The Café Comas

Folder: 
Hallelujah

 

CHAPTER 1 


     Strolling along the sideroads of a bustling downtown, one's attraction is occassionally met by vagabonds, else gypsys. Instantly you find yourself commingling with a particular who's quite satisfied upon the sequential spout of biblical verses, bethinking us mormons that have approached to preach sitting easy besides. One commits to these lowly open-air philosophies with little real apprehension, because they be soothing in their simplicity. This man proceeds to actually gift a biblical text, too the exchange of phone-numbers was found. Not much was said other than smalltown smalltalk.

 

     Friendliness always virtue, the person I prior was perusing the streets with we continue making our endeavors to either meaningless but sociable meandering, a café, a film, or the like, possibly stopping to visit some shops andd heartily empathize chatting all awhile. The coffee in that town was good. The cafés, I mean, were fine cafés with respectable ambience.

 

     Sam and I had rode our bicycles downtown to have a cathardic day together. Biking is the best, especially when one has a partner it makes it fun. So when it was time to arrange the next endeavors to be quite the same, and go our separate ways, he pedalled trailing me to my crossroads and then we separated. This is how it went for some time, even when I got a gig working as a dishwasher part-time at a tiny, authentic Thai resturaunt.

 

     The Thai resturaunt had a heavy kitchen whereupon hundreds of heavy wok-pots I scrubbed by hand, and put plates through ancient machinery. And while I returned the clean commodities to collection, then judgingly I carried any dirty pilings backwards to enjoy washing again. I also connected all awhile the a-peeling a-chopping of both carrots or onions, plus the procession for coconut milk.

 

     Though the job was difficult in keeping pace, it was also pleasantly family-owned, and there was Mint O beautiful motherly girl thus the apple of my eye–that Thai sweetheart who smiled at me so. Needless to say, the opening of coconut milk itself reminded me of her. And she cooked the most delicious curry to perfection that–who would have it–contained mint in it, as well as the milk.

 

     The single phrase I learned in Thai during my time spent working there was "La wang" which Bill, one of the resturaunt's men, said translates to "Be careful" in english. Therefore I did strut upon those tile floors chanting "La wang, la wang, la wang" in order to deliver everything washed.

 

     During this time it was hard to be awake. It as hard to get myself up in mornings, at any notion, to ride to work, for I was very nervously about a bunch of visions and thoughts that perpetually happen. But alas, it all went rather well by time. Its a grand thing to have a mother who truly cares for her children and, although confusion might occur, tries to give them the best living perception possible. I have such a mom, a still I struggled immensely to figure how to get about existence, to be loving in as peaceful a way possible. She is the guiding light all through every bit of dispassion or falsity that may manifest.


     Now since I was a bit of a lonesone person, and my single mother and siblings and I had just moved to this place, indeed i went a-looking for new friendships. My tact in doing thus was to roam the streets that were full of homelessness wanting a beer to share with one of these, or perhaps frequenting them simple tidings like Hello or God bless you toward each. 

 

     Brandon, as one of those prominent fellows, I gave a few cigarrettes to now-and-then and typically would stop for one to chat with, on my way to hard work. He had his daughter visiting town and he also had some health problems. We spake shortly and I remember being very entertained by the antics it takes just sitting with a sign and greeting people kindly as a beggar. As it would turn out, he was rather well-loved on that street-corner. Fresh food and spare change daily came his way from all the weaalthy and humble inhabitants.

     

     So I worked hard and what not, beginning to become bored of tampered youth and irritated, went to therapy, got some pills, and only practiced small amounts of yoga, for I had had some vcation at a monastery not very long ago.

     

     Oh speaking of the reasons forgiving therapy: it was mostly related toward the timidity and fear that arose through having such constant nightmares, the visions the thoughts. A specific example of its prophecy though, for actually one of those inklings almost instantly became real: methink, Rats will apear within this squabble of a resturaunt, and there they did appear, nearly the next day too. I got through my days anyway and alway with a mantra. Remembering Om Amrite Swarai Namaha. Those rats were combatted with traps of cheese so nonchalantly, as if they were sequent of expectation.

 

CHAPTER 2


     Committing to the streets is easier than it might seem, for the most part; tis just nearly the same as living in a structure, except busier about spirituality and in effect physically keeping well. Sanity or clarity of mind always pursuit, that one is wakefully dwelling amidst certain plus natural action. What is real here? One thinks many things, in and without knowing, but it never completely ties together. Mind you, the merit of the future's reflection withal inevitably become bits and bits more sensical dimensionally.


     To be placed in homeless labor, despite every passerby's not-be-known will as inividuals, we be working among much needless commune perhaps toward completing this labor. The labor, in my instance the labor twas carrying a dozen pounds of aluminum cans and plastic bottles that was all slung over the shoulder, and also, to acquire these, diving into a plethora of the city's dumpsters throughout the span of a marathon every day and waking at 5 A.M. underneath dense foliage that had big thorns throughout, to begin.


     The dwelling-place was inherited by and alongside my present partner in these matters. Twas across a very wide highway that, in order to get there, we needed to run across it early mornings plus typically midnight for either the full day of mentioned work else sleep, getting across very meticulously so as never to become roadkill. Twas terribly claustrophobic, that place, but the tree that had hid us from our neighboring orchard, fire-station, and occasionally flying drones– the tree was really pretty. All the clutter, though, of my partner's collections, made it quite an uncomfortable living-place I dare say. With the fire-station and the drones in mind, lighting a cigarrette at nighttime there means we must go under a blanket thus; while puffing our faggots we held one of the day's tin-cans around the burning end to avoid any and all shining light so that that spot wouldn't be discovered by others. Sleeping at once proved extremely difficult, for the mattress was on quite a slant actually, but when the days became tiresome and I began to drink enough alcohal, soon falling asleep was okay.


     This man, Munch, was almost triple my age; very spry and child-like, though, was he. Anyways I am sure we are all here unconsciously searching for some kind of Guru, dispeller of darkness. I know that was my journey, through youth especially. In scripture it says to be careful of the false prophets, or sinners yet, and it seems to me that everyone met is essentially one of these; that we ourselves through thought and contemplation, art already with God-realization.


