#4 WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER

By J.J. Colagrande

Something was fishy. I knew it. The world that Thelonious took me to. The music festival scene. It’s a culture totally counter to the mainstream. The world didn’t play by the same rules. That weird world of gooballs and nitrous tanks and miracle tickets and patchwork clothing and strange avenues of commerce called Shakedown Street. A world inhabited by people any normal person would call a freak. People from all over the country, people who sold weed in pillows, bearded yogis, people filled with the spirit of the Buffalo, the spirit of the wanderer, not unlike myself, or my moms, but weird, strange. Our rules don’t comply with normalcy. When I saw the Scruffy Guy walk away from the open microphone I knew he had something to do with Thelonious falling. I could see it with my gut, just like those Carlos Castaneda books talk about. Something was fishy, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t go to the cops—who I don’t trust anyway—and explain to them that there was a Scruffy Guy who might work for some mysterious mafia that sells nitrous oxide in balloons outside of concerts. How I could explain that he somehow poisoned my best friend and the evidence of proof was in my gut. Nigga please. I couldn’t even tell Mr. and Mrs. H. They didn’t need to worry more. And they didn’t need to know their son was mixed up in anything seedy. Or did they? Maybe they should’ve received the full disclosure from me then. Fuck. I don’t know. They probably wouldn’t have believed me anyway. And they had the best doctors in the country trying to figure out what was inside of Thelonious. I was tormented about the whole situation. Every day I rode the CTA out to Downer’s Grove, where my Gammy lived, and I contemplated if I should confide in the adults, and more and more it felt like I needed to do something on my own. My Gammy is an old lady; she loves me to death. That’s my mom’s mom. Why give her something to worry about? I’m eighteen years old. I can go to battle. I wanted to know what the fuck they did to my boy Thelonious. And when I found out, I’d tell Mr. and Mrs. H and their specialists could take it from there.  This was my sure shot. I called Santos, my lawyer and a good friend of my moms, from the UCLA days, someone I could trust. Santos forwarded me $50,000, out of his own savings, as an advance on my trust fund, which he oversees so he knows its worth. He also realizes the repercussions I incurred by walking away from the NBA, and Santos is not a fan of my pops and is on my side. So when Melody Rain called saying she knew who might be behind this, the timing seemed perfect. I didn’t think twice about having Santos bail her out of jail. I needed her help to find the Scruffy Guy. This shit was personal.

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