“So, you think you got it bad, do ya.” Dad shook his head. “Tell you what I’m gonna do.” He grabbed me by the arm, drug me outside and tossed me into the bed of his truck. The old bastard got in, and floored it.
Never gave me a chance to complain, whine, or anything. He just took off driving. Hell, I wasn’t jumping out of the truck. Not even at stop lights, or signs. All I could do was wonder what in hell he was up to.
Son-of-a-bitch drove west. Took 22 to 78. We left Union behind. He stayed on 78 all the way into Manhattan. Then, he went north. West Street. 11th. 12th. Then the Lincoln Highway. He stopped on the corner of 42nd and 9th. Right smack in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen. Bastard got out, pulled me out of the truck bed, dumped me on that corner, and said, “If you’re alive, I’ll pick you up in the morning.”
Yeah. That’s right. 16 years old, and the bastard dumps me in Hell’s Kitchen.
Hell, I did what anyone would have done. I hid. You don’t get proud there. You find a dumpster, and you climb in. That’s just what I did. Hid in a dumpster. All night long.
You ever see anyone get shot? I did. That night. Big Mexican lookin’ dude and his buddies had a fight with a guy that looked like 50 Cent and his buddies. These guys had knives, man! Real ones. Not the pretty ones from the movies. These were black. ‘Cept for the silver strip right on the edge. Dude. They cut right through coat sleeves. Jackets. Whatever. One of the Mexican’s pulled out a gun, and shot Mr. 50 Cent. Not one of those pretty things like you see in movies. Hell no. Shot him right in the chest.
Shit. I didn’t know people had that much blood in ‘em.
I’m sitting there in the dumpster thinking, “Jesus! Don’t let me puke! Don’t let me cry! Don’t let me breathe! I don’t wanna make a sound!”
After Mr 50 Cent went down, everybody ran. In all directions. I can still hear ‘em screaming at each other. The Mexicans saying, “Yeah! Take that! Don’t fuck with us!” and the Black dudes screaming, “This ain’t the end of it!”
Hell. The cops didn’t show up for hours. Nobody came out to find out what had happened. I can understand that, you know. Go check on him, see if he’s dead. Watch the cops show up and arrest you. Or maybe someone’s watching. And they shoot whoever shows up, you know. In case you’re a friend of the dead guy.
It got worse. This car pulled up to the curb, about a block from the dead guy. Some white dude got out. Had on a suit. I mean, a good one. Not something from K-Mart. Looked rich. He was an old guy. Bald on top, you know. Head shined. Pulled a girl out of the back seat. Took her right past the dumpster I was in. I watched. He walked her into the alley. It was dark. He handed her some money. She got on her knees and stuck her head in his crotch. Old dude never said a word. Just tensed up, and then relaxed. He went back to the car, and the car drove off. She came out of the alley, and walked a couple blocks north. Handed her money to a dude in a sweatshirt, old jeans, and a Yankees cap. He handed her back a sandwich bag with some kind of powder in it. “You want more, you know how to get it.”
I hid in that friggin’ dumpster. And waited for the sun to come up.
You know. Livin’ in Union ain’t bad at all.
This is my entry for week 38 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.