The first thing I noticed from the freeway was the boarded up windows. The plywood—buckled & stained—-covered the dark interior…spray painted, unintelligable words were scrawled across the siding. I cut across traffic to avoid a snarl of overpasses at the 215/60 freeway interchange. The Verve droned from my stereo speakers…the singer crooning, “I got my briefcase and crime in my veins”. “Yeah man.” I mumbled. I remembered those days. I glanced left and right. The afternoon sun was dirty and trash littered the roadside in heaps—billowing up—as cars drove past. I tapped the brakes and eased in front of a big fucking Ford truck…an ‘executioner’ or ‘exploiter’ or something like that….The driver was not pleased. I exited.
Pulling down an alley next to the boarded up property, I gave the surroundings a cursory glance. The face of poverty was everywhere. Liquor stores were ubiquitous and the sidewalks seemed like they were drowning in desperation. In this neighborhood, I stood out. I continued down the alley as unobtrusively as possible and parked close to a break in the chain-link fence. I kept my Kabar knife in the small of my back and slid behind the fence for a recon of the property. My eyes raked the area. As I pulled myself over a block wall, which appeared to be the pool area of the now-defunct home, I saw him. He spotted me as I let myself down on the inside of the retaining wall. Tires and bottles were strewn about and the stench of urine permeated everything. Squatters had made a wreck of things. A quick glance showed me that he was of little threat to me. The man’s face was cadaverous and sucked up. He probably weighed 80 pounds in his filthy clothing. Had I hissed my viciousness at him, he would’ve fainted. Smoking crack had removed all vestiges of pride from him, and he appeared gaunt and wasted. Surprised, he looked at me with vacant eyes then averted his gaze. He was close enough for me to smell him, and I noticed the ghost of an empty bottle on his lips. Slurring his words, he asked me for change. The teeth he still retained were brown, mangled, stumps. Numbly, I gave him the coins I had. He shuffled out of sight looking like a rumpled brown, oily rag. The man was doomed. I shook my head…sadly.
After checking the building for threats, I returned to the pool area. The pool was half full of black water. Unimaginable things floated within its murkiness, and I shuddered in spite of myself. I was reminded of a story I heard, about a pool in San Diego, called the “homicide egg.” I heard that when the pool was found by skaters, there was a bloated corpse—floating—which defied description! Urban myth? Who knows. But this thought and others crowded my head as I looked for a stick to check the transitions. I noticed some plastic bags or a tarp half submerged and pulled at it with a skimming net that I found. A foul stench erupted, and I staggered back —gagging. I quickly noticed the origin…dead puppies are floating & bobbing obscenely in the dark water. Repulsed, I find it hard to fathom why someone would place them here. Worse, is the thought that some socio-pathic nightmare of a human actually drowned the poor things! I went to my car and got my rubber gloves, shovel and other tools. Fuck man! The things I have to do.
I buried the puppies in a shallow trench beside a rusting fence. As I finished, I watched the sun as it scorched the horizon red…..looking like a gaping wound. The wind picked up, & I felt terribly isolated. I needed some pool pals. I resolved to come back & drain this thing. We would ride it and set things right. This pool and property was drenched in negative karma. We could fix that up, I surmised. Subsequently, we drained it. We put things in order. We few skateboarders. The soulful. To be honest, the pool sucked. It was steep & kinked but we had to do what was required. Grinds on the face wall were served up. The karma debt has been paid. To those that kill puppies, sell crack rocks, hurt others for their own pleasure & suck the life out of the world, we gladly send you a great big, “Fuck you!” Skate Long/Skate strong…and do what is necessary. —Ozzie