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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Marketing Scum Relapse

I awake to the embryonic hum of fans.  Without any good drugs, I need the white noise from a box fan to sing me to sleep.  The ceiling fan soothes my body temperature spikes while sleep purges my poisons.  The fans also makes the puddle of oily sweat beneath me cold and uncomfortable.  How long did I sleep this time?  Maybe two hours?  Three?  I look at the clock.  It says 7:27.  This means nothing to me so I pick up my phone.  7:27pm, Tuesday.  I did it.  I slept for six hours.  Healing sleep without heroin.  Looking back, each withdrawal I go through is more intense.  This one was insane.  I almost called 911 more times than I almost called the Gargoyle, who is my dealer.  When I wasn't shitting or puking, I exercised until I started shitting or puking.  In between I guzzled Sprite, beer and Nyquil.  This was one of the worst withdrawals I have ever experienced.  But hell, I say that each time I get hooked again.  

I haven't done dope in six days.  I am clean.

The physical withdrawal is pure agony but I'm no stranger to pain.  Pain from shattered bones.  Pain from not having medical insurance.  There are worse things than pain.  The real struggle is in the mind.  The taste of euphoria lingers forever like the memory of love.  But I don't think about that.  I tell myself how easy it is to kick while I make another peanut butter sandwich.  Yes, I have an indomitable will.  I feel pretty good about myself as I mechanically chew the food.  After I eat, I get sick almost instantly.  The ordeals I face in the bathroom leave me exhausted.  I stumble back to bed to hibernate some more.  I feel like crap again, yet I'm smiling like a madman.  Each time I wake up, I am stronger.  It won't be long now.       


She approaches the door.  It looks like all the other doors in the condominium complex.  Dull gray paint, peephole, unit number.  This door says #13.  Some people add a potted plant or tree to showcase their individuality.  The only unique characteristic for #13 is on the ground.  Long, black smears of cigarette ash mixed with spit.  The bush where the butts are kicked into is wilted and sickly looking.  Sera opens the door with his spare key.

"Hello...?" she calls out politely as a wave of air conditioned cigarette smoke hits her. 

Sera walks in with a gift under her arm.  A painting wrapped in brown paper.  She kicks off her work shoes, sets the gift by the door and dumps her handbag on the console table.  She has been away for five days.  Three days at Burning Man with her old college friends and a work conference in San Jose.  Naturally, he did not want to meet her friends, much less go to Burning Man.  And he never called back about San Jose.  Sera looks around and whistles.

Empty Gatorade, water and cough medicine bottles cover the dining table.  The recycling bin is full of beer bottles and Sprite.  A jar of peanut butter and bag of bread are on the counter.  Sera can't decide what's stranger.  The empty Cheez-It boxes stacked neatly on the couch or the empty Pepto-Bismol bottles that form a pyramid on the floor.  And the coffee table should just be swept into the trash.  The ashtray is so full of butts, it caught on fire.  Again.  Since the whole thing is clumpy and wet, he doused it with either beer or soda.  Sera sniffs it.  Definitely beer.  Work clothes are strewn all over the room like he danced wildly and stripped off his garments one by one.  And oddly enough, an exercise ball and two 15 pound dumbbells sit in the only clear space on the floor.  Quietly she walks towards the bedroom.  The door is open.  She peeks inside and sees him curled up in a fetal position in the exact center of the bed.  The comforter is wound up beneath him like a discarded cocoon.  The sheet kicked to the floor.  He's sweating, nude and completely passed out.  

Well, thinks Sera, I'll ask him later.        


I feel good as I walk down the hall to shower.  Had some fucking crazy ass dreams.  Talking statues, deserted malls, owls.  Without opiates, I am so out of it I fail to notice my condo is clean.  Fresh air, not a nicotine fog, breezes in through open windows.  Hm.  My bathroom door is closed.  It opens.  A nude Sera walks out wearing only her glasses.      

"Oh!" she blushes.  Sera always wears glasses because she is legally blind without them.  

"I didn't know I had company" I smile.  The rest of the conversation takes place in the shower, in the bed and finally on the couch.

"Oh my god, I missed that!" says Sera loading up her bong and taking a hit.

