Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sam and Jeff

Sam, who is black and lives in Berkeley, calls on Jeff once every couple of days. Sometimes more, like twice a day. He sometimes gets on Jeff’s nerves, like the time I was there. I hadn’t met Sam yet, but Jeff had warned me about him, calling him an ‘alcoholic crackhead’, a bum. Sam knew Jeff’s parents real well in the sixties but he doesn’t see them anymore because Jeff’s parents now live up in the Berkeley hills and Sam lives in a poor black neighbourhood down below (Jeff lives nearby). Sam’s in his forties now and Jeff’s in his mid-twenties, like myself. Sam’s kinda taken for granted, he hangs around, bums food and liquor. He’s known Jeff all Jeff’s life. I met him and liked him. It was late, Jeff and his girlfriend, Alice, had gone to bed, and me still up listening to music or something. Sam arrived and we started drinking Jeff’s bourbon and smoking dope on Jeff’s veranda. It got real late, we started getting loud, talking about women and love and stuff. We might have broke something and made a loud crash I can’t remember but Jeff comes out telling us to shut up. No, he’s telling Sam to shut up, not me. Sam’s blabbering, I’m apologising, trying to lighten the situation, but we’re both really pissed but Jeff’s even more really pissed off. He looks madder than I’ve ever seen him and he says this time he’s had enough, this is it, go home Sam, for years you’ve been coming around here taking advantage of me and I’ve had enough of it now, I really have, if you don’t leave now I’m going to do something that I’m going to regret. And Sam’s all I knew your parents before you were born and Jeff’s all yes I know that, you’ve told me that a million times.

(California, 1996)

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