Oh Criminals, Where Art Thou?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed with my Detroit experience so far. In the past 8 months, I have no gunshot wounds, stabbing scars, or even a stolen vehicle to show for it. I don’t even have a lower credit score!
When I told everyone I was moving here, I got a wave of backlash and pleas to reconsider. It reminded me of the time I traveled to the Middle East and, as I was boarding my flight, received a hundred text messages and calls saying, “If you go, you are going to DIE!”
Well, my time in the Middle East was just as disappointing and uneventful as my time here in Motown. Where have all the criminals gone? With a nice bout of insomnia, I used to walk to the YMCA at 5 a.m. to work out in total darkness. My Dad freaked out when I told him.
What my father can’t understand is that, unless you live right downtown, and once the sun sets, the streets of Detroit are deserted. No cars. No homeless people. Even the pimps seem to take the night off. I could streak down Woodward (my apologies for the imagery) and I wouldn’t encounter a single soul. How can Detroit be dangerous if no one is around to mug you?
Luckily my prayers were answered and I had my first exciting experience with the underground marketplace.
The other day, I was craving a coffee and on my way back from 1515 Broadway after grabbing a cup when I encountered a nice-looking gentleman on the street corner. I was staring at the pavement as I walked, wrapped up in a daydream about being the first Jewish President when …
“Yo boy! You want some Brown Suga?!” I looked up to see that he was sporting a nice pair of XXL Carhart pants that stooped to his knees, a T-shirt that had a picture of a diamond-encrusted Cadillac, and a coat that was so tattered it leaned more toward a cape as it billowed in the wind.
He smiled at me with a gleaming pair of yellow teeth, dotted with the occasional missing link.
“I have sweetener in here already,” I replied, motioning to my coffee.
“No! Brown Suga! I give you a kick-ass deal! New customers (pronounced cust•oh•moes) get discount.”
He pulled out something from under his coat and all I could think was: Yes! Finally, I have an excuse to use my new throwing knives. But, to my disappointment, he pulled out a tiny bag with clumps of what indeed did look like brown sugar instead of a gun.
Cherry-Pop: My first offer of heroin.
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sorry man, unless you take my Delta Skymiles Card, I have nothing to offer you.”
It’s not that I crave danger, per se, it’s that I am a thrill junkie and want some cool stories to tell my children in the future of when their father was a vigilante living in a notoriously perilous city. Detroit’s last famous criminal can’t go down as committing something so white collar as extortion like our wonderful ex-mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.
It would seem that the egos and cockiness of all the new suburbanites who have migrated to downtown to work for Quicken Loans has left no room for any respectable criminals in this city. I will continue to walk the streets of Detroit, unhindered by thugs and drug dealers, until my personal heroin dealer, Jamal Dontavius (that’s the name he gave me), modernizes and learns to take plastic over cash.
Jason Singer is a privileged suburbanite who has not known many financial struggles in his young life. He is also an editorial intern at the Metro Times. Send him feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.