Best Case

Super rough draft of a story I started yesterday.  Any feedback is appreciated.

Best Case

Now I ain’t sayin that I’m some sorta psychic or nothin. Just that sometimes there’s a feelin you get so deep it gives you goosebumps, makes you twitch a little, makes you take a deep breath. Me and Jim had that feeling when we were at the park, cuttin it up, not doin too much, just listenin to my jams – I’m puttin out a record, been writin some with my sister and my step-dad. Me and Jim was talkin about how the weather was weird for January – there it was still 7 at night and warm like August. I kept getting goosebumps though.

We was listenin to the second track I wrote. My step-dad brought it to his homey’s studio and dropped some chronic on it, but you couldn’t tell with my shitty headphones. But I’m sayin, things that night was set up just like in the movies. I even heard a rustle in the bushes back behind the playground.

Probly some bums.
I don’t think so, bruh.

What you faggoty ass pussies doin out here now?

We didn’t even know they was there. Serious. We was just chillin. But Jim knew it was Darrell right off. Jim had a few enemies and all, like, these guys at school like to mess with him and Jim, he big right? Well, he took one of ’em down and now they always messin with him.

Fuck you Darrell.
Nah, fuck you, pussy ass faggots.

They’s always callin us faggots. We ain’t though, swear.

I thought I’d just keep it easy. I wasn’t tryin to get my discman busted.

Look, we ain’t do nothin to y’all.

Jim always liked to push it a little though.

 

Why don’t you go pick on some first graders or somethin.
You know Jim, you got a big fuckin mouth.
Yeah, that’s what she said.

Everybody forgot they was angry for a minute and laughed. Then Darrell got right back to it. His cousins was standin behind him – there was just two of ’em. I told Jim,

We should get outta here, bruh. Bruh! Let’s just go!

You gotta understand, Jim don’t like to fight, but if it come down to it, he’ll beat a nig- He’ll beat someone up if he need to, but it wasn’t like that, so Jim was like,

Nah, Darrell, we just gonna go and you can stay here wit your cousins and do whatever you was gonna do anyway.

We turned and walked away. We was half way down the block, laughin about how stupid Darrell looked with his fake ass crew when Jim spotted them again. We was on that one strip where there ain’t nothin but wall and road and trash, so we had to start runnin. Darrell and his fake ass crew ran after us too, but can’t no one out run me and Jim. Except the pigs. We almost didn’t realize they was dead ahead!

Bruh, just chill, they can’t do nothin. We ain’t do shit.
Yeah, but I still got that damn knife from woodshop on me.

Where?
It’s in my pocket.
They still like twenty yards away, just ditch it.

They’ll see.

 

Jim froze for a minute. He turned around, and Darrell and his crew saw what we saw, so they stopped too. Up ahead was a police road block, and behind us was 200 yards of concrete. But we ain’t done nothin. Darrell and his crew turned around and ran the other way. We started just walking toward the blockade.

Where you boys goin?
We goin home.
Where’s home?
Dude, I live like two blocks away.

Jim doesn’t really take shit from nobody, not even the cops.

 

Well, DUDE, I’m gonna need to see some I.d. You boys carryin tonight? Got anything on ya?
No, sir.
We ain’t got shit!

The cops all start to look the same in our town. Every one of them’s got a mustache and short cropped hair and pasty skin. It’s kinda creepy. My ma told me once that I shouldn’t stereotype them all, but my sister says that’s what they do to us all the damn time so what’s the difference? My ma says actin like a pig isn’t no way to make a pig stop actin like a pig. I guess I know what she meant.

Well, how about we take a look in that bag.
Nah. Nah, you ain’t got a warrant, we ain’t done nothin.

I had already taken off my bag and laid it on the ground. I wasn’t gonna open it for ’em though. Another cop walked up and asked the first cop what was going on. He shined his flashlight at Jim, and Jim squinted and ducked outta the way.

You search ’em yet?
Not yet?
What are you waiting for?

This one’s got an attitude.
He means I know my rights and I ain’t done nothin. Damn man, let’s go.
Bruh, just chill.
You oughta listen to your boy here.

Once I saw Jim lay out a kid in gym class, back when we was still in elementary. This kid bugged him every day for two weeks and Jim didn’t do nothin to him. Then, one day, the kid walked up to Jim and tapped him on the back of the head. Jim punched him so hard the kid flew like ten feet. Knocked him out. Jim got to stay in school because the kid admitted he’d been bullying him.

It was getting real late. My ma and step-dad didn’t like me being out all the time, and definitely not this late at night. No doubt ma was callin my gramma right then to see if I showed up at her house all the way over in East Town. By now my step dad was walkin over to Jim’s dad’s house to see where we at. And these fool cops wasn’t lettin us go anytime soon.

