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Old 07-14-2013, 06:44 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,814 posts, read 12,014,781 times
Reputation: 6651


["Maydup" (Made Up) and "Nottrill" (Not Real) Streets are as their names imply. No offense intended to the citizens of Madisonville for my randomly selecting their neighborhood as the scene for this story.]

Tony and Berlinda Jenkins, a 60-something African-American couple and longtime residents of Nottrill Street, sighed and rolled their eyes. A BMW carrying four rambunctious White men in their late teens had just roared away from the curb opposite their house as they watched from their porch. Not ten minutes before, after carefully securing the vehicle despite the overall safety of the neighborhood, the quartet had hastily walked down the block and turned the corner onto Maydup Street. The same scene had played itself out countless times since the previous February, when the house at 5244 Maydup - boarded up since being foreclosed - was taken over by drug dealers. Word had spread around Cincinnati's college campuses and east-side neighborhoods and suburbs about the newest place for scoring weed. Literally overnight, the peaceful pocket of Madisonville where the Jenkins had owned their modest bungalow for some 35 years had turned into a drive-through pony keg of sorts. Caucasian-operated vehicles of all kinds were making brief stops at all hours of the day and night. Berlinda and Tony had made call after call to the police but had only been given the baseless reassurance that a patrol car "might get sent over there in an hour or so." Other folks on their street and Maydup were similarly brushed off by the city, and reported among themselves of being glared at by the dealers and having epithets tossed their way by customers.

The sun eased itself lower in the sky as 7 o'clock passed on the mild May Saturday evening. "It's BEEN nice today, Baby. Once supper's ready let's eat on the porch." "Sounds good to me, Sugar. Let me grab a nap first." <MWAH!> They kissed, and Tony climbed the stairs for his snooze.
Eight o'clock approached, and darkness descended, as the couple started to eat their dinner. Along Nottrill Street all was peaceful. Then the placid dusk was invaded by screeching brakes. A red Ford "pick-up truck on steroids" had zoomed to a stop between the Jenkins' home and the intersection of Nottrill and Maydup. Out scrambled an obese White couple who glanced warily in all directions as they locked the doors. "HEY YOU!" shouted Tony. "Did you say somethin' to me, n----r? We ain't goin' to yer house!" the man yelled back. The woman chimed in with, "Eat'cher watermelon and mind yer own f-----g business." Giggling, they scooted around the corner to conduct their transaction at the house three doors down. When they came back Tony told them to get lost and never return. The man retorted, "This is America and I go where I want when I want." "Yeah," added his companion, "if it had'na been for that party we coulda parked right on Maydup and not had ta look at'cher ugly Black faces. There's cars all up n' down the damn street. Somebody's prob'ly celebratin' their son's gittin' outta jail or their 15-year-old daughter havin' a baby." Bursting into laughter, the pot buyers revved up their oversize truck and sped away.

"GOT-DAMMIT!!!" "Tony, God will take care of them for being that way. It's not worth getting angry over. They're probably halfway back to Fairfax or wherever they came from. C'mon, let's finish up." "I've had it, Berlinda. Just had it. FOUR MONTHS of this sh-- goin' on 24-7. Tonight I just might take advantage of my CCW permit..." "NO!!!" "Just to scare 'em. I want to enjoy my home in my retirement, y'know?" An uneasy silence reigned as the Jenkins finished their meal.

