The high-school bathroom smoke never left San Diego. Maybe it precursed the great Cali wildfires.

We used to host our own art shows. We rented out a building and filled it with photos, punk bands, paintings, photos, and rappers. We premiered skate tapes to rooms of Vans and Dickies and howls.

One show took place on a November night. Kids in shorts got of their cars and got surprised by the cold. I sat by my paintings, talked and flirted around. Body heat built up as mop-haired skate-capped heads bopped up the stairs. The tapes were screened and the bands started screaming. I did my solo set and got B to come on stage and rap. We filled the room thick with buzz.

I didn’t even see Mooks roll through, at least five years older than any of us kids,

     pushing fake tough.

         He took out a cigarette and started to let out smoke. Right into the crowd.

So we told him to leave, and he left with a spooky snarl.

And the man came back, just fifteen minutes later, threatening to let to let out a different kind of smoke.

And thank God for security. We just wanted to fill the room with noise and put some paint on the walls. Barely any of us had ever fired what he was clutching.

So upstairs the barometer kept tweaking up. The bass still seeped out of the walls, and the layer of smoke that covers San Diego stayed safely lingering on the tiles.

Image: Screenshot of me at Gnashing Art Show 2016 from one of Jessica Borchardt’s old Instagrams.