Macky's Place

by Tony Lindsay

            Macky’s Bar is not distinct from hundreds of other south side bars in Chicago. It has a single mahogany bar facing a wall width mirror; below the lighted mirror is a long shelf which holds bottles filled with liquid spirits.

            The bar stools at Macky’s have seen better days but not at Macky’s; he brought them second hand and worn. The brass foot railing of the bar hasn’t been polished since the bar was named the Irish Rose and the same carpet that covered the floor boards of the Irish Rose in ‘67, spots the floor at Macky’s in 2003. Macky is not known for his renovations; what he is known for is his constant conversations, unwavering opinions and good corn liquor.

            Maccom Taylor brought the bar after he retired from the Board of Education in ‘89, he was sixty five years old. He would have retired at sixty two but he didn’t want to be home alone all day, he waited for his wife to retire so he would have some one to talk to through out the day. While he was the janitor at Nicholas Copernicus Elementary School he spent a good part of his day talking.

            His favorite conversations was with the students and what he enjoyed most was surprising them with history facts about Chicago, none  knew of the blizzard in ‘67, the riots ‘19 or about that Indian tribes once inhabited the area. Most of the students didn’t care much about past events but they all showed an interest in hearing about the Indians; passing a little history along either to children or uninformed patrons at his bar, is one of Macky’s life passions; another is the distilling of quality corn liquor. 

             His grand daddy and daddy were both bootleggers and producing the family recipe was a trade that had been passed down for three generations. Macky’s son dying in Viet Nam stopped the tradition. It was said that Macky’s corn liquor was the best in the city and he knew it was the illegal shots of the liquor, not his knowledgeable conversation that kept a lot of the regulars coming to the bar. Macky only sells shots while the bar is open, but after hours he sells pints and gallons from his second floor apartment across the street.

            He moved into the apartment after Celestine, his wife of thirty five years died. Despite his daughter’s protest he sold their suburban home shortly after his wife death and returned to the city. His daughter Elizabeth felt the suburbs were better for her aging father and tried her best to stop him from moving back to Seventy First Street. Macky left the city decades ago only because Celestine wanted to raise their two children in the suburbs: with her and his son Thomas gone, and with Elizabeth grown, married and mother to her own children, he figured he could live where he wanted, so his daughter’s protest fell on death ears.

            He was born in Chicago and spent his childhood in a gray stone building on Fifty Fourth and Indiana. When his father started working at Sabastine’s hardware store the family moved to Seventy First Street. Eventually his uncle and father brought the hardware store and the family moved atop it. The hardware store is now a barbecue joint and Macky who still owns the building, rents out the larger front apartment that his family once lived in.

            His renter, Veronica is a nice young woman with five children; he rented her the apartment after she came to the bar with plate of spaghetti and chitterlings. At the time his was living in the larger three bedroom apartment in the front of the building. She came into the bar dressed in jeans, gym shoes and a white sweat shirt, she sat on a stool and put the hot plate of food in front him.

            The aroma that rose from the plate told him she knew how to uses spices, garlic and onions. He’d just opened the bar that day so it was only him and his Pit Bull Cesar there. Veronica uncovered the plate without a word and handed him a fork. He’d seen her and her five children on Seventy First Street before; quite a sight they made walking down the street, all six of them round with weight and short statue; a chubby mother with five chubby children. 

            While he was eating she told him how she’d been sick with asthma and was two days away from being evicted because she hadn’t paid her rent, and her nonpayment of rent was not totally due to her sickness, she liked to gamble some and had had a bad streak, but she assured him that she was working on the gambling and with all her heart and soul. She swore that if she was given a break she would never put her children at risk of being ‘set out’ again.

            How she got into the situation she was in was totally due to her own stupidity because she received a monthly check that was big enough to take care of all her five children. What she needed just then, was an apartment to move into that wouldn’t require a security deposit. She’d heard from Nathan, the handy man that Macky used, that he had a small place atop the rib joint and that it was empty, she knew it was too small for her and her five children but she only needed a place to stay until she got her money together, a place that would stop her from going to a homeless shelter.

