Thursday, September 22, 2016

Corner of Colfax and Dead - Chapter 2

Four hours later my alarm went off. I hadn’t fallen asleep but I did zone out some. I’m not sure if it counts as rest or sleep but it is the closest I can get since the accident. It took me a moment to stand as my joint get really stiff when I don’t move for a while. Once I did get up I snagged some leftover chicken wings and a beer. 

I stopped and looked at the beer for a minute before drinking it. One of the things I loved about Colorado was all the small brews and different flavors of beer that I could get to. I didn’t finish the beer and left it sitting open on the counter. Just another thing that damn accident took from me. I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself, gotta go make some money. 

Minute later I was back on Colfax walking westward. Taking big strides as I walked with a purpose I moved swiftly down the road passing various people. Occasionally a scantly clad lady would ask me for a cigarette or if I wanted to warm up. I left my cigarettes at home and no to the other activities. I didn’t want to go to jail and I knew the ladies on this street. The ones who looked scared or desperate were the real deal, the ones who looked like they were fresh from college, well they were usually VICE. Perhaps a twenty years ago I would have been tempted but…

I picked up my pace trying to cover as much ground as possible. My coat flapping in the night even though there wasn’t a breeze. I didn’t zip it up because the baseball bat would show. Tonight was about sending a message and the baseball bat, Thumper was more than up for the task. At the corner of Colfax and Forest I stopped for a moment to catch my breath. The voice in the back of my mind telling me I should have left sooner

I felt my breath catch a little and my chest felt tighten, I stopped and leaned against a wall waiting for the feeling to pass. A car passed by me with it’s stereo so loud I couldn’t even make out what was playing aside from the bass thumps. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! It distracted me from the pain, I’d goto a doc but have had enough of them to last a lifetime. Still not sure what happened, perhaps my old ticker has better taste in music than the driver of the car. Once I felt ok to move I stepped away from the wall and realized it wasn’t a wall, some art statue of a lady holding up a globe. While I appreciate them trying to improve my neighborhood I can’t figure why they would put crap like that up. On the statue someone had already made it anatomically correct using some spray paint. Thirty feet away where the new building ended and the old building next to it stood there was Crazy Joe sitting on the sidewalk sleeping under a pay telephone. Never figured out why he always hung out there but he always begged for some quarters. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a ten dollar roll of quarters that I had picked up earlier after getting paid. 

“Joe. Joe!” I said hoping to wake him up. As he stirred he pushed his hat over his eyes to look at who called his name. Once he realized it was me he smiled.

“Heeey, Matt. There was a phone call for you the other day. Some guy with a fiery voice said you missed your ride and he wanted to make sure you were still coming over.”  Joe said groggily. I glanced at the phone mounted to the building. Wasn’t even sure it still worked but Joe seems to think it did. 

“Here Joe,” I said as I casually tossed the roll of quarters to him. He caught it easily and smiled. “If anyone else calls for me tell them they can leave me a message at my house number.” 

“I will, thank you Matt. Now I can call my Sally.” Joe jumped up and broke open the roll of quarters.  He immediately lifted the receiver to his ear, put two quarters in the machine, and started punching numbers.  I had seen him talk on that phone in passing but never anyone else. Couldn’t hear anything from it and I was pretty sure it was not functional. Still for ten bucks I just bought that man a brief moment of happiness in his life. I smiled as I continued walking away from him as he waited for someone to pick up the line. 

Once I got within  block of my destination I slowed my pace down to a casual stroll. Didn’t want scare her, just wanted to deliver a message. In front of a music venue, can’t remember the name of it, theres a bunch along Colfax these days she stood. She stood out in front of the place a guitar strapped to her back as she talked to a bunch of younger looking people around her. Light brown skin and jet black hair streaked with a dozen different colored steaks of reds, blues, greens, and yellows. With her faced away from me I walked in the street. The cars had plenty of room and most were used to sharing the street as the sidewalks would get packed around the bars and music venues. Walking in the street also allowed parked cars to provide cover for me as I got closer. I worked my way through the crowd looking through a forest of teenagers as I worked my way closer.

To her left leaning against a light pole a few feet away from her I saw a guard, big guy probably six three standing against the building looking around. I don’t think he was a professional as he would have saw me coming from a mile away otherwise. Probably one of the few times my short height works out to my advantage. Since he didn’t I was able to get behind her without either of them realizing it. She must have sensed a presence behind her as she started to turn around right as I was reaching into my jacket. A look of shock and anger quickly filled her face once she saw who I was. 

“Get the FUCK away from me.” She said loudly and took a step backwards. Her guard also took action and started moving towards me. I had already pulled what was in my jacket pocket out and thrust it at her neck so she would be forced to move her hands up to prevent getting a paper cut. As I jabbed the envelope at her she grabbed it and I let go.

“Buy yourself a new guitar and call your grandma, she would love to hear you sing.” I growled as I quickly turned around and stared walking away. The crowd got louder as people were trying to figure out what was happening. It was already over but I did hear her shout a warning at me.

“You can’t buy my love Dad!” she yelled behind me.  What she didn’t know is that I wasn’t trying to, I was trying to buy forgiveness. Walking away as quickly as I could without drawing more attention to me. As soon as I got near a corner I turned and then picked up my pace even more.  I know deep down inside that she will still hate me, but at least I know she won’t be one of those scared and desperate women trying to make enough money on the streets to live in a cheap room 50 feet from where they ply their trade on Colfax.