Hip-hop Vape Kids

The other day on route to my job I was listening to the radio.  Power 106 where hip-hop doesn’t live.  After one the trendy songs they repeat multiple times every day a commercial aired informing listeners that vaping is dangerous and kids are doing it and that that particular organization is against it and trying to prevent it.  The sick shit is that rather than inform and or deter kids from vaping the commercial probably sparks their curiosity.  

The commercial includes a kid or a couple of kids talking about the different flavors and one of the kids even mentions his favorites.  Come on.  If trying to prevent kids from vaping is it necessary to mention that there are different flavors?  Is it necessary for the one kid to tell the audience which flavors are his favorite?

To me the commercial sounds more like some sort of backwards advertising.   A clever ploy to actually get more people and kids to vape. 



New glasses. 


Left eye. Everything skewed.

Normal they said.  Hard to believe.

Accustomed. In a week or so they said I’ll be.

Clean and crisp.  Words now easy to read.

A bit off.

For a few days things will seem.

They said.

Never adjusted, now they believe. 

Another visit, different doctor. 

Different prescription.

I wonder how far I will see.  Or different.

Will I see?

20/20 never except maybe.

When I dream.


I remember when I was in my teens I couldn’t wait to be an adult – twenty one years old walking into a liquor store taking my time to pick the right beer or pint of hard stuff.

Those years came and went too fast.   I’m getting really close to fifty and can’t say I like it.  I know there’s nothing I can do to stop it and I’ll never try.

Some deny it.  Other’s disguise it.  Some spend lot’s of money trying to camouflage it with skin products.  Then there are the ones that pay to go under the knife only to heal looking like everyone else that went under a knife.

Not for me.  I’ll never try to beat the inevitable.  We all age and we all die.  What really matters is how we live and I’m not one to let the number of years I’ve been alive govern how I exist.

A few days ago a coworker mentioned my bald spot.  I knew it was there but never really paid attention to how big it is.  I never cared.  But this time, when getting ready for work I took a quick look in the mirror and to my surprise it’s bigger than I imagined.  I’m lucky though.  Lucky because I know there are men out there that would freak out and have some sort of episode or serious loss of self esteem.   It didn’t phase me.  I saw it thought “holy shit” then went about my day.  I told my girlfriend and her only words were “who gives a fuck.”  She cracks me up sometimes.  She thought I was tripping, thought I was worried about going bald.

If you’re balding, so what, people worthy of your company won’t care.  It’s just hair.




I’m tired of running.  It’s so much easier when alone, life.   Only thing that matters is what you want, need or think you need and nothing else.  For years I was single because I wanted to avoid the heartache and the stress that comes when loving someone.   I’m tired of running.

If only I could read minds or would that be a living hell?

When all of the sudden there’s a distance and I have no idea what caused it – my first thought used to be, run.   But when there’s a possibility for a life in the company of a good woman, a happy life,  running could be, would be a mistake.

Is it pain? Is it frustration?  Is it anger?  What else?  I’m the cause, somehow.

All my walls are down.  Too late to bring them back up.   Exposed.   It’s what I want.

I want to live.

I’m tired of running.


Went to the eye doctor today to get an exam. Forty four years old and now I need two sets of glasses. Don’t know how I feel about it. I guess I really don’t care. One pair will be for all day use. My “distance” glasses they called them. The other pair when I work, draw, write, sculpt and read, they called these my “reading” glasses. This time around I bought insurance for my all day pair. The ones on my face now are full of scratches, so many that they look dirty.
I was nervous about the exam because it had been about five years since my last visit. It wasn’t so bad though, my girlfriend was with me the whole time. Her presence helped me keep from feeling down about one of my eyes, its vision is horrible. I couldn’t see the big letters on one of the charts without my glasses and I still struggled to make out the letters with my glasses on.
I asked the doctor what could have caused my eye to get so much worse than my good eye. I hoped for a good reply but all he said was “means you’re getting old.”
So, in two weeks I’ll be switching glasses when I sit down at my desk to create. Though my vision has gotten worse I look forward to seeing bettter than I do now.
I have to thank my girlfriend, Alma (love you).  If it wasn’t for her I would have continued to wear my current pair of glasses for years.
I look forward to seeing the world through better lenses.


