(Be sure to read parts I, II, III and IV)
Eventually the police got called, but no one showed up. They took the VIN# and information over the phone and that was that. A missing motorcycle simply does not rank very important in a city of 1.5 million people when some of those people deem it necessary to murder, rape, rob and beat their way through life. A copy of the police report for the insurance company cost ten bucks. I began to work my way through the seven stages of grief, but have to admit that the plan was to hold on to the anger part, for a long, long time. Yet somehow a feeling remained that this was not over.
Two days later the phone rang at 1 am. It was the police, my motorcycle had been found and needed to be removed from 53rd and Pentridge in West Philadelphia, before it was impounded. I asked if it appeared rideable, to which they answered yes. After thanking them heartily for finding the bike, I immediately called my roommate, who was spending the night at his girlfriend's house. I told him I was headed out the door, helmet in hand, to bring The Skunk home.
"Did you say 53rd and Pentridge? You can't go there."
"Why?", I asked.
"Because you're white and it's 1:30 am, that is some rough turf, you'll never make it. I wouldn't go over there. Seriously, it makes our neighborhood look like the Mainline in Ardmore.". My roommate was black and had lived many years in Philadelphia and Camden, so I took him as an expert in these matters, however, I would not be dissuaded. Still young and dumb, with right on my side, what more did I need?
"Ok, if you are determined to do this, I better go with you. Head out and I will meet you on the way."
The march was much longer than I imagined, roughly 3 miles. The area rapidly declined as we pressed onward. Burnt out cars, crackhouses, shooting galleries, abandoned buildings crumpling under the weight of neglect, bums standing around 55 gallon drum fireplaces. It looked like a post-apocalyptic movie set. Deep down we know places like this exist, but until you actually walk through one in the dead of night, it just doesn't seem real. It certainly became real for me, needless to say it expands your worldview abruptly, violently, like a punch to the gut takes all your wind. Any romantic notions I may have had about living in the 'hood' vanished as grim reality was revealed by the few working streetlights.
|It ain't Kansas.