"Me too" I lie.  

I actually haven't missed anything but being high.  But why mess with her good mood?  Plus, after six days of opiate withdrawal, my animal nature has returned.

"Oh!" coughs Sera looking at me, "I got you a present!  Hold on!  Here!"

She hands me the bong which has a loaded column of smoke.  I inhale.  She comes back with a paper wrapped square.  I tear away the paper and pull out the picture.  Two angels resting on their elbows.  Alas, I am a philistine.  I don't get it or care.  But I know I've seen it before.

"Wow" I say because my penis was just inside her.  "Thanks."

"It's a detail from Sistine Madonna by Raphael.  Their far away eyes remind me of you."

"Yeah it's..." I struggle to think but without the pills, the false compliments come slowly, "very nice.  Yeah."

"Can we hang it over the couch?  It's the perfect spot and the unstained, maple frame matches the leather."

"Sure" I agree.  "Yeah.  That'd look good.  I'll hang it up later.  Court says I can't be naked and wield a hammer."

Sera squints at me confused for a second and then smiles.  "Oh, ok" she laughs.  

Then she leans against me.  Her body sags into mine as her arms fiercely encircle me.  I hope she doesn't say it.  Sera is too dear to lie to.  Those three words she offers up every now and then...but she she just rests there.  Finally she sighs.  

"I have a favor to ask you" she says.



Sera is an executive admin.  Good money, easy job because her boss likes her.  But she has a nonsensical notion of getting into the dark world of marketing.  Marketing is an even lower form of life than sales.  But Sera is good to me, so I agree to go to a dinner hosted for all the job candidates.  Unlike most dinners at fancy hotels, this won't be enjoyable.  I can feel it in my bones.  Not sure if Sera realizes this is another test because she's happy.  But then again, she's always happy.  It's kinda weird.

Thinking about Sera's dinner, I discover I'm nervous.  This is usually not me but these are unusual times.  My guts are still purging toxins from the withdrawal.  Shitting like a seagull at any given time is a curse that lingers for at least a month after you quit.  Trying to quietly pass gas could lead to horrible public shame.  My bowels are uncontrollable.  Sera walks in wearing tight silver pants with a wide, garish belt.  Her blouse is too small these days and the buttons are stretched in protest.  When she turns sideways, I can see her bra and belly.  

"Does this look ok?"

My guts twinge.  I need to get to the bathroom.  But before I can stop myself, I blurt out, "Only if you want them to laugh at you."


I rub my face.  What the fuck is wrong with me?  I look up and smile.  

"Sorry Sera.  Still grouchy from my uh, stomach flu" 
I say quickly while wincing from intestinal pain.  "But this is not a friendly dinner.  You guys are on display so they can study you.  Wear something more grown up...Uhm, more formal."

"Ok" she shrugs as I lunge around towards the bathroom.

On the toilet, I shit out my soul again.  Mostly Cheez-Its and cookies.  My soul is a piece of processed crap.  I crawl back into the shower to remove the filth.  Jesus.  I can't do this.  My tongue is black from Pepto-Bismol, I keep breaking out in a stinking, oily sweat and I'm so sleepy, I might pass out.  But I said I'd go.  Plus on paper, I'm a decent date.  I have a business suit disguise and since I work in sales, I am an accomplished liar.  But how?  I select the one clean suit still in the garment bag from the cleaners and stare at my shaking hand.  Jesus, I can't do this.  Or can I?

And it happens so fast.   Just like that.  No second thoughts, no regrets.  I leer at the twisted face in the mirror.  

"How's this?" asks Sera.  Now she's wearing some sort of two-piece purple office suit.  If I recall, this is about as formal as her wardrobe gets.  I fake smile.

"Good.  Hey can I use your car?  I gotta make a quick stop before we head out."

"Ok, but-"

"Don't worry" I assure her.  "Just get ready.  I'll be back in time."

"Well, ok" shrugs Sera handing me her keys.

"Oh and can I borrow like $200?"


