:: Article

The Guy

By Thomas Mundt.

When I reach the bottom of the exit ramp, I roll down my window because The Guy asks me to. I have no good reason not to. I’m a Nice Guy. The Guy seems like a Nice Guy. Don’t ask me why. He just does. You can always tell when a Guy is a Nice Guy. And Nice Guys need to stick together. Especially in Logan Square. Because there aren’t many Nice Guys like us left in this neighborhood.

The air’s cold. The Guy has his forearms resting on the driver’s side door frame. He looks around inside my car.

“Ninja Turtle up and left. Done run off with the Skittles. Got half a mind to follow, put his ass down right quick.”

The Guy sounds like he needs a Ricola.

“Yeah? You don’t say.”

“Ninja Turtle gonna get his. That’s affirmative-mothafuckin’-fact.”

“Most definitely.”

“We talkin’ declarative sentences here. Feel me?”

“Get in.”

I motion for The Guy to walk around the front of my Bonneville. He smiles and gives the hood a friendly slap with his palm. When he gets to the other side, he opens the passenger’s side door and climbs in. Buckles up right away.

“Now we communicatin’.”

“Where to?”

“AMC right nyah.”

“Just up the block? The one ‘cross from, what? Fat Willy’s?”

“The same, youngin’.”

When the light changes and I start driving, I notice that The Guy has a pack of Reds in the pocket of his flannel. I ask him for one and he gives me one right away. Doesn’t even give me some song and dance about it being his last or anything. He keeps one for himself and punches the cigarette lighter in the console between us.

“Ah, that shit don’t work. Here.”

I flip open the compartment and hand him my lighter. He lights my smoke first. A real gentleman, The Guy.

“Sheeeeeeit. Ninja Turtle ain’t nothin’. Gonna get his ass lit up. We talkin’ tonight.”

The Guy’s cigarette bounces up and down like a diving board when he talks. It’s kind of funny, when you think about it.

“We talkin’ to-mothafuckin’-night. Hoo!”

We stop at the light. The movie theater’s on our left. The Guy tries to unlock the door to get out but he doesn’t know it’s busted.

“Here. I gotta get that.”

I hit the button for the power locks. The Guy smiles when the silver knob pops up in the door frame. He turns to shake my hand.

“Much obliged.”

“De nada.”

The Guy steps out of the Bonneville. He doesn’t bother to walk up Western, to the crosswalk. He just weaves in and out of cars stopped at the light. I can hear him yelling.

“Ninja-mothafuckin’-Turtle! I know you ain’t stray far, now! You on these premises right nyah!”

The Guy makes it across all four lanes of traffic and reaches the theater. There’s a bunch of kids out front smoking but there’s also a grown-ass man, trying to look all casual, like he’s just reading a Red Eye. Then he just books toward a parking garage. The Guy sprints after him, yelling something I can’t hear well enough to understand. Ninja Turtle. Has to be.

The light turns green. As I drive up Western, I think about The Guy catching Ninja Turtle and throwing him off the top the parking garage, onto the tracks. I sort of feel bad for Ninja Turtle, but then I remember that he stole. The Guy can’t let that slide. The Guy has limits. All Nice Guys do.


Thomas Mundt
is a Chicagoan by birth and a Memphisian by proxy. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like Six Sentences, The 2nd Hand, The Northville Review, and Zygote In My Coffee.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, October 24th, 2009.