The Day I Met Evil

I once saw a boy stabbed to death at a house party in a New York suburb. A neighborhood where kids skateboard until college and smoke marijuana in garages with defunct drum sets. Where family barbecues happened every weekend, and girls and boys receive shiny, expensive cars as gifts for nothing more than being related to their parents. A place that tries hard to be hip but is not the inner city. And this boy was stabbed there. He seemed like a nice kind of boy but I didn’t know him personally. I had played a victorious game of Beirut against him and a frat boy buddy of his an hour earlier. The story went that he touched someone’s girlfriend and that someone liked carrying a knife. A boy who’s pastimes included fighting and scuffling, unnecessary confrontations in the mean streets of suburbia among white picket fences. I knew that weapon wielding someone, his name was Evil. It was no wonder he reacted how he did.

I was introduced to Evil by a group of friends that attended the same college as me during an impromptu class break. None of us were really go-getters but we did like to partake in various immature and sometimes illegal activities. This time it was a smoke session, a “cyph”. My best friend at the time was a boy named Justin. He was a cool kid. The kind of dude all the girls loved and no one really minded being around. He was taller than me, although my short height was never much to beat. His shaved head made him look fashionably European but he made up for that with a scar down his forehead he had gotten from a bar fight months earlier. He was truly a benevolent person at heart but it always seemed like he had something to prove. Something lacking that he needed to make up for. Part of me liked being his friend and part of me didn’t. He had a way of making you do things for him, and I being the poor kid in a group of richer counterparts felt I was only carrying my weight by doing these favors. It wasn’t a true friendship. With any of them.

I stood in a multi story parking lot looking out at the track field and the new developing study hall. My school was paid for with the tuition of present students but always seemed to be benefiting prospective ones. It was unfair when I really dwelled on it but I didn’t matter much to me, I barely studied. Justin and I have arrived to the rendezvous location a few minutes earlier than the suburban brats and decided to light up some cigarettes. I pulled out my crushed pack of Marlboro lights from my jeans and slid out two crooked cigarettes. I put them both to my mouth, I flicked open the Harley Davidson Zippo lighter I had and lit them. I handed one to Justin. The sun was setting over the campus and the track and field blazed a painfully depressing deep red. I leaned on the concrete wall and just stared out at the developing building.

“That’s bull shit!” Justin said pointing at the study hall with his cigarette. “How much tuition do we give to this damn school and they wait until we’re leaving to put up some new cool shit.”

I shrugged and pulled on my cigarette. “It’s not a big deal I guess. I do all my studying at home.”

“Ok. But what if it was something cool, like a swimming pool or an indoor handball court? I bet you’d be pissed then.” Justin blew out the smoke coolly. “It’s about the principle.”

“Doesn’t your mom work here? You go for free.”

The last remnants of sunlight were falling behind the horizon and the lights on the field were just about to burst on. Ash fell from my cigarette and the cool breeze blew the burnt tobacco to oblivion. The lacrosse team was on its way to the field for the evening practice. I had been to a few of their parties, I knew how they operated. They were the type that would make the news for gang banging a passed out female student. Anyway, Justin and I just stood there watching them pass a hard rubber ball back and forth, then attack the net in a swooping pattern and finally firing a shot to ready the goalie. A few went in but most were stopped; he was a stone wall this goalie.

“I hate lacrosse,” Justin said.

“Why?”

“Because it always reminds me of those Long Island scum bags.”

“We’re meeting up with some of those long island scum bags in a few minutes.” A straggling team member had made his way onto the field now. He was smaller than the rest of the guys but he was fast. “Do you know how to play?”

“No. Fuck that game.” Justin flicked his cigarette over the half concrete wall at the field. “Brice and FX are different. Brice’s from Brooklyn and FX is from Woodside. They moved out there later.”

“Dude they went to high school there, that’s like the forming years of your perceptions on the world. They’re long islanders too man, accept it.” I caressed his shoulder jokingly. “At least they let us make fun of them for it.” The newcomer on the field came down fast, spun around a defender and whipped a shot and scored on the impenetrable goalie. He had something to offer his bigger teammates.

“Yea. But high school isn’t forming your perception, college is. Think of all the philosophy classes you take, all the religion courses. The chunk of higher learning is done here man.”

“Nope, think about it, college is where its confronted and perfected. You either accept what you became in high school or you change it, but college isn’t where it’s formed.” I flipped open my cell phone. 6:15 PM. “Where the hell are they? I wanna smoke already.”

Justin checked his watch. Luckily he had one that had batteries in it so the thing was ticking. Just then, we saw a black BMW coupe pulled into the garage. The tires screeched as it ascended the spiral road and pulled out in front of us.

“Brice get a new car?” I asked.

“Yea he crashed the last one on the LIE,” Justin said as he walked over to the slowing car. I followed.

I walked to the passenger side while Justin made his way to the driver side. Through the tinted windows we could make out the outlines of three passengers, two in the front and one in the back. Both front windows rolled down simultaneously; together they formed a short symphony of wealth and class.

“Whats up faggots?” Brice said. His face was charming and his brown hair was covered by a fitted Yankee cap. A silver watch dangled from his wrist as he confidently held the driver’s wheel. FX’s face was like that of Eddie Haskell, or our great president, George W. Bush giving a speech. He could crack up at any moment. And he often did. He embodied the darker side of humanity. Rape jokes, abortion, children with Down’s syndrome. They were all part of a twisted repertoire.

