Posts Tagged ‘robberies’

The Love Child from Across the Border

February 24, 2010

Back in the sixties it was a curiosity and a novelty for Wade and his friends to cross over from Detroit on the Ambassador Bridge just to hang out and cause trouble in Windsor, Ontario. As a boy, it was hard for Wade to understand that those people across the water were different and belonged to a different country and they had different money and put vinegar and gravy with cheese on their French Fries. It wasn’t until Wade turned sixteen and had a car of his own did he ever cross the border to Canada. When he got there, he was disappointed to find that the differences were so subtle that they were almost undetectable.
In 1966, Wade was supposed to be in high school as a sophomore but quit so that he could work as a mechanics assistant which meant that he patched tires, changed oil and pumped gas. He wore his jet black hair in a pompadour and had cheap tattoos on his arms. He loved Elvis, the United States, John Wayne and the idea of killing Communists for the common good of god fearing, god loving, democratic, and law abiding citizens anywhere. Wade was just waiting until he turned seventeen so that with his parent’s permission, he could enlist to get on the front line of the Vietnam War.
Somewhere across the straits that separate The United States from Canada in Detroit, was a bored young woman who hated her home life and always felt like a frog out of water. I say frog because her family had lived since the days of Napoleon in Quebec and had trekked west so that her father could work for the Ford Motor Company. Her name was Antoinette and her family was a little darker than the others in the neighborhood and they spoke French to one another and attended a Catholic Church between Windsor and Chatham for French refugees from Quebec. It was at a diner that Antoinette met Wade and raced around in his car with him and eventually consummated their amorous feelings for one another and spawned a baby.
Now Wade didn’t want to be a father or a husband and he did his best to take his girlfriend out of Canada to the state of New York where abortions were legal. It was around Toledo that Wade’s engine blew up like a bomb. At first he heard metal banging fast and hard and then there was an explosion and nothing but black smoke. Wade had changed his oil for the trip but had not thread the plug correctly to the oil pan and all the oil had leaked out. A life was created and saved out of negligence.
Antoinette did not want to move to Detroit and Wade really could not see himself living in Windsor although he gave it a try and even went to work with Antoinette’s father for six months at Ford. As soon as Wade turned seventeen, he defected back to Detroit, got his parents to help him enlist and was in Vietnam faster than you could say Lyndon Baines Johnson.
While Wade was hunting ghosts in Southeast Asia, Antoinette was experimenting with psychedelic drugs and music and wound up in Victoria Island while their son Patrick stayed behind in Windsor.
Patrick learned to speak French and play hockey and love the Montreal Canadians even though the Detroit Red Wings were much much closer. It was around the age of fifteen that Patrick began to smoke pot, began drinking, breaking into homes and even robbing people for small cash with some local hooligans whenever they weren’t playing hockey. Patrick’s grandmother wrote a letter to Wade asking for help after almost fifteen years since he had left for Vietnam. Wade thought about it and liked the idea of seeing his son after so many years. If nothing else he wanted to see if the kid actually looked like him or one of his friends who might have popped Antoinette too when he wasn’t around.
Patrick was really opposed to the idea of going to Detroit for a weekend with a stranger, but the threat of pulling hockey from him in the fall forced his hand. When the man who looked like Charles Manson pulled up in an Oldsmobile 442 with the top down, Patrick was actually scared. The man looked mean with intense eyes.
Wade drove across the bridge and pulled over on interstate 75 and got out of the car and opened the passenger side door for Patrick to get out.
“You got a license?”
“No, sir…”
“Well fuck it… Now’s as good a time as any to start driving.”
Patrick gripped the wheel of the fast automobile and tried to look through the spider web looking cracked glass on the windshield. Patrick asked what happened.
“Some fucking punks were throwing rocks from an over pass. If the fucking rock would have cleared the windshield, it would have knocked my fucking head off… Which reminds me, I wanna make a stop up north to get this glass fixed today. Keep driving, I’ll tell you where to go.”
America had always appeared to be the land of opportunity on television and the streets paved with gold and so on. The streets that Patrick was driving down, had grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalks and there were burned down and boarded up homes everywhere. It was dismal and as third world as anything Patrick had seen on television. It was hard to believe that so much blight was possible in the United States and so close to Windsor.
While the windshield was being fixed at the Five Mile Auto Glass, Wade and Patrick walked over to a Coney Island that was still run by an old white man in an all black neighborhood. They ordered some burgers and talked. Both without commenting saw something of themselves in the other such as facial expressions, cheek bone structure and the shapes of their eyes. As they spoke four young men walked into the restaurant and began quietly robbing people from table to table. They would surround people at each table and quietly told them to give whatever money they had or be shot. The quartet reached the booth that Patrick and Wade shared. Patrick’s teeth were chattering while Wade sat without any expression on his face. A cocky young man with a black fist hair pick stuck in his hair and a tooth pick in his mouth sat across from Wade and dipped a fry into some catsup and put it in his mouth.
“Say man… We taken contributions today. You contribute to the cause and we go bout our business,” said the ringleader while eating the French fry.
“Boys let me explain something to you… I went to Vietnam and carried a rifle everyday while walking through a jungle not knowing if the rice farmers I just passed would shoot me in the fucking back. I walked in wet fucking boots, contracted the clap and Malaria just so I could come home and find that you motherfuckers burned up my city. This was my city back when you were just a bunch of tadpoles in your father’s nut bag and now you are going to come in here and extract money from me and all these other people? Do you feel that between your legs? It’s a 357 magnum. Listen to this…”
Wade cocked the hammer back.
“That sound your hearing is the last sound you’ll ever hear before your fucking balls fly through your asshole and splatter your friend’s faces… Now set down all the shit you just took and back the fuck out of here before I decide to shoot you just for fucking sport.”
Patrick couldn’t eat another bite nor drink another sip. He watched the man who was his biological father light a cigarette and talk about cars and women and how he met his mom and how he actually came to be. He mentioned places he had been and cars he had owned and where he wanted to move to. Patrick couldn’t help but think of the innocent people he and his buddies had robbed in front gas stations and banks in Windsor. Patrick wondered if his grandmother had told his father about the break-ins and robberies. Patrick wondered what he would do if he ever tried to rob the wrong guy, a guy like his father.
Wade and Patrick walked the block from the Coney Island to the glass shop to get the car and Wade never worried about being jumped by those that just sought to rob him. They spent the weekend swimming in a small lake up near Waterford, Michigan and then Patrick returned to his life in Windsor as if he had never met Wade. Wade wasn’t very sentimental but he did give his son some advice.
“If you’re horsing around now, use a rubber and if the rubber breaks pray and if it’s too late for that… Make sure you check the oil… I’ll see you kid.”
With that he winked, slipped a hundred dollar bill American in his hand and drove off. Never to be seen again.


