Alibi, p.2
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       Alibi, p.2

           Teri Woods
 
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  “Take him, Nard, what the fuck is you waiting fo… what the fuck is you waiting fo…”

  He saw Poncho, bright as day, right there in his grandmom’s house, talking to him, gunman holding the gun to his head and all, bright as day, right there. Man, come on, man.

  He waited for the series of beeps, dialed Sticks’s number, and hung up the phone. He knew what had happened tonight was something that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He sat on the bed and began to rock back and forth. This shit is crazy, man, what the fuck, I should have taken all them guns, not just mine. I did try to wipe down the table, but damn, I didn’t do all the doorknobs, did I, or the back bedroom, and I didn’t do the bathroom. Fuck, man, where the fuck is Sticks. His nerves had him wired, murder had him high. Wasn’t no way he was going to sleep. He couldn’t if he wanted to anyway. He had way too much to do. He had to get that duffel bag of crack cocaine out of his grandmom’s house. That was the first thing he had better do ’cause god help him if the cops ran up in there and found Simon Shuller’s key of crack in a red duffel bag. Not only would his grandmom kill him, but Simon Shuller himself would make sure that he ended up in a duffel bag. If there was one saying he had taken heed to, it was “Never shit where you sleep.” This was the first time he had ever brought drugs into his grandmom’s house, and this would be the last. Therefore, that bag had to go. The second thing was the gun. He still had it. But, in his heart of hearts, he felt he needed it and couldn’t let it go. If he had a replacement killer, it wouldn’t have been no questions about it, that gun would have been gone. But he lived on the Southwest side of Philadelphia, and living was at an all-time low, what with junkies, crackheads, and other rivals who were simply crabs. And crabs claw at you and they don’t stop—don’t mean they scratch you, but they still claw. So he couldn’t afford to walk out of his house without a hammer on his person. That was just the way it was. Okay, how am I going to do this? He had to have a plan, he needed to be strategic.

  Out of nowhere, the ringing phone startled him and brought him out of his reverie. He answered on the first ring.

  “Hello.”

  “Yo, what’s cracking?”

  “Man where the fuck is you at?”

  “I got caught up out here in Germantown with my baby moms. Why, everything all right?”

  “Fuck no, two guys ran up in the spot on me and Ponch and—”

  “What you mean, two guys ran up in the spot?”

  “Stickup boys, and Ponch, man, they… they killed him.”

  “What? Who killed him?” Sticks anxiously asked. “Wait, wait, don’t say nothing else on the phone. Where you at?”

  “My grandmom’s.”

  “I’ll be right there.”

  Sticks hung up the phone, his brain formulating a hundred and one questions in his head. Man, can’t nobody hold they own without me.

  Sticks set his oversized cell phone down on the seat and made a U-turn, making his way crosstown. He knew trouble when he heard it, and that call was a double dose of trouble all day long and runnings.

  He stepped on the gas and within twenty minutes he was outside Nard’s grandmom’s house. Nard came dashing out the front door and onto the porch like a superspy, body all hunched down, looking all around, from side to side, as he ran down the porch steps and jumped in Sticks’s Beemer, throwing the duffel bag into the backseat.

  “You okay?” asked Sticks.

  “Man, fuck no. Poncho’s dead, Sticks,” said Nard, sweat rolling down the side of his face.

  “What the fuck happened?”

  Sticks sat back and listened as he turned off the block and parked on a nearby side street. Nard told him everything he could think of, describing Jeremy and Lance to a tee, not holding back anything, and even telling him that if he had taken the shot Poncho wanted him to, Poncho might still be here.

  “Listen, all demons gots to sleep, remember that. There’s no regrets, no regrets. You can’t blame yourself, feel me?” asked Sticks, listening to the series of unfortunate events and wondering what could have happened to him had he been there as he was supposed to have been.

  “Did anyone see you?” asked Sticks, looking at Nard for the truth.

  As soon as he popped the question, Nard could see the little brown-skinned boy, no more than ten, maybe eleven, interrupting his great escape with small talk. “Be careful Nard, they shooting in here.” Not to mention his mother hanging out the window calling for him. “DaShawn, come on, boy, get in here! Don’t you hear they shooting outside.”

