During my junior year of college, I had the bright idea to run for formal chair of our fraternity. Being the known degenerate that I am, I won by a landslide. $25,000 dollars and a few months later, we were Memphis bound.
I had arranged for us to stay at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. That’s the one where the ducks live in a hotel room and hang out in the lobby’s fountain. It’s pretty fucking nice. I managed to stretch the budget to afford to rent out one of the hotel’s ballrooms for the night, and, after several lengthy phone calls, set up a dank ass dinner and an open bar for the older brothers, their dates, and pretty much anyone with a fake ID.
The night went off without a hitch. We had paid for the open bar until midnight, but with the crew of misfits attending this dinner, the bar stood no chance. It was cleared out by 10. With the tragedy of the empty bar set before us, the younger kids danced the night away on the dance floor to the tunes of the DJ I had hired for the evening while the big kids went upstairs for a round of gator tails, compliments of my DC buddies who had been visiting the weekend prior.
When the coke was gone, I grabbed my date, Kensie, along with some of my pledge brothers and their dates, and we headed out to Beale Street. I was lighthoused by midnight, and somehow made it back to the hotel safe and sound.
The next morning I feel a *poke poke poke* in my side. I crack my eyes open to see the clock sitting on the side table. It was only 7:15 and we’re talking about the morning after what was definitely the most drinking I had done the entire semester. I was in no mood for morning sex when Kensie whispered, “I can’t find my phone.”
I’m sitting there wondering how this was my problem, realizing how I’d rather be six feet under with the hangover I was feeling, but she doesn’t stop bothering me. “You gotta help me find it!” she pesters.
I pull up Find My iPhone on my phone and log into her account. After a few seconds of triangulation, her phone pops up on the map. The first problem was the phone wasn’t in the hotel. The second problem was the phone wasn’t on Beale Street, either. It was about six blocks north of the hotel, smack dab in the middle of the hood. I didn’t know this at the time, so I offered to drive her to go find her phone. After a quick bite for breakfast, we hopped in my Jeep and were off on our adventure.
We pulled into the neighborhood where the map said the phone was. When we tried to figure out which house the phone was in, it seemed to be floating in the middle of two houses. I figured we should just try our luck and knock on both of the doors. As we pulled up to the first house, an elderly black man was sitting out on his front porch. Noticing that we had stopped and were staring at his house, he got up and walked over to the car. “What’s going on y’all?” the man asked.
Without hesitation, Kensie immediately blurts out, “Do you have my iPhone?” The guy looks confused as shit and asks what the hell we were talking about. I explained to him that we were looking for her iPhone and that the map had indicated that it was here. I showed him on the phone, and he informs us that we need to check the house behind him, the next street over. “Thanks homie!” I responded, and drove off to the next house.
As we pulled up to the next street, two lovely ladies were walking down the street in front of the house that we needed to go into. As we pulled up to the house and stopped, the girls walked over and flashed their crack-yellow teeth smiles at us. “Y’all lost? You don’t look like you’re from around here,” the girls questioned us.
After explaining our situation with the iPhone they replied, “Well… for three dollars I can help y’all look.” I would soon find out three dollars gets you pretty much anything you want in the hood.
I begrudgingly reached into my wallet and whipped out three Washingtons and handed them to her. She comes back after talking to the owner of the house a minute later, with no luck. I pulled back up the Find My iPhone app and noticed that the phone had moved and was now at the gas station across the street. I thanked the girls for trying, dropped the car into drive and raced to the gas station.
As we pulled up to the gas station, I took notice of it for the first time. It was covered from floor to ceiling in thick black metal bars and appeared to have bullet proof glass going all the way around the inside of the store to protect the employees. Out front was a group of upstanding citizens, drinking 40s out of brown bags at 8 in the morning. Standing out front was a younger guy, mid 20s, hustling mixtapes. We pulled up to the front of the gas station and again, with no filter, Kensie questions the guy. “Did you steal my iPhone?” she asks.
The guy laughs and asks her why she thinks he had her phone. Explaining the situation about how we tracked it, he tells us that he doesn’t have it but would ask the guys inside if anyone found an iPhone the night previous. We thanked him and introduced ourselves and found out his name was Jamaal. Jamaal went inside the store and asked around, but again, no luck.
