The mean streets of Chicago serve
as the locale for this exceptionally short interlude in the rough life
of an inner city player—as he refers to himself. Most self-appraisals
are delusional however, and this one is no exception. The only one
getting played in this survival ballet is the man telling his own story.
Charles Theodore Jackson gives us a first-person blow-by-blow description of a typical stroll down the avenue. It starts out with some remembrances of how the old neighborhood used to be. They may not be particularly fond memories, but they’re nostalgic enough to evoke a sense of time and place that has definitely changed—not necessarily for the better. Charles runs into Rosetta, an ex-lover who used to light up his libido like nobody’s business. But it turns out she has matrimony on her mind and Charles lets readers know he is not the marrying kind. A quick stop for some cheap wine fuels him until he meets his buddies, talks trash, and plays some basketball. Mid-game, a gang interrupts, accusations fly, and fists soon follow. In this particular rumble, the winner winds up losing big time.
The author has a feel for street lingo that gives both his dialogue and his prose a realistically profane authenticity. He paints a verbal picture of lives lived minute to minute with little regard for anything beyond the next drink, the next fix, or the next assignation. Uninterested in debating the morals of his cast of characters, author Harris is not writing about life as it should be, but simply life as it is. In this instance, short, not sweet, and devoid of second chances.