            Macky who had been eating and listening looked into the round face of Veronica, he saw eyes that he thought were honest and sincere, while he was forking up the last of the chitterlings and spaghetti, she added that she cooked every day and that he could expect a plate daily and a real good meal on Sundays. That clinched the deal for him because the plate of food she offered reminded him of Celstine’s cooking.

            Macky moved into the smaller unit in the back and gave Veronica and her children the larger front unit. The moved turned out to be better for him because of his three a.m. corn liquor customers; they could park in the alley, walk straight up the back stairs, make the purchase and leave barely noticed. The move benefited him and Veronica.

            If Veronica still had a gambling problem it didn’t show in her affairs, the two years she rented from him she never missed a rent or a plate and she kept her kids quite and clean. That’s why when she came into the bar on a Friday night, his busy night, to talk him about his grandson, he gave her his ear.

            Every stool at the bar is occupied and people are standing behind people trying to get drinks. Macky is at the end of the bar dressed in his customary white button down shirt, black dress slacks, gray suspenders and black Stacy Adams lace ups. His arthritis stops him from ironing and pressing the cotton shirts like he did for most of his years, he now sends them to the laundry to get cleaned, pressed and starched.

            The aliment also stops him from pouring drinks on his busiest night, he simply can’t keep up with fast pace the Friday night crowd demands, so he hired two pretty bartenders for the weekend shifts; Renee’ and Regina, sisters that are three years apart but  most people mistake them for twins.

            The pretty sisters at one time owned their own bar in the neighborhood; mismanagement and back taxes put them out of business a year ago. The sister’s popularity in the neighborhood added to Macky’s already busy Friday night. For fifty plus year old women, the sisters are very shapely and dress to draw attention to their curvy hips and healthy bosoms, more than a couple of the weekend patrons are suitors of theirs.  

            Looking over the crowd Macky guess about fifty percent of the customers are do to the sisters, he smiles as he watches them skillfully pouring shots. When he told them about the corn liquor shots all they wanted to know was what would be their end. 

            Whatever the news is Veronica wants to tell him about his grandson has her upset. Macky who is standing silent next her watches as she fidgets with the jewelry on her wrist and fingers instead of talking to him. He gave her a free beer which she hasn’t touched. Macky is standing at the end of the bar leaning heavily on it because he gave her his stool. The small of his back his tightening from the leaning position his tall frame demands while standing at a bar.

            Through the buzz of the Friday night patrons he hears Veronica whisper, “I think . . . no Mr. Taylor I know: your grandson is selling rocks behind our building, he does it out of his car.”

            Macky leans towards her, “Rocks?”

            She looks up from her jewelry and into the dark green lenses of Macky’s eyeglasses, “Drugs Mr. Taylor, cocaine.”

            “Tyrese?” He stood straight up from the bar. Last he heard the boy was doing all the right things. What Veronica is telling him doesn’t make since.

            “Yes sir, it’s him and two other boys. They sell up until it’s about time for you to close the bar; before your after hours customers start coming to the alley. Mr. Taylor my kids play in that small back yard, and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t say a word to you but I don’t want them to get hurt. Selling rocks always brings some kind of trouble, shootings, beating something bad always happens. I tried to talk to Tyrese but he told me to mind my own business. Mr. Taylor having a safe place for my children to play is my business.”

            She stands from the bar stool and drinks down the beer, “if you walk over there now Mr. Taylor you can see for yourself. Goodnight now . . . and I ain’t telling you this to start no trouble, I’m trying to stop trouble.” Standing taller than most of the crowd; Macky is able to watch her wobble through the customers and out the door.

            Tyrese is a seventeen year old high-school senior who has already been accepted to the University of Chicago. He was raised out in the south suburbs and still lives out there with his mother and father. Lately Macky has been seeing the kid a lot on Seventy First Street but he figured the boy had found himself girl friend down his way.

The truth be told Macky was happy to see more of the lanky boy who walked just like his son did at that age; long steps that would take an average man two to keep up. Both his son and his grandson got his families height. They were tall men. Tyrese even smiled like him and Thomas, yes seeing the boy brought joy to Macky’s heart. Why would the boy be selling drugs?