"DAD-DEEEEE...One more time, just ONE MORE TIME PLEEEEEZ???" "Oh, all right." Carl Bosenheimer sighed good-naturedly and opened "Good Night, Moon" with an exaggerated flourish. "YAY!!!" The 32-year-old CPA hadn't started to read his 3-year-old daughter's favorite bedtime story - for the fifth time that evening - when Molly, his ex-wife, leaned into the room. "Sorry to break up story hour, guys. But Carl, it's getting on past 8. Don't you need to head over to Madisonville before it gets much later?" 'Yeah, I suppose you're right. Tasha and Ron said they'd be starting at six, so I might've already missed out on the food. I'm sorry, Jaimie. Remind me to buy you TWO Icees when we go to the zoo tomorrow, to make up for this, OK?" "OK, Daddy, so not a problem." Despite the differences which had led to their amicable divorce, Molly and Carl stayed strongly bonded where their daughter was concerned. Jaimie's latest precocious words - where had she picked up "so not a problem" - had them smiling. Following well-established ritual, Carl planted a dry kiss on his daughter's face and said, "Good night!" Then Molly followed suit with, "Sleep tight!" Making sure the night light was on, the adults turned off the overhead illumination in Jaimie's room and walked downstairs as the pre-schooler rolled over and started slumbering.
In the front doorway, Molly compared notes with Carl. It was agreed that he would pick up Jaimie for their zoo outing at 2 o'clock on Sunday, then have her home by six. After almost a year the custody arrangement had still been working well. Carl's ego remained wounded from hearing the judge award the house in Deer Park to Molly. But his career was on a tear and he was progressing toward feeling single again AND liking it. He was having fun turning his brick-box apartment in Oakley into a "man cave" and having buddies from work and elsewhere over for card games and NFL broadcasts and such. Life did go on after all. The pleasant May evening and the prospect of a jovial house-warming with friends from high school and college had him feeling happier than he had in some time.
"Carl, please be careful." "DAMMIT, Molly." Carl stage-whispered so as to not wake their child. "Why don't you remind me again of your sheltered upbringing? Ron and I met on the first day of ninth grade at Walnut Hills, ran track together all through high school, were roommates for our freshman year at UC. Fast-forward and he's best man at my wedding and I'm an usher at his. And as you know perfectly well we've stayed friends and will always have each other's back. Are you ever going to get over growing up in Adams County?!"
"SH-T!" Molly hissed back at him. "Don't you even go there, Carl Bosenheimer. This is so not a racial thing and you know it. Tasha and I just plain never got along. Simple as that. And Ron is YOUR buddy. I've heard you guys' background story like thousands of times. Did you never notice on all those trips over there to pitch in on the remodeling how sketchy Maydup Street is? Why do you think they were able to buy that house at that price? I wouldn't walk by those vacant lots if you paid me, and then there's that boarded-up place down the block..." "Good grief! Two vacant lots, both with houses going in soon. And you know my worst drug is beer so I wouldn't go close to that dump which - memory refresher - is at the other end of the street from their house. No worries!" "OK, Carl, I'm sorry. Forgive me for still caring about you in spite of myself." "Y'know something? The same holds true for me. I'll be by at 2 in the afternoon tomorrow to fetch Jaimie. Good night."
Carl stormed off to his VW Jetta and backed it down the driveway. Flicking on the headlights, he steered the car south through the darkening streets of Deer Park. When he reached a signaled intersection just as the traffic light blinked from yellow to red he keyed in the speed-dial code for Ron and Tasha on his cell phone as he slowed to a stop.
"That you, Stringbean? Where the f--- are you!"
"Hey, Tosh. Had to put in some dad time tonight. Sounds like everything's still going strong over there."
"Shoot, we go back far enough for that to be a stupid-azz thing to say."
"So true, so true! We have stories!"
"Yes, we do. So answer my question, where the f--- are you?!"
"Just about in Silverton and headed your way. Need anything?"
"Hmmmm...not really...on second thought, grab some potato salad at Kroger's, K?"
"You got it, Tosh. See you in about fifteen."

Turning onto Maydup St, Carl was taken aback by all the vehicles parked along both sides of the street. Even the driveways of the houses surrounding Ron and Tasha's new digs were fully occupied. Laughter and loud music wafting into the evening air from 5317 Maydup made it obvious where the house-warming party was unfolding. Anxious to put the stress of his argument with Molly behind him, Carl slowed the Jetta and scouted for a space as he crept along the block. Then as he approached the notorious dwelling at 5244 he hurriedly guided the car to the corner of Nottrill while three sullen youths glared at him from the porch of the derelict home. In a snap judgment which would change everything, Carl decided to not needlessly arouse the suspicions of the drug house lookouts by turning around. He made a right onto Nottrill and saw a parking space beneath a tree in front of a home two doors from the corner.

