Dragon Ball Z

Zachariah’s Los Angeles

We drive through Zachariah’s desolate neighborhood in South LA. We drive slowly up Figueroa and then onto smaller numbered streets on our way towards the freeway. The sun in Los Angeles is manic. Here, in this crappy part of town, its unblinking glare paints the streets a distinct shade of miserable. The sun showcases every discarded chicken bone and Styrofoam food container caught in the tall brown grass growing from the mouth of the storm drains. Ten miles north, in Beverly Hills, that same trademarked sun is nothing but optimism. Here it is saying there is nowhere to hide. It’s unrelenting, merciless. There it is soothing. It seduces you and talks to you of possibility. Here it is desperation.

In this part of town on a 90-degree day, you are probably best off indoors. This is where I assume most people are. Save for a few brave souls adrift somewhere on one of the sun bleached sidewalks between mini-malls – usually made up of a fried chicken place, a liquor store and a laundromat, that are strategically placed on every 10th corner or so — there is no one around.

I can’t help but think how depressed I’d be if I had to wake up and see this bleak landscape every day. Zachariah doesn’t have a choice. Nor does he complain. For him, it just is.

“You ever read books outside of school? For fun?”

He snorts, “Yeah!” Again like I am a complete idiot.

“Oh yeah? What’s your favorite?”

With no hesitation whatsoever he answers, “Dragon Ball Z.”

Read part 3 here…