I cut the deal real quick, making sure that there wasn’t anyone peering right round the corner. Ain’t got much to be proud of, but I know how to be down when need be. The car was parked right behind the apartment building, next to the playground. Used to be real nice, I remember after school, before I dropped out, I used to run round back with the girls and head for the swings. You know how there are things you can remember better than most; swinging as high as I could, pumping my legs until the blood drained to my feet and the wind cracking my lips. Even if I can’t remember the name of the street I live on, or why I stopped going to school in the first place, gonna remember the click, clank of the chains and the plastic swing against my ass and for a few seconds, closing my eyes, I was on top of the world just like every other kid who ever played on the swings before the streetlamps turned on.
Don’t say much to them, even when I fumbled with my wallet and coins bounced from my hand to the ground. They usually drive cars nicer than the ones that I see round here; town cars that cut through the streets like shadows or souped up Mercedes Benz screeching through the parking lot. Their faces are a blur, I try not to remember anyone’s eyes or the dip of their chin. It’s easier that way, just cause I wanna believe they ain’t more than pushers who bloom at night only to wither away by morning. I watch them take my money, not bothering to count it first and I watch their breath fog up the window as they drive off, burning the scent of rubber into the night.
He grabbed me right as I turn the corner, the bag of smoke still curled up tight in my fist. Don’t play much, specially when doing a deal, but he grabbed me first fore I can hit him upside his head. I told him he can’t even touch me out where everyone else can see.
Getter hands off, nigga.
He got these eyes right, like I never seen before, or ever will. Just like anyone else’s eyes, but he got gold in them, right round the chocolate brown. He a chink, he a chink right down to his floppy black hair that don’t stand up none like mine and the slant of his eyes but the gold there shone and shone and shone. When he got nervous, his words run together and shake, like he’s unsure what he saying or where his words are headed.
I grabbed his hand too tightly before he stared at me. That gold looked right at me and for a second, calm comes over me and then he managed to stammer out, Wh, what we doing here?
At night, sometimes, I can see my shadow on that damn swing, pumping shadow legs harder and harder gainst the sky. I slammed my fist against his shoulder, the butterfly bones there.
He says fuck you so much I think that’s the first thing his parents learned to say after they came over from China or wherever the fuck they from, rubbing those words deep under his skin just like crack.
You ain’t shit. Said it more to myself than him, but the hurt in those eyes got me deep and the smoke in my hand shook and he walked away, the long curve of his spine bent forward so he looked like a crying bitch. Crazy nigga don’t know shit. I know what I be talking bout, I always do.