Friday, January 14, 2011
Flashback Friday - How I lost my clothes in Downtown L.A
Before your mind goes wild, let me assure you that this story is not sexual in nature. This story is rated PG-13.
Right before the high school session was about to begin, I was given shopping money to buy clothes to start the new year with new gear. I pick up my buddy Mando and we take the bus down whittier boulevard and into downtown L.A. Back then, the bus was called RTD (Rapid Transit District).
At that time, Los Angeles was a little bit shady. Skid Row was still grimey and you would only see Central-American immigrants, Mexicans, and blacks. If you saw white people, they just worked there or they owned or leased the building. Today downtown is hip. I know because it is common to see young,white people bar hopping the many bars that are there today. I'm digressing.
I was given some money to go shopping and I chose downtown L.A to get the deals. As I was walking down Broadway, I notice a crowd. And where there is a crowd, there is action. I like action.
There was a dude with boxes playing the shell game and people were winning big! DISCLAIMER: DON"T EVER PLAY THE SHELL GAME. IT IS A SCAM. Everyone knows this but I was ignorant of this fact. The people "winning" were part of the scam. They worked with the con artist. The "crowd" encourages the ignorant to win and have an early retirement. The con involves a sleigh of hand. In short, you can't beat that game.
Mando: "You should play"
ME: "I don't know"
Crowd member: "Play"
I looked to see if there were any winners and they all won. I wanted a piece of that action.
"$20 dollars minimukm to play," the con artist tells me.
"I'll play $30"
I lay my money down. "Follow the ball. Follow the ball where is the ball." I kept my eyes glued on the ball. I was certain I knew which shell covered the ball.
It seemed like slow motion when the con man lifts the shell and NOTHING.
Time stood still. I was shell shocked (pun intended)
I walked away red with anger. Then Mando offers me some words of encouragement. "Get your money back double or nothing."
I played and got the same result. I was livid. My friend Mando was cracking up. "You have to admit it was funny", he tells me. It was hillarious.
I walked the crowd like a madman. "I need to rob someone" I said fuming between my heavy breathing. I also thought about what I was going to tell my mother.
As we walked two blocks, we notice the cops approaching us. I stand in the middle of the street and stop the cops and point to the con man and his crew and the cops arrest him. I did not get my money though.
There was a little problem. The con man's crew saw me pointing the finger at my public enemy #1. They chase us. We run and hop into a random bus #66.
"Please let us ride, I lost my money in the shell game and I'm broke"
"No problem man, the black bus driver assures me. My friend and I were the only one on the bus and the bus driver was kind enough to give me a tour of the city.
"See that corner, that's where the He-shes come out at night. Sometimes they look like girls and you can't tell."
The bus drive home took forever because the bus went west on Olympic before making a U-turn on the Westside. I thought it went east.
I explained to my parents that I lost my money. I nearly lost my mind.