He wondered how they managed to put up with the stifling heat. When hed gone to America, all the shops had air conditioning, even the dollar stores. They were better at things over there. Then again, even if air conditioning got big in this country, it wouldnt end up in a converted shop like this one, here in Harlesden, the place even God had forgotten.
Are you dat prodigal son-ah? Today-ah He is telling you to come-ah. Dis may be your las chance-ah, for we know not the day nor the hour-ah. Will you come back to the fold this day-ah? I said will-ah . . .¸
He kept his eyes down for a while, stretching out his legs and crossing one foot over the other. He thought of America, the tall buildings, all those nice cars and that dont-give-a-shit attitude. He wanted to go back there, get away from his crew, the Terror Boys; get away from the chicken shop and all the trouble that came out of that place. In America they didnt have to hang out in holes like that. They had Fifth Avenue. They had bigger guns and better drugs. Whats more, they had style to go with it.
He breathed in deeply, unclenched his fists. He felt inside his deep left pocket. The weighty metal was warm. Although you could see the bulge in his jeans, it wasnt that noticeable. He wanted to readjust himself and put it inside his waistband. He breathed out. Shit! He must have said this aloud because the man next to him made a kind of Hmph!¸ noise.
He felt his heart thud and decided to concentrate on something else. He continued looking at his faded Nike trainers. $45 from the flea market and better than the real thing. A couple of times, when he first came back with them, he got stopped in the street and asked where he bought them. And then he remembered how once, some boy stepped on his foot and he flipped. Him and a couple of the crew, Shortie G and Slicer, they dragged the boy out of the chicken shop, his arms flailing, cursing at the top of his voice. Slicer got all hyper as usual, shouting out in his squeaky voice, Lets mash him up, mash him good.¸ They kept dragging him through the High Street and past Headlines, where Big Jeff got out waving a razor and said, You better leave that bwoy alone.¸ Shortie G, always practical, was like, You guys are on a long ting. Just kick the bwoy down and lets go back.¸ So, with a crowd starting to form, they put him down outside Headlines and got a few kicks in. A siren went off somewhere. Everyone walked off nicely. Just how it should be. He wasnt concerned about people chatting his business and getting him into it. Not like now. Shit.
The Spirit is telling mee-ah that there is a soul here today-ah. A soul-ah that is lost-ah. A soul-ah that is wrestling-ah. Wrestling in their mind-ah. And the Bible says-ah that we wrestle not-ah against flesh and blood-ah, but against principalities-ah and powers-ah.¸