Category Archives: Christopher Davis

Little Boy Blue

Little Alvin Martin was glad at the crowd in the run down club. His band, Blues Nuisance and the Disco Traveler, were the headlining gig tonight and smiles were had all around the stage as Little Al stepped into the light and closer to a battered microphone.
+++++Folks had come from all over to this dingy part of town to see the little boy blow his horn. It was the first of the month and everyone had money to spend in here tonight.
+++++Staccato notes ringing in their ears, the crowd turned to the stage, mesmerized. Lights in overhead cans cast the young man in various shades of crimson as he stepped off into a long legato run. It was really just Martin, the bassist and the drummer at this point in the song. The other players had stepped aside to let the boy have the stage.
+++++A hot blast of windless night gripped the city and the inhabitants were showing their lack of patience with the heat. Warm pink neon radiated outside from The Virginia Hotel sign high above the corner of Kern and Van Ness to the streets below.
+++++“Stand on it baby,” A woman yelled from the smoky darkness somewhere near the bar.
+++++A smile threatened to touch Martin’s lips, but there were several more notes to come in this rapid fire run.
+++++Martin closed his eyes and drifted away to someplace cool and safe and loving, maybe to a home with both a mother and father? The kind of place where people had jobs and the little houses were all clean and nice with a car in the drive, a place where loved ones weren’t strung out on crack or soaked in malt liquor most of the time.
+++++Little Al held the last blue note with its vibrato fading out and then back again. Everyone in the barroom crowd stood and clapped, some yelled over the band roaring from the overhead PA located around the club. Out of breath now, the young man trailed off with a last flurry in the improvised run before taking a bow and stepping back to the riser with the rest of the horn section.
+++++Someone handed Martin a towel, another held a glass of Gin over ice. Martin toweled away the sweat and took the cold glass, nearly downing the drink in one swallow. It was hot in here tonight, the place, the music, the crowd. Man it felt good to be playing tonight.
+++++Backbeat from the drummer signaled that Martin should go out for another bow. The crowd continued to stand in the dim smoky light clapping. Little Al Martin stepped up to the battered microphone smiling. He started to say something and stepped back shaking his head with the smile of embarrassment across his young face. A waitress handed up another glass of confidence. Martin took a sip and the thirsty crowd roared with laughter.
+++++Everyone in here knew the young man who played his horn like no one they had seen before or at least like no one they had seen in a long, long time. The boy was good. But there was a dark side to the story as Martin ran dope on the seedy city streets from time to time. In here, everyone loved him…out there not so much. You didn’t want to cross Al Martin, or so it was said. Some of the thugs he ran the back alleys and dark streets with would see to it that you paid on time, whether you could or not. It didn’t matter.
+++++A loud crack from the back of the room came with a flash. No one on the floor in front of the stage seemed to notice. Maybe they were packed too tightly standing there looking at the boy on stage to hear it. Maybe it was the band, maybe the alcohol or the drugs circulating amongst them?
+++++“Go ahead baby,” That same woman yelled from the back of the room. “Yeah man,” Someone else closer was saying.
+++++Alvin Martin’s chest felt as though someone had had kicked him hard, real hard. The dark smoky room began to spin, slowly at first. His mouth filled with the taste of iron and he tried to say something into the old condenser mic under the lights. He wanted more than anything to tell them that he’d been shot. Air rushed from an opening in his coat along with his life’s blood, he couldn’t. Not one in the crowd standing just feet away noticed the gunman ducking back out onto the street. Martin pointed at the door, his eyes widening, knowing now that he would die.
+++++As he slumped to his knees at first and then to the dirty stage floor, Martin wondered what he wouldn’t give for a few lines of the cocaine in his old trumpet case back stage? His grandfather had given him the old horn way back when he was just a boy, a boy in the second grade. His grandfather had been so proud of him then, maybe he wouldn’t be now? Splitting seven hundred between 9 guys didn’t provide much in the way of income. Little Alvin Martin loved playing his horn, he always had, but it was selling dope that paid the bills. He kept a stolen .357 in the trumpet case along with the dope, but it wouldn’t do him any good now.
+++++Blood pooled on the dirty stage boards underneath. Maybe no one had realized that he’d been shot? The drummer and bassist continued to churn out a dirty blue groove. The crowd seemed to dig it. Martin’s pals in the horn section added flavor to an already sultry piece. And the crowd continued to applaud in the smoky darkness.
+++++Alvin Martin felt tired. More tired than he’d ever been. Martin closed his eyes with the metallic taste of blood in his mouth and the droning of the band nothing more than noise now in the background. From some distance, Martin thought that for a moment, he heard his long dead grandmother reading to him like she did when he was just a baby, calling him home maybe?
+++++“Little boy blue, come blow your horn…”

