We passed them on our way to the restaurant on Colins. Reeking of marijuana, tequila and teenage funk, they were perched on the railing of some bikini shop hours past their bedtime. Two of them, the tall dark and handsome one, and the friendly side-kick.
We were on a vacation in Miami for our 15 year wedding Anniversary. But this was not the Miami we remember from our college days. As we braved the sidewalk, populated with people from every corner of the globe, I overheard those boys talking. Maybe it was because the taller one looked very much like my own son, or maybe it was because they were obviously the only true locals for a block or more, but I couldn’t help but be curious about them.
“So this nigga told me I get 100 bucks for the Benz we chopped. Nigga you know what I’mma do with that shit? Motherfuckin Grand Theft Auto coming out nigga I’mma pre-order that shit” the shorter one chained smoked as he spoke, which he did with such pomposity you knew he was all bark, no bite. Th other one, however, the one that looked so much like my boy just eyed us. All of us, like he was on Safari.
“I’mma chop with this nigga all summer nigga. I’mma be in school with the flyest shit on,” he continued, his green eyes never leaving the ground.
“Bro shut the fuck up, choppin for pussies,” the other said with solemnity that I had previously thought belonged only to the gravest of adults.
But before I could hear more, we were out of ear shot. I’d forgotten about the boys entirely until we were on our way back to the hotel. As we approached them a second time, the streets were nearly deserted. The shorter, pale boy was pacing up and down, and speaking all the more animatedly for it. His friend, however, now leaned on the corner of the bikini shop, his face half hidden in the darkness of the alleyway behind him. But even with his face half hidden I could feel his icy glare on my husband and myself.
“That’s a nice watch,” he said to my husband.
Bryan gave him a curt nod and smile and put his arm around me. We were nearly at the hotel when Bryan realized he’d left his wallet, and our key, at the restaurant. He left me in front of an all night burger joint and doubled back.
When I found his keys and wallet at the bottom of my purse, he did swear they were there, I tried to catch up with him.
By the time I reached the bikini shop I saw the boys leaving the alleyway.
“You gotta use your left nut my nigga, be a man,” the taller boy, now smiling and obviously exhilarated told his friend.
Funny, as they passed me I spent so much time realizing how young they were that I didn’t notice the fear in the shorter boys eyes. I had just hoped they were on their way home, like I knew my own boys to be.
At the corner, down the alley, Bryan saw me walking past and called out. He lay in a pool of his own blood. His watch was missing.