Ty: there is something about the night, its coolness is cool but betraying, you see things that aren't there but there are things there. just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you. this is the perfect time to strike, in the middle of the night, that's what all the famous wars do, right? they attack at night cos it's confusing and leaves the enemy with two black eyes. it ends tonight, it ends to begin.
Ty wakes up Tudey.
Tudey: but what about the three asleep on the sofa?
Ty: let them sleep together, they've earned it. Base Fase, Scootch, and Mario each provided their share to advance this plot, but i can't proceed the plot with them or they'll end up in plots. i'm not a good leader, i'm a new leader, but i already recognize the folly of dragging other people into your bloody affairs. i do it with you cos you're family. they are friends, new friends, and i hope to see them again. a man has to stand up and do what's right, at least once. this is that one time. are you ready to ride or die with me, Tudey?
Tudey: ride. i love you, bro, but it's a new love. i do it more for my bro.
Ty: this is for Dry Dream, so tragically taken from us too soon, and too soon i became a willing slave to the emotion stirring inside me, it was love at first sight with your brother. love is the easy part, protecting that love is hard. love is easily spoken but rarely shown. to act out of love requires giving everything of yourself, it requires dying.
Tudey: so we're walking to Lofton's pirate ship now, in the middle of the night, barefoot on the sand?
Ty: running together quickly on the sand so our soles don't feel it, no time for that Jesus sand quote, time to speed along on a devil's pace to our kill.
Tudey: you're right, it wouldn't be right of you to carry the three fellas along on your tenuous string of a plan. it seems the only reason these three characters existed was to fulfill your plan, they had no life or agency outside of that, they didn't live their own lives, for themselves. i feel their pain, i'm not sure i will ever creep out of my brother's shadow. i lied, i have been doing something for myself, i've been crying over myself. i've been crying a lot lately, but i keep it in. i have to be strong.
Ty: pain has propelled me and you thus far. let's go, we can't dally, we have to catch Lofton off guard.
Tudey: you have a plan, nigga? i don't want to die. i miss my bro but not too much to join him. i don't know what happens when you die and i don't want to find out. it's scary like Halloween.
Ty: i always have a plan.
Ty and Tudey cross the city line back into the hell of their hometown. the constant riots and protests against Lofton's police have given way to an eerie quiet. it's not that they stopped, nothing ever stops in Fancytown. they were quelled. the citizens lost this round but there are always more inside agitators. Lofton's pirate ship docked by the sea make the bay swirl its waves up down and all around the heavy bulk of the ship, Lofton as always in command of the water, no tide pool is formed, no current streams without first checking in with the boat and hitting its hull. the figure of the ship forms a huge shadow over the town despite it being in a location so at the very edge of the city that it barely touches the outer streets, much less the vital hubbub of the center. it forms a shadow and is the shadow itself, pale moonlight lightly lighting the ship, the circular orb in the sky halved.
Tudey: see them?
Ty: yep, i'll take care of all the guards. i swear i already see Lofton aboard his vessel. he will soon meet with my vessel, the gun i am armed with that gives me a million arms, or maybe just ten. i see Lofton without a periscope, that's how large he looms, he's that singular solitary figure at the edge of the ship, left side.
Tudey: port. i need some port to calm me down.
Ty: it will be all over soon. i'm not a marksman, i'm more, i shoot this gun with the rage of indignity, revenge is messy, it's never thought out, but it's effective cos it's primal. i never have a plan. i've never had a plan.
at this Tudey stops in her tracks by the ship. the guards are just starting to notice the two's unusual movement shaking up the still patterns of the night. the guards draw their guns---they are the only people in the entire city allowed to have guns now---and begin firing into the sand by Tudey and Ty's feet.
Tudey crouches down and holds her ankle.
Ty shoots back, nailing one guard in the ear and the other in the neck. then he shoots all of them dead. he is suddenly by the side of a frightened, shivering Lofton who is up for one last feint.
Lofton: hughhughhugh, i'm supposed to be tracking you, but this works out fine. easier this way, get it over with, i was getting bored with the chase. Tudey betrayed me to you i suppose. ah Tudey, i see you there, i have good eyes, come on board. i thought we had something special, girl, i thought my brainwashing was getting through to you, i thought i had remolded you into an ally, formed a real friend, but i do admire your stabbing ability, woman. what happened to all of my guards, Ty? you killed them all? typical thug. where did you get the gun, we've confiscated all the guns in this city, i double-checked. all my fucking guards? i had, like, ten, or eight to protect my pieces of eight.
Ty knocks Lofton down by hitting his temple with the back of his gun. Tudey boards the ship and reaches a high spot near the golden ship's wheel, looking down on a taken-aback Lofton on his back. she takes out her blue knife from her ankle sock and jumps into the air, flying into Lofton's body, sticking the blade coldly into Lofton's war wound, his boil scar in his abdomen. Lofton reels in pain.