Look, we gonna go. You can follow us or whatever, but we out.
Jim-

Jim looked uncertain for about a second. Like the time he asked Kaylie out to the Sophomore Soiree last year. But then, just like now, he flashed a crazy wicked smile and started walkin away. That time, Kaylie walked after him and touched his arm. He looked like a little kid. He took her to that dance, and then they started dating after that. If Kaylie was there that night, she’d get Jim to calm down. But this night Jim just kept walkin. The cops shouted at him and I shouted at him too. I was like, “Bruh, just get back here!” But he didn’t listen to nobody. When the cop started runnin after him, he ran too.

Get away from him! Dude! C’mon! He ain’t do nothin!

I got all freaked out and started runnin too. The other cops at the barricade just stood there lookin stoned and I ran too. Jim was fast. I was fast.

I’m gonna kill this sonofabitch!

I caught up to the cop and he was cussin and fumblin with somethin by his waistband. I thought about tackling him for a second – imagined all the high fives I would get the next day at school. I just ran right past him instead. I spat into the breeze.

It felt like we was runnin forever. I knew Jim was runnin toward his dad’s house ’cause he cut left on 11th. The cop stopped runnin after us there and yelled somethin.

Jim, wait up!

When I caught up to Jim he giggled a little and slowed down. At 13th, we was sure they weren’t chasing us anymore so we stopped at the gas station and he got a soda.

You crazy, bruh!
They ain’t gotta chase us like that dude. We weren’t even doin nothin.
I know, huh?

They just bored ’cause they set up that blockade all the time and e’rybody know about it.
Yo. Except for us.
Ha ha!

Jim kept walking. We was still five blocks from his dad’s and the air was getting colder by the second. I stopped to put on my hoodie,

Bruh! Wait a minute.
What?
Shit. I left my bag.
At the gas station?
Nah, I left it at that damn check point.
Shit.

Jim stopped for a second.

You got your wallet.
Nah, bruh, it’s in my bag.
Shit, man! What is you thinkin?
Let’s just get to your house.

It was almost midnight. We were gonna be in so much trouble. When we got to his house all the lights were off.

Where’s my dad?
Probly at my house.
Call your mom, man.

Yo ma…Yo, I know. I know! Listen…No, listen ma, we got stopped by the cops. How do you know? What? Well, can you come and get us then? We at Jim’s.

(Your dad wants to talk to you)

Hello? What? They was messin with me…I didn’t do nothin! No!

(They gonna come in a little bit)

We decided to wait inside. We was both quiet because we was about to be in trouble. The cops called my mom to tell her that we ran away from them. They found my wallet and ran my i.d. Jim said they probly knew about that time we stole a case of beer from the liquor store by school last year. We didn’t catch no charge or nothin but it’s probly still on our record.

I heard my ma, stepdad and Jim’s dad walking up the sidewalk. The door opened and Jim’s dad walked straight past me and up to Jim and slapped him on the top of his head.

What the hell?
What you doin runnin from the damn cops, Jim?
I had a knife from woodshop.
Then you tell them you got a knife from woodshop. How long you gotta live in this world before you learn anything? Damn.

My ma and stepdad just looked at us like we was crazy. I felt bad. I never thought about that both of them were still on parole; it’d been so long that it didn’t even seem real anymore. Jim’s dad looked at me too.

What’s with you? This world ain’t yours.

I could tell Jim wanted to say somethin else, like we was bein messed with all night, like ain’t nobody have a right to stop us for no reason; like we was just listenin to some beats in the park. But he knew when to stop. I just didn’t have the words.
My ma and step-dad and me walked home quiet. There was a patrol car parked outside when we got there. I still wasn’t sure what time it was, but most of the neighbors lights were out. My step-dad took a deep breath, and then my ma, and then me. The cop that chased us and his partner were standin on the stoop just waitin. My step dad walked a few steps ahead.

Officer.
You this boy’s dad.
Yes, sir. I am. Are you the officer we spoke with earlier?
That was my partner over there.
Okay.

The cop wouldn’t look at him. He pointed his face at me and said,

Boy, you got some balls on you.

 

But my step-dad was raised with manners and what not so he was all,

Sir, I’m gonna ask you to keep it down in front of my wife please.

The cop straightened up, hooked his thumbs in his waistband and spat. It landed on the stair rail and just kinda hung there.

Look, your kid is in a lot of trouble.
Officer, sir, what exactly happened again?

The officer looked at his partner and then looked up and kinda to the left, like he was tryin to remember the story. I knew the whole thing.

We stopped these boys at the blockade on West-
Why?
Well, they were running and then they stopped real fast.
Okay…
We stopped him and his friend and asked for I.d.