It was a complete disaster. Sera felt humiliated. The other job candidates were dressed to kill. They either flaunted athletically sculpted bodies in tiny dresses or strutted around confidently in expensive name brand suits. Most were blond and all were better at the game than poor Sera. There are three openings for Marketing Directors at the magazine. It was obvious Sera was not going to be one of them. At the condo, I pour her a coffee cup of whiskey.  She holds it in her hands and stares glumly into the amber liquid.

"To you, Sera" I smile toasting her, "the only 100% human who applied."

It was a pathetic joke about the other applicants.  They were fake.  Fake hair, fake tits, fake smiles.  In short, they were much better suited for a fashion magazine job than Sera.  So I rub her back while she sulks because I am in a GREAT mood.  The Gargoyle hooked me up with my old friend Roxicodone.  One 30mg pill completely erased all the pride I harbored for kicking my habit.  For the poppy spoke to me.  It planted this seed in my soul and said, 'Yes, you can quit anytime but what do you want to do right NOW?  I wanna get high.  Higher and higher.  So I took another on the car ride over.  To push myself to the edge of the dream, I snorted a half pill in the restroom.  As my head whipped up from the lines of powder on the toilet tank, I gasped with greedy, orgasmic pleasure.  My meat is so weak but my soul soars with the sky.  As I checked my nose in the mirror, a tiny, insignificant voice in the back of my skull buzzed in anger.  Outrage at all the pain and work down the drain.  Or up the nose.  But fuck that guy.  Fuck the world.  Fuck you.  I'm high...  

Back in my element, I worked the room.  Not sure how Sera felt about that one.  She didn't get introduced to the executive team that hires.  But I did.  I shook Ed 'The Guru' Dalton's manicured hand.  I schmoozed behind my mask that glowed with that euphoric energy unique to oxycodone.  The prime rib was good, the drinks complimentary and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I had to tear myself away from the fake conversations so as not to abandon my frumpy date in her ill fitting clothes.  She never moved from our table.  Her mouth was a thin line.  When I saw tears edged around her purple eyes, I knew it was time to go.  

Sera left my condo when I showed her all the business cards I collected from the bimbos and executive jerks.  I don't think I was showing off, but maybe I was.  When you're in sales, this sort of behavior becomes second nature.  But it was rude.  Especially the phone numbers from the women I met under vague business pretenses.  I know how awkward Sera is around people.  She misses social cues in conversations and can't read faces at all.  She's just Sera.  While she majored in marketing, I don't think the plastic life is for her.  She's far too innocent.  

So I sit alone as my high grows dim like a fading star.  I miss her inane chatter but maybe my empathy is kicked into overdrive because of the pills.  Unconsciously, I reach into my suit jacket and remove the tiny plastic bag to study the contents.  Still only two pills left.  Maybe next time the Gargoyle will have some black tar I can buy.  But my bank account is empty and payday is not for a week.  I already owe Sera money, but I'm tempted to ask again.  I pour whiskey into my body hoping it enhances my high so I can sleep.  I sit in the silent gloom and think.  Tomorrow I'll visit Sera to feel her out.  If I can't get money, maybe I can get some of her painkillers.  I hope she feels better.  Maybe we can go eat brunch or do one of those stupid Sera things like walk around a flea market.  

Ahh, poor Sera, I think popping half a pill into my mouth and chewing thoughtfully.

Poor you, laments the voice in my skull.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Not a quitter

Sorry for a shit post but I am horrible with dates.  But the internet timestamps it forever...which will allow me to laugh when my future-self fucks me over.

I quit smoking 2 weeks ago.  I waited 2 weeks before saying I quit because I am not a quitter.  More of a repeat offender when it comes to addiction.  But as of, June 6, 2016 - no smoking!  Just a lot of gum and caffeine. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Owl and the Hippie

"-crazy!" laughs the voice.  "Fucking six classes in a day?!  Night classes?  Shit, I only go to school Tuesdays and Thursdays.  To be honest, I think I'm gonna quit.  Art school dropout will look good on my resume."

"You just have to learn to focus" responds a voice.  A girl's voice.  Loud and patronizing like she's talking to an idiot.  "He's gonna take a full load next semester too, you know.  And he has ADD."

"Really?  I thought he was just twitchy from all the coke."

"He does cocaine?!" demands the female voice. 

"Nah I'm just fucking with you" laughs the liar.  "Hey, you want some of this balloon before I finish it?"

