I looked to my left then to my right and I didn’t have a place to go, so I got into my car and drove West toward Avondale.
Self-pity began to weight heavy on my sleeves as I tried to keep my emotion guarded by thinking of ways to get more drugs.
The check engine light glowed brighter with every step on the gas paddle.
Its been on for weeks but it never made my “things to do list.” I never had the time to put gas in my car let along take it to the shop.
As I drove over the Walnut Hills bridge I thought about what my mother had told me when I first started drinking at twelve years old.
I was leaving the house after clearing my dresser of all its spare change then she said with tears in her eyes; if I ever find her baby Vernon would I please bring him home.
I didn’t understand what she meant at the time. I left the house to get drunk.
My Lincoln sputtered and jerked on Gilbert Ave. bringing me out of my trance.
It ran out of gas.
I got out and started walking across Martin Luther King Dr. I was half way across the bridge when I heard someone call my name.
It was Slick pumping gas in Biggie’s Cadillac at the Marathon on the corner.
I owed him money but I knew my credit was still good so I picked up my pace and started running toward him.
When I reached Slick I was tired and out of breath.
“What up Slick?” I asked excitedly.
Slick had a cold stare of his face. I couldn’t think of where it might had come from.
I told him I would pay him next Friday on payday. It was only Wednesday so why was he tripping I thought.
“I don’t know nigga you tell me,” he said walking towards me.
“I heard you had been walking around telling people you can whip our ass one on one if we we’re packing.”
Biggie, Slick, and a couple of other dudes they hung with had always disrespected addicts.
I had seen them smacking people around and making them wash their cars for little or no dope.
I didn’t like that.
I also knew they were known for jumping on people so I looked around first and seen Slick was by himself before speaking.
“Yeah I said it!” I had found the courage that my drugs use had suppressed for years.
Slick looked surprised then started to laugh.
He pulled out a Black & Mild unwrap it while looking behind me and said, “You all take care of my lightweight for me.”
I turned around and all his boys were standing behind me.