Bullets of Love and War

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Chapter 16

When I said that Springfield, Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, I really wasn’t kidding. Being in the metropolitan area of Springfield, you can find all the authentic sites of Lincoln that tourists and also the native people enjoy. His presidential museum is here, along with his tomb, a small historical town called New Salem, and we even have an Abe statue. I’ve heard that if you rub statue Lincoln’s nose, it is granted good luck. Too bad I don’t believe in stuff like that.

Chicago is only a two hour transportation trip away, and I think I favor Chicago a little more than Springfield. Springfield is really flat and kind of boring because it’s too enriched with history and cultural artifact. Not to mention, it’s countryside landscape encompasses most of the inner city.

“Chicago is where it’s really at,” Blake tells me as we’re still on the public bus going to Dairy Queen, where Blake says has the best ice-creams.

“How?”

“Man, Chicago is it’s own world. It’s a world up there. Too bad this boring ass Lincoln-Ville is the capital of the state.”

I nod, my hands clasped firmly around my book bag straps. I’m swaying side to side because we’re on these awkward sideway seats that face across instead of forward. As I start sliding when the bus advances forward, Blake grabs my thigh to better balance me. This action makes me bite my lip and continue to look forward. An elderly man sits directly across from me and he eyes Blake’s hand on my thigh.

He gives me a small smile and a wink.

Finally getting off at our stop, I take a moment to inhale the city air around me. It’s not too fresh. Kind of thick, but there’s enough wind for circulation. Blake steps in front of me to lead the way. I notice his tense back muscles through his jean jacket, and I have the slightest urge to massage them.

Why are you so tense Blake?

We walk our way inside of crowded Dairy Queen, and all sorts of smells sock me in stomach. Platters of burgers, fries, chicken, and shakes blur together like oil paint. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to stomach large portions of food like everyone else.

“What you want?” Blake interrupts my internal tormoil.

“Um. I’m not sure.”

“Well I just came for a cone. DQ’s got the best ice-cream to me.”

The sound of a cold treat seemed pleasing at first, but now, not so much. My gut envies the sight of any dish larger than the serving size recommended. Of course though, who listens to serving sizes?

Eventually, I overcome my stomach’s pleading of a no-food strike and order myself a banana split in which Blake pays for. In doing so, I notice Blake has a hefty roll of bills just neat and folded. It was right in his breast pocket. In the back of my mind, I want to believe that he earned that “clean” money, but knowing what Blake does, I’m sure my beliefs are therefore invalid.

“Are we eating here?” I ask.

“Hell naw. Too many people.”

“Right.”

My banana split is carefully put away in an air-tight container and Blake takes his bland vanilla cone in hand. We leave as swiftly as we came in, greeting the city avenue once again.

“What was the point of this?” I ask, squinting my eyes against the sun.

“Because, you was getting on my nerves. Needed something a little sweet to calm me down too.”

“I heard you’re in trouble.”

He licks around the human crafted swirl once, and then back around again. I watch his tongue devour the top layer of cream, and I’d be lying if I said watching his tongue wasn’t amusing me on the inside.

“Well you heard right. I am in trouble.”

“Tell me. What happened?”

“Nothing to be saying out loud right here in the street.”

He juts his chin down the street, where a public park is open to visitors who want to air out their dirty drama to helpless people like me. He eyes the facility.

“Come on. Let’s take our asses over there.”

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