Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kojak, the rat and me

The car came out of nowhere, just like the television shows. I knew it was them, I could see the high beams of the dull blue Crown Vic steering toward the wall before I saw the driver. 
Cars just don’t drive at walls. The car pinned me against two
buildings that had no alley exit. Boss stepped out of his bust machine.

 Time for my trusty traveling companion to go, my portable glass pipe. I’d just filled it too, with the finest greens. Up, up and away. I’ll miss you friend; sorry for the sudden flight. You’ll just end up in some prison of your own, surrounded by souvenirs of other arrests, never to see a flame again. You’ll only add days, weeks or months to my sentence and dollars to my fine. No cop is getting his mitts on you! Goodbye, kamikaze warrior. Drop, little bomb, on the fair city; leave your oily stain on the asphalt carpet of sin!

Kapowww! Klink, klink, klink. 

Kojak perked up and scanned the parameter with an eagle’s eyes: 

 “You hear that?”

“No sir, Mr. Officer, Sir. What was it?” 

Was it a bomb? Of course I heard it! A pack of tomcats three blocks away probably dove for cover! A deaf man just got a shiver up his spine somewhere! That sucker was locked and loaded!

“It was like a….like a little explosion or something!” Kojak pointed a firm finger at me and shot his eyes deep into mine: 

“What the hell’s goin‘ on?”

He looked like you in that moment, Mother. I couldn’t help but laugh. Oh, the world you sent me into! I was only trying to spread my little wings and down, down I dropped from your foolish nest. 

“Stay down there!” you spat; a bitter bird; a beast without instinct, a razor clawed hawk who killed her own. 

The world can be menacing with wings that won’t fly. I learned quickly that comfort for the mind was better than rations for the stomach as I trudged mean streets, simple shelter being the order of each new day. You’re only hungry if you know that you’re hungry. Tapping off the dictates of the inner workings is an easy feat and oddly enough, even easier than finding food in the jungle. There’s a pill for every ill. 

Kojak fired back my laughter and drew too close for comfort.

“Don’t make me go down your pants, Jay.”

“Wow; you’re really getting to know me well! I gotta change my game!”

I dug into my nether regions and pulled out my bountiful harvest. 
I slapped my bag into his hands; (Oh, Mother, you dirty bird, stop already!) ten grams of red-haired Mexican marijuana. Kojak opened his prize and studied it well. He compared the sample with those locked in recent memory; other alleys, busted doors and screeching halts. He gave the weed a whiff and drifted a moment into the starless sky.

Landsdowne Crescent, three nights ago! Same Mexi batch! I thought I’d stopped that shipment at the source!

He pulled out a yellow pad and handed me my punishment; a day with Judge Perkins. Actually it was the fourth time we’d meet. Kojak offered to speak more highly of me at my hearing if only I’d reveal what I refused reveal about my suppliers.

The city is full of eyes and full of mouths; more mouths than eyes. Who was the hungry rat this time? Did my enemies, now numbering four for certain, think that a cash prize and a purple heart awaited them on the other side of honor? Did they not know that Crime Stoppers doesn’t pay, despite the glitzy adds: a crime fighting fist holding a fat bank wad? 

Every kid in the city convened at the Joy Land arcade. The 
rows of glowing, tired machines standing like battered soldiers in 
the dark, musty hall formed the landscape for late night courtship. 
Pinball bells, chaotic flashing lights and digitally copied kicks, 
punches and gunfire were the sounds of teenage love. Boys 
conquered video warriors to win the girls, who watched from a 
determined distance, deciding who they’d allow to conquer them 
on a quest for sweet adolescent flesh. The girls, save for the odd 
tomboy gamer who couldn’t care a lick about clumsy mating 
rituals,were oblivious to the sights and sounds and the mysterious 
draw to fight fake enemies, but they followed the boys, always 
waiting for some deeper meaning to reveal itself among the 
Donkey Kong crew
It’s just like boys, Mother, as I’m sure you know, to miss the 
point, flexing muscles in artificial moonlight, a primal display for 
their conquest, for bored rolling female eyes. The folly was 
obvious,like the sudden, sterile florescent lights blazing through 
the dark arcade, announcing closing time and revealing every ugly 
corner in the place…exposing the bitter truth. In many ways man 
has never evolved beyond the hunt. Flowers? Talk? A walk in 
the park? GruntIt’s also just like boys to see a shiny ad boasting 
a fist full of cash and call the cops for no other reason than 
to elevate their own game. 
You too can be a Hero, Son!
I’d left a bad taste in many mouths during my brief stint at high 
school. When there are no rules, a young man invents his own; 
young man crowns himself king of his own island, however small 
that island may be. Girls held precious few uses for me: trophies 
to show and polish in secret places. I thought all the guys were 
simply trying to steal my girls. I didn’t fare well with the general 
population. The entitled jocks quietly fumed at being denied 
some of the fruits of their schemes by my magnetic, the lost 
rebel lure. Girls wanted to save me and fix me. Do you 
remember trying to fix Dad? The nerds knew they might 
never get a day in the sun, and their hatred was more 
generalized toward anyone who was to be so fortunate,
especially those like me who tossed the gifts of female attention 
away like empty sandwich bags. Some of those nerds would 
grow up to write computer viruses, I’m sure, 
avenging the world like vigilantly recluses, laughing in hidden 
shadows while we scramble to save our hard drives. I could 
narrow my search for therat to the trail of pimples and hormones. 
Perhaps it was that invisible kid who’d fallen hard for the grade 
twelve beauty I ditched within a month. I know he stomped on 
my shadow. He always threw me that look, knowing that his 
princess was merely a puppet to me:

“I’ll get you, fucker!”
He dared never speak to me but his eyes said it all. Maybe that
fucker got me at last as I ducked in and out of the arcade 
washroom preparing portions of sweet pollen for the adolescent 
masses, securing my supper money for Manchu Wok in the
downtown mall.

Karma can be a bitch.

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