The Pusher and The Whore

Now isn’t that a bitch? Motherfucker shot me over an eight ball. Can you believe that? Business just isn’t what it used to be you know and I ain’t talking Kensington Street either. I gave up on Philly a long time ago. Motherfuckers can have that place, they all violent and shit down there.
+++++Sun’s been down for hours and I’m cold. My breath is flying away like a homesick angel on a chilly breeze coming down from the north. They been saying a big storms coming, but they never get that shit right you know.
+++++Ah…there it is. Hear that?  That’s what I’ve been listening for, a siren shattering the night air. I’m bleeding like a bitch and my hand ain’t doing much to stop it. If I’m lucky, it’s an ambulance. If not, it’s the law. Motherfuckers would let me die leaning up against this dumpster and not give it a second thought, one less dealer for them to worry about.
+++++See that woman standing on the corner, looking the other way? She says her names Misty, but I don’t believe it much. Her mamma probably named her fine little baby Sarah or Emily or something real nice like that. If I come out of this, I owe that girl a lot you know. If it weren’t for her, motherfucker would have killed me. I’m sure of it.
+++++I’ve been watching her since I moved up here last year. She’s real nice. Most of the girls working the street won’t talk to my kind of people and that perfume she wears…damn. I figure it smells like one of those English gardens you see on TV. I never been there, but I’d like to someday.
+++++Always wears black. I don’t know why, maybe somebody she knows died? Maybe a part of her did when she started working the streets?
+++++So this cat pulls up in a BMW and starts talking down to me, real nervous you know. He gets out looking over his shoulder like he’s expecting someone to be watching us.
+++++“Come on man,” I tell him. “Ain’t no one out here in this fucking cold. What you want?”
+++++Reaches into his coat pocket and comes out with a shiny new pistol. That girl Misty is just crossing the street behind and I’m hoping like hell she smart enough to keep on stepping, not get caught in this shit you know.
+++++“Coke,” is all he said. This motherfucker was on a bender man.
+++++I know I’ve got three grams in my pocket and I hand it over. “Ain’t no need for that shit though,” I tell him looking at the piece and hoping that he’ll just take the dope and get back in his car. Maybe drive back out to West Chester and get it on with his trophy wife in their suburban split level.
+++++He snatches the stuff out of my hand and puts that shiny barrel in my stomach. He pulled the damned trigger, can you believe that? He shot me over six hundred dollars? Yeah, right. Like that fool didn’t have the money.
+++++That girl she comes walking up. I see, but he doesn’t. She’s reaching in her purse and comes out with a little surprise of her own, puts one into the back window of his new car. She’s got more balls than most dudes I know.
+++++He turns and starts yelling at her. I think they know each other. “Why?”
+++++She stands her ground, and answers, “Honey, you have your vices and I have mine…” And then she squeezes the trigger one last time. Businessman slides down the bloody side of his new car.
+++++I start to think these motherfuckers are married.

 

 

She bends to put a handkerchief in my hand and dials 911.
+++++“You’ll be OK,” she said with a big sweet smile on her face. The girl is beautiful man. Face like an angel. “Paramedics will get you to the hospital and get you looked at.”
+++++She’ll stand over there watching for now. When the police roll up, she’ll just melt away in the cold shadows of the city like she was never here.

