Monday, May 24, 2010
Post-college, I unfortunately moved back home for a year. In the summer of 2004 though, I packed up my belongings and made the two hour trek east to set up shop in Cleveland. I lived their for two years and it was good for me. I grew as a person and sort of figured out what I wanted in that time frame. Today's tales take place during that two year stretch. They are outstanding in their thuggishness.
Background: The office where I worked for a good chunk of those two years was mostly staffed by "young professionals" as DeWit would say. However, there were always a couple of, shall we say, "Urban Americans" under employ there as well to help out with grunt work and other such nonsense. The three main dudes who did these things were named LeBryon (who made me buy his rap album which has still never been opened), Slim (led the league in sexually harrassing the women in the office), and Rick (who this post will be centered around). They were good (and nice) guys regardless of the fact that I shared nothing in common with any of them. Although I did give LeBryon a ride to a drug deal once...that was interesting. And he also informed me what crack smelled like. He was quite the character.
Rick, who I later found out was really named "Recorda", was quite an interesting fella. He was always late, usually surly, and seemed to be constantly one minute away from throwing down. So to combat his tardiness, and since I lived closest to the project in which he squatted, my boss made me pick him up every morning and take him home at night. I fought against this as hard as I possibly could since, while my own complex was not necessarily the Taj Mahal, the project down the road was not my cup of meat. But when the boss fired back at me with an "OK, but you will be doing his work until he shows up every day", I was fucked. This was on me.
So I started picking him up every morning. Here I am in a shirt and tie driving a faggy Jetta coming to get the baggy pants black guy every day. The neighbors probably thought that I was his lawyer. We never said one word on those rides to and from work which was probably for the best. I'll get back into our commutes again later.
One day, the bossman told me that I needed to go meet a guy a few suburbs over as he was going to need our services. I took Rick with me although I'm not really sure why. I had no idea as to who was waiting for me but I was not expecting a 6'9" stringy black guy to be there. That's when Rick broke our constantly awkward silence:
"Dat ni*** be Brad Sellers!"
And it was. The former Chicago Bull was standing right in front of us, patiently waiting on this weird combo of uptight whiteness and uncouth blackness. Rick begged me to get a ride back to the office from someone else and that he would drive Sellers to wherever he needed to get to (likely as far away from Recorda as possible). I obliged as this seemed important to him and I was greatly impressed by his knowledge of obscure NBA players from the early 90's. When we both got back to the office, I asked him what they talked about. "Not much, dog, I just asked him what it was like to play in the NBA". That's it. That was the only thing that was said. Priceless.
Now in 2005, this was not the beginning of LeBron-mania in Cleveland (because that started in 2003) but it was the start of the playoff runs. Cleveland was buzzing about the Cavs as was our office. Everyone was engrossed in a conversation about a recent game between the Cavs and the Hornets and then Rick chimed in once we started talking about The Birdman:
"Chris Andersen cold as a mothafucka".
Now I have no idea what this meant but for the next two months, this phrase became the slogan of the office. And every time that I see The Birdman on TV, I never fail to chuckle.
Fast forward a few weeks and our boss's boss decides to throw a happy hour together for a few of the offices in the area. No complaints there, free drinks and food is one way to get me to go anywhere. There was this townie-bar down the road called Yee's eventhough the owners were not Chinese. That is where we decided to do this. So about 15-16 of us get a couple of tables and we're having a good time. Hell, even Slim and Rick showed up and they were enjoying themselves...maybe a little too much. The townies sitting around the bar did not care for their jovial attitudes. Not one fucking bit. One of the hill-folk dropped an N-bomb. Now, when something like this happens, two things can happen. Either it gets brushed off because the guy who said it is ignorant or the bar becomes a warzone.
Yee's became a warzone on that night. To this day, I have never seen ANYTHING like what happened on that night and I am shocked that no one was killed. Rick started choking the dude. Slim was fighting this other white guy on the pool table. Somebody was throwing pool balls at Slim. Rick went behind the fucking bar to go after the bartender and broke two computers in the process. When Rick got back out from the bar, someone pushed him into one of those glass popcorn machines which thusly shattered into a thousand pieces. Our tables of co-workers were in shock. No one moved. We were watching an epic race war unfold right before our eyes. At some point, things clicked and a few of us got Rick and Slim the fuck out of there before the law showed up. They would have definitely spent some time in jail for that. I can't say this enough, that was the wildest thing I've ever seen. I have seen many fights in bars, but I've never seen black on white rumbles where EVERYTHING gets destroyed. A few days after the skirmish, Yee's dropped a damages bill on my boss's desk. He never said the amount, but we expect that it was well over a grand. It was never paid, by the way.
One day, a few months later in the Spring, I went to pick up Rick in the morning. I called before I left and he didn't answer (which was nothing new). I sat outside his complex for 45 minutes and he never came down. I was hoping that this was like Good Will Hunting and he "went to see about a girl", but it wasn't. He just stopped coming into work. In fact, he never came back at all. I like to think that he just got tired of riding in my faggy Volkswagen.
I moved to Columbus in late August of 2006 and left Cleveland behind me for good. It was time to get out of there and move on. But I ran into one of my friends from up there a few months later and I asked him if he had heard anything about Recorda. He did not disappoint. Rick, who grew up in Louisville, had gotten into some trouble down in the KY. Apparently, he had rented three cars from rental agencies down there and never returned them. Rumor had it that he rented them and then sold them hot to people. That is amazing. What an entrepreneur!
Before writing this post, I tried to track down Rick. He is currently not in the KY or OH prison system so that's good. Google searches of his name provide nothing so I doubt that he's dead. Wherever he is, I hope he knows that he remains one of the most memorable people that I've ever met in my life. Recorda truly was cold as a mothafucka.