Preston L. Allen


For nearly four hours, Clyde ran from the sound of sirens and dodged the searchlights from the two helicopters. He ran through the neighborhoods of his childhood. He ran across the basketball court where he used to shoot hoops. He skirted the canal where he used to catch catfish for his mama to fry and found himself in Opa-locka, another suburb of Miami, which, like Carol City was home mostly to immigrants and working-class African Americans.

He hopped over fences and ran through familiar backyards until he got to 160th Street in Opa-locka. It was like coming home again.

Opa-tisha-wocka-locka, the Indians named it. A big island covered with many very tall trees and swamps. The storm shutters were down on some of the houses. On some of the houses, giant Xs were taped across the windows for the approaching storm. He didn’t know what time it was, but he figured it had to be getting close to sunrise.

He was tiring. His head was spinning. He popped the last of the painkillers and that made his head feel even worse. He jumped over a fence and found himself face to face with a large, growling Doberman. Clyde knew that in Opa-tisha-wocka-locka they trained their dogs to kill.

In the pause before the terrible shredding of flesh began, it occurred to him that he sure could use one of those very tall trees right about now . . .

Excerpt from “Terror Gang.” Preston Allen will appear 4:30 p.m., Nov. 24, Room 8303.

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