Franchone halts mid-flight then backpedals, apprehended in retreat by a mechanized voice that echoes through a speaker near the mail box.
He checks his watch, then rolls his eyes; it is way too early.
He reflects, as static from the speaker goes tersely mute.
Least someone's up. The question is; did I ring the right apartment? And, if I did, are both girls out of bed?
He frisks his pockets, finds a toothpick, pokes the tip through its plastic sheath, and wedges it to depress the nipple-like buzzer, then scampers back to his lookout parallel to the bus shelter.
That should do it. If I park myself right here I can see the door through the foyer's grate, and... Yup, there's one of 'em—mad as a hornet—not the GRAY-HAIRED GIRL; too bad. But if she's there, with any luck, she'll vacate soon.
Meanwhile... Jesus in dreads, I think I was describing, his crown of thorns all but lost in a Rastafarian do. Broad nose, wingtip nostrils, inner-tube lips, skin dark as mine—I kid you not—Christ was a bro, in my forty-wink-delusion. Can you imagine? Can you picture White folks worshipping a God who's Black, Red, Yellow, or Brown, or for that matter any shade besides their blond-haired, blue-eyed icon's? Only niggers can be made to venerate Gods who don't resemble them—slave, or slave mentalities, key to the subterfuge. Or such was my 'polemic' when refuting dear ol' Dad.
Plus other inflammatory outbursts. Devil's Advocate was my role, until my Westward Ho to college—which he paid for, hence my having to undergo sermons whenever I returned. I think he knew, though, that he'd lost me, and it pained him, bless his heart. I've never hated loving anyone more than dear ol' Dad.
The traffic builds, as cars set off to join the rank-and-file commute—trucks on delivers, buses shuttling (Franchone waves another by), the city rising with its morning-breath-yawn to pollute an amber sunup turning puddles of vagrant piss into uric-acid clouds.