Communication Breakdown

Archibald Feversham had been in New York for less than two hours when his problems began. He had come to America for the first time to meet a woman he had met on the Internet, despite the protestations of his family and friends.

Archibald was his own man and he had taken no small amount of umbrage at their distain for his plans. His paramour had given him explicit instruction on how to find the restaurant where they were to rendezvous and he had dutifully written it all down before departing but now he was uncertain how to proceed.

He had taken a cab from the airport but the Pakistani driver was as near to new in New York as he was and communication had been awkward at best. Archibald had unwisely become agitated with the man and ended up being dumped unceremoniously in Brooklyn.

Unable to get another taxi to stop for him he was now attempting to negotiate the New York City subway system, most oblivious to the dangers of doing so for someone such as himself. So it was that he was standing in front of map with his two suitcases trying to determine how to reach his hotel when two young black men took notice of him.

“Yo, Rick, check this out.”

“Shit, man, what’s up with that?”

“Don’t know. Let’s go get the 411.”

They sauntered over to him and looked him up and down.

“Ayyy-Yooo, ‘sup Holmes?”

Archibald turned and surveyed his new acquaintances.

“I say, are you addressing me?”

Rick and Johnson looked at each other and back at Archibald.

“Bitch, I ain’t even gonna undress you, you a Buttafuco?”

“I beg your pardon?”

Johnson looked at Rick. Rick shrugged.

“I think he sayin’ my bad.”

“Your bad is right motherfucker, I done axed you what it is and you start talkin’ shit to me.”

Archibald’s pulse quickened. He had no idea what they were saying. It was the Pakistani cab driver all over again only worse. He swallowed hard and looked at them but they just stood there staring daggers at him. He decided to try defusing the situation by making light conversation.

“I say, your clothing is certainly striking. A veritable bricolage of texture and pattern.”

Johnson was fuming.

“Motherfucker I’m a snuff you if you don’t come across right now.”

Rick nodded as Archibald looked to him for an interpretation.

“For real, bitch, he got a gas face on now. Whatchoo doin’ here anyway, you ain’t even got you a Hoop-Dee to make the rounds in?”

Johnson laughed as Archibald looked about for help.

“Looky here Holmes, you must be lost fo’ sho’. Slide some coin across and maybe we could see that you get the 411 you be needin’.”

Archibald was beside himself. He shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

“Perhaps I could engage you fine gentleman to assist me in reaching my destination. What sort of remuneration would suit?”

Rick and Johnson exchanged looks again. Rick was losing interest.

“Man, this dog is wack. I ain’t even down with rollin’ him, too many eyes on the prize.”

Johnson shrugged and spit on the pavement.

“Yeah, fuck this. Let’s get on with it man.”

“Later for you, Holmes. You better be getting’ on, you gonna end up a 187.”

Archibald was more confused than ever.

“Pardon? A what?”

Rick shook his head in disgust.

“A chalk outline, dude.”

Archibald heaved a sigh of despair as the pair moved off. He decided perhaps another attempt at hailing a taxi might be in order.


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