Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oatmeal at the Shelter

The River Street Shelter serves oatmeal in the morning if Steve can reign in his crank addiction long enough to put the water on to boil. The junkies and hippie deserters begin to line up around 7am for the 8am feeding. What else are they going to do?
“Anyone holding?”
“You crazy?”
“Go to the show last night?”
“I’m so hungry. They got milk today?”
“Milk? Doubt it.”
“Milk’s been pasteurized. You’d be better off eating rat shit.”
“You a doctor? Who tells you all that?”
“They was playing blues. Rock. Weed was smoking.”
“I got bit by a rat last night. Fucker was a foot long. Looked at me after he bit me like, ‘What you gonna do about it?’ I hit him with boot.”
“Milk is good. You didn’t suck on your mama’s tit when you was a baby?”
“That’s breast milk. Milk in a box is like paint. No nutritional value.”
“Bullshit. Milk is what keeps your bones from breaking.”
“Anyone got a cigarette?”
“What you wanna trade?”
“I’ll hit you back later.”
“Here. Roll your own.”
“Milk don’t serve no purpose after you’re three years old. It’s a myth.”
“This breakfast is a myth. Steve was up all night chasing rats.”
“Rats? He was chasing ghosts. That dude hasn’t slept in two weeks. You see his eyes?”
“I got bit by a rat. He bit me on the hand.”
“He’s tweaking hard. I hung with him in Soledad. He’s a bad ass.”
“What cell block?”
“I was in A.”
“You know Fenster?”
“I know Fenster. I was dating his sister in San Jose.”
“No shit?”
“Them rats kept coming and coming. I build walls with the picnic table but they found a way under them. Hope I don’t get the rabies.”
“Milk is just white water.”
“Up all night fighting rats. Ain’t that the shit?”
“Me and Steve and Fenster kicked this one dude’s ass for stealing cigarettes.”
“Gotta watch who you fuck with.”
“Fucked his shit up.”
“There was this one great big rat who walked with a limp…”
“Milk is the second worst thing you can put in your body.”
“What’s the first?”
“You hear about Isabelle’s mom?”
“Mary The Whore?”
“Yeah. She stabbed this one dude with a switchblade.”
“He got what he deserved. That tramp is T.R.U.B.L.”
“I heard it was her boyfriend.”
“That rat limped over to me and I beat him back with broom handle.”
“Where is Isabelle?”
“They staying over in the crack hotel.”
“Her and Isabelle?”
“And that hippy dude who used to live in the forest. That long haired freak with the torn overalls and the bicycle…”
“…and the juggling pins.”
“Yeah, him. Oggy. I was out there smoking weed and saw that dude like planting corn or something. By the golf course.”
“That ain’t nothing. There’s this one cat who lives way out near boulder creek, lives in a cave. Does yoga.”
“Oggy’s always talking about him. Abe is his name.”
“Right. Abe. Craziest motherfucker in the world.”
“But them rats, there were hundreds of ‘em and they come out at night. It was like Vietnam with them yellow fucking eyes coming at me in the dark.”
“Oggy walks out to that cave and does Yoga every few weeks. Before he hooked up with Isabelle.”
“He’s schizoid.”
“Naw. He’s bipolar.”
“Paranoid delusional. I saw his chart in the office.”
“Probably all three. Ha!”
“I killed the little rats, the weak ones, but the big ones fought back.”
“So they all living over in the crack hotel smoking crank?”
“Oggy don’t even drink.”
“What? He doesn’t drink? What the fuck?”
“Nope. He said it was a stimulant.”
“No shit. That's the whole point.”
"Milk turns sour in your belly."
“It didn’t bite me too deep. Do you think it’ll give me rabies if the teeth didn’t go in deep?”
“So why the fuck is he with two crack whores?”
“Beats me.”
“Because he’s schizoid. He thinks they're gypsies. He was planting corn out by the railroad track. Singing Sound of Music. He don't know what century it is.”
“Gypsies? Yeah, gypsies who fuck for a living. Har har.”
“I gotta build a barricade out of sheet metal to keep ‘em off my chest. Didn't sleep at all. Real tired of fightin' rats all night.”
“Here comes the oatmeal. I hope they got milk.”


hardworker said...

This is the easiest way for me to read about santa cruz

Oggy Bleacher said...

It's the easiest way for me to write about it but who will read 300 pages of dialogue? I'm trying everything I can to find a way to tell this story and this is the most amusing approach. So what do I do? Help me.

hardworker said...

Try a chunk of dialogue like that, a moment captured in time, then a paragraph of no dialogue, not in first person, just describing what the place looks like, smells like, no human activity, just what is there.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.