     I took up drinking rather profusely. I enjoyed the long, lovely walks and excercise drunk in such an arduous world, such setting laborious in an almighty sun. During the drinking, and everything here methink, I also took up a lot of suddden changes, whether I knew it or not; and my mother begot worrisome about my strange want in this friendship plus my endeavors and notions of homelessness. Hence the pills, but those were going for awhile anyways.


     Meanwhile Munch and I spent our lives freely intrigued. After getting downtown again after the trip back from making our well-earned money, we did perch ourselves as specters upon what I coined as "The Divvy." We started to take a break to drink the dream. The Divvy was a perfect peripheral divided inlet in the stonewalls of a church, with a tree behind as one would sit, facing the street. The Divvy was our embodying a very divinely active shrine, because the college community utilized those sidewalks in abundance energetically. Truly it was the grandest place for all observation, contemplation, and commingling with other fellows. O and awaiting the occassional alms.


     So people passed by in front of us, and we drank our cheap wine and vodka and beer, nibbling some fresh treats we found in dumpsters throughout the day perhaps. O pizza. Munch was very probably the friendliest stranger upon this whole broad earth, methought, because he did indeed yell fullhearted niceties to basically all the folks a-walking down and up that rampant, slanted sidewalk. "Lovely dress, Miss!" was the more common I remember best. I timid, but cunning in gaze, I however relaxed silently during this business with others just a-letting old Munch annoint those few fast friends; and since it was good, drank up our provisions.


     Look, an arrangement of pretty ladies all strutting heels home after visiting a bar. Look the young college boys are angsty today and gesticulate themselves about whimsical, chatting to one another. Compassionate, look, elders by the plenty seeming to want nothing else but the impunity of a small stroll or excercise only in their age. 


     Speaking of our elders. At The Divvy, we had partook the acquaintence of an old English gentleman called David. His accent was beautiful, despite those wise wrinkles upon the face; and like Munch, he too had white hair, though Munch's hair was rather curly and wily itself. David, as a rightchoues, wealthy and refined man who walked a lot because his doctor deemed it good, came by us almost daily, bringing smiles, lovely company, five to twenty dollars, and even a fresh carrot-muffin all on occasion. He used a cane, by the by, and we were often able to know he was in the vicinity for he'd step about ever so slowly besides elaborating his old gloomy cane despite everything else


     "It's David!" Munch would shout from across the street. O David would respond with the elegant anticipatory confidence–for he likely chose precisely our familiar schedule to stroll–of well-aged English royalty though subtle, and yell, "Don't you move, I'll be back!" And indeed he did return, bringing fresh comminglings plus usually grand alms.

     

     "How are you boys today?" asked he.

     

     "Oh we're just fine. We're just doing our work. Tis absolutely beautiful to be out of doors," said munch.

 

     I felt I should simply allow for these older folks to get along themselves, respectably uninterruptive was I, taking glugs of a Volcano meanwhile. A Volcano which means only pouring water in over some vodka so as to expand the already existing alcohol in the drink. Apparently tis far potent, and tis easier in drinkling anyways.

 

     David always appeared to compel his wits toward me, because although in talking with Munch, David would, as it seemed, use me as a not-to-distant microphone or camera, and silent vestibule therefore. Presently he actually does speak to me, however, as a sort of warning and introductory to the daunting dances of the street. He speaks in that wonderful English thus, "I know there was a one, a young sprout, who got his nose completely cut off by a villian, down by the traintracks."

 

     I nodded my head with not much minding it, nethinking the merits of scary storytelling only.

 

     "This place is a nightmare," Munch chimed in. "We stay out of all that. We just go about our working, avoiding everyone, avoiding every bum in this damned city."

 

     Which was true, but he had begotten, as it happens, a few street-friends during his own time being a bum. These were Michael, a Mexican-Indian who wore suspenders, had rather wretched teeth, long black hair, and who was deemed a womaanizer by Munch; also Johnny, only a quiet guy with a sense of humor; and Thor, quite the slim democrat who seemed always on an angry tangent who we met with typically the same times at Replanet.  Michael then was the most prominent friend. Michael got his own flow of money, was homeless by choice, and hurrah bought beers for us to drink handsomely at a park. Also I eventually introduced Brandon, who surprisingly wasn't known by Munch, despite both being stuck in town awhile now. Everyone else apart from these, except the frequented tidings, we considered enemies.

 

CHAPTER 3


     Since we then had a blossoming partnership, Munch and myself, we certainly were able to make manifestly more dollars than when he was doing all this alone, in effect of being capable to move quicker through each dumpster scattered withal the city, and to carry all the more cans and bottles, sometimes alternating tasks. Previously twas quite a cross for himself to carry. Even with a bunch of heavy hoarding roamed he, inasmuch utilizing woven shopping-bags to accumulate needless linen and food. I preached therefore a bit toward conscious minimalism, to make living far smoother, and twas reciprocated.

 

     We walked speedy marathons. It was purest relief to finally empty our hands of burdensome big recycling-bags every day, forgetting the trouble and the clutter, after separating what we'd collected into their rightful bins, for small dollars exchanged by reciept from either Anna, Noelle, or Angel of the business and then the Target cashiers. Twenty-two dollars for about seventeen pounds of recyclables was the best number. Finishing, this is when we began our journey backwards to get downtown which was on the way home, and back to The Divvy for a rest all over again. We stopped at usual places where we bought our liquor and smokes upon the pathway.

 

     Silent strollers of hot midday liveliness breathing the perimeters of the town basking it all, indeed we stopped at the nearby pond forgiving our procession's settling. We had the vodka already, the beer, and thus we wondered at birds–cranes no less–as we did stand in a little grassy patch aside the sidewalk– I liked to sit and dangle my legs feebly, too, upon the elevated concrete wall of a storm-drain bridge that had decaying wooden banisters. We mixed a Volcano, half cheap vodka & half water, and communed plenty patient vibrations, for the ducks came soon and, when we tossed bread, their flock quacked while waddling through tall grass– all upon a shore of that pretty pond.