Love in Detroit

October 13, 2009

September 19, 2009

Love in Detroit

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 10:17 am Edit This

            A name like Boyd Floyd in the books of most people, as the saying goes, would be a cruel choice.  Bobby, Timmy, Joey and so on, would have been better first names that would have fit nicely with the last name of Floyd. 

Boyd’s people left the Deep South in the late 1920’s.  Word got around that in the City of Detroit, in the state of Michigan, a man by the name of Henry Ford, needed help building automobiles and so they traversed their way up north and settled off what would become the Edsel Ford Freeway in Detroit or just plain old interstate 94.  Boyd inherited the modest brick home that belonged to his parents off of Van Dyke in Detroit near the Detroit City Airport, not far from the Plymouth plant belonging to Chrysler Motors.

 Boyd had everything going for him with Chrysler until they decided to close the Plymouth plant and along with it, the Plymouth brand.  Since graduating high school in 1988, Boyd had worked at the Plymouth plant.  His job eight hours a day was to put bench seats in the back of Plymouth Voyager minivans.  Each minivan got two bench seats each.  Twice back in the early days, Boyd got to meet and shake hands with Lee Iacocca.  Mr. Iacocca saved Chrysler from certain death in the late 1970’s and with the development of the K car and minivan, Chrysler was once again productive and viable.  Boyd made a good living and supported a family the way his dad did and his grandfather before him.  That was until they canned Plymouth.

