Cala Foods - David Bergeron




“Can I have a hit?”

“No!”

“Can I have a hit?”

“No!”

“Can I have a hit?”

“FUCK YOU!”

“Come on, just a little.”

“FUCK OFF! You don’t ever share with me.”

“Yeah…, but I can’t afford to. I would if I could.”

“Yeah…, I guess you would.”

These conversations usually end with Jenkins leaving just a smidgeon of dope on the end of the coat hanger wire for me after he’s gotten good and high

Lisa has been in her home state of Virginia for a couple of weeks. She calls after she gets back to San Francisco.

“Have you been doing dope?” My girlfriend asks.

“Ahhh...yeah...a little.”

“That’s it…, were finished!” She breaks up a little as she says it.

We hang up and part of me doesn’t really grasp the situation, while another part of me doesn’t care because I’m high and all I need is more dope to kill any pain that might come along.
*
“Dude, how much money you got right now?” Jenkins, wearing an Armani suit, asks after coming home from work. He sits down next to me in one of two easy chairs that occupy the space in our kitchen where a table should be.

I divert my attention taking a breather from cursing and offering advice to the TV while watching a Monday Night Football game involving my hated Niners.

“I got like ten dollars in the bank. How much you got?” I come back.

“About three… Hey ya wanna go write a check at Cala Foods for some beer?”

At half time we walk down to Hyde Street then downhill two blocks to Cala Foods, a grocery store at the corner of Hyde and California. We get a twelve pack of Stroh’s and a pack of American Spirit cigarettes the check coming to seven dollars and thirty seven cents.

While walking up Hyde back to the apartment Jenkins stops, leans forward a bit, sticks his ass out and cuts a big fart. Some yuppie we hadn’t seen walking behind us almost walks right into him from behind while he is still mid-fart.

The shocked neighbor re-routes around Jenkins as I burst into laughter.

“Fuck dude!” Jenkins stifles a laugh, “I didn’t even see her.”

Back in our apartment’s kitchen I’m slamming beers, hot-boxing cigarettes and cursing at the TV some more as the game is not going the way I want it to.

The beers and cigarettes barely take the edge off my jones, but my riveted interest in the football game helps me ignore the pain a little.

“Hey man, I got a plan for us to get some dope, but you gotta drive.” Jenkins announces after the game is over.

Then I’m pulling my Olds up in front of an ATM machine at the Wells Fargo Bank at Van Ness and California. Jenkins gets out and minutes later returns to the car with a twenty-dollar bill in his hand.

“What the fuck? I thought you didn’t have any money?” Then Jenkins relays to me while displaying just more than a little bit of guilt that he has written a check to himself. He still has some old Visa card checks that are in his and ex-girlfriend Mollie’s names, and Mollie, not Jenkins, is responsible for paying the bill.

Later, back in the kitchen as Jenkins gets the bong out of the cupboard and prepares the dope I tell him, “Ya know…? Whatcha did back there at the bank… That was the intelligent thing to do. It was the right thing in that situation. It was…, ah…, the benevolent thing to do.”
“It was fucked up,” Jenkins mutters.





David Bergeron spends a lot of time in a New Orleans cemetery these days, but once upon a time he was one of the greatest rockers to grace the punk rock stage. He also dabbled in fiction a little and was part of a writing group that met weekly to read and discuss their latest work.