An Excerpt from IN MY HOOD II by Endy
The night wind whipped in circles, causing paper to blow about the street. A can rolled back and forth as if in the middle of a tug-of-war with the wind. The streetlights had been broken out by the drug runners in an attempt to keep darkness over the area, the area being the corners of Isabella Avenue and Grove Terrace in Newark, New Jersey. It was four am and the night was cold. Jack Frost had definitely reared his ugly head on this night. A lone car cruised up the block of Isabella, almost crawling. The two occupants of the old, worn-out, Toyota Camry both looked in the direction of the apartment building that occupied the corner. A figure emerged from the darkness of the building’s doorway and stepped out into the moonlight. The car stopped and pulled over to the corner, and the young man who had emerged from the building glided over to the car.
The young man was dressed in a pair of Paco jeans three sizes too big, which swallowed his narrow body. Charcoal gray Timberlands swallowed his feet as he bopped along the sidewalk, clumping his feet on the pavement. His gray, Eckō, goosedown coat hung on his body like a sleeping bag. The hood on the black hoodie that he wore underneath the coat was pulled tight around his head.
“What up?” he asked the passengers of the car as he stood two feet from the vehicle.
“Let me get two and two,” the male passenger said, stretching his eyes.
The young man turned toward the entrance from which he had come and held up two fingers on his right hand, and then two fingers on his left. He turned back to the passenger and grabbed the two, twenty-dollar bills that the passenger held out the window. After taking the money, the young hustler walked away from the car and headed toward the building. As he approached, another young man emerged from the building wearing an almost identical ensemble, but in blue. They bypassed each other as if they didn’t know one another. The young man in blue clunked over to the car and tossed the drug purchase into the passenger’s hand, and as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared even quicker.
The car drove off and rounded the corner faster than when it had approached, leaving behind a trail of polluted smoke.
“Damn, it’s cold out this bitch!” the young man in the gray Timberlands, whose name was Day-Day, proclaimed.
“Yo, man, I’m ’bout to bounce to the crib. It’s slow as hell out tonight, anyway,” the young man dressed in blue, whose name was Unique, said.
“Word! I’m with you. Yo, come to my crib so I can finish whooping yo’ ass in NBA basketball on PlayStation,” Day-Day said.
“Nigga, please, and then you woke up!”
The two stood in the deep doorway of the apartment building. Because of the darkness of the street, no casual observer would be able to see them standing there. They huddled there in an attempt to escape the harsh winds that blew about the streets.
“What time is it?” Unique asked.
Day-Day reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.
“It’s four twenty. Yo, at five, that’s a wrap.”
“Cool, I’m wit’ that,” Unique agreed.
“Yo, kid, did you ever fuck that girl we met outside the strip joint the other night?”
“Naw, son. When I was talking to shorty, I saw she had a blister in the corner of her mouth. That shit turned my stomach. I wasn’t sticking my dick in her mouth or her pussy,” Unique said, frowning.
“Eww, that shit is nasty. Shorty was fine, too. That trick had a fat ass, man,” Day-Day said.
“Yeah, I know, but that bitch was burning and I wasn’t with that shit, condom or no condom. You smell me?” Unique fired up an already-rolled blunt he retrieved from his top pocket.
“No doubt, B, no doubt.”
The two young men stood in the doorway of the apartment building, passing the blunt back and forth between them. Unique began to pull knot after knot of money from the different pockets of his coat. He arranged the loose money, merging it into the stacks he already had neatly in order. He passed Day-Day five bundles to hold.
“What’s that right there?” Unique asked.
“That’s five yards. I got about two-and-a-half right here.”
“Yo, let’s bounce. It’s five minutes to five,” Unique said, looking at his cell phone.
“Aight, hold up,” Day-Day said while he continued to put the money in order and place it back in his pockets. “Let me get the stash out the hallway, and we out.” He turned and went into the building’s hallway.
Unique jumped up and down in an attempt to heat up his body. He poked out his head from the entrance, looking up and down the street. Up the block he could see someone moving toward the building. He watched as the figure moved from side to side in a drunken stupor. He rubbed his hands together and put them to his mouth, blowing warm air into them, never taking his eyes off the approaching figure. As the figure came closer, Unique could see it was a man who appeared to be completely inebriated.
The man stood about six foot two inches. He was wearing a wool, trench overcoat, a black skully on his head that was pulled down to his eyes, and a winter scarf tied around the lower half of his face, creating a mummy look. A cigarette dangled between his fingers as he stumbled, almost falling to the ground. He landed on a nearby parked car and rested there for a moment.
Day-Day came through the apartment building’s door, holding a brown paper bag. He began to roll up the bag when he noticed his friend was staring at something.
“What’s up, man?” he asked.
“Look at this muthafucka right here.” Unique pointed toward the drunk.
“Damn, that nigga out on his feet.”
They both watched as the man made several attempts to push himself off the car, finally falling to his knees. They chuckled as the man had difficulty getting his bearings together. Finally he was able to regain his balance and continued to stumble toward the apartment building.
“Yo, you ready?” Unique asked.
“Yeah, let’s roll,” Day-Day said.
The two teens stepped down off the step and hunched their shoulders in an attempt to block the oncoming wind. They walked beside each other, heading toward the drunk.
“This muthafucka is twisted,” Unique said.
Just as they were about to walk past the drunk, he stumbled and bumped hard into Unique. Unique was then knocked into Day-Day, who fell to the ground.
“Damn, nigga, what the fuck is wrong with yo’ drunk ass?” Unique asked. Day-Day scurried to his feet.
“Muthafucka, I should split your skull for that bullshit,” he yelled, reaching for the concealed weapon located down the front waistband of his jeans.
Before he could remove his gun, the drunk retrieved a .357 Magnum from the inside of his coat and blew a gaping hole through Day-Day’s neck. The blast from the cannon sent Day-Day flying into the alleyway on the side of the building. Unique was in such a state of shock that he failed to reach for his own weapon before the .357 was then turned on him.
“Run, ya shit,” the drunk said with a raspy voice.
“Yo, man, here. Just take the shit and let me live.” Unique reached into his pocket and threw the knots to the ground.
The gunman stood there, staring at the young boy. Unique then reached into another coat pocket and threw the rolled-up paper bag to the ground. The gunman unloaded a round into Unique’s knee, nearly severing the leg. Unique fell to the ground, eyes wide in a state of shock. No sound came from his mouth due to the numbing pain. The gunman walked into the alley and removed the money from Day-Day’s pocket. He then turned and walked out of the alley while pulling his .40 caliber from the waist of his jeans. Never breaking his stride, he popped Unique in the head twice as he stepped over him and proceeded down the street.