This story is by Michael Garrett and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
This unique occurrence took place within the life of Patrick Flemming; a twenty year old Caucasian living in Detroit, starting on a bright afternoon in 1998. He has a strong passion in writing and rapping hip-hop music and has put many songs onto an old video sharing platform.
Patrick is spinning in a chair slowly in his room as his best friend Charlie Walker is next to him playing a video game.
“Damn this game! Trying to hit this combo is useless.” Charlie sighed with irritation.
“I’m tired of all of those games. Where the hell are all of our friends, man? I want to rap at The Corner again.” Pat replied while remaining in deep thought.
“Are you really buggin’ out on that again man? Look, you have good flow, many of the locals know this. I even heard Georgie down at the swap meet might take a look at your mix-tape with his homies from Sherwood. I know you went to that pretty boy art school in Midtown but you’re white, man.” Charlie blurted out..
Patrick isn’t surprised by this response. “Yeah well-”
Charlie interrupted, “The fools spitting at The Corner are respected by a lot of people, some dangerous even. You’re like a kitten in a cage full of Great Danes, completely alone.” Charlie laughed and patted Pat on the back.
Pat smirked and replied tenaciously, “Who ever said I was a cat? I’m a damn Husky.”
Charlie and Pat walk downstairs and greet Pat’s mom Tammy in the kitchen. Pat and Charlie do their custom handshake, then Charlie departs.
“Aye Patrick! I haven’t seen you in a few days, I’ve been meaning to tell you to stop going into my wine, I use it when my friends and I play board games.”
“No promises.” Patrick said with a smirk.
Patrick walked over to the counter and glanced over at a newspaper from earlier that year that headlined: “James Byrd Jr. killed by three white males in Jasper, Texas.”
“So I got a new boss today, oh he is just such a nice man! His name is Martell Perry, but he already told me to call him Marty.” Tammy says with a giggle.
Patrick doesn’t pay much attention to this as he is playing with the crying bird pendant on his necklace.
“That damn Greg Bowers of course doesn’t like him though…” Tammy says with a sigh.
Patrick looks up and declares: “That coworker of yours seriously needs to get a grip, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.”
“So have you told Charlie that you are going to that “Corner” place yet? I know that he’s been concerned that you might not get your voice heard.”.
“No, I am going to perform in a couple days, I am just going to tell him to meet me there and nothing else. I swear he tries to be an older brother or something.” Patrick replies.
“Don’t look at it as a bad thing, son. Real friends are hard to come by.”
A couple days pass and it’s time for Patrick’s performance. He stepped out of the shower, smiled widely in the mirror, put on his bright green leather jacket and chain, and then walked out of the front door. As he waves goodbye to Tammy he glances out of the corner of his eye, and sees her removing nicotine patches. Patrick breathed a heavy sigh and went toward The Corner on his bike.
Patrick finally makes it to the spot, and quickly notices something that makes him uncomfortable.
A loud voice bellows from a distance: “Is that really Toxic P? I thought you were still stuck in Midtown singing lullabies!”
The crowd around King chuckles and stares at Patrick.
“Toxic P” is Patrick’s stage name. It was a childhood nick-name given to him due to him accidentally spilling a janitor’s floor cleaner all over a kid in school while messing around. It bothered him back then but he decided to stick to it.
Patrick yells back: “Always great to see you, King. Are you going to give us a banger today as well?”
King Perry is an ex-friend of Patrick’s. They both grew up always wanting to be artists in hip-hop, but had a falling out when Patrick chose to go to art school.
“You mean you are going to spit bars today? As if! I’m tired of seeing your white face around these parts if I’m being real with you man.” King replies.
All of a sudden Charlie appears behind Patrick and yells: “Oi King! You just watch, this man is going to put your lousy verses in the dirt. Step off my man.”
They walk off to the side and Patrick asks: “How did you know I was going to rap today?”
“Maaaan, you never doing nothin’ unless you got that funky jacket on.” Charlie laughs.
“Aye this is the style I represent, don’t knock it buddy.”
Charlie puts his hands on Patrick’s shoulders and says: “Listen up you green ogre, this joint is a full package of Oreos and you’re the only cream its’ got, they are gonna try to eat ya alive. Focus up and kill it, I believe in you brotha.”
“Oh stop you are going to make me blush, sweetie. Anyway, stop making it a point that I’m white, never understood why that mattered.” Patrick replies.
The session starts and all of the different rappers of the area say their piece. King steps out and starts his number. The crowd responds very positively and King’s gaze shifts over to Patrick and cracks a big, sarcastic grin.
“Aaaaand straight from the country club is our last performer, Toxic P!” A voice shouts.
The crowd bursts out into laughter as Patrick steps in front of them and takes a deep breath.
I’m about to shut this whole place down.
As the sun starts to set, Tammy walks back into work after taking a break. She is surprised to see a very angry Greg Bowers arguing with their boss Martell.
“I’m sorry Greg, that you are going through personal issues, but drinking on the job is strictly prohibited. You were caught on camera, I can be terminated if I do not take action based on the company’s protocol.” Martell said firmly.
“Who the hell thought it was a good idea to make a damn black man the boss anyway? I heard that your damn son is a degenerate too, making terrible music that no one wants to hear!” Greg exclaims.
Greg grabs the bottle of liquor he was drinking from and smashes it on the floor, and then furiously exits the building.
“Oh Marty, I am so sorry this happened. You are a great boss and probably a great father as well. Greg said that your son makes music? Mine does too! His name is Patrick.” Tammy says.
“That’s great! My son’s name is King, but right now we need to clean this mess up unfortunately.”
Patrick enters his flow with great confidence. His lyricism and usage of his voice immediately changes the expressions on the faces of the crowd. It was magnificent, like an immortal poet that doesn’t even know his own limit. The way Patrick moved his body and put his entire soul into his number created a shock wave of applause in the crowd.
The stars had never shined that bright in the sky, and a true star was born that night.
As Patrick finishes, the entire crowd of roughly seventy people jumped on him like wild coyotes. He was lifted from his feet and they were throwing him up and down in the air with great exuberance. When he was finally on his feet again, he found himself face to face with King himself.
“I cannot believe what I just heard, being white and going to school obviously don’t mean a damn.”
“You did great too man, let’s collaborate sometime, seriously.”
All of a sudden, a man comes out of nowhere with nimble timing and aims a firearm at King. A drunken Greg points the weapon at King’s chest, and his finger goes to the trigger.
“NO!” Charlie yells from a distance.
Patrick then jumps in front of King as the trigger is pulled, and Patrick falls, immediately passing away.
Patrick’s performance was recorded that night by somebody from the audience and it quickly flooded into the media along with all of the news of what happened. This occurrence shook the entire nation. After interviews with people who knew Patrick, the whole, detailed story was publicized. A statue of Patrick was built and put into Detroit as a symbol of peace.
This night there weren’t any stars in the sky, as Charlie and King are on all fours in front of Patrick’s statue weeping fiercely. Tammy is alongside them, staring at the fresh cigarette stains on her hands as a tear drops onto her hand and mixes with the ash, creating some sort of overcast sky.