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First Floor on Fire, Chapter One, Scene Three

 

I am so glad those bitches don’t know about my favorite place in Fairmount Park. Nobody know, even though it not really that far away. So many people I know scream they heads off at the idea of walking more than a few blocks, They just wanna stay home, drink they Hugs, smoke they weed, fuck they whatever. All that might be decent for them, but I can’t do that. Staying trapped in four walls all the time would make me snap.

Most of the time I walk there, but today I was feeling tired, so I took the bus. At least that way, I wouldn’t have to hear the same old noise. “You must be crazy walking all that way. You a young girl. Anything could happen.”

Everybody told me that, as if they all the first one who ever think it up. Shaking they heads, acting like they feel sorry for me. Sure, everybody have picnics and family reunions in the park, but hanging out by yourself, just to be there? That some crazy white mess. Oh, well. Nobody ever gonna mistake me for no white bitch, and I’m a do what I want.

Cause this be the place that keep me from killing everybody who make me feel some kind of way. Ms. Dee said Fairmount Park bigger than Central Park. Never been to New York, so I don’t know, but Ms. Dee seem to know what she say. You could get lost here. After some days, I wanna get lost.

First time I went, I hated it. I was a lot younger, and some Blumburg bitches chased me for blocks until I lost them in the park. They kept screaming, “Bitch, we gonna find you and tear up you ass!” But I found a spot full of bushes with thorns. Ain’t nobody wanted to search them all just to find me. And I sat still, didn’t even let myself step on a twig. They got tired of looking for me and walked away, Chardae yelling over her shoulder, “Bitch, this ain’t over!”

I had to stay awhile until I knew they wouldn’t catch me. Too many for me to fight alone. But I almost felt more scared sitting in the woods than I would in a fight. Everything too quiet. In normal life, nobody making noise, we all know something about to go down. You can’t trust quiet. Took me awhile to figure out nothing goes down here. Yeah, there was that young girl who got raped and killed, but that just one of a few times. There be raping and killing on my block every time you turn around. Well maybe not every time, but some days it sure do feel like it.

So yeah, I hated the quiet at first. The park so beautiful it made me nervous. I had to calm down from all the calm. Not feeling like my hand on the trigger just wasn’t natural.

But something about it kept bugging me and calling to me, so I tried it again. I wanted to spend some time with the trees and the sky. Killadelphia kill the sky, cover it up. Buildings stand over you like bullies in a playground. But none of that happen here. I could let some poison out my head, and it stayed out long as I was here.

I can see the face of God out here. The city blur and ash Him away. I don’t tell nobody about this. They’d think I was corny and crazy, like teachers on Earth Day. I guess they think God live in a church or mosque a few times a week, and then he done with us.

Well, yeah, I did tell Donyair and brought him out here. He loved it, but then he had the nerve to tell me he went again by himself and got naked, just to do it. I was not trying to hear that. Seeing my brother showing his ass would make me wanna go blind. Why the fuck he do that? It sounds like something crazy white people like to do. Naw, don’t say that, now I’m doing it, even though what Donyair do sound like that. He said it made him feel free, so I told him to have his own fun, but from then on, I was going to Fairmount Park by myself.

You wouldn’t think Killadelph would have so many trees and bushes, but it do. If you know where to look, you got places you can hide. Places nobody else think to look. Nobody in they right or wrong mind. If I never came here, I would have flowed into lava long ago, burned the whole fucking block with me.

I liked to wait around long enough to see animals. At home, we only get the animals mean and tough enough to survive anywhere: dogs, cats, rats, mice, roaches, pigeons. They all dirty. You won’t catch me touching a one of them. Well, maybe cats, but just my own. But here, if I’m lucky, I can see a rabbit and sometimes even deer. Things I thought were only on cartoons.

One time almost made me jump outta my skin. At a creek bed was the biggest bird I ever seen. Tall and skinny. It looked like a punk everybody knew would fall down, and we’d watch just so we could laugh. But then its beak rushed the water and killed a fish. Lightning on crack. Nobody told me a bird could do that.

Turns out this crazy bird is called a heron. Made me laugh cause it sound like the way real people say “heroin.” We say “hair-on.” White people say it wrong. Bet that why the bird so skinny. Heron on hair-on. I could die laughing.