 

     We took long draws of the Volcano and chased it with cold, strong beer, trading the sequent beverages in repetition, sipping chances with each. When we were satisfactorily buzzed enough, and when time marked it night that we should head to The Divvy ere to sit someplace other for awhile, we puffed plus pontificated upon the last patient cigar and left the ducks to their own digestion.

 

     The monotony of such distant, rural walks, paired with being frugally slim, every sweet footstep art unconsciously paired by the forgoing sweet footsteps. One knows nothing at all to really consider. No thoughts happen. I guess this rare pleasure comes from good work, and things just seemingly naturalize. One senses nothing except whomsover be in the vicissitude, O maybe the steady little drunkenness of alcohol. All this creates a kind of mindless ether through the vacuum time and space. Everything lovely because ain't a thought nor a thing to distract destiny's peaceful meander like specters not at all walking, rather floating, through eternity.

 

     Sometimes, in order to arrive downtown again, we took a special pathway that had splendid whitewash fence. Firstly, to find the entryway of the place, walking after a job a few miles was necessary, and then the pathway itself was maybe two miles and had a good, steep hill. It surrounded a fair pasture whereupon cows did graze. The tall grass was beamingly green. The dozen or so cows alway stayed about center of the pasture. They pronounced guttural Moooooo during our vistation quite close and loud enough to be heard vividly, so. They stayed near the center, methink, because that was where the shade of a big boughing harmony of cacti was erect– the kind of spikey oval-shaped bunching plethora that bears similarly shaped spherical fruit like rubies. O needless to say twas a pleasant path to trod, especially during summertime; although sometimes the wind was overwhelming enough.

 

     Having reached the peak of the big hill, we lit a cigarrette to enjoy the scenery. It was about noon or so. Small mountains of colorful stony rubble took the horizon. Scanning the landscape, other than the cows, you also see an estate cottage probably belonging to the family of the land, herdsman, cows. Munch held his cigarrettes high; if one indeed was to make a portrait of him smoking, the cigarrette would be included inside the frame always by his face. "How goes it?" said he, smoking. "Do you think you'll stick in this business and help me for awhile?" He eventually handed me the cigarrette, which I had been eyeballing impatiently.

 

     "Yea, but some resting time occassionally at my own mom's home would be grand. This whole thing surely takes patience to adapt," I said. "I am still dishwasher tomorrow. Maybe I go home for the rest of the day and and sleep thither tonight? After my work tomorrow then we could rekindle at The Divvy?" I smoked.

 

     "That's fine," said he. "Wanna go to a café first and relax? We've got plenty of money, thanks to your help."

 

     I agreed, granting him the last puffs of the cigarrette. He savored it, then he bent his body so as to drag the smolder out upon the asphalt, then he put its end in his pocket. 

 

     Therefore, we disembarked the serene landmark toward our café of choice. The café we chose to sip coffee was named Lucille’s. In order to get there, it means to go down the hill, under a bridge, and have some strides through the beginning of the downtown and arriving at its meridian. It was a place that Sam had introduced me to during those other strolls in the dense parts downtown. There were many cafés, but Lucille’s was my favorite because it had a piano inside plus nice patios which reminded me of a French afternoon. It also had a setting shaded by trees and foliage which did attract dainty birds all chirping. This is where we really relaxed.

 

     Remembering that Munch and Sam were acquainted, and since Sam introduced me to this café, I decided to call Sam so that we could all socialize together. Sam appeared and offered to buy our party all coffee. I asked for a latté and it was delicious, as it was, too, with random mug the shop had probably accumulated as china through time. Sam ordered that slow drip coffee, and presently I would love to try it; but seeing that the drip coffee was the most expensive to buy for what reason, I never indulged there. Munch just got his coffee black, and added cream and sugar at a table when he received his the quickest of course. The black coffee was only fifty cents for a refill.

 

     I had a life in common with Sam, and we quickly found that we were in therapy for essentially the same reasons. While waiting for our beverages he wanted to play the piano, and so he did; unheard although by Munch and me because the place was busy and we were on the back patio while he played inside. I owe he was probably pretty good. Sam came back in from a short practice, and then I reckoned we should go in to see if our drinks were served. The latté was ready and I thanked them, but Sam still needed to wait for the drip. He explained that drip coffees are expensive forgiven it’s a very slow and tedious process. I wondered whether if it’s the same as simple black coffee. He said no, there’s more to it than that.

 

     Sam’s drip was called, he thanked them, and we took them back to the patio to sit again with Munch. We talked very nicely in the warm sun. I remember Sam being a sort of natural brother and we got along very splendidly. Old Munch showed us a black-and-white picture of his mother. What a stunning woman. He recalled that his mother died in his very own arms. All of us were wearing sunglasses, and being ourselves, and other people at other tables were doing the same. Munch also spoke about being a professional dancer and he taught me the Irish Jig eventually among other dances but an Irish Jig was my favorite. We said cheers and sipped our coffee slow because it was gourmet stuff. Having soon finished, it was time to separate.

 

     When I went outside to where my bike had been locked up the day previous, I realized that the chain had been cut and the bike stolen. I didn’t complain. My work was walking distance, so it ain’t a problem. Anyway Sam offered to give me a ride home in his car and I thanked him. We gave good tidings to Munch and all went our ways.

 

CHAPTER 4


     My mother wasn't home yet. I was home now and I said hello to the kitties. Misty was a gray and white pretty kitty with long fine hair, her eyes emeralds. Spartan was an orange-striped tabby cat with bright saffron eyes. They were healthy cats even in their age. They kept me pleasant company by meowing everywhere in the home. They both did love a good petting for it sheds their hair. Methinks I practiced a few yoga postures in the silence and soon fell asleep being really tired from the streets and having no sleep outside for a night.

 

     When my Mom roused me from sleep twas already the next morning. The remainder of yesterday had passed and a full night as well. My Mom left me to sleep then, I pondered. Perhaps twas adjusting to new meds that made me sleep so, in addition of course to the time spent out of doors.

 

     “Where’s your bike?” she had asked me.

 

     “O, no worries, but apparently someone stole it. The chain was cut and the bike gone. Sorry Ma,” said I.

