Monday, May 22, 2006

Boys in the Hood

Super Ego Headline, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

I love road trips. I consider myself a great traveller. I rarely complain. I love new places. And I have a lot of patience.

That patience was tested more than once as Steve and I traveled from LA to Chicago.

We left LA on a Thursday morning. We took our 2nd LA host, Jerry (more on Jerry another time), out for breakfast at an upscale espresso place/shoe cobbler shop (I'm not kidding) then we bid adieau to the land of real tans and fake titties. We had such a great time on the west coast. It seemed a pity to leave.

We stopped to fill up Steve's new toy at a gas station on Crenshaw and Venice Blvds. It was at this moment that I remembered all the shit I hate about LA, including Motherfuckin' South Central. This gas station was so ghetto, everybody had to pay inside before pumping. There were no self-pay credit card pumps.

Steve went inside and to pay while I wrote down the mileage and gas price. This information would later help us figure out how much this goddamn journey really cost us.

A pretty raggedy looking brother approached me as I recorded the Super Octane gas price at $3.499/gallon. He told me that Steve told him to go ahead and start fueling up the car. I smelled bullshit and asked the brother to step away. He pointed to a man sitting in front of the gas station on a crate. Raggedy Brother told me that the man was his Cousin Alfonso. Raggedy Brother said he was looking taking care of Cousin Alfonso. I looked at the sitting man again. He was more fucked up than his cousin. The ragged seated man swayed back and forth. I thought he might fall off his crate but just as he leaned too far forwards or sideways, he would instantly right himself. "He's got polio," said Raggedy Brother, "but he'll be alright." Apparently, Raggedy Brother took me for a fool.

"Oh, polio," I started, "he might want to see someone about that."

"Look man," Raggedy Brother started, " we just need..."

It was 11 am and Raggedy Brother was working me hard. If he could put that kind of energy behind a real job, ol' boy would be a millionaire. I listened to pleas for money because of Cousin Alfonso's polio and whatever other bullshit Raggedy Brother could improvise but I wasn't buying it. Steve came out from the station and confirmed that he did not ask RB to pump our gas. I walked inside to buy some gum. When I came out Raggedy Brother was still trying to hustle Steve. I stared down RB very intensely. No words passed between us but there was definately an understanding. He eventually walked away when he realized that Steve and I were over him.

As Steve pulled out of the gas station I muttered, "Polio. I hate motherfuckin' South Central."

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