Drive-by Shooting

Sunday morning holy day of rest
we score a fat 80 sack in the city
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 both with guns
one is sure to throw us in the shit
eventually
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 cares in garages
one block South
nothing but garbage and broken glass
retired needles rest in cracks along the curbs
for today’s dose we had to leave the neighborhood
I think I’ll make it last
two days
three nights
trying to imagine how ill break up my half
of the candy
once we get back to the hood
and it’s nothing but a lone Pennsylvania country road
one road
one lane
quickest way back
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”
“no”
not a hand on the wheel
water is poured from bottle to pre-bent 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 a single eye on the road except mine
plastic hammer drawn syringe full
I prepare to grab the wheel if my driver swerves
or camatoses and foams at the mouth
eyes rolled back soul packing it’s bags
falling out they call it
but he takes the hit like a heavyweight and puts his tools away
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 working on his Master’s in Education and a part-time substitute teacher who enjoys the work of Charles Bukowski; lifting up weights and putting them down and repeating the process; sleeping outside; and drawing caricatures.