Friday, September 27, 2013

"Derrick Is Coming Home"

The mass shooting at Cornell Square Park in Chicago revived the heart wrenching and compelling short story my student “J” wrote for Creative Writing class last semester.
His story focuses on the fundamental issues that any society deals with: poverty, violence, crime, social justice, power control, vulnerability etc. … Writing about gangs in South West of Chicago, with vivid details about their lives, dreams, hopes and despairs, enlightens the readers and makes them aware of humans' agonizing situation. He portrays the characters drenched with poverty, yet full of desires for a better life.
What is really the cause of violence and brutality? The disintegrated families? class differentiation? lack of education? joblessness? helplessness?.... People in these deprived environments use brutality as the only form of survival defensive mechanism. 
The author takes us there, in the heart of the incident.
Thank you "J"!

Derrick Is Coming Home

By: J. B3RD

It’s 6:30 in the morning and Mrs. Blake is already buzzing about in the kitchen. Cooking breakfast for her husband Bruce has been one of her favorite things since he retired last year. She starts a fresh pot of coffee and turns on the flat panel television that they had installed when they completely remodeled their kitchen. The crisp sound of the television echoes off the stainless steel appliances and imported marble counters.

“Good Day Chicago, its 6:45 in the morning and these are the top stories this morning. There were eight more killings throughout the city this week, bringing the total number of homicides this year to a record breaking 508 deaths. The Chicago police department is trying to work with local church leaders and community members to try to stop the violence. In related news, one of the most infamous cases this year will head into court again after a third deliberation. Seventeen year of Derrick Harrison is being accused of murdering Samuel McKenzie in cold blood. FOX News Chicago has obtained exclusive security footage that captures the grizzly scene. In what should have been an open and shut case for the Prosecution, it has now turned into a media circus since the key witness to the murder has recanted his story and reportedly can’t be located by law enforcement officials. We will keep you posted as details develop.”

It’s been almost eight months since Derrick has been locked up at 26th and California; that’s where they keep the big boys. Now it’s December and the Prosecution is still unable to produce a witness to place Derrick at the scene of the crime. Back in April, somebody walked up to twenty five year old Samuel McKenzie AKA “Kongo” and shot him in the head at point blank range. Kongo had been one of the most powerful enforcers for the Gangster Disciples and it made absolutely no sense for him to get killed from such a close range, while standing on his corner. Police reports indicated that Mr. McKenzie had purchased an Arizona iced tea from the convenience store at exactly 06:17 PM; he is then seen on camera leaving the store and could still be partially seen on film opening the drink and leaning against the light post; a few minutes later a bright flash is seen on the video at 06:21 PM and just like that Mr. McKenzie laid dead. 

Detectives questioned the young Palestinian man at the register that night, 22 year old AmerNassad stated: “I charge him for the can drink and he walks out of store to hang out in front like they always do. I see him talking outside to the man and then I hear one loud boom. I duck under register and call Police immediately.”
Mr. Nassad recognized “the man” as a frequent customer; Derrick Harrison and quickly identified him to the Investigators as the shooter. The Defense argued that Derrick and Mr. McKenzie were outside talking and were approached by an unidentified third person that subsequently was the shooter. The honorable Judge McCarthy had already ruled for three continuances in hopes that the Prosecution would get their case together.

But nobody is talking to the police and everyone on the block is talking about Derrick like he’s a rock star or the boogieman. Nobody should have that much power at seventeen years old. Everyone knew he did it, the arresting Officer, the Prosecuting Attorney, the Honorable Judge McCarthy, Derrick’s Public Defender; that’s why Derrick sat with a smirk on his face. His gangly six-foot frame slouched in an orange jumpsuit, with shaggy dreadlocks hanging over his face. Derrick knew that a fourth continuance wasn’t likely. Derrick also knew that everyone on the block saw him kill Kongo and if nobody’s talking, it’s out of fear or respect. The courtroom was silent and the Prosecutor frantically shuffled through the nest of paperwork in front of him. Derrick’s public defender clicks his pen and gently puts it on his notepad. Judge McCarthy is growing impatient.

“Council, is it safe to assume that you cannot provide a written statement placing Mr. Harrison at the scene of the crime?”

“Your honor, I had a written statement but I can’t seem to place it at the moment. I have a copy of the original statement in my office. If you were to issue a continuance, I could…”

“Council, the last thing I want to do is to continue this train wreck. I’ve allowed you more than ample time to build a case and present a witness or a written statement and you have proved nothing but your incompetence.”

