Stick Up

A Flashback on Friday…

It was winter 1996. My partner Andre & I went to Delancey Street in NYC to buy some Shearlings. We both got one & they were the warmest coats ever, beautiful, heavy & you could get away with wearing a T shirt underneath. We paid about $400 each. We wore them around the neighborhood in Newark & didn’t think much of it. Then one day, on Mt. Prospect Avenue, a busy & popular street one block over from where my parents now live & a street I lived on twice, something scary occurred. 2 Latin guys were walking towards us & I couldn’t make out much since I was wearing my glasses & it was drizzling so I kinda had my head down & hands in my pocket. My coat was open & Andre’s was zipped up. As soon as we got to the guys, they stopped us & one pulled out a gun. We just froze & were fixated, looking intently… is it real? Is this happening? We tried moving off the sidewalk towards the middle of the street to bring attention to us while people were coming & going inside their houses noticing nothing. We were about 25 feet away from the corner of Bloomfield Ave & Mt. Prospect, a very busy intersection. One guy put the gun to Andre’s face & told him he wanted the coats. The other guy was just pulling at my sleeve like a little kid wanting its parent’s attention & I pretty much ignored him. All I could see was that gun in my man’s face & all I could do was focus on him to try to pull cues & see what he was gonna do since he wasn’t giving in easily, ever so slowly zipping his coat down while the other guy kept tugging at me. That’s when something changed, like we knew nothing serious was gonna happen (I can’t explain it) & we both got a bit bolder. We never knew if that gun was loaded or not but Andre stopped unzipping his coat & we kept inching towards the intersection. All the while, the other guy was still pulling at me really started annoying me & I snapped. I charged at him & told him if he wanted to my coat he was gonna have to fight me for it. He sensed a loss of control & signaled to the gunman to put the gun on me. The gunman was looking back & forth while Andre & I were looking back & forth, all the while I was wondering if anyone was seeing what was going on. Everything was happening so fast, it was intense & unpredictable. We didn’t know what to do or what was gonna happen or if they were just bluffing. Then, it just all stopped, they gave up & quickly walked away. Don’t ask my why but we stared to go after them (smh) but they ran down the block, jumped in a car & sped off. We couldn’t see the details of the vehicle & they got away. Thinking back it was really stupid to even risk it & we should’ve just given them up immediately for the sake of our lives. I mean really, what were we thinking? I don’t know & I can’t explain but I’ll never forget that day. Those 2 minutes felt like 20. Afterwards, we went into the Spanish restaurant to get some food & our hearts were beating out of our chests, extreme adrenaline. “What if” kept playing in my head. We were laughing nervously while ordering, happy & relieved, but taken aback by the whole thing. I don’t know why we reacted that way but I don’t think I’d risk it today. We were lucky to have come out safe & sound. Thank God. Needless to say, we never wore them out on the streets again & left them behind when we moved to FL, where no one is gonna rob you for a coat.


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