It’s me, winter of sophomore year. AΦA has been advertising this function all week. Selling tickets on campus, social media campaigns, this is the real deal. Avid consumers of all the Divine Nine have to offer, myself and group of friends purchase our tickets. In typical never worrying about how to get places until we have to get there fashion, the night of the party we learn it's in Capitol Heights MD. Us being safe in the gates of American University, we didn't really have concept of where exactly that was, only that it’s a stop on the metro. But that’s all you need to know right?
Wrong. Once we actually plug the address into maps this place isn't really near the metro at all so the whole group; me, Rolland, and Kobina and a few female friends get in a cab from Metro Center and make it to spot for about 50 bucks. This party is dead in the middle of nowhere in a warehouse on some rave type shit but i’ll be damned if it wasn’t live. After a great night we step back out into the cold and start to think about how we’re gonna get home. Here are the facts about the situation: 1. Of the three of us, my phone is the only one alive. 2. We didn’t even have a chance to ask “ayo where the girls at” before we discover they got offered some rides home by these dudes and were ALREADY GONE. 3. Everyone else at the function either drove, carpooled, or rode that big ass exclusive Howard University bus. 4. This was also like 2013 so I wasn’t on the Uber wave yet.
What I'm trying to say is we were alone, abandoned honestly. Anyway it’s cold and it’s drizzling. We’re not dressed for the weather, we’re dressed for the function you feel me? Occasion over season. FYI, it was an all black affair (this will be important later). So I call a cab company and they’re like “we don’t drive out there”. ??? I thought y’all had a job i.e. to drive but y’all still wondering how you’re getting run out of business right? RIGHT? So I’m like look, let me see how far the metro is on maps and while we’re walking we’ll keep calling cabs.
Remember when I said it wasn't really near the metro on maps? Well how far could it be? An hour and 15 minutes walk bro. Metro closes at 3am, function ended at 2.
Ain’t no challenge I can’t overcome though so we start moving because if we hustle we just might catch the last train. 20 minutes in I figure out we’re kind of walking in the opposite direction but no great journey is completed without detours. 45 minutes into the walk and 5 rejections from cab companies later, we arrive at this intersection at 3am. There are two gas stations and a McDonald’s, we’re fucking saved right? Wrong. We run up to the McDoanld’s “CLOSED AT 12AM”. You know what? What a DISGRACE to the McDonald’s name. Who sanctioned these hours? What a travesty.
So we head to the first gas station. Now remember, we’re three black guys, at 3am, in all black clothing. Shopkeeper sees us coming and CLOSES UP SHOP. We pull up the to window like bro, we just need the number for a cab company. No response, just gestures us to move on. Bet, so we cross the street to the next gas station and tell Rolland to keep watch for a cab because we notice there’re a few cars rolling up and down the street. We pull up on this window and ask for a number. The guy politely explains he doesn’t know any and points us in the direction of the metro, wishing us luck. We turn around to SEE ROLLAND FACING US AS A CAB FOR HIRE LITERALLY DRIVES PAST. What’s wild is that his worst mistake is yet to come.
Out of options we’re back on the trail and it’s getting tough. Snot frozen on our faces while simultaneously being hit with ice cold rain droplets, teeth chattering, socks wet. We even began singing negro spirituals to channel the strength of our ancestors for this remaining 30 minutes until we get to the metro which is 200% closed at this point, we were just betting on catching a cab there. We were on our last legs when suddenly, as if the heavens themselves heard our cries for help...A 7 ELEVEN in all its 24 hour glory.
Maaaaannnn we busted through those doors and ran up to the counter asking a confused and slightly worried shop keeper “DO YOU HAVE ANY NUMBERS FOR ANY CAB COMPANIES???”
More satisfying than any other yes I’d heard before or since. He offered us some food, gave me a charger, y’all this right here, this is what customer service looks like. We make the call and secure a cab. Our ordeal is over right? Wrong. We notice that there’s a guy, big dude, halfway out of the door, literally half his body is in the shop. He’s just looking at us. After a few minutes he says:
“Look....if y’all are gonna rob the spot I don’t want no trouble, just say the word and I’m gone. I ain’t see nothing.”
Can't get robbed if you make friends with the robbers. Roll safe.
So believe it or not it took a good 10 minutes for us to convince this guy weren't t ere to rob the spot and eventually earned his trust. He came back in the store and asked us how we ended up out there. We explain we came out for a function and needed to get back to AU, that’s why we called
“AU??? Yo it’s gonna cost you like AT LEAST $250.00 in a cab to get back there.”
Are you hearing yourself? That’s a plane ticket my nigga wtf are you talking about. Capitol Heights is ON the metro my guy, we’re not going to Florida tf? PLUS we GOT HERE for like 50 bucks IN A CAB are you buggin rn?
None of that reasoning stopped this man from trying to finesse us.
“I’ll cut you a deal though, I’ll take you home for 200.”
“No??? Cool cool 175 tho?”
“FINAL OFFER 120. Best you’re gonna get out here I PROOOOMISSEEEE YOUUUUU”
At 120, Rolland mysteriously starts moving toward the ATM. If we didn’t stop him, he’d still be missing that 120 to this day.
After a final decline, he went on his way but it’d been like a half hour at that point and our cab still hadn’t arrived. We were promised “around 5-10 minutes” but shit hadn’t been going our way all night so this might as well happen, yknow?
As we’re about to call the cab company back a car pulled up. Out of this car came like 6 guys who upon entering the store made it known that they are 1. drunk and that they are, without a doubt, 2. Jamaican. I would expect nothing less at 4am.
Who I assume to be the leader of said squad pulled up to the counter and in the wildest combination of slurred words and patois says something absolutely incomprehensible. After the guy repeated his request 3 times to no avail the shopkeeper shot us a glance to which we all responded with a shrug. In frustration, the dude does his absolute best to break it down slowly and then we hear it:
“WHEA DA BATROOM?”
Ever the hero of our story, I approached the shopkeeper and said “can’t you hear the man? He’s asking for the bathroom.” In a moment of relief, he pointed him in the right direction. While he’s handling his business the other guys started to talk to us. Though we barely understand what they were saying, Kobina and I expertly just nod and smile, dropping a laugh at the most critical points, we’re honestly coasting through these conversations. Real ting. Rasclat* (spelling?)
The leader emerged from the bathroom and began to talk to Rolland who followed our example; nod, laugh, and smile. Big mistake. Suddenly things escalate.
“OH TINK DATS FUNNY? OH YUH A LAUGH NOW???”
Rolland got no idea what’s going on honestly, it was his problem though because Kobina and I made it out just fine. Gotta be held accountable to your own mistakes you feel me? If you die you die, that’s what friendship’s all about right?
So his squad basically told him it wasn't worth it and possibly saved Rolland's life, or maybe they saved him from Rolland - still don't know what he's capable of. Then they left. 15 minutes after, our cab FINALLY pulled into the 7 Eleven parking lot, damn near 5am. But wait, that’s right, you guessed it, it wasn’t our cab. Not the same company, in fact the guy wasn’t even on shift. But you know what? He said he’d take us home anyway.
And after a long but relieving 40 minute drive back to campus, we’d paid 35 dollars for our trouble. Long story short, if you don’t have a car, don’t go anywhere.