Night Train

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hello, I'm leaving Blogit. I just got word that...

my novel, Night Train, will be published by Open Books in mid-January. Thanks for your readership--especially sam444 and StrickGold! Best wishes to all, and good luck with the writing! Donald O'Donovan Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Night Train 26

It was late afternoon by the time we got to Rancho Peñasquitos. We parked near some pink tract houses with red tile roofs and dived quickly into the tangled underbrush of a steep canyon, lugging some bags of groceries we’d brought along. The migrants were a ragged lot, about eight of them, huddled around an open fire, roasting pepitas on a flattened sheet of tin. There was a hut made out of cardboard, chicken wire and black plastic. They were understandably leery of me so Pablito walked up on... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Night Train 25

The next day it was over to Bobbo’s to pick up the van. Pablito wanted to pay me for the trip but I told him nothing doing, you can just pay the gas. Before we left out I had to drive Bobbo to Uncle Barney’s where the silverfish roam, and then, after a brief hello and goodbye to Moms, we were on our way. Pablito made the trip in the back, rolled up in a rug with cardboard boxes piled on top of him. We had to be careful. There was a checkpoint at San Oenofre. But he was in great spirits, singing... Sign in to see full entry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Night Train 24

Pablito popped up suddenly. How he managed to find me I don’t know, but I was glad to see him. He’d put a little money together and he was ready for the trip to the migrant labor camp. Bobbo had promised to loan me his van, but we’d been out of touch for some time. I didn’t need to go Bobbo’s for the dog food dinners because Jack had returned also and I was eating steak three times a week, thanks to Jack’s five-finger discount. Jack was beside himself on the day that Pablito turned up at Boyle... Sign in to see full entry.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Night Train 23

Graciela was crazy about onions. Whenever she chopped the vegetables she was constantly pinching up a bit of raw onion and stuffing it into her mouth. More than once I saw her pick up a peeled onion and bite into it as if it were an apple. One day I was staggering past the sink with a 100-pound bag of potatoes on my shoulder when Graciela suddenly threw her arms around me and kissed me. Her mouth tasted like onions. Her apron was saturated with blood. She’d been standing at the butcher’s bench... Sign in to see full entry.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Night Train 22

So began my stint at Mike’s Diner. I helped finish up the remodeling, peeled potatoes, mixed pancake batter, cleaned the grease trap, scrubbed the grill, washed the pots and pans, mopped the floor and carried out the garbage. The walls of the kitchen were plastered with pages torn from girlie magazines, beaver shots. “I like women,” Mike said to me. There was a permanent sign in the window: “Waitress Wanted.” In addition to Graciela, the waitress I met on the first day, there was steady stream... Sign in to see full entry.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Night Train 21

San Francisco—Fisherman’s Wharf, Russian Hill, the cable cars—it’s a beautiful town if you have money and I didn’t so I ended up back at Boyle Heights. Some weeks passed and Jack disappeared for a while and the food supply dried up. One morning I was walking along Broadway. I was famished. I hardly knew where I was. Suddenly a squarely-built man in cook’s whites stepped out of a doorway and seized my shoulder in a powerful grip. “You help me move steam tebble,” he said. “You come. I show.” Like... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Night Train 20

I got out of there too, at least for a while. Okay, it’s decided, I said, I’m going to San Francisco. I still had a few bucks left from the demolition job. I gathered up my bedroll and packed a canvas gym bag with a few things. It’s amazing, I told myself, what a change of scene will do for your morale. And I badly needed a change. I was becoming invisible. On my solitary walks through the city, from Arco Plaza to Lafayette Park, up and down Hollywood Boulevard, I found myself forever peering in... Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Night Train 19

In order to be near the job, Jack and I got a room on Rampart. After work we’d sometimes catch a bus up Wilshire and go to the New Beverly Cinema near Hancock Park, where they show the old movies. We watched Key Largo and Little Caesar. We were both crazy about Edward G. Robinson, yesterday’s Carlito Brigante. I thought about Dionisio. Nabbed and deported? Gunned down by the cops? Or was he raking it in at El Paraisio? We saw Casablanca and The Big Sleep too. Tony had pretty much dropped off the... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Night Train 18

Morning. Pershing Square. The Violin Lady, that squatty little gargoyle, her birdseed eyes darting like pinwheels, mutters obscenities into her beard as she feeds her pigeons. An old man sitting on a bench, staring at his hands, waiting for a miracle—or for the second coming of Christ. A few sleeping derelicts, covered with filthy rags and damp newspapers, as if the sewer had erupted during the night and vomited its leavings—these shipwrecked human beings—on the grass. Just across the street,... Sign in to see full entry.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Night Train 17

