Saturday, September 10, 2011


Dropped Sangha off at the airsoft/paintball field next to Nimitz Highway this morning for a birthday party of Air Soft wars with friends.  The underside of Nimitz, a raised highway next to the airport, is a small subcity of the homeless, men pushing carts, piles of old strollers, tarps, tents.  When I leave, I follow this city into town; Ala Moana Beach Park is at least two cities, this one and the one the tourists wander through, a third city being the one residents barbeque in on holidays, weekends.  I haven't seen him in some time, but a white vet with a battered sign marking in crooked letters his hunger and joblessness, walks beside my car when I take Sangha home some days.  He limps heavily, carries a paunch, a wide gaze in his eyes.  Other men come there to sit, drink, walk, stare. The freeway above offers a roof to this misery.

The mother of the boy-with-the-birthday and I were talking to the owner of the Airsoft place. She looked hardly older than her son, had tattoos on her arms, legs.  He was a heavy set Asian guy, seated at a metal picnic bench smoking a cigarette, demanding that his young male helpers bring him the radio (the Warriors are playing this morning--no bring him the radio with the right station on!)  That's why no one will be coming this morning; everybody's listening to the game.  A woman approaches through the parking lot.  Asian, running pants, no shoes (over the gravel), gap between pants and shirt etched with dirt, matted hair.  She wanted him to call the cops, the sheriff, she wanted him to call.  "I'm calling," he said, as he held his phone.  "But you're leaving now."  And then: "take your damn pipe and stick it in your ear!"

"Is there lots of meth use down here?" I ask.  "Was," he said.  "Cops can't deal, so I got private security."  They don't go by the rules.  They do what they have to do.  "Cleared them all out of this place, the chronics."  Gotta do what you gotta do. 

"She said she'd been attacked by a werewolf," the owner said.  One of his helpers grinned.   

"How long have you been here?" asks Sangha's friend of the owner.  "Since 2001," he answers.

At the last week of Borders going out of business sales (all around bookshelves, computers were getting hauled out), two elderly Asian women and an elderly white man huddled around one of the tables.  One woman was leafing through a book that looked more like a game inside a large box, adorned with the American flag.  It was a Sarah Palin package.  I couldn't hear what they were saying, drifted away.  "No one knew it was going to happen," the clerk told me.  "It's no one's fault."

Assignment: Compose the incident that comes between these two incidents.  Make sure it's structured like a bridge, like the highway over Nimitz, the one that takes us to the airport when we leave.

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