Visiting The Shelter, Part 3

A mini-series about visiting a homeless veterans transitional living facility shelter in Inglewood, California where I used to live.


Visiting The Shelter, Part 2

A mini-series about visiting a homeless veterans transitional living facility shelter in Inglewood, California where I used to live.


Visiting The Shelter, Part 1

A mini-series about visiting a homeless veterans transitional living facility shelter in Inglewood, California where I used to live.


Back To Shelter

Prologue to my 50-part video series on going to Hollywood from east Texas to be in a documentary about homeless veteran shelters and ironically ending up in one of those shelters again.


Dress For Success At The Day Labor Hall

The above video is a true story of my day labor hall “dress for success” experiences in Torrance, California.

Day labor halls are outfits like Manpower and Labor Ready who hire drunks, crack addicts and riffraff of every ilk (even unemployed movie extras!) to do menial labor for companies who want to pay bottom dollar for their crappiest tasks and the experience is sobbering.

Well, almost.

There is a day labor hall scene in “Factotum“, a film based on Charles Bukowski’s work, that touches on day labor. My own experiences were not so bad. I squeezed plastic bags of caramel for Starbucks as a day laborer. I unloaded truck trailers of window frames and swept construction sites.

My favorite Labor Ready assignment was driving repossessed cars at dealer-only auto auctions. Labor Ready paid top dollar ($8 an hour) for bums who still possessed a driver’s license AND showed up sober to drive or push the junkers up on to the auction blocks.

Plus I got to hear what used car dealers REALLY thought of their cars and their customers. When no one who could possibly be a customer is around, car salesmen talk like drunken sailors on shore leave. There’s a lot of sex talk and body parts in their frenzied pursuit of a f-buck.

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A Hitchcockian View of Crack Motel Stooges

Motel Marquis
Dept. of Little Humors

Every time I open my crack motel room door, it’s a pageant. Today was a bald headed deputy sheriff and a child services officer facing down a young man on the motel stairs. He was waving a clothes iron around (I think it was a Westinghouse Mark IV, 5 nozzle steadystream steamer. You hardly ever see those around here).

Yesterday it was child services officers doing a routine inspection of the usual suspects. Looking for child abusers, finding only dumpster divers, gypsy cabbies and subletting streetwalkers.

Do you remember those old Three Stooges chase scenes where you’re looking down a hallway at a bunch of doors? A stooge runs into one door at the end of the hallway and immediately runs out a closer door as the person chasing him runs in to a third door out of which the second stooge runs?

Well, my doorway view is like that. A sheriff runs into 213 while the perp tiptoes out 117, another deputy backs out of 204 while Killer and Cabbage Patch fade into 108.

In the midst of all this is my roommate screaming into the weak courtyard payphone trying to pick up a movie extra ‘rush job’, the man with the mutant belly button is walking his three coyotes, Margo and Marie are on the sidewalk trying to pick up construction worker tricks and the smoking fat man is standing in the doorway of 118, watching. Smoking and watching.

As John Pascucci writes in his “Manhunter” prologue (entitled “Let Me Tell My Story”) : “I know more about the world than most people do. At least, I know more about what’s commonly called ‘the real world.’ But I’m not bragging. I’m confessing. Knowledge never comes for free. It always comes at a price, and I paid too much. Far too often, the price I paid was hurting people, breaking laws, and looking too long at the dark side of life.”

What I’ve got here at the Motel Marquis, gentle reader, is an Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” view of a Three Stooges routine. Forgive me if I find little humors from my long look.

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Streetwalker Prostituting Milk Crates


Motel Marquis
Dept. of Milk Crates

The storage place where I packratted my previous life sent me another rent increase letter. It was the second increase in 4 months. So I took my 14 milk crates full of school annuals, military photo albulms, corporate records and baby pictures out and stacked them up in my crack motel.

Milk crates are the best. One minute they’re shelves, the next minute they can be luggage. Or chairs. Or tables.

I am a little uneasy that I am now less mobile than I was a few months ago. A few months ago I could change residences in ten minutes. Twenty if I moved to another city. Lock, stock and barrel. Now with my milk crates ‘o plenty, it would take me two hours to move to another city. Packing and drive time included.

Tonight, I hired one of the streetwalkers who does business in front of my motel to hunt more milk crates for me. I offered her two bucks a crate after pricing inferior crates in the local discount stores at $6.99 apiece.

She’s already made $4 off me. I like to do business with local merchants when I can. You know, keep the money in the neighborhood.

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