The spikey haired teenager drove down Redwood Parkway. He thumbed through the radio stations and stopped at 106.1 KMEL. OutKast started to blare through the speakers of his blue Geo Storm.
“…me and you….your momma and your cousin too…”
He was happy. It was summer…and he was driving. Yes, he failed the driving test twice. And one time involved losing control and ending up on a random person’s lawn, but that was long forgotten. A familiar beeping sound was coming out of his saggy jeans. He reached in and pulled out his ice blue ultra express pager.
He checked the screen. It read:
(Translation “Where R U-11)
He knew who “11” was. And he was already on the way to his house.
“Dude, I’m on my way.” He said to himself. He knew he was late. He looked into the rearview mirror and saw the reason why he was so late…his hair. It was big, spikey, and held together by Dep gel and Aqua Net Ultra Hold hairspray. He saw the light at Columbus Parkway and it turned yellow. He floored the gas and sped through the light. Blue and red lights flashed immediately from behind him.
He started to panic. He pulled over. A few seconds an officer walked up to his window.
“Is there a reason I had you clocked at 65 in a 35 MPH section?”
He had no idea what to say.
“Sir, my friends paged me….and it said 911. It was an emergency.”
The officer laughed.
“911? I respond to 911 calls. Are you an officer? Why do you need to respond to a 911 call? And why do you have a pager? Are you a doctor? Need to do surgery anytime soon?”
He felt his eyes water up. He was extremely sensitive.
The officer grabbed his licence. He disappeared into the darkness. A few minutes later, he reappeared.
“I just gotta call. A real emergency. We are not done here. Stay right here. And don’t try to leave, I have your license.”
He sped off with the spikey haired boy’s license. The boy didn’t know what to do. He waited and stared at his pager again. Ten minutes passed and he saw a familiar car pass him…a red BMW. It made a u-turn and slowed to a crawl right next to where he was pulled over.
“Dude, what are you doing?”
He peered over and saw the red BMW filled with five of his friends. The very friends who sent him the page.
“I got pulled over. I got a ticket.”
A voice yelled from the backseat of the BMW, “Well, why are you here? You could leave…”
“I can’t Eric…he took my license. He told me to stay.”
Another voice spoke up from the front seat….”That’s what you get Speed Racer….What do you think this is Mario Kart? Vroom-Vrooming all over this place in a blue wannabe rice rocket.”
The spikey-haired boy laughed.
“You’re a jerk, Rio.”
Who knew that that same boy would drive these streets again 19 years later. He never knew he would be back. It was unexpected but he felt at home. Now when he looked in the rearview mirror he saw a 36 year old man with a shaved bald head. The long flowing spikey hair was gone. And black glasses sat on his face. He drove down Columbus Parkway and felt content. Yes, his hometown had received a bad rap. Yes, it was in the national news for one of the most unsafe places to live. But, he didn’t see that…he saw home. He saw the city that he grew up in. The memories flooded his head as he drove by his old high school. And things have not changed much. Bud’s Burgers was still here….and the same lady with two teeth worked the register…except she was older. The familiar weird smell on Sonoma Boulevard was still there. This change of scenery brought him closer to his friends…his besties. He was brought back here for a reason. And he looked forward to what God had in store for him.