I Almost Lost My Life, To Save A Dime (Part 2)
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I Almost Lost My Life, To Save A Dime (Part 2)

The sun began to slowly set behind St Andrew Catholic Church and its twilight sky gave Blair an innocent look. Still that didn't prevent the Big Bird from hovering the sky keeping our street under surveillance watching for any strange activity. Loud music heard blaring from every car that drove by, and between the car's booming systems, intermittently you could hear gun shots. The smell of poverty and black on black crime were a familiar scent that filled the air. From Short Blair I could see fatherless children playing in the street with no t-shirt on wetting each other with water balloons trying desperately to stay cool until someone cut the fence at Avon pool. Cutting the fence to swim free is a common practice at Avon pool.

Hustlers and want-to-be hustlers were moving about on Blair hustling anything they could get their hands on from a bar-of-soap to lost dreams. The most profitable were lost dreams. And DV Cool was doing what we do when we started walking up Reading Road to fetch a beer...busting raps.

"This situation has finally occurred, I mean nerds, come in herbs, pressed and so eager. To Jock, on the Jock, because they know I'm superb; won't stop till they hit the top, on the tip of Iceberg..."

"Then after you bust that Vee I come in with, 'You know Daddy from the Nati cold ruling the world,' right? That 'Don't Jock The Dog' going to go hard Vee, watch!" Dee said with confidence and excitement.

De' Angelo a short build light-skinned brother with pudgy cheeks and a child-like face. When he's not smiling he wear an expressionless look made for the Marine he would become. Sporting his all red Cincinnati Red's sweat-suit, baseball cap, and t-shirt, only thing missing was the Red's gym shoes then he would have had a full cycle on. His babyish teeth were seldom seen overshadow by his LL Cool J full size lips. He move those lips to form a question as we crossed Hale Ave. slipping behind a maroon 85' Cutlass Supreme waiting in the cross walk to turn left on to Reading Road.

"V dog, you remember I shook you on Blair? What was going through your mind when I crossed you over? Vee you know you was the coldest in the hood on that B-ball court. You almost fell too...hell naw!" He laugh so hard his pudgy round cheeks turned pitch red.

This would become a question I'll be asked the rest of my life. History in the making. Most people from Woodward can remember me hitting the winning shot at the last buzzer against them at Cincinnati Technical College (CTC). Many of them remember reading my name in big black bold letters on the front page of every Cincinnati newspaper. And they can recall me punching Steve Shirley after he socked "Too Tall" at the end of our first match at Hughes. But De' Angelo had no recollection of such events. This Bulldog had his own memory of me on the basketball court and I wasn't the star. I smiled at his question as we continued up Reading Road.

Before the 1960's Cincinnati riots, Reading Road in Avondale had many Catholic Churches, car dealers, and pharmacies. Avondale were a prosperous neighborhood for the German and Jewish families living comfortably in their large lavish Victorian homes. Then the city moves black families to Avondale from the West-end and the Jews and German families moved out. Many migrated north to Silverton and Amberley Village but most settled in North Avondale leaving South Avondale ninety percent African-American.

After the 1960's riots those same Victorian home abandon or slumlords rented them out. Today Reading Road is filled with vacant lots and boarded-up building. It never recovered from the 1960's riots.

Ridgeway was coming up to our left as we crossed Carplin Place. I notice Cincinnati's finest had a car pulled over directly across the street from Avondale Car Wash, and I could see someone in the back seat of their police cruiser. People started to gather on the corner of Ridgeway and Reading Road trying to get a better view of who had committed the crime for "fitting the description" this time. Then I heard someone scream out, "D and V!" as we watched the police using forceful attempt to control the crowd without retrieving their guns. It was Rob I heard calling us.

Rob a friend of Dee who I had met just twice but my spirit liked his spirit. "What you two Blair's Boys doing up this way? You know it's always trouble when you two get out." Rob said while giving us both dap.

Dee answered, "We about to get some forties of "Old E" at "BP" you with it?" Rob nodded his head once gesturing he was with it.

I stared perplex at the police's car lights, reflecting on Rob's statement, "It's always trouble when you two get out..." Those words spoke to my soul like how you feel when you see a promise from God coming true. I had those same troubling thoughts earlier.

But this time I thought, "Could it be God using Rob for confirmation? Is this his last attempt to turn me around and end this journey because he knew what lied ahead?" Mother told me to follow my instinct and let my conscience be my guide. Often I obey my conscience but this time I would go against my better judgment. I was soul-searching when Dee interrupted my thoughts before we pass Union St.

"You know Vee, if we don't make it in this rap game I'm going to open up a barber-shop."

"What about you going into the Marines?"

"Man you have to help me get out of that Vee, I didn't know when I enrolled my junior year we be getting paid for rapping and touring my senior year."

"I know."

Rob were looking at his pager when he murmur, "This stupid pager." Then he added, "So let me get this right Dee,. You a barber?" Rob asked with a doubtful facial expression.

