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Thursday, August 19, 2010

At The Bottom Of The 24th Street Bridge


Another night in Josies... Even though Reed Nelson and the gang were back in town....They had opted to take a few weeks off and just chill with their girls and their families....Reed gave his bookings at Josies , Ciros and Mulberry Street to me....Downtown Rob Brown...Like Reed, I play the trumpet too. I suppose Reed felt sorry for me....I had had my troubles...I had a good woman, His girlfriend's younger sister, Delores...but I got a big head and started fooling with a hot young singer named Ingrid Rhodes and another sexy broad named Cherry Johnson...I did somethin real stupid...Bought two of them the same dress....a dress they chose to wear in here on the same night! Go figure...

Anyway, I lost all three women...just like that ! In one night... I've been kind of lost lately...I've been playing these dates...making dollars and blowing a good amount of my dough drinkin and gamblin....a new addiction...I 'm still payin my rent and my car note and my utilities..but just barely....I owe a great deal of money to a Gambler named "Sunny Side Up" Simpson...a high roller...I lost a big crap game at Chess and Chris's joint....Chris didn't want to let me play...but Chess said it was okay if I kept the stakes low...I didn't listen.....Chris put me out.....but I still owe
"Sunny Side Up " Simpson about 8 large.... I got some of it.....It may take me some time....like a few more gigs to raise the rest of it.

Anyway, I had just finished my set and was sitting at the bar , when Gus pointed at a guy coming
towards me.

"Now look Robby, I don't want no trouble in here, ya hear....I heard that you into "Sunny Side Up" for eight grand and you sittin here drinkin..." said Gus.

"It's okay Gus...I got it covered." I said.

"Yeah...well cover it and take trouble outside, you hear?" said Gus.

"Aint gon be no trouble." I said.

Trouble was the gentleman that was walking towards me. Eval Crow....as deadly as they come, a collector for "Sunny Side Up "Simpson. Crow was said to have at one time been a big time ,high priced hit man.....I believed it....but I was so drunk , I was too stupid to run or try to move away.

I sat there....He walked over to the guy who was sitting next to me.

"You sittin here?" he said.

The guy looked at him like he was crazy...

"Don't you see me sittin here?" He asked.

"Get up...I'm sittin here now." Said Eval.

"What? Is you drawn or somethin ?" said the guy....

Eval pulled out a pistol...He kept it below the bar so that Gus couldn't see it, but I saw it.

"Now I'm going to ask you again....get up." said Eval.

"Heyyyy, sayyyyy, now that you put it that way...I'm up...I'm up man...take it easy.." said the guy as he got up and walked away. Eval sat down next to me... I didn't say a word... I passed him an envelope.

He counted the money and then laughed and said...

"This is light....four thousand dollars light kid." he said.

"What? Four thousand....There's five grand in that envelope....I'm workin man...I'll have the rest next week..." I said.

"You gon have seven grand next week huh?" he said.

"Seven grand? What? I got five grand in that envelope." I said.

"No you don't..just one grand....this four grand is my little taste....you feel me?" he said.

"You theivin bastard...you stealin from your boss." I said, now completely sober.....

Eval punched me in my mouth! He hit me so hard that I fell off the stool and banged my head against one of the chairs...Then he kicked me in my privates.....I felt a pain like I had never felt before... I heard the clack up of a shotgun...and I saw Gus...with his riot pump shotgun aimed at Eval's head...

"Alright tough guy....get up ,put your dough on the counter and take your ass out of here." he said.

Eval laughed....

"Gus...one of these days, you gonna get yours, ya hear." he laughed.

"I guess we all is...but you keep yappin and you gonna get yours right now....Hit the bricks Eval."
said Gus..

Eval laughed and got up and walked out...

I got up....Honey Brown got a cold towell and administered it to my head, which was bleeding a bit. I was more worried about my lips , which were a little swollen...I had the day off tomorrow,
hopefully the swelling would go down.

"A word to the wise kid....You go to bed with dogs...You wake up with flees...Stay away from guys like that...they are no good for ya." said Gus. I didn't say anything.

That night after closing I walked out...put my trumpet in my car and was getting ready to go when I heard the click of a gun....I turned around....It was Eval. I looked at him and said-

"Look man, you got my money okay.....I aint gon deal with you...I'm gon take my money straight
to -"

"You aint gonna do nothin.....This is five large...that's good enough...I'm just going to say that you welched and I had to uh make an example out of you." he said with that icy laugh of his....

"What? You gonna slump me? Over that little bit of dough?" I said.

"Hey ,what can I say?...We are in a recession....a man gotta get what he can get." laughed Eval.

