ZZ climbs out of the concrete cistern after bathing in Slab City, a squatters' camp about 190 miles southeast of Los Angeles. ZZ moved to Slab City in December 2016 after hitchhiking all along the West Coast. He now lives on 'Tank Road' which ends at a the cistern, hence the name. Dropping out of high-school in North Carolina, at the age of 20 he joined the forces and served in Japan. After returning to the States, he married his high-school sweetheart, however, the relationship did not last and ZZ has not seen his two children since the divorce.
'I'm a red-neck, long hair son of God from the South. My mother was English. Once you have kids, you lose everything else.'
Slab City, known as The Slabs, is named for its areas of concrete where for many years, since the military based closed, people have parked their RVs as they travel south for the winter. There is also a permanent community of 'Slabbers', around 200 people, who have established themselves living free in the Sonoran Desert where temperatures can reach 48 Celsius in the summer and, while there is no rent, there is also no water, electricity or services. Slabbers are an eclectic bunch often escaping poverty but also holding in common the desire to escape the rules and order of society in what they like to call 'the last free place on earth'.