Hot time in the Old Town Tonight

Lamont and J-dawg huddled close against the old brick of the alley. Living on the street meant you had to hustle to live. Lamont busied his freezing fingers with counting the days haul. J-dawg danced from foot to foot, moving to keep warm. The delicatessen alley smelled of rotten garbage even in the coldest weather.

"Yo, Gimme ten so I can get some MickeyDs man. I am starving man." J-dawg hadn't had anything to eat since the shoplifted powdered donuts that morning. As the muscle of the crew, he didn't get much of a vote. "How bout you shut your hole motherfucker. How we gonna jack somebody if you keep moaning about food?". Lamont put it as more of a command than a question. J-dawg resigned himself to wait a bit longer. Hopefully a nice big purse would come walking down the dark street, attached to a drunken co-ed or coked out whore. Easy money.

It's all about the money. J-dawg got to thinking in his glacier-like way. "Man, earlier, when you sold that strung-out whiteboy the blow, why did you say it was a deal? You never make deals." Lamont had stood by his policy of strict pricing and cash on delivery. He was a businessman through and through. "Cause it makes him feel like he got a deal. He'll come back to me next time he wants a fix. Plus, the eightball I gave'im was a speedball. Motherfucker is gonna be keyed up for days. Riding the white horse now." Lamont mimed a giddy up with his hands. J-dawg smiled. Heroin always hooked them good. Lamont was all about the money.

The clock marched onward. The sounds of the city washed over the urban entrepreneurs, lost in the wash of society. A married couple screamed at each other, sirens blared, horns honked, the cold wind howled. The two friends sat and froze, waiting for a mark, somebody that they could prey on, lift some cash and vent some anger. You had to to survive. After standing for another silent cold hour just inside the shadow of the brick, J-dawg had enough. "Fuck this man. Ain't nobody out tonight. Let's crash.". Lamont silently agreed under his hoodie. "We gotta get out of the cold." Again, it was a command.

Back down the alley the pair shuffled, stiff legged and blue lipped. "Let's crash this dump" said Lamont, jerking his thumb toward Sam's Deli. J-dawg was always antsy about B and E. He had done 6 months for popping the back door off a liquor store a few years ago. "What about alarms man? I don't wanna get nailed again. Besides, the alley is warm enough." J-dawg sounded like he was trying to convince himself. Lamont held his nose in disgust. "You smell that man? I ain't sleeping in that. And you ever been in this shithole? He ain't got nothing made after the 70s. No alarm on this place. Just kick in the backdoor. Plus, they got food."

"Alright. Just gimme a J to calm my nerves.". Lamont produced a beautiful blunt as if by magic from his sleeve. It wasn't the Mexican ditchweed they sold to the uptown kids, it was their personal supply. Fine Maui Wowee cut with some BC Skunktail. Sometimes, life wasn't so bad. J-dawg undid his coat and put his Timberland boot up beside the knob on the scarred wooden door. He leaned into it, while holding a healthy toke into his lungs. The stink of the alley was overpowering, making his head light and his ears buzz. Lamont held his nose. "Wahh, this fucker must have tossed a million eggs out or something. Jesus, what a stink. Hurry up wit the door."

J-dawg sucked hard on the joint as he kicked. The ember flared a brilliant red in front of him. As the door folded in a splintering wood way, Lamont had a split-second to wonder at the blue halo that formed around J-dawg. A wreath of brilliant flames came to life in front of him. J-dawg became a being of pure light, blue and orange and red and white, just as the whole world lifted Lamont off his feet. "Free at last", thought Lamont. The gas explosion transformed the plate-glass window at the front Sam's Deli into a crystalline rain that melted the snow where it fell. The flames ate at the counter like loyal customers.

Good thing Dolores had had it insured before she died. Very insured. Sam would have woken up a rich man, if he had woken up at all.