 

     She appeared disappointed. “That’s fine. I guess your bound to walk to-and-fro work, then. Unless you’d rather I drive you today. My own schedule is clear so that I can drive you today.”

 

     I cast my sheets off and stood in my room. “Well that’d be grand. Thanks. Do you happen to want any breakfast, Ma? I’ll make some eggs and toast.”

 

     In the kitchen coffee was brewed already and I poured myself a cup, drank it fast, then began frying three eggs over-medium upon the stove, toasting bread all awhile. I flipped the eggs just perfectly, the bread sprang up out of the toaster toasted well, and after I buttered the bread I turned the stove off and served it all the Ghost with another cup of coffee. I sat and said grace and ate casually, dipping the toast in the yellow yolk. I had the last bite and then I washed the plates. While I was washing them Ama inquired how I’ve been the past few days what I’ve been doing.

 

     “I’m worried about you Baby. This whole thing makes me so unsettled. Why don’t you try to find normal friends nearer your age?”


  We didn’t have a bunch of time to chat about it, besides my having nothing really to say, so I only said I needed to get ready for work, and then she could take me thither. I put on all black clothes, slip-resistant shoes, my favorite hat which was an amazing hat, a belt, tucked my shirt and looked in the mirror. I was with cool dreadlocks once, but I decided to cut my hair–have my head shaved bald no less–when we made the move happen. I thought about a fresh start. Skinny kid was I, cheekbones very prominent with a bald head, a clean face, and blue eyes. I looked good.
     

     I told my mom I would be ready for work after having a smoke. So I smoked and thought about how work will be. Since still I was fairly new to work there, I did everything in my head first: Walk in through the back gate, which I had to stand on the concrete ledge of the bridge above a creek and use a stick, reaching around the other side of the gate and pushing down the latch with the stave, to open. I had to go in through the back because they didn’t open the front until noon. The patio was elegant enough, with tables and trees, so I’d smoke my last cigarette prior the laborious things.

 

     Entering this small, red restaurant, the smell of incense, offered to a golden fat-bellied Buddha, filled the air. That Buddha statue surely has always the inviting aspect for the eater’s comfort, like to say that this Buddha was the fattest man ever and still people worship him as incarnation and sculpt golden statues of his fat belly; so eat, people, eat our food happy, and please come again!

 

     I walked on a rug down a certain decision, for after entering the backdoor there is either a few stairs to descend to the setting else a long, slim decline down a rug only to be used by the employees. I always utilized the latter according that it felt natural. Then came the hellos and good mornings. I hearty pronounced goodness to all my friends. But get back there to the kitchen, dear servant, and bring all those bins full of plates with you, and start cleaning. Woe, would you look at all those piles!

 

     I have not a few things to do firstly. I have to say hello to my kitchen-fellows on my way to the refrigerator. I have to make my deliveries. The day’s cooked tofu which I readied and the carried metal tubs of them each in one hand to the kitchen at once. A metal pail of chopped carrots I need to like shovel ready into a metal pail and bring that to the kitchen, after adding water, in one hand plus a colorful bit of plastic pail which I filled with beansprouts in the other. A huge plastic pail of noodles lastly adding water and setting it in the farthest corner of cooking. It all very consciously sequential and needs to be rather fast if one expects to do well with the plates and big wok-pots processions, plus prepping of hundred carrots and onions, and that opening thirty coconut milks with a can-opener by hand.

 
     During these steps in action, Bill, the head-chef, smiled happy smiles through the opening in the wall where the food was placed and called ready. As it so happens, he was wearing a shirt which said the words “I’m happy” on it and a smiling face too. 

 

     “Good morning, Bill!” I’d say through the way, bending slightly to see his face glimmered in satisfaction. “How are you today?”

 

     “I’m happy,” he brimming said, gesturing to the shirt. “We love you. We ah very happy you work here. You do good job.”

 

     Mint would smile upon her stool when he spoke these things. She giggled silently while she was to begin her work as a prep-person that made diligent all the vegetables. She also cooked all the curries but Bill handled the other dishes, like pad thai and fried rice, with the wok-pots. Mary was an old strict woman, who was the person who otherwise utilized the wok-pots. I thought Mary was the owner when I had first walked in the place for a job.

 

     Ain’t no time to waste–I’m only there for three hours–so I hastily communed myself in cleaning all the plates that had been left overnight, doing thus early so as to worry not when the restaurant began filling with eaters. 

 

     There were at least a dozen different sorts of plates. Originally twas rather difficult to memorize where they all belonged. Like a giant puzzle there was clutter of differently colored plus differently shaped plates in my dish-pit. Overwhelmingly, where on earth does this little thing belong–is it someplace over thither, or do my eyes deceive me and do these ones belong right here someplace I can hardly make out? Patience, young dishwasher, we will make things smooth for your work soon enough.

 

     My shift being done, carrying fresh yellow curry and saying good tidings and thanksgiving, as promised I hasty strutted to meddle with Munch and therefore The Divvy, to celebrate our ceremony. Awaiting his arrival, for he was hasty too just walking back from recycling after such work, and saving the curry for us to share, I sat and meditated by closing my eyes. 

 

     Those sidewalks are busy like one wouldn’t believe. People by enormous plenty perused this place which we called The Divvy, walking down and up forever. I closed my eyes and thought about how divine the curry is and how Munch would enjoy it with a lot of love. I closed my eyes and there was blackness. Soon I opened my eyes a little to see about Munch and if he was close; some other stranger rounded the corner a way down the sidewalk. I was practicing giving blessings. When he gave a good hello I said, “Hello Sir. God bless you.” He appreciated it and walked a distance past me up the street as I meditated with my eyes now watching as he left. Hallelujah, because he having decided to empty his pockets of silver coins came back and, proceeding thus, handed me all that silver. It was almost twenty dollars. Good thing, methought, for I didn’t get my money as a dishwasher until the following Tuesday.

