I wake to find my open mouth stuck to that fucking couch.
The one Lalo’s grandmother gave to him.
I pull a piece of fabric from my lip and imagine all the
semen and regurgitated liquor that must inhabit this sinewy thread.
The atmospheric bleach that is the Los Angeles summer
is pouring through the window.
As I scan my surroundings, I realize Lalo is not in his usual place,
sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor, doing his wake up shot,
which he boots four or five times,
then squirts Jackson Pollack style on a piece of canvas.
He most likely tipped off to the store for his favorite breakfast,
one can of Kern’s banana juice and two packs of Swirl Danish with nuts.
I head to the kitchen to rummage around for a cotton shot,
which in most addicted households wouldn’t get a fly high.
However, Lalo is a dealer. He’s my dealer,
and what he leaves for dead would overdose the average junkie rock star.
Much to my dismay, and like a strung out Mother Hubbert was here,
the kitchen is clean of any morsel of dope.
Even the spoons, which are normally encrusted with something,
are washed and in the rack.
What the fuck is going on here,
I think to myself, this place is normally a Petri dish of decay and filth.
Well, I have to find something or else I’ll be all fetal and shitting myself.
I walk to my car, hop in, and point it downtown.
Alverado Street, to be exact.
As I sit in the noon sun cramping up in traffic,
I wonder where the fuck he is.
He passed out in his wife beater and shark skin pants last night.
The uniform of choice among
the more Anglofied Mexican dope dealers in Hollywood.
He looks like David Bowie covered in Chicano.
If he wasn’t so strung out, he’d get more ass than a toilet seat.
He has a Cadillac, a ‘62 Coupe de Ville in mint condition,
and a ton of money, always.
He’d have a lot more if he didn’t have two hungry arms to feed,
one of which is mine. I’m worried, but I have to get straight.
As I leave Alverado Street with five balloons in my mouth,
I feel much better. In the church of my heart, the choir is on fire.
How convenient that street dealers in L.A. sell their goods in balloons.
Only once did I have to swallow them after copping,
and then dig them out of my own shit
to find them in perfect shape, ready to be injected.
Who says junkies don’t lead glamorous lives?
Not wanting to go through that ordeal again,
I head towards “Jack in the Box” off the 101.
“Jack in the Box” is a dope fiend’s
bathroom away from bathroom in the Los Angeles area.
One toilet, one sink, one customer at a time, and a locking door.
As I sit cross-legged on the floor, I get my kit out.
A kerchief, wrapped and folded, with one bottle cap,
one fresh piece of cotton, and one very beaten set of works.
So beaten that the numbers and lines can’t even be seen.
Suddenly there’s a knock, followed by a severe pulling of the door.
Not the ordinary customer we have here, I think as I get my shit together,
which wouldn’t have taken as long
if the tar I just shot wasn’t so fucking good.
Finally I compose myself and walk out,
right into the biggest, barrel-chested cop I’ve ever seen.
All yours officer, have a nice day.
I walk with a quickness to the door, trying not to look the way I feel.
As I get to the their, some fat women
is trying to push someone through in a wheelchair,
using one hand to push and the other to open.
I tell her to get back for Christ sakes,
and I’ll do it myself. But, before I can, I feel a dreadful tap on my shoulder.
I don’t even have to look. It was the man in blue,
and he was holding my kit,
my kerchief with all the evidence needed to lock my ass up.
He pushes the door open for the woman and then turns toward me.
Shit, here it comes. Sir, you left this in the men’s room. That was it.
As I high tail it in felonious creepers,
I reach my car, get in and turn over the engine.
My cassette player kicks in the Violent Femmes,
“this will go down on your permanent record.” Not this time, I think.
That cop must be straight out of the academy,
a man on a galloping horse could see I was fucking ripped.
As I leave the parking lot, I spot the woman
with the enormous fuselage and her wheeled companion.
I feel sorry for the man
being pushed and shoved everywhere by that behemoth.
He must be caught in her gravitational pull. I speed home.
I unlock the front door of Lalo’s apartment and head to the kitchen.
I grab a clean spoon, and realize it would be a shame
to shoot such good dope with such an old, barbed up set of works.
So I go next door, to the apartment of this chick who digs Lalo.
I tell her our toilet is busted and ask her if I could use hers.
Thanks, I’ll just be a second.
I open the medicine cabinet. I grab two new sets of insulin syringes,
and as I’m about to close the cabinet door,
I see a script just recently filled for valium. Well, don’t mind if I do.
I wonder if her shrink gave her these for her depression,
most likely brought on by Lalo’s dope dick
and his lack of interest in anything to do with sex.
Thank god for depressed diabetics,
I say under my breath as I leave.
I get back and dump all three balloons in the cooker, and I’m off.
The dream is always the same. Back on the bottom of my personal pond.
It’s warm and safe, and I watch life go by on the surface.
In my fifty dollar cocoon, my womb, my womb with a view.
Being dragged to the surface by a knock on the door.
I open it. I’m shocked to see Lalo’s sister, who I’ve only met once.
Before I can step back to let her in, and with tears falling on her shoes
she tells me Lalo’s dead.
I saw him just last night. I’m in shock.
I snap to like I just got a shot of Narcon in my heart.
She asks me to go down and identify him.
She stammers softly, he’s been beaten very badly.
Will you please do that for me?
I just look at her face for what seems like forever.
Yeah, I’ll go do it. Where do I have to be?
As I am escorted into the room the next day with my guts in a knot,
there he is on a table just like you see on Quincy or some show.
His head is covered, but his torso and right arm
are exposed. I can see his tattoo,
a Germs blue circle with a cheetah jumping through it.
Do you recognize this tattoo?
Yeah, but don’t you want me to look at his face for a positive identification?
Son, the man says to me, he’s been beaten to death with a hammer, a ball peen hammer over twenty or thirty times.
I look down at the cloth covering his head
and realize it shows no contour,
no height whatsoever.
It was perfectly flat.