Adrian/Sepulveda Blvd., originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

Excerpt from “Somebodies and Nobodies”my new short story about a poor athlete, fatherless and street smart, who escapes the California desert and comes to Santa Monica in search of glory and finds himself mixed up between a divorced couple whose failures and successes echo his own life.

“He imagined and wondered, trying to understand his blood-bursting passions. Who was buried deep within his DNA? Who came before him? Whose genes were his?

Sometimes he imagined himself descended from a warrior, other times: a convict, a poet, a dancer; a fighter, a general, a killer, a composer, an explorer, a ship captain, a priest.

He was born poor in the low desert east of Palm Springs, near the saguaro and sagebrush, to Tania Santos, a 19-year-old Mexican housekeeper from Durango, and El Paso born Grayson Waypole, a black man, a 22-year-old cook and expert marksman, dishonorably discharged from the Marines, who was said to be father to 30 children stretching from Indio to 29 Palms.

After Colton’s birth, Waypole went wayward.

Tania was migrant and undocumented. She dragged Colton up and down to all the stifling desert towns where the air is hot and life is hard.

She took a job with the Coachella Valley High School and worked as a cook in the school cafeteria, dumping vats of potato salad, franks and beans into steel trays.

Mother and son lived in a flat, pebble-roofed house on dusty Bagdad Avenue, a place where people parked their pickup trucks in dirt-covered front yards.”

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