Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Cross the Street in Dorchester

We were in Dorchester. We didn't know that we were going to Dorchester, but that's where we had to go, so that's where we went. We grudgingly got off the train at JFK/UMass and started walking through the dimly lit, unsafe passage under I-93.

Shortly thereafter, Chris realized that we were being followed. Chris and I had each just drank a pitcher of Spaten at Jacob Wirth, so we had a little buzz going. The two of us were walking out front, our three lady friends were trailing a good distance behind, and a dark-skinned young guy in a hooded gray outfit had appeared just a little behind them. He was wearing the same outfit that the bad guys on The Wire wear when they go out on foot to execute their rivals.

Suddenly all six of us were walking closer together. Someone said, "Damn, you two guys have all three of these fine ladies to yourselves!" I didn't say it, and I know Chris didn't say it either. The guy was now walking in the middle of our group.

"Don't mind me; I'm just trying to make friends," the dude said. The ladies clammed up and walked faster. I hung back to talk to the guy. I always do that.

"Where's the party?" he asked.

"Straight ahead."

"I just got off work. I been workin' hard for my Pomeranian. I'm a security guard, long-ass hours. It's like union shit. I got a pit bull, too, and my pit bull is the Pomeranian's bodyguard! Hey, what's your name? Mine's Junior."

When we got to the corner of Dorchester Ave, and the bar where my brother was playing came into sight, Junior got all serious.

"So, you just drink?" I told him, no, I have a job.

"No, you don't do any other drugs? Nothing?" Seeing increasing humor potential, I asked in some convincing tone what his crew was "slingin.'"

"Oh, we got e, coke, weed, everything. Not here, though. In Quincy. You gotta come down to Quincy with me."

"Where in Quincy?"

Suddenly we noticed that we were across the street from our destination and we had to cross Dorchester Ave. I caught up to the others, who were waiting for an opening in the traffic. But Junior walked out in front of us and shouted:


And then he broke from the group and walked right into the rear side panel of a speeding, green, 2-door Civic. His knee made a grotesque pop! as it struck the car. It sounded like a two-liter bottle of soda hitting the pavement after a long fall.

The car screeched to a stop about thirty yards away. And then, the inevitable. The backup lights turned on, and the car rolled slowly back to us. The driver, a stout black male of about double Junior's mass, emerged. He stood in the middle of the roadway and his eyes hit Junior's with an executioner's stare.

"I'm straight," Junior said, hoping to walk away.

"Let me tell you something," the driver began, walking aggressively toward us. I wondered if he might mistake my group for Junior's posse and shoot us all, but one quick glance at the group reminded me that his making this connection was a sheer impossibility.

The driver went on: "When you're crossing the street, n*gger, you better watch to see if there's any cars coming." Junior tried to say something. "Next time, I'll run your ass over."

Suddenly, there was no traffic, just the stopped Civic and the confrontation in the street. I looked up. Directly across the street was my brother, playing bass in his cover band, That's What She Said. They were right in the front window of Tom English's bar (the Tom English in Dorchester, NOT the Tom English in Southie). I waved to my brother as we crossed the street, knowing I had just acquired another story.

Back in the street, the two guys were really having words now, telling each other not to front but stepping gradually toward each other. We passed a large crowd of middle-aged white townies smoking on the steps to the bar. One woman shook her head as I walked by her, saying to no one in particular, "He's gawna get his ayss kicked."

Afterword: This morning I recounted this tale for my friend, Rachel, who claims she also met a Pomeranian-owning, drug-dealing Junior at the Quincy Center T stop when she was living there.

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Blogger Ben said...

Yup, that's Dotty. Bless it.

2:25 PM  

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