Cove Alpa – The Grass Story 4: Blessings of a Murder Scene
By Mensa Smith
On Friday, I set up a meeting with Dawg. We met at my place when nobody was home because I really didn’t need my family knowing about the drama that happens when they’re not around. The only thing on my mind was revenge, and that had to be clear. My friends are the type to flop instead of rise to action, and today was not the day for that to manifest. He couldn’t flop on me even if he wanted to. When Dawg got here, I let him know immediately. I didn’t even waste time with greeting so he would get the point.
“Bro I’m not playing! We gotta go get this niggas!” I screamed at Dawg.
“Nah Ivy, I’m not sure…” Dawg replied.
“NIGGA FUCK ALLAT SHIT YOU ABOUT TO SAY MY NIGGA. THOSE NIGGAS CAME FOR ME. I WOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW IF IT WEREN’T FOR SOMEBODY’S CAR GETTING IN THE WAY. YO. YOU REALLY ABOUT TO LET NIGGAS ROLL ON THE HOMIE LIKE THAT?”
“Nah, bro, it’s not even like that. I’m just saying…”
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SAYING, MY NIGGA. ENLIGHTEN ME!”
“Iight son, damn! You sure it’s the niggas from last summer?”
“Positive like Magic Johnson in the 90s, nigga. Niggas think I’m pussy? Me?! Ivy muhhfuckin Iceberg? NEVER, NIGGA.
“Okay, so you know I’m down. Can’t nobody roll on the homies without retaliation? Feel me?”
“That’s my Dawg! We gotta move these niggas up outta here!”
“Iight, I’ll get Homie and a couple other niggas we know from around the way.”
“Nah, bro. We don’t even need allat. Revenge is a dish best served cold. They’re probably expecting some action coming in the next few weeks, so here’s the plan. We’re gonna act like we’re shook up and not make any moves. I’m gonna stay out of sight, and I won’t even talk about what happened. In about a month or two? I’m pulling up on those niggas and airing shit out. I’m gonna need you there to shoot up the block so when they come down the block, it’s easy money for a nigga. I’m not playing this time; you don’t get to shoot at the Iceberg and act like it’s all good. Not on my side of the Grass.”
“Iight bro, sounds good. Imma holla atchu.”
“For fact, I’ll see you around the way.”
I followed Dawg downstairs to lock him out, but I had to go outside to get a few things. It’s been so long since I got high, but I needed to let go. I called my bro Rob from the other side of the hood and he blessed me with a quarter ounce of some sour diesel for $50 when the going price is $100. I had some left over Marleys, but I had to head to the corner store to get some fronto leaf because that shit dries up if you let it sit. I even bought some snacks because I knew the munchies were coming eventually like the next bus during rush hour.
I headed back upstairs and began to roll my weed. I let my friend borrow my crusher, and I wasn’t about to ask him for it back because he was going to try to come through and roll up. This weed was for me and me only, so I had to break down the bud with my finger tips. I knew I had some good shit because it was ridiculously sticky. I rolled about 6 fat ones, so they each had more than a gram in them. Everyone was outta town for the weekend, so I didn’t have to worry about getting caught smoking. I lit the first one and inhaled slowly. It had been a while since I got high, so swallowing that smoke with the harsh fronto leaf made me cough. I couldn’t get past two blunts.
I got so high that night. I turned on my Pandora to play reggae the whole night. It put me in such a peaceful mood, and it made me forgive everything. It’s impossible to be mad when you have good weed and Freddie McGregor setting the mood for you. I went back to my room and took the gun from last summer out of my shoebox. I looked at it, and grabbed the rubber grip as I pointed the and instantly got back to feeling of regret that I had the last time I used this gun. Taking lives isn’t for me, no matter how mad I get. I didn’t want to go down that road again, especially after I had just forgiven myself for going there the first time. I know better now, and this isn’t right.
But those niggas really shot at me. Where I’m from, you can’t get shot at and not shoot back. The streets are keeping score and I’m down in the seven points at the end of the third quarter. I have to close the game the right way, but what’s the right way to go about this? I can’t kill those guys, but I painted myself into a corner with Dawg the way I just told him off. I have to make a move if I plan on being on this block a while, and I do because I’m a broke high school senior. So I have to make an example out of somebody or else people will keep shooting. I won’t be able to walk down the strip without having to worry about somebody trying me because I didn’t make a move.