            Macky returns to sitting on his stool. He knew the answer to his question: fast money. The same reason he sold corn liquor when he had a good job with the Board of Education. Having extra money never hurt him, it wasn’t hurting him now, matter of fact the corn liquor money was what he was planning on using to help Elizabeth with Tyrese’s tuition.

            Sitting five stools down from him at the bar was Nathan, his handy man and brew assistant. He knew Nathan was spending time up at Veronica’s; a great deal of time. He figured if something was bother Veronica, Nathan knew about. He looked at Nathan long enough to catch his eye, with a nod of the head Macky signaled for him to meet him in the back office. Nathan gave an agreeing nod and drained his beer. Macky rises slowly from the stool and walks towards the back office, Nathan is beside him.

            “Arthur with you today Mr. Taylor?”

            “Yes buddy, he rode down on me this morning something fierce and been riding me every since. You would think as busy as I stayed most of my life the good Lord wouldn’t have gave me an aliment that slows me down. He knows I got to move around but maybe me moving around so much is what he’s trying to stop; who knows? But I sent off for some herbs I read about last week, from Asia, from what I read on the inter-net they just might be some help. I read about something to help you with that gout too, I ordered if for you.”

            “Why thank you Mr. Taylor, if they work half as good as them roots you gave me to help me sleep, I’ll be on to something.”

            When they make it to the windowless back office which doubles as a store room, Macky sits on high stacked cases of can beer and Nathan who remains standing pulls close the door. It’s a small room made tight with bar stock. Macky’s eyes immediately go to a mouse scurrying into a hole in the corner. Macky has been seeing the mice for about six months and doesn’t have a big problem them because he enjoys watching Cesar chase them through the place.

            “You seen me talking with Veronica.” Macky looks through the dark green lenses of his bifocals to Nathan.

            “Yes sir.”


            “She’s telling you the truth Mr. Taylor, him and his boys been back there a couple weeks. They get back there about three thirty, four in the afternoon and go up until the time for you to close the bar.”

            “Is Tyrese in charge?”

            “That’s how it looks sir, I see them turning over the money to him. He’ll leave one or two of them sitting in his car while he goes off. He works the last couple of hours himself.” He looks down at his watch, “he probably out there now sir.”

            The thought of walking across the street, then down the block and up the alley wasn’t an appealing thought but they obviously want him to see Tyrese with his own eyes.

            “Is your car out front?”

            “Yes sir.”

            “Will you drive me around there?”

            “No problem Mr. Taylor.”

            “All righty then, meet me out front in minute.”

            With Nathan gone Macky sits quite for a minute. Life has always had work for him. This is a problem he is sure his conservative daughter and son-in-law could not handle. They would either have Tyrese arrested or sent to psychiatrist; when it was obvious to Macky that the problem was purely financial. Before Macky stood from the stacked cases he began formulating a plan in his mind, one that could serve his need and Tyrese’s; especially since the boy was already showing bootlegger tendencies, might as well point him in the right direction.

            Before leaving the bar Macky went behind the mahogany counter and got his .38, just in case; he also thought about taking Cesar out from behind the bar to get some night air but thought better of it, since he and Nathan both would be gone. He left Cesar for security. 

            When they turned into the alley Macky has Nathan park against a garage a few houses down from his grandson’s parked car. The boy had quite a business going, a steady stream of people are walking up the alley to his car.

            “How long you say he’s been in business?”

            “Three weeks at the most.”

            “Looks like he’s doing pretty good for himself.”

            “This ain’t nothing Mr. Taylor, sometimes they have folks lined up.”

            “Lined up? Don’t that attract the police.”

            “Not yet but it will.”

            “And how much does what he sells cost?”

            “Ten dollars a rock.”

            “Do you use that stuff?”

            “No! I can’t afford a habit like that. Folks spend they whole checks on that mess.”

            Macky sat and watched over forty people walk to grandson’s car. His corn liquor business, with the shots sold in bar made about eight hundred a week, he figured his grandson business was doing better than that in a day. The boy could pay for his own college tuition if he didn’t go to jail first.

            “Cut your lights on pull up along side the car.”

