Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Slim

I was escorted around central Philly by a convicted murderer. I only got two shitty photos of the guy because he told me he didn't want his photo to be on the internet.


I got off the china bus after almost 2 hours on the road from NYC to Philly. Hungover when I arrived, from 4 Heinekins that I drank on the ride; a tall, older looking black guy offered to light my cigarette.

To Slim,

Unsure of where I was going I asked this man if he knew where Broad street was. So much can be said about a city based on how people give directions.

In the town I live in, in CT, people will go completely out of their way to give you step by step directions, complete with landmarks and friendly suggestions.

In NYC the truth is, people can never really give definite directions, often times they only have a slight idea of where you're headed and the best they can do is "point you in the right direction" which is generally in the opposite direction that you came. But I'm sure no one would EVER escort you to where you needed to be.

Philadelphia comes across as somewhat of a desperate city. This man, who introduced himself as Slim informed me that I need not take a taxi because I would probably get ripped off.

"As soon as they see you with that rollidex, you're done" referring to my blackberry.

"Come on, ill show you" and so he escorted me to exactly where I needed to be and on the way we talked and schooled me on how things worked in Philly. But of course, during these desperate times in this even more desperate city, everything has a price.
He told me 10 dollars was his "fee", and in my mildly drunk, ignorant and naive state, I happily paid the man. I actually dropped my wallet in the middle of the street and thankfully a lady picked it up and flagged me down because in retrospect, if it had been anyone else that picked it up, I would have been SHIT out of luck 15 minutes into my trip.


Wednesday afternoon I found my way back only to see Slim standing @ the bus stop in the same outfit he wore the day before as if he had no home and slept on the street.

Slim was no employee of the cab stand, more like a street entrepreneur, someone whom made money how ever he could.

I told Slim I needed a cheap ride home, and in the same way he escorted me to my location the first day he took me around the area to some Chineese guy that sold tickets.

"Come on, follow me"

A long the way we talked some more, and in between history lessons on why Cambodian women resembled Black women I found out that Slim was a convicted murderer. This isn't the first time I've met someone that's gotten into trouble, but rarely people ever just come out and own up to their crimes. People like to twist their story to make it sound like they were somehow wrongfully accused or something to that effect but not slim, he was explicit as could be he owned up to his crime in the most sincere way; he killed a man. Slim spent something like a decade in prison and then after stabbing someone in the joint was sentenced to an additional 3 years.
"They were gunna give me 5 but the judge had sympathy cause the guy that I stabbed was a rapist"

To be honest, I wasn't scared of Slim. I could sense that he was something of a changed man.

"Can I take a picture of you Slim?"

"Nah brotha, sorry, I don't want my picture taken"

"Hey man, I need some liquor, where's the nearest Chineese liquor store?"

"What you need?"

"A 40"

"Aww man, we just came from the 40 store, why didn't you tell me then"

There was one moment when I was bit nervous and thought Slim had an elaborate plan to rob me. He had ample opportunity to do so, and I had no shame in showing off my wealth and upbringing (walking around with a 600 dollar camera, diamond watch, plenty of cash) but even when we walked down a back alley Slim was nothing but genuinely kind to me carefully instructing me to take pictures of certain landmarks.

I parted ways with Slim @ the bus station and while he succesfully hustled 5 dollars out of me in exchange for helping me obtain a cheap 5 dollar ticket and showing me a place to buy a 40oz.

"When you coming back brotha"

"Soon maybe"

"Alright well, make sure you stop by and say what's up to brotha slim when you touch down"

"Will do"

Keep your head up man,

The Popular Guru

Sent Via Rollidex By AT&G