Street Ballet

by Darione Woolridge

The part of uptown on Fourth Street, where I live, is kinda like a hip-hop dance. The street starts slow, like the first couple steps. Early Saturday, I step outside, feeling for the day. I watch Winchester watering his greens, Paul on the corner cutting his grass.
“How ya doin’?” Greetings from the early morning vics coming for their fix.
Between ten and noon, the block picks up like the dancers’ moves when the beat drops.
Amber comes strolling in after a night of tricking. She on her way to the trap to get her morning fix. She sees my brother and I on the porch. Stops to hug us and slides me a twenty, then goes about her business.
By now, Trap Niggas are up ‘cause money flowing in. Now the old men have gathered on the corner to mind business that’s not theirs.
Little after twelve, Miss Dot comes passing in her red truck, honking her horn. I wave back and give her ten minutes to set up the store. Then, I take another trip.
“Good mornin’, Miss Dot. Lemme get two cokes and a yellow bag of M&Ms.”
Walking out of the store, the beat’s a little more hype, the dancers moving faster. I’m walking home, watchin’ the bad little kids riding bikes and the bums walking down my block. Trap Niggas raising hell because the vics testing their patience.
Miss Loudmouth out the Calliope, screaming at her son because he twitched behind outside after he wasn’t suppose to.
I reach my bottom step and here come Dawn, talkin’ buku nonsense. I just laugh and say, “Girl, you crazy.” Then I go inside because I don’t know what she said.
Now, the dancers are movin’ slow again, like the song is acapella. From two to nightfall, it’s slow. Kids still riding bikes, old men still on the corner, and vics still trickling in. I took my daily walk to the snowball stand and about three more walks to Miss Dot. Hard workers come home to settle in. I sit on the porch and watch as the dancers swirl in front of me.
The sun is disappearing and the beat drops again, harder than ever, and the dancers are moving just as hard. I sit on the porch, just watching. How true it is that the freaks come out at night. Watching vic after vic after vic come through, tore up. I wait for the big finale—here it comes. Head Trap Nigga gets high on his own stuff and comes out, waving his gun, screaming about killing anyone who doesn’t leave his house. I just laugh ‘cause I know he lying.
Then Dawn comes, drunker than earlier. She cusses everyone out and make buku noise again, ‘til Head Trap Nigga beats her and tells her to go to bed. It’s about three a.m. and the dancers are done. What a finale it was. In a couple hours, the next song will start. I can’t wait to see what dance they do they do this time.