Chapter 16: Oasis

A story that came to me in a dream when I still worked at Xbox (yeah, that long ago). I did a lot of research on it but I had some moral issues with it so never typed it up before. The story takes place in LA. The LA river really has a fascinating history. In addition to bear and jaguar in the valley, there really did used to be fish in the LA River, that concrete trough you may remember from Terminator 2, Last Action Hero, Chinatown, Them!, The Core, Grease, Point Blank, Repo Man, The Italian Job, Point Break, Gone in 60 Seconds, To Live and Die in L.A., Drive, or numerous other TV and movie settings. In fact there is even a Steelhead Park still on the river, and the last steelhead was caught in the river in 1940. Here is a pretty good synopsis for the conservation-minded. The fate of the modern river could certainly be seen as allegory for many of our remaining “wild” rivers.

It needs a better title, let me know if one leaps to mind.  I apologize if it’s a bit Glimmer Train.

last_steelhead

Last steelhead in the LA river 1940

Oasis

Posted on August 10, 2013

The bottle smashed against the pavement right next to the old man’s foot, startling him. He instinctively spun the shopping cart in the direction of the attack. A bunch of bangers, pandellieros, on the far side of the chain link were already walking away laughing and joking.

The old man turned his cart back and continued on his plodding way, patting a leather case on top of the cart to make sure it was safe. Those wannabes bothered him less as he was less able to respond, but they were still meaner than razor wire, and would never leave him completely alone. Fear was payment enough on a slow day. Usually, he went out late and came back early, but today he had taken in some new territory and was late getting back.

It took him a few steps to realize a good size chunk of the glass had wedged in the hollow below the ankle bone and the shoe. He knew it was cutting into him, but he also knew he couldn’t stop or show weakness. He kept looking over his shoulder and saying to himself, “Not the feet, not the feet.”

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