 

     Very soon after this, Munch brought joy around that same corner. That corner came from out of the courtyard of the church. The courtyard was of big brick floors which also had cobblestone. It also had an ornate fountain with lion sculptures that spit streams of water. There was more often than not select bands that played music there upon the levelling of steps through the small town in the dark of evenings. This church was one of those that rang loud bells in nice metronome to mark every hour. In The Divvy we were kind of the even solemnity or bewildered people of parties hidden by others–unless people left and trod up the sidewalk passing where we sat. Munch finally being with me, we excitably began opening some liquor, even cracked open a fresh beer, to articulate the slow but busy time drunk and entertained.

 

     I learned how to pour the drinks from him. He brought all the drinks in a backpack he’d carry on the trips. There was always vodka, so he mixed a Volcano glancing for the freedom apart from passerby people so there was no worry of cops, and thus hiding his hands by twisting his back to face the tree, pouring it into plastic over discreet dirt and adding water. He cracked the cold beer and poured it in plastic, then allowed for the bubbles to settle before we could drink our bocks, the beer important because twas a chaser from sipping the vodka. This was a very good way to sip.

 

     Munch told me about Hell’s Gate, a harmony of the town’s homeless, all a-laying or sitting stoned on some drug by the gated bathrooms that were a part of the church’s courtyard. In order to utilize this bathroom, one must first be undistracted by these people, of course walking with undisturbed intention, so as not becoming engaged in their babbling, meaningless pursuits. They bathed in the stream that was a city attraction, the fathom of a bunch of bridges letting about its creek, the bridges marking the separation of the church’s courtyard to other things but particularly the small stream.

 
     David came by, bringing a boy my age. “Hello fellows. This is Nicolas,” he said. 
 
     “Hello boy-os!” is how Nicolas already introduced himself and also with an English accent. The way he said it was fun. He was a good-looking kid, and Munch would say that about him rather often, actually comparing Nicolas and myself. He wore the clothes of a comfortably dressed kind of tourist. What I mean is you could tell he was from another country, especially when he spoke. You’d think he was David’s grandson they were so alike, but he was not and  they were peculiar dynamo therefore, as I am sure Munch and I were too. In that effect our friendships were seemingly kindled as to looking into a warped mirror that was never really observed. Oh they just passed through in order to show their faces, so that Nicolas could be met, for immediately they gave their farewells. 
 
     “So long chaps! David here needs to walk. His doctor told us he needs to walk to stay healthy” said Nicolas as David would smile faintly about perhaps the accent which reminded him of home, and how Nicolas did strive to keep him healthy perhaps.
 
     “Oh that is very good of you to influence longevity. Okay then. Have a nice walk. Twas grand. And God bless you both,” said Munch.
 
     I was fairly silent withal. I could never seem to find the proper time to chime into conversation. I was maybe humble to the degree that I thought I had not a thing in the world worthwhile to bring into talking. I suppose twas just holding my tongue so everyone could be as gallant without myself becoming distraction for another’s pontification. I was like an invisible ghost, or observer alone.
 
     “Thank you, gentlemen. Now you stay out of trouble. Wouldn’t want him here having any trouble,” he meant me, pointedly. “Tis a dangerous thing for this young man to be doing,” David said, pointing to me. “You stay out of trouble, young man,” and he gestured to pinch my cheek like it was a little peaceful or friendly lecture and he laughed a little. And then they walked on together down the street with all its attraction and festivities.
 
CHAPTER 5 
 
     As the skies became dark, and the streetlights began to make glimmer the crystalline asphaltic streets, we drunkards reveled the community by each other ourselves, witness to everything that was offered our senses. 
 
     Munch loved my company after being alone for such time, keeping to himself years and years. He loved expressing himself now, as it seemed. “Our eyes are camera lenses, you know. Everything we see and know is a movie screen,” said he.
 
     He did speak, all awhile breaking his stream of thinking by shouting tidings to each. “Gorgeous you are, Miss.” People passed. “I love seeing people hold hands. Why don’t people hold hands anymore? People should learn to hold hands because tis a good symbol and lovely.”
 
     Why was I so silent, even though drunk was I? Methinks there was no capacity to comprehend what I was even supposed to be doing, therefore nothing that struck me worthwhile to say when a silent night is all essence of self there truly is to embody.
 
     “Maybe someone will give us money,” he said. “You know something– I escaped a fire that burned a whole city not long ago. It’s true. God burned a city down to the ground, and I survived. So now here He has me, stuck in the worst city in America. Maybe I’ll have a house again one day. I’ve been a vagabond in this world for a big lapse of time now. Once some random guy struck my head from behind and ran down the street, in the city that was burnt, and I chased him down and I said ‘If you’re going to do that why don’t you finish the job? Come back and finish the job and kill me! My time spent, I have nothing to live for!’ That’s why my neck is all stiff, you might have noticed walking.”
 
     I spoke thus, “I know yoga. Maybe we can heal thy neck some during yoga practice in the park. Tis likely the best action to do with any injury, yoga. O methinks it will prove very helpful if you’d not mind trying. And I’ve never yet done any out of doors, so it might be lovely experience anyway.”
 
     “Wonderful! We can awake tomorrow and try it at first light in the park we pass on our way to work, tomorrow morning. You are staying the night with me tonight, won’t you?” inquired he.
 
     “Aw, I don’t know. It’s very exhausting, it really is.” I took a moment considering. “Fine. I need to call my mom and say so, though, and how she is doing anyways.”
 
     So I called my mom and she just dismally said it’s okay, although that it makes her worry. She said she can’t make my decisions in life for me, so she’d give the painful alternations away like a bunch of roses that you yourself grew. Since I was older now, she ceased arguing with where my life was headed and, as one would toss up their arms, she’d say, “I don’t know.”
 
     Munch and myself made the plans and soon strolled away. There were two more rests we could take at destined ground along the path while we collect cans and bottles in dumpsters too. One was only a mile far from The Divvy that he had always called The Cross. It was called The Cross because it was a nailed crossing of two pieces of timber that reminds one of the symbol for Christ’s crucifixion. Perched up just underneath this The Cross was a big stone one could sit on and some even dirt besides. We’d throw a blanket upon the dirt so one of us could sit on the stone and one on the blanket. Anyways this place was just outside the front yard of a home, and it was a quieter place, with less people walking by, to sit or even stand perhaps. All we did was have a quick smoke, a quick chat, and quick sips of liquor. Then we kept moving toward the discomfort of his home.
 
