tagNon-EroticHomeless In... Ch. 07: West Hollywood

Homeless In... Ch. 07: West Hollywood


Writer's Note: This story (and possibly more to follow) is based on events that happened to me personally. I am attempting to tell the story as I recall it, though I am changing the names of the people.


Homeless In...

Chapter 7: West Hollywood

Lock told me to meet him at the squat house as soon as we stepped off the bus, and he didn't wait for my answer before taking off down the road in a quick jog. I stared at him as he ran off and contemplated getting right back onto the bus.

"Hey stranger!" Dom's voiced belted out from the doorway of a donut shop. He waved me over, and I hesitated until the bus pulled away with traffic. I immediately regretted not getting back on the bus, and walked over to talk to Dom. The shop behind him was closed, so he had settled down to relax with his stuff piled next to him. He carried two backpacks and his blankets, not hiding them away like a lot of others did. I only carried one wool blanket rolled up and tied to the bottom of my backpack; Lock insisted we keep the rest hidden back at his camp. Dom had at least six, folded up into a stack under his backpacks.

"Do you ever leave this place," I asked him. Any time I saw Dom panhandling, it was this doorway he picked to be in. I wondered if the donut shop ever open.

"Of course not! The people are pretty here, and they don't throw trash at me like they do in Hellawhacked," he said with a huge smile. He was almost always acting overly happy, though I knew he was rarely happy at all.

"I guess you have a point there," I said as I settled down next to him. "I can't stay long."

Dom nodded. "I saw him. His sister already told me you two would be coming."

I quickly understood that was why he was really waiting in that doorway. Since I had arrived, he hadn't asked a single person for change. His sketch books were not pulled out, and his bags looked ready to grab and go. He was waiting for me.

"Come with me. I have a place I sleep when I don't want people to bother me. It's a stairwell, but no one uses it anymore because it leads to a broken bridge. We could get it on and be back before anyone even knew." Dom didn't look at me while he spoke. "I think you've been there before."

I shook my head, even though I knew the spot he was talking about. "Have you seen Raven?" I changed the subject. I had learned to ignore his constant advances once I realized he said these things to every single woman he spoke to. He claimed to be an escaped nymphomaniac every chance he could work it into a conversation.

"No, but she stays down in the pits of the dead angel city, doesn't she?"

"In the motel area, yeah," I agreed. "I haven't seen her all week, though."

Dom sighed. "She'll come back when she's ready. She vanishes all the time. You'll get used to it," he explained. "She might have gone back up north."

"I know one of her... friends. Maybe I should check with him next time I'm in that area." Dom sighed but said nothing. He clearly understood what a friend to Raven was.

"Lock's sister lives down the road. Judging by the way he bolted, that's where he is headed. She has my guitar, so if I don't make sure you at stick around the city, she intends to smash it up."

I felt the knot in my stomach tighten. "You're my valet?" Dom laughed a little, but he also still avoided looking at me. I understood how much his guitar meant to him; he had played it a few times for me back at the abandoned house before he helped me get out. He told me about his sister that gave it to him, and when he told me the stories about their childhood, it was the only time I saw his forced smile fade away in exchange for a real one. If Lock's sister had the guitar, I didn't want to be the reason it was smashed.

As the silence between us got close to awkward, Dom scooped his stuff up and we walked to the abandoned house slowly. He wanted to hold my hand most of the way but didn't complain when I swatted his hand away. I knew he felt some form of pity for me, and it made my own self-pity that much worse. We walked around to the back of the house, slid the basement window to one side and climbed down through it.

The house was cleaner than it was the last time I had been inside. The trash was swept and bagged, and the walls didn't have random bits of food stuck to it. Even the sink looked like someone had taken the time to polish it.

"I took over the house and cleaned it up, but don't go in the bathroom. The last guy that stayed here ruined it completely, and now that the water is shut off, there's nothing that can make that toilet flush," Dom warned me, pointing out the door that was covered in long sheets of cardboard taped in place with duct tape. "Yes, the window in there is open, so avoid that area if you go outside, as well."

I nodded and pulled the ladder from the attic room down, climbing up just high enough to push my stuff into the room. I wasn't ready to go up there just yet, and I knew that once Lock arrived, I likely wouldn't be coming down again for a while. Dom and I moved into one of the front rooms, the windows covered with heavy blankets to hide our existence from the world. There was a television running, so I knew the electricity was still on for whatever reason. We watched a movie, munching on a bag of corn nuts Dom had in one of his backpacks.

Lock arrived shortly after nightfall, thankfully with a grocery bag full of food. He was unusually chipper, and unexpectedly he let Dom join us in the meal. I wondered if Lock brought his sister, but no one else came up out of the basement with him. I made myself a bologna and cheese sandwich, glad that he also had packets of mayonnaise in the bag. It was unusual for Lock to share food with anyone, and I wondered if I should be nervous or just enjoy it while it lasted. I opted for the latter option and made a second sandwich before the first one was even finished.

