The night after the election was dark. We carried on with our lives, Cribbage Club met at Sunset Beer, but you felt the blanket of sorrow over everyone. Chivo was slumped in a corner chair staring at his cards. It'd been his turn for a full minute, but Skramble was scrolling Facebook and not paying attention. I sipped my beer and looked around the room at the groups of friends talking under the music. A few did laugh, but it wasn't the cheery atmosphere usually found in this place.
"Fifteen for two," Chivo said and placed a card down.
"Oh shit," Skramble said, putting his phone away.
A text message came across my phone, followed by another, both relaying the same message:
"You guys, there's an anti-Trump protest downtown at City Hall RIGHT NOW!"
We downed our beers and grabbed a few for the road. Outside, we made the plan to meet Chivo down the street at his place while he grabbed his bike and cooler bag for the beers.
As we rode our bikes down Sunset, I saw we were dressed perfectly -- I in my Black Flag/Bernie Sanders shirt, Skramble head to toe in black like a cat burglar, and Chivo wearing an easy to spot cow printed hat.
Entering Downtown, we hit a red light at the Trump building (his number one financier built horrendous luxury lofts no one in the area can afford). As one of my co-horts checked his tires, the other hopped off his bike and ran to the nearest oversized, ceramic trash bin associated with the Trump buildings. He stuck his hands inside for a solid grip, yelled "Fuck Trump!" and gave a solid yank, pulling the fixture over. It hit with a soft crash with pieces spilling out over the cement like broken drywall.
My vandal friend hopped on his bike with a quickness despite no scolding yells or sirens.
After locking our bikes together, we walked towards City Hall to find this amazing crowd already in full chant and I instantly felt safer than I had going to bed the night before.
Chants ranging from "Fuck Donald Trump!" to "My body, my choice!", "Pussy grabs back!", and "Not my president!" were music to my ears. Signs were held high with messages of anger and despair, but also calls to "stay nasty".
We stuck to the edge of the crowd, making our way to the steps of City Hall, and climbing up to the top (LAPD hadn't shown up yet). Chivo handed me and Skramble a beer, we touched our cans and said "Cheers", and pumped our fist to the beat of the chants.
I looked out at all these people, mad as hell, and not afraid to show it, yet keeping it peaceful. I went from fearing my fellow Americans to believing them... at least most of them.
Suddenly, the crowd began to move north.
"Let's go," Chivo said.
So we joined the march down Spring Street, chanting still, and when we finished our beers, we stuffed them in Chivo's bag instead of leaving them on the street.
A trash can was knocked over and the crowd turned on the person, yelling "PEACEFUL PROTEST!" while a small group cleaned up the spilled garbage and set it upright.
My heart warmed as I saw a group, both men and women, wearing white shirts with "Rape Survivor" written across them. I ran up to them, voicing how amazing and brave they were to do this and we group hugged.
As we crossed the overpass, we realized the march was headed down the 101 freeway on ramp.
Shit was about to get real.
To be continued....