Tudey (screaming): THAT IS FOR MY DEAD BROTHER, BASTARD! FUK DA POLIS. feel it, playa, play the game right! get it right, mister, his name was D-R-Y D-R-E-A-M, dream about him, he was dead beautiful.
Ty: we here now, wannabe. whatup? THAT'S whatsup.
Lofton (shrieking): ahhhhhhh, i don't deserve this! i help the city!
Ty: ah, but you do, my brotha, you help yourself to this city, you make it yours with the fires you cause, so i say fight fire with fire. you're just the next one in line. every leader is supposed to be the revolutionary one, the one that changes everything, but he always ends up being just the next guy, the only thing fresh about him is that he's fresh and new. but oh how he stinks when his term is up, the stench of failure and time and familiarity soaks into every fake word he utters on the stand.
Lofton: you faggot! do you know what it's like to be a man? do you know what it takes? it doesn't take florid speeches and pretty talk and kissing ass, it requires destroying ass.
Ty: the only tail you could ever achieve was forced when you came to power. you couldn't come without power. it was your crutch that you whittled when you were a little boy whistling and dreaming of not being little anymore. you are a lousy lover and an awkward leader.
Lofton: it takes dynamism, and dynamite, it takes leaving your body to do horrible things for the greater good, it means dressing up as another character, or rather as a more determined version of yourself,
COSPLAY, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK,
it means making hard decisions, risks, real risks which cost lives, this is the jungle, kill or be killed, every civilization is built on the backs of blood and bones.
Ty: and it's singularly amazing how all of those bones are at the whim of a dictator. so many lives gone, their air leaves the balloon of the balloons all strewn along main street, lining the sidewalks, celebrating the new leader's coronation. people instantly forget what the cause du jour is, they wake up, the next morning, wondering why there are guns in their hands, knife pricks on their feet, and bandanas on their minds, they are just happy to be alive, they want to live and breathe again. by that time, it's too late, folk are gone, people are slaughtered in the name of...whatever that was supposed to be. humans are masters at forgetting, that is the only thing they are masters of in our wide vast expansive green environment. nothing is ever accomplished, nothing ever changes except for the names. the little people don't want to be stepped on, that's all. everything, especially war, is about money. cash wins out. gold is king. it's about the one with the most bones.
Lofton: how do you know i'm not the man for the job?
Ty: cos i'm the man for this job.
Lofton struggles to remove the knife from his wound and manages finally to unplunge it with a prolonged groan. it's short-lived, though, for it's replaced with the barrel of Ty's gun. Ty pushes his gun right into the sensitive area of Lofton's wound through Lofton's white shirt, paralyzing him to the wooden-plank boat floor. some of the planks are starting to buckle, crack, little streams not following directions flowing everywhere on board. the ship is taking on water.
Lofton: i'm sorry for your friend. it wasn't me.
Ty: now you are? it's not like you have a gun to your head. the three of us here are gonna tell a story. no lies, just the truth, nothing but the truth. i'm a gentleman so i'll let the lady go first.
Ty: not you, Lofton.
Lofton (grimacing): fine, i did it. satisfied? but it's not as clean as you think, nothing's clean, it's a dirty world. i was dressed as a ghost on Halloween, i thought that was hilarious. we were on patrol looking for vulnerable children and halting the perverts. i had become separated from my squadron and lost in the woods. i followed the wood path and started hearing the signs of riots and protests starting up again, scary on a Halloween night when the moon was playing tricks with the light. i thankfully reached the clearing and saw you, Tudey, all decked out as a princess.
Tudey: i was a slut but it was ironic.
Lofton: i approached you, i didn't know you lived in the house you were in front of. all of a sudden a scary big black man comes lunging at me. i didn't have time to react or think. i instinctively pulled my gun and shot through the white sheet fabric of my ghost costume. the bullet hit your brother and he died. it was an accident. simple self-defense. i thought he was attacking you. i found out the brother/sister thing after the fact.
Tudey: man, stop bullshitting! you don't look good, pardner. don't you want to come clean before the end? nigga you ain't about this life. who knows what lies in that great unknown afterlife...
Lofton (gushing blood): fine, i did it. but it was an accident. i shot him like i would anyone coming at me. i love to shoot at things, i was honed in the war, i shoot first and ask questions later, mostly the questions i need to stay free. these are the mean streets, this is war, this is discipline, this is control, this is fear, this is a police force which commands instant respect, in which every thug in my fair city will think twice before causing havoc with their shenanigan shit cos they know they're fucked, they're dealing with me, Lofton, king of the world with all the guns.
Ty (waves his gun): but not the biggest gun.
