“Well, what you wanna do?” I asked Jean again. 

We were still standing in the same spot. Wasting time. For all we knew the shooter was watching our butts while here we stood in plain sight, like dummies, because of her.

Jean took one more look towards the alleyway and one look up the street before responding.

“Ok, let’s look, but after we look, we got to hurry home before Mom comes looking and embarrasses us by beating us all the way home.” I sure didn’t want that to happen to us again. Once in life is enough to have to live down.

I took the lead, of course, and tiptoed into the alley as if I were creeping up on someone. Jean followed and held onto my blouse to make sure that if I took off, she would be right behind me. Most of the alleys in our neighborhood were wide and open, this area was smaller as it was only used mostly to get behind IGA’s store and delivery area. Everybody knew where IGA’s was at, even white people knew about Carl Brown’s IGA. It’s famous! The only Black owned large grocery store in the city. Right smack on the corner of Mt. Vernon and Champion Ave. Mr. Carl Brown. Everybody know the Browns, they respected them. Too bad one of the sons, according to the word on the streets, was a known pothead, and suspected of doing some other things, so of course there would be some kind of, you know, illegal stuff going on behind the store, like drug deals, coping hot stuff, a trick or two.

As we continued to creep towards where we heard the shot from, I thought about how the alley seemed dark and spooky, even though it was daylight. It must have been because of all the late-night Friday horror movies I would watch with the Night Owl on TV. I was the only one brave enough to watch them. Jean was always asleep by the time it came on at ten at night, and Mom would be reading or asleep too. I would be at the foot of Mom’s bed watching Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, or some other old black and white horror movie crap. For the fun of it I turned around quickly and made a silent scream face at Jean. She didn’t think it was funny and hit me on the arm with her fist. I laughed and turned to lead the way. Hey, sometimes you have to have a little fun in the midst of terror.

After about ten steps into the alley, we both saw what we feared. A body. Jean jumped back with a start, and attempted to turn around and run, but I grabbed her arm and we found ourselves hugging each other again for the second time on the same day.

“Ok big shot, now what? And I tell you right now I’m not gonna be touching that body!”  Jean’s talk was big, but her voice was scared. 

I let go of her and walked towards the body in slow motion, at least it felt that way. Each lift of a leg was like lifting twenty extra pounds on my feet. It didn’t help that Jean was still holding on to my shirt tail, adding more weight to each step. I finally got to the body. 

 I bent down and saw a green hat on the head of the body. It covered up the face slightly so I couldn’t see who it was.

“Who is it?” Jean whispered.

“How the hell I know?”

“Check it out!”

“Wait a minute, shit!”

“Hurry up!”

“Don’t be rushing me, you wanna look?”

“No, I’m sorry, go ahead, look?”

“That’s what I’m trying to do, shut up!” 

I bent down again and moved the hat to the side and then jumped away from the body almost knocking Jean to the ground. 

“What the hell!” Jean yelled, forgetting to be silent.

“Let’s get the hell out of here!” I said as I started running out of the alley. 

“Who is it Sara?”

“I said let’s get the hell out of here!”

I kept running and Jean looked at the body one more time and then started running with me. 

We ran until we came to the front of IGA’s and kept on running until we were a block away on Ohio Ave. We stopped and stood panting for breath when we got to Beatty Recreation Center’s steps.

“What did you see?” Jean managed to gasp out.

I was still trying to get my breath and also trying to believe what I had seen. It couldn’t be. Oh crap, we were in trouble. Big trouble. We couldn’t go to the police now for sure. Oh crap! Jean began asking me again what I had seen. I interrupted her and told her.

“It’s Smooth, damn it, it’s Smooth!” I said and took off running home with Jean fast on my heels