moments with youth  

Mark Krueger: we’re back in full swing again, our research group is meeting to tell and interpret our stories. Here’s one from Rick Flowers, who learned something one night when he was checking coats at place where you came to listen to rappers.


Rick Flowers

The music was blaring through the large six-foot woofers to the beat Ying Yang–s, I Yi, Yi. Waves of youngsters came to the window to pay.

They ask, “It’s on hit in there? Let me check it out.”

I tell them they have to pay first. In comes a loosely held together group who call themselves eastside.

They ask, “How much is it?”

I remind that they come here every week and ask the same question. They next request is to speak to the owner. The owner comes and works out a group rate with them. They huddle around one another collecting money. They approach the window and give an offering below the rate that the owner had just given them. They ask for the owner again. He tells them the group rate again and reminds them that he’s already giving them a break. They huddle again. Suddenly one of them turns to me and asks for five dollars. I tell him no. He pleads with me, “On my mama I–ll give it to you next week, you know I come here every week.”

I say “You come here short every week too, you would–ve had enough money if you didn’t buy that blunt.”

He looks at me with his sleepy red eyes; grins and says, “I don’t get high.”

I tell them to ask Rob the co-manager. I knew Rob would give them the money so I paged him to the front. At that moment Tony emerged from the coat check area and asked if I could cover for him while he made run.

I took over the coat check. Everyone was required to check his or her coat and baseball cap in. About every third person would tell me not to let anyone steal his or her coat. A group of about 7 guys came and threw me their coats because they did not want to pay the $1 fee. As I grabbed the coats a strong smell of decayed fish hit me like a ton bricks. I immediately dropped the coats on the floor. After about 5 minutes people started coming to the front and complaining about the smell inside of the club. Somehow the DJ got word of the foul smell and made an announcement, “Somebody up in here is humming and when we find yoo ass, you gett–in the hell up outta here. We coming around doing a smell test.”

A few minutes later the DJ says, “We thought it was a female, but it’s a dude up in here smelling like fish, we gone find you.”
Standing at the coat check I knew which jacket the smell was emanating from. A youngster comes to retrieve his coat. I ask him for the ticket, he says that he didn’t have one and pointed to his coat on the floor. I put up the first and he says no the other one as I bend to pick up the coat the smell hits me and I look and him and say. “Is this it?”

He says, “Yes,” and I repeat and point with emphasis “THIS” and he says yes again.

I tell him to hold up and I start to page someone, eager to expose culprit of the smell. He says to me again to give him his coat. I motion to him with my hand to wait as I try to complete the page. I turn and glance at him and he asks me again. Finally, I abort the page. I grab the coat and look him in the eye and say to him, “Here you are, see you next week–

He takes the jackets nods his head and says, “Alright then,” and leaves the club.

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