The Last Days of Los Angeles # 8

Noah and the Meat Trees

I ONCE HAD A FRIEND NAMED NOAH. He killed himself years ago.
We were drinking and drug buddies. He was more into grunge and classic rock and I was into punk but our common ground was getting shitfaced on whatever we could get our hands on, which usually was a consistent amount of Kessler blended whiskey, Natural Ice, low-shelf vodka, prescription drugs and strong over-the-counter cold medicine such as Coricidin. Whatever we could get our hands on, we swallowed.
We were underage but had a few connections with the local Van Nuys liquor stores and knew many older friends that were always willing to readily contribute to the delinquency of minors. But Noah preferred the harder shit on a more steady basis. We all did hard drugs: coke, speed, crack here and there—although I can’t say with pure surety that heroin wasn’t involved.

ll the drugs, acid and mushrooms were mainstays. I was going to Los Angeles Valley College then, or at least trying to anyway, somehow making it to class in the mornings. This would be in between our all-night drinking and drugging binges, rolling out of bed—usually a stranger’s bed or motel room floor—with my spiked-up-hair still solidly defiant, un-showered and stinking with all the toxic shit from just hours earlier seeping out from my pores like tiny reverse sewer holes.
Earlier when I said that our common ground was drugs and alcohol, that wasn’t entirely true. We both were into poetry, literature, philosophy—anything that documented the experimentation of conscious-bending, self-actualization, anything that had at its core a creative character to it. He was a big fan of Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix—but also read William Blake, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and other classic writers and thinkers. There was nothing contradictory of reading intellectual literature at the time; the world was shit—it only mattered how we could describe or document it as articulately as possible. We romanticized self-destruction.
Being 19 or 20 then I had hopes, aspirations of becoming a writer, potentially getting paid for it in some capacity. But Noah really didn’t have these far-off plans or dreams. He was content in knowing that the world was limited and fundamentally flawed with profound and stinking bullshit. We would argue from time to time. He’d make fun of punk rockers. I’d make fun of hippies (although he wasn’t one, we’d label him one anyway just to fuck with him).
In our darker conversations we would confess our disappointment with the way our lives were currently going and the bleak hopelessness of how they were going to end up. Noah had it in his head that shit wasn’t going to get better. I wasn’t as convinced but definitely battled with severe depression at times; I felt worthless and aimless, specifically in college. I had no fucking idea why I was there. I was always just told, “When you graduate high school, you go to college. That’s just what you do," never mind figuring out what you want to do with your life or how you want to live it.
The Last Days of Los Angeles # 8 continues...
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About Luis Rivas

Luis Rivas lives in Los Angeles, California. He was a telemarketer, construction worker, flower delivery driver, fast food cashier, sales clerk, non-profit canvasser, adult store and strip club manager and package handler/zip code sorter. His work has appeared in the following publications, some of which more contributes to regularly: Zygote in My Coffee, Unlikely Stories, My Favorite Bullet, The Hold, Cherry Bleeds, Corium, Rural Messenger Press, Thieves Jargon, Origami Condom, Outsider Writers, Full of Crow, Counter Punch, Gloom Cupboard, where his is Poetry Editor and Red Fez, where he is author of the Last Days of Los Angeles column. He dropped out of Los Angeles Valley College where he was studying journalism to work full-time at a porn shop. Then he got fired. Now he has gone back to school, continuing his studies in journalism and Chicana/o Studies at California State University of Northridge and Los Angeles City College. He is currently building up his own literary website, and plans on publishing a book on his youth. Once upon a time, he grew a beard. (There is evidence on the Internet.)
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