Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Between Arrests

Bill is almost six months out of the South Carolina prison system. At age 54 he has spent a total of 17 years behind the wall.

He was born in Venice, California, a few blocks from where, currently homeless, and mostly drunk, he struck up this conversation, but he was raised in Washington and started doing booze and crime at an early age.

It is well beyond the Statute of Limitations, so he related with glee the night he backed-rammed a Chevy Malibu into the Radio Shack, across the parking lot from where we sat, in a smash-and-grab stereo heist.

Between booze and bone injuries, Bill is not likely to find paying work in Southern California. But it doesn't seem to bother him that he probably won't have more than another six months before he's behind another wall. When I started to take his picture, he asked what I was doing. I told him he had an interesting face and I like to take pictures. He said okay, but only if I took one of us together. I said, sure. But he must have forgot to hold me to it.


At March 20, 2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Marcie said...

Unless Bill has a familiar face, this man looks like the man we saw having a conversation with the pavement on Venice Beach last summer. He was telling the hot ground about a tailfin on a shark he'd seen. With all the interesting vendors and varieties of people walking around this man, he was the most interesting. He seemed quite comfy with the mute pavement. One who stepped over him scolded him to either go to sleep or wake up! I am not sure this Bill is the same man we saw, given we saw him mostly from behind, but I remember him more than the guy trying to get me to let him put my name and photo on a piece of rice!

At March 20, 2006 11:50 AM, Blogger BJMe said...

You bring up an interesting point: it seems that quite a few anglo-inebriates look and sound alike. Bill reminded me a lot of Lee Marvin in look, attitude and voice.

As Bill sucked on his tall can of Colt 45, he drifted in and out of a very clever Irish brogue. He conveyed a look and sound I had heard many times before. And I have to admit that I am fairly sympathetic to it.

When an approaching, elderly friend of mine waved prior to getting his coffee, Bill started to pack up his booze and 'backy, saying he'd better leave as he tended scare people, which he didn't know why. I told him it was because he was so ugly and to sit.

He laughed at that and sat, but told no more tales.


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