     As we sped through the afternoon, satisfied in such long travels, from The Cross there is two different ways to travel farther through the dimming streets. We talked about which way would be better for the ambiance. I liked the quicker way, which went up steady sidewalk hills and had the architecture of a neighborhood villa that had good grass in the yards and pleasant gardens; twas this the more quietly solemn and hid path that I’d rather take, and twas the faster way methinks. The other option was to pass a lot of busy main-streets, and over a short bridge toward gas-stations and the like.
 
     Either way we walked we had eventually to pass through a very nice, big park that also had a skate-park and plenty fields. This park had an amalgamation of treacherous homeless folks and Munch therefore deemed it Death Row. Death Row actually was a spot on the outside of the playground where there is concrete picnic tables and grills. Tents of a kind of small gang were erected and people there slept every night undistracted and unquestioned. 
 
     “They think they own the damn park. Because of them, this whole place is cursed,” Munch said when we were nearing.
 
     “I reckon we go through that place silently and quickly, focusing to work,” said Munch. “We shouldn’t rustle the spirits that flow for bad tiding nor bother those wicked. Dennis who lives there is the biggest demon in this whole town; he loves to send shivers down a spine.”   
 
     We walked and drank our liquor having reached the peaks of the hills, smoking cigarettes too. We walked and saw many healthy San Pedro cacti, my favorite plant, in the gardens aside the streets. I remembered San Pedro, because I once cooked it myself to only a shot of divinity O green juice full of mescaline. So I pointed out each cactus, counting each plethora with reverence when I saw them dark and shaded in the setting sun by the walls of adobe homes all about.
 
     “Gaze, Munch, at all the San Pedro! We shall try it someday, together. I know exactly how to cook that stuff. There’s just so many in the stretch up these streets. O its glorious!” I’d say.
 
     “How do you cook that cactus?” Munch asked. “I never heard of it before you pointed them out and then said that; though I did work gardens once full of bright flowers. I learned a lot in those gardens I worked at. Which reminds me, there is a quiet garden somewhere nearby that we could sit on a bench and relax and rekindle a little before we continue all the way home.”
 
     “Oh that would be good. When we are there I’ll teach you about San Pedro,” I said.
 
 
 CHAPTER 6
 
  Finally we found Botanical Gardens, which was a modest flower garden where a girl farmer was always present and tending. The grounds were nice, and one could know the soil was good. I remember there being stalks of dandelion, Munch’s favorite flower, and a lot of bright others. Artwork made out of old furniture scattered erect; all this within the wavy whitewashed fencing that followed pathways for all specters who visited. Botanical Gardens was near a slope, which in rainy season became a creek below, and there were big trees that inhabited the small garden’s outskirts. Under one of these trees there was a dainty bench that could be sat upon to peer to the flowers and all. There was a kind of a courtyard, too, where an old picnic table decayed. Munch and I sat on the bench and were very cozy wearing jackets in the cool night.
 
  “Deem it another spot noble for yoga whensoever,” I decided to say.
 
  “Agreed upon. Ready to drink the world to waste? We could stay here as long as we want, because it’s better for it being dark so when we run home across that highway we aren’t likely discovered,” Munch said.
 
  Well, we did get drunk. We had a phone and a speaker to play music. My favorite musician Serj Tankian, I decided to invite Munch into the music I loved. I enthusiastically turned the speaker on, connected the wire through the phone, and was able to bring the beautiful Elect the Dead symphony alive in the dear gloom and coolness of the garden. I knew every word by heart and would sing all to the voice of Serj, and Munch was pretty impressed about it. Munch eventually took to being not a small Serj Tankian fan himself, me having granted my passion for the symphony.
 
  We always drank Volcanos with the cheapest vodka we could find. The cheapest vodka we could find were pints of Crystal at a time, though eventually we’d buy two liters of Brunette’s having earned a larger sum of money during a day. And when my dishwasher’s paychecks began rolling in, buying the Brunette’s became an every day thing and that means we drank all the two liters in a day. We also needed beer to chase the strong sensation vodka makes in the throat, so we usually bought two twenty-four ounce cans of 211 Steel. Munch swore by 211 Steel saying there’s a special ingredient in the beer that makes it better than any other beer ever. We spent all our money on alcohol and cigarettes, for there really wasn’t anything else to worry about having; except sometimes we would take a bus to the beach for a purifying of the mind, and going to the beach was wonderful and the beaches were really pretty and the beaches were very ideal. 
 
  I lit a cigarette, had a few puffs allowing for Munch to mix the drinks and pour them in the secret bottles which made to drink them safe from spy, then I passed the already lit cigarette to Munch. “Hallelujah, you’ve already lit a cigarette. Oh I needed that. Hallelujah,” he said because he so was intent about pouring the drinks it would seem that he knew nothing even in his peripheral elsewhere. 
 
  “Hallelujah, you’ve poured the drinks. Will you pass them please?” I said. He gave me the vodka and watched me take a draw as he smoked smirking. I handed the bottle of the Volcano to him and then he gave me the beer to chase it with; while I glugged the beer he was taking a sip of the Volcano and I readily traded him for the beer so he could chase too. I took gulps and he was a sipper, and I laughed when he wondered how our liquor provisions were gone so fast. I drank well. So he drank the beer a little and then took a drag of the smoke and handed me the smoke saying I can finish the cigarrette. I saved him the last few puffs anyways. I liked American Spirits, so that’s what we’d smoke, and they lasted for a lovely portion of time.
 
     There was a donut shop some ways up the road that we'd usually stop at for coffee if we had the money. Though this wasn't it, only one café in town gave free refills which was much farther the other direction and closer to where we dropped off all the recycling for our pay. When we reached the donut shop twas always with the setting sun, and there was a very skinny black woman that had a messy afro just across the street who sceamed, literally a shrill at her lungs' fullness, and curse everyone in their cars that were idle at redlights. Her profanities echoed for a mile and we could always hear her clearly when we approached the place by walking up a hill. She was homeless and she had a bunch of bags. We called her The Screamer. She was always there unless arrested by police for disturbing the peace or taken to a hospital.
 
