What really startled me is that I didn’t hear them coming. And neither did the dog. Before I knew it, I had a Kalashnikov muzzle on my temple. I felt it, hard, before I heard. It was Bulgarian, I guess, but I knew what it meant: “Don’t move!” So I sat still.
It was a nice evening in the Balkans. Cold war wasn’t far but there was spring in the air. I was sitting in a city park and, until then, I was pretty happy with myself in Sofia.
Rose is from Texas.
That was my very first night in New Orleans. Big Easy indeed. I had just been mugged in Louis Armstrong Project, right by the French Quarter, by two young black kids – one tall, one short. The big one had me locked up high by the neck. I saw the short one coming with a big pipe in his hands. I kicked my feet; I was wearing tongs… So the short punk went whack, whack, whack, right on my face. I felt, and heard, the bones in my jaw cracking quite clearly. Then I went to black.
I was in a sorry bar in Orlando, Florida, drinking beers, minding my business. I was pounding on the drinks because I knew there’s no tomorrow. Then this guy next to me felt he needed to talk. I didn’t care.
He soon told me he was working for Mickey or the NBA or whatever.
The night was dark, very dark, if only because in the countryside, may it be communist, there are no lights leading to bumfuck nowhere. So I was driving on a country road, lost somewhat in goddamned Yugoslavia.
It had been dark for quite a while. Snow was shining in the car’s lights. Trees and dark forests, frozen fields, not a soul nor even a headlight in sight. Just a clarinet on the radio trying to tell me this was fun.
That one night, I was with Tall Christophe. Tall Christophe was just as tall as Michael Jordan only he was white. Tall Christophe was a former French pro basketball player and was now working for some news organization covering the NBA. While Jordan was playing and winning titles, Tall Christophe had to come a lot in Chicago.
I am French also but, if I was living in Chicago, I was working construction and trying to pay the rent. I was then – thanks to a Callahan dick! – living in a small first floor apartment on 17th place, sorry part of town coined in between Mexican Pilsen and the Interstate.