I stood at the dust laced window of my hotel room languidly smoking a cigarette. The sun shifted into late afternoon and bathed the ominous skyscrapers of skid row in a sickly yellow tint.
From the next room, I heard a series of dull thumps and a loud bang against the wall.
“You want that? Huh? Fucking, bitch! You do as I say, when I say!”
“Ow! Fuck! Stop hitting me! I’m gonna call the police!”
“I’ll kill you before they arrive, you stupid cunt! What did I tell you?! Don’t smoke all my shit when I’m not here!”
The muffled fight continued as outside the window, Los Angeles simmered in the late afternoon heat. The hum of the city penetrated the closed pane: car horns, police sirens, the intermittent pop-pop of gun fire. From my vantage point, out between two buildings which seemed disused for decades, spread the horizon of a ghastly urban sprawl enshrouded in a green film of smog.
It was the first of the month. Payday for many general relief recipients. In skid row, the police did not dare venture out at night between the dates of the first to the ninth. It was a mad house down in the streets. A vast, seething orgy of narcotic and alcoholic reverie.
During the previous evening the chaotic carnival had already begun. Around midnight, the skid row cityscape was aglow with a multitude of bonfires set in metal trash cans or aflame from discarded furniture and placed at every corner or even in the middle of the street. The night was a continuous concert of screams, shouts, gunfire mixed with laughter and blaring music.
And it’s only the second day, I thought as I took another drag.
Down in the darkening shadows of that ominous labyrinth, I discreetly observed people shuffle or scurry about. Thieves, gangsters, prostitutes of both sexes, fags, and the truly demented sold, haggled, purchased, and congregated in knots with one another down on the corners and gutters.
From my vantage point, I gazed down into the alley which adjoined alongside the hotel. It was filthy. Littered with trash, discarded clothes, fermented body waste. Off to one side was a large, metal storage unit abandoned by a long lost construction crew.
Next to the storage container stood a fat black man in a blue track suit. The track suit was grimy and splotched with patches of white dust. The black man stood motionless, his pumpkinish head nonchalantly veered back and forth. Yellow tinted eyes hidden behind dark, wrap-around sunglasses.
A thin, tall white man strolled past him. The white man, dressed in baggy, denim shorts and a white t-shirt, was in his late twenties and incorporated the cocky air of one in and out of prison his entire life. His lanky arms displayed a kaleidoscope of uninspiring prison tattoos. The white man abruptly stopped, turned, and struck up an animated conversation with the black man.
The obese man casually chatted back with a curiously calm expression on his face in contrast to the smiling and overly gesticulating white man. After five minutes of this, the black man walked around the side of the storage unit and entered the open door. The white man curtly scanned up and down the alley with his head and then followed the black man in.
I continued to slowly drag off my cigarette as I witnessed the black man squat in front of the white man and remove his floppy cock from his shorts. The white man’s long penis swung free as the fat man gruffly jerked on it. In a devouring gulp, the black man slid the erect penis in his mouth and eagerly stroked up and down the shaft with blubbery, moist lips. The white man stood with head tossed back and hands clasped behind his hips.
My eyes glanced over towards the near corner where the sordid life of the street denizens continued unaltered. My attention returned to the opening to the storage unit. The white man held the black man by the back of the head and thrusted roughly into the gaping mouth. The white man’s face was distorted into a lascivious expression of pleasure as his tongue hung from his panting mouth. As he rocked rhythmically up and down on tip-toes to heel, he seemed to whistle silently and mouth, Yeah.
Without warning or command, the fat man whirled around, tore down his stretch pants, and offered his mammoth, bulbous ass up to the lanky white man. The white man quickly spit onto his palm, lubed the head of his penis, and shoved himself inside. Minutes passed as the white man rapidly lunged and rutted, grasping onto that huge, glistening ass. The black man’s ebon face was blank and emotionless as a well-sedated mental patient as his partner grimaced and sweated in orgasmic contortions.
Ultimately, the fat man stood and yanked up his blue sweat pants. With one aggressive stroke of a tattooed hand, the white man squeezed off and flung the residual semen and slime from his wilting penis onto the dusty, metal floor of the unit. The white man promptly dug into his front pocket and placed something into the black man’s chubby hand.
The moment the white man disappeared around the near corner, the black man nestled down against the metal wall of the container. He pulled a scorched glass-stem pipe from a fanny pack dangling at his side and lit up. Twitchy eyed and ecstatic, he blew billowing plumes of gray smoke up towards the steel ceiling.
Suddenly, from the room directly above me, there was a loud thump followed by a crash of shattering glass. A body of an elderly Hispanic man went careening down past the window and landed silently onto the alleyway’s asphalt six stories below. I watched in confused horror as down in the alley, the fat black man nonchalantly gawked at the twisted body. Slowly at first, he approached the twisted corpse. Then quickly, he rummaged through the body’s pockets, yanking out a wallet from the body’s pants, and darted down the alley, vanishing around the corner.
I let out a loud sigh and squished out the cigarette butt into an overflowing ash tray on the desk. I walked over and threw myself onto the bed. I lay there staring at the stained ceiling as from the room next to me, the couple continued arguing and scuffling.
The human condition. I thought. I have given up on the human condition. There is no hope for humanity. None at all.