Saturday, June 18, 2005

what do i know

“Is this air conditioning okay sir?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
“OK, you let me know if it’s too cold.”
I’m in a suit in a car downtown heading to a TV appearance. It’s early on a weekday, lots of people on the street. I’m looking over my notes for the interview.
“Would you like the radio on sir?”
“That’s fine,” I say.
The driver turns on the radio. It’s the news. Weather and traffic as usual. I’m half listening, reading over my notes. A news story comes on. I look up and listen.
“And now, a tragic shooting in College Park last night as a 19 year old man was gunned down in a drive-by attack. Authorities on the scene are searching for a green 4-door sedan with Maryland plates…”
I put my notes on the seat next to me and loosen my tie. I look around at the black leather seats and the newspaper and bottled water prepared for me. Like a hotel. The interior seems huge. I stare out the window listening.
“Fucking kids,” I say.
“Yes, it’s a shame sir,” the driver says.
“Yeah,” I say. “You don’t know the half.”
The driver slows down for a stoplight. At the light he looks at me in the rear-view.
“And you” he says, “what do you know about it?”
* * *
We’re at the beach and it’s late. Fingers and I are smoking a joint in the car in a corner parking lot.
I take a long hit. The paper is hot on my fingers. I inhale, and smoke rolls up my face. I hold my breath and pass.
I look at the street. There’s a blue sedan in the intersection. I exhale through the steering wheel and squint to look closely. Two guys up front are looking at us.
“What the fuck they looking at?,” I say.
Fingers takes the joint down from his mouth and looks up. He squints looking at them.
“Aint’s shit,” he says. He looks away and ashs the joint. “C’mon, hit this bitch before it’s out.”
The blue sedan starts rolling and turns into the parking lot. I watch the wheels bounce up over the driveway and head our way.
Fuck. I reach for the shotgun between the seats—the new Mossberg, my 18th birthday present to myself. I pull it over my lap. The barrel’s cold on my leg.
Fingers is serious now, staring hard. The sedan rolls up next to my window.
“What’s up main?” says the passenger. Fingers and I stare.
“Where the fuck you from?” I say.
The passenger has a smoke in his lip. He looks at me, then at Fingers, then at the driver. Then he lifts a pistol at the roof. He cocks the slide. It’s a big pistol, and the CLICK CLACK sound is heavy and metalic.
He says something but I can’t really hear what he says.
Here we go, I think. I look at Fingers. He’s got a huge grin on his face, staring straight at the guy.
Their car starts rolling forward. I watch Finger’s eyes follow them. They dip out the other end of the lot and pull back onto the strip. Their stereo goes back up. They roll off looking back.
“Motherfucker,” I say. “Did you see the size of that shit?”
Fingers is dialing on his cell. “Capone, what up,” he says. “We need some shells.”
* * *
“There they go.” Fingers points at a parking lot up ahead. It’s the blue sedan.
“Alright, you ready motherfucker?”
“Get em,” he says.
I slow down and turn into the parking lot. It’s late, and the Safeway is closed. We roll slowly past the front of the sedan. Their stereo is all the way up. I lean way out the window and throw up a middle finger.
“Fuck you ho!” I shout. Both guys in the car sit up straight. I hear their car start.
We pull out onto the strip. They pull out behind me, and a half block later they’re tailgating us, waving us over. We drive straight up the arterial.
“Alright,” says Fingers, “let’s fucking blast.”
“OK, here we go,” I say.
I slow down, turn on my blinker, and take a left off the arterial. All I see in my rearview is their grill and headlights tailgating me.
Fingers is sitting way up in his seat with wide eyes, both hands on the shotgun. His window’s down. It’s windy and warm. He’s been chain smoking all night. I can hear my pulse in my ears.
At the corner, I take another left. The sedan’s right on my tail. Now we’re on a residential backstreet.
I slow way down and click off my lights.
“Now motherfucker!” I yell. Fingers slides up out the passenger window. He sits up on the window sill.
There is this incredible moment of silence. I hear the wind out my window, the keys clinking against the dash. It’s very dark out.
BAM. The huge sound of the shot splits the night air.
Fingers drops back down through the window into his seat. I floor it.
In the rearview the sedan is way back. The windshield’s frosted. Their lights are on. They’re stopped.
“Fuck the motherfuckers! Fuck that shit!” Fingers is yelling.
I’m flying through backstreets, engine racing, lights off, trying to make it home. My heart’s racing. I can smell the metalic dust from the fresh powder. I’m pretty sure we’ll be in jail by morning.
“I hope you wiped those motherfucking shells for prints,” I say. “This is deep shit.”
“Ain’t no thing,” says Fingers. “Hey, take the right up here. It’s faster to my pad.”
* * *
“Here we are, sir.” The driver pulls up to the studio. Lots of suits around, gridlocked traffic. He double parks and gets out to open my door.
“Too bad about those kids,” he says. “The driving-shooting. It’s the worst sir.”
“Yeah,” I say. I hand him a bill from my wallet. “Just hope they wiped the shells.”
The driver looks up. “Excuse me sir?”
“Nothing,” I say. “Keep the change.”
I step onto the street. It’s weird thinking about Fingers while in a suit, I think. Weird thinking of him in this new city. I miss him.
Fuck. I better read my notes again and forget this. Got an interview to get through.

* * *