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  • High Pursuit
  • Mitchell S. Jackson (bio) and Melody Newcomb (bio)

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Illustrations by Melody Newcomb

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Blood pulls up in a near-new new Caddy, heaven white, with flesh-colored guts and the white walls on his tires thick as rulers side by side. It’s the kind of ride that hurts my feelings to look at but I can’t keep from looking at it, from hawking him as he parks and cools out wearing a grass-green velour tracksuit—unzipped so you see he’s shirtless—and reptile cowboy boots. He swaggers across the street and up the pathway, the same path that from the time I was a wee bit has been my chore to keep swept and weeded, like in the few years since he night-schooled his way to a diploma, dropped out the only college for miles, and got booted out the house, he’s become a grown-ass man who believes in himself so much you can’t convince him not to. He stops just short of the porch and cheeses. I set my magazine (I stay in these custom-car magazines) aside and stand.

What it is? he says.

Long time no see, I say.

You can whiff him from a distance. He smooths silky fresh-pressed strands that make it hard to tell we’re brothers by the head. Aw Maine, you know, he says. Been out here in high pursuit.

He fingers the thumb-thick gold herringbone dressing his neck, peeps Moms’ Plymouth in the driveway. He asks where she is, and I tell him in the house sleep ’cause she’s fresh off a double and said she’s ushering evening service. Blood asks what I’m into, if I’m down to roll, and since it’s my day off, what the fuck am I supposed to say—no? No sooner than we pull off, he turns his 8-track low and gets to high- sighting about his Brougham, about how much [End Page 134] get up the engine got, how smooth it drives on the freeway, about how he ain’t yet decided what his custom plate will say. He runs his hand over the fur smothering his steering wheel, fiddles the handmade Playboy logo and forest of spanking new Evergreen air fresheners hanging from his rearview.

Blood wheels over to the park in Northeast with the rose garden. Bloomed roses every-muthafuckinwhere and you can’t not smell them if you try. We stride a couple laps in the garden catching up on the latest family business, Pop’s latest appeal, Mom working a trillion double shifts to cover his legal fees, our sister’s first born—a baby boy that Blood has yet to see.

Say, you still down there scrubbin’ them white folks’ rides for a little bit of nothin’? Blood says.

They say I’m ’bout to come up for a raise, I say. Plus, the tips is cool when the weather breaks.

Oh, I beg to differ, Maine. You know I know that elbow-and-ass work ain’t never cool. He pulls out a bankroll that, no bullshit, would choke an Old Testament camel, and peels off enough to make me good and envious. Check it, he says. Give some to Mom, and say it’s from you. Give some to Sis, and say it’s from me. And the rest is fuck-off funds.

Before Blood second-guesses his largesse, I shove the bread in my jeans and tell him, right on.

We stride another half-lap with him a half-step ahead and me thinking of them days when you used to couldn’t tell me nothing about Blood. How it used to be that if you said something even halfway on its way to being sideways about my older brother to me, it was a prime cause for me going upside your head. How summers you used to couldn’t find me and Blood apart for more than a few ticks: picking berries, building a tree house, stealing ten-speeds. When you...


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pp. 132-141
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