Mariah Carey had done it again with yet another #1 smash, Dream Lover. I dreamed of rescuing Mariah, the "screecher" buxom, slinky hard bodied angel from that pariah at Sony. She was the only girl I was intersted in seconds after another rendezvous with the massager. it all started with a groin injury before a soccer game back in the dark days of seventh grade.
August 31st, 1993: The end of a long summer that had suddently gone faster being reborn collectively with my Young Guns post, "the shot." Yet and still I wondered what I’d learned certain the events since this past April 3rd, 1993 had changed the scope of my character in a measurable and not a negligible way. The sadness of my mother’s abandonment fueled with the anger of my father’s side of our family disappearing along with him had seemed to abate. I was thankful. My tractor lawnmower accident just two days after my seventh birthday shimmied a natural chip all children of the world seem to carry at some point on their shoulder. I had a heart. Great. But the anger at the establishment, the emotional bend I channeled into the lives of the white and wealthy to never forget their good fortune held me at bay. And kept my own fortune in jeopardy. I’d along with my sister ran with the older Less than Zero crowd in an increasing fashion whose fashion it had become to throw it all away. I’d ask Jesus, why on this earth that felt so good. And same with the Roxbury projects, Jesus, my sister still wants to know that one. Am I really black? Trapped inside this here gorgeous American face and body? It’s a curse. I want to be ugly, and black and from the projects. I say this, I ask this in wisdom, as it is my heart.
My chief business partner in all things shady, the Black Knight had been expelled. And he’d quickly gone from the green pastures of Madison MA quietly pushing “Urb” in Madison High school dodging the Omni- presence of our house administrator Mr. Robinson to the concrete jungle of his real neighborhood slanging “rocks” packing a “Rosco” along with his Tims or jellies and of course baggy jeans. It was a .38 his strap. I knew because I sold it to him last fall brand new. “Out the box?” I remembered Blacks low muffled voice turn falsetto asking a statement when he saw what I could deliver anytime via Enrico via the guys whose name we can’t mention 2 him. The Gun thing, I’m so sorry Jesus.
The price for something like that back then, $250 clean + all-in, to the kid that would now use something like that in it's most dangerous usage. $250 all-in to the endangered species I cared the most about, the American young black male. The Boston black teenager, so many of my dear friends but not like Black that was my family, and now I was scared to even page him. I was scared of what I knew he’d become and there was no conversation, it was obvious. What have I learned? I’d ask Santo in prayer, my compass to honesty and compassion. I prayed because my mother prayed. I prayed because it gave my mother someone when there was no one to call, no bloodlines, no aunts, uncles, cousins and of course parents. I’d joke to Jesus, the man I was taught would listen, “even if you don’t exist we’ve had some great conversations.” And prayer is therapy regardless of it’s form, manner or higher being of choice, for me anyway, it’s the place where I listened. I listened to my heart, turned off my brain and more often than not during these nightly sessions begged for forgiveness. My brain outfoxed my heart constantly leading my sister’s current boyfriend slash brother to me and father to us all to tell my mother candidly over a summer ale, “Gayle, your son has a very hard time distinguishing right from wrong.” My mother would add, “And a warped sense of money.” To which any member of the Less than zero crew that populated my backyard BBQ’s raced to answer, “we all do Gayle” so matter of fact.
I was seated firmly on our back decks padded, plastic furniture courtesy of my mother’s greatest insurance scam. I stared intently at our neatly manicured lawn either my mother or I kept up, the pink rhododendrons, the ample tree and the high green hedge we used to determine home runs like so many Red Sox fans claiming to have a green monster in their own back yard. I could turn my head and see my neighbors barn turned garage and the top floor I’d call Sugar Ray’s. I’d remember fondly the parties of Porsche and Brooke of my junior high and freshman year lore. They called it Cannabis Castle. They even grew a plant. And that was the difference, I chuckled. My sisters grew weed, smoked butts and played classic rock as the sun rose. I called our former clubhouse, Club Sugar Ray’s. I charged ten bucks for an hour to have sex with your girlfriend in Junior High. I played Paula Abdul and brought milkshakes included with the fee. I cracked a smile. “Mommies baby!” My mother strolled out from the kitchen smoking her token Carlton 120 clutching her Diet Coke, her trigger. “Why are you laughing?” My mother always happy I was home with plans to stay in and barbeque with the Lost Boys, the Less than Zero crew or my own gang UNLV which everyone now knew primarily as the Young Guns. Goldy’s “shot’ our summer ring and of course Santo's death had made us the only thing I ever wanted to be.
And for that I was thankful, I’d won but that wasn’t it, I hadn’t lost. Winning was great but not everything. And as for my own thanks for what I had set out to accomplish, well it was as warped as all that surrounded everywhere I looked. Good was basketball, good was my mother, my sister our bond good was the family I’d set out to find in the form of the Young Guns good was the crews and boyfriends of my sister and their friends that would drop it all for me if I paged 9’s. Good was my heart, my accident, my prayer and my Godfather. I loved goodness. I loathed the itch and the launch pad my own dysfunctional experiences could regenerate at a minutes notice. And wrapping up another summer in Madison, I was ready for my senior year. But yet and still deep in my grilled thoughts I pondered, what had I really learned? I was a legend that found my own family after my birthright was taken away. So I was cocky, and calmer than I had been which isn’t very calm. My long awaited senior year was here. The script was in tact. A few bumps along the way I’d concede as my sister and Des arrived along with magic with the beer and ribs and Zinfandel for my mother, the lady that needed the company and allowed this safe house to exist.
‘Magic!” I announced like Norm entering Cheers loud and every single time. “Yo Pat’s pre season tonight!” We embraced knowing we were summer league champions, kid stars, now local legends known to all, but that summer night more than anything we were pumped for our woeful New England Patriot’s. They were a disgrace, mismanaged and a laughing stock on a myriad of myopic and down right filthy levels. But they were ours. And I had a revelation, “I just decided next year, senior year I’m playing football.” “Nice! Do it, seriously C.” Magic was visibly pumped. Ears went up, “what?” I heard my sister Brooke ask like she heard I won a 20K scratch ticket. And suddenly the room was mine. I thought wow, this football thing has some legs. I hadn’t played since the 8th grade, ashamed in quick reflection over the pussy I was. Excited because I still had a year. “It’s going to be great year Magic.” “State champs.” “Magic and the Dream.” I smiled wryly. And tackled Scully as he arrived before he could hug my mother and pay respects for the, like I said “safe house.” “Who wants a Klonapin?” Brett screams out loud as my mother explodes in laughter and protocol that stated she was mortified someone would make such a request yet allowing it to occur. “I’ll take one, repression is underrated.” I looked at Magic with a dribble in my stomach, man my sister cracked me up.