26. The Good One
The laptop is sitting where it should – on my lap. I’m squeezed tightly into a seat on a busy train reading a New York Times Best Seller about the effects of governmental decisions vis a vie Fossils fuels and their effects on the environment.
Or was it a comic book about barbarian women?
It was the latter, and I’d gotten it as a computer file from someone. So with the art scrolling up and down on the screen, it attracted the attention of a group of teenage kids from th’ hood.
One of ’em can’t take his eyes off the screen, attracted by the cool art. When I go to another file, showcasing even cooler art, his friends start to lean in. They ask what that is on my screen, and I tell ’em it’s comics.
So I ask, “Do you guys read comics?”
One kid, who I nicknamed “Face” in my head because he had a killer smile and the good looks that’ll get him places in the future, said, “Yeah. I got Spider-Man. You know, Stan Lee, the whole thing.”
So I smiled – I know when I’m being bluffed. “That’s all you know isn’t it?”
Then he smiled, “Yeeahhh.”
So I said, “You’re the troublemaker.” And he, almost offended, explained, “No, he’s the troublemaker,” pointing to the kid sitting next to me. Then Face added, “I’m the good one.”
The one next to me, looked to Face and denied it, “I’m not The Troublemaker, I’m The Basketball Playuh!” And then The Chubby One moved in and said, “Yeah, he’s The Troublemaker,” referring to The Stupid One. The Stupid One said, “Naw, I’m The Rapper!” Then The Jester spoke up, and changed the conversation, told me I should go to HipHopGame.com.
I told him I couldn’t – no Internet connection there on the train – but I asked why: “Aw, I’m just messin’ wit’choo.”
It got quiet for a few moments, until Face turned to his friends and smiled, “What about porn.” Then to me, “You got porn? I know you got porn on that thing – you probably got a lot of porn on there.”
I slowly looked up at Face, and I smiled, “No, not me. I’m The Good One.”