I’m Just Saying

After a botched liquor store robbery, a small import car sped away in the rain from an all-night market. Surprisingly, at this hour, there were still a lot of people out on the streets of the city.
+++++“That was fucking sick man,” Timmy Owen said, high on meth and hanging on from the passenger side of the Asian import. Slamming a palm on the dash, he continued, “the way that dude exploded through the window.”
+++++Driver, Adam Birch, struggled against the slippery pavement to keep the car lined out for their getaway, “Yeah.” Birch said looking back in the rearview, “Yeah, it was sick wasn’t it?”
+++++Owen and Birch had known each other since kindergarten. Tweakers practically from birth, the pair couldn’t have been closer if they had been brothers.
+++++The car skidded through an intersection red light narrowly missing oncoming traffic. Wet tires making purchase, the import bounced off a family minivan before heading north.
+++++“Dude…” Owen said hanging on, his hat bill rolled upward and the number 13 inscribed underneath in permanent marker.
+++++Eyes still scanning the rearview, Birch commented, “It’s too bad that we killed him though Timmy. Fucking cops will be all over us dude.”
+++++“Whoa partner,” Owen said watching as the city lights went by in a blur, “We didn’t kill anybody. You killed that dude back there at the liquor store.”
+++++“We both killed him OK?” Birch said. “Why did we go there in the first place man? To get some cash right?”
+++++“I’m just saying dude,” Owen said preparing for the next intersection, “It was your finger on the trigger man.”
+++++The first of several police cruisers intercepted the underpowered import going for all it was worth and bumping the ass end of the Civic as it fell in behind.
+++++“Dude…” Owen said looking over his shoulder to the rear, “That cop looks really pissed.”
+++++“Fuck Timmy,” Birch said looking back again, “What did you think he would be, we just killed that guy at the liquor store.”
+++++“Correction my friend,” Owen said again, “We didn’t kill anybody.”
+++++“Fuck you man,” Birch said guiding the car into the next turn, “We, and that is the both of us, went to the store to get some cash to buy dope right, Timmy?”
+++++“Yeah, but,” Owen said smiling. “I didn’t pull the trigger now did I?”
+++++“Alright,” Birch said from his side of the car, “Let’s figure out how we’re going to get out of this huh?”
+++++A small sign reflecting the words, Drive safely, announced that the pair had reached the outer limits of the small city. Presenting itself in a great sweeping curve, the road ahead doglegged to the left.
+++++“Fuck dude,” Owen said looking through a rain speckled back window, “There must be ten of ‘em?”
+++++The first cruiser in line rammed the import causing the car to lurch and tearing away some of the rear molding.
+++++“Dude,” Owen said still looking over his shoulder, “That dick just took out our bumper.”
+++++Distant pilot lights from an Oakland bound stack train bore down on the coming intersection
+++++“No fucking way dude,” Owen said facing forward now and bracing for impact, “You’re not going to try it, are you? I mean…”
+++++Crossing arms lowered slowly ahead, their red lights flashing. The locomotives ditch lights were now alternating left and right, signaling intent on making the intersection first.
+++++“Got any better ideas?” Birch said down shifting the import and flooring the accelerator. Looking in the rearview, he added, “If we make it Timmy…no more cops man.”
+++++Still a few hundred yards distant, the engineer blew the horn. Both of the boys could hear it now.
+++++“Dude…” Owen said one last time, “If we don’t… no worries huh?”
+++++That police cruiser, following closely, hit the car again causing the import to roll onto its side and drift along the wet shoulder, stopping some yards short of the tracks. The train never slowed.
+++++Handcuffed and bleeding from his mouth and nose after impacting the windshield, Birch glared at his friend Timmy Owen, “Keep your fucking mouth shut Timmy.”
+++++Owen smiled and spit blood through his broken teeth, “Hey dude, I’m just saying.”

It’s Just a Gun

That’s a shame isn’t it? A perfectly good piece is now at the bottom of the river. I’d always liked that one, damned straight shooter that little gun.
+++++I’ve had a relationship with ‘em ever since I was a boy with my first twenty-two. I’d sit in my room and cycle the bolt over and over. My granddad taught me to shoot, although I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t approve of the way I use one now. Got pretty damned good with it, if I might say, but that was all before the old man took off and left me and mom with my kid sister.
+++++We moved around a lot back in those days, seemed like we blew from trailer park to trailer park like a pissed off Texas twister. Mom would find a job and a place for us to live, ‘sis and I would start school and start to look forward to something better. Something like having Christmas presents and milk in our cereal.
+++++Mom would come home one day and tell us to get packing. We’d soon be off searching again. Me, I didn’t really like school much anyway, but ‘sis, I could tell it was really bothering her.
+++++After a few years, Mom got real sick and ‘sis took off with some boy from school, said she was pregnant and didn’t want Mom to know. Hell.  That sent the old gal right over the edge. It was just me after that.
+++++Got a job pulling parts at the wrecking yard, old guy there ran a lot of dope through the place. After work he and I would drink a few beers and shoot cans out of the junk pile. Said I was pretty good with a pistol and asked if I was ready to make some real money.
+++++One day the old guy tells me that he wants to send a message to some of the boys up in Medford who hadn’t made good on a shipment of meth. Wanted to let them know it was time to pay up. He gave me some cash, a Smith and Wesson with the serial number ground off and some directions to their place in Oregon. Probably didn’t think he’d see me again. Old guy just about shit when I showed up for work a couple of days later, like I said, he probably wrote me off.
+++++That was the start of something good for me, I’d learned to weld in the wrecking yard and I got a better paying job. Saved up some money and bought a real house, without wheels, got married. But I’d earned a reputation by then, if you wanted to send a message, I was your man.
+++++Now there are other guys who’ll take off a finger or kidnap a loved one, all huff and puff.  Me, I’ll blow your fucking house down. No, it’s clean really, you tell me who you want, let’s say, disposed of and I do the job in one clean shot. I’m blowing in the wind before the casing hits the ground. Well, I pick that up, but you see what I’m getting at. That’s one hell of a message if you ask me, seems to keep everyone in the West Coast drug business in line.
+++++Over the years now, I’ve thrown a few of these off a highway bridge in the middle of the night, dropped one off the Golden Gate once. Good guns mostly, no serial numbers and no way of tracing them back to anyone. They never existed. In time the water level will drop and some fisherman or a kid swimming will find one rusted so badly it doesn’t look like much. Might find its way to the local Sheriff, but it doesn’t matter, by then the ballistics are fucked up. It’s really a shame, but it’s just a gun right?