MauiTime is saddened to hear of the passing of writer Barukh Shalev (1979-2019) last month in North Dakota. Below are links to a few of his articles printed in MauiTime, followed by more recent work – an excerpt from a book he had hoped to publish about his time in Los Angeles, California.
Read Deal Street Car Killah (5/12/2005)
Families of Strangers (4/7/2005)
Hitchin’ a Ride (8/5/2004)
We sat around Evil’s pad for a long time, drinking beer. Time passed slowly until it was time to leave, then it moved fast. I was alive, but I lived like I was dying.
We left in darkness. That’s how it had to be. We were convicts on the move. Evil was a high-control parolee from Long Beach, a punk rocker turned institutionalized needle Nazi, a two-striker on a prison yard white power trip and an Orange County cop magnet with devil horns tattooed on his forehead. We were busted together and had met on the yard of the Santa Ana jail.
His old lady “Shadyeight” was along for the ride, strung out and dope-sick and useless in most ways. She was a stripper who got caught up on dope and now was too much of an addict to even make her house fees. She didn’t say much. She had active warrants from Laguna Beach to Thousand Oaks and would not hesitate to open up your neck with a bone-crusher for a teener of dope, and was realistically a way worse and more lowdown criminal than both Evil and me put together.
They were driving me back to Los Angeles. None of us possessed a valid driver’s license. We were all fresh out of jail and known felons. But only L.A. cops knew me, so I drove. The whole thing was a bad idea but that was nothing new: I was full of bad ideas. I just wanted to go home. I didn’t give a fuck.
Evil had a sky-blue, one-eyed-Willie Astrovan. It was a janky piece of shit, bogus-registered with forged paperwork in his homegirl’s name. There was no insurance, no registration. The plates were lifted. A taillight was out. The tires were bald. The engine howled and shrieked as if possessed when you gassed it. There were no seats in the back. The thing spewed more smoke then an Oklahoma barbecue pit. Evil said he traded a pit-bull for it somewhere down the line. I myself wouldn’t have traded a purple San Pedro rat for it, but there it was.
I borrowed a beanie and pulled it low to cover all the tattoos but in the end it didn’t matter because we were what we were and we were who we were: born losers on borrowed time, riding dirty on an electric junky midnight magic carpet gee-ride along the dope-sick rainbow bridge to Los Angeles.
The freeways were a menacing gauntlet of cops. I decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway. I fired up the engine, peeled off slowly from Evil’s pad and creeped along the main drag of Huntington Beach. We were in Orange County, far away from my home and my town and my people, but I knew the way back. I lived like a migratory animal, the spawning salmon, the monarch butterfly: no matter how far away I went, I always found my way back home.