At night I think of going out into the warm air and down to the corner of Arrow and Indian Hill, or further south, and watch for the souls who fill the shadows, the night people. I talk to the clerks, the waitresses who work late shifts, liquor store people, maybe get a room at the Ramada or one of the hotels near the freeway.
These days are spent wandering around, driving in my Jeep, picking up items that may or may not be useful; groceries and prescription medications, magazines, cigarettes, trips to the surplus store buying socks and trying on hats of all shapes and styles, picking through piles of outdoor gear, back packs, shooting bags, fondling knives and compasses, outdoor pots and pans and cooking utensils, looking at camp grills and stoves, gas and butane stoves, little burners that spew blue angry flame at all altitudes and temperatures, survival equipment like cord, twine, plastic tarps, water storage containers, and then the hours and hours checking websites for tips on guns, knives, the endless chatter of survivalists whistling in the dark over doomsday scenarios, financial meltdown, when to shoot intruders, what kinds of weapons will be best suited for zombie kills and defending one’s family and property. The survival crowd has become a cult of fanaticism of disaster preparedness morphing into long threads over urban survival and how to guard against pilfering and theft and wandering bands of gangs intent on stealing food and ammo, guns and weapons, on and on with one-ups-manship laughing and taunting each other in chat-speak lingo over selections of urban tactics, bug out bags and vehicles that can go the distance in earthquake-torn terrain. Specifics and details of four wheel drive capability and frame strength, power-to-weight ratios of engines versus body styles, traction requirements of tires in all weather conditions—-snow, ice, rubble, debris—-lots of macho spewing over adequate rifle range and how large their rural bug-out-locations are in acres, proximity to fuel, fire wood, water, neighbors, fences, barriers, sensing devices, hand guns and long guns, shot guns and night stand weapons kept at the ready.
I watch the night, listen to howls of coyotes and the haunting trains that launch out and down the track, coast to coast, rolling on and on and on.
Around six o'clock in the evening the next day I go down to the Panda and have Chinese fast food. The cute girl handles my order. She smiles and says ‘hello, how are you?’ I sit down in the back corner and she comes down right by me and takes a box of fortune cookies to the table and spends a few moments cutting open the box. I think about helping her, getting my knife out and cutting it for her. A few minutes later she comes back and sits down at the table facing me and talks in Chinese on her cell phone. She is beautiful and her voice has a clear tone with the Chinese language, and I don’t understand any of it. I don’t listen, but I look up at her a couple of times. They are all so nice to me, it is good to hear them speak their languages and sometimes, they tell me parts of their stories.
The girl at the Chinese fast food place, she spoke of her homeland China a couple of weeks ago, and her city, Ziangzhou.