(Note to self: Box tape is useless when applied to filthy brick walls or rusty lamp poles. Think I’ll start carrying a can of spray glue or something for those grungier spots.)
An old lady comes up and asks what I’m posting as I tape a few copies around what I thought was an abandoned bar. “Writing,” I say to her, figuring she probably wouldn’t know (or care) what a “zine” is.
“What kinda writing?” she says. She is sour looking and frowning. Her jowls hang low like a grumpy bulldog. I’m half expecting her to tell me to get the hell off her property.
“Just stuff that people send me,” I say. “I print it out and distribute it. Do you work here?”
She nods to the place next door. “Over there.” She sets her styrofoam cup of beer down on the hood of my truck and takes a drag from her cigarette. I give her a copy and she starts thumbing through it. “You know, most of this stuff is made up.”
“Some of it is fiction, yes.”
She gives me a look like I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. “You get paid for this?”
“No,” I say, feeling suddenly ashamed. “It’s just something I do. What’s your name?”
She gives me another look like it’s none of my fucking business. “Lisa,” she says. Then she explains she’s Native American, originally from Arizona. I realize she’s probably not as old as I had first thought. The years obviously haven’t been kind to her.
I step back and start taking a few pics with my iPhone. “How much do these buildings lease for? Do you know?”
“I have no idea. I just work the bar. The boss told me to come in early today so I did. She said she’d be here at noon, but in Mexican time that probably means three.” I glance at my iPhone. It’s just after one-thirty.
“I’m gonna read this,” she says, rolling up my zine and stuffing it into her back pocket. She picks up her styrofoam cup of beer and then hits me up for some change. I hand her about seventy-five cents.
“Good luck,” I say as she’s walking back to her place.
“I don’t need luck,” she says over her shoulder. “I need a miracle.”
koogmo #3, zine