Chapter 30 The Dreamers
The Knights kept on the pressure and defeated the Dragons ninety-two to fifty-seven. No one ever pasted the Dragons like that, ever. The game got a little more physical with some of the dragons trying to take cheap shots at me. I just worked around them and then Coach McKay just took me out and let the Knights finish off the Dragons with their regular team. The Knights never played better.
After the game the players took off as the second game was about to begin. Mookie invited me back to his place. I accepted.
We made our way over to Tremont St. to an old brick tenement. We walked up to the third floor, past graffiti covered walls and apartment doors. Many doors had plastic garbage bags outside their doors. They arrived at apartment 306. The walls surrounding the door were freshly painted, as was the door. Mookie opened the dead bolt and motioned for me to go in.
The apartment was very clean, but you could tell the furniture had passed the one hundred thousand mile mark. It was clean but well worn.
An old console color TV was in the corner with a set of bent rabbit-ears sitting on top. No cable or ESPN here, I thought.
"What ya want to drink," asked Mookie? "Beer? Soda?"
"Soda is fine," I said. "Anything is O.K." I hated to impose. as I knew they didn't have much.
Mookie disappeared into the kitchen and came back, tossing me a can of Coke. He tossed Marvin a can of Bud as he had gone over, turned on the T.V. and was adjusting the antenna to get the Cub game. They were in St. Louis playing the Cardinals. It was the fifth inning, Cubs leading three to nothing.
"Bob," asked Marvin, "spose you play this game as well as you play b-ball,un?" Marvin had pointed to the TV screen with the Cubs at bat.
"Ya," smiled Bob, "I played that game all right I guess." I wasn't sure if he should tell them I was all-state in baseball too.
"What was ya, All World back in Connecticut," asked Mookie?
"No, Just All-State," I answered, sheepishly. "That was enough, I guess." I kept my eyes on the TV.
"Should have known," said Marvin, shaking his head. "Should have known.
"Can I ask you something about this afternoon," I reply?
"Sure," said Mookie.
The white "Beemer" that pulled up to you guys. What was that about," I asked, not sure if I was going to get an answer or be asked to leave.
"You don't want to know," answered Marvin as he remained glued to the TV. "Bad news."
"It just seemed that you guys wanted out of there, but you seemed reluctant just to walk away," I state. "Why?
"Motown IS bad news," chimed in Mookie. "Marvin spent a week in the hospital last spring because of him. Always tryin to recruit "players" to be his runners or pimps. Tell him no, things get a little rough. Some of our boys got rough back after what he did to Marv. We had his black BMW “cubed” and dropped on his door step. Mookie and Marvin started laughing. Looked like a big $40,000 black Ice Cube! He laid low for a couple of weeks not knowing who was responsible."
"You guys cubed his Beemer," I said with a smile on my face? "You guys are nuts."
"You gotta do what you gotta do," said Marvin. "If not, my or Mookie's next trip would have been down to the morgue. These guys don't mess around. They are afraid of dying, though. Put a gun to THEIR head and they scream just like any stuck pig. They just usually get to do the "sticking" first."
"We've been trying to keep our team clean," Mookie went on. "Most of the teams have some players on Motown's payroll, pimping, running drugs, and numbers, whatever. Most these guys ain't college-gradiates, ya know. Money ain't easy to come by for most around here."
"How are you guys makin' it," if I can ask?
"You mean how are we makin it in this luscious, penthouse pad we have created here." said Mookie sarcastically. "Where is that darn butler, anyway?"
Marvin started laughing. "You gave him the day off, don't you remember," he chirped in. "He and the Maid took the bonuses you gave them and went to Atlantic City for the weekend."
"Oh ya," said Mookie. "I forgot."
"I wasn't trying to be rude," I said apologetically. "I didn't want to seem insensitive."
"Don't sweat it, Cracker," said Mookie. "I know you didn't. Just givin ya a little hard time, that's all. You're all right for a white guy. Right Marv?"
Who's white," asked Marvin as he turned, looked at Bob, and jumped five feet out of the chair. "Mookie, there's a white guy in your apartment," shouted Marvin. "Call Orkin, oh, man, this is the worst. You'll never get THAT smell out of the place. Oh, Man!"
Mookie and Marvin waited about ten seconds, which seemed about ten hours to me, and broke out laughing. I didn't know what to think. The shoe was on the other foot, wasn't it. I was in someone else’s world. No matter how I tried to figure it, it was a little disconcerting.
"O.K. you guys," I said, "Give the white guy a break. I just came up here to eat you out of house and home and drink all your soda. So, shut up and bring me another."
"Yes sir, Massa Bob," said Mookie bowing on his knees. "Jus don't hit me no mo, I can't take it no mo."
Marvin is really cracking up, now. Mookie vanished into the kitchen, bringing Bob another Coke.
"Listen, when you guys are finished, how about I spring for a Pizza," I offer. "Do you think someone will deliver to our plantation tonight?"
"Don't see why not," said Marvin. "Mookie, call Peppi's, they don't mind coming here. The only driver he lost he said he didn't like anyway," chuckled Marvin.
Bob heard Mookie dialing Peppi's. Pizza it would be. Just at that moment Esther and Dwight came into the apartment. Dwight peddled his tricycle right through the door, running it into the chair Marvin was sitting in.
"What do you say, honey," said Grandma. "Go ahead."
Dwight's big brown eyes slowly made their way up to my face. A Big grin broke out on Dwight's face.
"Thank you for my bike, Mr. Bob," said Dwight. Did you see how fast I can go?"
"Yes I did," I reply. "Will you promise to be careful and listen to your Grandma about riding and be very careful?"
"Yes, I promise," said Dwight.
"Give me five," I said.
Dwight reached up and gave me a solid high-five. Grandma urged Dwight to say good night to everyone and ushered him down the hall with his tricycle. Half way down the hall he turned his head.
"Mr. Bob," asked Dwight? "You don't have a puppy in your pocket, do you? I've always wanted a little puppy of my own."
"No, not tonight I don't," I said smiling. "I'll see what I can do, though. Sweet dreams, buddy."
Dwight rode his back into a room down the hall and disappeared. It was nice to make a little kid happy I thought. There probably wasn't much of that for many children in this neighborhood. I couldn't help but feel sad for a moment.
"Twenty-five minutes," announced Mookie reentering the room. "What's this I heard about some puppy?"