City Saints

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Guest Writers
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sal2

Sal Pavone, “City Saints”

Rico was standing outside his temp job waiting for the van to pick him up and drive him & the rest of the crew back to the temp agency. He worked the night shift driving a forklift for a college book distribution center. Smoking his cigarette, the early morning air cut through him like a knife. His mind was racing while he was standing outside with the other puppets. Although, he was done with his nightly grind he knew there was more work to be done when he arrived at home. He would have to take a long walk through the Chamberburg’s section Trenton to get their daily fix. Back in the day it was known as the Italian section of Trenton run by Mobsters. Now in recent years it’s run by a different type of gangster. Not men coming out of social clubs but hard core hoodlums creeping out of alleyways, doing crimes without any honor. He also knew his wife Sarah was home waiting in the anticipation for her man to get home so she could get herself “RIGHT” or as the junkies called it “COMING OFF OF E”.

Rico beat himself up every morning while he took that walk. That little wax paper baggy had stolen so much from the both of them. Even though they had flashes of success by staying away from the magic dust, it always seemed to call them back. He would fondly remember how happy they both were away from the chase. Money to pay their bills, plenty of food & sometimes even a little extra to surprise Sarah with some flowers or even a night out to eat dinner at one of the Dominican or Jamaican restaurants any inner city would have.

His phone started ringing uncontrollably. It was Sarah, Rico was scared to answer the phone. It broke his heart to hear his one and only sounding so desperate “baby please come right home” the shit got me in a bad way this morning. I’ve been dry heaving for the last four hours.

The mental part & the cravings were just as bad as the physical. When you do not have it the mind is as weak as the body. The body is as weak as the spirit and when Rico’s spirit was at the lowest, he felt hopeless. Hopeless for him and Sarah. God, how he loved that woman. They both lost so many friends to that Brown powder. You see, when you’re addicted to the devil’s dust it’s not only the substance that you are addicted to. The whole package came with that. Calling the dealer & being able to walk the meanest streets of Trenton. Dodging the cops on the way home. But most of all the smile on Sarah’s face when she would run out of their rented room because she knew her man was home with their “medicine”. Rico put Sarah at ease and closed his eyes for the 45 minute drive home. During his short nap he dreamt of the good times he and his lover used to have before the madness set it.

He jumped up while his buddy Angel tapped him on the shoulder, get your ass up homie we are back in T-town. Oh how his legs hurt, his head was pounding and his stomach was starting to do summersaults. You see when someone is on Heroin it constipates you. A person can literally go a week without sitting their ass on a toilet, but once it was leaving a persons system the gates would open. Sometimes without one knowing it was coming. It would feel like a gut punch from Mike Tyson and then it would flow like the Niagara Falls.

As quick as his 6 foot, 300 pound body would go, Rico walked up Division Street to their room on S. Clinton Street. He already made the phone call to Red and when he went to open the door to their room, Sarah was up and thrusting the hundred dollar bill into her mans hands. A hundred dollar bill would get them (20) bags, ten a piece which in a perfect world should last them two days. It never worked out that way though.

Rico quickly gave Sarah a hug & kiss and turned around with the grace of a ballerina and then out the door he went. While he was making a right on Emory Street he passed one of the many bodegas that crowded the streets of Trenton like cockroaches. His eyes glanced at the newspaper in the window. Headlines read “Gangland Shooting, Two Dead & Three Wounded”. He was numb to all of the violence around him. There were gunshots daily. Sirens, helicopters and screams filled the city air morning, noon and night. Like thunder during a mid summer storm. As he was crossing the city streets on Emory Street his phone rang. It was Red, “Where you at man, are you close”? The police is out here like flies on shit homie! We gotta make this shit quick, I gotta take my babies to day care too. Red was a good guy as drugs dealers went. He always shot from the hip, was fair with his prices and even gave Rico credit, which was almost unheard of. He was as good as it got. I’ll be there in three minutes Red, I got tow more blocks to go.

Rico always got butterflies when he was close to the score. Although, he made the walk a million times, that is the one thing that never went away. The way Rico looked at it if he didn’t feel a little nervous you weren’t on your toes. “Always be aware of your surroundings,” Rico thought. It was a thing he told Sarah fifty times a day and he needed to hear the same warnings.

There he stood, like The Second Coming. Red in all his glory, smiled at Rico when their eyes met. The exchange was quick, almost unseen by the untrained eye. Rico took pride in his ability to hide what was going on. With a nod of the head Rico turned the block on S. Broad Street and headed home to his beautiful Sarah.

As Rico headed up S. Clinton Street he wondered why his lovely Sarah hadn’t tried to text or call him. You see the trip took (12) minutes round trip. This time it was reaching the twenty minute mark because of the snow and ice on the cracked city side walks. These sidewalks are cracked like my dreams, my life he thought. There was something poetic in the misery of the streets of Trenton. Rico walked up the steps, unlocked the door and headed to their bedroom. “Where is Sarah, he thought”? As he walked through the living room she was always waiting for him at the door. A sick feeling came over his being. He cracked the door open and his jaw dropped. Lying on the bed with one leg and one hanging off the bed lay Sarah. A belt tied around her arm. Her eyes closed ever so slightly with a needle sticking out of her arm. She had the slightest smile on her face. Kind of like the cat that ate the canary.

He rushed over, no response. He did CPR and there was nothing. His beautiful Sarah was gone. Rico couldn’t scream and he couldn’t cry. His world went black. He slowly took off the belt from around her cold lifeless arm,and took the needle out. He then gracefully placed her entire body on the bed against the wall. There was only one thing left to do he
thought. Rico took the belt tied it nice and tight around his arm grabbed the biggest spoon he could find and dumped the entire package in the spoon and went to work. It would be a hard task but not impossible to fit all that product in one shot. As the needle emptied into his arm a rush came from the bottom of his feet and worked it’s way up. As his eyes closed for the last time he thought of Sarah. He knew he was taking his last breath he smiled.

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