Now Boyd’s wife left him around the time their two children grew up and went on with their own lives.  At the age of 39, on the cusp of 40, Boyd wondered what it was that he was going to do with the rest of his life.  He had no job, no wife, no kids and no future to speak of.  One day while things looked truly bleak for him and he was pumping gas into his light blue Plymouth Voyager minivan at the corner of Livernois and Michigan Avenues, two young black men put a gun to his head and riffled through his pockets.  Boyd had just sold some World War II mementos that belonged to his father who had fought in the Pacific.  Boyd received $250.00 for a Japanese issued revolver.  The two young thugs took that from him, hopped in his minivan and drove off.  It was that day and that moment that Boyd decided to start a life of crime.

It started with small stick ups near the casinos in and around Detroit.  There was the Greektown Casino, the MGM Casino and the Motor City Casino.  People would go into the Casinos and get all liquored up and leave at odd hours.  Boyd would usually try to find the rich cats that pulled up in foreign cars.  People who drove foreign cars really burned him up.  Boyd once went to Disneyland in California when his children were young and was amazed to find that most cars were foreign on the streets.  In fact the foreign car that he was issued at LAX was a Toyota.  When Boyd saw the car parked in the space, he went back in and demanded a domestic vehicle.  He wound up in a Chevy Suburban that cost him twice with the compact car would have cost him and so it goes.  Manufacturer plates on Mercedes was always a sure bet that he was hitting an executive at Chrysler who was probably some German born snob who hated living in Detroit but was sent by Daimler in Germany to make something of their American holding.  The robbing business was hit and miss but it kept food on the table for himself and his cat.

Like most people who opt to rob others for their means to an end, they eventually get caught and Boyd was no exception.  Boyd was charged with a string of armed robberies and was jailed in the state prison near Jackson, Michigan. 

After being in prison for a good long time and witnessing some of the worst things men were capable of doing to one another, Boyd came up with a plan to get himself free.  Every time it was necessary to appear in court on yet another charge for robbery, the deputies that transported him were always quite lax about the whole thing.  How it would work was that one would drive and one would sit next to Boyd.  Now what nobody could have possibly known about Boyd was that he was double jointed.  It was quite easy and possible for Boyd to flip his arms from behind him while cuffed to in front of himself in just over one second.  Boyd practiced this in his prison cell with his cell mate.  His cell mate would take a shoe laces and bind his arms together and watch in awe as Boyd contorted his shoulders and arms in ways that was not possible for most people.  Boyd’s cell mate had no idea why Boyd practiced doing the move over and over again until he watched the local Detroit news about an escaped convict who was on the loose somewhere near Ann Arbor.  The guys who recognized Boyd cheered wildly when they heard that one of their own had over taken not one but two deputies, disarmed them and left them handcuffed to each other around a tree off of a remote country road thirty miles west of Ann Arbor.  Boyd drove the state vehicle for a while until he carjacked a young couple who drove a Dodge Charger.  Boyd saw that the car had a souped up Hemi engine that would make the playing field even for him in the event of a police chase.  Boyd loved the car but hated Michael Bolton CD’s and so those he threw out of the window while driving along route 14 that had a large sign letting drivers know that they were on their way to Plymouth.  How ironic.

Boyd robbed people at gun point in an around Detroit for days and hid out in abandon houses and knew that it would be nearly impossible to find him due to the fact that there were so many abandon homes strewn all over Detroit.  The final plan was to hit the Comerica branch bank in the beautiful posh suburb of Royal Oak.  It was there that Boyd fell in love.

Everyone was face down on the floor of the bank, hoping that the man with the gun would not opt to use it.  A young man of Indian descent, stuffed big bills into a Detroit Tigers pillow case as Boyd unwrapped one of the lollypops in a dish left out for mostly crying children.  Lying on the floor in a skirt was a beautiful young woman with the face of an angel and blond hair.  Boyd ordered her to get up.  He held the gun to her head as he spoke to everyone in the bank.