“Your honor, if I could…We are still trying to reach Mr. Nassad for a statement but we believe he has left the country due to the ongoing threats and harassment from..”

“Enough!!” As Judge McCarthy reaches for his gavel. His cold blue stare firmly locked on Derrick.

“Stand up Mr. Harrison. I don’t know what kind of voodoo you’re casting over these people, but somehow you continue to slither through. Rest assured that each and every one of us pays for all the good and the bad that we do in our lifetime. Just because we can’t hold you accountable for the accusations that are being held against you, it doesn’t absolve you from guilt or sin. But since I can’t prove it, I have no other choice but to drop the charges against you.”

Derrick’s attorney slowly raises his hand. “If I may your honor? I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the court that the Prosecution has also failed to come up with a weapon and would like to have those charges dismissed as well.”

Judge McCarthy is growing impatient.
“Given the circumstances, Mr. Harrison, I hereby dismiss you of all charges in regards to the murder of Samuel “Kongo” McKenzie. You’ll be granted time served for the pending charge for possession of a controlled substance and released after you fulfill the remainder of that sentence in a couple of weeks.”

Judge McCarthy slams the gavel on his desk. A crooked smile comes across Derrick’s face and his public defender reaches up to pat him on the back. “You should be home before the holidays Derrick. I told you that he wouldn’t opt for a fourth continuance. It’s three strikes and you’re out. Congratulations.”

Derrick is coming home.

It’s the following Sunday after Derrick’s final court date; visiting day at Cook County Jail. It’s a frigid Chicago afternoon; the thick ominous clouds hanging over the city are threating a snowstorm. Julio anxiously waits across the street from Cook County Jail for his older brother Andre. His lanky arms are detracted from the sleeves of his hooded sweatshirt and wrapped around his frail thirteen-year-old body. Julio is the youngest of the Harrison brothers; his soft brown complexion and light colored hair make him the target of several jokes and pranks. He shuffles his beaten up gym shoes in an attempt to generate some kind of heat, his toes numbed from the cold. He squints his eyes looking passed the cars flying up and down California, in hopes that he would see Derrick or Andre walking out of the gates surrounding the mammoth concrete structure. He wondered about how soon they would move out of their Auntie’s house now that Derrick was home again. He wondered about where they would live, if Derrick would get a job, if he could go back to his old school and friends. Julio’s daydream was interrupted by the sight of Andre walking passed the gates and storming into traffic without any hesitation. Andre’s chiseled face was stern and gave the stocky fifteen-year-old a much older demeanor.  Julio knew that look on Andre’s face all too well.

“What’s wrong Dre? Did you get to talk to Derrick?”

Andre keeps walking past Julio and without looking at him, he says, “Yeah, come on let’s get the hell out of here.”

Julio quickly follows behind Andre. “Wait, where’s D? I thought he was coming home?”

“Ain’t nobody say he was gonna come home today dumb ass. Now let’s go, we gotta find Little Rob and get ready for D to come home next week.”

“Wait, next week? Really? Where’s Rob taking us? Wegonnafind a new apartment?”

“Ain’t no apartments anymore Julio, we gonna find a home. It’s gonna be our home.”

Julio and Andre walk towards the Cermak bus as heavy snowflakes start to blanket the streets.

There’s a storm coming.

A rusty 1984 Buick Regal slowly creeps through the snow down 23rd & Drake playing a bass heavy song by Do or Die.  Little Rob lowers the driver side window with a heavy black tint “There it is, all the way at the end of the block.” He pushes on the gas pedal and quickly parks the car along the concrete wall that runs adjacent to the house where the Metra train blasts in and out of The Loop. Andre and Julio look through the frozen windshield at the abandoned house at the end of the block. Julio sticks his head from the backseat looking confused “We’re going to live here?” Andre pulls his hood over his head and puts on a pair of work gloves. “Stop asking stupid ass questions and get your gear on. Come onLil’ Rob.”

The trio jumps out of the car and Little Rob opens to thetrunk; he pulls a sledgehammer, a Maglite, and an automatic pistol. Rob tucks the pistol in his broad waistband and hands the flashlight to Julio “You light the way little man. I’ll do the heavy liftin’” Andre darts towards what was once a habitable Chicago style bungalow. The trio walks passed the rickety chain link fence and find a boarded up window leading into the basement.

“This way Rob. Knock that window out. Give him some light over here Ju’!”

“Watch out Dre, I’m going to “HULK SMASH!”In one swing half of the wooden panel pops into the basement.

