What The Fugees Taught Me About 9/11

Cramped, dimly lit spaces never summoned feelings of safety for him.

Not his bedroom closet, where he spent that night trying in vain to drown out the thrashing guitar solo of a hurricane named Andrew. 

Not the trunk of his older brother’s Corolla, where he was locked while his brother and pals screeched sloppy donuts in an empty lot downtown, all in the name of fun. 

Not the confessional booth at church, where he sheepishly told the man at the other end about how he took a knife to the aforementioned Corolla’s tires later that week. 

And certainly not now. 

The bar was dark.

The bar was loud. And it was cramped.

Overly saturated with people. And alcohol.

And people with alcohol in them.

He obviously didn’t mean to bump into that pillar of muscle and cologne and spill Miller Lite down his shirt. It didn’t matter. His goofy smile was probably interpreted a gesture of nonchalance. He mumbled something apologetic. The uttered subject and predicate interpreted as nothing more than defiance. An actual death sentence of sorts. The gavel came in the form of a right cross right out of Harvey Dent’s courtroom playbook. 

His brain told him what his face already knew. Sacked for a loss, his tongue maneuvered through his mouth and slithered through the hemoglobin and plasma deposits the gaping hole in his gums were leaking out. This Tyson incarnate knocked out his two front fucking teeth. His dazed mind briefly wandered. Those hijacked planes knocked down New York City’s two front teeth. How quaint. 

He didn’t linger on the thought of sympathy for America, or himself for long. The brute behind that fist didn’t give a fuck what day it was. 

Iron Mike 2.0 sneered: “Ready or not, here I come. You can’t hide.”

Whether this was said in earnest, or silly referential hip hop irony was not all that important. 

Hiding was not an option. His fists went up.

Sometimes you take shit you don’t deserve. A lot of shit. Wild, bar fight level shit. Mangled, twisted bouquets of iron, concrete, ash and flesh levels of shit. 

And you can hide, or you can go outside and barbecue, watch some football and listen to Wyclef and Lauryn Hill destroy their verses on “Cowboys”. That sounds pretty awesome to me.

Oh, and that dude? I don’t know what happened to him. I bounced before it got too wild. Detailing a fight in an attempt to write some flimsy 9/11 tie-in is maaad passé.

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