Drive-by Shooting

By Joe Chiodo

Sunday morning holy day of rest
we score a fat 80 sack
fiery fish scales
top shelf from Crazy-Eyed Sam
two gray rocks of chalky compressed powder
each twice the size of a skittle
and just as sweet
I sit passenger
terrified as usual
cops or thugs
one is sure to throw us into the shit
but not today
today we win again
Toby drives like mania in a bottle
shaken up on dope dreams
in fifteen minutes twenty tops we’ll be back
to the comfort of our red paneled garbage house
situated on a corner at the edge of the ghetto
where plight leaks into comfort
one block North
inviting homes with trimmed grass
men in ties park clean cars in garages
one block South
nothing but empty cans and broken glass
retired needles rest in cracks along the curb
and I fantasize about breaking up my half
of the potent candy
I think I’ll make it last
two days
three nights
I’ll figure it out once we get back to the hood
and it’s nothing but a lone Pennsylvanian country road
that separates us from peaceful medicating
one road
one lane
but Toby can’t wait
approaches 80 in a 45
not many patrols in the sticks
I reassure myself
he perches his boney knees on the sides of the wheel
pops the glove box
removes his rig
“can’t it wait”
not a hand on the wheel
water is poured from bottle to filthy brown spoon
80 turns to 85 turns to 90 turns to
“slow down”
back to 80 and the sludge is boiling
I wipe sweat from my brow and hope
to avoid all the things that can go wrong
when shooting while driving
tied off not an eye on the road except mine
plastic hammer drawn
syringe full of unconditional love
I prepare to grab the wheel if my driver swerves
or comatoses and foams at the mouth
eyes rolled back
soul packing its bags
they call it falling out
but he takes the hit like a heavyweight with a stainless steel chin
I calm down inside
remind myself we’re almost home
no one busted us
Toby is breathing
I got the shit in my pocket
survive survival surrender
a red house in the distance

Joe Chiodo is an American writer from Buffalo, New York. He is a graduate student and a substitute teacher. He enjoys lifting weights and putting them down and repeating the process, sleeping outside, and drawing caricatures.