It Was A Clear Black Night, A Clear White Moon
Here’s a fun tale of friendship and adventure:
One day 13 year old me was walking home from school with three of my “friends.” Even though they don’t deserve it, I’ll protect their little reputation and call them Ike, Spike and Mike.
3 Friends + Me= 4 people
Four is the number of the day so write it down somewhere.
The four of us are walking down the street when the afternoon turns into an episode of The Fresh Prince. When a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood. I got in one little fight…
My father had just given me a Polo jacket. In DC the rule is that you only wear nice clothes if you have a gang of people with you. What was the number of the day? That’s right, four. There were four of us. So imagine how I felt when we approach these three dudes at the bus stop who yell out, Hey cuz, come up out that coat.
They were about eighteen and looked like they’d probably dropped outta school years ago, so not the brightest minds in DC. I tried to play it off like I thought they were joking. I chuckled and kept walking. Yeah it would make me look like a punk, but it would also stop an immediate fight. They’d have time to use their fingers and toes to count and realize there were more of us than them. I’m proud to say that I haven’t been in that many fights in my life. People from DC don’t fight. They have pre-shootout fights. Kind of like a good cardio warm up to get the trigger finger loose, but nobody just fights and lets it go. So, yeah I tried to play it off.
That’s when they got in our faces. Nigga I ain’t playing. Gimme that coat. So now we’ve gone from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to the standoff scene in Bad between Michael Jackson and Wesley Snipes. You’re doing wrong! Better watch your mouth boy! So we’re just staring each other down waiting for someone to make a move and all the while I’m thinking to myself, Thank God I didn’t walk down here by myself like usual.
That’s when I notice Ike out of the corner of my eye. One minute he was beside me. I blinked and he was down the damned street. You know how cartoons run so fast that you don’t see their feet, just a blur? That’s what happened. I tried to keep my game face on though. There were still three of us. And then there weren’t.
Spike yells out, Yo Ike wait up! and he takes off running too. The sad thing is, he isn’t fast…at all. So picture the scene in your head. Three people (originally four) staring down three other people with a menacing look on their faces and then you see some bumbling idiot “mallwalk” away at what he thinks is top speed across and then down the street. The dude I’m staring at has the mean mug like Treach from Naughty By Nature and then he breaks his stare at me to slowly follow with his eyes this fool running away.
So now there are two of us. Ike and Spike lived in the neighborhood. The pressure got to be too much, they got scared and they realized that their houses were just two blocks away so they ran. Mike is from Southeast along with me. Even if he wanted to run, there is nowhere he can go. We catch the same 90 bus to Anacostia. We’re now outnumbered, but at least we’ll fight this together.
Then that 90 bus I mentioned pulled up to the stop. Then like some wannabe knight from the round table, Mike says, This isn’t my fight man. And he runs and gets on the bus. It was like something out of a movie. The camera is facing us from the right side like they do the two boxers staring off before a match. In the background a bus pulls up, my wingman runs to get on, the doors close and the bus pulls off and now it’s just me and three other dudes who wanna beat my ass for a coat.
I could’ve run with Ike and Spike. I could’ve gotten on the bus with Mike. I could’ve just easily handed them my coat, but I something inside me wouldn’t let me do it. I didn’t give a damn about the coat or my pride. I cared about the fact that if I gave them that coat or if I ran, I’d be doing that shit every day. Someone pulls a gun on you in DC, you give em whatever they want. Chances are you’ll never see them again and you keep a bullet out your ass. Someone just walks up and demands your property in DC without brandishing a weapon…you don’t give it to them. That labels you a punk and punks get picked on and bullied every damn day. Take my shit with a weapon. Take my shit by force but you will not take my shit just because you huff and puff. So the scene started back up.
What you gonna do now nigga? Your friends left you. I looked him in his face and said just as calmly. Do what you gotta do. They proceeded to kick the shit out of me. I didn’t fight back because there was no point. I couldn’t fight all three of them, but I didn’t take it off. They pulled on it, punched me, kicked me, threw shit at me and did their best to tackle me to the ground, but I would not go down and I would not take that damn coat off. They tried their best to rip it off me but I gotta hand it to Ralph Lauren, he makes some durable shit. After about three or four minutes, something surprising happened.
The dude said, “Man keep your bamma ass coat, bitch!” And they walked away. I sat there at the bus stop, lip bleeding, and I kept thinking three things as I waited for the bus:
1) I’m gonna beat the shit outta Ike, Spike and Mike. They better not say shit to me ever again.
2) This isn’t my fight? What the fuck?
3) What the hell is this coat made out of? Why didn’t it rip?