Years ago I took a drawing class and forgot I kept a few of my assignments.  I did good. I received a high ‘B.’

A week ago a coworker was talking about needing an art bag for his class.  I still had mine sitting in the closet from way back so I told him I would let him have it.  

I pulled it out of the closet and found another bag that I completely forgot I had.  I looked through it and came across a still drawing that I made using pastels.  I actually like it.  


Every year the stress is the same.  If I don’t buy anything for my family they’ll think I don’t love them.  We’ve all been programmed so well.

I know very well that nothing can represent the love I have for my family.  I love them with all that I am.

This Christmas I have a girlfriend.  I love her dearly, so much so that I can say my search is over.  I told her one day that I was a bit stressed out because I couldn’t figure out what to buy her for the holiday.  She looked at me and said “I don’t care about all that bullshit, Christmas to me is about being with the people you love and having a good time.  You don’t have to buy me anything. and I won’t buy you a present.”  We promised each other not to.  I tried to tell my family the same but somehow a few presents were still exchanged, my girlfriend and I split the cost of three bottles of wine.  One for my sister, one for my mother, one for my brother and his wife and put in envelopes a few bucks for my nieces and brother’s step daughter.

If you love someone and want to buy them something to show it, do it, but why wait for Christmas or their birthday.  Or, better yet, make them something.  This year one of my nieces painted a cartoon character for me and I love it and will always cherish it.


My job is only sixteen miles away from where I live but it takes me a bus, a train then another bus to get there and the same to get back, two hours, one and a half if I’m lucky, three hours if it’s Saturday or Sunday and I miss one of the buses.  I have been riding public transit for many years and I have come to realize that a lot people that drive look down on or think less of people that do not own a car.  It’s strange and sad how people can do that, judge other human beings based on what they own. It’s bad enough we are all at one point or another judged by our appearance.  I’ve owned cars and yes, it was convenient being able to take myself where ever I needed or wanted to go but at the same time owning a car was headache.  I had to sell my last car for almost nothing because it needed an engine and the cost of replacing it was too close to what the car was worth and what was paid for it.

Aside from the extra time it takes from my day to get to my job and back I don’t mind riding public transit.  I’m reminded that life is always harder for someone else and of course that others are better off.  Some people drive to Union Station or other Metro train stations park their car and ride into downtown Los Angeles.  Either way it’s humbling.  For those who think less of metro goers – take a trip one day.  Go far, not just down the street for a few blocks.  Travel into different neighborhoods, take a trip to Santa Monica, The Hollywood Walk of Fame or to Universal City WalkUniversal Studios, downtown Long Beach, so many places are now accessible using public transit.  Routes travel through good and bad neighborhoods and by bad I mean less fortunate.  Being behind the wheel of a vehicle regardless of make and model just means you were able to pay for it or that you made it a priority to pay for it.

Be warned that traveling to and through certain cities can be dangerous.  A co-worker, father of a two year old, age 22 at the time, was mugged at knife point early morning on his way to work.  Three guys, one grabbed him in a choke hold with a knife to his throat while the other two emptied his pockets and took his backpack.

A few years back while I waited for the final bus around 11 p.m. in front of the church across the street from Olvera Street a nicely dressed grey haired man asked me if I wanted to buy a revolver, “40 bucks and I got the bullets” he said to me.  I refused never saw him again.  At that same spot, homeless people with tents line the street at night a few yards away from the bus stop. Maybe a week after I could have owned a pistol I witnessed a homeless guy being beaten by another: punched and then kicked while on the ground.  The guy on the ground saying “sorry, sorry man” the whole time.  Cops showed up, no sirens, got out of their cars, walked over, then as paramedics showed up, no sirens, tended to the injured and left, then the cops left.  That was the last time I waited at that stop.

So, if you ride public transit because you have to, don’t be ashamed.  And, if you own a nice car or a clunker remember some people choose to travel via public transit and others have no other choice.  At the end we’re all the same, flesh and bones.

Bottles (Fiction)

Empty bottles litter this tiny single room apartment. An old inexpensive ‘L’ shaped desk hugs the opposite corner from the entrance.  The one window allows the sun to shine on the longest part of the desk and on an unfinished painting.

