I visited the city of Huntington Beach on a road trip, maybe two different road trips however my memory is not constructed to distinguish those kinds of things. We arrived in search of the well known skatepark (and adjoining plenty skateable high school). After locating the park and skating till dusk crept in, we started talking with some of the other people lingering around.

There was a group of five guys who we learned had been on a perpetual road trip for the last three years at least. They had started somewhere in Texas and had become essentialy transient since then in their decrepit volkswagen van, driving, bumming money, and enjoying the skateparks of America. They gave us the low down on the city, imparting that "huntington beach was the best place ever to be homeless". Well, as we were at least a week into our trip, out of food, dirty, tired, and slightly cranky, this news went over well. They explained that the next day we should go to the library where there was a free food hookup, we would simply have to claim homelessness. After divulging that, they asked us if we wanted to go in on an apartment together, this was slightly random, they were a little beyond too shady, so we declined and thanked them for the information.

It was now dark, time to find a place to camp illegally. Having driven a pickup truck with a futon in the back, it was just a matter of finding a semi-secluded spot to park. A church with a large parking lot lined by a fence and trees on one side did the job nicely, we drifted off into that light uncomfortable exhuasted on the road sleep.

We awoke sharply at dawn, light cutting in through the windows of the bed canopy, cold, hungry, and slightly rested. It was much to early to investigate the free food, we would have to kill time till the afternoon. Driving around until we found a park noticed in passing the previous day, we set down and ate something resembling breakfast which involved warm limp cheese and an insubstantial breadlike product. Lounging in sun and shade on the close cropped grass, despite the trip starting to wear on us, we enjoyed this time immensely.

It was now time to wind our way downtown, park the truck reasonably far away from the library, and check things out. Inside, we found a sign pointing up a set of stairs which we dutifully marched up to find several old ladies staring us down. We politely asked if this was where food was donated to those who might be in need of it. They indicated that it was and then split us apart. Girl this way, boy that way, and proceeded to interrogate and deride us. After being badgered about why I did not have a job (I actually did), how I was a despicable leech, burden to society, and filling out a form with false information, I was given a paper bag of food and allowed to return to the small lobby. There I found she had been given a bag as well, and we went back to the truck to explore our spoils.

The hand outs had been coordinated by gender, her maxi-pads, barrettes and other girly items, me, a razor (perhaps a slight hint towards my fierce stubble?) and some repulsive deodorant. Aside from these non-edibles which were essentialy useless, there were assorted types of food and toilet paper. Some perishable items which appered to have been cast off from local stores (covered with menacing black X's in pen), sundry junk food, and a couple small boxes of juice such as found in paper bag lunches for school. We returned to the skatepark, skated for a while, and then dug into the junk food portion of our haul. Something of a treat since we had been subsisting off the cheapest possible food items, ramen, white bread, and a eight pound block of mozarella stolen from a pizza parlor in our home town. This was a nice feast, afterwards we moved on to explore other parts of Los Angeles.

A couple of hours later, stuck in immobile traffic along one of the major interstates. Stuck is probably the wrong word, we may as well not have been driving. I think we might have turned off the car for quite a while, making a couple of feet every fifteen minutes when it was good. I was in the drivers side, the sun was smouldering, and we had no air conditioning. We had been depending on wind through open windows to keep us cool, we were fucked and starting to get hungry. I inventoried one of the bags, found a package of small donuts which looked very appealing, chocolate ones. I hastily gobbled up half the box, and then stopped aburptly. I looked closer at the package. A sickening feeling was rushing towards me. I noticed on the underside of all the donuts, a menacing thick layer of mold. I cast the donuts back into the bag in disgust, trying to cope with the spinning motion that was enveloping me. My stomach was a useless lump stabbing pain, I felt incredibly feverish and light-headed. Traffic was now starting to move at last, we would be fucked if we got up to switch places so that I could die quietly in shotgun. I spent the next half our in a state of madness trying to cope between hellish traffic and delirium, a experience which I have yet to approach again. For a long time thereafter I was unable to even consider eating any type of small chocolate donut without a shudder running the course of my spine.

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