We knew we were in the wrong part of town when a guy threw up a Crip hand sign so he could pass by a group of dudes sitting on the stairs to a rundown row home. Just our fucking luck…the light was red.
I should’ve taken that as a sign to turn around and head back to campus, but I just kept driving, going farther into the nasty parts of Baltimore everyone hears about but hardly ever sees.
Liquor stores were on every other corner. The windows to homes were boarded up; many looked vacant. No street lights. And the people… They huddled in groups and stared at us as we drove by. They walked with hunched shoulders and short, fast steps. And their faces… They either looked tired and soulless or angry. If I had to choose between the two, I’m not sure which one I’d pick. I’d rather suck start a shotgun.
I told the brothers that I didn’t know where we were, but that was only half true. In a past life, I used to ride in the backseat of an SUV with some bad people packin’ heat. I never spoke to the Cholo or Vietnamese man, so I had plenty of time to look out the window.
I knew we were in the clear when we reached the all boys’ Catholic school, Mount Saint Joseph. It was still on a street I wouldn’t want to walk alone at night, but it was significantly safer.
Perhaps God really does reside there.
But Satan runs the rest of that town.