10 | Psychopomp Magazine
I’d panicked, and answered with the only thing that came to mind, “What car?”
He’d screwed up his face into a ball of disbelief and dropped his head for a minute, shakin’ it back and forth.
“Honey, did you know who I am?” He shifted his cop pacifier from one corner of his mouth to the other and stared at me. “I’ve worked outta the gang unit in Long Beach for over fifteen years, all the O.G.s know me."
“Well, no, now I guess you wouldn’t be innerested in the duty record of an old five-oh, would you? But fifteen years is a mighty long time in the hood, you gotta admit, huh?” He’d rested his weight back on one leg and cocked his arms. He put his skinny arms on his skinny hips. “Everbody in the hood knows Dirty Boy drives that Impala, Mia.”
I’d tried to throw him the hard stare, but I felt my eyes jumpin’ around the room. How this fuckin’ cop know my name?
“Oh, yeah, sweetheart, I know who you are. And I know the streets. You wanna know some other things I know? Things about a certain Vietnamese liquor store over on Anaheim and Walnut somebody tried to rob last night? Somebody who got a nice round of bullets in the back for their trouble?
That’s the ‘hood where Dirty Boy and his homies put in mosta their work, right, Mia?” He started walkin’ around the body, lookin’ down at it and workin’ the toothpick around with his jaw. “So an old beatwalkin’, shit-talkin’, head-knocker like me put two and two together and got six-four. A six-four that’s not parked in a certain garage at a certain house where a certain gangsta lives—or lived, God rest his black dirty soul—”
“He ain’t dead.” That had come outta my mouth uncalled for.
“What?” The cop cupped his hand behind his ear. “What’s that you say, Mia?”
“He—he wasn’t no gangsta,” I’d said.
The cop’s eyebrows went up and he took the toothpick outta his mouth and dropped it his shirt pocket. Like it was somethin’ to be saved.
“Tryna quit,” he’d explained, baring his big, yellow teeth. “I’ll see you again, Ms. Mia,” said ol’ blue eyes.
He’d left without another word to me—just jerked one thumb over his shoulder for them to take it