"Yo Ron!"
"Almost here, bro? Tosh told me you were on your way FINALLY."
"Yeah! Had to go to Nottrill before I could find a damn parking space, though."
"One of us is popular, Stringbean, get used to it."
"Wanna wear potato salad in a coupla minutes?"
"If that's what it takes to get your skinny butt in my house, yeah!"
"Allrighty then. Be right there."

Whistling, Carl ended the call and dropped the phone in his pocket. He readied the remote to lock the Jetta in one hand while retrieving the tub of potato salad with the other. Then as he spun to walk to Tasha and Ron's, he noticed that a burly middle-aged Black man was coldly eying him from the porch of the house he'd parked in front of. "Good evening, sir! Nice night, huh?" Carl smiled and started toward the corner of Maydup St. "GET. OUT. OF. OUR. NEIGHBORHOOD." "Sir, it's not what you think. I don't do drugs. Friends of mine are..." "BULLSH--." "They just moved in at 5317 and I'm..." "WHAT PART OF 'GET OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD' DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, FOOL???"
A terrified Berlinda Jenkins called 911 on her cell phone from the living room.
"Cincinnati 911; you're on a recorded line. What's your emergency?"
"Ma'am, this is Berlinda Jenkins..."
"I have your location. Is the incident happening at your house?"
"Yes, ma'am. My husband...he has a CCW permit...he's got his gun with him and..."
"Are you in danger? Say 'no' if you are. I've dispatched officers and they're on their way."
"No, I mean yes, I mean...ma'am, there's been drug dealing going on around the corner. White folks been driving in and out the neighborhood for months buying dope and nothing's been done. It's got so crazy..."
"Is your husband threatening to shoot a dealer on the street?"
"No, ma'am, they do their pushin' inside the house at 5244 Maydup St, all of us 'round here have called y'all over and over..."
"Ms Jenkins, help me understand what the situation is, then."
"My husband and I were disrespected by White folks here to do their drug business an hour or so ago. He said he was gonna have his gun ready the next time. This has been going on for MONTHS..."
"So there's a White person or persons outside, and your husband is..."
"Yes, ma'am...now I don't see them. Him and one White man. My Lord. They were arguing, just a minute ago, now they're gone."
"Please stay in your house, Ms Jenkins. Try and get your husband home. It's our job to bring suspected criminals in, not his. Help is on the way."

"Stringbean? You're not THAT outta shape, are you? Why haven't..."
"Dude, this guy's scaring me, I mean SCARING me."
"Huh? The dealers know you're not UC [undercover.] How many times were you over here working on this house which you have yet to get your azz to tonight? Huh? Man, they recognize you, they just like to look intimidating."
"It's not them, bro. Some old guy started on me when I parked in front of his house on Nottrill. Got into all this racial sh--, ordering me out of 'his' neighborhood. I was like, I'm not here to make a buy, but he just kept yelling."
"I ran around the corner to get away from him. He was packing, I saw the gun."
"Holy sh--, Carl. Where are you?"
"I'm hiding behind some hedges in front of...5271."
"Can you see him? Did he follow you?"
"He's heavyset so I managed to get here before he could clear the corner. I don't think he noticed where I went. But I can see him down by the stop sign looking this way."
"DAMN. Ya think I should call 911?"
"Because somebody has racial issues? Yeah, they'd be right on that. Half this f---ing city would be locked up."
"I'm scared now, too, Stringbean. What the fu--. All you did was roll into the neighborhood to go to a house-warming, LATE I might add. Lauren and Jon are here, so are Todd...Chris...Dave...Rhonda...none of them got hassled. But what should we do now? If I come for you he could shoot us both!"
"Gotta hang up, bro, he's walking this way. I have a plan."

