Excerpt

Two in the morning. One block east of Georgia Avenue. It was dangerous for Calvin to be here so late. But he wanted to see Norris, and everybody knew this side of Georgia was his.

Calvin walked down the street. Row houses were strung along both sides. Once in a while he passed one that was boarded up, the yard full of trash and busted lawn chairs. The rest of the houses were shut tight behind security doors made of half-inch steel bars bent into fancy shapes.

People’s windows were mostly dark, but one or two glowed with TV light. Maybe a kid, or somebody with no job to get up for the next morning.

Scraggly trees lined the sidewalk, leaves hanging limp in the heat. The air hummed with the sound of air conditioners going full blast. August in D.C. was hot, even at two a.m.

Calvin walked in the middle of the street so he could be seen. He did not want Norris to think he was sneaking up on him. That wouldn’t be smart.

Calvin wore a white T-shirt, black basketball shorts, and his favorite running shoes. Just in case.

He knew he could outrun Norris if he had to. After all, Calvin was a track star. A sprinter. Norris was an out-of-shape hustler smoking two packs a day. Norris’s boys couldn’t catch Calvin either. Nobody could.