"No.  It kills brain cells-"

A yawning hum swallows me whole.  I move far, far away.

The instruments stopped working long ago.  I stare without comprehension at the wooden keel slicing through an azure sea.  Time is meaningless.  The ship steers itself and I am no longer in control.  I am a passenger.  The ocean is warm, clear and spreads out forever.  I lean down and dip my hand in the passing blue.  It runs through my fingers like fading years.  In the depths below, shadows appear.  Colossal, towering silhouettes rise towards the surface.  A forgotten city swallowed by the sea.  Fish in cosmic colors appear.  The tropical sea is rich here.  In the gentle blue, a pure white landscape materializes.  An octopus, startled by the ship, flashes blue, red, purple and vanishes kicking up sand.  White sand.  Shallow water.  I look up as the ship beaches itself.  

"I think that filthy hippie sold me some bunk shit" comes the complaining voice.  "Feels like shitty speed."

"You ok?  Honey?  Hello?" asks the female voice.  "What'd you guys take?  Should I worry?"

"Him?  Nah, he's fine.  Dude, sit down!  You're creeping me out."

I step off the ship.  Much like riding an elevator on acid or surfing too long, the ground sways beneath my feet.  But feeling 
disoriented  and unstable is not a new feeling for me.  I move forward towards the Owl.  She stands upon a verdant cliff.  An emerald jungle holds it's breath behind her.  The sea swallows the world and the sky is a maddening shade of blue.  In my daze, I can't tell if she is wearing a cape or if those are wings.  Her head is an owl's head.  A soft, gray rounded rectangle with wide yellow eyes.  The bird's head sits atop a young woman's body.  Nude, fierce and free.  Hieroglyphic imagery flashes in my eyes and I feel the madness of beasts.  Then I am aloft.  I am one with the Owl.  On silent wings, we soar where the sea kisses the sky.  

"There" she says in an eerie, floating voice.  A child's voice.  Sexless.  Toneless.  "I have your story."

My eyes return.  I am on a grassy cliff above the sea.  The Owl lifts her arms into the blue sky and screams.  A piercing, unearthly sound that brings a darkening of mood and light.  The blue sky melts and swirls with fiery, red creation.  Light is subdued into a soft, purple twilight.  The 8-pointed star rises in the east.  

"I am the 827th Sibyl" says the Owl.  "You have come before we met.  You must return."

"I don't remember what is real anymore" I say honestly.  "I am lost."

"You are found" says the Owl gently.  "There is only one Universe and it never ends."

The yawning hum fills my ears again.  I close my eyes and cover my ears as sound pours into me like a thousand bees.  And then...Silence.  When I open my eyes, the island has vanished and I stand inside a hole.  An endless, claustrophobic hole thrust deep into the earth.  A single shaft of light pierces the gloom.  I look up at the Owl.  She casually reclines in a wooden chair that dangles from an impossible height.  The chair is grasped by flowering vines and lightly sways.  

"Does it always have to hurt so much?" I ask the Owl.  

"The pain is created by you.  Not the Universe" says the Owl swinging above me.  Her swaying movements paint shadows on the wall.  Amazing shadows.  Like water cascading down the walls, a cosmos appears in fingering streams.  I stare in awe as starlight drips towards me.  "Learn to forgive yourself.  Learn to love yourself."


"There is so much love waiting for you if you desire it" interrupts the Owl.  "We will speak more when we meet."

"When will we meet?"

"Soon and forever.  Now return."  

At the bottom of the hole is the door to Jason's truck.  It's stuck but I know the trick.  You have to push in the door handle, yank up and pull.  I open the door and drop into the Darkness.

And I return.  I look up and see the backs of colorful people swaying and dancing to music.  Rainbow hued lights pour down from a stage.  The air is filled with the reek of marijuana, body odor, patchouli and sage.  Above the swaying crowd, is a projection of a bearded, overweight man playing a guitar.  He transmits an aura of kindness and humor into the music which flows through the crowd.  I know him.  And I know where I am.  I am found.  

As I stand up, I look in my hand.  A slightly crushed can of Sprite.  I take a sip and it's flat.  The breeze in my mind has brought a level of clarity that is startling in it's intensity.  I think I am sober.  Or sane. 

