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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Girl Who Secretly Hates Scarves

The smoke from the marijuana rises like an ascending soul.  It climbs the three story warehouse space to join a cloud of party smoke lingering from the night before.  Melo passes the pipe to me and coughs across the slumbering bodies of at least fifty revelers passed out on the concrete floor.  Sprawled out amongst the snoring are Kym and Dev who sleep beneath a pile of jackets.  Surrounding them is a sea of red keg cups, broken glass, fast food wrappers, discarded clothing and cigarette butts.  Last night this place was filled with hundreds of people.  Six bands raged all night and while there were fights, drugs and people taken to hospitals, there were no cops.  A Saturday night warehouse party in Oakland with no cops.  Amazing.

Melo had a new batch of acid we enjoyed.  I tasted the purple light and felt supernova surges of love during the Bacchanal release.  Hundreds of souls joined in dance created a vibrating intensity through the night.  Or maybe I just freebased too much of Dev's microwaved coke.  When the kegs ran out, everyone went hyper dance crazy on the MDMA Melo was selling.  To stay focused, we dosed again.  Around 4am, things returned to their natural orbits.  The last DJ left and people wandered out to their Sunday mornings beneath the remaining moonlight.  

I take a hit of weed and pass it back to Melo.

"Well" chokes Melo, "we should get going.  I gotta return the car."


I still have five hits of acid in my jacket.  Two ankhs and three hearts.  I think about this as I light a cigarette.  After Saturday morphed into Sunday, I stopped keeping track of what went into my body.  I know the substances by name but do not recall the ratios.  Now I have a choice.  I can sink further into the surreal depravity or take this trippy feeling home for at least four hours of sleep before my dish room shift at the university cafeteria.  Hmm.  I look at Kym.  Unlike me, she does not roll into a protective ball when she sleeps.  Arms and legs splayed out and snoring on her back.  A cowboy hat I have never seen before covers half her face.  Dev is fetal next to her with her head burrowed beneath the jackets.  Both danced all night like crazed Maenads.  Kym likes her tequila with MDMA, coke and oxy.  I wonder if she has any more oxy?  I kick her.

"Hey!  Get up!"

"Fuck you!" growls Kym curling into a ball.  Then she looks up and squints at me from beneath the cowboy hat.  "What?  What's happening?  I want some french fries."

"There's no food here.  We gotta go.  Melo's giving us a ride to BART."

"Mmmmrrr" whines Dev with her eyes closed.  She props herself up by pushing Kym back down.

"Bitch!" snarls Kym swatting Dev's arms away.

"Oh hush Khadj" yawns Dev.  She looks at Melo and sleepy smiles.  "Vámonos?"

"Yup" says Melo standing up and cracking his neck.  "Vámonos."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Kym doesn't have anymore oxy.  The coke bullet only has coke in it which she snorts before I can ask for some.  "Fuckin' Juan Valdez!" she winces as she snatches my cigarette and passes the bullet to Dev.

"L’chaim!" toasts Dev hitting the bullet and whipping her head back and forth. I watch her transform into a multi-faced Dev with at least six arms.  "Fuck!" she snorts.

We walk two blocks through what can only be described as an industrial wasteland.  Smashed window warehouses and abandoned factories.  Like giant industrial corpse faces staring at the sprawl.  No plants grow here.  Concrete covers everything but the asphalt road and train tracks.  We trudge by a homeless camp and the reek of human shit mingles with the despair and hostility.  Then through a fence, across a dry culvert and towards the sound of Sunday morning traffic.  P
arked beneath a freeway overpass is an old, diesel Mercedes Benz Melo borrowed.

"Hold up" says Melo opening the trunk.  One of his backpacks is in there and he removes a pack of smokes and a Mexican blanket.  "Put this on the seats."

"Yes.  Do that" agrees Dev.

