Hello, and thank you all for your continued support. Today I'd like to share a short story from the new collection I've been working. Without further adieu...
It's something to do with the way I want you. There's got to be something wrong with that shit. I try to block you out. The thought. I swear I do. And alas, I always fucking fail. You're so deep inside of me. I can't get you out. There've been times when I start... digging.
Old bones I thought I buried... they have a habit of pushing up out of the ground right when I least expect it... where I never anticipate you. I thought you might save me. I really did. None of that matters any longer, or so I tell myself. Fuck it.
I remember a time among myriad others... I'm riding the #20 west to Pulaski. Madison bus. I got on at LaSalle and sat in the back. All I could think, as the bus continued past Ashland was, fuck. So many goddamned weirdoes. Look at these people. I mean, Jesus. What do they do all day? This crazy bitch, her hair - cranberry red - all tangled in that God awful weave of knots, dust, fuzz and crumbs - her fat ass micro-waving something awful in that deep, moist crack. She bent forward, chasing her bag of Cool Ranch Doritos on the muddled floor, and as she pinched it between two fat fingers painted pink at the end, a thin stretched-to-the-gills green thong bubbled up and got sucked back into the void after she sat back with a grunt.
I looked out the window at the gray dying world, and thought: who the fuck is eating that shit? Somebody. Somebody nasty. I mean - someone out there - they eat that ass. Fucking go down there and eat that shit, on purpose. I know that for a fact because she was talking to him on the phone. Yelling. She was pissed as fuck. He hadn't—done something.
How many time I gotta tell yo azz, nigga?
When I say...
What, you ask? Well, I don't know everything. If so, I wouldn't be riding the #20 west, hoping to buy smack from a bunch of uneducated street niggers, would I? Again I gaze through the glass, and past Western now, the city is starting to appear more desperate. More unreal, surreal. And then - that's when I started digging.
I keep one nail sharp. I file that fucker to a point. When I'm tweaking—when the creepers are out—I start to dig. When I'm nervous and think I might not be able to score, I start to dig. I looked at that fat black bitch—listened to her cunting voice grinding my nerves to shreds—and I started in on my wrist, just slightly, right at the spot before it meets the palm of my hand. I moved quick and firm, like I have some bitch in heat on the edge, some Arab virgin vegan whore who, deep down, fears that if she lets a Catholic prick like me get her off she'll be thrown deep into some dry sandy pit, stoned to severe injury before being set on fire in front of her grandparents and maybe that favorite uncle she blows on the side. So I fucking work it. I rip that goddamned hijab off her muzzled little raghead as I go in quick and firm. She looks at me and begs me to stop and I go faster. I hold her neck tight, squeeze, and as her muscles spasm and those dark eyes bulge—you Muslim slut—tell me you don't want this shit you fucking whore—she shakes her head like she's begging for mercy and I send her over the edge. I feel her warmth trickling down my finger and I look down to see the blood pouring from my wrist as somebody tugs the draw string and we pull over.
3400 west. Kimball stop.
I pull a glove out of my pocket to hold over my bleeding wrist and think: if we crashed into some unseen abyss, would anybody miss them? Miss me? All these people? Any of us? Hell. They're not so bad. They're probably pretty nice, most of them. I feel gentle now. Now that I've bled. Now that I bleed. I take a deep breath, let my arm hang down, and squeeze. I loosen the glove and feel that hot red shit running down sticky into the palm of my clenched fist and I smile.
Six more blocks. I pull the cord and thank the driver on my way out. He says nothing. Doesn’t even grimace. Looks dead west toward some unknown fucking destiny. Some fucking thought. Some lurid lucid dream. Some putrid addiction. Some lame fucking pussy at the end of a long day driving, perhaps. Or maybe some touchy family time. Perhaps not everyone is as deranged as I. I hope he's one who knows. Fuck what I hope, anyway.
I step off and the air is cold and sharp. Glittering. The corner of Madison and Pulaski is fucking crazy. You get off right at an empty lot cratered in filth and littered with thousands of artifacts of failure and a beat ass furniture store huffing fumes of diesel through a brown paper sack of a canopy. Everyone out here is on some fucking hustle, even the cops. Especially the fucking cops. I step off in the same suit I was wearing when I got on in the Loop. I fit in there. Now, everyone's looking at me. I'm getting eyed-up. They're ready to kill for me. To do anything I ask if I have the right stuff... that green shit. It won't take much. True entrepreneurs. The fresh client. All these niggers, trying to build some dynasty out here. You know what I'm here for, you fuckers. Who's got that name brand?