"Not just a barber Rob, the owner!" Dee adjusted his Red's cap to the left and continued, "My shop will be better than "Prime-Cutt" One side will offer massages the other side serving women and men with manicure."

"What about your boy Vee?" Rob asked.

"Oh I can't forget about my dog." Dee said while I looked at him with expectancy. "Vee will have his own little corner in my shop braiding gay men back hairs." We all bust out laughing while jaywalking across Martin Luther King Dr.

When we got across the street. De' Angelo screamed, "Make sure they are cold too Vee. I'm about to go holler at this girl with the phat ass real quick." We made it to "BP".

While De' Angelo jetted toward the back of BP's parking lot where the girl with the phat ass disappeared to, Rob stood outside by its door inspecting his pager and I went in to cop some beer.

Inside, I could see my reflection on the glass window. I look fresh in my black and white Troop sweat suit and my brand new British Knights gym shoes went well with my own designer's "Vee Dog" hat. On the front of it were a cursive "V" attached to a Doberman. It was real slick. And on its left side read, "Don't Jock The Dog."

I grab the coldest beers I could find then walked to the front of the store. I notice two kids by the potato chips peeping at me and I could hear one whispering to the other, "That Vee from DV Cool." I laugh proudly to myself. While I waited in line I seen commotion outside by pump two but didn't give it much thought. Maybe because I been tired or I was in a hurry to buy the beers and get from up there.

Ofter the cashier gave me back my ID and change (and we did save a dime) I grab the beers and exit the store. Outside the store I looked to my left for Rob but he wasn't there then I look to my right toward pump two.

There I seen an old-school dude in his late 30's with both his hands on Dee's sweat suit leaving his chin expose. Dee quickly seize the opportunity slipping him a short Aaron Pryor left uppercut to his chin staggering him back. De' Angelo then rush him while he was still dazed catching him with a right cross to his left eye that forced the ground to come and greet his face. That's when I felt rage waking up a side of me I can't control. The side I hate; the side my conscience tries to protect me from.

Impulsively I drop the beers and ran to Dee's rescue hitting old-school in his right temple with a straight right dropping him again. As he staggered to one knee helplessly trying to get up, I caught him in his head with a left hook sending him flying back to the ground. I'm left-handed. I could hear Dee in the background yelling, "Yeah dude you thought I was by myself!" But little did we know he wasn't alone either.

Suddenly Dee came from nowhere stomping dude's head to the ground and blood splashed all over our sweat suits. People screamed out, "Young Punks!" but never came to rescue dude. Rob ran up to me and Dee grabbing us and pulling us away and saving old-school's life.

"Look we got to get out of here before the boys come!" Rob said with panic.

I grab Dee's baseball cap off the ground and put it on my head and he grab mine. We walked away without a worry and without a beer.

As we started our journey back down Reading Road no one said a word. Everyone were in a deep thought trying to figure out what just happened. Until a quarter mile down the hill someone final broke the silence, it was my conscience. He instructed me to get off Reading Road now! I had failed him once but I will be obedience this time. I was thankful he didn't give up on me.

"Look, when we get down to Hickman we're going to bust a left, walk down to Harvey then bust a right, and take that down to Hale." I said fearfully while I inspected my swollen right hand.

"Look Vee I'm going home the same way I got up here dog. If dude want some more there is plenty where that came from!" Dee growled back. Then everything went into slow motion and complete silence... I barely heard a witness scream, "Oh My God, watch out!" We never made it to Hickman. Copyright number YKQM-VWW6-86SR-LKKZ


Street Talk

Definitely puts you right in the scene! Ever consider taking screen writing classes so you can make movies? Or sophisticated-cartoons that you film on video to attract an audience for whatever else you offer? You've got quite a knack for visualization writing. You could have a few simple slides with you narrating... because you'd have a wider audience on video.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Cynthia I never gave it a thought, but it's definitely something to consider. I appreciate your encouragement.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi Vernon, You sure can paint a picture in my head, always enjoy reading your articles. All the best to you.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Ben I really appreciate your support my friend.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Man you are great at creating an image in my thoughts! I can feel the tension and happiness! Thanks!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Lets just say Matt I'm blessed being able to write about it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Quite interesting and the content is capturing. Great Vernon! Again thanks for sharing

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Robert!. I can look back and see how God has always been there for me. I'm currently working on the final part now so stay tuned.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Kymee  

Intense....WOW is their a part three?

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

Yes Kymee. I think it will be the last one. Thanks again!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Pretty great writing here, Vernon. Part 1 was good but this is even better. I like the way you build up and describe your characters ... makes me want to read more details about them. You are getting to be a pretty good author!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

Lewis just two days ago I told my wife how much I want to learn how to write like you. She said, well you should tell him. I'm watching and learning from you so your comment mean the world to me. THANKS!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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