  “Hey, you here?” asked Sticks waving his right hand in front of Nard’s face. “Did anybody see you?”

  “Yeah, this little kid, from down the hall. Then his mom, she saw me walking down the block.”

  “Fuck, that’s not good. It always be them little kids, don’t it? Always somewhere they asses don’t belong.”

  “What I’m gonna do; you think the kid’s a problem?”

  “Man, I don’t know. I’d feel better if he wasn’t, you know. Shit, I’d rather be safe than sorry, feel me? That’s all the coke back there?” asked Sticks, waiting to hear a drop was missing.

  “Yeah, that’s all of it.”

  It would be different if Nard was running game. But Sticks knew he wasn’t. Sticks knew he was telling the truth.

  “Listen, just in case it’s a problem, just in case, let’s get some kind of alibi straight. You need to be somewhere else altogether. Let me think… I might be able to take care of that. The only question is the little kid, and I can’t call that ’cause I can’t call what the kid may or may not say, feel me? I just know I wouldn’t want to take the chance.”

  “Yeah, yeah, you right.”

  “Where’s the gun, did you get rid of that shit?”

  “Naw, not yet, it’s right here.”

  “Man, that’s the first thing you should have done. You’re bugging. Here, give it to me and I’ll get rid of it for you.”

  Nard looked at him like he was crazy. Dead body or not, he wanted his piece. It was tiny, but she did her job. His .22 was faithful and trustworthy. “Man, I would feel naked without a gun. You got another one I can hold?”

  “Yeah, here, take mine,” said Sticks, handing him a .44 magnum and taking the .22 from Nard, already knowing what he was going to do with it.

  “You sure you got me on that alibi, right?” questioned Nard, still nervous.

  “Man, relax, just relax. I’m gonna make some calls and I’ll let you know.”

  Nard got out of the car and closed the door. Sticks rolled down the window and leaned over to the passenger side before driving away from the curb.

  “You just worry about tying up the loose ends, you feel me?”

  Detective Tommy Delgado walked into the vestibule of the apartment row home and made his way up the flight of stairs. He stopped and looked into the doorway. His first mental note was of the three dead bodies sprawled out on the floor. Definitely a drug spot, definitely. And then a quick survey of everything around him. He took out a pad and paper and began jotting down notes, from a duffel bag on the floor, to how many cigarette butts were in the ashtray, to an open unfinished bottle of beer, a pizza box, some old Adidas running shoes, and even the channel the television was on. He lifted the yellow police tape hanging across the doorway and stepped over the first body lying in front of him. He silently surveyed the room as his partner, Detective Merva Ross, entered the crime scene behind him.

  “Wow, what happened here?” Ross asked as she looked around.

  “Ask him, that guy right there—he looks like he would know,” said Delgado, pointing to a dead Lance Robertson.

  “Ha, ha, you’re so funny,” said Detective Ross, adding, “Do we got a time of death?”

  “Um, they’re pretty fresh, maybe twelve, no more than sixteen hours ago,” said an officer as he watched Delgado writing on his memo pad.

  “Detective Delgado, I think we got something.”

  An officer led Delgado down the hall to th
e bathroom and showed him the window.

  “It’s a window. Hey everybody, we got a window!” Delgado teased aloud.

  “Yes, sir, it is, but it’s opened and we found a piece of material that appears to ma—”

  “It’s a match, Honing, it looks like a match,” another detective yelled from down the hall.

  “Yeah, see, dead guy number two, he’s wearing a jacket, but if you look really close, the side pocket is torn and we found fibers and the piece of his jacket that’s torn, sir, was on the windowsill, which would lead us to believe that possibly he was an intruder breaking into the apartment, entering through the window. We’re sending the fibers in for a positive match.”

  “Are you checking outside for prints?”

  “Of course, but come here. Let me show you this. These guys, these two right here, muddy shoes, the same mud too. This guy has clean bottoms,” said the officer, leading Delgado around the crime scene.

  “Good work,” Ross commented. “When will people learn to wipe their feet?”

  “I hate that,” said Delgado sneezing into his hand.

  “It’s the worst,” added Ross. “Eeeww, here you go. You look like you need this,” she said passing him a tissue.

  “Thanks,” he said as he wiped his nose and hands.

  “You’re welcome. You coming down with something?”

