From the Archives: Arteries and Conduits (1985)

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They left T’s Jaguar on Third Avenue in a nice neighborhood so it’d be there when they returned, and took a battered VW bug down to the street. It was Friday, a busy time, and twilight was filling out rich and blue. A mild temperature and lack of precipitation gave the night a crispness Alvira found comforting. Almost felt like nothing could go wrong under such ideal conditions. But he knew the feeling to be without substance. A misleading calm prevailed as they descended on Alphabet City. The biggest smack emporium on the East Coast stretched before them as they drove through narrow bombed-out streets. Blacks, Latins, blancos, shadows in somber colors; lips tight and drawn down, eyes dead but active with the scuffle. Waiting, watching, copping, splitting. Lots of verbs on the street.

“Alvira, you’ve heard of the Sun Belt, the Snow Belt. This here is the Dope Belt. We’re going to cross above the main action, then ride Avenue D into the thick of it,” T said, hands gripping the wheel. “We’ll be pretty safe inside, but keep the windows up just in case.” Anyone gets in front of this car in a mean way is gonna have tire tracks across his forehead.”

They passed rows of abandoned buildings thick with clusters of crew workers and customers. Hostile cautious eyes observed their every move. Blancos could only be doing one of three things here. Copping, getting mugged, or making arrests.

“I’m not worrying, T,” Alvira said with lazy unconcern. He had complete confidence in T’s ability to negotiate junk turf. Tommy’s instincts on the street consisted of a finely tuned receiver system refined by years of practice. In the old days almost all his scoring buddies had been mugged a …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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