"Get in my car." he said as he motioned his gun towards the car door.

I did what he said.... Needless to say, I was scared to death....As we drove....I was thinking all kinds of thoughts....Like ,what did I do to deserve this? I'm on the verge of greatness in the music world...I don't want to go out like this....What would my funeral be like? Would Reed or Symphony Sam play at it? Would Ingrid come?? Would Delores?

We drove to the 24th Street bridge in West Philly...He motioned for me to get out and to walk down the steps that led to the waterfront.....It was well after 2:00 in the morning....There was no one around, even though it was well lit. During the daytime, you'd find well to do white students
from Penn and Drexel, Skateboarding, tanning in the sun, jogging, riding bikes and making out all
along the riverbank....but tonight...not a soul...not even somebody walking their dog.

"You're going to shoot me here?" I asked...

"Shaddup...." said Eval...

I had to think fast....It was dark.....I walked a little ahead of him...

"Slow down kid...I aint going much further." he said....

I ducked into the darkness, grabbed a handful of dirt and through it into his face....temporailily blinding him!

"Argggghhhhhhh." he said as he grabbed his face....

I kicked him as hard as I could in his privates...then took my elbow and smashed him at the base of his nose, hoping I fractured it...blood went flying everywhere..I grabbed his arm and smashed his wrist against the wall until he dropped the gun and then I cracked him hard , knocking him to the ground and grabbing his gun.

"Arrrrggghhhhh, I'll kill ya...I'll kill ya..." he said.

I went inside his jacket pocket and took the envelope with my money in it. He scrambled to get up off of the ground...

"Kid, you don't know who you're messin with...I'll hunt you to the end of the earth and kill you."
he said..

Maybe I was drunk....Maybe I was just insanely angry....I found myself saying.

"No you won't."

He was enraged then and he lunged toward me.... I didn't even feel the gun going off...but I saw the big hole that it made in his chest....I heard the god forsaken roar he made.....

"I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!! I'VE BEEN SHOT!" he screamed and then fell to the ground as dead as could be...I dragged his body over to the riverfront and pushed him in and watched him sink to the bottom...He'd be found eventually...Nobody would miss him and the police would be glad that he was gone...He was the type who nobody would search too hard for his killer. I stood there and thanked God I had survived and then I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

*************************************

A few nights later I was in Josies ....I had just finished a set and was sitting at the bar having a drink when Gus walked over to me.

"You know you've got to be the luckiest guy on God's green Earth" he said.

"Why? What's up?" I asked.

"They found your boy,Eval Crow in the river this morning..." said Gus.

"Yeah?" I said feigning surprise.

"Well I know you aint all busted up about it.....Somebody beat him up bad...broke his nose and broke his hand and then shot him...Looks like a mob hit." said Gus.

"Wow...yeah,I guess that's what it was." I said.

"He'd been in the water so long...there is no DNA or anything like that...Oh and your boy "Sunny Side Up" Simpson? The one you owe all that dough to..They found him dead this morning in his apartment.....on the toilet...He had a massive heart attack.....Damn shame..He was a young guy,about the same age as me" said Gus. I looked at Gus and laughed then.

"Really?" I said, my eyes perking up.

"Yeah, So you're off the hook...the rest of your dough is yours...I hope you learned a lesson young fella." said Gus.

What Gus didn't know was that all of my dough was mine..I hadn't seen "Sunny Side Up" to pay him...so I still had all of the money I took off of Eval ,two nights before.

"Sure did...no more gamblin for me..." I said.

"Imagine that...The gambler you owe money to and his collector, both turnin up dead in the same week." said Gus...

Yeah, Imagine that?

(For SLC)

10 comments:

SLC said...

Never mess with a trumpet player

BorednTalkative said...

Wow that was lucky.

Swaggie said...

Man Keith, This was hot...I actually thought that Rob was going to buy the farm for a minute!

Jazzy said...

Good Story....I was wondering how he was going to get out of this!

Tate2 said...

I dug this...I was expecting Gus to show up and drop him with his shotgun.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Great story...my adrenalin was flowing throughout the entire story...I was releived when Rob prevailed!

James Perkins said...

This villian, Eval was so reprehensible that I was thinking, you just couldn't allow him to kill Rob...I was hoping Gus or Chess or Chris or Kevin or somebody was going to come to the rescue.

Simon Bastion said...

Incredible story..I was waiting for some action for a long time!

Sunflower said...

You know how to bring the mayhem!LOL! It's okay,I actually enjoyed this story. When is Kevin coming back!

Vanessa said...

Boo yahhh! I loved this !