I wrote this creative non-fiction piece about a time when I was homeless in Myrtle Beach for a little while back in 2013. I recently found this story on an old flash drive of mine, and I think when I first wrote it my intention was to enter it into a contest or something. Anyway, I figured it would be perfect for this blog, and would give my readers a real slice of something that happened in my actual life, so they can see me as a real life person who has actually been through what I now have dedicated the next 25 – 30 years of my life to researching and writing about, homelessness and poverty.
Since the average word length for regular articles on this blog is only around 600 to 1000 words, and this one is five times longer, I’m going to split it into five separate parts, and post it over the next several days. There wasn’t any official title I’d given it when I found the old story on the almost broken flash drive, so I’ll just call it “Flashback to 2013…Long Story”. The story is 100% nonfiction, straight from my life. All the people in it are actual friends of mine, all the places are real life places in Myrtle Beach SC, and all the situations happened exactly how I wrote them. Some of the hotels I lived at back then are now out of business, abandoned buildings. But, if you’ve lived in Myrtle Beach awhile, and are a real local, you’ll probably remember them when they were up and running.
There are a few curse words, just wanted to tell you now. 🙂
Hope y’all enjoy the story. Here’s Part I….
Even if the landlord was to kick me out right now, it wouldn’t be like being homeless in Myrtle Beach hadn’t happened to me before. Hell, it happened to me this past summer. I was living at a motel at 305 North Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach called Sea Cove. It was a very small one, but really convenient to my job at Compass Cove Resort on the south end. I had a moped at the time, but even if I didn’t I could just hop on the bus or bike it to work. The room itself was on the bottom floor, and when I opened my door I was looking directly at the strip, and was literally just a few steps to the sidewalk on busy Ocean Blvd.
Again, this was the summertime, and partygoers and tourists were out and about all time of night. Needless to say, earplugs were my best friends at bedtime, other than the many boulevard women I met. Dozens of them walked past my street-level weekly rental all day and night. All I heard all the time was blaring car systems and people yelling out the windows and/or sunroof of their vehicles as they drove by. You could hear dudes yelling from hotel balconies trying to pick up girls who were walking the strip, and drunk folks all over the boulevard yelling “Wooo! Myrtle Beach!!” at all hours of the night, not to mention the police sirens.
Where I lived was right on the busiest part of the strip (between Family Kingdom and The Sky Wheel) and when I got off work there would be people sitting on my step all the time. At first, I thought they were members of the Myrtle Beach homeless population, because there are so many homeless folks around here, young and old. But, mostly, they were just boulevard-walking tourists, college-aged party goers who were just looking for a place to rest for a second after constantly walking up and down the strip having fun. I didn’t take it personally. I’ve lived down here long enough to know that they had no idea that my ground level hotel room was an actual residence, and just for being cool and not always kicking them off my porch I got a lot of free alcohol, sex, and weed for the part of the summer that I stayed there at Sea Cove in 2013.
My room with one bed and no kitchen was just $150 a week at the time (a winter-rental price in the summer). Other than going to work every day in the heat at Compass Cove over the tiki bar grill, I had a ball. That is, until the landlord’s brother started hating on me and my crew one night. At the time, I had no immediate proof that this guy was trying to get me kicked out, but it was so obvious to everyone who normally kicked it with us that he had something against me. When I say us, I mean me and one of my homeboys from Kingstree nicknamed Tez.
Me and Tez had known each other way since back in elementary and junior high school in Kingstree, SC. I’d lived next door to him some years back at the motel next door named Coral Sands when I was working as a bartender at the Landmark Resort. So, I knew he had the good habit of paying his rent, unlike a lot of my friends. He was working in fast food at the Burger King at 501 South Kings Highway in 2013 when I was at Sea Cove, and needed a place to crash for a bit because he was missing out on money having to ride the bus back and forth from Kingstree every day just to work. I completely understood, being from Kingstree and knowing how there are hardly any jobs there. “Limus,” he said, “I don’t care if I gotta sleep on the floor!”
“Man, you know that’s not a new condition for us!” I said, remembering a time or two before when I had actually been homeless in Myrtle Beach, and had slept on a friends’ living room floor. “Shoot, we’ll just save up ‘til next payday or something and get the bigger room upstairs in a week or two.”
So, that’s what we started doing, saving. Tez wasn’t homeless, he lived in Kingstree at the time. He just needed to get more hours, because the Williamsburg County Transit bus only ran during the day, and he had to be on the beach in order to work night shift to make more money. Now, when I tell y’all that me and Tez had a ball, I mean EVERYBODY wanted to come over! The rent was now just $75 a piece each week, and both he and I worked full time, so we had a hell of a lot of extra money. Even though the room was small, we still got so many dates! It was crazy fun.
I went on Craigslist and got some small speakers with and amp, hooked it up to my laptop, and put them at the door while music played to attract women. They’d hear their favorite song as they walked by our room on the strip and be like “Heeey! That’s my song!”, then dance a few steps over to our porch that was lined with white, wooden rocking chairs. It was pretty much always a given they wanted to stay the night as much fun as we always had. And, even if they didn’t stay the night, I knew more women would be strolling past sometime soon. Where we were located, all we had to do was sit and wait.
Anyway, like I was saying before getting caught up thinking about the party stories, there was one of our boys with us who was kind of a hater. See, he lived in the same building, but was the landlord’s brother. Well, this guy, because his family was running the place, felt like he was in charge too and could do what he wanted and treat folks living there any kind of way. He didn’t work a job, but every time I came home he’d be somewhere around, begging for cigarettes and just being an overall pest.
One day, he, Tez, two or three other guys and myself were walking to the Save Mart on 6th North and Kings Highway. I’d said I was going to buy a case of beer, so I wanted to keep my word. Anyway, halfway to the store I ran into this chick that I wanted to hook up with for a long time, and now was the perfect opportunity. Me and her turned around and went the few blocks back to the room. My boys were laughing (well, all of them except you-know-who) because they knew what was about to go down. I gave them the cash for the beer and she and I went back to the room.
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(To be continued in Part II. To continue reading the story, click here.)