#MNR: By Myself Meeting
“Every evening, I have a by myself meeting.”
All jokes aside, I think the greatest misconception others have [of me] is the belief that I actually like humans. I can’t stand most of you MF. Most of you are self-serving, egotistical, apathetic, cynical, misanthropic, uncouth, incendiary masses of dog feces. You degrade, steal from, and murder your own. You use religion and economics to hate and separate. You have successfully destroyed this planet in under 300 years’ time. Why on earth would I like you MF? Most of you would cut my throat [at] the first chance you get. Unfortunately, I have to deal with you animals for about eleven hours a day. There’s work, and then there’s work (the latter being the best part of my day other than being with my family). So – by the time I finally return home – it’s usually about 20:00. I’m tied (tired). I’m ornery. I’m hungry. The last thing I want to do is answer a damn phone call. No MF, I don’t want to hang out and smoke blunts. Again, no MF, I don’t want to come over and “hang out” in any way (WTF is a damn hang out to grown MF?). I just want to go home, change into my wrestling suit (belly out, drawz, and ashy legs), smoke a left-hand, and decompress. After I smoke, eat, and take my meds, perhaps I’ll consider taking a phone call from a human other than Brandi – perhaps. I’ll hit you back some other time is what I’m usually thinking. Trust, it’s nothing personal. Welp, I’m lying. It’s very personal. Leave me TF alone. It’s just me, myself, and I. I like it that way.
“Hits and stones, in glass homes. You’re smoking stones, in abandoned homes. You hit them stones, and broke your home – crack rock, crack rock.”
The other day, my sun Chris approached me in the south building hallway at the beginning of fifth period lunch and flat-out asked me what I knew about the crack era. My reply? I know everything about the crack era. What do you want to know…?
Crack had my dad down bad for a long period of time. Crack tore my home apart. Tyrone was a “day one” NYC crackhead, and we suffered immensely. It took money out of my mom’s pockets (she was the only breadwinner). Shit, it took money out of my pockets too (Pops used to raid my lil wallet whenever he felt the need). Crack made him violent. Well, he was already a violent individual. But crack made him abusive toward us (or maybe that’s the lie I tell myself). The cumulative effect was a broken home and way too many bad memories.
My dad met and befriended a man named Floyd when we lived in Hempstead around ’85 or ’86. Floyd, a military vet, seemingly matched my dad’s zeal for life and megaphone-like vocals. Those two men were as loud as a Black College marching band on Homecoming Saturday. They partied harder than any ‘70s rock band. Crack was their main vice. I remember this one time we were sitting in the back of someone’s vehicle. I was in between my dad and Floyd. Floyd passed a vial of crack over me to my dad, and Tyrone exploded. “Don’t pass that shit in front of my son!” I just remember thinking, “It’s ok dad. I know what it is.” I really felt that way. Fast forward to summer break ’99. My cousin AB had a union (sheet metal workers) check waiting for him in Mineola (Long Island). He invited Floyd, Tyrone Sr., and I along for the $75 cab ride. We obliged. I remember quite a few things from that excursion from the eastside to LI, but a couple of things (other than us smoking and drinking all the way) stood out. First, that was the day I began to develop a level of understanding for my dad and his thought patterns. We spoke on his life, from high school era until my birth. I finally saw his human side. I finally empathized with his shortcomings. Second, I remember the noise Floyd made EVERY single time he took a breath. I could hear massive fluid on his lungs. I could hear the effort it took for him to breathe and talk; it was easy to detect that he was suffering. I’m almost certain all the years of crack smoking in tandem with physical neglect were the culprits. That shit was horrible. Floyd died a few months later. RIP Floyd. You genuinely loved my father (and he genuinely loved you back); you always treated me as a nephew.
I remember standing outside our building (210) one day around the same era. An older Boricua gentleman walked by, clearly in the absolute depths of addiction. I didn’t say anything, but I’m certain my big cousin Eric Bradley the Greatest caught my gaze. He pointed to a couple of tenement buildings across the street on 15th. He let me know that the man used to own both buildings. Crack took everything away.
My big homie Chubby was a well-known Uptown shooter, but he made his bones moving that butter. He told me his crack routine in the late ‘80s went something like…he and his boy Mingo (another legendary Jeff MF) would meet up along with a couple of cats from [Jefferson] first half and put their bread together to get a brick of raw from Papí in the Heights. They’d return to the eastside later that morning, each man going his own way. That’s four men, nine ounces of yay apiece. Each man went to the lab to chef his own batch, and then return downstairs to hit their workers off with that yola. Chubby said that at least a couple of days a week they’d link back up around evening news time and catch Papí one more time before he closed shop for the day. Think about it: that’s four men moving a kilo or better of cocaine DAILY. I can’t even give you accurate numbers on how much it regularly cooked up to (I have no way of knowing), but let’s just say that the “comeback” (IYKYK) was crazy. And, of course, they weren’t the only show in town. There was more than enough money to go around.
I’ve yet to introduce Chris to the NY Rockefeller drug laws, Tactical Narcotics Taskforce (TNT), undercover DTs, or my own personal crack dealing tales (I had my time, briefly). That’s material for another day. But when I do speak on it all, I’m going to let him know that’s how damn near every story ended -- with cuffs and state or fed time – if a MF was “lucky.” Quite a few young men never got the opportunity to grow old. And now, we’re three generations deep in crack. I anticipate little to no need to provide any type of closing argument. We (young and old) all know about the cumulative effect of the crack era. Crack rock, crack rock…
This wasn’t the quasi-normal, happy-go-lucky #MNR you may be used to. This blog was derived from pain. The past couple of weeks have been particularly tough on the Crew. Personally, illness has done my pockets extra dirty. I’m already out of sick days for the plantation job. I’m due to get the shaft on a couple of days missed. That pushes every plan I had into relative uncertainty, and all but ensures that I won’t meet a couple of fiscal deadlines I set for myself. I can’t lie. I’m breathing fire RN. I’ve got my queen's born day AND Christmas right around the corner. I don’t even give a fuck about serving self this holiday season. When it rains, it pours, and I’m currently amidst the same damn storm that dumped an ocean of water on the Niners/Colts game last night in Santa Clara. What’s new? But UnB will remain as strong as Everclear chased with Exxon premium diesel fuel. Adversity is commonplace in our world. But so is endurance. We’re built to last. We were born ready. Until next Monday, stay dangerous. Love is love.
P.S.: Let a brother hold five dollars until next Thursday. Y’all know I’m good for it…
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