bum looking for handouts. Always work hard. I’ve picked apples and framed houses and drove to Utah and back once without sleeping because a guy needed a shipment of stuff and there was only one dude who could handle it. Me. Thought there’d be more work in this town. I wait by the lumber yards with the other guys, but they’ve got the racket and it’s a hard place for the new guy. Don’t speak Spanish and can’t make a friend. Dug a couple of trenches, set some fenceposts, but money don’t last long out here.

Dad was a tunnel rat. Vietnam. He crawled into spider holes and through muddy tunnels like cities with only a flashlight and a .38 special. Told me some stories. Don’t know how he ever made it back. He knew a lot of other guys who didn’t. And the other dudes who lived came home with cracked minds. Met them, drank beer and smoked weed with them and never saw them relax. Like the VC was going to pop out of the trunk of someone’s Sentra and start spraying with an AK-47.

Dad didn’t relax much. Guess it rubbed off on me. Sleeping in the park, I keep my eyes open. Tennis players, other homeless dudes, Mexican ladies pushing someone else’s kids in strollers. Baby loses a baggie of cereal, it’s mine. And if a lady wants to wear a short skirt and run after the yellow ball, I’m good with that, too. There are ducks in a little fake stream and pond. There’s one bench looking at the pond. Next to a tree. Low plants with long wide leaves are all along the back of the bench. I was sitting in the dirt, leaning against a tree, trying not to think about how hungry I was or what forced me out of my home and down to Los Angeles when I saw something different in those plants by the bench.

No one else would’ve seen it. No one else pays attention. But I do. That’s how ice cold I am. Thanks, Dad. There was something in the leaves that caught my eye. Not an accident. It wasn’t a bag of garbage. Shit like that stays on the top of the leaves. This was deep in the plants. Intentional.

For the first time in a long time I heard my dad’s voice. Clear with words, not just a hazy memory. Like he was talking at my ear. “That’s the kind of thing that gets you killed.”

So I had to know what it was. Wouldn’t you look? But you can’t rush. Whoever dropped it might come back. Or maybe it was meant for someone else. Wait. I sat by my tree and watched the spot from about thirty yards away. I was already dirty from the trains and sleeping outside so no one noticed me in the bushes of the park.

No one claimed it. And other people came and went, not seeing it. One dude drank his cup of coffee, sitting on the bench with the thing right behind him. Kids played past it. If it was a snake, it would’ve bit someone.

The sun went down, the park cleared out. I was a fucking ninja crossing that park. Didn’t leave a footprint. Got to the bench and reached into the plants, thinking about hollow teeth and venom and land mines and the VC and my dad getting rained on.

It didn’t blow up. But it still might. That’s why I’m writing this. If it blows up and I’m dead, you’ll know what happened.

It’s a little black plastic bag. Thick plastic, industrial stuff. With a zip top. In the bag is one of those computer thumb drives. 16gb. I haven’t plugged it in. Sometimes it’s smarter to know less. And it ain’t too smart to plug this thing in at a computer terminal in a public library. You think I’m a homeless guy with a laptop computer?

If I can turn this around, I won’t be homeless anymore. Big spread in Oregon maybe. Or Canada. A computer and TV in every room. And a bed as comfortable as Sarah’s.

Maybe you’re reading this, Sarah. You’d tell me to ditch the black bag and forget it, find another way to make money. But it’s too late, girl. The bag is in my pocket and the meeting is set.