Lock was laughing and talking over the movie, pointing out actors he claimed to know personally and how many of them he knew did massive amounts of drugs. Dom and I exchanged a look, both wondering what was causing this strange change in Lock's mood.

Two movies later, Lock decided that we needed more food. He pulled a small flip-phone from his pocket, something he didn't have when we got off of the bus, and left the room. We heard the basement door open and shut, then the sound of his voice as he walked around to the front of the house.

It dawned on me that he was ordering a pizza and was having it delivered to the house next door. I peeked out the window to see Lock sitting on the neighbor's porch, counting out a handful of cash. "Dom, do you think there's something wrong with Lock?"

"He looks like he's high as a kite," Dom said, peeking over my shoulder. "Looks like his sister gave him some money to go with that sparkling new phone."

"Yeah, I wondered about the phone. Maybe he's just borrowing it from her?"

"Probably. She has a few phones, one for each job she has."

"How many jobs does she have?" I asked even as I wondered if I would regret hearing the answer. Dom didn't give me an answer though, just a look that told me I clearly did not want to know.

We settled back onto the pile of blankets and watched a random news channel while we waited for Lock to come back. I understood that Dom felt as much of a hostage as I did, knowing that Lock would probably hurt one or both of us if we tried to leave the house. I wondered why Lock's sister had taken such an interest in Dom, but I didn't ask. If Dom wanted me to know, he would have explained already.

Lock returned with a pizza, and a friend. A tall, black man with a large duffle bag followed Lock into the room we were gathered in, and Lock set a stack of pizzas down between everyone. There was a box for each of us, including the newcomer, and they were all pepperoni. My appetite did not fail me, and I ate more than half of mine before my stomach insisted I stop. Dom finished his completely, as did Lock and his friend. I tucked my unfinished box under my backpack, planning to have them in the morning.

Lock's friend introduced himself as Chris, seemingly against the idea of using a street name at all. He bragged about the number of credit cards he had stolen and used, just that day alone. He was the one that brought the television into the house, and it was beginning to become clear that while Dom might have taken over the house to clean it up, this man had taken over after that. Even Lock was acting like Chris was the owner of the house, repeatedly thanking him for letting us come in and stay.

Gathering my backpack and pizza box, I excused myself to go up into the attic. I had some time to myself for a while, and I ended up finishing off my pizza while I waited to see if Lock would join me soon, and more importantly, would he be alone when he did.

Dom came up the ladder first, which surprised me, with Lock right behind him. It was unsettling, all three of us sitting in a circle on the pile of blankets. I kept looking at the ladder, expecting Chris to follow but no one else joined us. Lock pulled off his backpack and handed a small blue baggie to each of us. "To the face," he declared as he dumped his on the glass of a framed photo and began to divide his lines. Dom also began to divide out lines for himself, though I was pretty sure I saw him stash half of the baggie into his jean's back pocket without Lock noticing. Dom was quick to snort his lines, making an act of licking his pocket mirror clean.

I held my little bag of meth unopened in the palm of my hand. I wasn't ready to have this much all at once, I knew that. This was it, I told myself. Tonight, I will either die by his hands, or by his drugs. This was how I was going to leave the world. There was no way to escape this moment. The deep sensation of rot filled my stomach and all I could do was look at the bag.

While I was distracted with my own endgame thoughts, Lock snatched the baggie from me and divided my lines over the residue of his. He held the straw out to me, and I took the two smallest lines, one in each nostril, and choked. He was swift to move the picture frame out of my reach while I coughed and gagged, trying to fight the urge to retch as the vile taste filled the back of my throat. Under Lock's insistence, and Dom's coaching, I took another two lines and repeated the process of choking on the drip. Lock was laughing the whole time, while Dom was silently helped me drink from a bottle of water. Over the next hour, or maybe it was ten minutes or the rest of the night, Lock made sure I finished the entire bag. I couldn't feel my own flesh by the time the last line was gone. I could hear the anger in his voice the whole time, even as he laughed and called me every name in the book.

Once I was finished taking the last bit of powder, Lock tore the baggie open, folded the inside to the surface and sucked the powder residue from the plastic. He did the same to his own bag, then held his hand out to a Dom, who acted like he was looking around for his bag. Lock didn't wait and shoved him over, causing Dom to fall back into my lap, and found the blue baggie, still half-filled. I tried to brace myself while every muscle in my stomach lurched, but I couldn't convince my body to respond. I was floating and screaming at myself, telling my wandering eyes to focus and get out of the house.