            After Nathan pulled parallel with Tyrese’s parked car, Macky climbs out with his .38 to his side. He anchors himself on Nathan’s old Ford Galaxy and slowly walks around to the Toyota Celica he brought his grandson.

            He taps on the driver’s window with the .38. People continue to walk up to the car even with him standing there. When his grandson rolls the window down, Macky feels a blast of cold air from the air conditioner. It isn’t hot enough to be running the air, it’s a nice cool night; the kid is wasting money Macky thinks. Once the window is rolled all the way down, Macky sees a shocked crooked smile: that could have been on his son face.

            “Hey Papa.” Tyrese says.

            “Boy get out of this alley and meet me back at the bar. And damn it I mean right now! No matter of fact open up the door and drive me around to the bar.” Macky turns to Nathan’s car and yells, “Go on back around front, I’m a ride back with my grandson.” Macky makes it around to the passenger door of the Toyota.         

When he gets to the door he sees an embarrassed young lady trying to pull her clothes together; she slides past him without saying a word.

            The car is low to the ground, he knows he will need help getting out of it. When he finally gets in he says, “Get on around to the bar before I smack your ass upside the head with my pistol.” And after stooping to get in the car he is mad enough to do it. 

            Between his grandson’s legs he sees two paper sacks; one is filled with little tiny plastics bags with white chips inside of them. Macky guesses that these are rocks. The other bag is filled to the brim with cash, he reaches over and grabs them both and with a gaze he dares his grandson to say a word.

            Tyrese has to park in the bus stop at the corner because Macky’s customers have occupied all the parks in front of the bar. “Get on around to this door; you’re going to have to help me out of this here car.” He orders.

            His grandson is a thin boy but Macky fells his strength as he anchors against him to rise out of the Celica. Standing he and his grandson are the same height, he looks into the boys brown eye’s and says, “So you a drug dealer now, huh?”

            “No Papa not really.”

            “Ain’t this drugs in this here bag? Never mind, come on inside with me.”

            Nathan walks up on them and Macky tells his grandson, “Give him the keys to the car, it will be awhile before you be driving that little machine, the title is still in my name.” His grandson’s mouth drops open, Macky ignores his unspoken  protest and continues, “Nathan take it around to garage and park it next to the kettle, I think it’s enough room.”

            Hesitating to hand the keys over Tyrese says, “Papa I’ma need my car to drive home.”

            “You ain’t going home tonight, so that ain’t your worry, give him the keys.”

Reluctantly he hands him them over.

            Walking to the bar Macky notices Tyrese has slowed the pace of his walk for him and the boy  had nerve to be smiling a little bit, but Macky couldn’t get mad at the smile because he is smiling too. The two like being in each others company, they always have and it has always shown. 

            “How you feelin’ Papa?”

            “Could be better, a little stiff.”

            “Papa I not a drug dealer.”

            Macky feels Tyreses trying to look into his eye but he continues to look straight ahead.

            “If you give me a minute to explain you’ll understand.”


            When they get into the bar he tells Tyrese to, “get on behind bar and start on that sink of dishes, and don’t leave from it.” Macky makes it to his stool at the end of the bar and sits.

            To the bar tendering sisters he says, “Y’all got a dish washer tonight so keep the drinks flowing, don’t neither one of y’all touch a glass. He’s washing for the night.”

            Keeping the paper bags in front of him he folds them over to prevent anyone from looking inside, he shakes his head at his grandson who is dressed in blue jeans four sizes too big and white T. shirt equally over sized. He looks more like a thug than a college bound senior, Macky flips open his cell phone and dials his daughter’s home number.

            “Hey Beth . . . oh everything’s fine, I’m calling to tell you Tyrese is spending the night with me . . . his board up service job . . . oh they got sent home early so he stopped by the bar to see me . . . well since I own the joint I think I’ll risk breaking the no minors law . . . just letting you know he’s with me . . . love you too baby.”        

            Macky signaled for a double shot of corn liquor and pulled from his shirt pocket one of his last Cuban cigars. It was Tyrese who directed him to the website that shipped him the only box of Cuban cigars he ever had. The site disappeared from the web soon after Macky got his order so he cherished the cigars and lit them sparingly.