So we do.  The old Mercedes rumbles to life and belches a bong hit of oily, black smoke into the gray morning sky.  As the car trundles to life, Kym smokes and I lean against her.  Even after dancing on weird substances all night she still smells like myrrh and wildflowers.  We share the cigarette as Dev instructs Melo towards a McDonalds for breakfast.  Then we smell it.

"Jesus fucking Christ Melo!" complains Kym.  "It smells like pussy and ass in here!  Mostly ass!"

"Yeah" shrugs Melo, "this car is used for many, many things.  I'd roll down your window if I was you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"You sure you don't wanna go to El Cerrito with us?" asks Dev dipping her eggless Egg McMuffin into ketchup.  "MIRV is playing."        

"I wish" sighs Kym tipping her cowboy hat up.  "I got my grandma thing today."

"I gotta work.  Dish room shift" I shrug.

"Oh yeah" says Kym grabbing my arm.  "Babe, we need to stop at Powell."

"Why?" I ask rubbing my eyes.  Powell means shopping.  I hate shopping. I dread the Emporium dome.  I have been abandoned beneath the dome many, many times by this woman.

"I lost my head scarf last night.  I need another one for grandma."

"Is that why you have that cowboy hat?"

"Oh. You noticed the hat?" deadpans Kym.

"Of course I noticed the hat" I say as she leans her thigh into me.  I've had several thoughts of Kym wearing nothing but the hat for almost twelve hours.  "So is the hat like a trophy or something?"

"Ooh la-la" muses Dev.

"I did meet a pretty cool guy" smiles Kym coyly.  "Maybe I'll let you wear the hat tonight.  But I do need another hijab.  So, sorry babe.  I gotta go do a little shopping."

"Mmm" I nod as I fish out the square of paper in my jacket pocket.  I take a tiny square of blotter printed with a heart and pop it into my mouth.  Surrealism uber alles.  Only Melo see's me eat it and winks.

"Have fun" he says.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The BART fills with the moaning of spirits as it descends beneath the ocean towards San Francisco.  Though my girlfriend is coked up, she closes her eyes and sags against my shoulder.  The BART train vibrates a deep bass tone that fill my bones with the Universal hum.  As the spirits mutter foreign gibberish through the transbay tube, I watch silvery Nordic glyphs streak across the black windows.  The acid is opening up the doors and my mind is traveling.  I drape my arm around Kym.  Not sure if the gesture is for love or for my altered state.  When I touch Kym, I know I am still real.  This is comforting because everything around us is a paper illusion.  I inhale Kym's scent to make this revelation go away.

I'm glad Kym's here because I'm starting to peak again.  When you ride BART alone, it is like your life.  A journey with only your own arms to comfort you as you race through the tunnel towards the Light.  The silver studs on my black leather jacket scrape the window where ghosts peer inside.  The BART hum fills the inside of my skull with a whispering voice I can barely make out.  

"It is all a big Nothing..."

Did I say that out loud?  I look at Kym who appears to be sleeping.  I take a deep breath and remind myself that I have taken a lot of psychedelics.  I'm kinda tripping out but it's Ok.  Millions of baby spiders ride tiny webs across the BART train as the Sunday commuters turn into painted statues with animal heads.  A donkey turns to me and smiles.  I look away as the driver announces our stop.  As we approach Powell St. Station, I wake up Kym.

"What?!" she groans.

"I want a coffee."

"Yeah, yeah" she grumbles as the BART moans in a deranged slow motion voice I try very hard to ignore.  "But not from the mall right?"

"Correct."

After the trip beneath the bay, I need to feel the fresh air above the tunnel on Market Street.  We exit the train and follow the crowd to the turnstiles.  I see sleeping wasps between the pipes and fluorescent lights overhead.  Huge, fucking alien looking insects.  I realize I am stopped, staring at the ceiling with my mouth open as people shove past me.  Kym guides me to the escalator and we ride up to the city.  We ascend a silvery staircase surrounded by neon-white, bubbled walls.  A plastic hive made by mutant wasps.  I can feel young larvae pushing against the honeycomb...I let my hand drift across the bubbling wall as we rise to the city street.

