A White Boy in Downtown – Part 2: At the Trashcan Fire That First Night

I drove my 2001 Chevy Cavalier with the hanging passengerside headlight bulb and smashed bumper to downtown Fresno for the first time (other than for Jury Duty) in late January of 2012.

Why? You might ask. Why would a relatively affluent male WASP (white, anglo saxon, protestant) suddenly decide to go into such a dangerous, impoverished, and crime-ridden area?

Well, I suppose the root cause, dear reader, stretches back deterministically all the way to my childhood. So, because a life-story isn’t really necessary in this context, let’s just leave it at this: I wanted to try LSD or some other kind of “mind-expanding” drug in order to increase my creative and spiritual abilities.

What did I find in Downtown? Well, let’s find out together as I cast myself back in memory and time.


After an initial unsuccessful sojourn yesterday I know pretty much how to find free parking in the heart of Downtown. Passing the drab, dark stature of the Fresno Superior Courthouse and jails, streetlights play beautifully off the white paint of my Cavalier’s butt-imprinted hood. Occupy Fresno tents and signs lay, seemingly abandoned, to my right on the sidewalk of the Courthouse park.

I continue on smoothly thanking the Gods traffic isn’t horrific this time of night in Fresno. Sure, other cars pass by, but I’m so excited and anxious about attempting to buy an illicit substance from a genuine drug dealer for the first time that I just smile and crank the radio.

Brighter lights burst off the windshield and I squint a little before my eyes adjust. “CLUB ONE,” screams the casino sign on the corner of Tulare and old Van Ness. I smile more widely as the Chevy glides past into the relative darkness of Fulton Mall.

Once to H Street, I turn right. Finding an empty parking space is easy in Chinatown. No one really wants to be there other than bangers, hustlers, patrons, residents, and the owners of the shops and restaurants it seems.

I greet and pass by the few that are out in the area at this time. On my way down toward the deep dark of the industrial park on the North I begin to feel even more excited. I walk faster, both to stave off the chill of the night and the jitters of slight fear. Eventually I come across an old black gentleman.

I mention I am looking for LSD and he waves for me to come along. We walk toward the “Pov,” the Poverello House for the homeless and jobless, and I continue to make conversation. The man claims it is only about twenty for the tab of acid and I will have to stop. He succeeds in scaring me into staying away from the Poverello house.

I wait for half an hour just around the corner, hiding in the shadows of houses and trees lining the grungy, trash-heaped sidewalks. When I realize I’ve been played, I decide to venture around the corner.

Passing around the bend in the road to the left I am greeted by a dark street with what appears to be several squat encampments. Closest to me are clearly Mexican and Chicanos. I walk down the street toward the end of the Poverello house and its gates. I am hailed by a large, tall black man who I can’t see properly in the light of a washer-tub fireplace.

Apparently wearing a black leather jacket was a poor choice.

“You a cop white boy?” the man demands in a deep, booming voice.

“Fuck no, man. I’m just trying to score some acid,” I say.

I am invited to join the huddled people around the fire. Subjected to questions and scrutiny I am shortly asked to snort a tiny bump of coke from a key to prove that I am no police officer.

The coke is somewhat gross because of the drip, but it isn’t as repulsive as I heard it was.

After taking the little hit of cocaine, Teardrop, as I now know the first tall man to be, insists that even an undercover cop might snort coke. He demands I try crack. Perhaps it was the cocaine beginning to hit, but I feel very good and invincible. Shrugging, I take the pipe and follow his instructions.

I hold the lighter a little bit from the end of the “horn” and begin to inhale. It doesn’t taste bad at all. Except for a chemical flavor there isn’t much taste at all aside from an afterglow of butteriness.

It hits immediately and I understand why people enjoy the feeling, but the hit was no where near my best of the beginning days of my travels into Downtown. I feel faster, more intelligent, and elated. This is a form of flying.

I spend a few hours with Teardrop, just driving around to various hoods and to the motels. I am not offered another hit of crack the rest of that first night. Teardrop seems to want to keep me off the stuff when he realizes I truly had never tried the junk before.

After around 2 in the morning I announce it is time to go home. Teardrop demands I drop him back off at his particle board shanty and I do so before hitting the freeways to go home.

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About kingpollux

Ok, so I'm Adam KW King and I'm an author, actor, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, writer, freelancer, etc etc etc. I do many things. Right now I'm focusing on my newest writing projects.

Posted on February 9, 2014, in A White Boy in Downtown, Real Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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