Tales of a Buskateer


I knew something wasn’t right. Felt the vibe humming like electric wires. I was going out to busk last Saturday night. Planned to meet up with the usual crowd of percussionists. I got to the regular spot where there was the usual clumsy midnight stumblers commuting to and fro but no block rockin rhythm. So i posted up with my busted tips cooler riddled with band and brewery stickers, my Gonzo green djembe and my cheap ass drum setrap. After about an hour i met a fake macaroni gangster named “J- Cole” who gave me some on-the-spot gypsy bullshittery. He claimed he owned the block… shit you not. The entire epicenter of Clt N.C. Restaurants and everything. He said, “go in to any restaurant and say J Cole sent you… Needless to say i never tested this. He then proceeded to tell me he would put a $100 dollar bill as well as the other half of a gold chain that one of the usual percussionists had never purchased from the original owner. He said it was worth 5G. He said he would toss that and the $100 dollar bill in my cooler for the small price of some change. After that he tried to rap battle a bunch of teenage fake gangsters just past puberty that looked like wanna be bloods posing as the “the hot boys” with red bandanas and fake gold teeth. Bent on proving himself to any one and no one in particular he tried to spit bars. fumbling over mumbled syllables and and fake cliches he looked abundantly nervous.
“I’ma spit 60 bars, freestyle”. Oooos and Awwes float through the air. “Drop the beat says the wanna be J-Cole”. Spitting something now clearly rehearsed he flows through the entirety with only minor stumbles.
Yo man, “ i said, how can i get in contact with you, (still keepin the beat for the randos rockin and dancing the night away.)
“JaY Cole Baah dee blah talking incredibly fast dapping random people up.
Sirens sound. Macaroni gangsta grabs under his white tee acting like he’s boutta spray bullets then recoups…
Dapping me up tells me “ Yo dog, keep playin i better see you put this down on a record.
It wasn’t until after the fact i thought about it. Obviously he didn’t put $100 in my bucket. Obviously he didn’t put a chain worth 5g in my cooler. But i figured it had to be something…
After drumming my ass off and handing out countless dollars to various randos who either claimed they were homeless who just need a dollar…( or a cig or 2$ after they originally asking for one) I realized it was past 2am. I said fuck it. it’s bout time i kick rocks before the block gets outta control. Plus i think i made a decent amount and my bones are beat. i’ve been doing this since 3 pm. all over Clt.
A bum battle ensues. “yo lemme get a cigarette.”
Sorry man, i don’t smoke i said.(unless i’m real drunk, and no one was offering any alcohol).
“Yo man, i’m just trying to get bus fare, u know i was gettin it hype. lemme get a dollar.
(One dollar turns into two.)
Another random dude, “ ay brutha, u boutta make it big etc etc. i’m tryin to get across town. can i get a doller?”
Another hype man this time from the crew that was supposed to meet me on the corner. Yo man that was fucked up. Where they at??? Yesterday they said they’d be here. And last time they only gave me $5. Ain’t that some bullshit? aint that fucked up?
Yea man. Me too “i said” and i was jammin with them for like an hr and a half.
Yea, thats some bullshit “he said.
ay man, what can i get for this cig.
Sorry man, i dont really smoke unless i’m hammered and i’m sober as a bird.
c’mon man, u might want it later, or give it to some one else.
aite man, u might be right, shit. I got a bottle of wine at home, who knows. so i tuck it in my bandana and forgot it.
5 mins later, another rando. “ayy brutha, lemme get that cig off you.
Huh? oh, yea, sure, here you go.
After the crowd dissipates and my arms and hands are throbbing
I make it back to my car, load everything in and sit down. Laying my head back taking my bandana off and breathing deep. My eyes slide right to the cooler. whats the total damage i wonder. well, lets find out.
I lift the top to reveal truth.
A fuck ton of ones, a couple $5 bills, a gold chain and a questionable bill…
I swoop up the alleged $100 bill and the chain. Holding in my hands what is now plain to see a $10 bill of CANADIAN currency and a fake plastic gold cross.
