Editor’s note: Thundercracker’s bornday is typically Memorial Day (May 29th) so in his and Megatron’s memory we reminisce over them.
This day, fourteen years ago, I lost the best friend anyone ever had. He was like my younger brother; not young enough that I had to babysit him, but just young enough to listen to whatever I said. Well, not everything. But if it had some adventure to it, he was down for the crown.
We lived across the street from one another, in a part of the neighborhood where the kids were from two-parent homes that their parents actually owned. We were also medium lightskin and handsome. This made us and the kids from our enclave the envy of the rest of the neighborhood. We wanted to show the other kids that even though we went to schools in white neighborhoods and even though we had white friends we were still… Black!?!
T.C. and I would do simple stuff like boost juice from the bodega before we would go to the Parks Dept. public pool. When we got a little older we became writers, actually ‘taggers’, and we would ride our BMX bikes all around the city to do our graffiti in obscure places, like on the pedestrian walkway of the Tri-Boro Bridge. The funny thing was that we had to be pretty brazen when doing our ‘tagging up’ because we both had to be home before dark or risk punishment. Sure, we were afraid of the police, but our parents were way meaner than any cop we ever encountered.
As teenagers the level of our felonious misbehavings increased and we became car thiefs and part time drug dealers. Stealing cars was easy as hell, especially during the summer, because our homes were in parking range of Shea Stadium. There were some METS fans that had to suffer the double ignominy of rooting for a sucky team AND not having an automobile to drive home in after their team lost again.
When it came to selling drugs, me and T.C. knew we really weren’t from that part of the neighborhood. The older dudes that were giving us ‘work’ were doing it because they were desperate for some young bodies to stand on the corner and do ‘hand-to-hand’ for them. Once in high school, however, I was lucky enough to link up with some guys that needed more ‘work’ than a few measly redtop/yellowtop pieces and we left the block jigs to their own devices. That is why I loved T.C. like my brother. He was a straight rider, even when he knew I was getting into some crazy shit. And he always had my back.
So when I got down with a group of guys from my high school in Brooklyn who had banded together to keep the thugs from other rival high schools from always handing us our azzes, I invited T.C. to join. Nevermind that T.C. went to high school in Queens. My youth action group had grown quite large and as part of our public service mandate, we gathered after school to escort students to and from the train stations. Whenever T.C. met up with me and the fellas, we’d have the strangest luck in finding things all around the city. It was a lot of fun hanging out with the fellas, but after a while the time came for us to stop running around the subways and knocking people out for their GUCCI sweatshirts and PRINCE sneakers.
T.C. and I weren’t going to be drug dealers forever either. My parents had a video camera and I liked to make movies, and T.C. was one of those rare cats that had every rap song memorized, even the rare joints by T-LA ROCK that never were played on the radio. We were going to take the monies from all our illicit hustling and move to Los Angeles. We imagined that in our real life we were creating the script and soundtrack for the hipper, cooler, Black version of ‘Less Than Zero’.
T.C. and I never made it out to L.A. We never even got the chance to leave this damn time zone together. Sometimes I regret the fact that I have lived these past twenty years without my brother. I think about all the things that I have experienced as an adult that he would have liked to do. I still haven’t made the trip to Los Angeles, but when I get there I will be pouring out half my bottle of BELVEDERE for my brother.