"Are you ok?" asks Mary.  

I stare at my girlfriend.  She's wearing the Grateful dead t-shirt she bought in the parking lot, jean shorts and Birkenstock sandals.  She could walk into the mass of dancing people down the lawn and disappear...but Jason and I couldn't.  We stand out in spiked leather jackets, long pants and combat boots.   

"These people are free.  These are my people" I blurt out.

"The hell they are" scoffs Jason punching my shoulder so hard I stagger backwards and fall to the grass.  "Now that you're awake, give me some shrooms.  Mary wouldn't let me roll you for cigarettes or drugs."

"But I saw the Owl" I explain standing up.  "I saw everything which is actually nothing.  There was a wooden ship, a chair, your truck door-"

"Do you want me to hit you again?"

"No" I reply.  "But there are no shrooms.  I ate them."

"You ate the whole quarter?" demands Jason.  "I had $10 on that!  You owe me asshole!  That acid I got was shit!  I'm sober and surrounded by hippies!  I demand we go score!"

"I don't think he needs anymore" says Mary squatting down to look at me.  With her three semesters of pre-med she likes to play doctor.  But not in the fun ways.  "Honey, your pupils are still dilated.  I think you're done playing druggie."

"Druggie?  He's a beer drinking fighter!" smiles Jason.  "Dude!  Get up!  Lets go get some drugs!  Why else come to this sad, smelly mass of losers?"


Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Thanks for downloading and enjoying my new book.  I love your messages and appreciate the support.  You guys totally make my day.

And I did announce the free download on /r/Drugs but I think the post got buried because I posted after midnight.  I'll do more free downloads in the future and post in the morning.

Thanks for all your support and Aloha

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Free! Download Morbo2000's new book- Stories From the Moth People -JUNE 13TH ONLY!

The Moth People

When Creation smiled Light upon the world,
The Butterfly People danced to her glory.
But not everyone could live exposed to the Light.
Some were drawn to the Darkness.
They sunk deeper and deeper into a shadow world.
A new world, with new pleasures and new Gods.
Yet the deeper they fell, the Light never died.

Some returned,
Some could not.
These are their stories.
                                   The Stories From the Moth People.


Today only, June 13, 2016 PST, download Stories From the Moth People FREE.  I hope you enjoy.  And if you can, please Review it on Amazon and Goodreads for me!  Thanks a lot.  You guys are the best.  Oh and if you're broke and missed the free download, there will be future give aways as well.  

NOTE: International readers must use their own country's Amazon.  Like Canada uses or UK uses


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Get Morbo2000's new book FREE

Hi there.  Stories From the Moth People is finally done and available for purchase on Amazon!  Thanks for all your love and support.   

I'm going to be giving it away on June 13, 2016 PST.  You can download for free and read on any device.  I hope you enjoy.  


Stories From the Moth People - NOW AVAILABLE

Available on Amazon

Stories From the Moth People is now available on Amazon!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Just Another Day

"But all that blood,"  I press Melo.  He looks at me blankly like a butcher that chainsaws steer carcasses all day.  Then he slowly smiles.  

"Relax, Severson.  I didn't clip him.  He was just, you know" shrugs Melo, "sorta screaming when I punched him.  I cut my hand on his teeth.  Not a biggie.  Relax, partner."

And I look at Melo.  He looks relaxed.  Normal.  Just another day.  I shudder, light a smoke and think about what I can use to scoop a little H out of the dime bag to calm down.  A Bic pen cap would be perfect because I don't have Kym's disco, coke-snorting, party nails.  I inhale a lungful of soothing tobacco and slowly exhale towards the crumbling sky.  Gathering clouds with the promise of rain.  
And my ancestor's footprints walked through this story 1,000 times.  Just another day.  


Ring.  Ring.  Ring.

"Babe, get the phone."

Sigh.  Rub face. 



The voice is scratchy, but familiar.


"Yeah.  Hi Lover.  I have a favor to ask..."

And so it begins.  Dev's voice is shredded.  Sore throat.  Some sort of flu or virus.  A favor for Devika.