Small waterfall twenty feet away. Looks big close up. Wish it could wash away the nasty city making my lungs want to throw up. Headaches from God knows what chemicals. Ms. Dee said white people trying to kill us. I don’t know if she right, but I wouldn’t put it past them to try. Ms. Dee talk crazy a lot of the time, but sometime it the kind of crazy that make more sense than books do. Didn’t even know the city air hurt me before I got to spend some time away from it.

Ms. Dee grew up in Arkansas. She said it look like the park, but more so. She loved the outdoors and clean air. I asked her why she never went back; she said they’d have to haul away all the mean white people before she’d set a toe there again. She sounded so sad I didn’t say nothing else to her. Not many folks make me want to let them be.

I loved and hated the feeling of rain on my face. It made me smile like a waterfall breaking free and frown like a wet kitten. Sometimes, I erased the outside world, but other times, it sliced its way in. I wished I could lock all the bullies in a cage. Get me a long knife, jab it in, stab them all to death. They didn’t even have to be nice to me. All they had to do was not beat on me and spit on me, and they couldn’t even manage that. They think it cute to make me a monster. Well, ok, then. If that what they think of me, I’m a be the scariest motherfucking monster anybody ever saw.

Oh, try to forget that. Just for a little while. Look at the sun stabbing through the – no, no, no, I meant shining through the space between the leaves on the trees. Nevaya, you don’t have to fight right now. Fall back. Don’t be so hype.

I stayed until I thought I could look the world in the eye again without feeling some kind of way about it. But going home always made me so mad. I got one foot on the bus, and all around me a bunch of fools who’d die if they stopped running they mouths. Peace and quiet cracked into sharp broken glass. Felt like an invasion, made me wanna snap even more. I bet a lot of folks in this crazy town never had a quiet moment in they lives. Not even when they sleep. Like sharks who die if they stop moving, they always gotta be talking.

So I tried to turn off my ears, pretend all the noise wasn’t there. Soon, it blurred into a low hum. I could deal with that. Until –

“Teabagging bitch smut!”

- slashed open my calm and let the noise and poison pour in. Oh, no, they didn’t. They did not ruin my peaceful afternoon. I should of just walked back home. Took the bus cause I felt a bit tired. That voice made me feel a lot tired.

“You think you hard, Nevaya! You ain’t tough! You ain’t shit! You can’t beat me!” Chardae had Aeyana with her. She never had the heart to try to take me on her own. Aeyana always whispered in her ear, always seemed to give Chardae an energy boost, make her hate even more.

In my bag was a mostly empty glass bottle of juice. I wanted to smash it over Chardae’s head so bad, glass and citric acid jumping her blood. But the bus was full, too many witnesses, all pretending to be better than us but watching every second. Bet some of them took notes.

And that bitch said my name. And my look stand out too much. What am I gonna say, “No, officer, you mistaken me for that other girl who dress like a paint factory done blew up”? Motherfucker, I coulda really taken her, too.

So I just looked Chardae straight in the eye and told her, “Say that again when we both alone.”

“Why you want us to be alone, you dyke?! Yeah, I know you really want us to be alone!”

“I know you want that, bitch! I ain’t no dyke!” She call me out my name the same way every time. I never knew how much of the shit that come out her mouth she even believed.

“Yes, you is. I’m a embarrass you in front of everybody!”

“You talk tough in front of a group! Just wait til I catch you with no help. You never had such a beatdown.”

“I oughta sock the shit outta you right now!”

“You got a nasty dirty smut ass that can’t cash that check!”

“Little girl, go home and suck your brother’s dick! The next block is you stop! I know you can’t wait for some tiny brother dick! Slurp slurp!”

Red lightning through my brain. I could not let that pass. Didn’t matter who could see now. Lightning slashed so fast I couldn’t remember standing up and running to Chardae, bottle in hand.

A flying glass and blood fountain.

Screaming.

Jump out the side door.

Run a blur, hoped nobody on the bus remembered right what I look like.

I thought I saw Chardae nothing but a melted puddle of blood, skin and glass.

Heart drumming. Keep running. Don’t hear no footsteps. That bitch ain’t shit. I won again. Keep it coming. I can’t lose.

Ow! My back hurt. Beating down stupid bitches really fucked up my muscles. But I’m a recover soon, absorb the pain, not let anyone see. Nothing can keep me down. Yeah, the whole world hate on me. But they all punks. Can’t catch me, can’t beat me. Not if I beat them down, get home first, lock the door, stay clear of all windows.

(c) 2009 Michael Russell