     There was another homeless fellow, a fat black man in rags, who slept at the donut shop, methinks because twas open all night. Munch said he was there waiting for his chance to eat somebody, Once he had shat right outside the place and covered it with newspapers.
 
     When we walked into the café we traded who would stay in line to buy coffee and who would go to the bathroom to splash the face, rinse the hair, and become clean, looking into the handsome mirror, then whichever other vise versa. I was nervous to think about drinking the black beverage within the shop, with all the people, because my own formidable delusions; so we sipped the hot coffees outside the place where the wall of the building met a wide concrete curb which made good sitting with our backs straight on the wall. Sitting thus faces the sunset if we were part of time’s truth.
 
     Munch pointed out silhouettes of the surrounding mountains and said the city is indeed surrounded by seven volcanos, and look there is one of them. The “Seven Sisters” they are named. 
 
     This curb was another of the fairly social spots, and people offered us donuts with joyous excitability to serve; not like the alcove which is a different frequency altogether.
 
     People lived like little artists taking steps in the night, taking their time.
 
     Munch loved listening to music. He had a speaker that was found in a dumpster. You’d be amazed what you could find in the trash. Anyways, this reminded me that I have a better speaker at home which we could use, which I too found once. We’d each play a song of song, alternating. We just drank our liquor, coffee, and observed the music and silent liveliness of the people who pass. 
 
     So having finished all the beer, we had to stop at a liquor store for either a nightcap or something to savor in the morning. Munch liked this last liquor store because the people who worked there, and he had always a bit of an entertaining purchase and I believe it was the cheapest alcohol in town. He glided out of the store wrapping the beer of choice in a rag. He called a man who worked there a pterodactyl who said he could read minds. We saved the beer until we were through the neighborhood streets and up the hills toward a bench. Then we drank a little, and we were sleepy enough and ready to cross the freeway. We only puffed a little bit of a cigar. He liked the cigars cause they are cheap and we needed water too; so what he did was walk stealthily toward the spout, part of the apartment where the bench we sat upon was directly across the street. There he filled a couple big bottles with water and we were good. It’s always good to have the water.
 
     We disembarked to a crossroads for the college. We walked on a dirt path. Darkness ashroud we quickly creeped toward the fire-station, it being the landmark where we waited until the broad roads were clear from roaring traffic and it was time to scurry hightailed across by running to the shoulder safely. Once we made it–zoom–fast vehicles immediately passed us. It’s all a very intense thing to do. We walked fast and forlorn toward our dwelling’s entryway, and, being certain traffic is gone, rushed to the thicket unseen.
 
CHAPTER 7

     The first dumpsters we dived through were my favorite, because it was early enough in the morning so it was rather a peaceful practice to the mind and fresh body, and with minimal disturbance of those old echoes the wind carries. We worked quickly. Then we hiked that dirt path back to the bench to relax a little. Munch knew a girl named Mackenzie who lived in the apartments from where we got our water. He mentioned her. She was a sweet Christian girl my age. Today she came out asking if we might want a fresh breakfast on the benches. She was very sincere. She brought out beautifully cooked eggs and toast and fruit. It was just wonderful, her carrying the food on tray and paper plates while crossing the street with the lovely smile of serving us genuinely, and absolutely beaming bright. It was like being at a restaurant. Anyways, we all did the Lord’s Prayer, joining hands, and thanked her very dear. What a grand way to start a day.
 
  She walked into her apartment and let us eat. Munch said it’s better to not completely finish a meal someone serves you, to leave a few bites, so that the person serving you doesn’t believe you’re still hungry. Therefore I left a few bites of the toast. 
 
Well, Mackenzie came back to us with her pure smile, lovely, and she took everything away and gave tidings–that she has to be soon going to school. I later discovered that with the bucket and the hose there I could dunk my head in the water to wash my face and hair and to rejuvenate from hard nights. These were the best baths I’ve ever had and it felt so refreshing. I’d shake my hair dry– Yea, for it has grown–baptizing myself, and letting it drip dry as we’d go working.
 
Munch and I then proceeded to the dumpsters. We were without alcohol, dry, and until I received my check for dishwashing we won’t be drinking a lot, at least until the recycling job is done. We found a few bibles thrown away, kept one, and then we decided studying scripture would be a worthwhile addition to the crazy routine. We flipped a few pages through each day, but our best studies were acted in the mornings on that same bench we knew as Mackenzie’s bench.
 
      Well, we walked. Sometimes the route was a broader loop because we’d choose to visit a trail with fresh density of dumpsters. Particularly, with this addition in mind, there was an apartment complex which a lot of college students dwelled in, partying every chance and emptying and tossing plentiful cans. This was only one of the selfsame many opportunistic meanderings. Munch said about rich kids that they threw nice linen and we could have a fresh outfit every day if we wished or needed. Munch and I found a workable baby-stroller in the trash, and we turned to each other with the same thought.
 
“We should utilize this thing for our work,” I rejoiced.
 
We took the stroller out and unfolded it. The wheels were incredibly smooth to roll, and pleasing. We tied the bag of recycling to the handle, and the bag draped thus over the seat where the baby goes. Immediately the metaphor was witnessed. O since it was early in the day we didn’t have the noteworthy amount, until the bag became fat and I said, “I’m worried about our baby, dude. Our baby is too fat.” I said this while patting the bag with cherished satire and a grin.
 
I very appreciatively enjoyed this gift, a smooth gift of the dumpster god, and the dumpster god always  provides. And we both appreciated this gift of the stroller, because since I had a good time pushing it, Munch was able to relax and walk freely without encumbrances. He was far old, so I thought now of my service of being able to work in greater effect. Plus, we could even fill a bag big and then begin another bag which means we could bring in better dollars. It was a nice, expensive stroller, so there was room under the seat whereupon we could carry stripped jackets according to the weather, food, anything. There were cup-holders for all of our beverages too.
 