When he was eighteen years old he ate an entire eighth of magic mushrooms. His trip lasted six hours and peaked for a good three and a half.  He slept and when he woke he was different. About his goals he gave a fuck and started to produce art immediately.  Before his psychedelic experience he just talked a lot.

He partied less but still smoked his cannabis, sativa strains to stay focussed while he worked and indica strains to help him sleep.  He drank, but only socially.  He produced work on a regular basis, two sometimes even three paintings a week and and one to two sculptures a month.  Galleries from all over the world wanted him and museums borrowed his work to show at fund raisers.

He was fucking rich and popular.  Not quite celebrity status but popular enough to get into certain night clubs without paying or waiting in line.  He also attended several celebrity parties and as a result began to neglect his true friends.  He didn’t care.  He thought the new people in his life were his new family.

Years passed.  He thought he was living the life until he came across another bag of mushrooms.  He was among his new crowd when he decided to once again take an entire eighth.  His trip was not fun at all.  He saw through everyone and realized that none of them really cared about him.  While coming down he called a couple of people from his early years and out of the four he dialed only one picked up.  A woman he was seeing.   When she found out he was on mushrooms she let him have it.  Pointed out when and how he fucked up his past relationships and how it was too late to mend them.

He stopped hanging out with people he felt were just using him because of his popularity – which was pretty much everyone he came into contact with.  He fell into a depression but still produced work, still showed at galleries and attended the openings and mingled with his collectors.  But it wasn’t the same.  His creativity started to fade and so did his income.

A year ago his cat died.  And two weeks ago his dog passed.  A week later he saw a doctor and was prescribed Xanax.  The doctor told him that the weed he smoked was probably intensifying his depression.  The doc being a professional, he listened he stopped blazing and only took the pills.  He followed the instructions and never drank a sip of alcohol while on the medication.  But now he’s sixty years old and alone.  He was working on his client’s painting after popping a pill when he was struck by the idea “I can end this shit when ever I want.”

He took a shower then went for a walk, to the market.  Bought himself an orange and a bottle of Vodka.  When he got home, he put on some music, sat on the floor, peeled his orange and after eating it walked on his knees to his desk and with a brush painted the word “sorry” at the bottom of the incomplete painting.   He grabbed the bottle of liquor, drank a quarter of it and unlocked his door.  Then he picked up the bottle of pills, and swallowed all of them.  He put on some ambient music then with his bottle of liquor sat against the wall next to his desk.  Leaned his head back against the wall, closed his eyes, shed a few tears and there he left his body to rest.

Copyright Jesse Velasquez TrappedInFlesh.com. All Rights Reserved.

Lemon (Fiction)

It’s time to go work, a job he keeps out of necessity. The girls, his niece’s are gathered around a fifteen year old car that belongs to the oldest.

“Hey kids” He yells in a stupid character voice – shit like that used to amuse them, but now the three are young adults.  They all respond one after the other sounding annoyed but still with a hint love “hi” “hey” “hi.”

Sad that his nieces don’t have much to do with him now he tries anyway “I’m off to work, what you girls up to? Something wrong with the car?” They stop talking and turn to look at their aging uncle. The oldest answers “just talking, the car is fine.” The youngest says softly “he probably wants a ride.” The middle aged girl reacts with a gesture and body posture; she’s annoyed. He realizes he interrupted something important to them so he adjusts his back pack and continues down the driveway.

Just before getting to the sidewalk he hears what could be a jet only it’s on the ground and getting closer. He stops, turns around and sees a strange car pull up. It resembles and ancient formula one race car only this thing seats four, each passeneger in their own cockpit.

Two of his nieces are sisters, the person driving is their father.  Rodrigo doesn’t think much of him, he cheated on their mother, his sister, and more than once. He left her after his last girlfriend got pregnant with his son.  Did his sister a favor, he wasn’t worth the heartache. Not so bright this guy and a total mama’s boy.  After greeting the girls he revs the engine a few times before letting it idle.  It sounds good, and with the sound still humming in his head Rodrigo remembers when and why he started to lose respect for his ex brother in-law.

When the girls were toddlers Rodrigo and their father were playing a video game on the console.  The girls were all laughs happy in the company of their father and at that time their favorite uncle.  They got to chasing each other in and out of the room and between the television and Rodrigo.

