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Wednesday, 22 October 2014


In the morning I go to Krakatoa, the hipster cafe in Golden Hill, to meet Valerie and we are sitting at a table outside, talking, when her breakfast, a plated chicken sandwich with what looks like a scoop of ice cream with bacon in it, comes.
'Jesus,' I say to Valerie, 'that looks like vanilla ice cream with bacon in it,'
'Hmm,' says Valerie, 'ice cream with swine,'
We laugh at this and Valerie lifts the top piece of bread from her sandwich and looks in.
Then she puts the bread back on and starts eating while I smoke my e-cigarette and drink my coffee and we talk about Ebola.
'I'm about as scared of that as I was of SARS and the KY2 virus and Isis,' says Valerie.
'And bird flu,' I say, 'remember when bird flu was going to kill us all?'
Then Valerie tells me you have more chance of being killed by a cop than getting Ebola.
'30,000 gun deaths a year,' I say, 'And it appears to me, that if you are a black man, you got way more chance of being killed by the cops than being killed by someone from Isis,'
'Yep,' says Valerie, 'And Isis won't kill me anyway. They're not interested in killing brown people. It's white people they're pissed off with,'
Then we talk about Valerie's online makeup business and then Valerie asks about my future.
'What's the plan for your future?' she says to me.
'I think I'll have to leave San Diego,' I tell her, 'and go somewhere, anywhere, and open a small appointment-only tattoo studio,'
'That's a good plan,' says Valerie who is still eating her chicken sandwich, 'vague, but at least it's a plan,'
Valerie then tells me about her friend in Pahoa who is a cosmetic tattooist with a tiny room which she rents out part-time to a massage therapist.
'She goes to Maui every few months,' Valerie tells me, 'for a couple of weeks and makes, like, thousands of dollars,'
I tell Valerie this is the kind of thing I would like to do, but without the going to Maui bit, and that it is time to sort out some kind of future for myself because I am terrified of a solitary old age where I am in bad health and financially compromised.
'I have to do something now,' I tell Valerie, 'I am terrified of dying old and alone and poor in a gutter with a goat licking my face,'
'If you die with a goat licking your face, you won't be alone,' says Valerie sticking her fork into the swine ice cream and smiling at me, 'You'll be with the goat.'

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