  “I hope not.”

  “Me too. Look, if you make me sick, you owe me big. You keep your germs over there, pal. Damn, I’m so hungry.”

  “Pat’s?” asked Delgado, not really wanting to eat, but able.

  “My diet?”

  “You still on that?” Delgado asked, looking at Merva and wondering how long she’d be on this infamous diet, which appeared to have her gaining weight instead of losing it.

  “Hey, Detective Delgado, the shoes and the prints out back look like a match. This guy and this guy were in the backyard and it looks like they climbed this tree, came through the window, and then something happened.”

  “This guy has clean feet,” Delgado pointed out.

  “And?” Ross asked.

  “That’s dead guy number one. Dead guy number one has clean feet,” replied Detective Honing.

  “It means dead guy number one wasn’t in the backyard and probably didn’t climb the tree, and if these guys came in here, dead guy number one probably killed dead guy two and dead guy three, right here,” replied Delgado, pointing at Jeremy Tyler.

  “What if there was another shooter who killed all three of these guys, and he’s still out there?” asked Ross, bursting Delgado’s theory bubble.

  “Yeah, maybe,” said Delgado, as he began to think to himself.

  “Did we scan for prints?” Ross asked.

  “Yes, ma’am, we’ve got a lot of prints in here, a lot. But, we’ll know a lot after forensics verifies a few things,” answered Detective Honing.

  “Wow, what a fucking mess,” said Delgado as he looked at Poncho. “You know what I want to know? I really want to know what happened here, my friend, and if you could tell me, you would really make my job easier. Have you called the coroner yet?”

  “No, sir, not yet, we’re not done with them. Maybe another two hours, tops,” replied Honing.

  “I want the ballistics on the bullets. And find me a witness. Somebody around here knows something. See if you can figure out who and get them to talk, and I mean talk to everybody in this godforsaken rat hole. Check with everyone on this floor, the floor above, and the floor below. Ask around the block. Someone heard something and I know someone had to see something.”

  “Yes, sir, on it, sir,” said the officer who had led Delgado to the window.

  “You got me wanting a chicken cheese steak, real bad,” said Ross.

  “I told you, come on, let’s go to Pat’s. We’ll see you guys back at headquarters. Come on,” Delgado said to his partner.

  “Excuse me,” said Ross as she stepped over Jeremy, tagged body number three.

  “You step over me every day and you don’t say excuse me,” said Detective Delgado jokingly.

  “Stop crying and come on. It’s your turn to treat.”

  Daisy Mae Fothergill stood at the end of the bar waiting for her pickup tray.

  “Come on, Dallas, what you doing, man. I need my drinks so I can get up on outta here.”

  “Hey, Daisy, hold your tail feathers, you see me working,” said Dallas as he laughed at her. “Go lay some eggs and shit and your tray will be ready when you done.”

  “I’m done laying eggs today and don’t worry about what I need to do. You just worry about my tray. How’s that?”

  “Here, get on out of here, pussycat,” said Dallas as he placed the remaining two drinks on the carrying tray for her.

  “ ’Bout time,” she said lifting the tray over her shoulder and carrying it to her waiting table. That was Dallas’s nickname for her; he always called her pussycat. And no, not what you’re thinking, but because of her eyes, which were a crazy shade of green, and when her pupils were dilated, her eyes did resemble those of a cat.

  “Daisy Mae, girl, you sure look good,” said Felix, one of her regulars, as he slid his hand down the side of her bare back and squeezed her exposed butt cheek before letting her go.

  “Mmm hmm, you always say the sweetest things,” she said, being ever so polite. Felix was too cheap for her to patronize. He didn’t want to tip, he didn’t want to pay, but he wanted Daisy to stroke him as if he was king of the land or a czar on a throne.

  “Naw, Daisy, I’m saying, you really looking good tonight. Whadda you say, we go on in the back to one of them champagne rooms?”

  “I’d say let’s go, but you ain’t got no money for no champagne. So, I guess I’ll be going on home now,” she said as she tried to walk away from the table.

  “Daisy, naw, come here, girl, I’m trying to talk to you,” he said, pulling her arm back and trying to rub her butt again. He was really the worst, literally. Daisy could tolerate some, but Felix made her skin crawl. He was a tiny man, short, balding, and had the worst breath and was always blowing his Newport cigarette smoke at her private area and licking his tongue at her.

