Life in Phoenix
Seven years ago I had the notion to drive down to Phoenix Arizona to go to School. It was my ambition to become a Diesel Mechanic however this never panned out and the technical training that I paid for was mostly wasted. Most of the time I was in school I would get belligerently drunk at night and work out in the morning.
The gym that I belonged to was a strange place. It was owned by some real serious body builders, they had pictures on the walls of themselves posing in muscle magazines. It seemed as though they were allover the main stream muscle building circuit, over sized cranial mass enlarged through years of juicing, veins popping out of places previously unknown to modern science, it was like a circus freak show of behemoths who looked down mockingly on the normal people like ants scurrying around their hill with no purpose in life but to get fat and die.
At the gym there was this regular named Bryant who would talk to me while lifting the heaviest weights in the place, the dude was solid, and his face was filled with scars from fighting. Bryant liked to enter UFC style fighting competitions on the local level. There is no doubt in my ind that this person was in the heavy weight class. i hear alot of people tut their own horns about how tough they are and how much but they can kick, but the truth is if you fight as much as Bryant did, the law of averages accounts for quite a few losses. None the less, big guys get the luxury of having diarrhea of the mouth without seeing any consequences.
One day we walked into the gym together and passed by the largest Samoan I've ever seen, he was at the bench and making an absurd noise every time he got it up as if to let everyone in the building know of his presence like lifting two hundred and fifty pounds was some sort of unachievable accomplishment. "Look at that guy" Bryant shouted from the other corner of the gym. "He can't even bench his own body weight, what a puss!" Bryant was taunting the Samoan continually during our workout time but I kept plugging away as neutrally as possible hoping that no fracas would occur. At some point I went to get a drink and Bryant was gone. I was alone in the gym with this angry Samoan. He looked over at me, turned his head and suddenly I disappeared from his sight. Hopefully little white guys look the same to the guy because I wanted to continue going to the place.
I felt like I was inadvertantly attracting friends of a shady character, as another man walked in and I swear he looked exactly like Mick Foley, the WWE wrestler, ( this man definitely wasn't a wrestler though, he was a Hell's angel) and he sat on the excercise machine right next to me with this crazed look in his eye like he had a criminal record which testified of things I could not begin to imagine.
The night life
Every once in a while we would come out of school and there would be a flyer on the car like this one. What you don't know is there's a pretty girl at the door collecting a sizable entrance fee and when you get inside, the place was full of slightly larger than full figured chicks wanting you to pay money to see their tatas. NO THANKS, time to go.
Here's where the craziness starts. I was working part time at Circle K, a buddy of mine, George, took me to the strip on Van Burien that leads to the night club scene, on the way there we would pass through the most rundown side of town, acting like crazy drunken adolescence, flicking pennies at the local transsexual hookers. Then we approached the downtown section, it was replete with bars, clubs, music, and people hopping from one building to the next sinking their life savings into the night life. We walked into the first club with our IDs in hand, "Dude you're from Bremerton? What's up with all the Bremalows?" said the door guy. "What do you know about that?" I asked. He knew about this phrase that the local kids made up when I was in high school, it was quite shocking to hear someone all the way down in Arizona using an immature phrase made up in my town to describe fat chicks.
I thought we were going to have a decent time in that club, but the prospect to become regulars quickly ended as one of the bouncers noticed that my pal George was eyeballing him for getting headstrong at the door. the bartender caught on quickly and before we knew it he yanked the beers right out of our hands and kicked us out. I felt like shooting a rocket launcher through the window, I was so pissed off.
So we ended up going to this place where we liked to play pool, but what I didn't realize was this particular pool hall which doubled as a karaoke bar on the weekdays, turned into gang banger central on the weekends. A fight broke out, you could see this guy almost in slow motion slap the hell out of his girlfriend, as she fell to the ground several guys began to get hostile. the bartender told them to take it outside, and I don't know what happened but it seemed like everyone who went out there on their feet was dragged back inside on their hind end. Suddenly a shot rang out. I was standing right next to George and the bullet whizzed by clipping him in the leg, but it didn't stop there, the bullet went across the room (as bullets tend to do) and hit some girl in the neck. There were no serious injuries but I vowed never to go there again. The next week we ended up playing pool at the same place.
So I met a girl that I worked with at Circle K, lets call her Tonnie. She was about fourteen years older than me and had four kids. They lived in Welfare housing, the place was a roach motel, no matter how many times you would bomb the place it seemed like they came back in greater numbers as if the poison was actually roach fertilizer. In one of the apartment bedrooms there stayed a family of five Mexicans. The wife was pregnant with another child. then the day came when the baby was to be born, it went like this;
I was hanging out in the living room when the father approached me and asked me to give them a ride to the hospital, but it was too late, his wife was completely dilated and the kid was coming within minutes. He told his wife to hold the kid in until they get to the doctors, to which she exclaimed "Hold it in?! With what?!" she then ran over to the toilet and pulled her pants down. I have always harbored certain images in my head about seeing a woman giving birth with a lot of pushing, breathing exercises, crowning of the head, and a soft crying baby at the end, etc. Instead, this kid came out in one fail swoop and dropped straight into the bowl. As I looked at the writhing body in the toilet I thought for sure the kid was going to die. I couldn't bear the scene so I ran down the stairs and dialed 911. "She shat the kid in the toilet!" I yelled and then passed the phone off to Torrie to give the ambulance directions. The father was calling for help from upstairs so I rushed over to see what was going on, the woman was just standing there with the kid still attached to her by the chord. At this point I did some irrational things but keep in mind I had absolutely no medical training especially in the field of child delivery. He wanted his wife to lay down because she was bleeding quite profusely, so I helped her to the ground. Then he asked me to get a towel to stop the bleeding, and you can guess where the bleeding was coming from, So I pressed this towel against this woman's nether regions and held it there for a while. I did feel a tad uncomfortable holding on to this particular place so we switched positions and I ended up holding this baby who was miraculously delivered from the jaws of disaster.
When the ambulance arrived everyone started arguing and pointing fingers at each other. Apparently they had been there earlier in the day but it was agreed that she was experiencing false labour. the medic took a look at me and asked if I was the father to which I replied no. "Then get the hell out of here!" he said. "No problem." was my response as I passed the kid off to him. I then made my way down the stairs and outside of the apartment where I began to pace back and forth, chain smoking, and fighting back a panic attack. Then I saw her. She was being escorted down the stairs by two medics, wearing nothing but an over sized tee shirt. I remember staring at her feet, when suddenly I saw a thick trail of red foot prints behind. Looking back over to the woman I noticed a small river of blood pouring down from between her legs, just then the medics quickly pushed her onto a gurney and into the ambulance. Later I heard that she had pushed out all of the afterbirth as soon as they had shut the door. In the end the baby turned out healthy, and so did the mother.
Hanging out at this place was begining to be dangerous, some mornings I would take out the trash while watching the local law enforcement hopping over this three foot wall in the front with their weapons drawn. "Drop the F%$@ing gun!" They would shout at the neighboring gang bangers. I found one day Tonni had turned the bed away from the window because of random shots being fired out back by belligerent drunkards listening to that music you hear when you walk into a Mexican restaurant. There was a crack head living there who would randomly come and go leaving paraphernalia lying around the house for the kids to get ahold of. I had to get out, I just wasn't ready to be the father of four kids, I felt terrible for leaving but at that point there was no hope for me to land a decent job to support any of them, In the end I think it was just better that she went looking for a more capable guy to support her family. so I left for Washington without looking back.
I guess I wasn't a very good person back in those days but the improvement process continues to be refined on a daily basis.