Washington DC Southside
Tyrome jumped up from his seat and grabbed the ringing phone before his cousin Raquan, who glared at him. “Hello, Catch’em Red Handed Inc.”
He heard the voice of the girl on the other end. “Tyrome Johnson that you?” she inquired
“’You is?” the boy scanned his thoughts.
“Louise. We sit together in Biology” the girl offered.
“Oh, you’re the one that done hurled!” he realized.
“Hee hee, that frog’s eyeball was pretty gross.” She sounded embarrassed.
“You ain’t need to be embarrassed, in fact in ancient times they had vomitoriums, folks were encouraged to vomit then.”
There was an awkward pause “How .....fun.” Louise stated. “I tried closing my mouth.”
“Vomit would a come out yo nose.” Tyrome offered. “Hello...” Then he heard the dial tone.
Raquan snatched the phone “Did yo dumb ass mouth scare off another one?”
Tyrome frowned. “I ain’t done nothing.”
His cousin scowled. “Ain’t do nothing? All that shit about vomiting. What the hell? No wonder you can’t get a date.”
Tyrome cleared his throat. “I got a girl, remember?”
Raquan rolled his eyes “She in another state,” he pointed out.
“She still come back,” Tyrome argued.
“For her pink sweater.” Raquan mocked.
“For her pink sweater with the puppy.” the other boy said with conviction.
“You’re the one who wanted this, ’cause you’re into that British Mystery bull!” his cousin snapped.
“Don’t you go insulting Agatha Christy!” Tyrome retorted. Raquan was cut off by the sound of the phone this time his cousin had the phone slapping his hand away.
“Yo, Catch’em Red Handed Inc., half price if you sexy.” Raquan chuckled at his own joke.
“Lame.” Tyrome mouthed getting a glare and a curled fist. “Really? damn! Okay, where’s this at?” He picked up a pencil on the table and held the phone to one ear while he jotted the address down. “Can you repeat that?” He jotted something else down “Uh huh, yeah, don’t you worry ma’am, we gonna catch this guy!” Raquan hung up the phone and pumped up his fist into the air “We gots a case!” he shouted.
“What is it?” Tyrome felt his own excitement rise.
“Finding some little girls bike.”
His spirits fell. “What no murder? It ain’t even a robbery,” he grumbled. “It’s something” Raquan retorted. “Stuff get taken here a lot,” he pointed out. “Look, it easy money, and hotties love a detective.” Raquan struck a pose to emphasize his tan trench coat.
“How’s that translate to them loving you?” Tyrome smirked.
“Least I’m getting some loving from more than a sweater,” Raquan dissed. Tyrome sighed and got up following his cousin.
The two boys ended up riding their bikes outside of Miss Philip’s house, she was the Southside gossip, knew everything that went on. A plump lady with short cropped hair and a round brown face, who always kept candy on the stand and adored her two dogs, Muffin and Kenney. She helped many of the neighborhood kids out by listening to their problems. Tyrome lost count of how many times she scolded them for not trying hard enough in the baffling place known as school. He knocked on the door but nobody answered. But her car was in a driveway which made him feel a bit uneasy. The two of them padlocked their bikes and hide them in the bushes for good measure.
Tyrome looked at him worriedly. “Has something happened?” He quickly threw open the door which was strangely unlocked.
“Maybe she gardening?” Raquan suggested hopefully. The boys went inside. “Yo Miss Phillip’s?” The place was messier than usual as if there had been a struggle Miss Phillip’s lumpy brown chair was tipped over and lying on the floor. Her dogs were still and silent. Horrified, Raquan knelt down and inspected them, his face was grim
“What kind of son of a bitch murders dogs?” His voice trembled with outrage.
Tyrome, who didn’t care much for animals, was more intrigued. “How does a person get close enough to break all four legs on two dogs, let alone kill’ em? They ain’t no prissy poodles either them be mean.” Tyrome took out his notebook and began jotting this down.
“This ain’t right, I say we get out” Raquan whispered. “Tye Tye!”
Tyrome saw a trail of red on the floor trailing to Miss Phillip’s bedroom. Feeling his adrenaline spike he opened the door. Only to gasp at the sight of a man holding a gun. Raquan tried to inch toward the door and the man shot two bullets inches from his cousin’s head. Tyrome gulped, this was a bit too much excitement even for him.
“You make one move boy, and I’ll lead to you grave.” the man stated.
“How do we know you ain’t ’bout to kill us, anyway?” Tyrome pointed out. Raquan smacked him in the back of the head. “Ain’t the time to be clever!” there was a bit of hysteria in his voice.
“Magic is real, magic is real.....haha! They didn’t believe me. All them doctors with their PHD’s and their diploma’s. I’m ill they said, seeing things, I ain’t in my right mind,” The man spat on the ground.
“Magic ain’t.....” Tyome began, but Raquan kicked his cousin in the foot.
“Yo, we know magic ain’t no joke,” he lied smoothly body language begging Tyrome to play along.
“Yeah we saw.... Santa on our roof.” the other detective forced himself to say. Raquan shot him a look that said ” Really?”
