I was age 15 and it was a school night in late March. The night had a hot wind type spring weather that was ideal in Detroit because the winters were always harsh. My grandmother, mother and I had come home from celebrating my Great-grandfather’s late 80s maybe early 90th BDay. I got out the car to hear a “What up doe?” from my homegirl Mo dressed in daisy dukes jean shorts and a hoodie who lived down the street with her mother and two brothers. She asked me to hang with her outside for a second so after I helped with the bags inside we chilled on the porch talking life and bullshit. Mo, may have been a year younger than me but early puberty had given her the physical frame of an adult woman who was into dating older men. She would often tell the most hilarious stories about how men loved to spend lots of money on her for sex that she would rarely offer to them. I lowkey used to beg her to get one of those idiots as we-called-them to buy a pair of shoes for me and act as if it was a birthday gift for one of her brothers. Time passed and we were in our own world laughing and joking to the point where neither one of us noticed a dude who was walking slowing passed my house suddenly stop and stare at us both. Mo, wiping the laugh tear from her eye suddenly sat up straight which caused me to turn and do the same. The darkness was in full effect with only the bright full moon glazing down to see the guy stand there with an off-key look in his eyes, wearing a pair super dirty light grey jeans, a long spring jacket with a hoodie over his head. I couldn’t tell if his shirt was grey or dusty as hell which caused me to view him simply as a ‘Dusty Dude.’ He tilted his head slightly, threw up his hands in a disgusting manner and screamed out “What the fuck?, For real?!!!” Mo and I shared a confused look that stated how neither one of us knew who or what Dusty Dude was referring to. He then stood stern and said, “What up doe?” Mo responded with the same tense like energy and said “What UP doe?” which at the moment I hoped a joke was being made and laughter was to come next. However; Dusty Dude then glared at Mo and said “For real?!!” while reaching into his side and pulled out an object that shined brightly from the moon reflection which visually made it hard to see clearly. “Nah, quit playing!!!,” Mo said. The Dusty Dude smiled then pointed the shiny object towards my direction which at that moment I realized I needed glasses or contacts because THIS was a gun. My eyes squinting must have given the false expression of a mean-mug because Dusty Dude’s smile turned into a frown as he took one step forward out of the shadowed area, stuck his arm out towards me and squeezed the trigger like he was Bishop in Juice.
BANG!!! The gunshot went off and for 1 second I saw myself as a 1year old struggling to walk towards the door as my mother and father cheered me on. The 2nd second I saw smoke coming from the Dusty Dude’s hand as his mouth slowly formed the word “MUTHA-FUCK-KAAA!!!” the 3rd second I could’ve sworn I heard the voice of my deceased grandfather yell out “RUN NIGGA!!!” which made my track star abilities kick in full swing toward the door behind me in the 4th second as I heard more shots go off again with the sounds BANG! BANG! BANG!!! I leaped and crashed through the screen door falling on the floor, rolled over and kicked the redwood hard door closed making a huge WHAM sound. I flipped forward to my feet like a clumsy ninja then ran up the steps of my house only to slip and fall at the top of the hallway. On my back, I yelled out “MOM!!!” From separate rooms, my mother and grandmother came into the hallway to find me on my back touching myself in several places checking to see if I had been hit.
Mom: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “A nigga shot at me!!!”
Me: “Yes, a nigga shot AT me!!!”
Grandmother: “What nigga?!! You know the nigga?!!”
Me: “Hell naw, some dusty nigga?!!
Grandmother: “Some nigga named Dusty?!!”
My heart rate went up a thousand when I saw blood on my fingertips from touching the side of my head. I ran to the bathroom mirror to see that it was a cut from crashing through the screen door. I sat on the edge of the bathtub in time for the house phone to start ringing. My mother answered and said it was Mo’s grandmother who said that Mo herself was worried about me because the last thing she saw as she ran away was me staring at the gun. My mom re-entered the bathroom where I was now holding a wet cloth on the side of my head. The vibe was eerie and words for a moment was lost on the three of us. “Are you hungry? I can fix you something” my grandmother said with a worried expression. “Naw,” I said, “I’m just tired…”
The next morning at school in first period I made the mistake of telling my two close friends Mike and GP(who was also my cousin) what happen and they told the entire student body. It was the 1st of my 3 schools that would make up my entire High School experience where the white students outnumbered the blacks and it was run by an all-white staff.
The white students were saying things to me like:
“Are you in a gang”
“Did you call the police?”
“Were you high?”
“Was it a crackhead who shot at you?”
“Are the gang bangers coming up to the school?”
“Did you and your homies get back at them like in Menace 2 Society?”
“I’m sure the police will know what to do”
The black students were saying things to me like:
“Did you know the nigga?”
“What type of gun did the nigga have?”
“My uncle said it was probably an undercover FED.”
“I got shot last summer. Wanna see?!!”
“Was he high?”
“You know summer about to start.”
“You ain’t call the police did you?!!”
After replying “I don’t know” throughout the day while receiving random hi-fives from dudes that never spoke to me before I was completely drained by 4th period. In fact, my energy was so low that my cousin had to smack the back of my head with a book to get me to notice that a crush I had was smiling at me from the back of math class. I cared not about her alleged recent interest in me nor did I care about “solving the problem on the chalkboard” as requested by the teacher. I decided that school had enough of me so I walked out of class early toward the bus route home.
I did not wake up out of my daze on the bus ride home until two stops past my destination. I was too numb to feel the sunlight as I walked down my block with a strange feeling that was over me. Every unfamiliar face looked suspicious because I couldn’t fully remember Dusty Dude. The event itself had played in my mind on repeat but never clear enough for me to remember a visual of Dusty Dude’s face. Right before I took the first step into my house I heard two Big Homies call out to me named Big Chris and Chuck. Big Chris was wearing a dirty tank top with one hand on his brown bald head and the other holding a 40oz Colt 45 in a brown bag while Chuck was fresh off work still in his UPS brown uniform. When asked what happen I respectfully gathered enough energy to tell the entire story again. I told them both how I wasn’t sure what type of gun it was and Big Chris was super sure that it was probably just a “prop gun” because of most look and sound real. “Nigga just probably wanted to scare you, that’s all,” Big Chris said rubbing his pot belly. Before I could respond Chuck said “Oh Shit!” from behind me as he was on one knee pushing his finger in and out of a hole in the wooden steps. As Big Chris and I looked closer we could see bullet holes for each step on the porch including the one that was face level of where I was sitting the night before. Chuck grabbed the brown bag from Big Chris, took a small swallow from the bottle and said: “Man, them bullet holes is real as a bitch and if you were sitting there, that means God came down and stopped dem Muthafuckin bullets!!!” Big Chris snapped his fingers in face to get my attention because I was still staring at the bullet holes. “Do you know if Mo knew that nigga?” Big Chris asked. I humped my shoulders with an “I don’t know” expression. “Yea, lil Mo be fuckin wit dem niggas!!!” Big Chris said as Chuck nodded in agreement with a “Hell yea!” They both dapped me up and said to be careful. Big Chris took another sip of his drink and smiled at me before crossing the street. I turned and walked slowly up the steps and entered the house in time to answer the phone and hear my friend DL’s raspy stuttering like voice on the other end:
DL: “A nigga, what’s this I hear bout yo ass getting shot at? Where were you at? At some bitch house?”
Me: “Naw, at my house on my front porch steps”
DL: “Damn nigga!!! How you get shot at in YO OWN HOOD?!!”