Tony stood in between two bushes and a garage waiting in a dark alley. The sun had long left but the late summer’s night made his skin feel like he was melting. Sweat from his forehead poured down his eyelids like a waterfall while his heart was beating as if he ran a 100-yard dash. Before tonight Tony’s only experience with a firearm was holding the gun his father kept in the closet for 30secs. For a second, Tony almost decided to dash in full speed away from the area but a voice from within screamed “They killed Donnie!!!” which shot a bolt of rage throughout his body that paralyzed him to stand in position and wait on the signal. Someone killed Tony’s friend earlier that day and now someone had to die tonight.

In the 6th grade Donnie was the first kid Tony met when his(Tony) mother put him in a new school. At lunchtime, Donnie offered some extra cookies at lunch and picked Tony as a teammate for basketball during recess.  Donnie was funny, admired by mostly all of his peers while being a natural born leader hence how he introduced Tony to other friends like Lucky who was always finding random single dollars off the street, Will the guy who second-guessed everything, and Darren Lamar the complainer of the group. By the time the high school years came, Donnie dropped out because according to him he “Made more money working for my brother than going to school.” Shortly afterward, Lucky left school also to work with Donnie, and both were always seen around the neighborhood with new jewelry, clothes, and cars. Although it was clear that their lives were heading in different directions it didn’t stop Donnie from stopping by Tony’s house on a random Sunday during football season to watch a game, laugh and joke. Sundays were almost becoming a ritual until one day Lucky showed up at Tony’s doorstep sobbing with tears, “Them muthfuckas killed him!!! They fuckin killed him!! They killed Donnie!!!” he screamed. Someone took Donnie’s life and Tony wasn’t able to cry because he simply wasn’t able to believe it.

 Donnie was shot in the face and died instantly on his own front steps. The word on the street was that the murder was revenge for the day before when Donnie had beat up the same guy the night before for saying something sexually disrespectful about his mother. Lucky came to Tony because apparently Darren Lamar was playing in a football game and Will was “Asking too many questions like a scared bitch!!!,” Lucky said. Donnie’s brother was on a 6-month up north vacation so that just left Lucky and Tony to get payback for their friend.

Lucky found out that the dude who killed Donnie was staying the next neighborhood over.  The plan was simple, Tony would wait on Lucky to give him the signal when the Dude was coming in his car through the alley to enter the back garage. Then Lucky would slip in first followed by Tony to surprise The Dude while he was still in his car and take him out. Memories began to flood Tony’s mind all at once, like the time when his father broke his 100th promise take him out for his 17th birthday but instead Donnie pulled up in front of the house in a shiny new truck and said: “Get up off that porch nigga, we going shopping for your BDay!!!” Tony also thought about that one time in the 8th grade when he was being teased for wearing a pair of old worn out shoes and the next day Donnie had placed a pair of unworn new Jordans in his(Tony) locker. The image of Donnie’s smile added by the thought that his infectious laugh will never be heard again made Tony grip the gun on his waist tighter waiting anxiously for Lucky to appear. At the moment Lucky slightly jogged passed and hid in between to garbage dumpsters when the all black cutlass supreme headed toward the garage as the door began to lift slowly up. Once the car entered, Lucky stepped out the shadow to enter the garage as planned before it was to close. Tony barely took a step before hesitating to see a tree like a shadow figure walk behind Lucky looking as if it was reaching out to him. Tony started to say something but before he could speak the sound “BANG!!!, BANG!!!!” Tony blinked to clear his vision to see Lucky crawling on the gravel ground while a large 6’4 man dressed in black stood over him pointing a gun downward. Tony covered his own mouth to keep silent and his eyes locked in on his friend Lucky who began reaching out towards him and suddenly finding himself surrounded by 4 other men who came out of different corners. The Dude got out his car smoking a cigarette and stepped on Lucky’s hand thinking he was reaching for the near gun as he kicked it to the side. Tears flowed down Lucky’s face as he looked straight at his friend Tony’s eyes and shook his head with a plea to stay still. “Aye, nigga, bet you won’t sneak up on nobody no mo!!!,” The dude said. Tony watched as all four men fired multiple shots into his friend’s body as it jerked until the last bullet was fired. When it was over the men dragged Lucky’s lifeless body into the garage as the door lid closed down behind them. In shock, Tony immediately ran in the opposite direction jumping every fence thinking he had heard something drop but was too scared to look back. Tony hit the main street that leads to his block in full speed, unable to cry but also unable to stop replaying the visual of a friend’s murder his mind.

Tony was now blind and running on instincts, so much so that he almost didn’t see the car that almost hit him while crossing the street. Tony was so scared while running and looking behind that he accidentally bumped into a police officer. The police officer was in the process of cuffing a guy when Tony’s impact made them both fall to the ground.  “What is wrong with you boy?!!,” the cop yelled. The officer’s partner then got out the car and stared at Tony and said: “Hey, he asked you a question boy!!!” Tony wanted to talk but couldn’t, the only thought that ran through his brain was “Gotta get rid of the gun!!!,” so he took off running. The officer got off the ground and ran after Tony with his partner not far behind. Once Tony reached the corner of his block he began to think “If I can reach home I’ll be good.” He(Tony) made it seconds from the first steps of the porch before his vision went black twice. Tony then fell to the ground while hearing “I said stop!!!” With little strength, he rolled over on his back to see both officers standing over him, one holding a gun with smoke coming from the barrel.  One cop began patting him down and said: “Fuck, this idiot ran and he’s fuckin clean!!!” Tony then exhaled slightly as a tear from each eye ran down his cheek stopping at his open mouth, then the light came on.

 

 

J Hall

@jhallradio