            This problem with Tyrese is bigger than he thought because the kid is making real money. When his father started him on the kettle he was washing out stalls at the stable so the corn liquor money was big time for him and he knew from birth that one day the family business would be his. Tyrese knew very little of his business and had no expectations of taking it over. The truth be told Macky was thinking about giving the recipe to Nathan, who’d been his assistant for over ten years and knew everything but the proportions of the ingredients.

            Macky is  rolling the tip of the Cuban cigar around in his mouth thinking; the boy is probably splitting the drug money three ways, the corn liquor money would be all his and the hours were a lot less, brew for two days distribute for ten and it only takes a couple hours a day to distribute. Macky would still pour the shots in the bar for him, so he wouldn’t have to work in the bar, just serve the after hour customers a couple of hours a night: easy money any way a person looked at.

            Nathan is walking into the front of the bar, “Nathan, come here.” Macky yells through the rumble of the bar. He watches his assistant make it through the shoulder to shoulder people to him; over the years Nathan had become more friend than assistant.

            “It was more than enough room, we could get another one of them little ole cars in there.”

            “That’s good . . . listening here Nathan what are your plans with the corn liquor business?”

            “I ain’t no plans sir, I just do as I’m told.”

            “I know that, but do you want something out of it for yourself. Would you like to one day run the whole thing?”

            Without hesitation Nathan answers, “No Mr. Taylor, I wouldn’t. I don’t want the responsibility you have. If something goes wrong with a batch, people coming after you, not me and I like it like that.”

            “You happy with your share?”

            “The moneys fine, it always has been. I ain’t got no problems with nothing. You got a problem with me?”

            `”No, no not at all. I’m just thinking about turning it all over to Tyrese, to get him out that alley.”

            “Do he know how to cook?”

            “No, that we will have to teach him, along with everything else.”

            Nathan looks towards Tyrese who is bent over with his hands in the sink filled with sudsy water, “If he got half a brain he’d rather sell corn liquor than those rocks. Don’t hardly nobody go to jail for selling corn liquor no more, but damn near all them baggy pants boys go to jail for selling them rocks.”

            “That’s true, but the boy is making money. I got a sack of it right here.” He picks up one of the brown paper bag and drops it the bar top.

            “Big money big risk Mr. Taylor. Tyrese ain’t no dumb boy.”

            “That’s what I’m hoping Nathan, I truly am.”

            A stool opens up next to Macky and Nathan sits.

            “How much he know about the business now.”

            “Just the stories about the old days down south with my daddy and grand daddy.”

            “Well he must know something about now, because he got sense enough to stop doing his business before your business starts.”

            Rolling the Cuban cigar around on his lips Macky says, “You got a point there Nathan.”

            One of the sisters comes over to them with Macky double shot and says, “Now you know better than putting that fine young slim thang back here with us. I’ll have him growing up faster than want Macky.” She says with sly smile and wink of the eye. “Looking at him makes me think about how fine you must have been as a young man.”

            “What you talking about must have been? Little sister I’m good looking man now. Don’t you know that in most tribal communities men ain’t considered worthy until after sixty?”

            She leans over the counter top to Macky and places her hand on top of his, “Don’t get me wrong Macky, I know you are good looking worthy man, but a worthy man is not always what a woman wants, it’s a man who has it working . . . now that’s what I want and that grandbaby of yours . . . mmph mmph he got working in a big way.”

            Looking into the cleavage that the sister’s deeply vee’d blouse displayed, Macky tightens their hand clasp and answers, “worthy my darling not only means working but it means working with experience.” He lefts her hand to his lips and kisses it. “You need to come on over to my place one of these mornings and experience a worthy man, you might just like it.” It is now Macky’s turn to offer a sly grin.

            “You better stop!” She yanks her hand away and steps back. “I ain’t about to mix business with pleasure with you, I heard about you having bar maids in here working for free, you ain’t about to work whatever you worked on them on me, no sir Mr. Man!” She turns her back on them and walks to the other end with her sister. 

            Watching the roll of her butt Nathan says, “Them is two stacked sister.”

            “That they are buddy, that they truly are,” he agrees while rolling the unlit Cuban cigar over his lips, “So you ain’t got a problem with me bringing Tyrese on?”

