There’s this weird intangible that makes a person believe that what they’re doing, whatever that may be, isn’t horrible and that they’re not a turd. I found myself tapping into that most excellent of delusional powers as I sat freezing my ass off in a 1985 Ford Tempo, staring down a bleak Detroit street with filthy snow plowed up on either side like reverse Tsunami waves. I mean, I wasn’t the one doing the robbing here, just the getaway driver. That’s not the same. Not the same at all. In fact, it wasn’t until Danny told me to pull over and pop the hood so he could retrieve his pistol from underneath my Sears Diehard, that I even realized they were really about to do something with it.
“Hey Girl, lemme just put my heater under your battery on the way to Mickey D’s…You know, it’s late, you driving a bunch of Latino, thug looking mother fuckers around. Just in case we get pulled over.”
Seemed legit in my fictional reality but the truth is…”legit”… when you’re dealing with these sorts of assholes…there’s no such thing.
Like I said, you make yourself believe lots of things are cool when you’re an idiot who has become a slave to wants and desires, selfishness owns every decision. In this case it was the hottest fuck of my 21 years. What he said, I did. He says “Take my boys to McDonald’s”; I take his boys to McDonald’s. He says “Don’t worry bout that gun under your hood”…..done. Why I pulled over at Danny’s command? The only reason was that I just assumed that’s what Jose’ would have wanted. I had to guess since he had chosen to remain behind and peddle his weed instead.
What I was even doing here was a mystery. A year ago I had a flannel wrapped around my waist at a Pearl Jam concert. Now Tupac’s Thug Life was repeatedly ejected and turned over in my tape deck and unlike my obsession with N.W.A. in high school, it wasn’t ironic. I was really living this shit out in the whitest way possible, gripping the steering wheel in a terror induced death lock while I awaited my hood shaman to reappear with their confiscated spoils.
“There we go...these three…right here….” Danny’s voice was so very creepy when he slowed it down like that. It always seemed as though something terrible would jump out of his sentences and bite after he slipped into “gangster” mode and I never wanted to be bitten.
The three young black guys couldn’t have been more than 16 or 17 and I have no idea if they were good or bad, just that they had made the unwise decision to walk around Southwest Detroit in their brand new winter Starter jackets. It was still early in January, they were most likely Christmas presents or maybe they ganked them from some other kids. Either way, they were being shopped and about to be receiving new owners.
“Alright, so what you’re telling me is that I should pull on to the other street, let you guys out and you’re gonna double back and steal those dude’s coats? That’s what you’re telling me?” I had to say it out loud just to make sure it sounded as retarded as I thought. It did.
“Was I fuckin’ stutterin’ girl? Yeah, do exactly that shit and then Pop-O and Lil’C will buy you a Big Mac. Ha-ha…” Danny was kinda funny sometimes, not so much at that moment, but sometimes.
“Mannnn… I ain’t buyin’ this bitch shit” Pop-O protested from the back seat. “She lucky we let her drive us around.”
It was after that remark that my ire was stoked and I had to tell Pop-O that if he wanted a ride back, then he’d need to quit being a faggot to me. It’s not that I thought I was some badass or anything, I just knew he was one of the nicest in the group. A chubby little Columbian who they picked on for being fat, he talked to me about his family when the dicks weren’t around so I wasn’t surprised when he apologized.
“Goddamit” I exhaled as came to a stop in one of the carved out parking spots of the urban tundra. “This is so stupid you guys.”
“This is so stupid you guys, like o.k.? Like..for sure?” Danny mocked in a valley girl voice. “You’re stupid for bringin’ your suburb ass down here and tryin’ to play rough. Either you’re in or not, cuz if we come running back to this car and you gone, I ain’t gonna “play” rough. I’ll straight up murder yo ass girl, I know where you live.”
Not joking, not funny, he was scary. Even still more frightening at the time was the prospect of never being welcome in Jose’s bed again. My crotch shuddered at the very thought as Danny smoothed out his perfectly groomed jet black goatee, studying my face for true compliance.