"Can you pick up Melo?  You'll need a car because he has our backpacks stashed in a Honda somewhere."

Jail.  Some shit I never think too much about.  It's another world to me.  And not my world.  Plus, Melo gets locked up periodically.  This is not odd.  But Dev is sick.  And I love Dev.

"Of course.  What time?"

Division of labor.  Dev is in her tent at the park with a fever.  Totally sick and without Melo.  At this point, Kym and I debate over who needs who.  Dev is crazy.  But maybe Melo is crazier.  Maybe.  Kym will take the Muni down to the park and get Dev.  Only Kym can bully Dev into leaving her tent to go to the free clinic for her throat.  I'll use Kym's car to pick up Melo and their stuff.  Jason will sit here and play video games.

"Hey!  Leave me out of this one!" laughs Jason.  "I told you I'm taking today off to finish Super Metroid!" 


The entrance of the jail is a fortified place where safety and police presence keep everything orderly.  At least you would think that.  I flick my smoke into traffic and walk past a huge black man pissing against the building.  I wait for cops to come out and beat his ass.  But nothing happens.  Either the cameras are fake or the cops don't care a dude is pissing on their house.  I look at my watch because Melo was supposed to be out an hour ago.  Man, I wish I had a beer.  Then he walks out the door, sees me and grins.

"Just you?" Melo asks.



"Sick.  Kym went to get her at the park."

"Good" nods Melo smiling and looking at me sideways.  "I need a favor, dude."

"Anything" I respond automatically.  I mean, hell it's Melo.  This is a man that once fought two guys who were kicking my ass outside of Slims.  As long as I live, I'll never forget how good it felt to look up and see Melo walking up the street.  He pulled his t-shirt off while still smoking and never broke his stride.  My attackers froze as he walked up bare chested and started punching.    

It's Melo.  He needs a favor.  What could possibly go wrong?


"You ok?"

I look up at Melo but he's not looking at me.  His hawk eyes study my hand.  Though we are warm and aptly clothed for this climate, I realize I am shaking uncontrollably.  So I ash my cigarette, inhale deeply and nod.

"Yeah," I answer.  "I'm good."

He studies me and sees my soul beneath the silly, punk fashions.  Melo possesses the power to see the world for what it is.  He knows I'm lying.  That I am definitely not ok.  That was some totally fucked up, not normal, crazy ass shit.  But Melo merely nods and goes back to his taco.

"Damn, these are good.  I get tired of jail bologna and cheese real fast.  Hey look, man" he says evenly.  "That was just part of the game.  Wouldn't have had to happen if he never mentioned Dev to the cops.  But he did.  So fuck him."

"No worries," I nod to Melo and pick up my beer.  It seems like the manly thing to do.  Besides, I have no appetite for lunch.  But Melo eats like an apex predator.  This world is his carcass.  A carnitas taco, a carne asada torta, rice, beans and a pitcher of Dos Equis.

I may not be good at punching people or getting punched, but I can drink a beer.  I suck it down as Melo watches.  He smiles slightly and I feel silly.  This man killed people in a war that doesn't even make the news anymore.  And me?  Some soft, suburban kid who saw some shit this morning.  


Friends.  You need friends in this life.  So I follow directions to a dead end alley.  Melo gets out, uses a key and opens a nondescript, white Honda sedan's trunk.  He takes out four backpacks and loads three into Kym's trunk and brings one inside.  Then he guides me to one of the city public housing projects.  As I drive through unfamiliar streets, Melo digs around the backpack.

"Here man" he says passing me some nickel bags.  "Some powder H from Florida, good shit.  The yellow bag is pure MDMA for Kym.  I have some liquid acid with Dev you gotta try too.  Ok, park up there.  Behind that Lincoln.  But turn around.  Yup, back it in.  Cool."

My mind grasps with the sudden boon of free shit.  Why?  Probably not good when your homeless, tent dwelling friend who just got out of jail, tells you to park facing the street and hands you a couple hundred dollars worth of drugs.  But I flip Kym's car and back it into the spot.  A typical gray city day, I muse.  Seagulls swirl in the sky above the street.  Then I look over at Melo who is quietly engrossed with something in his hands.  I hear a sharp click.  A black handgun constructed out of plastic.  Ok...  

