We took the Verrazano Bridge to the FDR drive on our way to Harlem. The angel dust that Dee and Dakim had introduced me to earlier was having a weird effect on my mind. It was like a new universe had been opened. A strange new reality that I kind of liked. Of course I didn't know then how dangerous angel dust, PCP, was and how so many people had and would die because of it, but I knew I felt a sense of power surging through my veins, and a new consciousness before unknown to me. If Dee was smoking dust, I figured it was cool. It wasn't like we was using regular dope, like coke or heroin, I told myself. (continued from Street Persuasions, Part One).
"Yo, Jamel. I had Dakim dying laughing when I told him about Arty, upstate. Tell him, Jamel, Dee said excitedly. Dee and I shared the retelling of the story: Arty was this dude upstate with us at El Mira and Otisville, when we first got sent up. We were all cool with each other. But one day Arty decided to test me while he, Dee and myself were on the line for chow. I don't remember what it was about, but Arty and I had a few words with each other when he said, "Man, I'll bust your skinny a*#!" Arty had a little weight on him from lifting weights and his arms were kinda swole. So, I guess he thought that it meant something.
We went into the room, which was wide enough to give me room to move around and outbox Arty. We threw our hands up and went for ours. Arty was slow and awkward because weight lifting made him stiff and he couldn't move well. He grabbed me, trying to wrestle and I flipped him to the ground. He was surprised at my strength and got up and tried to box, but after a few punches to the face and body he quit.
We returned to the chow line and neither of us said anything because we didn't need to. Arty's right eye was closed and his lip was swollen. All the guys on the line laughed and pointed at Arty in derision. "Oh, s_ _t Arty! You got jacked up!", and, "Jamel did work!" I didn't laugh, though. I was serious about having had to put a guy in check who tried to disrespect me because of my smaller size.
"You wasn't havin' it, huh, Jamel?" Dakim said while looking at me as he drove across the Verrazano bridge. "Jamel don't play that, Dakim. He'll be all quiet and stuff but don't try to mess with him. Right ,Jamel?" Dee asked. "That's the kinda ni*#a's I roll with!" Dakim exclaimed excitedly. "These cats's out here is slow, Dee! We gonna sneak up on them like thieves!" he added.
As we zoomed up the FDR drive. I looked over at Dakim who was nodding his head as if he'd been given the answer to an important question. We pulled up to a busy street around 124th Street. A group of about ten adolescent boys rushed the car and I was at first apprehensive, ready to fight to escape. Yet, Dakim and Dee looked so calm. I just sat and watched as the young drug boys vied for Dakim to accept the small envelope each of them pushed through the window. Dakim told them all with a smile that he was straight and they all disappeared, rushing another car that had just pulled up behind us.
"Come on, Dee. Stay outside and watch my back," Dakim said, reaching into the dashboard and pulling out a forty five caliber handgun and handing it to Dee. Dakim looked at me for a reaction before he and Dee got out of the car and walked into a tenement about six buildings away. I watched as Dakim walked inside and Dee posted up outside. I didn't know what was going on and I wanted to get out of the car and run away. I didn't even really know exactly where we were or where the nearest subway was as I waited anxiously for them to come back. What's goin' on? I wondered. Dakim came out after about four minutes and they both walked calmy back to the car and got in. Dakim pulled off and we rode in silence for three minutes before anyone spoke. Dee, who was sitting in the back seat reached up into the front, handing me something. I took it. "That's a thousand dollars, Jamel. Count it. It's yours", he said. I looked at the money in my hand and at Dakim as he drove. He didn't look at me or say anything. "That's a coming home gift, Jamel, and there's a lot more coming. Just stick with me and Dakim," Dee said.
I didn't know what to say. The dust had my head spinning and Dakim looked like a devil when I looked over at him. He was smiling at me. "We a crew, Jamel. Niggaz gotta respect us on the Island, right Dee?" he said as I stared at the sharp horns protruding from his head and his red eyes. I was in a mild shock. I looked in the backseat but Dee looked normal. So, I let go of the door handle I had grabbed, ready to jump out of the car.
"True, indeed," Dee answered. I shook my head and looked back at Dakim and he looked normal now. Then he handed me the gun. "When we get to the middle of the bridge, Jamel, throw it over in the water. Wipe your prints off first", he added, looking at me intently. Dee handed me a towel from the backseat. I did as I was told and threw the gun, still wrapped in the towel out the window into the water below.
I didn't like the way I was feeling now. The dust was taking a bad turn now. I heard voices laughing inside my head. Outside the window I saw birds who had human heads flying in time next to the car. The birds were all looking at me. I didn't even know if this was really happening or if my mind was making it up. The angel dust made every thing look different. I grabbed the handle to the door and prepared to jump out again. I would jump off the bridge and swim to Staten Island. I just needed to get away. I passed out. When I awoke I was lying on my bed in my house and it was around 10 p.m. I guessed it had been around seven when I was in the car with Dee and Dakim. I looked around for them, but they weren't there.
I got up and walked through the apartment, looking for my mother and little brother, Ray, who was thirteen and thought the world of me. No one was home. The phone rang and I picked it up on the third ring. "Yo, Jamel. What's up man?" It was Dee.
"Yo, Dee," I answered, uncertainly. "Jamel, I'm gonna be out of town for a few days. I wanna talk to you about something important when I get back," he said.
"That's cool. Yo, Dee. I'm a little disoriented about earlier today. What happened?" "What do you mean?" he said. "You know. The money. The gun," I said. There was silence on the line. "What are you talkin' about, Jamel?" he asked earnestly. "Uptown. Dakim. A few hours ago," I said. There was silence again. Then laughter. " You buggin', Jamel", he chuckled. "I gotta get movin though. We'll talk when I get back. Peace." Then the line went dead.
I still felt woozy from the angel dust we'd smoked, earlier. At least I thought I remembered smoking something. That's why I felt so weird. I wasn't sure though. I'd find out when Dee came back. I went into the kitchen and got a glass of water. I went to my room, sat down to watch TV. Then I realized that I had school the next day. My books! I thought back to earlier, when I'd gotten off the bus, before I'd hung with Dee and that dude, Dakim. Those books were expensive and I couldn't afford to lose them. Student loans and grants paid for them! I couldn't afford to buy any more. Whew! I thought as I saw them next to my bed. I opened the bag to take out my English textbook. I pulled it out and a wad of money fell out. I counted it. It was a thousand dollars.
END PART TWO.
By: Tony Shaheed Elliott