First take on something I’ve been working on. Inspired by real events growing up as a teenager in a foreign land experiencing all the distractions parents lose sleep over. More importantly it’s the tale of a kid trying to figure out who he is and how to make a mark on the world. Names have been changed to protect the innocent – and less innocent – and any similarity to events or persons is pure coincidence.
Wednesday 11 October 1995 9.34pm
Two boys sit on a park bench. One cradles a nearly empty bottle of beer whilst the other one slowly puffs on a joint. The sound of beer sloshing at the bottom of the bottle accompanies the sweet smell of hashish that floats through the evening air.
- *Imitating Ghostface Killah off Only Built For Cuban Linx Spot Rusherz* ‘It feel hot at night even though the sun ain’t out’… I shoulda left this jacket at home
- Yeah, like some kinda Indian summer or something. You can’t complain.
- No doubt. It won’t last forever though. Nothing does.
Silence. A few cars drive by in the distance. A pedestrian crosses the street contouring the square under the street lamps. The smell of hashish lingers in the warm air and a slow breeze rustles the thin plastic bag containing a large beer bottle.
- You see that piece on the roof next to St. Johns? That shit is crazy! Prime real estate right there.
- Yeah! Hella tourists pass through that spot. All those dudes that come outta church on Sunday. I peeped that roof a while back and always dreamt of creeping up there to get busy. He did it right. Black n chrome burner. Plain and simple. F-E-Z! Boom!
- Give it a month and there’ll be more fools heading up there lookin’ to get sky high. You see, that’s what’s dope about those rooftops: Once you’re up there no-one can see you. You can get to work and enjoy the view
*One boy blows on the tip of the joint sending a quick shower of embers arching downwards, then he takes one last puff and passes*
- *Nods and accepts the joint* Right, but he took a risk. I mean that spot is high visibility. Fools lookin’ up at the church are sure to spot a crazy fool tracing his outline or something. They’ll be like ‘What the fuck?!’
The boys break into laughter, slap palms together and rock back and forth.
- *Coughing* Damn… You made me choke on my beer man! *Catches breathe* Like, now you’re going to see pictures of our city on tourism sites and that fool FEZ is going to be getting mad props! Lucky bastard…
- Crazy bastard more like. You remember how that dude reacted when he heard about RATMAN?
- Fuck that dude! *Spitting*
- Yeah! FEZ got super pissed and started talking about revenge and shit. He sounded more pissed than us and we were the one’s who got ratted on!
- Fuck RATMAN.
- But yo, FEZ is a crazy mother fucker. I know for a fact that the guy carries one of those small samurai swords on him on the regular. I seen it! *Jumps up off the bench and imitates sword chopping movements* FEZ is gonna run up on that fool and chop his head off or something!
- I don’t give a fuck what FEZ does. He’s his own man. I can’t take responsibility for his actions just like BAT…
- *Cutting in* RATMAN! BATMAN is dead to us…
- Yeah… So RATMAN should take some responsibility for his. *Rolls empty beer bottle into grass and rummages for another in the white plastic bag* Hmmm… Pass me your lighter.
- *Passing the lighter* That’s the last one. We go halves alright?
- Sure, sure… *Pops the cap off the last beer bottle and takes a swig*
- So like, when I told FEZ all that shit about how RATMAN was claiming to be a part of that crew…
- I know. Shit like that already had me doubting. I mean here’s a writer claiming to hold rank with some heavy hitters and then when it comes to getting busy, dude be fucking up his letters like he has two left hands!
- Fo’ real!
- I remember calling him out on it once and the idiot tries to say something about trying out new techniques or some shit. Respecting some back in the day TAKI styles like he was on a time travel tip to school fools!
- Marty McFly motherfucker…
- I mean that scum fuck even took the time to get pictures of that crew’s pieces and tell people shit like ‘Yo, I was there that night… I taught so and so that fade technique’ Whatever… The fucker’s dead to me.
- Yeah well, he’s dead to a lot of people. I mean that kid’s burnt in this city and the next! FEZ was all like ‘Fool did what?! Fool be violating the rules… Next time I see his ass he’s getting shook’. I was like ‘Yo, forget about it, man. The kid’s probably skipped town already’. And he’s like, ‘No dude. This guy disrespected all of us. If I see him Imma stab that rat fuck!’ *Raises palms and shrugs shoulders* What do you say to that, huh?
- Like I said, FEZ is his own man so if he want to cut a fool then so be it.
- Yeah, I was like ‘Whatever dude…’
Silence. A cop car turns a corner. Its blue lights bounce off surrounding buildings. The boys watch the car as it quickly accelerates up an avenue and the sirens scream a route through the night.
- You know Frank had it right from the start. *Passes the bottle*
- How come? *Takes a long swig*
- Him and that other dude NBONE know that the best way to avoid all of this bullshit is to stay incognito.
- Unrecognizable. Off the radar.
- Those guys are prolific writers yet hardly anyone see them. You ever met NBONE?
- Nope… But I got mad props for that dude!
- Exactly! They’re just taking care of business and don’t affiliate with nobody. No crews nothing. RATMAN on the other hand couldn’t get enough of that shit. Constantly fiending to meet more writers, run with crews and get recognized.
- Word! But that fool was a fake. No-one really liked him. I heard guys talk shit on him all the time. I know JUJU’s crew put him on just so they could dip into his stash n shit.
- No doubt… But yo, it’s probably best Frank don’t hang with no-one. You remember the first time you met that fool?
- Yeah, you two were running a little late night action in my old neighbourhood. *Winces as the roach burns his lips on the last puff of the joint, then flicks the stub onto the gravel path.*
- *In a deep voice as the boy holds the last bit of smoke in* Homey almost got caught at that bus stop..? *Exhales* Damn… Frank was blind as a mole…
- *Laughing* Frank didn’t see that old man in his wife beater until he was a few feet away. He was just getting busy with his tag…
- *Laughing* Yeah! Fool didn’t realize how mad that old dude was and literally jumped outta his sneakers when he saw him right behind him with that golf club, ready to swing!
- Ha! Homey bolted like a horse! I swear he wears contacts now!
- *Spinning head from one side to the other* Zoooo!
The boys laugh. A cold wind blows through the square and rustles the leaves in small circles at their feet.
- Speaking of Frank… We need to page that fool. You know he’s the only cat in the city that comes through with the bomb weed this time of year. “Cambodian Frank” with his jungle connect.
- No doubt! Let’s bounce. Feel that wind? Summer season’s over man… You got a call card? There’s a pay phone up the street that a way…
The boys stand and make their way through the shadows in the direction of a public pay phone.
You can catch me on the dole
Or chillin on a park bench
Watchin opportunities pass by with my friends
Deadend jobs are not on my agenda
But neither’s being listed as another young offender
I’ll surrender my rights for a life of free wi-fi
Watching downloads saved to my harddrive
If you want to see my torrents
Then you’ll have to show me your warrants
This negative attitude warrants discussion
Because the youth is disillusioned and fussing