Julio points the flashlight through the broken frame.

“Me and Julio go in first then we’ll open the back door for you.”

Julio and Andre quickly drop through the broken panel and into a poolof stagnant sewer water that has collected in the basement.

“It smells like shit down here, damn.Gimme some light over hereJu.”

Julio points the flashlight all around the moldy smelling basement looking for whatever is scurrying about the piles of wet garbage.

“That’s just some rats Ju, aint nothing. Come on and help me find the door.”

Julio says, “Over there! Them old stairs!”

Julio and Andre slosh through the foul smelling water with the flashlight fixed on the rickety stairs leading to the first floor, covered from the knee down with cold sewage. Andre calmly walks over to the back door and starts to open the locks. Little Rob is waiting on the back porch eating a honey bun and wearing a half grin “What took y’all so long?” The trio looks around the dilapidated kitchen and Rob pulls the gun from his waste, he signals for them to continue through the house. Strategically they canvass every room, Andre yells “Anyone in here better push on. This house belong to the nation now.” Rob chuckles under his breath as they come to the realization that the house is completely abandoned. The trio starts to run through the house screaming, laughing, and exploring the hollow tomb. Julio and Andre end up in the living room while Little Rob pokes his head into the basement.

“How are we going to live here Dre? We’re better off with Auntie Martha!”

“We aint going back to Auntie Martha’s. Derrick’s coming home next week and he gone take care of us.”

Little Rob walks into the living room already talking on his cell phone.

“Yeah, send Lee over to 23rd and Drake. We in here right by the…”
The outbound Amtrak booms next to the old house, shaking everything inside.

“DAMN!! Hello? Yeah, that was the train...Send crackhead Lee to the back of the block on Drake. He supposed to get the lights and the gas on over here. Give him half a couple shaves of rock and tell him he’ll get the rest after he clears the drain in the basement. It smells like shit in here.”

“Yeah, Voodoo coming home…”

Mr. and Mrs. Blake are sharing the Sunday paper as they sip on coffee made from an exotic blend of Columbian beans. Mr. Blake is reading the metro section and Mrs. Blake is looking through the department store inserts.

“Gina and I are supposed to meet up later at Oakbrook, would you like to join us Hun? Maybe she’ll get Roger to join her and we can have dinner at Morton’s after? Hello? Are you there Bruce?”

“What’s that? Oh sorry, I wasn’t listening dear. I’m in a trance over here reading about that idiot prosecutor that couldn’t close the lid on that seventeen year old. I tell you Linda; if I ‘d dropped the ball like that when I started with the firm they would’ve had my ass.”

“Well Bruce, you’re not with the firm anymore. So how about you start enjoying your retirement and join us at Oakbrook today?”

“Oakbrook? No, I’m all right. Besides, it’s freezing out. You go ahead. Apparently it was all caught on tape too. What the hell are they teaching these kids in law school nowadays? Geez Linda.”

“Fine, suit yourself. I’m going to get ready then. Hey, maybe you can teach law from the couch in your study? You seem to be spending lots of time on that thing recently.”

“Funny girl. Please don’t spend all of our money. I’m unemployed now remember?”

It’s the following Sunday, Julio and Andre are stuffing the few belongings they have into a duffle bag. The small apartment is filled with the scent of eggs and bacon as Aunt Martha slowly waddles about her tiny kitchen as she listens to old jazz on the radio. She calls for the boys as she sets the table for the three of them. Julio and Andre walk into the kitchen wearing their coats and backpacks, Aunt Martha turns from the sink as she hears the thud of large duffle back hit the linoleum.  Aunt Martha looks through the thick lenses on her face as she dries her hands.

“And where do you two think you’re going?”

Andre says, “Derrick’s coming home today. He got a place for us and we going to stay over there.  The three of us.”

“And what makes you think I’ll allow you to go over there? You and your brother are staying here with me. Derrick’s headed nowhere, just like your Mother gone and done. Now he’s trying to take the both of you with him? I don’t think so.”

Andre reaches for the duffle bag on the floor and places two keys on the kitchen table. “Here’s your keys back. Thank you for takin’ us in, but we have to go pick up Derrick now.” The muffled sound of heavy bass starts to become clearer and three beeps are heard in front of Aunt Martha’s building “That’s Rob, we gotta go.” The two boys walk towards the door; Aunt Martha slowly walks over and stops the door midway.