Lofton: i still don't know how you got that. the bullet pierced a hole in the white sheet i wore that night, forming a perfectly bloody ring, the hole rounded to a perfect circle and perfectly painted on the edges with deep red. the contact point and residue debris was splattered all over me and Dry Dream, the shot fired was extremely close-range, Dry was clearly just about to put his paws on me. i felt that i had been nicked by the bullet or something, shrapnel, as well. i was bleeding, and my blood mixed with Dry's blood all coalescing along the rim of that bullet hole in the white ghost sheet. i took off the sheet and tried to push it all the way into my pocket. it looked ridiculous. after zoning out while you gave me your diatribe, Ty, i waited for my ambulance and then my police to approach the scene. i probably should have gone after you two, but my body was motionless, still in shock over what had happened, and my discombobulated mind focused sharply on the biggest piece of evidence against me and before me: that huge Dry body lying motionless on the street. i made sure no one else touched or handled the body. i wanted to make sure Dry's body was cremated so as to lose any trace of him to me. not that my own police force would prosecute me, but there are other cities adjacent to ours who might have wanted a look.
Tudey: it's not emotional shrapnel tho. and did you know that bodies feel the cremation process?
Lofton (gushing): i feel, my lover, i really truly feel. i returned to this ship cos it's more important to me than life. i was thinking of stuffing the bloody sheet in the club but that would have been too obvious and dangerous. only on this ship do i feel secure, any location in the city is vulnerable, i don't feel protected there, the streets are dirty, pockmarked with endless riots and protests, it's a shitty place, i like to be apart from it. i had designs on tossing the sheet into the glorious ocean, but as we were doing our nettings in the sea looking for you i realized that some drunk fisherman might net up the sheet, it wasn't fail-safe enough. i needed a guarantee that this piece of incriminating evidence would never be found, would be near me at all times, i could look at it always with my eagle eyes. i tried, but the stain never washed off the sheet, it was as if the blood crusted into a brighter deep red upon knowledge that it would not be subjugated to the waters of God's ocean. i think of it as my ocean, but it is God's ocean. God can remove stains by dipping them in his ocean, man cannot remove stains by dipping them in his tap water. the bloody hole in the sheet stands there for all time, unable to be scrubbed off, for sins stain the soul forever. it indicts me silently, loudly. so, i stuffed it aboard this ship, that plank over there, underneath.
Ty: fish out the sheet and hand it to me.
Lofton: why? what's the point? let me penance in peace.
Lofton has no room to argue and with his last bit of strength tears up the ship floorboard and gives the white ghost costume with the bloody hole to Ty. Ty takes it and wraps it around his shoulders, wearing it as a cape.
Tudey: my turn, hold up, it's me. do you know the lengths i had to go, the path i've traveled? nobody understands another person's journey, it's done solitary and in the head. you must keep your head warm somehow, no one will do it for you. Ty told me how you had that black woman on your arm at the club when he first saw you. you obviously have a weakness for the chocolate arm candy. so i sacrificed myself and sought you out to see if you wanted my pussy. i thought if i gained your confidence, you would trust me with more information as you gabbed on in bed about your various accomplishments. i guess i lived up to my Halloween costume, i am a whore, but, wait, hold up, i ain't no whore, i did this for a good cause. everyone else in the world is a whore, they just don't wear the costume. the indignant things you did to me in that mansion bed of yours. i could never tell where your mansion was located, only that it was obviously in the suburbs of course, you had me blindfolded and driven in the back of a van every time we had our sick trysts. you never gave me any exact info i could pass to Ty, like locations of your men or stock supply or weapon systems or tanks, but i knew it was only a matter of time. why not become a police state, it's the natural progression. you were good at not slipping up with your future plans, our pillow talk consisted instead of you night after night bragging effusively over how you were a big shot navyman, you belonged in the water, you should have been a fish, you were at one with the raging seas, a modern pirate trying to bring the old ways back. so i figured if there was any evidence left it would probably be hidden in that belovedly stupid man-cave ship of yours. the one vital piece of info i did gather was when we were naked and i saw your glaring abdomen scar. the thing that disgusts me the most is you knew i was Dry's sister, the man you shot, and you still went ahead and raped me anyway. is your chocolate addiction that morbid?
Lofton: you have no idea. do you know why your mother was never around, constantly working? she's working for me at my mansion. i fell for your mother when i was just reaching adulthood and she worked at the bingo hall, she was the first woman to show me love, she listened to me though dismissed me as another inconsequential pipsqueak. i ascended to power to nab her, i loved her, all over her body, and i love her even now all these years later. i never knew your mother had kids, she distracted my mind from researching with her kisses. research is boring. she kept quiet about her family and i kept quiet about our arrangement, letting her return home sporadically to keep up the appearance that everything was busy but okay. i would have done anything for her, anything she asked of me, strike any deal to keep her. so what luck it was that the random person i shot ended up being her son! there are no coincidences, nothing is random. despite all i provided for your mother, i could tell she wasn't giving me her all, she was holding back, there was someone she loved more: her son. well now he was gone and she could be all mine. oh but there was also the daughter...
