The jazz pianist in the apartment nearby was practicing. I no longer had a cellular or a music player so I had become accustomed to appreciating the sounds of the world around me. I was on my way to an open mic. I hadn’t performed anything in front of an audience in quite sometime. The open mic that I frequented was hosted by a friend of mine so I enjoyed going on any Tuesday that I could. I used to go all the time last year when I had a different job, which allowed me to have my nights.
I stopped by the local corner store to pick up smokes for my walk. I usually purchased my cigs at that particular corner store because the same two guys were always working and they were personable and friendly. They were two dark-skinned immigrants who spoke French to one another but English to the customers.
As I used my foot to push open the front door, I packed my fresh box twenty times into my open palm, unsealed the pack, opened the box and threw away the remains into the garbage can outside. Using my front two teeth I pulled a fresh stick from the pack and lit it as I walked up the sidewalk. The first pull was always the nicest. So, like a train I moved forward puffing smoke. I noticed, about six yards up, three young saggy pant wearing, dread-headed high school kids blocking the sidewalk. They were shooting the shit as one of them retold a story to the others very obnoxiously. The one shouting had his back to the street and the others craned their necks as they sat on someone’s lawn. There was enough space for me to pass through and that’s what I did. I made eye contact with the shouting one and nodded my head to acknowledge him. He stopped shouting and only stared at me with a blank expression. I thought it strange but during my stride through their posse canal I tripped. I stumbled to my feet and looked back. The kid who tripped me was sitting on the lawn and had the nerve to not draw his foot back. He looked me dead square in the face as his friends laughed at me. We stared at each other for a long 7 seconds before I asked him why he did it. His friends kept laughing but his face never changed; it was emotionless and ugly. He didn’t respond and I wanted to get to Daisies so I turned my back on him and started to walk away. I didn’t get two steps before I felt something hit my back. I turned back and a rock was rolling into the road. I glanced at the kid as I took a drag from my cigarette. He didn’t budge. I strolled over to him and before I could even get close enough to spit on him, his two lackies formed a human wall to block us off. I sighed because of how ridiculous they were acting but I wasn’t gonna get punked by some fucking 16-year-old degenerates.
I got up into one of their faces with my cigarette and took one long drag. You can guess where the smoke ended up. Well, it didn’t exactly work out as disrespectfully as I would’ve liked. When I blew the fat cloud of smoke in the kid’s face, he literally inhaled every last drop; he sucked it all in. I essentially gave him a cigarette shotgun. The strangest thing was, the exhaled smoke came from the nostrils of the kid standing firmly next to him. The two started to chuckle. And I have to admit, I was freaking out.
They both suddenly dropped to one knee as the kid sitting on the grass finally stood. His skin was darker than mine but his dreads were as bright as the sun. He calmly walked between the kneeled shoulders of his henchmen and approached me. He glided elegantly, like a strutting woman. His expression remained blank and stoic as he refused to take his eyes off of me.
I tried my best not to seem intimidated and I think I kept my composure. I pulled another cig from my box with my teeth and it dangled from my lips as I smirked. I asked him if he’d like one. He remained silent.
“Figured I’d ask,” I said sarcastically as I lit my smoke.
I asked him what he wanted from me and his eyeballs steadily looked me up and down. His nostrils were flaring and he was breathing really heavily.
Oh, fuck I thought.
I immediately turned my back and briskly started walking away as fast as I could. I looked back and he was following me. I tossed the smoke and began sprinting down the sidewalk. It was cold outside and my anemia was numbing my toes and fingers.
I heard a monstrous, animalistic, beastly roar come from behind me and when I looked back, I saw the same boy galloping on all fours like a cheetah. Ah shit.
I kept sprinting but he was catching up. My smoker’s lungs were raspy and on fire. I was coughing up flem. I kept running anyway, only occasionally looking back. The chase had already exceeded six blocks and he was still behind me, roaring like a dinosaur. Fuck. I didn’t know what he was going to do with me if he caught me. Was he a cannibal? A homosexual? What the fuck was this person? This anomaly?
I didn’t wanna find out.
But my body was beginning to fail me. I was slowing down. Fuck it, I thought. I’m stopping.
I came to a halt and braced myself. My stance was wide and strong. I was ready to charge, tackle and fight to the death.
He trotted toward me and when he saw that I had stopped, he slowed down. He was about four yards from me. We were both huffing and puffing but he was slowly creeping towards me, still on all fours with a slightly curved back. His eyes were devious and his smile was disgusting. Savage.
All I wanted to do was tell some jokes at an open mic and look what I had to go through. I was running for my life.
So, we had a standoff. I had braced myself to run and he had braced himself to catch me. I teased him by slightly jerking my body, pretending to run and he always fell for it. I looked to the right because I intended to cross the road. He knew which direction I wanted to go.
We did that for about a minute until the time was right.
Suddenly, I took off across the street and he tried to follow me. Little did he know a car with no headlights was racing down the road behind him. The car woulda fucking hit me if I had decided to run across a second earlier but I timed it right. That boy ended up splattered on the front end of that Dodge Ram. He screamed and whimpered in bloody agony as his disfigured, crippled and mutinous disgusting body lay on the concrete, mangled.
The lady driving the car hurried out because she thought she hit a deer. I was standing over his twitching body with a freshly lit cigarette in mouth. She looked disgusted when she saw him. What is it, she asked. I shook my head without taking my eyes off of it. I looked up at her and told her it was trying to kill me. She looked shocked and puzzled. I asked her if I could finish what she started. She told me the keys were still in the ignition.