Wednesday, December 29, 2010
“Ya’ll here talkin’ about that murder?”
G. Lee glanced up from his camera and took in the beefy mailman. He seemed older closer up. A few minutes earlier, the postal carrier had been but a distant silhouette in G.’s viewfinder screen.
“Not really. Cops released a study saying they cleaned up the neighborhood. Called last week’s murder a, uh...”
G. Lee turned to the pretty blond mumbling to herself underneath the street sign.
"Hey, Cammie, what did the chief call that murder?"
"An anomaly," she replied, never looking up from her narrow notepad. "First homicide in a year and a half. Says community policing is to credit."
G. Lee noticed the mailman's eyebrows rising. "What's the real deal?"
"Off camera? This whole street's a shithole. There's not as many prostitutes walkin' around as they're used to be, but the kids from the high school over there come over here and smoke rock in the middle of the street. Suck on them pipes like their Popsicles."
The mailman's voice trailed off as he stared off into the distance. G. Lee couldn't help but stare at his thick neck straining the man's blue uniform collar.
"There's an abandoned house one block over the city needs to bulldoze. Last week I watched eight Mexican girls crawl out from under the porch. Told 'em I was gonna call the law if I saw 'em there again."
G. Lee nodded but said nothing. He could tell from the mailman's clenched jaw that the riffraff really bothered him.
"Well, the Chief says it's nuthin' but butterflies and cupcakes up in here... You know that is."
"Yeah," the mailman said as he readjusted the strap on his shoulder. "Chief needs to walk my route."
G. Lee chuckled and found himself nodding. Three houses down, two grown men huddled on a porch and passed a bottle back and forth. One nudged the other and pointed at Cammie, who seemed oblivious to everything but the Blackberry in her clutches. G. Lee couldn't really blame them. She looked like a Playmate.
"Tell me somethin'," G. Lee said to the mailman. "News crews can go about anywhere and be left alone. What do the gangbangers say when YOU roll up?"
"Ah, they leave me alone, too" said the mailman, s smile creeping across his face for the first time, "but mostly 'cause I got their checks. Plus they know I'll go to that ass..."
With that, the muscled mailman turned to leave, then stopped for one more look at Cammie's short skirt and clingy top. "Speaking of which, you may wanna get her outta here before dark."
G. Lee laughed and told Muscles to be safe. When he turned his lens back on Cammie, she cleared her throat and nodded to no one in particular, before launching into her stand-up.
"Three-two-one... Police say if any one neighborhood's benefited from community policing, it's THIS west-side community, where violence was ONCE commonplace, but is NOW virtually crime free..."