Oakland by West Grand

Oakland by West Grand

In the bite-size park across from the bus station a crowd gathered around some guys giving out food. The crowd started misbehaving so the guys distributing charity yelled at them to get in line and chastised with straight up “No’s!” Drug addicts and old Asians comprised the ‘far side of charity,’ and of course the pigeons. One guy called me over and insisted I take food, and when I grabbed a banana he commanded that I take two.

Freedom Rider Buck came over to talk and introduced himself with, “You watch TV?” And then told me his story of being on the show ‘Pawn Stars’ on which he purchased a Harley (or was it an old Chrysler? He was all over the place, or it was me in the confusion, shuffling Vietnamese ladies and junkies and birds and old black dudes with dreads and ‘Food Not Bombs’ shirts, oh and Nicole the money girl.) Well, Buck’s an outlaw Christian, is in a club in the O, has ridden all the States, a Vietnam boy, and doesn’t want to go to Laughlin (?) AZ cuz “there’re Mongols down there.” I don’t know, referring to a Hell’s Angel shoot-out or something. I met his grandson, Justin, a skinny white boy, maybe about twenty-two, who’s around for an interview, but they’re both packin in the free food; no more bean hobo dinners for awhile. The old hippie hooked them up with a bottle of delicacy-green tea-kombucha-vinegar and Buck’s all, “Oh yeah! Cooking oil!”

He told me about his literal gold mine in Cedar Ridge, Sonora County, High Sierras, where he pulls about a grand a year from the mine in crystals. He said I could go live up there and just pay for the utilities but would have to live with the woman, “who’s Christian, but one of them who thinks Christ is a woman.” She had a bunch of pit-bulls but insurance company said no, so they’re out. Justin is a drummer and beat producer, and also a lyricist.

Then Nicole comes over, a plump and short black chick tough girl, clean-cut, but after about getting hit by those swarming birds, she goes, “Hey girl, you got two forms of ID? We can make thousands.” Oh, not this scam. “Shit. I unfortunately lost one of them at a bar last night.” I wasn’t lying. “Oh well. Take down my number and any time you can call me, I’ll pick you up. You hang with me girl, you taken care of.” I bet. “OK, 555…Nicole…money.”

Buck says, “Yeah, ya gotta be careful around here. They try’n hook ya.” As I crossed to go back to the station, she asked again, “You sure you don’t have your ID, it’s too bad, we could go get a grand right now.” “No, too bad. But if you find it, you can have it!” Fuck if I care, this whole country may convert to formalities, but I’ll be the lone and insane one, in the flesh, in the wind. She can sell herself with my piece of plastic if that’s her thing. I’ll be miles away on some Greyhound somewhere teaching the Gospel among the rest of us few undocumented fools.

So now a bag full of food for the road and a connection to gorgeous mountain solitude and compilation time. Praise Jesus and his paradoxical people.


© 2011, Amaya Engleking


One comment

  1. Saturated In Seattle · March 22, 2016

    I LOVE, LOVE your writing style. So vivid I felt I was there with you. I like your candor. You are real and not presumptuous.I have only read your About Page and this post so far, but already, I’m hooked!

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