The Mothership Connection (6)

Parts 1, 234 and 5 of this story about an empty grave found in an under-construction Beltline where we try to ascertain whether I can write a compelling story with hip-hop as the background. We just found out the kid with a “gang tag” doing his homework in the car the night of the pot festival is an aspiring rapper with a hip-hop pedigree that connects him to Big Daddy Jay, who a decade ago was a big star, but is now a producer, and recently out of jail in New York where he took the fall for a protégé. Now let’s hear from people who walked down what would become the Beltline late at night after the pot festival:

Diana answered the phone while Mustapha drove. “Siddal. Yeah, that’s me. Normal what? Oh, that. Yeah? Behind Midtown Promenade? Yeah, yeah; totally. Can they meet us there? At… is one o’clock too early? Yeah, sure. Three is fine. No, no; we’re Homicide: we don’t give a crap. Just don’t blow it in my face and we’re good. Listen: thanks a lot. No, we appreciate it. Bye.”

He said, “Don’t blow it in your face?”

“Weed smoke. Yuck.”

“Man, I always had you pegged for a secret stoner.”

“Pfft. I hate Pop-Tarts. But the stoner Twitter network is much more efficient than you might think: they’ve already lined up two people who saw a man digging a hole on the Beltline last night.”

“Let’s hope they both saw the same man.”

The first guy was from Stoner Central: he could be watching a Phish show right now. “I don’t have to tell you my name, do I?”

“Yeah, you do, man,” said Mustapha. “Sorry: you’re a witness. We think. But in your statement, you can just say you were going for a walk; you don’t have to say where from. What did you see?”

The kid shrugged. “Well, really, I heard it, more than saw it. I was kinda blazed—don’t write that down—and I’m walking along, and it hits me that someone is digging a hole. I mean, the shovel hitting the dirt, the thump of the dirt getting moved, over and over. At first, I blew it off, figuring I was just hearing shit. But then I’m like no, someone’s digging a hole. Then I kind of freaked out, you know, like fuck, someone’s digging my grave, I got to start eating right. Sorry about the language. But it was kind of creepy, especially because the guy doing it was this big black dude all dressed in black. All he needed was a Lincoln hat and he could have been a voodoo dude, you know? He must have heard me, ‘cos he looks up and asks me what the fuck I’m looking at. I just booked out of there, went home and went to bed. Forgot about it until I got on Twitter. I don’t know what else I can tell y’all.”

Diana asked, “Did you look at his face?”

“No, ma’am. From where I was, the moon was behind him. Sorry.”

A young woman walked up to them, nicely put together in full corporate drag. “Are you guys the detectives?”

“Yes, ma’am,” said Mustapha. “You saw something last night?”

“Sure.” She looked at the shaggy kid. “Hey. You had cookies.”

He broke out into a big grin. “I still do.” His face froze. “I mean, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“We really don’t care,” said Diana. To the woman, “What did you see?”

“Rick Ross, digging a grave. That was fucked up. I had a second cookie, which maybe wasn’t the best idea, but I didn’t know that I’d have to cover for my hungover boss. Man, I just want to crawl back into bed. Nevermind: anyway, I’m going back to where I parked my car, over by Trader Joe’s? And I have to pee, and I can’t go into any of the bars because I’m too paranoid, so I figure, I’ll go down the little hill and pee on the train tracks. But I lose my balance and basically fall down the hill, and when I get up and dust myself off, there’s Rick Ross. I’d have pinched myself to see if he was for real, but that fall was kind of a buzzkill. He looks at me and asks me what the fuck I’m doing, I just got out of there and squatted next to my car.”

Diana asked, “So you saw this guy’s face?”

“Kind of. He had sunglasses on. In the middle of the night. Big black dude, big beard, dark suit.”

Diana went to one of the sites Evans had booked, did a search. “This guy? Rick Ross?”

She took it, looked; her mouth twisted. “Maybe. I don’t think this guy was that fat.”

“Okay… how about this guy?”

“Oh, that’s closer. You’ve got to understand I was real high.”

This part only connects to hip-hop insofar as there’s a well-known star involved, or at least someone similar to a well-known star. Now we know the grave was unearthed (and remember, there’s nothing in it) the very night our young aspiring rapper Christopher was sitting a few meters away in his car. Plus, this part was just fun to write.

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  1. The Mothership Connection (7) | Julian Cage
  2. The Mothership Connection (8) | Julian Cage
  3. The Mothership Connection (9) | Julian Cage
  4. The Mothership Connection (10) | Julian Cage
  5. The Mothership Connection (11) | Julian Cage
  6. The Mothership Connection (12) | Julian Cage
  7. The Mothership Connection (13) | Julian Cage

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