Albert Makes it to New York

I became a dot at 7:32 a.m. I watched the dot enter a rectangle in Tennessee and move slowly across the nation, slowly, through green fields, by stores and lives totally unaffected by Jedediah Jones, but probably not untouched by Moxy Priestess. I watched the dot get off of the rectangle and move through a sea of other dots as if in a maze. The dot bumped and moved, bumped and moved forward, never stopping once to consider its dotness. Slowly the world began to become more real to the dot.
Night fell and the dot entered a large, cement square and disappeared. When the sun arose, the dot went outside of the huge square and joined other moving dots. Moving was good. All the dots agreed. Moving was all anybody had in this city. When the dot became a non-dot was three days later, three days, the same number of days that it took Jesus to climb his way out of hell to get to heaven.
Slit was a fat black man I met in a club called Sizzle in Harlem. He was like a black Michelin tire man. He came at you like he was going to run you over, but he stopped moving in that way when the bartender explained to him that I was the brother of Jed Jones.
“Shiiiiit, you da brotha a ol’ Jed? Don’t you know Jed dead, baby?”
He turned around and said “shiiiiit” again, then laughed, looking at me a little bit as I disappeared inside myself completely, because I believed him for that moment utterly. After watching me looking like this he said, “Now don’t go believin’ everything you hear me say, boy.”
“Well, where is he then?” I asked, mad he was playing with me.
“Jed’s been gone from this neighborhood, three, four years. Dat boy was hittin’ her hard, too. He’d take it any way he could get it. Say he was a rock and roll star, but Jed was nothin but a junkie.”
“You don’t know where he is then?”
Slit lost his humor.
“I told you that, boy, now get the fuck outta here and quit policing me.”
I turned and was almost out the door when Slit spoke.
“555-4298,” he said.
I went to a pay phone just outside the bar and dropped in a quarter and a dime. No answer, busy signal. Everybody on the street was black, but they didn’t notice me. I tried again and stood by the phone for awhile, then again, but it stayed busy. Night was falling. I had to go.
The dot went underground and then came up into night. It found its way back to the huge cement square and didn’t re-appear until daylight.
I called every half hour from the phone in my room that night, but it stayed busy all night long. The next day I tried the number again with no luck. I went back to Sizzle looking for the fat man Slit, but he was gone, and nobody would say how to reach him. When I stepped outside I didn’t care anymore. I had no leads, had been in the city four days and had shit. I roamed and talked to pimps and doper sellers and hookers and musicians and drummers in Washington Square. A few remembered Jed from the record stores. I went back to Sizzle and stood around. I figured since Slit knew him then there might be others in the neighborhood who did too. I walked right up to a black kid standing by an alleyway, obviously waiting to sell some dope or hookers or something. I didn’t care. All the better for what I wanted.
“I want some smack,” I told him.
“I wouldn’t know about dat, man,” he said.
I pulled out my wallet, fat with cash, and flashed it to him. I made sure he saw the knife I kept tight in my belt in case of emergency.
“Well, motha fucka might be talkin the right language to somebody round here. I’m just going my way. Wanna hang out?”
“Sure,” I said.
So I follow him down the street. He saying “hi” to everybody he meets. Whassup. Whassup. Yo. Homeboy. Yo. Whassup, nigger. Whassup. Yo.
Me, a ghost, followed this ghost. The other ghosts passed through each other on the way to nowhere and entered squares and rectangles, making no changes to the walls they passed through by doing so. I walked three floors up some dark, dank, urine- smelling stairs, following the the ghost who had taken to silence and floating. I stayed a good ten feet behind him. I think he respected that opinion, especially knowing I carried a knife that I made damn sure he believed I would use. I didn’t give a fuck. I was going to find Jed.

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Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 1:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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