“You can’t leave me! Danny you my n***a! You can’t leave me!” That was Craig and rest assured, his *** was getting left behind. I really had no choice. The bone in his left thigh had been shattered by a bullet and a splintered part of it was sticking through his leg grotesquely. I had to run and Craig wasn’t about to walk, much less run anyplace, anytime soon. Craig was my boy but I doubted seriously if I’d see him ever again in life after today. ++++ It had been a couple of years since I’d tried to blackmail my ex-boss Lori whom I’d been sleeping with. She had unceremoniously fired me and I had tried to used some old emails to sue her and the company I’d worked for under her. It turned out that she was way more smarter than I’d given her credit for. I don’t deny at all that I should have gotten that proverbial “pink slip” but I had thought that by sleeping with my boss, that I was somehow shielded. She had seen through me from the beginning. But that’s another story. I was now living in San Jose, CA. I still had some computer technical skills and had done a few contracting gigs here and there but nothing permanent. When I did try to get something permanent, questions about my sudden termination from my last position inevitably came up. Of course I lied but companies tended to check these things out. To make things worse, Danielle was on the verge of putting my *** out on the street. I had been shackin’ up with her the last 6 months. I was 6’1, 185lbs, athletic, and good looking from what I’ve been told. More importantly though, I had the gift of gab if you will. Danielle was a decent looking white girl, a bit pudgy, but decent looking. It hadn’t taken me long to wiggle my way into her one bedroom apartment off Capital near Snell Ave. But after 6 months of not paying any type or rent and eating all the food in the frig while she was away at work, I’d figured that I had about 2 weeks to go before I had to leave even if she hadn’t stated so verbally. I’d done this before and I had the timing down. I hadn’t seen my boy Craig in the last year since I had relocated to San Jose from Chicago putting the Lori incident behind me. I’d called him a few times and sent him some emails just to keep the lines open but our friendship was definitely on its last legs. That happens sometime. So it was a surprise when he had given me a call and said he was flying into San Jose on Friday evening on the company dime. Good ol’ Craig. He wasn’t the brightest or best looking brotha around but give that n***a credit, he handled his business. And to be honest, on some level I admired him. He wasn’t hard to sport curbside when I picked up his big 6’6 300lb *** from the airport and I of course broke out a little something that we smoked on the way from the airport to his hotel downtown. That’s how we always rolled, how we bonded, always had rolled. A Craig and Danny thang if you will. We laughed and talked about all the crazy s**t we used to do back in Chi-town and I must admit, I did miss his big country *** now that we were hanging out once again. “Yo Negro, you don’t have any work s**t until Monday right?”, I asked while he was taking a long hit on the second joint we were smoking now in the parking lot of his hotel. “No playa, I’m good for the weekend.”, Craig said after exhaling a nice plume of smoke. “You wanna do something crazy? Something real crazy?”, I asked as if I’d just thought of this at the moment. “What you scheming now Mr. pretty boy?”, He answered, his eyes just red slits. “Lets rob this little Vietnamese grocery store I know about. It’ll some easy a** money. No guns. No danger. No one gets hurt.”, I said with sincerity. In fact, I’d been planning it doing this a few months now by myself and I really did think it would be easy. With Craig big a** along, it would be even easier. “Hell no n***a! Doing some sh*t like that is beyond crazy.”, Craig said with not quite enough conviction. I figured it would take me about a hour to convince him. It took me about 20 minutes. +++ It had seemed simple enough when I had ran over the plan in my mind a hundred times. I’d cased the little Vietnamese grocery store for a couple months now and I knew that they made the big bank deposits sometime on Saturday morning. If there was a time to rob them, it would be a Friday night when they had the maximum amount of cash on hand. My original plan was to put on a ski mask, pretend to have a gun, hand them a note, and be out in less than 60 seconds. On Friday nights a younger Vietnamese guy worked the cash register while an older parent or grandparent stood as a guard or more likely just a deterrent. Just to make sure, I’d been in the store a couple of late Friday nights and neither the old guy nor young guy didn’t seem to be carrying any lethal on them. I suspected the young guy working the cash register had something below the counter in easy reach but I was betting on my threat of having a gun myself to dissuade him from doing anything foolish. With Craig along, it should’ve been cake. So there we were, 9:38pm Friday night at this little Vietnamese grocery store at the corner of King and Story in ski masks. Craig had both hands in his pockets, pulling his black leather jacket tight on the right side as if he was carrying something big and loaded underneath. I had my left hand in the left pocket of my gray sweat jacket. In my right hand I held a stapler which was covered with a small paper bag. It wasn’t a gun of course but the bag made it a pretty convincing facsimile. It was aimed at the younger face when I handed him the following note: “This is a robbery. Empty all the cash in register into this bag and no one gets hurt. Once you have done so, lay on the ground. I do not want to hurt you but I will” Craig was no doubt sweating about now. I know I was. This was increasingly feeling like a bad idea but I was pretty sure we could pull it off. Craig was keeping his eye on the old Vietnamese guy who seem to be taking this all in stride along with the younger cashier who was didn’t show one bit of fear on his face. That f**king scared me. Craig and I were supposed to be robbing these motherf**kers and yet we were the nervous ones. Then the unexpected happened. This tattoo wearing biker type came walking into this little Vietnamese grocery store about 30 seconds after I’d given the cashier the note. Now this should not have been a problem and if I had to guess I’d say that 99% of any patrons who walked into the middle of a armed robbery would’ve at least been shocked but this ******* seemed to smile just before he pulled out something dull and black and began firing at both Craig and me! I have no idea what everyone did next but I hit the floor. I was pretty sure I hadn’t been hit but my adrenaline had kicked into high gear and I was far from positive. Craig however hadn’t been as lucky. Now this Rambo chopper riding motherf**ker may have not have been the best shot but at least one of the 7 or 8 shots he’d fired had hit Craig and Craig was screaming his a** off. Even from my vantage point on the ground I could see a blood of pool increasing around Craig and he’d taken one somewhere. All through this I could hear a bunch of Vietnamese language I didn’t understand being shouted back and forth between the younger and older owners of this grocery store. I had no idea what they were saying. I didn’t care. Craig’s screaming aside, I was trying to estimate that with no prior conviction, how long I’d get in prison? I was thinking 5 to 10 years until I realized that Rambo wasn’t quite finished with us and had no intentions of letting either of us get out of this place alive. The NRA would be proud. I don’t know what type of gun he was carrying but he was calmly reloading it and walking towards us. The look on his face said he'd won the n***a shooting lottery. I’d mention earlier that I’d been casing this place for a couple of months. In all that time I’d only seen the kid and the grandpa. Never had I seen anyone else. However, this middle age Vietnamese man came busting out of the back room storage firing at the tattooed hero vigilant motherf**cker. Rambo in response, returned fire at this new actor in this scene gone horribly wrong. I don’t know if any of the Vietnamese knew at this point who was robbing who but they sure as hell knew who had a gun. So here I was, between these two having a close range gun fight, Vietnamese being screamed back and forth, and Craig pleading for me not to leave him. I may not always have the best ideas. In fact, if I were to look at my last few ideas, I’d say that most of them were not very good in retrospect. However, I don’t know if this counts as an idea or not but I was getting up out of there. F**k Craig, f**k these Vietnamese grocery store owning motherf**kers, and f**k this tattooed Rambo ******* biker. I made for the door and never looked back. I wish I could say that this was my last and worse idea but I just never seem to learn.