Streetwalker’s Crime Journal2
“Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed, and I remain, always, bout dat money.” - Gandhi
I found a dead dog in the alleyway this morning. At first, I thought it was a homicide…dogicide, or whatever. But it was just an old bitch. Old dogs will die. I guarantee you that.
Aside from the dog, the morning proceeds quietly. As I pass through the throng of people walking through the streets on their way to work, or crack houses, or grocery stores, or wherever, I nod solemnly to them. Their responses vary; some avert their eyes, some laugh nervously, others begin talking to their companions in hushed tones. The message is always one of three things: “The Streetwalker is here. I a) am safe, b) appreciate his service, or c) had better clean up my act and be on my best muthalovin’ behavior.”
After my daily block patrol, I go to the Curbside Diner for breakfast. I gotta support the local businesses. Keeping places like this running helps show the kids there’s a better tomorrow. Otherwise, all they got to look forward to is the crack and prison. Ain’t no in between.
I take a seat at the counter; booths can be a little hard to manage when I’ve got my uniform on. The armor on my legs always scrapes against the table. Uncomfortable as s***.
As I lean my beat stick against the counter, careful to keep the beatin’ end of it away from any surface in case there’s some stray dried blood on it or something, the waitress steps over to me. I know her story. Single mother, raising a boy, trying to keep him outta the drugs and the gangs. It’s a story that repeats in this ‘hood like the chorus of a Black Eyed Peas song. Annoying as s***. ”Whatchu want?” she says.
I order the same thing I always do: chicken and waffles, with a double side order of hash browns. I gotta pound some carbs in the morning. I also order a coffee.
“Regular, decaf…how you want it?” the waitress says.
I look at her. ”D’an’Quayshia, you know how I want it.”
She taps her foot expectantly.
“I like my coffee like I like my criminals,” I say, looking away from her and into the distance. ”Iced.”
She walks away without another word. No more words are needed between us. She hands the ticket to the short order cook and then turns to the other waitress standing near the register. As she pours my coffee, D’an’Quayshia says something to the other waitress that sounds like, “Next time, you’re waiting on him.” She must have something to hide. I’ll have to keep an eye on her place. Maybe her kid’s into the crack.
D’an’Quayshia brings me my coffee, and I add enough sugar and cream to it to drown out the taste. I never had anything that tastes as bad as coffee. Tastes like month-old pork marinated in s***. But I started drinking iced coffees when I was a kid, and now I can’t stop. I gotta have the caffeine in the morning. I know firsthand what addiction is like. Makes me drink this s*** every day.
As I sip my coffee through a bendy straw, I listen to the bustle in the rest of the diner behind me. People come, people go. Right now there are nine other people in here. Gotta keep track of them and stay alert, in case one of them is bad news.
It isn’t long before I hear D’an’Quayshia talking to the other waitress again. This time, she seems agitated, and she says some words I’d rather not repeat, as I would never want to imply such language could come out of the mouth of such a foxy lady. Iced coffee in hand, I stand from my stool and step over to them.
“What’s wrong, D’an’Quayshia?” I ask before sucking more of the coffee through the straw.
D’an’Quayshia rolls her eyes and folds her arms. ”I just had a customer who didn’t leave a tip,” she replies.
The warmth of rage rushes through my face. My eyes narrow as I spin and look out through the windows of the diner and into the street corner beyond. ”Who? Show me which jive mutha’ did it.”
She scans the area for a second, then points. ”There he is!” she exclaims, pointing out into a crowd of people at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to change. ”The guy in the gray jacket!”
My eyes zero in on him faster than business at a seafood restaurant on all-you-can-eat crab leg night. ”Hold on a minute,” I say, and I dash from the diner back out into the street.
As I walk quickly up the sidewalk, trying to get to the man before the light changes, I realize that I left my beat stick in the diner. With no time to go back for it, I can only hope this doesn’t become too violent. ”Hey!” I call out. ”Hey, turn yo’ a** around, jive sucka!”
Although a few heads in the crowd turn to look back at me, the man does not. I look down at the coffee in my hand, and stick a couple fingers in to fish out some ice cubes. I pull out three, and throw them at the back of the man’s head. They all smack him, one in the head, one in the shoulder, and one in the mid back, and the people around him move out of the way as they realize s*** is about to get real. The man finally turns around. I’ve got his attention.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” he yells defiantly. But, as I step up to him, his attitude changes and he takes a nervous step backwards.
“Question is,” I say, “what’s wrong with you, sucka?”
“I’m sorry?” the man replies. I love it when they act innocent.
“You didn’t give D’an’Quayshia a tip,” I say.
The man looks confused. ”Oh,” he says after a moment. ”I didn’t?”
I just stare at him.
“Uh,” he says, pulling out his wallet from inside his jacket. He fishes around through it. ”Ah, my mistake. Here you go.” He hands me a five. ”I was only going to leave three. You don’t have any change, do you?”
Without breaking my gaze away from him, I take the five and clasp it in my hand. ”Yeah I got change,” I say, “and I’m dispensin’ it on the streets.”
I let my stare linger until I’m satisfied this chump won’t repeat his offense, then I turn and walk back toward the diner. As I step through the door, D’an’Quayshia is looking at me from behind the counter. I hand her the money and once again take my seat next to my beat stick.
“Uh, thanks, uh, Streetwalker,” D’an’Quayshia says, staring at the cash before shoving it into her apron.
“Ain’t gotta thank me,” I reply. ”Just bring me another iced coffee.”