Clip. Clop . . . That’s the beat you hear of a heel strumming the pavement. Up and down the walk, brown leather loafers poking beneath denim fabric, pinching, peeling and molding the strut; lightly tap-clapping black asphalt.
Clip. Clop . . . The heel happy in his role as wedge to shoe—enjoying the crunch of occasional debris that meets him beneath a carefree boyish walk. How about a deft, sideways swift kick to an already dented can? Oh, the life of a sole tied to a shoe, worn by a foot, attached to a leg, all belonging to an ordinary boy named Johnny.
Doo wop diddy, just a’happily roaming in his hood, to this tune move his feet, straight to the neighborhood cross-block.
Uh-oh, barely escaped a puddle two stone-throws ago, bemuses Johnny’s sole to shoe.
Only moments earlier, a car whirs by. And you would never guess, the driver at this moment in time is just folding over his cell phone. He rolls down the window to pucker up and out-blow a big blob of chewed bubble gum goo. Gum he grabbed from a package carelessly left on the kitchen counter and belonging to his son. Neither strutting boy nor gum-chewing man could have guessed that father and son had just crossed paths. Preoccupied with matters of business, and upset he had to cut his golf game waaaay short, he’s on his way to the office to settle a matter or two, one of accounting and another related to a dwindling 401k that’s quickly going the way of the dodo bird.
Dad’s name happens to be Dick and this woman he’s married to is Wife, Take Two. Pats himself on the back, thinks what a good job it was landing her . . . tall, blonde, fit and slim. Without a second thought, he spits out the blobby gum from his mouth. And where it lands, by gosh, on the white stripe of the cross block, too, fresh and in time to meet the sole beneath his own son Johnny’s shoe. Whistling Johnny, not minding his feet, can’t stop the left shoe landing a smack-dab stop on top of this fresh blob of purple gummy residue.
With nothing about his feet yet amiss, Johnny continues to head to the local corner store, anxious to make a score. Picks up a soda from an assortment, and grabs candy off the shelf. Arms full, he struts to the counter and arranges his goods for the cash register’s unequivocal count.
“Here you go.” JohnnyBoy! spreads out a layer of five single dollars to the ginger boy flying the front counter like a WWII bomber. “Hey man, is Jay-man round back? With a grim nod go-ahead from the clerk-slash-bomber pilot, JohnnyBoy!, gum soldered to shoe and all, darts for the rear.
“Hey dude, what you got?” says JohnnyBoy! to Jay, an older boy with hair brown and eyes gray.
“How’s it hanging, bro?” replies Jay with a slight nod and wink.
“Cut class on Friday y’know,” adds JohnnyBoy!. “Skipped Miss Ellis in the afternoon; who wants to sit around and listen to her jabber-jobber ‘bout geographical land mass shmoo.”
“I’m finishing up with some blotter, says Jay. “Potent stuff. Be the first from this batch to feed your head. Rumor has it is mixed from the original ergot from Zurich, the ‘Republic’; strongest of its kind. Johnny, gotta half-smoked blunt in the bowl. Wanna hit it while you decide?”
Suddenly in a playful mood, Johnny’s face lights up. “Go ahead. Stoke it.” The two boys sit in. Puff. Puff. A big wide grin sets in. The pair giggle as strings and beads of conversation become forever lost as half-formed thoughts that diffuse, dissipate and then disappear altogether. “I’ll buy one tab plus another to go.”
JohnnyBoy! pops it in his mouth and abruptly gets up, shaking the rickety card tabletop. Wobble to and fro, and inside the glass, he causes a liquid commotion.
“Watch the vial! You’re knocking it to and fro! Careful, bro!”
Awed by the young chemist’s illicit concoction, Johnny asks, “Yo how is this stuff made, anyway?”
“My uncle is a scientist, with his own lab. He makes it and sells it too, plus taught me everything I know,” says Jay with ill-begotten pride.
Marveling at the mysterious liquid, Johnny escapes an “uh-oh.” The vial tips and—oh, boy!—a sprinkle on denim, and guess what? A purple blob of you-know-who gets splashed. The same bubblegum adhesively stuck to Johnny’s shoe. Dries pretty fast, this liquid hit. And that was all of it—an immediate fusion of essence and atomic who-knows-what.
Now in the world of un-human thoughts and things, objects and other soulless matter, the gum is alive and purple with a bubble gob mass for a head. Bubble gum turned inside out and spiked with toxic juice, cemented and transformed into a mass of LSD on chewed goo. His name, now that he’s come to, is Purple Mike.
Leaving the neighborhood corner candy store, JohnnyBoy! struts on out with an unbeknownst score on his shoe.
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