Guy talked to me for the whole train ride this morning. Friendly. Possibly because of speed. I met him because I went to take a piss in the train toilet. I kept rattling the handle, thinking it was stuck. Turned out he was in there taking a shit. Who takes a shit on the train. He emerged carrying a huge wad of those brown paper towels and when I came back he had squashed them into a ball and was picking tiny bits off, flicking them at the window.
He had been in prison, was in for seven years. Not clear if it was all at once. I didn’t ask what for. I’m the type of white person who congratulates himself for knowing that’s against etiquette. Had his first kid when he was 19, before he went in. Then another when he got out. Then another, another, another. Three women. Youngest kid was 2. One of the girls was fucking him on child support, he said. A welfare queen, on the food stamps, state aid. Rest of them never asked for nothing. Child support fucks you, man. They will garnish your shit. Take sixty four per cent. That means, I make a hundred dollars, I get to keep forty four fucking dollars man.
He said he’d drunk a whole handle of Cuervo last night. Didn’t remember his sleep. Was headed to Fontana. To get a haircut. Then on to his aunt’s house. Pick up his clothes, get the fuck out of Los Angeles. Every time I come back here there’s trouble. I had it good in Texas, my brother bought a seven bedroom house. The whole upstairs was fucking dirty; the place was too big to clean it. A house out there costs half as much as here. You ever been to Texas? You gotta check it out bro. But the girls out there, they’re more… relationship girls. You can be talking to a girl for a month and nothing happens.
He was a nice guy and I wish him well. But, man. Five kids. Reproductive success. You live in the white college boy bubble and you forget that some women actually keep babies. Men just fuck and blow their load and a baby comes out. I mean, of course. That’s the way organisms have operated for a billion years. To us, it’s inconceivable. A nightmare we speak of in hushed tones.
There was a time when I looked to have a bright future. Smart boy with a good education. I was going to make something of myself. The girls I got pregnant had abortions, of course.
Those kids would be fifteen now. I would have done my best. Got the best job I could and made sure they stayed in school. But I didn’t have to. At the time, I was relieved. They’d have been stumbling blocks to my brilliant career.