My best friends in the whole wide world are Denys Cowan, Mike Stradford, and Jason Clark. I’d take a bullet for any one of those guys. There is no joke coming, like “in the leg” or some shit like that — when I say I’d take a bullet, that means I’d die for Denys, Mike or Jason.
Yeah, I’m writing this and I’m LIT on tequila. LIT means DRUNK.
How drunk am I? So drunk that if I even thought about driving I’d be arrested on a DWI, DUI and DWB. That’s driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence and driving while black.
I’m not so drunk that I would be stupid enough to admit I was REALLY drunk without saying: I’m just fucking with y’all. So lets say I may or may not be drunk, and for the sake of this story let’s SAY I am drunk but for the sake of any business interests that thinks being drunk is a reason not to be in business with me I’m just saying I’m drunk because it makes for a good story. Got that? Good.
So, I’m drunk…or am I?
I’m drunk (maybe) because earlier this evening I learned that my best childhood friend, Lee was shot and killed.
Denys and I have been boys for 30 years, Mike and I for 20 years, and Jason for 10. Yes, Jean, that means I’ve been best friends with Denys 5 years before I was born and Mike since I was 5.
Don’t think about it, just accept it — JEAN, listen to me — now is NOT the time to act like a black woman –just go with it! Sometimes a fire-breathing dragon is a perfectly acceptable excuse for missing a birthday, mother’s day, or a kidney transplant. You don’t have to dig deeper! Damn it woman, just accept what I tell you!
You notice the ridiculous paragraph above? That’s because I’m DRUNK…or am I just being clever? To those who are feeling my pain — I’m DRUNK! To those who may want me pay me to create or deliver original content to you, I’m just being clever. Yes, I’ve been paid a GRIP (white people that’s upwards of six figures) by three entertainment companies to run entertainment divisions, whether I’m drunk or not, that’s true. It’s also true that that the three CEO’s who hired me may have been drunk, high, or just plain stupid.
I’m kidding either because I’m drunk or clever…or I’m not kidding because I’m drunk or clever.
What I’m not kidding about is I heard tonight that my best friend from Edgemere Projects in Rockaway Beach was shot and killed.
I got out of the projects, he didn’t. I talked to him almost every day when I made the move out of the hood. As the years went by I saw and talked to him less and less. It got to a point where he would call me and instead of always taking the call I’d have my assistant take a message and I’d get back to him a few minutes later.
Then my assistant would take a message and I’d get back to him an hour or so later, then I’d get back to him the next day, then the day after, then I wouldn’t get back to him until the next week.
Then a week would turn into months then years…
Then in a blink of an eye, I’d not talked to my friend for ten years.
Then he was shot dead.
Then I got drunk.
I use to joke that if I’d ever wrote a book my dedication would read, I forgot where I came from. That’s a not-so-subtle way of saying to your peeps in the hood, don’t come looking for any bank because that ain’t happening.
I never thought I would ever write a book, but right now I’m writing four, all for major publishers. Who the fuck would have thought that? I mean really? Never in my wildest dreams growing up in the project, so poor my sister and I had plenty of mornings where our cereal was eaten with water and not milk, did I think I’d be a TV producer or a published writer.
My boy Lee always thought I would make it make it big. He told me I’d write books, draw comics, and create TV shows and direct movies. He was spot on — except for directing movies I’ve done everything he believed I would.
And as far as the movies go that may happen, and that’s not a pipe dream — that’s a real opportunity I may have in the coming months. But if it does happen, Lee won’t see it. He won’t read any of my books or hear me brag about being a special guest at Comic Con. He won’t make me feel better by telling me the critics are assholes when they tear my work apart, he won’t keep me grounded and tell me critics are assholes if I get good reviews. He won’t get to tell the old neighborhood that his boy Michael Davis is rolling with the big dogs.
He won’t be there like he was when I was 15 at a party and a guy put a knife to my throat because he thought I was someone else. Lee cold cocked that guy so hard, I thought the guy was out cold.
There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t remind Lee that he couldn’t say he saved me because the guy did end up stabbing me in the leg. I STILL have the massive scar and the knife I was stabbed with. Lee took it off him and gave it to me. I’m lucky he didn’t hit an artery and luckier still he realized I wasn’t the guy he was trying to kill. Lee said he realized that because I yelled like a little girl when I saw my blood. In a funny twist the guy that stabbed me became Lee’s and my friend because when the cops showed up I didn’t snitch.
That’s the knife pictured in the above photo. Yes, I was trying to make a statement photographing it in front of my vintage typewriter.
What kind of statement? How the fuck should I know? I may or not be drunk.
I know people grow apart. I know people drift away. I know I shouldn’t feel bad because that’s what happened to Lee and me. I know they say you can’t go home again.
You may not be able to go home again, but because of Lee I’ll never forget my home or where I came from.
Denys, Mike, and Jason — if I can’t take your call, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.