After meeting a friend for dinner and playing hopscotch in Central Park with two strangers on my way home the other night, I decided I wasn’t quite ready for bed.
I stopped in at the restaurant below my apartment for a night cap.
The place was fairly crowded for such a late night. Eventually, I was approached by a very attractive man. (“Excuse me, miss, may I join you for some humble conversation?”) We got to chatting. He shared with me he is Puerto Rican, has three beautiful children and is a former Sports Illustrated model. He is also a drug dealer and gang member.
“I’ve been shot twice!” He exclaimed.
“Tell me the story!” I exclaimed, right back, and he lifted his pant leg to show me his still-swollen kneecap, and the crude scar from the hole on the top of his right hand. Both shooting incidents were gang-related. His friend stitched up his hand; he had major surgery on his knee.
“So I have to ask you,” I said. “I was held up at gunpoint once, — in LA — but I didn’t get shot. I told the guy to fuck off. Looking back, I think that was probably a stupid thing to do, right?”
He looked me straight in the eye.
“Nah, man. They wouldn’t mess with you, because you’re real. And Real respects Real.”