remember them folks in paper clothes i wrote about a while back? well, had a couple of em ask me for directions. should come as no surprise they were heading to county* to pick up their belongings. though i knew that before they said anything to me, i didn't wanna be insulting or presumptuous. after going through the formalities of the directions, the shaved-head latino said, "just finished in jail. first time. 73 days. dui." it's like he had to make this introduction every day for, well, 73 days. though he was latino, his accent almost sounded more eastern european. "it's crazy, man. but, man, i was so drunk. it's messed up, you know. it's the system too. i'm from venice." for you non-angelenos, that's the venice that gives venice beach it's name, not the venice in italy. "professional musician. i play the drums. where are you from?" after i answer, he continues, "you ever come to venice, look for the drums. you find me."
he turns to his friend, who looks a bit like a shorter, less intimidating version of nick sobotka from the wire. "you go to the valley after?"
"i'm supposed to. sort all that out when i get my phone. right now, i'm too pissed to even think about it."
"man, you got to have money and brains. i been in venice thirty years. i got all kind of money. but you need brains. you have money and no brains, you lose everything." truer words were never said.
i look down the train after we've been riding a bit. the shaved-head guy is doing chin-ups on the upper hand rail. seventy three days'll build up some funny habits, won't it?
* -- that would be l.a. county jail for those of you not up on incarceration lingo.