(I know, I know, I know, it’s been a minute. Like waiting a whole summer after a spring cliffhanger for the season premiere…sorry guys. I was busy surviving an earthquake, after shocks and radiation scares, and digging my drive to blog again out of the debris. Now, it’s all dusted off and I’m ready to get back into it. Thanks for your patience! In case you’re new to this you might want to go back to Pt. 1 cuz I’m not about to do a “scenes from last season” montage lol)
So, when we left young Loco, me, I was in the holding pen at the transit police station in downtown Brooklyn (thanks for the refresher, Tink!) at Hoyt & Schmerhorn station with a dozen other guys caught in a transit sweep for fare evasion, with Stevie in my ears, tears in my eyes, and a bag of weed in my pocket to be used to get me some ass at a hooky party I had been headed to in Flatbush at the crib of the girl who probably collected guy’s virginities, like she had mine, the way I collected Spider Man comics.
I was crying because, well, I was scared, and the guy who’d just gotten carried away on a stretcher with paramedics trying to keep him from swallowing his tongue didn’t help any.
What did help was Stevie! But not at first.
As I listened to the music that had drifted down the hall from some maintenance room or a boom box atop some detective’s desk, (I wasn’t sure at that point) I started feeling a sense of ill-being, mentally, even morally. Stevie didn’t belong here! It was like listening to Nine-Inch Nails in a dentist waiting room or Mozart at a Knick Game.
This malaise was building inside me and my tearing ceased. Something was wrong, and the more I heard Stevie the more my feeling became something approaching indignant.
About then, I felt someone tap my shoulder!
I jumped up off that bench into a…I don’t even know…kind of position. Something between the Karate stance my oldest brother Chuck had taught me when I was a kid and something I’d seen Captain Kirk do on Star Trek when he’d open up a Federation-sized can of galactic whupass on some alien.
“Yo, take it easy, bruh!” the guy who had tapped me said, looking at my hands, one balled into a fist the other prepared to chop or block or something. He held back his laughter somehow. “You gotta match?”
“Nah, I ain’t got no match!” I snapped still on the defensive, wondering if asking for matches was some jail terminology I wasn’t hip too. Probably meant some shit like, ‘do I like it up the ass?’ “Why, you gotta match?”
“Yo, if I had a match I wouldn’t be asking you for one!”
That made sense. I took a breath and lowered my hands, slowly. I still didn’t trust him. Didn’t trust any of them motherfuckers. As he turned to walk away I realized he was the guy who’d been sitting next to me in the van on the way there. And I remembered that I did have matches.
“Yo, wait a sec, I think I got some…” I pulled them out of my back pocket and handed them to him.
“Can I bum a stoge?” he asked. And that’s when I laughed at my paranoia, cuz at the time that’s what we all used to do to people when we were out. If a cat had matches chances are he had smokes, too. If I had known this guy I would have said, “Nigga you need uh ashtray too?”
I had bought about five loosies that morning, all my broke ass could afford that day. The Arabs at the corner store sold Newport 100s as loosies cuz they weren’t that popular. I had smoked one that morning and given one away, so had three left. I fished one out of my inside jacket pocket only to find that it had broken. Fucking 100s always break, especially since they didn’t fit in the regular sized Newport “crush-proof’ box every loosie smoker kept handy. So I had had to keep them in my pocket ‘as-is’.
“Shit!” I hissed, handing him the broken one figuring if he was a smoker he’d know what to do. And he did. Fixed that shit lickity split like all he ever smoked were broken cigarettes. Shit, it would’ve taken me ten minutes to fix it. He sparked it up immediately. I didn’t want to stand there awkwardly trying to fix mine so I didn’t spark up. Figured I’d wait til whenever I got the fuck outta there. He sat down beside me, took a couple of hits and passed it to me like a blunt. I gave an appropriate cooties pause. He wasn’t the cleanest looking motherfucker- busted Superstar Adidas, smell his “I’ve slept on the train many times” B.O.- but I’d smoked behind worse in my time so I took it.
After a few minutes I kinda forgot he was there, for whoever had been playing Stevie was still doing so and his music, though hardly audible, was loud enough to crowd out the panic that had been there just a few minutes ago.
“Yo, don’t I know you?”
I turned and gave B.O. a careful examination, searching his face for something familiar. He had me by about 4 or 5 years easy. His clothes were bedraggled, his hair unkempt. His eyes were red and heavily bagged with sleeplessness. But nothing familiar. Maybe there was something around the mouth. He had creases like he liked to smile but hadn’t in a while and a huge gap between his two front teeth, but, nope, nothing familiar.
“You sure? Don’t you live on the Parkway?”
I’m sure my face lit up a little and gave me away, but I still said, “nah.”
I didn’t always recall the maxims my brothers had shared with me during their street-war anecdotes. There were just too many. But several were unforgettable and now that my mind had settled down, one in particular seemed to suit the moment: “Don’t trust anybody! Especially motherfuckers who think they know you. Either they do or they don’t.”
He smiled, and said, “Aight,” like he was saying have it your way, like if I were some stuck-up girl who’d brushed him off or something.
None of this interaction had gone unnoticed. The other guys in the room had watched the whole thing. Two black guys in the corner, looking seedy as hell, had been watching with intense interest. I could hear the black cop, over by his station, humming “Isn’t she Lovely.” But that wasn’t very reassuring. It would take him too long to come and save my ass assuming he was even inclined to do so.
So I decided to stop acting stuck up.
“So,” I said out of the blue to B.O. “You were saying that they only gonna check our prints to see of we got warrants and shit?”
“Huh?” he said, then it came back to him, what he had begun to tell me in the van. “Oh yeah, that’s right. You got dirt?”
“I doubt it,” I said, knowing damn well I was squeaky clean. Didn’t make sense to advertise it, though. For all I knew this cat was wanted in 6 states.
As we sat there, he talking about “the system” and me hanging on every word as inconspicuously as possible, the black cop with the Bad Attitude would call names and these people would leave the cage never to return…off to their next destination, I figured. Either back to the streets or to someplace I avoided contemplating.
There were 5 of us left when the black cop came and said, “You five, come with me!” in a voice that more than suggested we were the unlucky lot.
Me and my new buddy exchanged glances. His was complacent. I’m sure mine wasn’t.
He swung open the gates and we followed him. Cops were everywhere eyeing us as we marched pass. Some had looks on their faces like they hoped we’d try something. Prayed we would. Others were nonchalant. None of us were handcuffed any longer and the door to the free world was just on the other side of the gang of officers, the sunlight I hadn’t seen in 2 hours poured in through the bullet-proof glass.
Then, I heard the music, again. Closer. Louder.
It was Stevie…again.
to be concluded…