Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Dangerous Lesson, "Goose" Satterwhite

Timothy Alston “Goose” Satterwhite is my unapologetic homage to Robert B. Parker’s Hawk. Named by his father for the first major league manager to write Jackie Robinson’s name on a lineup card, Goose grew up in the late, unlamented Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago’s South Side. He makes a living collecting things for people who lack legal means to do so. Goose reads two or three books a week and is in the midst of an endless process of gutting and rehabilitation an old house; he worships Norm Abrams as a god. In another book he leaves dinner with Forte to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog, yet “menace rose off him like heat from a parking lot, even when he smiled. Sometimes especially when he smiled.”

(Editor’s note: Mr. Satterwhite meant well, but Clyde Sukeforth was actually Jackie Robinson’s original big league manager.)

Goose answered on the first ring. We arranged to meet at my house, it being more or less on the way to Romeoville.
He beat me there, even after stopping at Mrs. T’s on Boughton Road for a pizza. We sat at my kitchen table with our coats unbuttoned, narfing pizza and drinking caffeine-free Cokes while we made up the plan.
“Not going to be the easiest place to be inconspicuous in,” Goose said between bites.
“You know it?” Goose had information on places that weren’t even open yet.
He shook his head while he swallowed. “Think about it. You a face Ellison not likely to forget. That means I go in. We be at a place called Crazy Joe’s in Romeoville. How many brothers you think hang there?”
“I could call Eddie Riefsnyder. He’d come, but I don’t think there’s time for him to get here.”
“Eddie a good man, but he smell like three shades of cop. I’ll go in, look around. You don’t hear from me in five minutes, come in and look for a high sign. Like you don’t know me.”
“Close enough to a plan for me.” I stood and put my plate in the sink. “Let’s go. I want to get there in time to scope things out, see how many exits there are.”
“Don’t I get to finish my sumptuous repast?”
“We’re pressed for time. Eat in the car.”
Goose closed the pizza box. “You flunked history in school, didn’t you?”
“What makes you think so?”
“Lincoln freed the slaves, honky.”
“All the thugs in the world, and I work with the sensitive one.”
“If you prick us, do we not bleed?”
“When’s the last time anyone made you bleed?”
“Getting bled on count?”
“No. It has to be your own blood.”
“You got me there.” He paused to catch my eye. “This better not be the night.”

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