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Accidental brilliance in Grand Theft Auto: Episode 2

1:03 PM on 07.17.2007 // Leigh Alexander

It finally happened; we took back the hood.

Grove Street was on the up-and-up now, we rollin' high-style in the mansion with the fancy cars, cuttin' rap albums and livin' da life of a go-getta. CJ looked pimpin' in his tight threads, and had a stable of fine ladies.

And yet, Denise kept calling.

Denise Robinson, my first girl. It wasn't that she was a bad girlfriend, per se -- but I'd moved CJ on in the world. I mean, I liked keepin' it real, riding around the hood on my BMX -- but man, the woman's so small-minded. "This neighborhood is so me," she'd say, as we took yet another repetitive ride through the shantytowns of Ganton. "This is so interesting, I'm just gonna listen," CJ would reply lackadaisically.

Every night with Denise was the same thing. Do a drive-by, choke down some 40s at a seedy bar, roll around Ganton. She had a nice ride and she did give me that pimp suit,  but I just felt that as the de-facto King of San Andreas, CJ deserved something a little more suitable to his station than that whole "girl-from-around-the-way" deal. Every time I set off to handle some High-Rollin' Big Bizness -- maybe chillin' with Wu-Zi or defending my territories -- the phone would ring.

If I hear that shrill voice one more time -- "We gonna chill, or what?" -- I'm gonna snap. 

The hot coffee had begun to get stale. It was time for CJ to do something about Denise Robinson.

[That's right, it's time for another episode of Accidental Brilliance in GTA. If you missed the first episode, check it out. And be sure to share your own accidental cinematic moments -- it's a veritable smorgasbord of "literary machinima!"]  

As the hazy San Andreas daytime turned to night, I rolled up to Denise's crib for a date. Wore my Pimp Suit so she wouldn't know anything was up, and headed up to her driveway.

Bitch wears the same clothes every day. That hood rat getup smells like it hasn't been washed in weeks, but she's oblivious, jogging out eagerly to meet me. "'Sup, girl?" CJ said, as I swallowed my disgust.

I even brought her a little present to keep her unaware of my plan. This had to be the tenth vibrator I'd given this skank, and she still gets so excited. I didn't wanna hang around, though -- we were taking her Hustler, of course. And I'm driving.

I switched on the radio as we pulled out of the driveway. Rod Stewart -- perfect date music.

Billy left his home with a dollar in his pocket and a head full of dreams.
He said somehow, some way, its gotta get better than this.
Patti packed her bags, left a note for her momma, she was just seventeen,
There were tears in her eyes when she kissed her little sister goodbye.

No sooner had we hit the main road in Ganton when Denise started babbling. God, I was sick of her voice. "I'mma open up a beauty shop one day," she said. It was her favorite topic of discussion, and this isn't the first I've heard of it, to say the least. "Why?" CJ asked flatly, but as usual, she had no good answer. A few minutes later, she had one of her typical bright ideas -- Denise wanted to do a drive-by, yet again. Girl, come on -- CJ's bangin', but this is so small-time. But I kept driving, so as not to clue her in, as the poor little dear stuck her crummy little Tec-9 out the passenger door of her car -- my car, now. With a little luck, she wouldn't even notice me heading for the highway. 

They held each other tight as they drove on through the night, they were so excited.
We got just one shot at life, let's take it while we're still not afraid.
Because life is so brief and time is a thief when you're undecided.
And like a fistful of sand, it can slip right through your hands.

No sooner were we out of Ganton than Denise complained she didn't like the area. Big surprise. She whined that she wanted to go drinking, another jaw-dropper, but I was headed for the beach. I didn't care if I bored her legs closed -- this would be our last date. Fo' sho'.

Paradise was closed so they headed for the coast in a blissful manner.
They took a tworoom apartment that was jumping evry night of the week.
Happiness was found in each others arms as expected, yeah
Billy pierced his ears, drove a pickup like a lunatic, ooh! 

I pulled the hustler right over the curb, past some park benches, down the sand. Denise was quiet now; maybe she knew what was going to happen. It was a gorgeous night at the shore, with plenty of homeboys holding the territory down and some young couples taking in the salty air.

Young hearts, be free tonight. Time is on your side.

The two-passenger rescue helicopter was still parked on the shore where I saw it when I planned this. I parked the car and got out; Denise followed me. Like a good little bitch, she got in the passenger side of the helicopter without ease. She never had any big dreams of getting out of the neighborhood, but tonight I was going to take her soaring above the clouds. It was too perfect -- when we got in the 'copter, the radio was still tuned to KDST, and Stewart's ballad of love, Young Turks, was still playing; for just a few moments as I took my homegirl up into the sky, we were wild, young and free together. One last time.

The song's subtitle is "Tonight I'm Yours." How fitting; Denise Robinson, tonight -- you're mine.

High over the ocean, turned to a sea of dark turquoise in the night, I took a direct course across the water with the full moon square in the center of our vision's panorama. One last time, feebly, Denise complained. "This area is revolting," she said. 

Denise, all I tried to do was broaden your horizons. I took you into the sky, girl, and this is how you treat me? 

She can't be saved; I have no choice. 

When she least expected it, I bailed from the copter -- which, with no one at the controls, plummeted for the ocean. Denise followed me like the narrow-sighted little ghetto sheep that she is. That she was.

I had a parachute. She didn't.

Billy wrote a letter back home to Patti's parents tryin to explain.
He said, we're both real sorry that it had to turn out this way.

In the few moments of dizzying freefall before I opened my chute, I thought I saw her body dropping out of sight, right out of the corner of my eye. I was free tonight. Free.

Few hours later, I dragged myself up to a dock on the other side of the city. 2 AM. Nobody'd seen me. And when I asked around the neighborhood the next day, nobody'd seen Denise, either.

Funny; I don't miss her. Sometimes, I miss the Pimp Suit. But the Hustler? That baby's all mine now.

Young hearts gotta run free, be free, live free
Time is on, time is on your side
Time, time, time, time is on your side
Is on your side

Guess time just wasn't on hers.  

Leigh Alexander,
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