"Eww babe!" says Kym.  "Don't touch the fucking walls at a BART station!"

I yank my hand back, look up and see familiar buildings hugging the skyline.  The city.  As usual, I do not want to shop with Kym.  So after I buy my street vendor coffee, we walk back to the mall and I sit beneath the Emporium dome.  Then I wait.  Kym does not disappoint.  Hours pass by.  I open up the square paper and solemnly select a hit of ankh acid.  I stare into the mobs of shoppers circulating like blood cells through the great, advanced Capitalistic beast.  I take a sip of lukewarm coffee as a woman plops beside me in a fur coat.  The squeaking is from the escalators and not from her dead animals but I eye her warily until she leaves.  I swear to fucking God I saw that fur wiggling...A security guard has circulated through this area six times since I sat down.  He probably thinks I'm a homeless junkie.  Well, he's half right.  I wave to him each time but I never mention the swarm of metallic moths above us.  The moths are why I stopped looking up into the infinite sadness of the Emporium dome.  Suddenly, my cigarette is plucked from my fingers.  I look over and see a beautiful girl in a silly cowboy hat.

"Let's go."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When we get back to the Mission, I want to tell Kym about the odd brick patterns I noticed everywhere.  From the BART station floors to the city sidewalks, I have studied the Tetris pattern of brick and deciphered The Message.  But she ignores me and jumps in the shower.  Kym showers to her Jesus and Mary Chain tape.  The heavy bass drone starts to eat into my sanity as I watch carpet crayfish drag themselves across my black boots.  The walls warp with schools of weird white fish.  This particular song seems to be aimed at my sleep deprived mind and moans, 'I wanna die! I wanna die!'  The bass shakes the walls.  Knowing we are alone, Kym puts on her makeup and walks down the hall nude.  I stare in awe as she grabs her lighter, pats my head like a dog and disappears into our room to dress.  Then I hear slow, heavy footsteps plodding up our stairs.  The tread of an adult.  Old people always walk so slowly up the stairs.  I peek through the peephole and see Kym's mom coming.  I slip into the bathroom and wait as the doorbell rings.

"Bye babe!" yells Kym slamming the front door.  I listen to her boots stomp the wooden stairs as she yells, "Meet me by the park at 6pm!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We huddle beneath the stone alcove of an office building.  It's deserted and the fog has rolled up with the rain.  Our view across the street of a neon-lit Chinese herbalist sign slips in and out of the fog.  I reach my hand out to feel my beloved sea.  I took the Muni out here to meet Kym after my dishwashing shift.  Kym spent the afternoon with her family in Sea Cliff where her grandma lives.  While we wait for our ride, we share cigarettes and chocolate shortbread made with pistachios.  Kym rests against me and exhales the smoke into the gray gloom while I devour shortbread.  These cookies are fucking amazing.

"Finally!" says Kym flicking the smoke into the headlights of her car as it pulls up.  Jason leans out the driver window and belches.

"What up?" he says pointing his Sprite at us.  Then he starts to laugh.  "I wish I had a camera!"

We probably do look odd.  But in the heart of San Francisco, the people passing by could care less.  They see much weirder shit than a guy in a greasy jeans, a stained apron stuffed with PopTarts and a black leather jacket sitting next to a girl in long black pants, a long black dress, long black coat and a deep purple scarf wrapped around her head.

"Kym, I love when you dress like that" Jason laughs, "it's so not you!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Grandma day so fuck you" yawns Kym as we climb into the back together.

"What am I?  Your fucking cabbie?" demands Jason.  "Kym!  You should drive.  You're totally dressed for it."

"Fuck off" growls Kym unwrapping her hijab and scratching her spiky, dyed black hair.  "Hey you want some chocolate nokodchi?  It's like a cookie."

"I'll eat anything chocolate or cookie-based" says Jason turning around and grabbing one.

I sense competition.  So I take two and shove them my mouth.

