I went to get a burrito at the drive through. My radio was off and displaying the time via bright green diodes. My windows were down because, as of tonight, the heat has broken and the cool breeze makes me nostalgic for last fall. I was happy last fall. More so the fall before that. Summers are always miserable.
There was a woman in the SUV in front of me. She looked to be about thirty with a gaunt face that showed a lot of skull. Some women get this from abusing meth, others get it from unfortunate genes I think. She ordered three burritos but didn’t use the menu as a guide at all. She wanted chicken but the chicken burrito is just chicken and tortilla. It’s a lot of chicken too. Too much chicken? No such thing – how dare I. She asked for three chicken, rice, and bean burritos. Add cheese. Her voice was so harsh and entitled. I could hardly stand it. “You always forget the cheese” she muttered. She muttered this order inarticulately into a box to someone who barely speaks English. When she pulled up to the window she said “twenty bucks for three burritos!? What the fuck is this?” There was a delay, then she paid in cash in that violent way you see people pay fines with in the parking office.
I got my burrito and paid the beautiful, young Mexican girl. “That woman was a pain in the ass, eh?” I said. She smiled. As I pulled out of the drive-thru, a city bus stopped and blocked the exit. The driver then pulled up to let me through. It was kind gesture that I appreciated. I drove around the bus and went into the parking lot to eat and watch the Kung Fu class happening in the adjacent strip mall. Inside there was a kid holding what looked like an oversized garden hoe over his shoulder. His master was coaching him and he was listening respectfully. He did some kind of dance with the garden hoe over his shoulder. He didn’t swing it or use it as a weapon at all. He just sort of did some weird stances with it. After he finished, he placed it on a rack next to some spears and other mock Chinese weapons. Afterwards, he got into his tan Prius and drove away. I watched him as I devoured my calorie-heavy burrito. I heard somebody yelling on the other side of the lot so I drove over to have a listen.
A man sat alone on the bus stop bench. He was the same man the bus driver stopped earlier for but for some reason didn’t pick up. He was shouting but he was clearly alone and not on a cell phone. I listened. “Grandma, it’s fucking josh not me.” A pause. “Jesus was reborn once, I’ve been reborn twice!” He said this furiously. “I got kicked out of that bar. Josh was inside with his cousins and his sisters and friends and everyone. He would come out and we would smoke a pipe and tell him to sing songs. He always went back in… Fat Cats… Those fuckers wouldn’t let me in! I called the owner and that fucker just ignored me.” A long pause. “Grandma! It isn’t my fault. Grandma! They want him killed, they want his head. I’m here in fucking Sacramento all the way to Stockton they want us dead and I ain’t done shit to them. They fucking know me in Stockton. Grandma!” I could see him well. He had a goatee and looked to be in his thirties. He had a lot of cheap tattoos and was wearing a tank top and white tube socks that were pulled up from his work boots. He kept his head turned ninety degrees to the right, addressing Grandma who wasn’t there. I felt sad immediately. Not for him so much, but for his grandmother. She had taken care of him I assumed. She still does I’m sure. His parents are absent and he is schizophrenic. He loves her. She is of a generation that does not abandon their own. She is probably dull but loving. She doesn’t know another life and she keeps hers together as well as she can. She is a widow. She gives him some of her social security money. She lives in an apartment and he drinks and smokes and sleeps on her couch but she loves him and he loves her. He screams her name apologetically. He’s ashamed of what he is but he cannot help it.
I heard him screaming for forgiveness as I drove off. The light turned green as soon as I got to it and I went home. I got a Violent Femmes record in the mail today and it sounds good through my thrift store receiver. It’s powerful and heavy but has a hum on the phono input at high volumes. I like it though. My girlfriend used to say the Violent Femmes song ‘Add it up’ reminded her of me. Mostly the line “just one fuck” she would jest. Now it reminds me of her. I’m alone and the hippy girl with purple hair who I want to bang isn’t returning my text.