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The Big Buy
Old Eastern Avenue & Eastern Boulevard, Thursday, 12:04 – 12:11 A.M., 8/10/17

The clear night, lit with a nearly full moon, made for a pleasant stroll to work for the author and for others, a productive night of work…

An older white man, almost my age, dressed in baggy white T-shirt and long dark cargo shorts, ball cap turned back whigger style on his narrow head, which was hung with straight black hair, seemed to be waiting for me in the shadows just beyond the liquor store lot as the Pakistani owners shutdown their shop.

I then heard something behind me and turned to cross the street as a young teen, perhaps 14, peddled a mountain bike slowly by me, his hands shaking visibly, his long neck sweating, his freckled face frozen in apprehension.

As I crossed the street I heard the man tell the boy, “Wait right here. Don’t go up there.”

I walked on at a good pace, covering the next half mile in perhaps six minutes.

As I came down over the hill, the marina entrance on my right and the 7-11 ahead to the left, I saw a meeting of bike boys in the middle of Old Eastern Avenue, within clear view of its intersection with Eastern Boulevard, the only street in Essex-Middle River patrolled by County Pigs at night, 30 paces from the dumpster in front of which the cops park when they go in to get their free soda and Abner the Nigerian clerk locks the door behind them. But no cop is there this night, that being a one in three occurrence.

Two white boys and two black boys formed a circle seated on their bikes in the middle of the well-lit street.

The smaller white boy looked around in my direction, spying my approach.

The smaller black boy looks east, towards my destination.

The older black boy, perhaps 15, counted a wad of bills, hurriedly stuffing them in his front pocket, and then peddling off frantically with his lookout when the latter spied my approach.

As the two black boys in their white T-shirts and black cargo pants sped off fast enough that I could hear their ties grip the asphalt as they darted into the half-dark of the park and headed over Middle River Bridge, the paleface lookout in burgundy T-shirt and dark cargo shorts panicked and darted past me. As I crossed the street, he headed up and over the hill toward the liquor store.

The older boy, perhaps 16years, sat lazily on his BMX bike. He would stand 5’ 11 and scale 170, looked fit, had reddish hair and a confident jaw, sparing not a glance for me as I used my T-cane to save my hip mounting the curb six feet to his right. He seems intent on keeping his seat and counting, until he had thumbed through the contents of the paper bag, which is full of something, two palms wide on the bottom and a hand and a half high.

I heard him tuck the bag under an arm and peddle off with longer, harder strokes than the other three, no scampering for him.

As I pass the unoccupied cop stand, Abner had given a broom to a youngish white man with black hair, who was emerging nervously from the front door to sweep the walk.

I walked past Crazy Woman in the park as she mumbled frantically at the moon and patted her grocery cart.

At 12:16 I clocked in as a young welfare mamma with three children in various stages of despair: whining, crying and darkly frowning, made their way down the aisle toward the deli, my world once again, right as rain…

Narco Night Train Kindle Edition

Thriving in Bad Places Kindle Edition

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