“I’m in no shape to hold the two of you down. Please just listen to me. You’re making a big mistake. I might be old and slow but I’m not stupid. I know what Derrick’s up to on the streets, everybody’s talking about it. He’s on his way to the grave or back into that hell hole and this time he’s going to stay in there for good. I think God delivered you two boys to my door so I can save you from that. You’re not supposed to end up like that.” Her eyes start to well up with tears.

Andre looks at the floor as he slowly opens the door all the way and gestures to Julio with his head to exit the tiny apartment.

“Julio, please no…” tears start to run down her soft dark cheeks as she reaches for his shoulder.

Julio looks away with tears filling his eyes, he places an envelope on the counter.

 “We have to go Auntie Martha, we’ll still stop by to visit. Promise.”

Andre’s voice can be heard from the bottom of the stairwell “JULIO LES GO!”

Aunt Martha watches Julio as he descends down the staircase, he looks up at her.
“You can always come home Julio. You’re not like them, I know you’re not like them. Talk some sense into your brother and come back home.”Julio shuffles down the stairs and into Rob’s Regal that’s double parked in front.
“Fu— took yall so long? D coming out anytime now. You got him a change of clothes like he wanted? If he’s out there already and we aint there he’s gonna…”Rob continues to talk over the loud music. Julio sits in the backseat looking at his Aunt’s building trying to hide his emotions. Andre keeps a stone cold face as he stares out of the frozen windshield, desperately trying not to feel anything about what just happened.

Derrick, Andre, and Julio are going home today.

Rob parks the old Regal within sight of the main gate where they release all of the prisoners. A crowd of friends, family, and fiends wait anxiously across the street looking for a familiar face to be released from the gates. Sporadically men are released from the gates, holding a plastic bag with their personal belongings, no laces on their shoes. Andre and Julio look out of their windows, their breath clinging to the cold glass.

“Derrick!! There he is! It’s D!!” Derrick walks out of the gate holding his pants up with one hand and a fistful of paperwork in the other. Derrick recognizes the car and immediately races towards them signaling for Andre to jump into the backseat. Andre and Julio spring from the car and immediately embrace their brother, his body feeling way more muscular than they remember. “What’s good with you young bloods? Get in the car man, its cold out here.” Derrick hops into the front seat greeting Little Rob with a firm handshake that develops into a series of gang signs.

“Holy shit it’s the man Young Voodoo!!”

“Sup with you fam?? How the hell yall know about that faggot ass Judge calling me that?”

“Man D, you know we got people everywhere. Everyone on the block calling you Voodoo. Chief Voodoo, cuzeverybody scared of you.”

Derrick turns around to address his younger siblings while laughing at Rob’s comments.

“How ya’ll been man? Julio, I aint seen you since I went in, you got a little taller bruh. Dre you looking swole too little bruh, Damn I can’t believe its been almost a year!”

“You look older D. You look like a man now. Stronger. Julio didn’t believe me when I told him how big you got in there.”

“Why didn’t you ever get your ID and come and see me in there Ju? I always asked Dre about you.”

“Oh, uh we could never get to Lexington on time to get my ID after school. You know it’s hard for Auntie Martha to get around on the train.”

“That’s not why, tell him why you never got your ID man stop being a punk.”

“What’s the matter Ju?”

Julio lets out a deep sigh and looks out of the window, “Auntie Martha didn’t want me to be in there. She said it wasn’t a place for us to be in. I’m sorry D.”

“What you sorry for? Aint your fault little bruh. Aunt Martha’s right, fuck that place! I just missed ya’ll in there. No reason to be sorry little bruh. But that’s in the past now and none of us coming back to this place for anything. On our momma’s soul, we going to the top now and Imma make sure we stay there.”

“I’m saying D!! Where you want me to take this boat? You hungry? Want to go by my ma’s house so you can take a shower? Let me know blood.”

“Nah, I want you to call everyone and tell Folks to meet us on Drake ASAP. I heard you guys helped Rob set that up. That’s what I’m talking about, we in this together.”

Rob pushes on the gas and immediately starts calling and texting everyone.

After a quick stop at the liquor store and to pick up some toiletries, the foursome was at the doorstep of their makeshift home. A few of the locals were already there greeting Derrick with hugs and handshakes. You would think he was home from college or from serving over seas.

“Everybody go ahead and get the party started. I’m going to shower upstairs and get some decent clothes on.  We got hot water in this place Rob?”

“Yeah blood, we had crackhead Lee bypass the gas and the light meters, boom! Free lights and gas!! You can get a crackhead to do anything for a rock man. You know that!”

