Best Read Aloud: Gun trouble

The road to peace is closed for business. The violence has been pervasive, and the solutions, not available. Our only options at the moment seem to be duck for cover, cup our junk and pray to the deaf deity of our choosing; hoping we live to see another Tuesday.

War at home in Possibility City broke records this past year with it’s senseless bloodshed and appalling body count — men, women and children dispatched with mounting, intensified brutality, thrown off their mortal coil into the abyss, and for what? It always seems like the initial grievance that brings a person to kill another always gets muddled and scratched all to hell until trying to translate it after the fact makes little sense to anyone, even to the perpetrator.

The early May slaughter of two teenage brothers hit me hard, like a specter from the past, saying “remember,” ‘cause, when I was their age, my brother Luke and I often found ourselves in the company of men involved in that old, bad business of moving uncontrolled substances to pay rent or child support or car insurance — or, fuck, still paying for those priors… parole is fuckin’ expensive and taxing on the brain waves. Neighborhood cats with still-healing gunshot wounds in their backs, flashing their puncture marks like a proud red badge of courage, bragging they got the toughest lungs going as they hit that crack rock; those “too hard for concrete,” better-than-Christ-like types who let your young ass hang around and play Nintendo. You help pass the time, you’re not a threat ‘cause you’re just a dumb kid, a little wiener, who treats a pinch of weed like a sacred, consumable holy object shipped straight from Dimension X… you make their girlfriends laugh with your mindless gibberish… you take the guard dog out to shit when it’s raining, and you’re always more than willing and happy to run to the snack truck and pick up some cigarettes and a couple cans of Big Red, and all the while there’s a few bricks of dope, ripped open and sitting in a pile on the kitchen table, as a guy named Florida sleeps, sitting upright in an arm chair, with a rotary phone and a pager lying in his lap. You look out a third floor apartment window at police patrolling on horseback and think to yourself: “I’d outrun that fuckin’ horse. I’d run that horse to its death.” But here’s the rub, fortunately, by some saving grace, we missed the pop-off, when a situation, or situations, gather speed and come to a head in a trap house. And I’m here to tell you, they always do. We managed to disassociate ourselves for the most part from people marching down that hard beaten path of dope, guns and death, and, for the most part, came out unscathed, a bit of fortune not allotted to far too many youths, living among us, looking, for an answer, a way up, a higher position in life…

From the Cabbage Patch to Shelby Park, Shively, Old Louisville, South Central and The Highlands. Gun shots ring out day and night, just about citywide. We can’t even play a game of football, or hold a fucking parade, without gun trouble taking over the scene, dominating the conversation, forcing us into fear-wrought submission as we rue the day. Two bodies were discovered slumped over in a vehicle, shot to death, in a parking lot not a stone’s throw from our house. A few weeks before that, a young man and the nephew of a friend of our’s was shot to death in an alley directly behind the apartment complex my consort Shelby and I first shared shelter in a decade and half ago; a boy of 15 was then later murdered directly in front of my grandparents’ former abode on Tenny Avenue at the hands of another teenager. The father and son slain in the home invasion in PRP were also known to me, and those are just six homicides out of my personal proximity taken from the well of the 117 people, murdered in 2016… The world is in a bad way at the moment, something vicious, put into motion years ago by our masters, ignored and allowed to fester is now rising, like steam of sewage from manhole covers not to be abated.