Saturday, August 31, 2013


Running full out, barefoot and shirtless on hot, sticky streets, shards of broken bottles emit brief flashes of yellow in sodium light. The crickets go quiet when we rush past, two pale ghosts on a rippling breeze. And then - Surprise! - we catch up. More fun at the OK corral. Out comes the mace, and one goes arse over teakettle to test the cement, another, cut off right at the knees. Payback is a bitch.

Walking home again, we ditch the weapons just as the police arrive. We'd just committed a felony assault, after all, nor does the law allow that two wrongs make a right. Two squad cars confront us, another closes in our flank. I make certain to contain a smile when two familiar faces appear from their ranks.

Once again it's enjoyable talking to the cops. They like us, too - you can tell by the ribbing they give us - for being shoe-less, in just our skivvies, for that matter. One mentions training barefoot has its drawbacks, and admittedly, I don't know, but acknowledge my uncertainty about the glass. The proper response - we'd left in a hurry, like it happens every day, or night in this case - to just act like it's nothing at all.

There's a point we share consensus with - each of us knows "the law" can't get there in time. We are of the Old School. A fact of which many of the blatantly disrespectful newcomers are unaware of. The frequency in which they appear has grown exponentially relative to the general decline of our neighborhood, a fact no longer associated with connotations of outrage. The adrenaline rush isn't the same either; more a tacit reminder of our existence and determined acceptance of duty to a few square blocks we claim as our own.

We linger, an eery calm descending upon us all, our last few moments together spent comfortably in idle chatter with the waning crescent grinning above.

sparrows scatter
through stands of bamboo -
that brand new tattoo



altadenahiker said...

Well done -- photo and prose.

bandit said...

edited June 15, 2017

a little improvement, Swede. I miss you.