            “None at all, it’s better than what he’s doing now and I could use the help.”

            “You sure now?”

            “Yeah, I’m show.”

            Nathan answers which such certainty that Macky turns to look at him and what he sees surprises him. He sees a man ten years older than the man he hired, when he hired Nathan he had to be close to fifty-five. Like him, Nathan has aged. When Nathan was hired Macky helped with most of the lifting and hauling. Macky couldn’t remember the last time he lifted a sack of corn. Nathan did all the labor and of course he needed help. Why hadn’t he seen how old Nathan had become?

            The bar closed a half hour later than usual. Folks just didn’t want to leave. The sisters had to physically push the last four customers out the door. And with very little coaxing Nathan agreed to drive the sister home, that leaves Cesar, Tyrese and Macky in the bar and Cesar is busy chasing mice. Tyrese draws himself a pitcher of 7up, comes from around the bar and sits next on the stool to left of Macky.

            “Papa, I’m tired. My back hurts, my feet aches and my shoulders are sore, I don’t see how the sisters do it. I wasn’t back there half the time they were.”

            “They’re use to it . . . they probably would get tired real fast if they had to sit up in a little car in the alley and sell drugs for hours.” Mackey still hadn’t lit the cigar. Tyrese pulls a book of matches from the ash tray in front of Macky, he lights two of them and offers the flame to his grand father. Mackey sticks the tip of the cigar into the flame and puffs.

            “Oh . . . so we getting ready to talk about that?” Tyrese blows out the matches.

            “Yes I think it’s time we talk about that.” Macky releases a huge cloud of smoke and opens the brown bag that is stuffed with the rocks. “This is bag full of drugs and you were selling them behind my building. I know this because I sat and watch people come up to the car I brought . . . and purchase this mess from you. To me, that looks like you are a drug dealer.” The cigar tip is glowing.

            “I sold drugs, that’s true but I’m not a drug dealer. You see I was only doing it to make some money for school; drugs dealers sell drugs for life. I was trying to get me enough money to do things a better than how mom and dad are doing them.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “OK it’s like this; they brought me a PC right, instead of a lap top. Every kid on every college campus has a lap top, unless of course they are poor and from the inner city; even with the phone they brought me a regular cell phone instead of a picture phone, how am I suppose to receive pictures and it doesn’t stop there Papa, a tiny tube television instead of a small plasma screen and I can’t even began to tell you how foul the clothes are they brought me.

            “Daddy told me yesterday the most I could expect was two hundred dollars a month cash from them while I’m on campus.  Papa that will be gone in a week, I know they are doing the best they can that’s why I decided to what I can because I can do better. I made enough to buy all the right stuff and put eight thousand in the bank.

            “It’s going to be kids coming from all over the country on that campus, I’m not going to be the poor kid from the inner city. I got the grades to make me equal, now I got the things. Hey you are giving me my Celica back, right?” Tyrese was trying to look past the dark lenses into his grandfathers eyes but all he could see was the glow of the cigar reflecting in the bottom half of the lenses.

            “Who are you trying to be equal to son?” His grandson sounded spoiled rotten to him and he had done a great deal of the spoiling but when ever he gave the boy something  he always told him a man got his own and the sooner he started getting his own, the sooner he  would be a man.

            “Mostly the white kids Papa. All through high-school they had better stuff, I wasn’t having it in college.”

            “You are willing to risk jail to have these things?” He mashed the cigar out in the ash tray, less than an inch of it had been smoked.

            “It really wasn’t a big risk Papa, every body knows you pay the cops to stay away from that alley.”

            “Every cop ain’t crooked son and my customers know that they still have to be careful. That alley is not a safe haven and it’s only partially safe after 3am. What I do for Sarge doesn’t protect that alley twenty four hours a day. Who told you such foolishness?”

            “Papa I been hearing it all my life, people say you own this whole block, they say the police captain and the alderman are in your hip pocket and that you supply the whole southside with corn liquor.”