At this point, we’ve created quite the spectacle around us, as we are the only white people in the entire area, and had managed to get the attention of the entire attendance of the parking lot. I had people trying to sell me cigarettes, mixtapes, and one guy just straight up asked if I had a three dollars to spare. Everyone was being super helpful when it came to trying to find Kensie’s phone, though, and after a suggestion, I pulled back out the app. The phone had moved back across the street again, however this time it’s clearly inside a house. I looked up and noticed a house that I hadn’t seen before nestled between the two houses we had checked previously. When I ask the guys about the house, I’m immediately informed that it was a trap house, and the guys who lived there were NOT friendly to new people.
We asked the guys what we should do as far as getting the phone back and they suggested calling the police. The 5-0. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, as my own run-ins with the law would direct me otherwise. Kensie doesn’t have an issue with this and calls 911. The first words out of her mouth were “Hi, so I’m standing across the street from this house where my iPhone was stolen, and I think they sell drugs.”
My jaw cartoonishly dropped. I couldn’t believe what she had just said. I’m expecting a fucking SWAT team to show up for her phone, but after about 10 minutes I find a single cop car has shown up.
It is at this time the first guy we had met on our trip walked over to the gas station. He recognized us and asked if we had any luck with the phone. After explaining our new situation, he busts out laughing and goes, “Aww man… that’s my cousin! I got you, bro.” With that he was off across the street.
I walked up to the cop to talk, and when the cop rolled down the window, I stopped dead in my tracks. They had sent a five-foot tall, blonde, female cop out into the middle of the hood to offer us “help.” I explained to her that we had the situation under control and that she was no longer needed. She’s not having it, though, noticing the crowd behind me. She tells me that she would stay there until we had left.
The guy who was helping us out comes back a minute later and informs us that his cousin was taking a shit, but wanted to know if there was a finder’s fee. Kensie of course has no money, and therefore looks at me for help. I mutter under my breath and pull out a 20 and handed it to him. A minute later the guy comes back with Kensie’s phone and she is elated. With everyone happy I turned back to Jamaal and asked him for just one more favor. I asked if he knew where to find any weed.
“Of course, bro. I got you. It’s just down the street,” Jamaal replied.
With the cop not budging until we had left, I asked him to hop in the car with us and we dipped out. Jamaal took us farther and farther into the hood as I began noticing the distinctive all red and all blue clothing the people on the street were wearing, and the classic teddy bears stapled to the telephone polls. Tell-tale signs.
As we passed two guys posted on a corner, Jamaal tells me to take the right. I gripped the wheel and turned down the street and drove for about another half mile before Jamaal told me to stop. Before me was a run down pink house with a chain link fence and warning signs posted saying “KEEP OUT” and “BEWARE OF THE DOG.” Jamaal was about to walk up to the door and make the purchase for us when Kensie asked if she could come. He says sure and they headed up to the house. After a few minutes of arguing, Jamaal and Kensie return to the car empty handed. “He says they don’t have anything,” Jamaal told me, “but don’t worry, there’s another house just down the road.”
We head back the way we came, only needing to go about a quarter mile before coming to the next trap house. Again, Jamaal and Kensie walked up to the house to make the purchase, and again they were denied. As they get back in the car, Jamaal is laughing. When I asked him what was up he explains to me, “They think your girl is a cop, so they won’t sell to y’all. They aren’t used to white people coming through this part of town. Don’t worry, though, I think I might know one more place we can try.”
We were headed back towards the corner with the two guys posted when Jamaal tells me to slow down. He rolled down the window and shouts to the guys, “Hey y’all got change for a twenty?”
“Nah man, but park over there. They got change inside!” the guys shouted back to us.
I parked the car, handed Jamaal my twenty, thanked him and he got out of the car. Five minutes later Jamaal comes back and he gets in. He then preceded to hand me a gram of exceptionally dank weed, a grape cigarillo, and FIFTEEN DOLLARS IN CHANGE.
I was mind blown. This had to be the cheapest drug deal I’d ever been involved with this side of the border. I was so happy I even threw the guy an extra couple of bucks. Kensie and I dropped him back off at the gas station where we first met and thanked him again. I even bought a mixtape from him, for the low price of three dollars. From there we headed back to the hotel, iPhone and weed in hand, to prepare for the rest of the day ahead..