A lot of being a man is learning how to deal with the pressure to act when you don’t want to. Whatever you do says something about you, and right now I don’t know what I want to be said about me. I’d much rather be left alone because the deeper into the Grass I go, the further away I get from my goals in life. I don’t want to be respected in the Grass if that means I’m the guy who kills you if you look at him wrong. I don’t even want to exist to that level of thought, but how do you rise above the bullshit when you’re already this deep? Nobody told me growing up here would be easy, but I still feel deceived. I still feel shorted on opportunity when I have to deal with this stuff just because of my address. Sometimes I just want to run away and never return here, and other times I want to make it out just to show other people going through it that we can be better than what we’re accustomed to. Most times, though, I feel trapped in my own self fulfilling prophecy that I’ll never amount to anything, and that the Grass is as far as my eyes will see.
Weeks go by, and I’m laying low as planned. In the mornings I’m on the train to school, and I’m certain to catch a cab home with my lunch money in the evenings. For those weeks, nobody from the Grass saw me. I wouldn’t go to the corner store for anything, I wouldn’t head to the parks, and I wore a hoodie all the time to school. If my mother didn’t cook, I was ordering food instead of going to get it. I was nonexistent, and it was perfect. I hadn’t even spoken to Dawg since the time he came by my place to strategize with me. I was hoping everyone would forget about me, but I realized that would take way too much time. I was enjoying the moments before I had to make a decision, though, and those moments gave me peace.
One day, on my way home from school, I realized I left my wallet in my locker like a dumbass. I didn’t have the money to take a cab and the security guards wouldn’t let me back in since I didn’t have my ID, so I ended up walking home. On the walk home, I ran into Milan.
“HOOOHHH MY GOD IVY! HOW ARE YOU?”
“Hey Milan, I’m good. I’ve been playing it low, but I’m good.”
“Playing it low? That’s not what I heard!”
“Well clearly you heard wrong because I haven’t been around the way since I got shot at.”
“Yeah, you know I heard about that! But I also heard all the guys that did that to you turned up dead about a week ago. You sure you don’t know anything about that?”
“Wait, what? For real? They got killed?”
“Yeah, apparently a black van came down their block and shot it up. Every single person in that set got killed. Something like 9 bodies confirmed dead.”
“Damn, that’s terrible. I hate to hear that, even if they shot at me.”
“Terrible? Hell no, that’s not terrible! Now you can walk me home and come get this!”
“Haha, Milan you’re crazy! We’ve been over this already. I’ll still walk you home, though. I ain’t coming inside, but I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t gotta come inside, you can come on my…”
“What? I’m only half serious!”
I walked Milan to her house, and, despite the many advances she makes on me, she’s actually a sweet and helpful girl. I gave her my number so she can keep me updated on what she hears. She gets involved with so many guys that she had to save my number as “Pizza Place” just to avoid the stress. She gave me what was easily the best news I’ve heard in the past few weeks, but it’s also tough to swallow. How do I look at the murder of those people as a blessing? How do you look at any murder as a blessing? The real blessing is when we can put the guns down for real and not have to worry about violence. I did wonder why I didn’t hear about this, though.
Later that night, Milan gave me a call. I was surprised she called so fast, but I was also a little nervous.
“Hey, Ivy? This you?”
“Yeah, it’s me Milan. You had to check to make sure I didn’t give you the wrong number?”
“Yes nigga cuz you be playing games all day!”
“Haha, well now you know this is really my number.”
“Yeah, but I gotta put you on!”
“It was Dawg and his cousins that shot up the block for you. They ID’d the van and it’s the same one Dawg’s cousin had. You know people connect the dots fast, and that’s the story now.”
“Yo, just be mindful of what you say on the phone, cool?”
“Yeah, Ivy you know I got you! Dawg’s cousins supposedly borrowed some weight from them and never planned to give it back because they do bad business like that. It’s a vice case now, and pretty much none of it has to do with anything real.”
“Iight, so Dawg is cool?”
“Yeah, Dawg wasn’t even there. I haven’t seen him for a while though. I’m hearing his mom moved him outta the Grass because of the company he keeps. His cousins are no good, so he’s moving to live with his dad back in Jamaica.”
“Word? My son Dawg is going back to Jamaica? God bless him, lord knows he needs the change of scenery. I’m sure he’ll like getting away from these New York winters.”
“Mhm, for sure. Now when you gonna come get this?”
So there you have it. The Grass bled a lot over the past year, but it seems that part of my life is finally behind me. The people who wanted me gone got taken care of, and my homie who was connected to the whole deal is now in another country. Maybe one day he’ll come back and we can listen to reggae and reminisce about everything that happened this year. I’m glad I can get this stuff behind me before Spring because I turn eighteen in a couple months, and I graduate high school. Despite being trapped here, my mind is at ease and I can walk outside and not be paranoid. I don’t think I’ll be going outside for a while, though. I got my fresh start, and I’m done with the hood. Life is too short to be worrying about who’s from this block or who’s related to who, or even what girls wanna be with you. I’m ready to take things as they come, and never look back. Maybe I’ll even take Milan serious someday. Maybe not, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Right.