            Macky removes his glasses and looks his grandson straight in the eye, “Boy don’t you know to ask me about what people say concerning me? I own two buildings on this block, two. And I couldn’t tell you the police captain’s name if you put a pistol to my head. I don’t know the man. Yes, I throw the alderman a barbeque every year because it smart to have a politician think of you as a friend, but he ain’t in my pocket. Sarge and a couple of his buddies drink here free so they keep an eye on the alley for me but I ain’t brought a safe haven.” Mackey slips his glasses back own and pulls his gold lighter from his pants pocket and relights the cigar.

            “Now I do have the best corn liquor on the southside and I do supply most of it, not all of it, but most of it. I’m not a gangster son, I don’t pay the police off and I don’t hob knob with politicians, I’m a bar owner whose also bootlegs, that’s it and that’s all.” He blows three smokes rings from his mouth. “If the police would have caught you back there in that alley selling drugs, it wouldn’t have been a damn thing I could have done expect get you lawyer.”

            “For real Papa, that alley ain’t protected?”


            “You mean I really could have went to jail?”

            “And fucked up your life” He blew a big puff smoke in his grandsons face.

             Coughing Tyrese says, “Agh man. I thought it was protected Papa I really did. I not only put myself at risk; I put my boys at risk too and Tony has a juvenile drug conviction that hasn’t cleared, he really didn’t want to do it but I talked him into by telling him how safe it was.”

            “The Lord watches out for fools and babies and you are still a little bit of both.” Macky releases a ring that grows to the size of a Christmas reef, they watch it “So I guess it safe to say I want be seeing you out there again?”

            “No, not again. This was our last night anyway, each of us made what we needed. In two weeks we will all be away at school, well I won’t be far away but still away.”

            “So your illegally activities are over.” Macky avoids looking up as he puts out the Cuban cigar.

            “Papa I’m not even going to jay walk.”

            He wants to ask are you sure but instead he says, “you know you can come to me for things you want and need.”

            “Papa you brought me the car and you are always saying the sooner a kid stands on his own the sooner he is a man.”

            Macky leans closer to his grandson and rest his arm across the back of his shoulders, “come to me next time, I always something around here for you to do and I pay pretty good. Here take your money but I’m keeping the drugs, since you said you and your guys were finished after tonight any way. Right?”

            “Keep them Papa I don’t care, we don’t owe nobody for them, we were selling two for one tonight any way. . . but what about the my car Papa?”

            Macky has him almost cheek to cheek in the embrace, “oh, you’ll get that back after you apologies to Veronica, and the way you are going to apologies is that you are going to take her and her five kids shopping tomorrow. I’m going to let you use my Lincoln and you are going to spend at least six hundred dollars of your money on them. You totally disrespected that woman and you will not get your car back until she accepts your apology. Understand?”

            “Yes Papa.”

            “OK, now be the good grandson that you are and take Cesar for a walk before you go upstairs, I’m going to wait here for Nathan.” Just as Macky spoke Nathan walks in, “speak of the Devil and he will appear.”

            “Cesar, come here boy, you ready for a walk?” Tyrese calls out. The gray and black Pit Bull bolts from the back room to Tyrese who grabs the leash from under the counter. “Papa I don’t have keys to your place.”

            “I don’t lock my doors son, people know better.” They smiled at each other as Tyrese walks out the bar. Nathan goes behind the bar and draws himself a beer.

            “So is he in?”

            “No. He’s got my blood, but he’s also his mama and his daddy and the suburbs in him. He’s a good kid going to college. Here.” He throws him the bag of rocks. “I think we need to find out a little bit more about these, they weigh a hell of a lot less than a sack of corn.”

            “Mr. Taylor, no!”

            “I was just messing with you. Unless you want to do it? No I’m just playing . . . but you are going to have to find yourself a brew assistant because you’re being promoted to cook.”

            “Cook, that means you will have to give me the recipe.”

            “Yeap, that’s what that means and don’t worry I’ll be right there with you and for awhile we won’t tell nobody that it’s you cooking, until you comfortable with it, after that, it’s all yours.”

            “Mr. Taylor I don’t want all that on me.”

            “Try it on first Nathan, see if it fits, if it don’t you can always walk away, throw me them rocks back, maybe old Sarge can do something with them.”   

Macky's Place by Tony Lindsay

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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