Tuesday July 21st, 2015.
Approximately 11:20 PM.
It’s a beautiful night in Downtown Atlanta, GA. I had just left my Editor-in-Chief’s house after crafting a few posts for this very site and fantasizing about the upcoming OVO Fest, which my staff and I planned to attend.
After a session of laughs, good music and hard work, I shook hands with my homie and started off to my car, making my way back to the Eastside of Atlanta, where I reside. I didn’t realize that could’ve been the last time I saw my friend.
As I was walking, a feeling a relief and euphoria had come over me. I remember looking at the landscape and buildings around his condo and appreciating the beauty, thinking: “Everything is going to be alright.”
Flying down expressway 75/85 in a brand new, foreign, luxury car? I felt untouchable. The lights of the city dancing in the distance, me gripping the wood grain ferociously, doing 100 in a 65, dipping in and out of traffic. The sunroof was open and I was blasting the smash record March Madness, repeatedly exclaiming “These bogus police can’t touch me, these fucking niggas can’t touch me.”
How wrong was I.
12:25 AM. Lithonia, GA.
After a 30 minute ride I swing into my subdivision, which is very complicated to get into and out of, and park on the street. I always make a U-turn at the top of the subdivision to park because the only way out is the way I came in.
I get on the phone with my “it’s complicated, on again-off again, working things out, you know.” We talk for about 45 minutes as I’m sitting in my car, unwinding. Mind you, I’m facing the only entrance into the neighborhood and nary a car passed me. I tell her what I’m doing and she says that I should take my ass in the house and starts to fuss and question why I sit in the car late at night, because she questions everything. I probably said some arrogant shit, because I think I’m smarter than everyone and continued talking.
I remember being annoyed when we got off the phone. Not realizing that could’ve been the last time I heard her voice.
The call dropped and I decided to head inside and play some Xbox. I reached for the glove compartment to access my gun and remembered that I left it inside because I was running late and because my day job is on federal property.
I get out of the car with my phone in hand and I remember an eerie stillness, Like the world had stopped moving. The cicadas weren’t singing, no cars were passing, not a cricket was screeching. It seemed as if everything in nature knew what was about to happen but me.
I started walking from my car to my driveway, maybe 100 feet, when I began to feel uneasy and jittery. My gut told me what was up because as soon as I turned around to look behind me, there was a fucking gun in my face.
“Don’t say nothing. Be cool. Where the keys at, bruh. Gimme the keys.”
There were four of them. One sticking me up, one backing him up, two looking out from the getaway car down the street. I still don’t know how that car pulled up without me seeing.
I handed over my keys. They were children. All short and skinny, oversized hoodies and dirty cargo pants. Long kinky hair, the hairstyle that the teenagers wear. They couldn’t have been older than 21, shit 19. The gunman and I made eye contact. He was high on something, as people usually are when they commit crimes. He didn’t break eye contact with me, shit, he didn’t even blink. That’s when I knew that this young nigga didn’t give a fuck.
“Give me your phone bruh. Empty your pockets.”
I tried to appeal to his humanity. “Dog, you about to take a $30,000 car. What you need my phone for?”
Stupid. He could’ve shot me in the fucking face. Leave it to Malcolm to be an asshole in the worst possible moment. They say that you truly show who you are in times of distress, and guess who I was? An asshole. He pressed the barrel of the weapon firmly against my face and said: “The phone, nigga! I’m not playing with you.”
I handed it over, along with my wallet. He goes in the wallet, sees that there’s no cash and throws it to the ground. He then reaches in my cargo pocket…
8:37 PM. Chevron, Spring Street.
(Door dings upon entry)
I love Fiji water. I should have stock in that company seeing how many square ass bottles I have laying around. My homeboy never has any water at his crib. Let me cop some Fiji. Shit, no Fiji here. I’ll get some Smart Water instead. Ooh, Ice Cream! Damn. Thumbs up is cash only. Taking shorty to breakfast and to look for jobs tomorrow. Probably do lunch too. Also gonna take her shopping and grab some Xbox games for myself. Nigga I got a new whip, my money right. I’m GOOD. Sad I’m not future concert, but I’m going to OVO Fest. It’s all good. I hate going to the ATM in the morning. Fuck that. Let me take out some money now and put it in my left cargo pocket. $XXX.XX should be enough.
Clerk: $11.35. Out of $20? $8.65. Have a nice day!
(Door dings upon exit)
Bum: Young brother! You got something to spare? I’m a hungry old man!
(Malcolm hands bum $8.65)
Bum: Thank you young man! May God bless and protect you from the evils of the world!
(Malcolm stops in stride. Pauses, looks at bum concerned, smiles and walks away. Wide shot as Dark grey Lexus leaves gas station. “Fetti” by Future plays.)
1:04 AM. Lithonia, GA.
He reaches into my cargo pocket and takes my cash that I had on me. The throws the cash to his counterpart and backs away towards the car with his gun trained on me. I don’t move. I just watch.
The second these dickheads get into the car, I’m SCRAMBLING trying to find a way to get into the house to access ONE of my guns. I try every door available, and everything is locked. I start banging on the front door, ringing the doorbell, hoping my housemate is awake. Mind you, my car is push to start and these assholes don’t know what they’re doing, so I’m watching the headlights flicker on and off, hoping that they just give it up and run away.
They finally start the car and screech off into the night, followed by a red Oldsmobile Alero or some shit. My homeboy runs out the house asking me what happened. I called the police from his phone. Then it was quiet again.
They found my car the next day, 10 minutes from my house. It wasn’t damaged, but the interior was completely ransacked. They turned the inside upside down. They took my watch and my emergency cash that I keep in the car. They even took my Dave and Buster’s cards.
But I have my life.
It’s not like the movies where they say your whole life flashes In front of your eyes. The act happens entirely too fast. I did think about my family and my woman, but no visions.
When that gun was in my face I was in a daze, hypnotized by the possibility of my life ending. My legs were heavy, my eyes locked on that gun. All I could think about was my life, me, International Malcolm, Malcolm the King, dying on the front lawn. No radio show, no HBO, no interviewing Kanye West, no wife, no kids, no international greatness. Malcolm Jamaal Heaggans, Dead at 25 on the front lawn.
My slick mouth or wit couldn’t do anything for me in that moment. I realized that the biggest bargaining chip and the most valuable thing in the entire world is life. As much as I like nice shit, I didn’t think about any material things in that moment. I just wanted to live.
This is the third or fourth brush with death that I’ve had in my life. I don’t know why I’m so lucky, but I keep escaping. These experiences make for great stories. I just hope I’m alive to tell the next one.
I’ve decided to live my life even more extravagantly and consistently. With the help of my loved ones I’m learning to have more humility, to be more humble. To understand that I’m just one man on a random ass rock in the middle of space. Ego isn’t everything, and live life, because you never know when your going to go.
Until Next Wave,
– Internatio… Malcolm Jamaal Heaggans.