“I’m walking out this door right now with this young lady…  I will have news radio on and if I hear on the radio that I robbed this bank and took this woman with me, I will blow her brains out…  If any of you squeal, she dies… Am I clear?”

The young woman went by the name of Amber and she lived Southfield with her husband who happened to be a police officer.  Amber had loved her husband dearly for the longest time but had grown to hate him in the last year or so of their seven year marriage.  It wasn’t clear if Amber or her husband was incapable of having children.  They both just quit trying to have children and pretty much quit the act of love making all together.  Amber slept in their big bed alone under a picture of herself on her wedding day in front of the old Tiger’s Stadium with the entire wedding party.  She looked so beautiful in her white gown and all the men and women looked so smart in their attire with the Bengal tiger symbol behind them.  Amber was absolutely terrified of the escaped convict but was absolutely attracted to the attractive man.  Nothing was being said as Boyd drove off in her car while pointing the revolver at her with his left hand which rested on his lap.

“Can I ask you not to point that at me?  I’m not going anywhere and I’m not going to fight you…  If you want to rape me you can but please don’t shoot me or beat me up,” said Amber in a soft sweet voice.

“I’m not gonna hurt you, Miss.  I just needed to get outta the bank…  I’m actually sorry to do this to you,” said Boyd softly.

As time went on, they spoke to each other as humans and as two people who were genuinely interested in each other.  Boyd learned about Amber’s hopeless home life and Boyd told her about he came to become a criminal.  Amber listened to Boyd’s plan to escape into Canada and disappear into some Canadian city and try to start over.

“I could go with you…  I could help you start over and you could help me,” said Amber to Boyd’s surprise.

“Why would you want to attach yourself to a convict on the run?”  Asked Boyd.

“Because I believe that god meant for us to meet,” said Amber.

Whether you believe that god has the time to take small meaningless creatures on one particular planet in the universe who happen to live on Earth, in the northern hemisphere, in a country called the United States in a state called Michigan on the north west side of Detroit, then you can understand where Amber was coming from.  Boyd was her gift from god. 

            Amber went and bought some horned rim glasses and blond hair dye for Boyd as he waited at the Marriott Hotel in Troy off of Big Beaver Road at exit 69 off of interstate 75.  You think I’m making those two things up but I’m not.  Exit 69 at Big Beaver Road is where Boyd was hiding out.  Boyd put his faith in a stranger who he was attracted to and felt that there was some sort of bond growing between them.  Boyd showered and shaved and when he finished, Amber came back with new clothes, hair dye and glasses.  In a matter of a half hour, Boyd was reinvented.  The clothes were stylish and Boyd actually had a European look to him with blond hair.

            “How do you think I look?”  Asked Boyd.

            Amber did not answer him but rather ripped at his clothes and hers until they were without a lick of clothes on either of them and were making passionate love to one another.  It had been so long for both of them that the love making almost appeared to be angry.  There was no anger though.  It would be like giving a steak dinner to a starving person.  They devoured each other over the course of hours.  Boyd woke up suddenly and the room was dark and he could not see a clock anywhere.  Lying on his chest drooling was Amber.  She was sleeping soundly after making love several times over the course of two or so hours.

            “I’ve got to go,” said Boyd as he sat up.

            “Just come back to bed…  We can get up early and head over to the tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge and be in Canada in minutes.  This time of night they are definitely on the look out for people crossing the border,” said Amber.

            Boyd thought about it as he looked out of the window that overlooked the interstate that was mostly quiet except for trucks and a few cars.

            “Yeah… Maybe you’re right,” said Boyd. 

            With that he climbed back into bed and held the warm fit body against his once again.  He kissed her neck and ear and she ran her fingers through his hair as she pressed herself against Boyd.  They made love for a fourth time and fell back asleep unaware that swat teams, local police, state police all were moving into place.  Rather than using cash, Amber used her credit card.  They found that within the span of an hour, she bought food at a Coney Island, clothes, glasses and hair dye as well as a room for the two of them at the Marriott in Troy at exit 69 and Big Beaver.  For a few short hours on one day in Detroit, two trapped people found heaven.  Where was it?  Exit 69 and Big Beaver Road.  It honestly exists.