NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 13

The knife came out, John struck Larry twice, I heard the death rattle, saw his eyes go blank, saw life leave Larry as I punched him for the last time and realized I never wanted it to end this way. I never even saw the knife go in. Immediately, I knew the cards I was being dealt. Nothing was going to be the same. Ever. It was going to be dark for a long time, dark, different, deranged, a bad dream. And as I rose from the body, to gently take the knife from John’s bloody hand and hide it under a corroded metal garbage can, I knew I had taken that huge step into acknowledgment of consequences. And that meant punishment, ready or not. n BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Bloodlust had overtaken me, and all I felt was the result of the hunt. I was no longer prey. I was predator. He tripped and fell. I pounced on him, hitting him square, taking aim. He couldn’t protect himself anymore and while he tried in the first few seconds to block the blows, he gave up and I saw his head recoil with each punch. And then my guys caught up, and I almost felt sorry for Larry, sprawled backwards on the pebbled concrete. This beating was going to be quick, painful, and methodical. “This is to remind you of who not to fuck with next time,” Mousie spat out as he punched Larry in the jaw, hard and fast. “And this, motherfucka, is for acting like you had heart…” shouted Moose, the sweat trickling down his skin from under his Fedora, “and the bitching up. Take this, you punk ass!” And Moose’s size 12 alligator shoe heel collided against Larry’s light brown almost reddish head. All of us stood back. We all knew how much Moose hated Larry. It was visceral. So we let Moose beat him up for a while. 11 He fell down in stages, stumbling the way metal cans do when the air is sucked out of them. I kept on punching and screaming and kicking. He fell and stayed on the sidewalk, his legs spread awkwardly on the concrete. Clumsily he raised himself up on one elbow, shaking the fogginess out of his brain. Clarity must have seeped through the cobwebs quickly; within seconds he jumped to his feet and began to run. He never looked at me or my guys or his gang. I’ll never forget the fear in his eyes. He had not only been knocked down in a fair fight, he had been knocked from power, and there was no refuge. He had no plans for loss. He had no plan for failure. No back-up. And his minions were not jumping to his aid. So he ran. And we ran after him. I can’t remember who grabbed him first, but I do remember screaming, “No! He’s mine.” My breath control was well-known. I could stay under the pool for almost two minutes and I could chase anyone, staying a yard behind them, for a long, long time. Larry was not going to escape. It lasted no longer than fifteen minutes, us shouting, punching and kicking the gangly kid, humiliating him by throwing garbage cans on top of him, all in front of his so-called “gang” of friends, not one of whom stepped up to help him or even beg us to stop. We might have listened to that. And then the hurricane of hate stopped, just like that. Five of my guys instinctively stopped hitting Larry, stopped shouting, and ran down Broadway, quietly. And Larry was still alive. The Canarsie Chaplains were professionals, cool, methodically dangerous. The only ones left around the victim were John and I, the unprofessionals. BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 11 3/29/15 11:41 AM