Men in East L.A. that scare me


I was at the local “convenience mart” earlier this evening.


“Convenience” store is such a euphemism, isn’t it?


Most convenience stores are in fact very convenient, but the problem is, you pay through the nose for convenience. The only people who buy groceries from convenience stores are hood specimens who need that gallon of milk now and are too lazy or inopportune to drive an extra mile to the grocery store. So they spend more for the item, an excess which is essentially a surcharge for the almighty “convenience.” Convenience marts are only good for select items. Liquor, zig zags and lottery tickets. Lottery tickets are the bane of my existence. I do not gamble. Lottery tickets delay the line, and if the idiot buying them doesn’t know what he wants and dawdles at the counter while trying to figure which scratcher to buy (because it will be THE one that enables him to leave the barrio finally, and live the life of a baller which is nothing but a trashy persona fronted by a healthy bank account) and meanwhile, you could have finished the bag of picante-flavored corn nuts you have in hand. By the way, corn nuts are the only other redeeming convenience store offering.


These damned scratcher buyers are a plague upon me. Whatever. Good luck to them. Just quit holding up my line. I need these corn nuts now.


Only ghetto specimens lack the good sense, patience, long-term planning and sense of economy that drive them to crash a convenience store at 9:30 pm to buy bleach only to come home to an apartment complex to remember they can’t use the washroom after 10 pm. But at least they have a full container of bleach. This is the ghetto way of life. It’s like they have just thrown in the towel on good sense and liberty. They will go down with their sinking ship, damnit. They will not go quietly into the turbulent, drama-whore night. They will go in full-steam ahead and make all the bad moves imaginable. Ghetto specimens don’t show any genteel manners or subtlety. They do stupid shit full blast. It’s all or nothing, and all is a lot for these people. They don’t make one bad move and two good. They aren’t fond of the principle of one step forward, three back. These people do four back, and the promise of one forward (which comes on the wings of a lottery ticket it took them 10 minutes to decide to buy after grabbing a pack of double-priced diapers that are too small for their infant but that’s all there was!).


There I was at this neighborhood convenience store earlier. It’s only important to note that it was not a chain.


Chain convenience stores are especially thief-ridden. Plus, their selection sucks and they don’t offer all the niche goodies that independent local convenience stores offer. This is actually the best thing about the convenience store market. This is one arena in which “mom n pops” are actually doing as well as the chains. I would bet that if you have a chain convenience store sitting next to a mom n pop convenience, they would both do equally well, and in fact, the mom n pop might surpass the chain if its owners escaped the prototypical Asian ruthless unfriendliness, but that’s not likely. Most Asian independent convenience store owners are very friendly and embrace the local hood community to their own misfortune. In fact, at tonight’s convenience store journey, I was behind the line in a group of 3 people.


They didn’t have enough money to buy all their tall bottles. They began asking for store credit. These people were from the ‘hood. The Asian owners were trying to bargain with them. And they did. They relinquished to credit which is unheard of at convenience stores. But the hoodlums are powerful in the barrio. But let me explain.


Finally, the other owner began asking people in line to pay separately. He was attempting a Walmartian strategy of speeding up the line! It was great.


So one person was in front of me. He was serviced in the “alternate” line while the group of 3 squabbled and stalled over their their insufficient funds.


While the guy in front of me paid, I began paying attention to the stallers.


What a crew. They were bad news. This convenience store is in the barrio but it feeds off a lot of adjacent middle-class neighborhood scumbags as well. The nature of Los Angeles.


One of the guys looked like Steve O of Jackass fame. He was tall, skinny and had some serious large-gauge flesh tunnels in his earlobes, the chick looked like a garden variety hood slut trying to act respectable (in other words, light on the thick mascara and light on the fat rolls), but the other guy…


There are men out there who have heedlessly thrown in the towel.
There are some guys who signal their presence interlaced with overbearing doses of malfeasance and viciousness. They don’t give a fuck. They do not give a fuck about your world. They surely do not give a fuck about your life. Oh, they don’t give a flying fuck about your precious children or your shiny car. The more you come in contact with such human scum, the better for all of us.


Many guys think this, very few show you. Very few wear their misanthropy like the Liberty Tax sign. But I run into guys occasionally who wear their deadly petulance like a visible mark of pride.


This guy in the convencience store line tonight did that. I rarely encounter men I feel immediately threatened by. The ones I do are 1) really big-ass black guys with hardcore street cred, 320 pounds and a lot off tattoo chatter on their arm, 2) Mexican psycho dudes with tattoos on their face.


See the commonality?


Once you etch shit in your face you are telling the world that you have ceased belonging.


This is a clear signal of danger. Animals use subtle aromatic spear to ward off predators. Man now uses skin ink. Heavy skin ink. None of this fancy boy skin “art.”


Whereas the typical child molester or serial killer attempts a semblance of normality in order to subvert the paradigm, the facial tattooed killer tells you up front that he is your tormentor.


Their implicit evocation of fear is thankless. It declares clearly: back off. Keep your eyes down and pay for your corn nuts. Go ahead, argue with the owner all night about your non-existent credit line.


A spider web tattoo on your forehead and a jumble of other chaotic indistinguishable ink on your face and arms is your free pass dude.


I’m not hard. Not like you. You are that vague, media-delivered threat, that underlying danger that warns civilized people to pay our taxes and act like we care about Washington DC.