“What do you think of Brice’s car?” FX asked me.

“LooFX cool man. What is this a v-12?” I rubbed the leather on the head rest that cradled FX’s mutated brain. “Is this real pig skin?”

Justin and FX started laughing, Brice smiled meekly. “It’s a v-8, Burger. And its the finest pig skin that money can buy.” The mystery guest chuckled in the back. “Yo, you guys ever meet Evil? He’s my boy from Brooklyn.” Evil sat in the back. He had pale skin with a shaved head and deep blue eyes that was accentuated by an oversized red t-shirt that said “NO SNITCHES”. His ears hung low at the weight of the large diamond knockoffs in each lobe.

Justin and I extended our hands into the car. “Sup fellas,” Evil said as he shook our hands.

“What part of Brooklyn are you from?” I asked.

“I’m from East New York. Over dere on Pennsylvania.”

“My dad’s got a shop over there, you ever been to Mo’s Crabshack?” Justin questioned.

“Na, but I been to the ol’ whore house over dere. Some real lookas those girls.” We all laughed. Not that any of us had ever been but the way he spoke, the sarcasm had a thick and obvious tone you couldn’t help imagine the ugliest, most grotesque of prostitutes.  The ones from the bargain bin with the herpes infested lips.  I hated all strip clubs and whore houses, but I liked sarcasm.

“Evil just got outta the pen, gotta show my man a good time tonight,” said Brice.

“Oh damn man, what’d you go away for?” I asked. “My uncle went away for robbery a few years back.”

“Stabbin’ a garbage pail,” Evil replied with a smirk.

“Yea but Evil tell them what garbage pails are,” FX directed.

Evil and Brice both let out these identical cackles. The hyenas glanced at one another. Justin and I both looked on curiously.

“A garbage pail is a crack head or like a homeless person,” he said through Brice and FX’s burst of laughter. Justin smiled and shook his head. I just laughed along weakly.

“Whats the plan? Yous guys wanna go get this blunt goin’?”

Brice looked at Justin. “You wanna take my car?”

“Yea alright.”

“Not bitch!” Evil called from the back seat. Justin looked at me over the roof of the black BMW. I looked back. FX opened the door and pushed the seat forward. Evil slid over behind Brice and I jumped him next to him. This time Justin followed, as I sat bitch.

Brice took off quickly to display the agile power of his new wheels. The engine roared like a crowd at a chariot race. And in that moment I realized history never changes. This was ancient Rome. A society where there are subjects and rulers. And if you didn’t bring something to the table to be a ruler, well then you were a subject. FX and Brice had money and their assumptions of the lower plebeians in this 21st century American Roman Empire. Justin and Evil had their rugged toughness, the hardened shell protecting them from outsiders. They had a leg up on their richer foes, they had brutality. They had a will to fight, physically. What super power did I have? What role did I serve?

As we spun down the spiral at top speed, our bodies all shifted to the left. Evil pressed me, I pressed Justin, and Justin pressed the door.  I thought to myself, could I be as cavalier about human life as they seem to be?  So selfish in their entertainment they don’t care who they damage?  I could open the door and the three of us, stuffed in the back seat, would careen into the metal parking gates, mangling into a mix of human form.  Would they laugh?  Would this be better than stabbing garbage pales?

The bumper hit the curb with a light scrape and we took off flying down Union Turnpike. I was handed a small thumb-sized bag with a green nugget inside. I emptied it on a folded piece of paper and began break it apart. To my right, Justin sat licking a cigar and began unraveling the outer leaf.  Evil pulled out a small blade; about 3 inches in length and tossed it to Justin.  He flicked it open and began slowly sliding the knife down the brown inner paper.  He closed it and handed it back to Evil.

FX asked, “So what’s the plan for tonight?”

“Raquel is having a party by us. She told me to bring some people,” said Brice as he turned right at a streetlight.

“I’m down.” Justin had finished gutting the cigar and was waiting to sprinkle the marijuana inside.

“Yea me too,” I said, handing the paper with the crushed weed to Justin.

“Evil, what do you think? You down for a house party?” Brice asked as he looked in the rear view mirror.

“Hell yea nigga!  You think my girl will be there? I ain’t seen Vicki in a few munts.”

“Probably.  That girl I’m trying to fuck, Jess will be there. They’re like fuckin’ besties or some shit,” FX assured.

Justin finished rolling the blunt and asked for my lighter. I handed it to him. He lit it and ran the flame along the wet reconstructed cigar to harden it. Then, he handed it to Evil.

“Spark it brother.” He handed Evil my lighter. Evil grabbed it.

“Tonight’s gonna be a good fuckin’ time. I’m glad to be out and I ain’t goin’ back.”  The lighter fired up with one flick of his thumb. The aroma of weed filled the new car. The supple leather absorbed the smoke. As Evil pulled on the blunt, the sweet cigar paper gently curled around the protruding green herb that began to darken and the cherry flared. A beacon of hope, or a warning signal Brice turned right once more, and a rode few more meters down the road. To our left, he found the entrance to the highway and turned on. The forest green sign with gleaming white letters read, “Long Island”.

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~ by guyhamburger on March 7, 2013.

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