Walkabout. Morning in Sunnyslope Edition.
Ah. Morning in Sunnyslope. Home. Hawk poop on my windshield. A feral cat. Four feral kittens. A red racer in the front yard. A dead roof rat in the back yard. Three adult quail and a baby running across the top of my back wall. A dead roof rat! I had gotten one in the spring and the way Tulip was acting the last few days, I figured another was back. I set the last of my rat traps last night, and bam, a wooden and copper wire necklace for rat boy to show off as he struts down the alley. Actually, he’s just lying there now, motionless. I guess his pimp walkin’ days are over. To get more traps, in case there are more rats, I have to go to the hardware store which is in the same direction I go when I walk the canal.
I head off into West Sunnyslope and as soon as I cross 7th Ave, I encounter an old homeless guy I know from the park, crawling out from under a creosote bush. He mumbles good morning. A block later, a small black Chihuahua attacks me, I swat him away with my pack. I’m going low profile, so as not to invite any trouble. I don’t make eye contact.
I walk by two women sitting on broken lounge chairs in front of an abandoned house. Ah, the perfume of body odor. The ambiance of crack. Got a smoke, she asks, as I skitter by. I look away. I’ll blow you for a cigarette, the other, scruffier one, offers. I’m trying to quit, I yell. And I’m not a smoker. I don’t look back.
A block later, another Chihuahua, a brown one this time. I hear my water bottle crack as my pack hits him upside his head, and he disappears under an abandoned truck. Always stay hydrated in this heat, I tell myself as I walk on. Alley pickers with overloaded shopping carts start to emerge from the side streets. Men and women on bikes with trailers and wagons loaded with old tires and beer cans clang by me.
As I approach the infamous Country Market, a female tweeker, hair flying in all directions, wearing a dirty Stones t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants, with one leg cut off to the top of her thigh, runs out of the trailer park, straight at me, just as I’m crossing the street. Oh, shit. She darts by me, into oncoming traffic, almost gets hit by a black Corolla, picks up what looks like a blue ball point pen from the asphalt, holds it up to me, laughs insanely, and then runs back into her trailer.
Shaken, I finally make it to Six Points Hardware, buy my traps and head home. I decide to drop down to the canal for a less scenic excursion. As I turn off 19th and move along the bank of the canal, I see a fully clothed man, in the canal up to his upper chest. Arms outstretched, facing the sun, screaming that the canal is government property and he has a right to this water just as much as anyone else. As I pass him, I ask him how the water is in there. Refreshing, he counters. Perchance you would like to join me, he offers.
Perchance, I wouldn’t, and continue my walk home. Sunnyslope, where the mountains meet the city and everyone is friendly as fuck