San Diego: Please

I hitchhiked from Phoenix to San Diego one winter night with a boot knife in my pocket and a cardboard sign that said San Diego Please.  The driver preached and prophesied to me the whole way, in hopes that I’d find Jesus somewhere in the Sonora Desert on Route 8 near Yuma. I wasn’t much of a talker.  So he kept on witnessing, figuring probably he was planting a seed.  We crested the ridge and came down Harbison Canyon and the city lights spread out in front of us.

There were palm trees waving and rolling mountain hills.  I called up Rachel and Stephen on a pay phone and then sat down on the curb.  First thing Rachel said was I looked scary. I don’t know what she meant by that but hugged her anyway.

Next day we went down to Tijuana to get tattoos of Africa. Señor Paco had long red hair, a long goatee, and a bullring in his nose.  He grinned at us, his gold tooth glinting in the dim light from the naked bulb hanging from the ceiling.  “Are the needles clean?” I asked.  “Yep,” Señor Paco said.

A few days later, Stephen and Rachel drove me north to Los Angeles. Then we just drove around until dark, taking random roads into the mountains, looking at the fields, now a gray color shimmering across the rolling landscape fading.

That was 20 years ago in December.


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