squeezed in between some boxes of white salt, I remember that I need me some real spices, the fresh stuff, to throw in with my oxtails. So I smile at Mrs. Chang’s crazy ass and look out the glass doors standin’ open, framin’ the car parked out in front. I need to make sure it’s okay.
It’s fine. As a matter of fact my husband’s car look fine like Tupac Shakur. It’s a black on black six-four Chevy Impala with the ass dropped real low in the back. Chrome sparkle at the front, on lots of different places along the smooth hard body, and, of course, at its twenty-two spinners. It got tinted windows all around that hide the leather interior from this snoop dog world. It sit there, long and low and restin’ in the afternoon sun.
That car a lot like my husband, Daryl: black and cool and all legal. I know everybody think he stole his car, or as my signifyin’ homegirl once said, “Musta sold a whole lotta dub sacks for that thang.” But I know betta. My baby bought that car fair and square—he even showed me the kid he got it from. We was in court on some a little assault charge, and Daryl pointed the cat out from a bunch of bustas waitin’ to go to County.
Anyway, we beat that assault case fair and square. I mean that other kid musta got the beat down of his life by Daryl—he didn’t even have enough nerve to show up in court! Oh, well, that’s how shit go twenty blocks into the city—fair and square.
I’m still watchin’ outside and I step towards the door as two boys hip-hoppin’ they way across the parkin’ lot slow down to check out the ride. They don’t even look at the Chang’s Mercedes, just at Daryl car. That’s why he love that car so much. That car get him big respect in the hood. And when Daryl get respect, Daryl girl get respect. People used to pick on me a lot back in the day cause I ain’t never had no daddy or no man or nothing around to protect me. But I got a man now. And ain’t nobody never gon take him away.
“Mira, ese carro esta chigon,” the first boy say when he see the car.
“Hell, yeah,” say his friend, “that shit is hella tight.” His hand come up and his fingers wiggle like he wanna run ‘em along the Chevy’s skin, but he look up first and see me standin’ in the shadows. I shake my head, frown a little, and shoo them away with a flick of my wrist. The boy drop his hand and shove it into the pockets of his deep-saggin’ jeans. He look me up and down with flickerin’ eyes. 'Cept for his eyes, he done stopped and stood stark still. His friend get him started again with a pendejo and a little push. As they zigzag across the blacktop, they both turn and toss stares at me. The one with the meddlin’ hands snap his chin up sharp lettin’ me know we cool. Yeah. I know we cool. The lil’ homies know a project girl when they see one.
4 | Psychopomp Magazine