The man calmed down, but the wild look in his eyes didn’t fade. “Magic ain’t here!” He grabbed Raquan by the scruff of his fat neck. “Magic’s out there! Sometimes magic folk come here, but only a few,” He dropped the shaken boy to the ground. “We exist separate from them, we ain’t mingling with ’em, and we ain’t talk to ’em”, the man ranted. “Some folks, they like to cross worlds.” He paused, then continued his ramblings. “during the days of toiling for the master some of our ancestor’s looked beyond our world, they saw more than their narrow minded God fearing masters. They remembered their stories, our stories, some had a gift passed down through their bloodlines.” He took another breath and Tyrome and Raquan remembered to breathe as well. ” Bomoh, N’anga, Naganga, Shaman, and Witch Doctor.” The last one was said like a dirty curse word. “These are some of the names, they protected us from magic!” The man started to cry “Oh God forgive me, oh Sissy,” He started bawling harder and rocking back and forth. Tyrome stayed silent hiding his contempt; a good detective did not waste pity on murderers. However, he awkwardly patted the man’s shoulder.
“There, there, I’,m sure she understand.” Tyrome lied if he were Phillis he’d want to pound the guy into the pavement. But he had analyzed the situation and realized keeping this lunatic sweet was important to their survival. Maybe he could ask for a bathroom break but then call the police, if they got their asses down here for once they might survive. “Maybe you should have a lie down, take a nice shower and clean up?” the boy kept his tone soothing.
“NO! I gots to finish, you see Philly is one of them. She embraced her blood to cure me of my illness. Poor Philly...” His voice trembled. “She ain’t believed for years, Cassandra’s curse is upon me.”
Raquan cut in. “I ain’t mean to interrupt, but I gots to pee.”
The man looked at him as if seeing him through a haze. “To the left,” Raquan ran out of there. Ah, so his cousin had the same plan, now he had to distract Crazy so he wouldn’t hear Ray making the call. Tyrome kept his voice steady. “What’s Cassandra’s curse?”
The man looked at him “Ain’t they teach you the classics in school?” he demanded.
“Honestly sir, we’re lucky if we get any schoolbooks.”
The man muttered something, then continued. “Cassandra was a beautiful Greek princess who caught the eye of the sun God Apollo. He offered her the gift to see the future, she was gonna be his, but she ain’t live up to her end. He laid a terrible curse on her, she would see the future but no one would believe her.”
Tyrome whistled.“She kinda deserved it for trying to play a God” he pointed out.
“Do I deserve it? Did my family deserve it?” the man demanded ripping at his hair. “Her descendants, me, we see terrible things, ain’t one believe us. Philly, she ain’t believed me for years, then, finally, recently, she does.” The man’s voice softened at the memory. “She says the sprites convened. I am not lying, she believed me!” The man started crying again rather vocally.
Tyrome had to sooth him all over again; “Why’d you kill her?” Tyrome asked him. “I ain’t kill her! I’d never would hurt Philly. We argued sure, I had a vision, a terrible, terrible vision, and soon they won’t be out there anymore. Them magic folk, they’ll be in here.” the man whispered “Philly and I quarreled, she want to let things take their course...all those people, they’re gonna die, and see their families die! No one believes me but they might have believed Philly.” His face darkened. “Whoever did this heard something they shouldn’t of, afraid she might change her mind. No one will believe me! No one! I’m doomed I ain’t gonna survive and even if I do. What am I gonna do? Raise a family? Pass my curse on to my baby girl or my little boy? Stroke their head through the night while they scream in pain and horror from the visions in their head?!” Then a kind of realization entered his eyes and he looked at the gun somberly. Tyrome felt anticipation as the lunatic put the gun inside his mouth and pulled the trigger. Rayquan ran out of the bathroom brandishing a rusty Razor blade and paled at the sight. Tyrome didn’t flinch. Growing up he’d seen a lot of ugly things.
“Did you call the cops?” he questioned.
" Yes we should get out now!” Rayquan emphasized
“You let him pull the trigger?” His cousin added looking slightly unsettled.
“I analyzed the situation and if he was crazy then if he used his gun on himself instead of us, I’m fine with that.” Tyrome admitted.
" Lets just go” Rayquan didn’t look so good. The other boy headed toward Phillip’s room.
“What part of go do you not get?” Raquan exclaimed
“We have gaps in our knowledge,” Tyrome said vaguely then opened the door to the bedroom. Flies buzzed around Miss Phillips bullet wound.
Raquan tensed up. “Let’s go, okay? Tyrome? Tyrome?” He scowled as Tyrome rummaged through Miss Phillip’s drawers. “You got to be kidding me!” Raquan exclaimed.
“The cops ain’t gonna get here for a long time, if ever” Tyrome stated.
“Yeah what if that maniac comes back?” his cousin demanded. “Their might not be a maniac, the crazy man may of done it,” Tyrome looked through the late Miss Phillip’s underwear drawer.
“You know you gonna leave fingerprints.” Raquan pointed out. Tyrome flexed the thick gloves he was wearing. ” A good detective ain’t leave no trace” he responded.
“Miss Philly is really gone ” his cousin said in a strange sort of voice.
“What this?” Tyrome asked.
Raquan made a face. “If you find something private I ain’t wanna know about it.”
Tyrome grimaced. “It’s a letter” he exclaimed.
“Uh. ain’t that an invasion of...never mind”, The other boy was already reading it when there was a rustling in the bushes. “The prowler come back” Raquan squeaked.
“Sh.....sh” Tyrome warned then letter tucked his pocket he added. “We go out the front quietly as possible.” The two boys did so on their bikes and rode off without looking back. However, if they had looked back they would of seen a pair of eyes watching them.