Tales from the ‘hood

Posted: July 14, 2014 in Livin' in the USA
Tags: , , , ,

by Zeke Teflon

Twenty years ago, when I moved here from San Francisco, I  had a great neighbor–Jesus, a really nice Mexican brick layer with a grade-school education from Nogales. My bro . My friend.

When he married a trailer-trash white chick I was appalled. I really didn’t like her (and it was mutual).

She screwed him in the inevitable divorce–I showed up at court with him, and told him “This is what you have to say.” (She had a lawyer; he didn’t.) But would he listen to me? No.  She got full custody and he got a $700-a-month child-support payment.

Then, a few months after she’d headed back to her native habitat, a trailer north of the Grapevine in the Central Valley, Jesus came over to my patio one night around midnight.

He’d wiped out on his bike a couple of weeks previously, and his right arm was in a cast up to his shoulder. He  knocked on my door, and said “Hey man, I need some help.”

Fine. Whatever.

We walked into his place, and he said, “Go into my closet and reach into my coat pocket.”  I thought that was passably strange, but did it anyway.

I pulled out a baggie  with a half ounce of rock cocaine.

I’d just gone down to Nogales and had brought back a liter bottle of Cuervo (yes, I know, terrible shit, but cheap).

We alternated lines and shots the rest of the night, calling it quits only when the sun came up.

I was hungover for two days. It was the last time I ever did coke or tequila.

Six months later, Jesus’s sister called me to tell me he’d died. His heart had stopped from doing too much cocaine. At age 37.

The moral to this tale? Stay away from coke. Stay away from hard booze.

Part of the royal screwing Jesus got in the divorce was losing his house, which is the only silver lining in this sorry tale. The best neighbors I’ve ever had, the Cárdenas, moved up from Mexico and bought the place. They’re both very good neighbors and very good friends.

* * *

Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia.

Free Radicals front cover

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