  Yuck!

  “No, you don’t need to talk to me, you need to talk to Calvin, honey. Ain’t nothing I can do for you, and it’s time for me to go.”

  Just then, Felix’s buddy pulled out a wad of cash and flashed it at Daisy.

  “See, I told you, baby, you know I’m gonna take care of you,” said Felix as he nodded to his friend and pulled Daisy even closer. She fell into his lap.

  “Hey, Calvin, Calvin,” she called out as Felix groped her body, feeling up her naked breasts and trying to get his hand between her thighs. Calvin turned around and made his way over to the table they were at.

  “What’s the problem over here?”

  “We want a private room, with Daisy,” said Felix, nodding to his friend, who quickly flashed his wad of cash at Calvin.

  “Well, Daisy, come on, take care of these guys. What y’all sitting over here for.” Calvin quickly got the table on its feet. “Let me get y’all a room, and you know our rooms come with a bottle of our finest champagne,” said Calvin, patting the stranger on his back. He’s so full of shit, thought Daisy. Ain’t no Mumms no real champagne. He’s crazy. Calvin led them through a doorway and into a private champagne room. It had mirrors on the walls and ceilings, huge oversized red sofas, and black two-seater lounge chairs, a few end tables and a dancing pole in the middle of the floor. “And Daisy here, she’s gonna give you your money’s worth. You don’t have to worry about that. Do they, Daisy?”

  “No, Calvin, they ain’t got nothing to worry about.”

  Calvin moved to the side as Daisy watched the stranger pay him for her adult-rated services. He turned and headed to the door, looked at her with his “you better do what you do, dammit” look on his face, and then closed the door behind him leaving her alone in the room with Felix and the stranger. Felix looked at her as he began to ma
ssage himself and then opened his mouth, stuck out his tongue, and wiggled it at her.

  Lord, give me strength.

  Two hours later, tired, hungry, feet all sore from walking around in four-inch stilettos, Daisy stood at the bus stop waiting for the number-two bus. There has to be something better out here for me than this. I know there has to be. Please god send me a good man, someone to take care of me and love me. Please, I can’t do this life much more. Daisy could daydream until the cows came home, but at the end of the day, there wasn’t nothing better out there for her and there wouldn’t be nothing better either. She was only twenty-two years old, and her life had been hard, real hard. Nothing had ever been given to her and everything she got, she either took it or used her body to get it. Thank god she had that; a perfect body, a perfect frame. Other than that, she didn’t have much. Just a two-bedroom apartment she shared with her ailing mother and a no-good boyfriend. Well, actually, he wasn’t even a boyfriend, just some guy she had started seeing. Breaking her thoughts, her pager went off. It was him, her new guy, Sticks. Ooh, I wonder if he’s around, maybe he can give me a ride home so I don’t have to take the bus. She went over to a phone booth and called his car phone.

  “Hello,” said Daisy.

  “Yo, Dais, what the fuck, man, I been calling you all day.”

  “Hey, Sticks, I’m just getting off work. I didn’t even check my pager.” She started looking through her pages. Damn, he’s been paging me since yesterday morning.

  “Man, I’m at the Honey Dipper looking for you. Where you at?”

  “I’m around the corner, at the bus stop.”

  “Okay, stay there. I need to see you, man, right now.”

  Yes, no long, drawn-out bus ride tonight. And Sticks is coming with his fine ass, this is just perfect. She couldn’t help thinking about the possibilities of the evening. She was just happy she had a ride home. And a ride from one of the city’s most notorious and infamously ghetto fabulous street ballers, couldn’t get no better than that. Sticks was every young girl’s daydream. He was light-skinned, handsome, and muscular, with a nice grade of hair, not too curly, but definitely not nappy. He was one of them brothers a girl would get pregnant by just in hopes of having a baby with good hair. Sticks had a reputation for being a liar and a cheat with the ladies, but he also had a reputation for putting in work. Whatever had to be done, he’d do it, with no hesitation. The dudes that knew him and knew his résumé stayed clear of him, and only a stranger would be stupid enough to try Sticks and think he’d get away with it.

 
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