It was their father’s turn and he was losing the round. Frustrated, he yells at them to settle down. They stop for about a minute then continue with the game of tag, this time running between their father and the tv. His game character gets taken out and causes his team to lose the match. Round two begins. He’s off to a good start, has five kills and no deaths.  Here come the girls laughing and now with screams of joy. They run across blocking their father’s view just as he was about to get another kill, he misses, the other gamer fires, their dad is down. His character respawns. He charges forward and again the girls interupt and his character dies. There is still time left in the match, his character is back and just as he controls him into position the girls run across. He shouts at them “SHUT THE FUCK UP! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M PLAYING A GAME!” They stop running, their little faces now frowning holding back tears. “Go down stairs, and chase each other all you want, tell your mom to get you a snack.” Rodrigo says to them with a smile.  With the sadness still in their eyes they both grin as the youngest closes the door behind her.  Rodrigo can still here their little hand rail guided steps down the stair case.

“Hey girls!” he the cheat yells over the engine. In unison his daughters reply “hey dad.” His once, niece a simple “hey.”

He offers them all a ride.  They agree and jump in, each in their on own compartment.  Rodrigo watches as the cheat revs the engine then looks down at the dashboard and from the way he moves his arm it looks like he hit a switch and pushed and pulled on a couple of levers.

The car starts to change form.  All three girls giggle as the shape shifting bounces them around. From a low to the ground wide racing style the car turns tall and narrow looking like an old locomotive from 2001 or so.  They take off, loud and fast. He makes a right at the end of the street and again the engine roars on the other side ot the block.

He pulls up in front of the house and tells the girls on the passenger side row to stay seated and still.  After a number of pushes and pulls of a few levers and buttons the vehicle begins to rumble. A line shows up down the entire center of the car and it splits in half. Now it’s two. Two separate vehicles. Not motorcycles but two two-wheeled cars. Each kept upright by the wide tires and certainly some sort of balancing mechanism.  The cousin wide eyed and a little freaked out looks over at Rodrigo and lets out a “oh shit!” The oldest yells at her father “what do we do!?” He replies “just wait!”

Now the father and his youngest are in the first half and the oldest daughter and her cousin are in the second half. He revs the engine to the first half. The second car seems to react: its idle getting louder but not as potent as the first half.  The father rebuilt it but failed to realize that the second half has a drone feature that should have been disabled. He probably didn’t read the entire manual, skipped the pages that didnt have illustrations.  He burns rubber, the front end lifts off the ground and they take off. Zero to sixty in 4 seconds, easy. They get to the end of the street and the second car starts to rev louder. It starts to move, reving louder and louder. The girls are freaking out. The oldest in the front cockpit looking down at the dash board begins to mess with the buttons and levers. She hits a button and the thing roars and burns rubber. She yells “shit!” Her cousin screams “what the fuck!” The rear diappears into a cloud of smoke. Both of them screaming! Rodrigo drops his back pack to try to help but just as he starts after them the front end leaves the ground and it takes off! With only the rear wheel on the ground it starts to sway side to side as it rolls, no one is steering! Suddenly it makes a sharp left, bounces onto the sidewalk then makes another sharp left and breaks through a wall that divides two neighbors. It gets stuck. The engine is still running and the rear wheel is still going but the wall under it is keeping it off the ground. 

Rodrigo gets to them “girls okay?!” The cousin yells “Im good!” The sister half crying half pissed off “piece of shit almost killed us, lets get out!” Rodrigo holds the front end down so the rear doesn’t grab ground as they jump out. The sisters’s dad pulls up, leaves his youngest in the half car and runs to the wreck. He yells “what the hell did you do!? I spent months rebuilding it! Months!” The oldest stares her father down and says “Im staying here today. Jerk.” Rodrigo runs up to them “sure you girls are okay?” Both answer yes. “Okay, I’m taking off.” They say “bye.”

The cheat turns the half car off and gets on his cell phone. He speaks to someone about getting the car off the wall. His youngest walks up to him “can’t believe you care more about your stupid car than my sister and cousin, I’m staying home.” Rodrigo already heading to his job crosses paths with her, hugs her and says goodbye. Looking back towards the wreck he shakes his head and says out loud “just like his car, a lemon.”