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5 AM: The new shorter, funkier 2017 H4 Hummer cruises down the carnage streets of Essex County. Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery Company, Cooper's Deli, and a cemetery filled with tombstones and mausoleums containing the remains of the once living, striving, and thriving but now gone are the only remains that mark the past. The present is something totally different. On the sidewalks, candles have burned down. Balloons no longer have helium in them, but they're still hanging on gates or specially selected locations. This is done to memorialize and remember deceased loved ones. In most cases, it's the youth. Young children are dying before they ever get the opportunity to experience the joys that make life worth living.
Newark, New Jersey was a once a beautiful city with a booming economy. Broad and Market Street is a landmark in history, as once recorded as the busiest intersection in the country. Now things have been drastically changed and rearranged. Our communities are deranged. The very people that we admired, even aspired to replicate and duplicate, roam the streets aimlessly. Some sort of disaster or catastrophe left them homeless, minus their trophies and material possessions. Life has its way of teaching us bittersweet lessons.
The traffic light at the corner of Grove Street and South Orange Avenue malfunctions just as the vehicle enters the intersection. Tank has a split second decision to make. Option 1: He can run the light, and worst case scenario, possibly receive a moving violation ticket that will stick in court. Or Option 2: Stop and get popped at the light, risk fighting for his life, and experiencing resuscitation, along with undergoing a series of serious operations. Tank is not feeling EMS or ERS, so he decides to run the traffic light. Simultaneously, a defective street light malfunctions causing it to suddenly blink off and back on. This heightens Tank’s awareness. He watches his rearview mirror like a hawk as he heads under the Speedway Avenue bridge. From a distance of approximately eight car-lengths behind, he notices the glare of headlights. The vehicle is too far behind to determine the description. Nevertheless, Tank continues to watch. Suddenly, he notices the vehicle in the rearview speed up. At 5:02 AM, if the vehicle runs the light, it can only mean jail cells or the damaging of living cells. Sirens blare along with the flashing of red and blue lights as the vehicle in the rear runs the red light.
"Damn," Tank blurts. His right hand grips the steering wheel tighter than usual. Tank has no proof that the lights flashing or the sirens blaring has anything to do with him. Nevertheless, he suffers from a severely damaging condition, genetically passed down through generations of fear and suffering. Bop turns a complete 360 degrees in his seat to get a better look. He knows better. He's not a rookie, nor is he an amateur.
"Man, calm down, sit back and relax. I got this!" Tank is agitated. Fidgeting and turning around in your seat is suspicious, hot behavior that gives the police a reason to be suspicious. Bop quickly realizes his blunder and recovers. The wrong move at the wrong time can get him and Tank an asshole full of time, the last thing that he wants to do. The penitentiaries and cemeteries are filled with people who have turned 211s into 187s and simple traffic violations into homicide investigations. Tank calmly turns his right signal on and pulls over near the curb. His plan is to talk his way out of trouble.
Brakes screech loudly as an identical black H4 pulls up next to him at a close enough distance to sideswipe, but not quite. The detectives use that maneuver as a scare tactic to intimidate those who easily scare. Neither Bop Gunz or Tank Gunz fear the law. Their only fear is Allah. They’re cut from a different cloth. They’ve both received purple hearts on the Western Hemisphere battlefields and suffered together as POWs in some of the worst penile concentration camps of North America. Tank is familiar with the procedure. He taps a button and his window rolls down.
"Ay, man. Y'all ain’t just see that red light back there?” Detective Cook asks.
"I must have missed it, we're running late for work.” Tank makes sense he's just not convincing enough.
"Dressed like that? Where y'all work?” Detective Cook interrogates.
"We change clothes at work. We work at White Rose in Avenel." Tank knows exactly what to say. He has his line memorized like his favorite Big Sean rhyme: "Seen courtrooms and court sides ain't too many seen both sides." Both Detective Cook and his partner have a yeah right expression on their faces. They've heard more stories than a person can read in the library. They don't care if Tank or Bop struggle, scuffle, or fail, just as long as they haven't murdered anyone.
"Does White Rose have any openings for a security position? I'm in the wrong profession. You drive a car just as nice as mine. You don't have to worry about getting shot or killed. Must be nice you guys are living the life." No one bothers to reply to Detective Cook's smart aleck comment. "Look here, I'm going to give y'all a break. Here is my card. Here, give one to your homie." Tank extends an arm out of the window to receive the cards. "Use it as a get out of jail free card. If you ever happen to be in a jam ask for Detective Cook. I represent the Solve Unsolved Murders Taskforce."
Tank wants to say a few unkind words, I don't need your card, but he sensibly holds his composure and says, “Thank you, Detective."
Detective Cook and his partner Detective Bell know that Tank and Bop are both Gunna affiliates. They're also pretty damn sure that contraband is in the vehicle. That's not their concern. SUM's only concern is solving unsolved murders. Cook and Bell are both thoroughbred detectives. They've done it all and tried it all. Their only advantage is that they've never been caught for anything at all. Through trial and error the seasoned detectives have respectfully learned that to get love, you must first give it. That scholastic analogy has been tested by the stylistics and then dubbed by law enforcement. Their logic stems from the old expression you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Just as quickly as the detectives pulled up. They make a U-turn and ride off into the wee hours of the morning.
"What's up with this?" Tank inquires as he cuts the interior lights on and holds the card up. "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" is actually printed on the card in big, black bold lettering. Both of the Gunners are shocked. They've been interrogated and investigated, but never have they been given a get out of jail free card. This just goes to show that corruption exists within law enforcement. As long as there’s an itch, it’s going to get scratched. As long as there's corruption, there will always be a crime. Something must be done.
These stories that I tell have been buried on fictitious logs in county morgues. This is the voice of the struggling poor throughout the United States of America. You've helped me a great deal by reading my story. If you wish to further extend a hand tell a friend and/or kindly leave a tip. All contributions will be used toward the spread of a positive message. Thank you for your valuable time and attention. Please stay tuned for much more.