Tudey: LET HER GO, YOU WARPED FIEND!!! i'm way past your machinations, i played your machine and beat the game. when you pillow-talked to me about threesomes, i had no idea it was with my moms! i choose not to infect my head with your head, i keep my head warm with others. your thinking is simple, mine is complicated. get rid of men with guns and entice women with power, that's your method, that's how you quell, that's how you keep control. but love conquers all.
Ty: slavery, of course, the privilege of the white man. well you play the part to perfection but it is just a part. i've done a lot of research, research is good, thinking is good, using your head, it quiets the mind, it quells feelings. i found out that you played a big role in the previous war when power was exchanged, the war before your war. you were a young soldier for the cause. you blew up the city council building, didn't you. another crime that mysteriously disappeared from your docket.
Lofton: yes i did, some of my best work. i was scared i hadn't backed up far enough and the bomb would blow me up as well.
Ty: it did blow you up. and you are scarred. my mother and father were on the city council and were in the building that fateful day. you made me an orphan. now of course back then we little kids don't think much of consequences, we just act, do stuff recklessly, we certainly don't think that something we do will have ripples twenty years later. how could you imagine that you created your own killer that day? and no, not the bomb. you thought you'd be protected in your gang, as all gangs protect, and you were, that act proved to the higher-ups that you meant business, you were able to skip a few grades, climb the ranks, and enter the leadership of the new regime and eventually one coup, two coup, and you're the head of the snake ready to be chopped into and turned into two snakes. my parents were simple decent folk trying to make a positive change in this city. unceremoniously silenced. much like the silence of this night. before, they had occasion to patronize the bingo hall of Dry's mom. i never knew this, they never told me, but a connection was made between our families way back then. so when i met Dry and Tudey for the first time recently, it wasn't chance, it was destiny, the furthering of the happy string, continuation of connection, the intensity after intermittence. *smiles*
Lofton (smiles): the interconnectedness of all things, i believe.
Ty: i went around home after broken home looking for love, for family, finding nothing but abuse. this hardened me and made me shy, i wasn't a people person cos people weren't people to me. i stuck to myself, from the city but not of the city.
Lofton: that's why i could never pin you down. i have maps of this entire city, i know where everyone lives. but you never had a home of your own. you were the ghost. where did you get the gun? where have you been hiding out with that gun?
Ty: i have the one gun you couldn't take, a gun lent me by my friends. friends stretch out further than city limits. your power burns bright but in one place, this place. another city doesn't recognize your worth, the one we escaped to has its own problems and ignores you. that's the problem with power, it's prickly, it's never satisfied, it must stretch out until it reaches no more land and is in the ocean. greatness must be big and great, right Alexander?
Lofton: i would have named my firstborn Alexander.
Ty: each of my three friends, Mario, Scootch, and Base Fase, contributed to this vignette before us. they provided comfort, respite, housing, bullets, and the gun. succor doesn't suck. my three recent friends. friends are good to have, make new ones always, it makes life easier. they are how i was able to elude your capture. strength in numbers, you know about that. i wouldn't have made it on my own, i'd have gone crazy inside my head. the interconnectedness of all things.
Lofton: i was too distracted to care about a whelp like you, i was enjoying the chocolate-covered fruits of my labor.
Ty takes the gun out of Lofton's wound and points it at Lofton. Ty doesn't shoot, just points it at Lofton, points it at him.
Lofton: i did your friend a favor.
Ty: oh yeah?
Lofton: i poured Dry Dream's ashes into this magnificent ocean, i dumped him from this very ship. he's free now. i can only hope for such a ceremony when i go.
Ty: i see. that makes me smile. the interconnectedness of all things. i hope Dry is up there, or down there, happy and satisfied that there are no nobodies, everyone is important, everyone contributes, there are no accidents, accidental people, people are here for a reason, not just to be here.
Lofton is losing a lot of blood. his blood stains the wet wood of the chipping planks of the floorboard of his precious pirate ship. his blood mixes with the incoming water, salting the salt sea more. the ship and Lofton are slowly sinking.
Lofton notices Ty now, he can see Ty's face in the moonlight. clearly. Ty towers above him, he's wearing the ghost cape of evidence. beside Ty on his shoulder holding his other hand is Tudey, all black and beautiful, staring at Lofton intently. Ty points the gun down at Lofton's face, never shooting at Lofton, always pointing at him.
the three ripple the still night with their heavy panting.
Lofton smiles weakly.
one thing is for certain: Ty is white.