A couple minutes late Derrick steps out of the shower and enters the master bedroom on the second floor. He can hear that more people are arriving downstairs, some familiar voices among the crowd. It’s starting to sound like a party now with the sound of bottles clanking and the light thud of bass from a boom boxnow blasting Chief Keef. The scent of high-grade weed wrapped in grape flavored blunts start to fill the halls. Derrick shuffles through the duffle bag that Julio and Andre packed for him. He hears a knock on the bedroom door.

“Who is that?”

A soft voice responds, “It’s me Julio. Can I come in?”

“Of course Ju, get in here.”

Derrick, already in his new outfit is sitting on the floor lacing up a pair of new sneakers.

“We get everything right D?”

“Oh yeah little bruh, you guys got everything. I told Rob to give you guys an extra $200 so you and Dre would get a new pair of kicks. As a thank you for helping him set up shop here.”

“Yeah, I gave that to Auntie Martha. I figure it’s the least we could do for her; taking us in and all.”

“What? That’s a lot of money little bruh…That’s really nice of you though. I like that in you. You were always special like that Ju, that’s what I love about you. Besides, once we get things cooking here we’ll have plenty more to throw around. Know what I mean?”

“That’s what I wanted to ask you D. How come everyone’s talking about you? The kids on the block don’t even look at me anymore, like they got tired of picking on me. Why all of a sudden?”

“I told you Ju, things are going to be different now that I’m home. We don’t answer to nobody now. The days of motherfuckers picking on you is over. The days of us being poor is over. The days of us being alone is over. I run shit now and aint nobody stopping me. Aint nobody stopping us. You feel me?”

“I guess, but where are we going to get money from? What school are Dre andme going to now that we live here? Who’s going to take care of us while you’re at work?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…You asking too many grown up questions little bruh. Look, let me worry about where the money is coming from ok? I just need you to be ready to help out when I ask you and remember, ALWAYS keep your mouth closed. Our business is OUR business and nobody else’s. You with me?”

Derrick reaches out with his fist. Julio cracks a smile and reaches out with a small fist.

“Now, lets go. I heard they throwing a party downstairs?”

Julio and Derrick leave the empty bedroom and make their way to the staircase leading downstairs into the living room. The group is now spilling into the dining room and they all raise their bottles and cheer as Derrick slowly descends and stops midway down the staircase. Derrick takes the opportunity to address his admirers.

“Yo, yo, somebody turn the radio down…I want to say something.”

The music abruptly stops and the silence echoes off the unfurnished walls.
Somebody yells out “Go ahead Chief Voodoo!!” as the crowd tries to contain themselves.

“I want to thank yall for helping me while I was locked up. The block really looked out for me while I was in there. Nobody talked, everybody minding they own business. That’s what family do. We look out for each other. I met with O.G. Larry while I was away. He heard what went down with that bitch Kongo and I had to tell him why that had to happen. Kongo’s head got too big and he thought he could steal from the Nation, so you know how that goes. I told O.G. Larry I wasn’t having it, aintnobody stealing from the Nation. You steal from the Nation, you steal from my family, from my blood. Larry told me they had suspected Kongo was a punk but they were looking to take care of him after they found someone to take over his post. Well, I made the decision for them and Larry liked the way I took care of business. That’s why he gave me Drake from 22nd to 23rd street and pretty soon we’re going to make a move on the rest of Kongo’s people to take over 21st too, we’re taking it ALL with Larry’s blessing.”

The jovial mood quickly changed as Derrick’s voice grew louder, more powerful.

“Things are going to be different now. We are coming off the corners and protecting this house and everyone coming through here. I want the fiends paying someone on the back porch, getting served from a window in the gangway, and leaving out the front gate. We’re going to set up shifts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no holidays. This is our time and aint nobody going to take it from us, so you’re either with me or against me. Anyone feel like they can’t get with that then they need to get the fuck out of here right now.”

The room was as quite as a funeral home, nobody dared to drink or smoke while Derrick was talking, they were in a trance. Julio sat at the top of the stairs listening in shock; he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. What would happen if he decided to walk out? He was terrified and didn’t know where to go or who to tell. The silence was broken by a faint voice calling out at the front of the house.

“Julio!! Andre!!” said the soft voice from a distance.

Little Rob looks through the front window “D, it’s your Auntie. You want me to tell her to leave?”

“What is she doing here?”Derrick storms out of the house, Julio and Andre follow behind him.

“Aunt Martha, what do you think you’re doing?”

“I don’t want any problems with you Derrick, I’m here for the kids.”

“You better get the hell out of here before you get hurt. This aint no place for you.”

