I was walking towards my unit,
Looking along the hall
Over to my neighbor,
Who stood faced to his own Locker Apartment,
Tinkering with his setup and such.
"Robbed, cold," he said, emphatic-like.
His place was down the way -
A good size bigger than mine, too,
But on the bottom row.
I started climbing the portable stairway
Which 9 times out of 10,
Could be found parked outside my top-row crib like proper.
“Can't believe it, man,” he said. “Never believe it til it happens to you.”
Reaching into my pocket for my keys, I had myself a leisurely look around...
Started wondering whether somebody robbed him in our own little neck of the hood,
Or whether he was swiped on the outside.
As far as 'Sketchy' was concerned,
I had yet to witness a 'Shady' dealing take place on our floor,
Nor throughout the whole building, for that matter.
That being said,
Every/any character who rented/owned one of these Lockers
Was indeed suspect to being classified as a Grade-A 'Shade-ster' -
I myself included - and in fact -
Odds are that I was somewhere on Security's 'Top-Ten Most-Shady List.'
Because most folks came by their Locker
Maybe twice a year to do a several hour pick-up/drop-off.
I on the otherhand,
Along with a handful of others like my neighbor down there,
Was in and out of this Locker Garage at least twice a day,
Making Due as Manhattan Demand.
"We got crime happening here?" I asked, "Or did you get robbed on the outside?"
I was equally prepared for either answer.
The building itself was an industrial bust.
The ceiling, just down the hall a short ways,
Was dripping the day's meltings of snow.
Stains, both wet and dry, were all across the carpeted floor.
The room itself was a maze of
Big, blocked clusters of steely gray aluminum
That bore not a spot of luster.
Drab as it was
In terms of utility,
It was as practical as the library,
And not a spot less rosy.
“It was on the Subway.”
“The Subway can be a very dangerous place...”
I was still fumbling to pull my keys out my pocket.
They were wedged between my wallet
And my Leatherman Supertool -
The Leatherman Supertool,
Which when unfolded,
Opened up to a Heavy-Duty Set of Pliars,
The arms of which carried a multitude of tools including
A Shark-Tooth Hacksaw,
A Bottle Opener,
Two rulers and two blades -
One that was serrated so sharp you could
Peel the skin of your fingernail
At just a touch.
Ever since arriving in NYC for Round 2,
The Leatherman Supertool had been in pocket, thus on hand.
Something any boyscout or man could appreciate.
“You carry a blade?” I asked.
He was frowning over at me something angry.
“I'mma start carrying around a machete after what took place,” he said. “They got my bag, man.”
“It just happened?”
“No, it happened the other day,” he booed, “The other night,” he bluesd.
As most of us are prone to at times do,
This guy was dragging the past along with his present.
Felt for him, though.
Given his financial situation could not have been a far-cry off from mine,
It was no good hearing he was robbed by someone of the City.
NYC is more than just a noise or crowd.
It's a Community. A Great Community.
But even a Great Community is not without it's den of thieves...
“Sorry to hear that man,” I said. “You ought carry a blade,” I added, “Just in case.”
He was fidgeting with something in that Locker of his, when he called out:
“I'mma start carrying a Glock," he said. “That way,
I catch anybody messin' around my stuff,
I take care 'em 1, 2, 3 like Robocop."
I was stepping into my Big Old Navy Cargo-Pant Jeans.
No joke, these jeans were so big,
I didn't even have to take off my Dr. Marten's
To get my leg through them.
“Robocop carries a Glock?”
“Course not!” he cried, with passion, “Robocop got a Canon," he added,
Then got caught at tangent.
"You mean you haven't yet seen the new Robocop?”
I imagine I must have looked a lick of surprise.
“I didn't even know there was a new Robocop.”
The assessment alone seemed to cheer him up a little,
And then further as he took joy in remembering
His experience at the big screen.
“My baby, listen to me,” he explained. “I don't care what you got to do to get them, but go get yourself tickets to see that movie.”
'Tickets?' Me bethought me. 'How many tickets a fella need?'
And then came the Detail.
“Hollywood got a new kid for the role...” he said, “He got a new suit, fresh attitude, but he rock the same good-ole fashioned game of kickass and justice.”
Up til then, I'd never met somebody who was so stoked on Robocop.
Up til the word 'Justice,' he was on his way to Happy-Go-Lucky.
“There's just too much Wrong in the world, you understand?” he vented. “People struggling, robbing people struggling. Vicious circle, baby. Twisted. You got to be careful out there cause you just never know.”
I was pulling my old tri-striped olive green skelly cap over my dome.
“Feel for you man,” I said, “But since it's past, get over it ASAP, and by all means necessary," I added, "It's slowing you down.”
"I know man, I know..." he agreed, “I'm just angry, that's all.”
He just wanted to talk, I thought.
Some men were like some women in that sense.
He had to talk this off his chest as much as possible.
“How'd it happen?”
He sighed again, but this time, shaking his head.
“I'm on the Subway, right,” he said, “Traveling en route from Jamaica to Manhattan... I woke up, and like that, my bag was gone.”
“You were sleeping?”
“I nodded off,” he said. “Had my bag strapped over my shoulder,” he added, “Didn't feel a thing. Guy musta sliced the strap clean, and took off.”
I thought in the quiet silence that followed and then nodded.
“Musta had a sharp blade...”
Only after voicing my candid insight
Did I realize that it likely
Didn't settle in his belly as well as Tea and Crumpets.
“I gotta go tho.”
At that, I threw on my overcoat,
Grabbed my sign and sleep-pack,
Locked up shop and started descending the steps.
“Be safe baby.”
Little did I know I wouldn't even make it out the building,
Before I'd get tangled up in my own
Locker Room Drama and Shenanigans and Whatever Else Have You...