"Holy shit!" he exclaims.  "These are amazing!"

"Mmmhmmm!" I agree while grabbing another one.

"Oh we gotta make a stop guys.  Temple of Fuck."


Kym looks at me and rolls her eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Jason is the most bad ass parallel parker I have ever known.  He smoothly backs into a slot barely big enough for Kym's car in one motion.  He has to to walk across Kym's bumper to get to the sidewalk because that is how tight the spot was.  He makes us high five him and then we walk up the hill towards Rondo's place.  The Temple of Fuck is a converted warehouse space.  Two stories high with an office and three bedroom apartment upstairs.  We walk through the fog and rain to buzz the gate.

"I hate this place" says Kym wrapping the scarf back around her head.

I pull up my hood and try to focus through the gossamer hue of a 48 hour LSD trip peppered with cocaine and a rainbow spectrum of prescription pills.  My girlfriend does indeed hate this place.  The heat from Kym's incubating anger is like a violent entity that haunts us.  Once, when Kym was away, Jason threw a party.  A porn star named Madame Fist left an earring in our bedroom.  Nothing happened but...Yeah...try explaining that one.  This was when I learned Kym has clearly defined boundaries.  If she is angered, she will hit you with whatever happens to be laying around.  Bottles, chairs, etc.  And if Kym is sad, she will leave.  Bye bye.  It was a dark time and being in front of this building is doing us no good.  But we need something.  We need heroin.

"Hey Jase" I ask casually.  "They're not working today right?"

"Nah, no porn shoots on the weekend.  Rondo says they're baking bread." says Jason.

The gate buzzes and we walk through.  As we climb the stairs we hear Rondo's girlfriend screech out to us, " Oh my god!  Kymy!  I haven't seen you in ages!  How are you doing sweety?!"

"Fake ass bitch" mutters Kym whose face transforms to a mask of excited happiness.  Then in her hyper-sexualized phone voice, she says, "Cammy!  It's been too long!"

"That was Dr. Jekyll fucking weird" says Jason looking at me.  "I'm gonna try it."

Jason shoves past me and in a booming voice he yells, "Cammy!  Damn you look GOOD!  Hey!  Where's my main man Rondo?"

"Oh my god Jason!" squeals Cammy hugging him.  I walk past them unamused and Jason winks at me.

Rondo is walking down the hall in an apron grinning.  Rondo is a Californian hugger raised by hippy parents.  You can never escape this fact.  He quick hugs Kym because she is shoving past him to get away from Cammy.  Rondo shakes my out stretched hand solemnly and then yanks me in for a hug.

"My brother" he says seriously.  "How have you been?"

"Good" I say untangling myself and following Kym.  

Then he beelines to Jason.  Jason knows Rondo and leaps into his arms with unbridled joy.  After the hug and greetings come questions.  

"Is this the same shit as the Warfield cut?  You get me an oh-zee?" Rondo asks.  His eyes are feverish and starved.  How many eyes like that does Jason deal with?  I mean besides me and Kym?

"Let's go check out your office" says Jason cooly as Cammy walks up to us.

"Oh my god Kymy I love this scarf look.  It's so ETHNIC!  And cool!" she squeals.

"Oh my god!  Thanks!" fake smiles Kym with eyes closed like a pleased anime character.  "Hey!  I'm gonna check out the office too!  So Bye-Bye!"

I fake nothing and stare at Cammy as a V-pattern of blue light strobes overhead.  Goddamn UFOs.  Cammy is a rail thin dyed blond with stripper fake boobs.  Society finds Cammy beautiful but I can't get past her eyes.  Twitchy, roaming rat eyes.  They peer into my unwavering gaze with her horse faced smile.  Oh and the porn.  It would be odd to date a porn star.  I hate social hugging and manly handshakes so her lifestyle kinda freaks me out.  But Rondo has a big heart and is way more decent than I.

"Hey" I say simply.

