Chapter 3

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I had since learned otherwise. You always have a choice, but are you willing to pursue it? Are you willing to die trying? Or do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering what if? But it was too late. Too late to contemplate otherwise, too late to try to make things right because some things simply cannot be made right. There might be a time for everything but sometimes it's the timing that isn't right. And in times of need what do you do? You do what you can and screw the rest. Welcome to the story of my life.

"Whadaya say Drift?" Eddie asked me, "Are you up to robbing a corner store with me today? We need some cash."

"Sure," I blandly replied, "whatever man."

And what happened to people giving you exorbitant amounts of money so you can "take care" of things?

Nobody spoke a word after that. Nobody could speak a word. Nothing new for us. Eddie, in his constant pine green coveralls sat silently looking outside the window while I held on to Byron's arm, just like I did the first time I laid eyes on him, the frightened thirteen-year-old boy from the alley. My mind had never really left that place, not even after all these years of sharing my existence with Byron. When it came to him our guilt-ridden consciouses all fell silent. I had given an innocent boy a death sentence by letting him live, and I had given myself one even worst by living the life. What is the justice in trying to be just? Sometimes I found myself wondering if it simply would have been easier if I had let him be killed and lived with regret for my whole life. I couldn't understand the full scope of the politics of justice in my life, but I imagined that you just get lucky sometimes.

I laid my head on Byron's shoulder as he stared out the window just like Eddie did. Byron's parents had no body to bury, no son to mourn. They didn't even know if he was alive or dead. I knew Jeff was with God, out of this miserable life, but Byron's parents didn't have that sense of comfort. I could see Ricardo's eyes as deep as black holes starting right at me in the rear view mirror. Still wearing his torn jeans and his favorite Kenny Rogers shirt, he drove right through the city, still remaining silent but always peering back in my direction. He knew too well that I blamed him. Sometimes I caught myself wondering if that guy could feel guilt, or if I could even feel it myself or if making myself believe that I had a guilty conscience made me feel better about everything. Moot point anyway, nothing changes anything.

Ricardo pulled into Dobbs without incident and drove to Lennie's. Once there, he hid the car in the nearby bush as we made the rest of the way to the factory on foot. As usual. Ricardo's presence was again uneasy. Nothing was easy for me. Not anymore. Not a single minute went by that I didn't want to scream and shout and rip apart my entire being from the inside out. Go back to where I came from. Dust to dust. I sighed and walked awkwardly with my head down all the way to the factory a few miles away. Byron walked faithfully by my side while Ricardo took the lead and Eddie trailed behind us as usual. Always as usual.

Surprisingly Robby was there waiting for us. Rob. Robin. Soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Remington. Soon-to-be something fancy. Soon-to-be somebody. The twenty-six-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin came to Brooklyn to study and get a university degree in God knows what a few years back. At 5'10" and 141 pounds he was the perfect candidate to break the law. Oval brown eyes and short brown hair, fluent French speaker, lady charmer. I didn't even know his fiancé's name. If she had one at all. Rob and Ricardo were a lot alike apart from their skin color. Not much was known about Rob, but he had money, and he had brains. He didn't look like a criminal. He didn't look like us. And unlike us, he could get away with robberies in broad daylight. Sweet little Robby. If there was something about life that I couldn't understand, it was guys like him. When you have money, power and brains, why do you even bother to straddle the line of the criminal life? But then again life was never fair, and there were only a few people that I hated more than Robin Remington. Jerk.

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