“Yeah, well I’m not gonna bail o.k.? So you don’t have to get all Nino Brown and shit on me. Just go. Fuckin’ gaffle your jackets or what-ever- the- hell -you’re going to do. It’s late and I’m hungry.”
I think I thought that if I just said it like that, like it was no big deal, then it wouldn’t be “accessory to a felony”. More like a misdemeanor type thing, nothing to get so worked up about.
Lil’ C never said a word, not then, not ever. That must be why Danny gave the gun to him when they started down the street. The strong silent type usually keep their mouths shut or at least Steve McQueen probably would’ve and I guess that kid was kinda like their greasy little anti-hero.
They disappeared into the shadows between two of the old, typical Detroit row houses and my heart began its ascent to critical palpitations. I imagined myself in Wayne County lockup, having to take a shit in front of a room full of strangers, my worst nightmare. Then it morphed into a couple years later when I’d fought off all the smaller women because I was stout, only to become the biggest, heartiest lesbian’s catch. Her name was something like Selma and she would make me eat her butt while she wrote letters to her lawyer about her appeal. Holy Lord, there was no dick worth that.
I turned the key in the ignition.
“How Long Will They Mourn Me?” TuPac queried from the tape deck as I started to gain a little perspective. Pac was a real gangster, the morons that I was aiding and abetting were little guppies who thought they were whales. They didn’t even sell crack for God sake’s.
My foot had been on the brake as I began to put the car in drive, but I let it slide off and go idle in the floor. I’d made a commitment to be the getaway driver and dammit if I would be a puss and take off. If it landed me face first in Selma’s booty, so be it. He gave me an out, I could’ve refused and even though there supposedly was no honor among thieves, I wasn’t a thief. I took pride in every job I’d ever done. Well, except for those 3 months at Wendy’s when I was 17 because screw that place, it sucked. People would actually snatch the hat off my head when I handed them their food from the drive thru window. I used pray they would all get trapped in a box and die.
All of a sudden, I saw Pop-O’s round little body emerge from a snow drift with Danny and Lil C running close behind him. They weren’t carrying anything, no coveted hooded starter jackets, no gun, just hauling ass, balls out, slipping and sliding on the salted, grey mush.
“Go girl!! GO!!!!” Danny screamed as he swung into the passenger seat.
Holy shit, they’d killed somebody. They’d killed people; I was going to jail for driving murdering gangsters and Selma was going to rape me with her toothbrush every night until I died in there. She would watch me poop and then rape…every night. Forever.
“What did you guys do!???” Asking just seemed to be a formality at this point as I was positive of the answer. Just go ahead and say it, shit went wrong and you just shot three kids…just say it.
“Look” Danny started the slow creepy talk “We got over there and…..them fools was gone yo! Hahahaha….we was just fuckin’ witchu…Damn you was scared…haha…fuck girl..look at you! You is hilarious!”
Pop-O joined Danny in his razzing, slapping the back of my seat, squealing while I caught site of Lil C smirking in the rearview. That was as close to laughing as he got, pretty sure about that.
“You shit bags!!! Not only am I NOT taking you to Mcdonald’s, I’m never taking you anywhere again! I am not a wheelman! I’m just a chick bangin’ one of your friends! I don’t wanna be some dyke’s toothbrush holder o.k.? O.k.?! “
My hysterics made it all the more humorous to them for awhile. Finally the laughing died and we rode in silence through the narrow streets off Michigan Ave. Danny tried to turn on the radio but I slapped his hand from the knob. He had a gun, yeah, so what? I was too angry to be afraid of him anymore, he seemed to respect that.
“Hey, I’m sorry.” He purred his apology in a sweet tone that bared zero resemblance to his usual nature.
It stirred nothing.
“Buy you a Big Mac? Girl? Steph?”
Calming down, I was grateful. Thankful they didn’t rob or kill anyone, including me. Glad I wasn’t in gen pop, emptying my bowels in a cell full of prostitutes. Most twisted of all, appreciative that I would be allowed to degrade myself in any way Jose’ saw fit for at least one more night.
“Make it two.”