"Oh.  Hi!" she says sniffing and wiping her nose with the back of her hand like a coke fiend.

Rondo told Cammy I am the Heroin Guy.  Jason is the Coke Guy.  She LOVES the Coke Guy.  But Cammy is all about uppers.  Coke, MDMA and meth.  The Heroin Guy is bad news.  Stupid Cammy.  Rondo is the Heroin Guy, not me.  I turn around and walk to the office.  
Out of Cammy's aura, my friends have dropped their masks.  I open the door, they all look up, see it's me and nod.  I settle on the couch by Kym as Jase explains the price hike.

"This ain't Mexican cut.  Smaller bumps get you skied the fuck out.  You can cut this shit twice and your people will still say it's the best they ever snorted.  Fucking hit that shit dude" says Jason passing the mirror.

"I believe you" says Rondo leaning down with a cut straw and snorting.

"Me!" says Kym reaching out to the coke pile on the mirror with her fake pinky nail.  

She scoops, snorts it and leans back on the couch in a beautiful daze.  Her dark garments melt like smoke into Rondo's black leather couch.  As the energy waves that make the walls breathe wobble by, I can only see Kym's hands and face.

"Damn!  Ok.  This is good" exhales Rondo as he snorts another one.

Jason holds the mirror under my nose so I do a line.  Coke is like a scalpel through the LSD haze.  I lean back into Kym and blink away the moths for a moment.  Then I exhale and snort the coke snot.  The wooden office floor still buckles like a ship at sea as the energy fizzles towards my brain like the sparkling fuse of a cartoon bomb.  In the layers of the 
green ceiling paint are Aztec glyphs and elastic funhouse faces.  The LSD is still winning. 

"You got any H?" asks Kym staring at Rondo.

"Easy Khadja" cautions Jason who is not into help when he does his thing.  "We have something worked out, Ok?"

"We do have something" smiles Rondo.  "But this part stays in the office."

Rondo goes to his desk and takes out a Noah's Bagels bag and fishes around in it.  He pulls out a egg-shaped hunk of tar wrapped in cellophane.

"This was in some poor lady's pussy or intestinal tract from what I understand.  It is seriously fucking pure and heavy.  Not a city cut.  So just do little hits ok?  Exercise caution."

"You got my attention" smiles Kym.  "Any foil in here?"

"Yeah" says Rondo opening a desk drawer and pulling out a box.  Kym rips off a sheet and sits down with the tar and the straw.  She breaks off a sticky nub of euphoria and places it in her foil trench.  Jason and Rondo mutter about cash and I watch them move envelopes and bags out of a floor safe as Kym lights up.  She looks at me so I lean over.  We vaporize tiny balls of tar as Jason and Rondo count the cash.  


"Oh...Oh my" breathes Kym as sour vapor leaves her awed expression.  "Yeah.  Ok."

We both sink into the couch.  Kym reaches into my jacket pocket for cigarettes.  She slides out the Marlboro Lights box as Rondo snorts another line of coke.  He looks over as Kym slips the smoke between her parted lips.

"Cigarettes outside" says Rondo pointing at the sliding glass door that faces the city view.

"Ok" I breathe standing up.  The effort is huge.  No sleep and the weight of euphoria make this couch a truly beautiful thing.  I grab Kym's outstretched hand and help her up.

"Bread's almost done!" comes Cammy voice from a million miles away.  "You guy's come try some!"

Kym groans and lights the cigarette.  Inside.  I smile and shrug at Rondo as I open the slider door and drag Kym into the fog and rain outside.  The city lies beneath us.  The wind comes from across the bay to numb our 
hands and nose tips.  Kym passes me the smoke.  I watch her unwind the new purple head scarf.  She holds it twenty feet above the city streets below.  The wind pulls the scarf into the air towards the Transamerica Pyramid Building.  A deep, purple flame licking the sky above San Francisco.  She lets the scarf go and it dances across the wind forever.

"Whoops" says Kym quietly taking back the cigarette.