It started out with wanting to take a bath, the three of us. It had been weeks for me and months or maybe even years for Jack, and for Angela who knows. I had my own signature stench. They say a woodchuck always smells his own hole first, but the truth is you’re not aware of your own stink. It’s part of you, you’re immersed in it, just like a fish is immersed in water. Jack, for example, had a signature stench. By that I mean an aroma that pertained to Jack and to nobody else. You walk down the... Sign in to see full entry.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Night Train 16

My quality woman, Corliss…that was her name, Corliss. Papageorgopoulou was right. She wasn’t young. Her hands were fish-belly white and they were speckled with brown spots. She had peach fuzz on her cheeks and an eye that wandered. Nevertheless, it all went swimmingly at first. She moved me into the pool shed and set me up with a computer and all. She started me out writing her autobiography. She’d record her shticks and I’d transcribe it from a disk. It was great fun being on the Internet... Sign in to see full entry.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Night Train 15

Uncle Barney lived with his moms too. She was 98 and he was 67. Their pad was claustrophobic. Narrow corridors between five-foot stacks of bundled newspapers and National Geographics led to the kitchen and bathroom. Rabbit runs is what they were, those corridors. And the stacks were alive with silverfish and brown recluse spiders. ”You should see the love dance of the silverfish,” Uncle Barney told us. “It’s really poignant. First, the male and female stand face to face, with their antennae... Sign in to see full entry.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Night Train 14

Bobbo was a strange one. He was a day sleeper, always “going down for his nap.” He claimed it was narcolepsy. His day was one long siesta. He’d lie doggo for weeks until his SSI check came in. Only one thing could rouse Bobbo from his lethargy: speed, crank, methedrine. I’d drive him to Uncle Barney’s in the van. This was the same Uncle Barney who was Kenji’s connect. Bobbo lived with his moms. They were very poor and regularly ate canned dog food. After Uncle Barney’s I’d stay at Bobbo’s for a... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Night Train 13

I got my big inning with a quality woman in Brentwood, just like Tony, but in typical fashion I fucked it up. It happened like this. I sold my wedding ring for 30 bucks, then I went to Cole’s, where Jimmy D and I used to hang out. That’s where I met Papageorgopoulou, Giorgio Papageorgopoulou. “Call me George,” he said. We were having a beer at the bar. I was watching my money because I wanted to be able to order a decent meal and not worry when it came paying the bill. I wanted to feel like a... Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Night Train 12

Days went by. Angela started living in the condemned building. Topside, I mean. We couldn’t have her down below with us, two homeless guys and an underage girl. Even though we weren’t doing anything, if the cops busted us we’d be looking at some serious time. Jack found Angela a mattress, and someone gave her a beat-up chair. People were always giving her things. Everyone adored her. She knocked them out with her red plastic sparkle boots and her slinky faux fur boa. The old guy who owned the... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Night Train 11

“What about some breakfast,” Jack said the next morning. We went through a hole in the chain link fence and walked out to a little grove of squatty trees. A can opener, a safety razor and a jagged fragment of mirror glass dangled from strings tied to twigs, and a roll of toilet paper perched on a branch. A fire ring, water jugs, a few unopened cans of beans and a blackened coffee pot—it was a regular hobo jungle. “Nice, Jack,” I said. “All the comforts of home.” “Fuckin’ A. If you wanta shave,... Sign in to see full entry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Night Train 10

I ran into Jack again. He had his arm all the way down a trashcan in front of a yoga studio on Hollywood Boulevard. He looked up at me and flashed a gap-toothed grin. “Hi bro!” Then he came up with the prize he’d been digging for: a tall paper cup with the straw still sticking out of the top. “Smoothie,” he said, smacking his lips. “Pineapple. Still cold. Want some?” “I’ll pass, Jack.” We took a stroll down “Halloween Boulevard” and Jack filled me in on what had been happening in his so-called... Sign in to see full entry.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Night Train 9

The shit has hit the fan at the sweatshop. Big Bluto found out about the ten cases of Dr. Sharpe’s Shakti Tonic. He fired the Colombians and ratted them out to La Migra. He installed security gates, cameras, the works. It’s him versus us now. The lines are drawn. The new guys in Shipping are illegals from Mogadishu, obviously dangerous men. The big one with the ring through his nose is called Tariq. What can Big Bluto be thinking of? It can only be that he intends to use these desperadoes as... Sign in to see full entry.

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