A little farther, and already we neared the necessary park. Death Row in bound, my whole being naturally was brimming anxiety. But children of the day played in the playground, and their laughter and the voices of their nurturing mothers dwindled any potential extremities of darkness. But even the kids made me squirm, for I felt so foreign in this weird world. There is a certain intensity to this whole misadventure. Just a few small trashcans and we passed through quickly and quietly. Besides, this was the first practical bathroom we could use, with a water fountain too, so this is where we’d stop for water and splashing of the face. Munch never followed my lead by bathing with the bucket at Mackenzie’s abode, so he always cleaned himself confidently in this bathroom of the questionable park. There was also the smacking noise of skateboards on concrete, and beyond that was the field we chose to do yoga. The field was energetically the most accommodating place.
 
Immediately, with this of the baby-stroller, we figured we could casually play music to bring bright grooving footsteps, all day. With the stroller I was typically following Munch, and he was amazed at finally having what is called a normal way to walk; even just by looking at him, I could tell he was  very satisfied and feeling free. I didn’t mind doing all the work because I recognized that I was young and able, and that I am doing a service anyways, and truly it was fun to surf the sidewalks with the smoothness of such a thing. And the music being played brought good and constant entertainment. 
 
CHAPTER 8
 
I was balancing a life at home, a job, and a life out dancing through the streets as a thriving bum. I wasn’t eating nearly enough, for I had small appetite, but I was sure drinking coffee and alcohol a hell of a lot. I was very skinny, hardly eating whilst a-walking a marathon a day except for the days I was cleaning a world’s worth of plates and scrubbing a lot of big metal wok-pots with the practicing intensity of an absolutely devout monk. And so young. I had my first real beard, thick on the neck and scraggly like an Amish person, which I was proud to have. I reckon I appeared always famished, but I survived by the blurriness of drinking.
 
Being able to do this– being able to return home to take a true shower and eat real food was nice, until my mom and siblings went all to Texas. I was finding a consistency, and partially enthralled with my lifestyle yet, so I decided to stay where I was despite the invitation for continuity to live with my family. I’m sure it was worrisome to my family.
 
But I was able to come home and enjoy the classic elegance of being in a home for awhile, usually during the day and evening prior to my next day as a dishwasher in Thailand. Then I’d walk to the Alcove and badda-boom, let us commence to drink and smoke and chill and observe and live. My restaurant gave me incense and curry with rice, that I took with me. They eventually even promised me food every day I came, if I so desired, because they were probably slightly aware of the implications I was embodying, and they truly cared. So I loved my work severely.
 
Having the fresh curry was wonderful, because I didn’t have to eat literal trash else eventually starve. Sometimes we were offered weed from people who were possibly entertained by our spectacle, for we were like a rolling circus, especially as we accumulated colorful pom-poms to clip to the pockets of the stroller, and a hamster in a bright cage as our pet. Pungus.
 
I knew Pungus at Linnae’s, waiting for Munch to appear, drinking a coffee I bought for myself and there’s another coffee, waiting for Munch to appear. I bought the coffees with the money I earned in Thailand that day. Thailand provided cash immediately, rather than a paycheck, making it much easier and nice simply to have fast cash. Anyways, Munch approached with the stroller, and strapped to atop the armrests of the baby’s place was Pungus. 
 
He approached ecstatic. “Look what I got you!” he said smilingly. “It’s a hamster!”
 
I was a little perplexed, but accepted the strange gift nonchalantly. “Why, tell, do you have a hamster?”
 
“Well, I was a-strolling down the big road, on my way to recycling, and I heard ‘Hamster?’ yelled from out of a car. I’m like, 'Hamster? I’ll take a hamster.’ So the car parked, and a guy comes out carrying this. Now a hamster we have, and– Look!”
 
He opened the cage and pulled a fat little hamster out of the cage. 
 
“This is for you, friend. A gift. What do you want to name it?” he said, cradling it and then passing it gently to me.
 
I took the little thing and it was beige, white, and fat. “Pungus, I suppose. It’s all kind of strange,” I said, allowing the hamster to crawl from hand to hand, pretty nonchalant still. “There’s a coffee there for you, and we have curry and now guess incense.”
 
“Glory. Thank you. And Pungus, I like that name. Do you like your gift Pungus?”
 
“It’s fine. I don’t know. Good thing we have this baby-stroller. You must have the cage strapped pretty nice. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without having the stroller.” And then, “Soon to the Alcove? It’s bound to be quite a setting now. We could let Pungus out freely in the dirt of the place, and we could light some incense, drink, and eat curry.”
 
I was excited and eager to drink. The hamster was all very random. Now there’s a real baby to take care of, a living thing even in our situation. Methinks it was a little overwhelming, but I really had it all fairly nonchalant. Whatever, to the Alcove.
 
      From the café we pushed our stroller up a small street, passed the courtyard of the church with the bells, and settled into place. We parked the stroller close and parallel to the wall, a blanket was unrolled and put upon the stone, I laid the curry and rice and opened their containers, stuck a stick of incense in the dirt and lighted it, and then we collected all the beverages to put behind us in the dirt.
 
I lit a new cigarette from a fresh pack I got just after work, first because there was food and I liked to be patient with food and let it cool, so I’d rather to drink and smoke. Tis more soothing than the eating alternative when work is done and I just want relaxation. The incense smoking, the cigarette smoking, the food steaming. Ah.
 
CHAPTER 9
 
     As the days and nights rolled and passed, soon the scary season of Halloween came near. Munch preached to me all the crazy ceremonies that occur with Halloweeen. He was very elaborative what is meant by Missing Dog Missing Cat posters appearing in abundance upon pillars through town.
 
     "Another poster there. Another skinned cat, likely. Slaughtering and skinning dogs and cats, that's all it means you know. We won't let em touch Pungus though. We have a hamster to protect now."
 
     He also spoke of real witches and vampires and what not. Conscious being spurred with the thinking of how many homeless people actually dwelled here, might be that evil did exist in such a level and potentially performing these things. Anwways I believed him only a little, but still became very wary to all these tales. So i was growing timidly paranoid, but kept generally the same spirit and work routine.
 
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