Old year’s night and one millennium hurtles toward the next. The depths of a Flatbush studio apartment whisper blackness. In the front, scarce streetlight tumbles through a monolithic window and falls flat a couple feet beyond the sill. 11:37 PM glows neon blue against the darkness. Overworked, a radiator hisses in protest.
Sukunya fidgets on a wicker settee. She grins, but her eyes scurry about the room like a condemned woman, strapped in, dreading the marching time. She squints as she settles on a figure planted behind the desk by the window, which frames Prospect Park’s skeletal landscape.
Outside, down two floors of corroding fire escape, teens gaggle and shriek on the stoop. They stumble drunkenly in and out of the building’s vestibule.
“So Irie, you don’t never think bout me- why men always fighting over me?” She strums her swells- breasts, hips, curve of her butt. Prattling, she arches her back and cocks her legs limberly up on the settee. A purple, silken camisole clings to her bronze skin which glistens like melting ice.
But Irie doesn’t notice. On a stacked milk-crate throne, he hunches over an unpolished, raw-pine desk. Light from outside feebly captures the concentration carving his features. Whittled brows glower as he slices a half-dozen Indica buds with a ratchet so keen, it can divide light from the darkness. Each drag of the knife scars the Steel Pulse “Armageddon” album cover he uses as a cutting board. He pauses. Removes his leather buckas-styled tam and Congo-natty locks cascade heavily over his stone-cut shoulders. A worn reprint of Bob’s “Confrontation” shield’s his chest.
“I know you feel me, Irie. Can’t ig me forever.” Snaking fingers twine the gold, precious stones and pearls coiling up her neck.
She slips a glimpse off the clock. 11:40.
A light sliver ignites her cat eyes for an emerald second. “I see you watching me when I’m with Blacka. And Lenky. Or, when I’m hugging up Worries over in New Lots.” Puckering scarlet lips, she puffs him an air kiss. “Yep! I know you want me, Irie Dread. Act like you don’t, but you need me.”
Irie fluffs the sliced up ganja. Fingering the ring on the ratchet, in a single, fluid motion he flicks the blade shut and pockets it. Then he retrieves a challawa from the desk and packs the kutchie with herb. He begins chanting...