I laugh my ass off. After a brief moment of humility of self i find my self cursing. “Wait, fuck, how much did that muther fucker take!?! He must have grabbed more than change. What a little shit. Fake mother fuckers!
And so i sit, in silence. the block still writhing with low brow behavior, noodley mannerisms and sloppy debauchery.
Fuck…I’m not in any hurry to jump into this traffic. This is a shit show.
ok, i’m not mad at sticking around for a while. Down town is still rowdy and ripe for the picking. Plus i’m on the primarily Latino side so whether i do or don’t make money i’m bound to get people dancing. So fuck it. Once more into the fray.
I wander to the nearest corner and implant my self in the crowd amidst the flock of after math zombies. I saddle up and ignite the boom of a latin rhythm. Instantaneous reactions.
Ass shaking booty quaking animosity. Home boy who asked for the cig from the original block comes up mid groove and says. “ yo bro, i make it rain. watch me do my thang. I’ma make it get wild. Lemme piece and we gunna make it happen”.
Hell yea man, do ya thang. “i said”
I got a decent amount already, anything extra is icing and sprinkles i figured.
Home boy does his thing. dances with boys n girls, gets some people going, freaks some ladies out, gets weird, starts a chant and comes up to me immediately after the fact talkin bout.
Brutha, u know i make it rain. Lemme get $5 and i’ma get up out and catch my bus.
Kool man, do ya thang. I keep jammin. About 10 mins later a truck hits a car right on our corner
Right about that time i meet a cat that seems coherent. (Highly unlikely around this hour.)He is a D.J and an audio producer. We get to vibing and connecting on a musician level when home boy comes back again.
Sup man, I grabbed that $5 from you but ayy, lemme get another $2 off you.
My initial thought, yea he lightweight got the party goin, i mean…
just as i was reaching to grab a couple bucks, yo man, i know you know i make it rain. Freal though if u don’t hit me with the $5 instead of 2$ i asked for, i’ma kill you…hmm, hold up. Did I hear that right?
I put my drum down slow, stepped up and leaned against the wall.
“Or what if i don’t give you $5 dollars?!?
yo, you know i made it rain and i got the party goin and i’m doin my thang.
Yea i said, but what did you say about that $5 dollars you want?
cuz I don’t mind helping somebody out but what was that?
Oh, Hold up. Ok, nevermind “He Said”, You aint gotta help nobody. I aint askin donations.
After arguing for a few mins Angelo who had filmed about 10 mins of the dance party stepped up tried to chime in.
Woah, hold up man, ayy, listen. ayy.
Yo man, freal, listen to the dude for a sec, this dude drops knowlege “i said”.
naa, fuck that. “Dude said” I Don’t know you mother fucker. You aint even half my age. who the fuck are you gettin up in my face!? Quit yelling, theres cops right there, i got an open container on me. Why the fuck you yellin? Get the fuck out my face!
Ok man, we outta here. “I said”. Take care we’re outta here.
Oh, word? foreal? ok. Ok… aite, “Dude said” Have a good night. Have a good night. I Feel you. I’ll remember you. Have a good night.
Angelo, his friend and i roll down the block.
dude, sorry that guy sucked!
naa, there’s always fake ass niggas tryin to be hard, tryin to act tough. fuck them. Aint no body gotta prove shit if they know they’re the shit.
shit man, it’s been a wierd night.
Ay, but we been vibing tho freal “Angelo said”
yea, thats real man. Its been great meeting you. “I said”
Be safe man, keep in touch. and i hope you remember this conversation tomorrow. HMU!
Finally, i make it back to the car.
hmmm, whats open that i can get a cheap meal?
hey look dominos. I stop in.
Hey any chance you got any dead orders or pizzas you’re gunna toss to the trash tonight you wouldn’t mind getting rid of?
A stocky black lady with an agitated but pretty face looks and paces back to the hot rack. Taking a min she gets me two old pizzas and a fresh cheesy bread. I accept the magical stack of goodness with wide eyes and open arms. I slide her two dollars under boxes of glory. She smiles an angelic smile, i nod and try not to skip out the door at the excitement of free food.
I got home and ate like a glutton, feeling guilty, I fed the dog.
I fell down on my bed and forgot about life for a while.

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