I felt Dom tense up in front of me, and we both watched Lock open the bag and dump the powder into his hand. Without a word, Lock lunged at Dom and cupped his hand over Dom's face, covering his nose and mouth with the powdered drug. Dom coughed and struggled in Lock's grip, and I was pinned beneath him, inhaling a cloud of crystal dust as I gasped for breath under their combined weight.

Lock grabbed Dom by the collar of his shirt and shoved him towards the ladder. Dom crawled down without a word, barely looking at me as his head dropped out of sight. Lock slammed the door over the ladder and pushed a stack of boxes over, covering the door. I heard the muffled voices of Dom and Chris talking downstairs, but knew there was no hope when Chris started to yell about Dom minding his own business, followed by the sound of something breaking in the kitchen.

I felt something cold spread through my face, like I had dropped my face into a deep dish of water. The sensation narrowed and soon it felt like only my nose was in the water. I tried to look at Lock, but my attention was drawn to the small pool of blood that had formed on my shirt.

"Your nose is bleeding," Lock suddenly sounded concerned. He tore a random shirt into shreds and held my head back, plugging my nose with the fabric. "You shouldn't snort so much," he said, "this happens when you snort too much. We're not going to snort anymore, babe. I can get the good stuff, we won't have to sniff it anymore."

He kept talking and repeating himself, but I wasn't paying attention to Lock at this point. The sensation of blood slowly pouring, not dripping but actually pouring from my nose was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It felt cold, like a trail of watered-down syrup, and I thought my all of the blood in my body had gone cold completely. My whole body felt like I had slept on a sheet of ice for a week. I wondered if I was dying, and truth be told, I welcomed the idea. I was ready for this to stop and I thought this was truly the only way to escape from Lock.

He managed to stop the bleeding and had me lay down on the blankets. He busied himself, cleaning up the disaster he had created, even clearing the boxes away from the attic door. I let the heaviness in my eyes take over and I slept, or I did something close to sleeping. In the blackness behind my closed eyes, I hoped to never wake up again.

Instead, I was woken up to absolute chaos. Flashlights blinded me from multiple directions while I was being instructed to show my hands. My face was still covered in dried blood and someone scooped me up into their arms and carried me down to the kitchen. Other squatters were gathered there, as well, all in handcuffs. The back door of the house had been kicked in, and everyone was being led outside, one person at a time.

I was set down into a chair and cuffed to a leg under the kitchen table. My ears were ringing and I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. I saw multiple people in uniform gather all of the backpacks and taking them out of the house. After some time, the cuffs were removed from the table then wrapped back around my wrists, and I was escorted into a waiting squad car. It was dark outside still, and no one would tell me what time it was.

As the squad car pulled away from the abandoned house, I spotted Dom across the street, sitting by a pay phone. It looked like Dom had ratted the whole house out, and we were all going to jail. I twisted myself in the back seat and watched his silhouette fade into the distance.

The whole process between the squad car and the concrete holding room in West Hollywood's police department was a complete blur. I sat in the empty room, staring at the dried blood on my shirt. I had no form of identification beyond an old school ID card with a fake name. I was coming down hard, withdrawing in a way I was unprepared for. My stomach was twisted in a sharp ache, and my skin felt like it was dried out before left to bake in the sun. I was terrified what would come next, and I fell asleep and woke up multiple times, convinced I would never see the sun again. I didn't deserve to.

Which was why I was shocked to be released the following morning. I sat on a bench outside the main office, staring at the wall across from me. I had no idea what to do or where to go. I couldn't understand why I had been let go at all. They had even given me the faked school ID card back before escorting me out the door.

An officer came out and sat down next to me. We sat in silence until I burst out in tears for what felt like no reason and every single reason I could think of, plus a few I couldn't. The woman held me by the shoulders until I calmed down a bit, then she told me about Lock's collection of warrants. He was the only one they were looking for, and the only one they were keeping. He wouldn't be getting released that day, or any time soon. There would be no trespassing on my record, as long as I didn't go back to the house to collect anything that might have been left behind. She handed me a small stack of pamphlets, telling me to find a shelter, and left me alone to my thoughts again.

It was a strange weight that I felt lifted from my inner core. I didn't feel like crying anymore, but I wasn't thrilled. It took me a while, sitting alone on that bench, before I understood why I wasn't celebrating.

I was alone now. Completely alone.

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byBlankNyte© 2 comments/ 1115 views/ 0 favorites
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by Anonymous

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by Anonymous04/26/19

hope you write more

I lived in Hollywood when I was a kid. early to mid 90s. I met many run aways, I use to help when I could. this opens my eyes to what those poor kids went threw.

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by Crusader23504/11/19


Hard stories for hard times. Hope you keep writing them. Five stars.

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