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On Street Names
Columbine Joe

Anyone that’s been harassed by the cops or used to get high pretty much avoids their real name. We all have our street names. I got lucky with Columbine Joe. Some aren’t so lucky.

I met this one dude in Tall Trees, back in the day—you know, me and my roommate were the only whites in the entire community, so it serves to be diplomatic so long as you stay alert. Dude comes up to me and shakes my hand and says, “Hi there, I’m Pookie.”

I said, “For real, dude? We’re going to have to find a way around that. I’m really sorry about whatever happened when you were a kid, but I can’t call a grown-ass man, Pookie—just can’t do it.

Hell, I forget now what we settled on. But this one name I can, not, forget was something of a shock. There’s three of us living together. Our knew roommate is a black dude—a cool black dude, not into all that drama and bullshit that you usually get. Really for all their posing, in the confines of their own home, they’re generally found to be behaving like a bunch of women with dicks.

I’m good and high—head in through the front door with an imminent date with a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cakes Rolls and there is this massive woman on the couch. It’s not a couch anymore but a sedan chair. I’m a polite roommate, my roommate brings over a girl—he’s sitting there with her in his own tiny corner of the couch—so I stop, shake hands and say, “Hi there, I’m Columbine Joe.”

Cool enough, right—Columbine Joe, is a rocking street name. Now she’s an easy four-fifty—real big, with ghostly white skin. I forget the hair color—must have been blonde, out of the bottle, of course. And she says to me, “Hi, I’m Biggie.”

Oh My God, I almost lost it right there. I kept cool though—Columbine Joe is always cool, even when the cops are going up side his head or ten dudes are appropriating his bike. I said, “Nice meeting you, Miss Biggie,” headed to my room, shut the door, cranked up some death metal to a hundred and fifty decibels and laughed my ass off!

It turns out this becomes a long term thing and she’s employed as a stripper at this strip club that caters exclusively to black dudes who have a fetish for enormous white chicks. My other roommate comes through the door a little while later—and he’s all smoked up—and just laughs his ass off right in front of her, you know, like break a rib laughing. And she kept that shit too. Some time later, after they got their own place, I was walking home one day and she—or the parts that would fit—was hanging out the window waving to me and I was like, “Hey, Biggie, nice to see you.”

Books by James LaFond

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