An abandoned factory rests just outside of the city. It is eight stories tall and offers a segmented view of the city along the banks of a concrete viaduct, on the parallel shore a railyard. On the Eastern side, a North-South Interstate Highway. We’re in an odd little corridor of misbegotten industry and commerce. We stand tall only amidst this cut and as we face the North – until the following derelict structure. As gargoyles posted on this high-ground, but a shadow is cast over us by the spire-like hills to the East and West. On the Southern horizon, lay the skyscrapers and structures through the humidity and smog. Four Afghanistan and Iraq homeless veterans guided me from their subterranean hideaway in this building and up the ravaged and rusted floors to show me the layout of the city.  Here, one of them, a man named Martins said,

Fuck them, man, fuck all it – I don’t’ give a shit about any of them or this. We owe none of these fucks nothing. We got nothing for anyone. We have no obligation to stay alive or die . . . Who’s got the dabs?

Leftover Crack

Jake shook me awake as the city shelter still slumbered. I mumbled, awaken and asked, “What time is it?” It felt like I just fell asleep and I had. Jake responded, “It’s like two, but I have to go. Are you staying, or do you want to roll with me?” I didn’t respond, but I collected my things, and we checked out.

The old streets smelled of garbage and rainwater mixed with sewage. Around us laid a dense fog which the lights a few blocks away shone like distant beacons, only partially offset by the few shelter lights. Between them and us was veiled darkness mixed with random beats from the shadows. Yet this was Jake’s world, and he was on a mission. He walked a bee-line and was nearly jogging as he was digging through his pockets on the go, and cursing to himself. At the corner he stopped and dropped his pack, frantically searching its contents, and said, “Where the fuck is it?” The question was rhetorical, but I had to ask, “What?” Jake ignored me, packed up, and was on the move again. I then tossed him a pack of cigarettes hoping to buy some sanity.