“This aint no place for a child either Derrick!”Julio starts to walk towards his Aunt

“Auntie Martha, please get out of here. It isn’t safe.”

“Julio, get your brother and your coats and lets go. I’m not leaving without them Derrick!”
Andre slurs “I aint going anywhere! I’m here with my big bro! Go on with your old self!” as he takes a drink from a bottle in his right hand.

“Andre, you put that bottle down and come on right now. Julio lets go!”

Julio looks at Derrick and Andre behind the gate as if to ask for their permission. He wanted nothing more but to leave at that very instant but it meant that he would be walking out on his own flesh and blood. He slowly turns his head to look towards his Aunt Martha, he notices a long Chevy Impala slowly creeping down the block behind her. A masked driver raises an uzi from his lap and in an instant the sub machine gun starts to spray bullets in their direction. A symphony of bullets and broken glass starts to play as everyone runs for cover. The old Impala quickly spins around and another masked gunman hangs out of the passenger’s side window unleashing an encore from a much bigger sub machine gun. The second wave of bullets rips the front of the abandoned structure.

The Impala quickly peels away as Little Rob and two other men run up to the curb and start to unload their pistols towards them. Chaos and carnage spill into the street, as people run out of the house holding their wounds crying, while others are carrying unconscious people covered in blood. A female voice shrieks “Somebody call an ambulance!! Please, call an ambulance!!” Derrick comes out of the gangway with a few cuts and bruises, covered in complete shock.  Little Rob runs up to him “I know that car D!! That was them 21st boys, Let’s go hit em now before they hide!” Derrick walks passed Rob and looks around; his ears are filled with a high-pitched ringing.

“D, we need to make a move! Lets go!! We need to make a move before the cops get here!”

Derrick walks up to a small crowd tending to injured people on the front lawn and sidewalk. He sees his Aunt Martha face down in a pool of blood, several rounds to her back. A few feet away from her was Julio lying on his back holding his bony chest, his breathing was fast and his teeth steadily chattering. Derrick drops to his knees and cradles Julio’s head; Julio’s complexion is almost grey, Derrick explodes:


Mrs. Blake was buzzing around her kitchen preparing dinner; she collects the chopped vegetables from the cutting board resting on the granite countertop. She peeks into the window of the stainless steel oven to make sure the roast is at the right color. The six o’clock news is playing on the small flat screen television. Mr. Blake walks into the kitchen from his nap and greets his wife with a soft kiss on her cheek.

“Smells amazing, what are we having?”

“I made a small roast and I’m serving it with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. The Doctor said you need more veggies.”

“Oh, he has no idea what he’s talking about. I’m 66 and still built like a rock.”

Mrs. Blake turns up the volume on the TV as Ron Majors gives details about the lead story:

“Breaking News, Police officers are responding to a drive by shooting on the West side of Chicago, where five people are dead and several more were left wounded. Among the dead, were 68-year-old Martha Harrison and her twelve-year-old nephew Julio Harrison. This tragedy marks over 513 total homicides in Chicago this year, a record high for the city since 2008…Details of the bloody scene are still developing, but authorities believe that this was an act of revenge for a previous shooting involving a known gang member… ”

“What a tragedy, those poor people Bruce.”

“Tragedy? The real tragedy is that its happened more than 500 times this year and no one seems to give a shit. For crying out loud, the President of the United States is from Hyde Park! You would think that he would have the National Guard out here trying to restore some kind of order. What’s it going to take for them to actually care about all of these people that are being slaughtered on our streets? You saw what happened in Colorado and in Connecticut; you saw the response from the community and talks about gun control and increasing security. That shit happens here every day and everyone turns a blind eye. That’s the real tragedy.”

“Sounds like Captain “save the planet” woke up grumpy from his nap! I should have known better than to rile you up like that.”

Mr. Blake chuckles, “Sorry Lin, but this is really starting to bother me...Now, how about that roast?”

“It’s almost ready Bruce relax. By the way, don’t forget you have an eye Doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning.”

“Dammit, what time? I have to take the car in for an oil change at noon.”

“Well that can wait for another day and don’t set anything up for Saturday morning because we are meeting Gina and Roger for brunch at the Cheesecake Factory.”

“Dammit Linda, are we really having THIS conversation again?”

Copyright 2013


Photo by Angel Harrold

About the author:
I was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago. I’m a product of the Chicago Public School system and I did my time at Farragut Career Academy. I will be graduated soon from DePaul University. I have been serving the people of Chicago since I can remember.