The characters and events described here are fictitious and any similarities to any other persons or events, real or fictitious, are sheer coincidence. Eventually these stories will be edited and prepared for publishing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

From Greece to Los Angeles

The late nights, the booze and the parties soon started to take their toll and the boy lost his job. His mother was not happy. She called the boy's father long-distance, and complained, "I can't control him--You have to take him--I don't have any money, will you pay for the airfare?" The boy didn't want to go back to the States, but he had lost his job so he felt like he couldn't really argue about it...

His father picked him up at the airport. "If you're going to live with me you're gonna either go to school, or work" he said. The boy got a job washing dishes at a family-owned Chinese Restaurant--he was their only employee. The Owner and his wife worked in the kitchen; their daughter and son handled the front of the house. The boy would ride his bicycle six miles and arrive at the restaurant around 2:00 in the afternoon to a pile of dishes four-deep that reached to the ceiling. The old Chinese woman insisted that the dishwater be scalding hot. The boy would drive his hands into the scalding water and ignore the pain. He would wash and wash the dishes until the pile was gone, until the dishes from the dinner rush would start to come back from the dining room. He would continue to wash dishes until everything was clean. Then the old Chinese man would stir-fry a huge wok-full of fried rice, and the boy would eat. Then, with his belly full, he would ride his bike back home and slip quietly into the apartment, so as not to wake his father.

The boy didn't like Los Angeles much. There was a big difference between the freedom he had experienced with his mother traveling around, and life in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. After about four months of "pearl diving," the phone rang one afternoon. It was one of his older sisters; she was on her way with her new boyfriend, Tree, to his house on the commune in Oregon. They sat and philosophized on the shag-carpeted floor of his father's apartment. The boy spoke of living in the moment; of living as if "every day is your last," as he said. Tree convinced the boy that if he really meant what he said, he was obligated to come with them to the Oregon. The boy had to agree. After all, how could he compare living in LA and washing dishes, to going on a new adventure someplace where he had never been? He called his father at work, "Dad, I'm sorry to tell you this, but I won't be home when you get home from work today. You know I love you, but I'm going with sis and her new boyfriend, Tree, to Oregon." His father spoke quickly and calmly, "That's o.k. son, I love you, too. Take care yourself and call me if you need anything." And so the boy left for Oregon with his sister and Tree, in an old Volkswagen bus.

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