by myron x
a simple run to the store goes wrong for Myron X...
It was a hot, miserable night in July--so miserable there was nothing to do but drink, smoke and screw. Nettie and I had been hanging out for over seven years--longer than most legitimate couples we knew. Even the married ones were bored--or cheating. Our union was based on nothing more than music, movies and a few mutual vices.
We’d just parted, still panting and sticking to the sheets my mother gave me. Nettie was no beauty queen (frankly neither was I), but she had a smooth voluptuous, chocolaty body that I loved to have my way with. I dug nuzzling her ample breasts and pinching her raisin-like nipples. Nettie took pride in the fact she was a “retired” aerobics instructor and was never satisfied until neither of us could breathe.
It was too hot to curl up, so we laid next to each other staring straight up at the ceiling like cadavers.
“Shakespeare called the orgasm little death.” I said.
“You always say stuff like that when you’re trying to be deep. Why can’t you just talk about the weather or something?”
“Thank you. I’m hungry.”
“No you’re not. You’re just initiating conversation in order to casually lead up to the big question.”
“How was it?”
“Are you asking me?” she said.
She was silent for a minute. “Why not?”
“Because if it was lousy, you wouldn’t be hungry.”
“See? There you--You know what? Just for that, I want some ice cream.”
I thought. “I don’t have any ice cream.”
“I know.” I looked over at her. She was smiling.
I looked at the clock. It was 4:30 in the morning.
“Jesus, right now?”
“Right now. Something with more than one flavor; like strawberry swirl.”
I closed my eyes. Maybe I was sleeping and didn’t know it.
Fifteen minutes later I was standing in a pair of hunting shorts, my George Clinton T-shirt and a dogged pair of Chuck Taylors left over from high school. All I was missing was my wallet, my underwear and my better judgement.
I walked out the front door and cut across the sloped parking lot of my apartment building. The night air was actually quite cool; just very still. Anything after two A.M. was the witching hour, with a cast as such--the fuzz creeping with their lights out, bored and hot for a hassel--drunken bricklayers muttering under their stinking breath, wondering what happened to the rent money--Cinderella whores way past due, faded and just trying to get home-- and here I was, with them, just because my broad had a sweet tooth. It was a man’s world, all right--with nail polish and lipstick pushing all the buttons.
There was a 7-11 at the top of the street. The store sat like an island in a sea of empty asphalt. During the day, it was the cultural center of the universe, hosting everyone from crack-pot preachers to crack and pot dealers, to pick-up soccer games with 40 year old illegal aliens that missed the bus to work. On the weekend, every street vendor in the area hit the lot until it looked like a Calcutta bazaar.
I had to duck past the garbage bins where all the dayworkers and bums and junkies went to piss. A permanent stench hung over the area, and after a few 90 degree days, you couldn’t even talk on the pay phones without your stomach retching and your throat closing up.
I always held my breath until I got into the store. A cop pulled up and parked on the back side of the building as I walked in. He was young,tall and as tight as his uniform. His blonde buzz cut gleamed in the light like a cue ball.
The bright lights of the store hurt my eyes. There were two guys in the store working. We all sort of recognized each other. One was Chinese, thin with peabody glasses. The other was East-Indian, really short with a thick mustache and eyebrows.He looked like an Irish setter. They both stopped talking and looked at the cop when I walked toward the freezer.
“Mind if I use the john?” I heard the cop say. He didn’t wait for them to answer--he walked past me in frozen foods through the “employees only” door.
I remembered I had my money card, so I went over to the ATM. It was a runty little machine with a bright blue screen that let everybody in a six block radius how much money you had. I was a 250 pound bald soul brother though--I didn’t expect too many problems.
I was only good for ten, so I took it like a miserable peon and went over to the ice cream. I was staring blankly at Ben & Jerry’s, Sealtest, Haggen Daas--the more names I looked at, the more her request fluttered away from me.
“Yo man, open the register,” I heard someone say. I looked up at the big silver dollar concave mirror hanging in the corner. A tall dark dude with a bandanna over his face was holding a .357 snub nose right at the Chinese guy’s forehead.
He started screaming something in Chinese. I don’t think the guy could see me, so I didn’t move.
“Shut the fuck up!” the dude yelled, “just gimme the fuckin’ money! You! Open the register!”
I hoped he was talking to the Indian guy. I grabbed a cherry popscicle and slid down to the floor. I saw the cop in the doorway to the back. He put one index finger over his lips.
I couldn’t see any more, but I heard the indian guy say something, then two sharp explosions stung my ears. The Chinese guy screamed, high pitched, and another gunshot doubled the ringing in my ears.
I barely heard the cop yell “Freeze!” A quick furious melee of gunshots made me cover up. My heart was pounding, and I really hoped that buzz-boy cop was the one still standing. As soon as it was relatively silent, I stood up.
I saw the dude in the black bandanna first. He was lying on the floor in front of the cash register in a growing pool of blood. He was alive; his breathing was shallow and erratic. He ran his hand across his blood soaked shirt and held it in front of his face. Then the hand fell limply to the floor.
I looked over the counter. The Chinese guy was staring straight up at the ceiling, like Nettie and me, only there was a hole in the side of his head that wasn’t his ear. The Indian guy was face down next to the hot dog stand. His black hair was matted to his head with blood at the base of his skull.
I had to walk around to the side of the counter to see the cop. He was shaking violently and holding the side of his neck. A trickle of blood seeped through his fingers. The cop stopped shaking and they were all quiet and still. I finished the popscicle I had, grabbed a coffee cake ring, some milk and a newspaper.
I heard sirens when I stepped out the door, so I took the long way around the building and walked home as fast as I could.
As soon as I closed the door behind me, I bolted it.
Nettie was sitting in the living room in a pair of panties and my Hendrix shirt. The sirens were loud now, and seemed to be coming from everywhere.
“What happened? What took you so long?”
“Much bad craziness. We should have and drink, then go right back to bed.” I dropped the bag on the coffee table.
“Did you get the ice cream?”