There's too many cops around. I hate cops. I start twitching. Involuntarily. Like that fucking dog... Pavlov, that perverted pussy-hating mother fucker. I start stepping. I meet eyes with a black face playing the low keys in some cut about a block farther west. The sidewalk is crumbled, the buildings lining the street vacant and defeated, windows broken like old women's teeth, doors agape. I walk slowly, and a little way down, I stop.
I shake no. Imperceptibly. Little more than a jerk.
"You some snitch, nigga?"
I repeat the shake. I'm twitching again.
"Just a client. Maybe."
I say it low. No more than a whisper. A whimper, yeah, that's what it is. My throat is closing up. I feel like I've been stung by a billion bees and that venom is working its shit on me. I shift back and forth on my feet to keep the Jones at bay. But he knows.
He looks me over. He's hard. Stone fucking hard. Forty, maybe younger. They age fast out here. Standing out here he's seen some shit. More than I can dream. A human lie detector. A pusher. A killer, maybe. No one to fuck with. He has his way with women. Those who give themselves to him—they're his property. It's just the way it is.
He looks in my eyes and knows I don't give a fuck. Not about anything.
He tilts his head, wipes his nose with his sleeve, and:
"You don't wanna fuck wit dem niggas back there. They on tha' fluff. Tha' Nixon shi'. Mos' ma'fuckin' sleepwalkers come through here ain' even know differen'. Fuck wit 'em and you finna get a bad bundle. I got tha' ma'fuckin' tecata, nigga. The beast. Hit me here, and then walk behind the building. It'll be under a red brick by the fence. By the address. I'm out here, nigga. Come see me. 4157 all day. So whachu wan'?"
You know what I fucking want? I want to kill you, to be honest. I want to murder your fucking black ass. Slow and gentle. Not because it's racial or anything. It's just because I need you. That and you're just too fucking loud. Your volume. Your style. Everything. But I respect that. You don't give a fuck, either.
I slide him a bill and walk off without speaking. Worst comes to worst, it won't be there. But I know it will be. It might be short, but it'll be there. He's smart. They all are. Repeat business, that's the goal for all of us. I walk around the back in my fucking suit, and nobody fucks with me. I pick up the brick, take my shit, and place the bag in my black leather glove. That plastic burns where I fingernailed the gash. I walk east to Pulaski, cut north, and wait for the bus. The whole world knows I'm carrying. And what does it matter? Nothing. Not a fucking thing.
I get in the back of the bus and ride back to the Loop, feeling so released after dipping my finger in the bag and taking just a baby bump. An old lady sitting by me in the back, she saw me do it. She gives me that look, my mother's look. I turn my head, shamefully. But fuck, I feel good.
Twenty some minutes and I'm back to the hustle and bustle, back in the flow. Back to the game. I walk into my building. Bopping now. How's the market doing, someone asks me. Fuck the market, bitch.
"Those bulls are running loose today, baby!"
I yell, like I give a fuck. He gets all excited, pisses himself, a grown ass man, like it means anything. Your death certificate is already written, son. That money. That feeling. That power. It's all fake. I look at these little pencil-neck dweebs running around, chasing dreams over phone calls and emails. Funny how it's the same bullshit with different players. All the costumes. All the jargon. So meaningless.
I think of those boot lip mother fuckers back in the hood, the hustle, the death crowding in all around their black fucking faces and eyes of knowing, and damned if I don't feel alive. I dive into cesspools and come out clean. I'm the man they all hate yet they don't dare fuck with me. I just don’t give a fuck and they know that shit.
I walk into my private bathroom with my silver spoon and needle. I lock the door. I scoop a little mound and light my Montecristo Signature Series Lighter. A friend gave it to me, back in college. It's an epic, superb, a-quality lighter, made for one job. As the white magically melts into an impeccable, clear liquid of impossible purity and strength, I reflect on old times. Life is slipping away for me, I think. I smile as those way past reflections with old friends hold that timeless, photographic quality in one's head, and I'm glad we didn't all have smart phones back in the day to actually capture so much of what was. There is elegance in mystery.
I accrue all that remains in my silver spoon into my 24 karat, gold plated syringe, drop my pants and send that hot shot into my body in a quivering blue vein, right where the inside of my leg meets my torso. I fall back, aghast and awed. I walk out of my office, and tell my secretary to hold all calls. I'm going to busy, working on things, per se, for the next several hours. I feel it.
"In fact, Kate, why don't you go home early today? Your work has been exceptional lately."
"Well, you're the boss!"
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed Stepping please watch for the release of my book, Streets, due out shortly. You may pre-order it here.