"Insurance" says Melo sliding it into his jacket.  "But don't worry.  This will be easy..."

Friends.  We blindly follow our hearts.  I trail behind Melo who looks around and leads me to one of the numerous, cloned public, housing buildings.

"Just knock and ask for Omar.  When he asks who you are, say Tio sent you here."

I could ask Why?  But would that matter?  It's like the Universe shoved me here.  I walk up the stairs and knock on the door.  After a moment someone shouts, "Yeah?"

"Looking for Omar" I say while Melo squares his back against the wall to avoid being seen through the peephole.  I can't help but notice Melo slipping a chunk of rebar into his fist.  

"Who are you, man?"

"Theo sent me" I answer.

"Tio" whispers Melo.

"Theo?!  Man who-"

"Uh, Tio!"

I hear latches being released, chains being withdrawn.  The door opens.  

"Step back" advises Melo.  I stand aside as the door opens.  A Mexican guy I never saw before stands there in a Rage Against the Machine t-shirt.  He stares me down.

"Who the fuck are-" he starts.

Melo appears.  He punches the man three times in the face so fast he has to lunge inside to get in the last blow.

"I got you!" yells Melo.  "You one-two motherfucker!"

An aluminum baseball bat squirts out of the man's hands as he stumbles backwards from the heavy, iron blows.  I stand paralyzed by the doorframe as Melo storms inside.  Melo yells something in Spanish and then viciously kicks the guy in the face.  A crunchy, grinding sound.  

"It's not what you thinHoomph!"

But the words are cut off as Melo drops a knee into his chest and straddles the helpless man.  Melo cracks him three more times while yelling, "RAT!  MOTHER!  FUCKER!" 
 Then he shoves a forearm into the man's throat.  In bold, black gangster cursive is a tattoo that reads, 'I am the Darkness'.  The man gasps but no longer struggles.  He just lays there.  Melo pulls out the gun.  This forearm reads, 'I am Death'.  Jesus.  My body urges me to RUN!  But I just stand there like a fool watching the train scream towards me.  I'm from the fucking suburbs.  I am totally tripping out.  Melo turns around and looks at me.  Dead eyes.  

"Go back to the car" he says calmly. "Start it."

"Yeah" I say as the spell breaks.  "Ok."

I turn and walk down the stairs.  When I reach the sidewalk I hear, "Thorry!  I'm thorry!  Pleathe!  I'm thorry man!  C'mon!"

I walk over a stained and cracked sidewalk.  Still a gray day in the city.  Traffic.  People.  I walk to the car and unlock it.  Looking up, I see Melo guided me into a handicap spot.  Beneath the wheelchair symbol is a familiar graffiti tag I see all over the Mission and Tenderloin: DevL.  I get inside and start the engine.  Should I leave?  Yes! says the sensible bit still left inside me.  When I met Melo, I didn't know that was a nickname for Michelangelo.  I thought his name was Mellow because he was so mellow.  But there were hints.  The Gulf War for one.  Plus the man clearly has a vision of right and wrong.  All the park kids know you don't want to be on Melo's wrong side.  Naively, I always thought the park peace was Dev's doing.  

But in my defense, Melo has always acted mellow.  Party fist fights, asshole bouncers, Kym throwing bottles at people.  This never phased him.  I've seen Jason lose it a few times.  I've seen Kym lose it a lot.  But when Melo dropped his knee on that man's chest and shoved the gun in his face, I thought, This is it.

I look around, turn down the stereo, and think of lighting a cigarette or snorting the heroin.  Nope.  Not enough time.  Keep your hands on the steering wheel, foot on the gas.  What is going on back there?  No fucking way.  I won't be a part of this...then I see Melo.  He casually walks back to the car.  No expression, no hurry.  He opens the door and tosses a McDonald's bag on the floor.  I can see blood sprayed across the corporate logo.  Melo smiles at me.  He looks sleepy.  He looks mellow.  He takes off his Oakland Raider's cap and smooths his greasy ponytail.  He looks over at me and casually asks, "You gotta light?  They pulled my matches at the station."

It's Tuesday in the city of San Francisco.  Just another day.