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  • Shirlette and Tracy were my mama's get down crew, my godmothers. They “were”, which these days only precedes "just", as Placida would tell it. Time has eroded their friendship in the subtle way that missed phone calls, neglected birthdays, fist fights, and new men often do. This is my snapshot of way back.

    Tracy and I played tapes and ate quiche in her Murray Hill brownstone while Shirlette helped move boxes the day Placida kicked herself out of my grandmother's apartment.

    Shirlette was ill because she used to let me ride standing up in the flatbed of her pickup truck on the FDR highway on the way out to Ikea for ice cream. I was 8. She was a cop. We didn't tell Placida.
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