Sunday, February 27, 2011

Invasion of the Marshallites

by James Jarvis
excerpt from Westside (tales of living in a seaside veterans shelter in Inglewood, California)

     It's like something from The Celestine Prophesies or the plagues of Egypt. If you thought I was having trouble here in Los Angeles dealing with the Kennites, the Hittites, the Jebusites or even all the sodomites, then let me introduce you to the new invading hordes: the Marshallites.

     Marshallites in Los Angeles. Who'd a thought they had the resources to make it this far west?

     I got a knock on my homeless veterans dorm room door late last night. It was Ranger Mike, the guy who rode in my truck with me to Dallas at Christmas so he could catch a plane to see his Cajun mother in Minnesota. Don't ask me what Cajuns are doing in Minnesota. It's all part of the great Cajun diaspora.

     Anyway, Ranger Mike was downstairs at the Benched Players bench talking to one of our new inmates and Mike asked him where he was from. The guy said, "A little place in East Texas. You probably never heard of it: Marshall."

     "I was just in Marshall," Ranger Mike said, "At Christmas. I've got a buddy up in G.P. who's got family there."

     So both men snuck up to the fourth floor. They had to sneak up to my room on the fourth floor because veterans in the V.I.P. program are not allowed above the third floor. When the guy introduced himself to me as a Marshallite, I pulled down my 1972 high school yearbook and looked him up. James Osborne. There he was. We went to high school together over thirty years ago. He remembered that I was the guy who went around taking pictures for the high school newspaper. I remembered his face, though age has definitely made its changes.

     "I work for a little mom and pop security company out of Marina del Rey," I told James, "No more than thirty or forty employees in the whole company. And guess what? There are are FOUR Marshallites working there!"

     It's the invasion of the Marshallites, I tell you. Who knows how this will alter the geopolitical landscape of Los Angeles? Not me. I don't know. But I'm afraid.
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