The other officer stepped up then. He was a lot shorter than my step-dad. He didn’t look him in the eye.

These boys gave us a lot of attitude right from the beginning.
All we did was ask for their I.d’s.

There are sometimes when you just feel like you’re gonna explode or somethin, like you can feel yourself start to sweat, and your cheeks is gettin all hot. I was like, ready to smash on these dudes. They kept goin on and on about how they was just askin nice and quiet for our id’s and that ain’t even how it went down. My ma put her hand on my back, like she was tryin to get me to move to the front door, so I started walkin. The big cop was in my way, and he wasn’t tryin to move at all. Finally I was like, Excuse me, but he still didn’t move.

Officer, it’s late and my son has school in the morning. I’d like him to get inside, please.
Look, we still don’t even know what we’re gonna do here.

My ma is not ordinarily a quiet woman, but she real good at knowin when to settle down and when to speak up. I knew she had enough when she put her hand on my back like that, but she couldn’t just keep settin there like it was all good. When she finally spoke out, there wasn’t another sound to be heard.

Officer, my son made a mistake. My husband has been real respectful to y’all, but we don’t know what you want. You’re at our house here in the middle of the night and we need to be goin in now. If there’s a ticket or anything, can you just hand it over so we can all go on our way?

The short cop got nervous. I could tell because he kept shufflin and fussin with his hat and wipin his forehead. But the taller cop wasn’t havin any of it. He stood right there in the middle of the stoop and I was in front of him tryin to figure out what to do. The door wasn’t far enough to run to so I just slid along the side of the rail toward the door. I mighta brushed against the cop. I mighta imagined knockin his ass down the stairs.

It was quick, and I just remember my head hittin the ground and then they was on me. It felt like all of ’em, my step-dad, the cops, my mom. My back cracked and all the air left my stomach. It’s funny cause I still remember thinkin I had a test in physics in the morning and I got super mad ’cause I was gonna have to wing it.

 

For just a second Mr. Moore’s eyes flashed at me, like I let him down for getting a B instead of an A. I came to and I was on my feet, staring at my ma who was screamin. My step-dad was towering over the smaller cop and the bigger cop was breathing on my neck, wrenchin my arm all the way into my shoulder blades. In a second I was in hand-cuffs and sittin in the patrol car. I could hear the radio, but my parents voices was all muffled, like I was under water and they was callin to me.

I could see my parents faces, both of them, just drop to the floor almost. If my ma wasn’t on parole, she woulda punched that cop out, smashed out the windows and dragged me out the car. The cops musta figured out their situation. I could see the bigger cop smilin like he just won the lotto or somethin.

After a while, I stopped tryin to hear what they was sayin. I leaned my head back, listening to the radio call out a bunch of numbers and codes. The roof of the car was fulla dirty hand prints and scratches and tiny cuts in the fabric. I looked to the right and saw my step-dad sittin on the steps while my ma was standin there, her arms was folded tight. She was tryin to be reasonable with ’em.

When the door finally opened, I took a real deep breath and just automatically put my leg out the car.

Easy now. We wanna ask you some questions.

I sat there while they asked about my ma, my situation at home, where was my dad (long gone, I ain’t never seen him; that’s my dad right there), what school I went to. A car sped by real fast and the cop looked after it for a second and then looked back at me.

So, your other friend, what’s his name?

I didn’t wanna answer. I didn’t wanna snitch. In my neighborhood, even talkin to the cops is like snitchin. I didn’t want Jim to get a visit from these cops tonight. He had a physics test too. He was probly fast asleep in his tiny ass little bed.

His name is Jim and, officer, we got a physics test tomorrow.

I realized as soon as I said it that it woulda been better to just keep my damn mouth closed. The cops both started laughin like I was Cedric the Entertainer talkin about Rodney King or somethin.

Boy, you know just all the wrong things to do, don’t you?
He really does take physics!

My ma was up in arms again. The cops kept laughin and I gotta say, if I wasn’t in hand-cuffs, things mighta turned out a little bit different. The little cop helped me outta the car and took the cuffs off though. I walked straight past that bigger cop. I didn’t want him to see how mad I was. My lips was tremblin and I was ready to start swearin right there. My step-dad opened the door and I went right to my room. After a little while I heard car doors slam. A little while after that our own front door shut hard. Ma came into my room and sat on my bed. I couldn’t look at her or at anyone. I just lay there real still, tryin to keep my heart beat from shakin the bed.

All I could hear was my heart beating. Then ma’s deep, deep breath.

You say your prayers?

She rubbed my head back like when I was little. I really didn’t want to breathe ’cause if I did I knew I’d start cryin right there, so I just nodded. She knew. She always knew.

I hope you did son. You know you gonna need ’em.

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