Petrified, Carl crouched behind the hedge as Tony stalked down the sidewalk. Gingerly he pried the lid off the plastic tub of potato salad. He waited for the most opportune second to crash through the greenery and gain the upper hand afforded by surprise. Tony drew closer, not noticing the tall man tensed to strike. '

"YAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" screamed Carl as he vaulted over the hedge. In a perfectly timed maneuver he upended the bowl and smashed it down over Tony's head. Shocked and infuriated, the older man flailed his arms wildly, the right one close to grasping the gun. Carl dropped to the sidewalk and swept Tony's ankles out from under him. Then he leaped forward to keep the salad tub affixed to its target and compromising Tony's vision. Potato salad dripped, splattered, and flew in every direction. "LET ME TAKE YOUR GUN. I WON'T SHOOT YOU. GO HOME AND LEAVE ME ALONE," gasped Carl as he and Tony grappled on the sidewalk. "HELL NO. I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF Y'ALL DISRUPTING OUR COMMUNITY, CALLIN' OUT YOUR HATEFULNESS..."

Berlinda paced back and forth, back and forth, back and forth some more. Where were the police? Why did they never respond fast to a problem in a Black neighborhood? From what she'd observed of the White man, he'd spoken cordially to Tony and looked as though he were carrying food to a party. Maybe he hadn't been going to 5244 Maydup? But where had they disappeared to? Forget about what the 911 operator said. Her husband of 36 years could be in serious trouble. She picked up her cell phone and ran out the door, hearing shouts and the sounds of a scuffle as she turned the corner onto Maydup St.

Ron and Tasha sprinted outside as their party kept going. So as to not alarm the gathering they'd dashed around to all the guests, saying only that Carl could be having an issue nearby and that was why he was late. They cut across the yard of their new home and immediately spotted two figures wrestling on the sidewalk a few houses away. Police sirens' shrieks and beeps began to be heard.

<POP!!!> Ron knew the sound of a gunshot all too well from his early years in Avondale. He heard Carl cry out and saw his old friend stagger in his direction, struggling to stand. Blood poured from Carl's upper left chest, soaking his shirt and expanding across an ever wider area. "OH, GOD, HELP ME..." Carl's dying voice rasped. Tony stood riveted to the spot, not yet comprehending that he'd just killed a man.

"STRINGBEAN!!!!!!!!" Briefly frozen in disbelief and fright, Ron and Tasha then screamed as one.
"TONY! TONY!!!!!! SWEET JESUS!!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???" Berlinda shouted as she raced to her husband's side.
Police cars swooped onto Maydup St from both ends of the block, searchlights slicing through the darkness. Megaphones crackled: "STAY AWAY FROM THE SCENE. DISOBEY AND YOU WILL BE ARRESTED." Tony Jenkins was taken into custody without difficulty - he was still transfixed and in denial over what had just occurred. Carl Bosenheimer was pronounced dead at the scene.

The next day's newspapers told the story - sort of. Tired of blatant drug trafficking near his home, driven to the limits of tolerance by the insults hurled by some of the customers, a fed-up AA neighbor decided to serve street justice. He "profiled" a Caucasian man who had arrived on his block to park before attending some friends' house-warming party, terrorizing the man with a gun and ordering him to leave the area. Armed with a lethal tub of potato salad, the White man instead lay in wait behind some hedges around the corner and then ambushed him. In fear for his life from the violent actions of a skinny 32-year-old accountant, the vigilante neighbor had no choice but to shoot the invader to death.

************************************************** **********************************

"TONY JENKINS" WOULD NOT HAVE WALKED AWAY SCOT-FREE AFTER HIS TRIAL FOR THE HOMICIDE OF "CARL BOSENHEIMER." Not a chance. That much is not fiction. It's the dawning of another day in
America, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for some.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:53 AM
1,295 posts, read 1,655,644 times
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I know that's right.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:05 PM
89 posts, read 171,604 times
Reputation: 103
"With liberty for just some, not all" is one of my favorite modifications of that line.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:10 PM
1 posts, read 1,073 times
Reputation: 10
So true
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