The Brickman (short story)

  • Welcome readers, this post contains a short story I wrote a while back and it’s been through a few revisions. However, I believe I still need to go through maybe another draft or two before I publish it in a literary journal. If you make it to the end of the story, then kindly leave a like and comment. I am because we are, that’s Ubuntu. As always, peace and keep it real.

The Brickman

“C’mon man just play me in one game, if you win I’ll buy you a beer and if I win you buy me a beer and pay the bet,” Doc said 

“Man I don’t drink, and I don’t play no damn chess, I play sudoku ‘cause I’m all about the numbers homie” 

“I don’t know anythin’ ‘bout no Sudoku but I can teach you this game. It won’t take too long just give me five minutes. 

“Like I said I don’t play chess or checkers, that shits boring to me. 

Doc scoffed at my retort and began looking around the bar and pool table for an opponent to hustle. I made my way to the bar to place an order for a burger and fries. Before making my way to the pool table that was being occupied, I noticed a lanky white guy sitting where I was just a few minutes before in front of Doc, and it looked like the white guy was beating Doc at his own hustle. Doc was a heavy-set black man with a long gray beard and salt and pepper dreads that he always kept in a ponytail. He would sit at the same table which was in the middle of the downstairs bar at Savory Burgers and play chess with those little timers professionals and chess geniuses use. Here’s the thing about Doc, he would try to befriend every soul that walked by him and persuade them to sell their time for victory or defeat. I saw it as some kind of troll under the bridge mindset. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of victory in a game I was sure to lose. I made my way past them to notice the one guy who would always stick out in a police lineup, and that was my man Cloak playing pool. Even though I knew his real name I almost never used it because he felt that he distanced himself from that name ever since he found his calling as a “Warrior of the night”. Yes, that’s what he called himself and you would be inclined to agree with him once you saw how ridiculous he looked in an Assassin’s Creed-inspired attire of all black.

“Man, I haven’t seen yo’ ass since the summer, where the fuck ya been at?” I asked Cloak 

“In Worcester, they put me in a rehab center ‘cause I was on a bender and caught an assault charge with a deadly weapon when I pulled out my sword to finish a mothafucka off.

“The fuck, a sword?” “Man I ain’t ever seen you wit no damn sword, how the hell you carryin’ that around”? I asked

“I don’t do it often but he caught me on the wrong day” 

“So, how was it in Worcester”? I asked

“Boring, I missed my whole fuckin’ summer going to addict meetings but I ain’t no damn addict I use some shit whenever I feel like it, but it was that or spent two years in jail so I went the rehab. 

“Shit, I said 

It was around Eleven PM when I headed above ground outside Savory Burgers to get air and I was followed by Rashaun and Cloak. As we conversed and they smoked cigarettes, an older black man who looked like he could have been a frequent visitor to the “Dirty Circle” approached us, but there was something unique about him that separated him from the other bums and winos I came across throughout my lifetime. He stood at 5 ‘6 and his clothes were in decent condition, and he didn’t carry anything with him but a black cane. No shopping cart, multiple backpacks, or bags of any sort. He had a beard but it was kept in decent condition. I was wondering if he was a panhandler roaming or scamming people into giving him money, but I got my answer sure enough. He asked us if we had any spare change, but we apologetically explained we didn’t have any. The man smiled and stood up. “Well how about this then young brothas,” he said, and began to rap an incredible freestyle. He used his cane as an instrument. 

“Bricks is coming, Bricks is coming”

“Bricks is coming, he’s scoping the block

He’s checking out all the dealers out on the block 

He reaches in his pocket but not for his glock 

He’s bricking mothafuckas who sellin’ fake rocks 

On the streets where I live it’s a definite fact  

Keep an eye out for the cops and one on ya back 

‘Cause ya enemies be lingering in the places you go

They be in the docks 

Waiting for you to show 

Playing you with tricks 

And it’s no wonder why I carry a brick 

Bricks is coming (2X) 

By living in the streets I have some sick ass stories 

My enemies and niggas keep me worried 

And in the wee hours, they be sitting foaming at the mouth in alleys 

They’re crazy ppl out there worse than you

Dropping people in the river and they’re raping them too 

They got this crazy killing homeless 

Leave ‘em in bags 

Chopped up bodies 

And none of them tagged 

The cops know his M.O. and prerogative too 

On a trail doing their best to find clues 

But they can’t seem to invade his space 

They gotta keep the pace and not waste  

Every trace to a court case 

It was captivating, to say the least. When he finished his freestyle, he introduced himself as Bricks while he put his cane under his armpit giving each one of us a fist bump. He was thankful we gave him our attention for his socially conscious freestyle. Bricks would go on to tell us he lived in a shelter around “The Dirty Circle” and seldom hung around past 9 PM because of the commotion. The TurnBridge library was where he would lounge for most of the day. Moreover, that hook he kept saying “Bricks is coming” was on repeat in my mind and it was unrelenting until the next morning. Not to mention, I took a video of him performing his freestyle and the video was something to marvel at because it wasn’t merely the way he was rapping, but it was his body language that gave me the inclination that he would make a great MC, so I had to share it. In the span of two days, the video went viral and I began receiving hundreds of likes, shares, and retweets on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The notoriety and adulation he received were expeditious and what made everything more resplendent was seeing him being interviewed on Chronicle, a Greater Boston television program. On top of that, a woman who ran the Boston Hip Hop Soul Festival (BH2SF) in Jamaica Plain Boston called in expressing her appreciation for Bricks and would go on to extend him an invitation to perform and tell his story on stage. 

“You’ve made it brotha” I said to myself standing in front of the TV 

Seeing Bricks up on stage performing at the festival was a gratifying experience. It was a beautiful symbol of what you can achieve when you put your heart and soul into something. Here was a man who was once down on his luck, and now he was getting to do what he loved in front of a big crowd. It was an inspiration to witness and a reminder that it’s worth helping those in need in whatever way you can, even if it seems impossible to make a difference. I know you think the story ends here, a happy ending for Bricks and a sense of accomplishment on my end for my contributions but Bricks found himself in a heated exchange in Boston on the strip of Methadone Mile on the last week of August with a homeless man he once knew. The man Salamander Steve Simmons (he got that name for always slipping past the law) who is charged with second-degree murder wanted Bricks to help him get some heroin and when Bricks refused, the man swiftly pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed him in the stomach. I still think of Bricks to this day, replaying the viral video I recorded of him with a smile on my face. With that said, I believe that potential is vulnerable and should be protected at all costs. 

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