It was five after seven when I pulled off the loop and onto West 98th. Fifty yards off the exit ramp a dirty looking high rise apartment building towered in front of me, A female voice on my GPS said, “You arrived at your destination. The GPS system is now turned off.” I don’t know about the GPS system, but I was turned on knowing in a few moments I was taking a piece of chocolate cake with caramel colored frosting out on a date. I pulled into a left turning lane to make an entrance into The Mayor Ronald Bitters Low Income Housing High Rise Apartments. So much for the trust fund baby report to Father.
An eight foot chain link fence with razor wire atop the chain link fence surrounded the property. A guard house stood in between a single lane road leading in and a single lane road leading out. A large bar blocked the entrance road just beyond the guard house. I pulled the BMW up to the guard house and lowered my window. A bald headed black guard wearing a holster and gun on his hip, and a short sleeved bright yellow shirt made of Spandex clinging to his body as if it were his skin waited for me. If he had an ounce of fat, I couldn’t detect it. His biceps stretched the Spandex to the breaking point. I’ve see smaller full grown tree trunks. The guard scowled at me. If he was trying to intimidate me, it worked, he didn’t have to do anything else. I told myself, no wise remarks, no comments about what kind of shoe polish he use on his head, nothing about how he pumps air into his biceps, no questions about where he gets his steroids. I’m convinced he can pick up my BMW and toss it over the horizontal bar blocking the road in front of me without any trouble.
He spoke in a baritone voice as smooth as silk and as menacing as mountain lion’s growl, “Who you here to see, Doctor?”
I said, “How did you know I am a doctor?”
The guard said matter of factly as if it were common knowledge,“Only three kinds of people gonna drive an M760i. The first is a doctor. Doctor’s got plenty of money. The second is someone who is filthy rich and either inherited it or made it off of a pyramid scheme on Wall Street. And the third, is someone who stole the car from a doctor or someone who is filthy rich. You don’t look like someone who knows how to steal cars. There is no reason why a filthy rich young white guy would ever shows his filthy rich white face around here. That means you are a doctor. Who you here to see?”
I wanted to get on his good side. I was also thinking of Mother and giving Oscar a helping hand. I said, “How would you like to have job where you are paid double what you make now with a lot of side benefits? Can you do massages?”
The guard stared into my eyes. What was I supposed to do? Was this an eye staring contest? The only time I won an eye staring contest was with my teddy bear when I was seven. The only reason I won, was because I pushed him over and said, “You blinked.” The teddy bear didn’t complain. Instead of staring at the guard’s eyes, I stared at the spot where his torso and his head connected. He didn’t have a neck.
The guard said, “You lose. You moved your eyes. Who you here to see, filthy rich white doctor?”
I said, “I’m here to see Ms. Johnson and her mother. Did you know you don’t have a neck?” I was trying to be helpful. I’ve never saw anyone without a neck.
“What makes you think I don’t have a neck?” said the guard while he was looking at his cell phone.
I wanted to sound intelligent, after all, I am a doctor of sorts. I said, “The neck is the space between the head and the torso.”
The guard turned away from his cell phone, took a step toward the M760i, placed two his two hand on car door. For a moment, I believed he was going to rip the door off of the car. “You see this?” he said pointing to his Adam’s apple.
“Uh huh,” I said in a high squeaky voice.
“That’s my neck,” grumbled the guard.
“Gotcha,” I said hoping to end the confrontation. Some people are very sensitive.
The guard started laughing and he tapped something on his oversized cell phone. A long second later he said, “J, the filthy rich white boy is here to see you and Evelyn.” He disconnected the call, “I thought you was a doctor, you’re no doctor, you’re one of them shrinks, a head guy. My brother Leon sees one every week at Lawton. Lawton is the high security prison you never visited.”
I interrupted, “I flew over it once on my way to Paris.”
The guard shook his head and said, “You filthy rich white folks got it all wrapped up and you won’t let anybody else play. No offense intended. Just stating a fact of life. I’m going to give you a warning, filthy rich white boy. You so much as make Ms. J shed a tear I’m going to personally kick your ass so hard you’ll be orbiting the planet. You understand, amigo?”
Was he making me his friend calling me amigo? Was getting my ass kicked by the guard a sort of gang initiation? I have to ask Carlos about the initiation process. I’m not sure I want to be a gangbanger anymore. I smiled at my new amigo and said, “Mother would agree with you and so would Father, amigo.”
The bald head shook and his eyes rolled. He pushed a button on the side of the guard house and the security gate rose letting me drive onto the property.