Daily Life

Crossing Eighth with the light on the edge of downtown Albuquerque .  In midstreet a black sedan,  windows dark, runs the signal, almost swipes me.  Another follows close, brushing me back.  I check the light – in my favor – and arms akimbo watch the cars roll up eighth, cursing the Albuquerque style of driving.   How could two cars run the light like that?  Was I was swished by a gang chase, the lead car afraid to stop so bad dudes wouldn’t jump out behind and start a fight.  My musing’s broken  by the squeal of tires up the block and crash crash.  The street’s suddenly jammed with black cars, the sedans, a truck, a couple of suvs and one white pickup.  Guys are jumping out of the cars, guys in black wearing bulletproof vests, some faces covered in ski masks.  They train rifles on the white pickup, yelling “get out of the car, out out.”  Something’s printed on the back of their vests.  A big guy,  shaven head, is directing, waving his gun, looking all around like he’s gotta see everything. Under his buddies’ cover a masked, bullet-proofed man jerks open the pickup door and hauls out a skinny chicano, drags him away from the vehicle and throws him to the pavement.  Can’t see the intimidation through the steel.   I walk down the sidewalk for a closer look.  Some of these guys almost ran me down. I see POLICE  on the back of the vests, DEA on front.   They’re cuffing their prey now,  the chicano with sunken cheeks and tired, frightened eyes.  They start a body search, frisking him, pulling down his pants and checking in his skivvies.   An unmarked truck’s rammed an suv boxing-in the white pickup. The agents swing their guns around with quick jerks.  A female cop, all smiles and brown ringlets pops out of a black sedan at the curb and hurries to the clog of vehicles.  Who’s this chicano?  Doesn’t look like Mr. Big – too wasted.  Maybe Big stuck him in the truck as a decoy.  Or he’s a little rung on the Big ladder.  I cross the street and walk up the block.  One other guy’s watching this scene, leaning against the wall of the Silver Star restaurant.  Traffic’s backed up now.  Cars honking, heads out windows, turning around in the street.  A couple of the masked police walk away from the rest, one’s arm around the other’s shoulder.

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