Part III: This One’s for Malcolm

The next day I met the guys on Damen Street to run our usual rounds and talk business. Turned out we had new beef with this group around town that didn’t know how to stay on their own territory. We gathered that night to discuss what we was gonna do. James, our head leader, had us form a circle and lay out the plan we would proceed with for the night. I kept zoning in and out throughout the conversation cus I really didn’t wanna be there, but the words “drive by” caught my attention.

“Drive by, James, for what?” James flashed a hard look at me. “What you mean “for what” “to prove to these chumps we not no crew to mess with that’s for what.”

Now are you riding with or not? Without thinking I said yes to a journey I would soon wish I was not a part of.

We all hop in the car James in the driver seat and Calvin, his right hand man, in the passenger seat. We drive down the streets with nothing but trouble as an agenda and stupidity as our best friends. Calvin spots one of the guys that has been on our territory and before I know it, the car picks up speed in his direction. As we approach the spot, the guy starts to become easier to see but before we could stop the car another car pulls up behind us.

The white Hummer was huge and before I could even make out a face in the truck, what seems to be about a million spiral bullets shot through the back window one hitting James causing him to lose control of the car and crash into a streetlight nearby. The car spun around in circles the glass flying through the air like rain. The other four member’s run from the car, James, however does not, he lies motionless, face down. My heart racing a million miles an hour, head spinning and the world dark once again, I drop to my knees, my head hits the ground and my eyes begin to close.

I open my eyes only to find nothing. No car no gun. Confused, I darted from the sidewalk, still dark and tripping over my feet trying to remember where I was and where I was going. Without thinking I sprint down the street with no other destination but home. My eyes blurred and my head still spinning I managed to find my way home, climbed up to my bedroom window and sunk into my bed for the night sleeping off the confusion. But never the face of James, who died that night alone without a so-called brotherhood that was nowhere to be found, when he needed them all.

The next few days I went to Urban Prep trying to forget about the drive by. I hadn’t talked to any of the guys since then and I was glad. Then it happened. Sitting in my history class I heard my name from the hallway. It grew louder.

“JAVON JAVOOOONNNNNN!! JAVON!!” My teacher stopped teaching and looked at me with a glance I’ll never forget, motioning me to move from my chair. But I could not move. Before long he walked into the room me. “Javon- man.”

“Calvin what’s wrong?”

His face a bright red, his fists clenched together as they often were. “They… they got him Jay.” My face a dumb expression of confusion. ‘They got who, who are you talking about bro, what’s wrong.” Walking towards the door, extending my hand on his shoulder.

“They shot Malcom, Jay, they shot him and he’s dead.”

At that moment my heart stopped beating and my world fell to a cold nothingness. I saw Calvin talking but heard nothing and saw nothing but flashbacks of me and Malcom riding bikes as young-ins. Playing cops and robbers in the backyard, chasing the ice-cream truck on hot summer days. Tears streaming down my face I thought about the first time we met back in grade school, how we clicked instantly. We would play ball together on the court and talk about how he was gonna be the next Michal Jordon if anything better. He coulda been. He was one of the best ball players I’d seen, never missed a basket. Malcom always had a ball in his hand and I knew that was his ticket outta here until his big brother got shot and he turned off his dream to find the boys that shot his brother. Malcom stopped coming to school, got kicked off the team freshman year of high school and traded his ball in for that nine and glock. I stood there frozen solid not wanting to believe what I heard.

“Jay, man, I’m sorry.” Calvin touched my head, I threw his hand off mine. “You don’t know shit about him Calvin, this is yall fault.” Pushing him against the lockers, the tears falling from my eyes harder than ever, the bell rang. Eyeballs staring at us yet no one moving towards us. “Jay we gone get him back, are you down?”

“Yea I’m down.” We ran towards the doors, the same way we ran out the doors before, except for this time I didn’t look back I just looked straight ahead and sprinted down the street for Malcom. It was all for Malcom and I kept repeating it.

We ran to my house. Wiping my tears on my sleeve, I grabbed the nine Malcom had given me months ago, pulled the trigger back and repeated over and over,

“This one’s for Malcom.”  Calvin was in the driveway yelling “Let’s go.”

“Bro I’m coming.” I paced back in forth in my room repeating “This is for Malcom; this is for Malcom.” As I paced I noticed my reflection in the mirror. I saw a young man in a clean shirt with a tie- khaki pants and my new Jordan’s I had bought just last month, a fresh cut, a clean face, and a gun in my hand. I kept staring at my reflection and the gun troubled me. It didn’t sit right with me but in the background Calvin kept calling my name and so threw off the feeling and raced out the door onto the driveway.

“I know where they at right now we just gone roll up, get out, scare them and we out Jay.”

We rode in the car in silence but I couldn’t get Malcom’s face out of my mind. I thought back to the last argument we had about him going too far. I thought about my mom and how upset she was and how she did everything in her power to keep me away from this ending point. I couldn’t do it.

“Stop the car man.”


“Stop the car man I can’t do this and you shouldn’t either Calvin.”

Stopping the car, I hopped out and Calvin followed.

“Jay I thought you wanted this for Malcom.” “Man I do, and I will do something for Malcom but it won’t be this.”

Calvin walked away while mumbling “alright Jay, you trippin.”

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