The Metro – Blue

Posted: April 15, 2015 in LA ism, Long Beach
Tags: , , , , , , ,


The Metro- Blue

It seemed like yesterday. I’d meet a woman at a Starbucks in Redondo Beach, who introduced herself as Marla. She asked me if I wanted to make twenty dollars an hour (non sexual to my disappointment.) I thought for a minute and pressed her a bit between sips of my small Green Tea.

“What do I have to do?”

“Just count people. It’s easy. You take a clicker and count the foot traffic. It’s for a highend burger joint. ”

“Where is the job?”

“Down Town LA the entertainment district.”

I said, ‘sure’ and then she told me to meet her at the bus stop on PCH across from the police station at nine thirty. We would take the 203 to the Metro Green line. The next day after two biscuits from Carl Jr’s, I made my way up to the stop a few blocks away. She was already waiting with a lawn chair and joyful face in tow. I knew she probably suspected the old LA flake move. We sat down and waited for the bus. Marla revealed snippets from her personal history. She was a Persian American woman in her late forties with a daughter attending an east coast in college.

I liked her right away. She had a brokenness that drew me closer. My new friend informed me she going to AA meetings. She had been clean for a few years but used to be in love with the hard grape. The small thin woman was married an All American businessman from Kansas City. I felt she her attraction. On the bus, she sat very close and on the Green line even closer.

Maybe it was my consoling spirit. Maybe it was the inner illumination of angst, which matched her own, either way there we were. After a twenty-minute ride up Pacific Coast Highway, we came to the Green line: elevated on a high, cement platform. We climb the steps and at the top waited her friend. A thick, vanilla skinned woman of about fifty. I thought she was white but it turned out Creole from the South Bay. Her name was Wilma and she was friendly with an edge. They had met at AA meeting getting chips and birthday claps.

We jumped on the Green line on that brisk day, with the sun giving us a three-person hug. I prayed it would be a good one. They’d become rare and my r smile recently invisible. We reached the Willowbrook station and descended the stairs. There was a stampede of people: mostly the black and brown downtrodden, storming the turn styles with the LA County Sheriffs positioned at the bottom scanning Tap cards.

When the world ends and the FEMA camps are in full swing that is what I believe the world will look like in Technicolor.

I forgot to put money on my own card and had to go back. I returned, scanned and was on my way.

Into the sea of pensive waiting.

      I found my two new friends searching for me on the lower platform. I explained that I forgot to put money on the card and the Sheriff sent me back. We waited for the Blue line to sweep us north to Downtown LA. While waiting, eyes of others were upon me: vicious, scanning pupils of others waiting for the same train.



My Persian friend asked me why the Black men were shooting daggers at me from afar with glances of pent up hate and resentment. I told her I’d experienced it before but didn’t know the reason. She shook her head in disbelief as though discovering a new country. The train pulled up. I didn’t feel like doing anymore explaining to my new bud. We entered the train and took the first three empty seats to the left.

The Metro was crowded and angst hung hard in the air. A few seats down sat a thin, tall black male in his early to mid twenties with on oversized white T-shirt and baseball cap. He’d seen us enter and gazed away in the other direction. There was something off. I had that feeing something was ready to go wrong. Move! Move now my insides said! But I’m with the two ladies! Dayum you!

     As the thought exited, the young thug had moved smoothly across from us until he was a foot. He sat on a chubby, teenage girls lap. I didn’t look at him but knew every move he made. I kicked myself mentally for not acting sooner, but couldn’t leave the women. I played it cool. Eskimo ice water cool.

“I’m a Body Snatcher! I’m here to Snatch a body.” He snarled.

I didn’t let it rattle me. He leaned forward and exhibited a long knife still covered, resting in his palm. He suddenly made strong eye contact, as did I. I couldn’t remove because we were locked in a battle to see who would blink first. He started to move forward ready to strike. I surmised the Body Snatchers had to be some sort of gang. It could only be Blood or Crips but didn’t see him decked out in red of blue. I was only to the level of concern, but could not let it show. I prayed silently hoping Jesus would come down and maybe stand in the way of the knife possessing young man.

The ladies to my left didn’t have a clue to what was going on. They were engrossed in conversations about everything from AA to forgotten lawn chairs.

He inched closer and opened his palm. It was either going to be the teenage black kid to my left: dressed in a black outfit, who looked like a small deer in headlights or me.

Suddenly as though scripted from a Scorsese flick: three female sheriffs walked onto the train at once, grabbing their holsters with cold, cold glances. Their faces read all business.

The thug retracted and threw on a plastic smile almost cue. Marla joked with him as they shared small, controlled banter.

If she only knew how close she came to witnessing a violent exhibition. If she knew. If she knew.

He volleyed the convo back with a great white grin making occasion eye contact with the sheriffs, who didn’t make eye contact back, but instead scanned the car for targets. I was overjoyed to see the women in green. They were my Glock carrying angels. Thankfully, the Pre felon exited at the next stop, while the officers rode for two more. We spent another hour weaving through: Compton, Watts, and LA. I exhaled and said a quick thank you hymn. The Jersey boy lived another today to complain about life once more.

Marla turned to me,

“He was such a nice kid.”


If she knew. If she only knew….

  1. […] The Metro – Blue. […]

  2. vivalaViv says:

    I’m glad that you lived to tell the tale!

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