The Corner (2000) s01e01 Episode Script

Gary's Blues

I'm Charles S.
Last summer, I came back here to Baltimore, Maryland to film a story about life on the corner.
I grew up and hung out on a corner just like this one not too far from here.
A corner like thousands of others across the country.
It's a place to go if you wanna be seen, and to a lot of folks it's the information center of the neighborhood.
You wanna know who got the good drugs you wanna know who got killed last night, why, and who did it you come here.
The contradiction of it is on one hand, the corner pulsates with life.
The energy of human beings trying to make it to the next day.
But also, it's a place of death.
Be it the slow death of addiction, or the suddenness of gunshots.
Back when I was hanging out here, it was bad.
But 30 years ago, Maryland had only five major penal institutions.
Today, there are 28 and more are being planned.
Yet the corners haven't gone away.
There are 100 open-air drug markets in Baltimore thousands in America whether the rest of the country wants to think about them or not.
This film is a true story of men, women and children living in the midst of the drug trade.
Their voices are too rarely heard.
Gary, how long have you been shooting dope? - Hardcore? About four years.
- And you're how old now? - 34.
- You started kind of late.
I didn't mess with these drugs for the longest time.
But everyone around says things were going very well for you.
You worked two full-time jobs.
Yeah, plus a home-development company I started on the side.
- You drove a Mercedes Benz.
- Things was going good.
So why did you start shooting heroin? I'm gonna get me a cigarette.
I need a cigarette.
- Hey how's it going? - What's up, man? A cigarette.
You weren't kidding.
Yeah, 25 cent apiece.
It'd be a lot cheaper to buy a pack, wouldn't it? Yeah, well, you know Why buy a whole pack, 'cause you know I'm gonna end up giving half of them away.
So I just buy only one.
These matches, man.
You know, Koreans own this place now.
Used to be Lendler's.
Jewish man and his brother.
I used to work here.
He gave me a job, like, sweeping up and things.
As a matter of fact, this was my first job ever.
I remember Fat Curt.
Hey, you guys talk to Fat Curt yet? Yeah, I met him.
I remember he and his brother Dennis used to come in here and slide a couple of gin bottles in their coat pocket and then walk out.
One day, Mr.
Lendler sent me there after them.
I'm 9 or 10 years old.
And I walk up to them.
I go, "Mr.
Curt, Mr.
Dennis "Mr.
Lendler wants to talk to you about them bottles that y'all bought.
" He looked at me and go, "Who do you think you're talking to? "Your little ass is as black as mine.
Get your ass off this corner.
" I watched this place burn down during the riots.
But I had jobs.
I had good jobs.
I was a supervisor for Beth Steel down at the Point.
You worked hard.
My father came from Carolina, I remember, weren't nothing but 14 years old.
Landed him a foundry job the day he came off the bus.
He worked hard every day of his life.
He's still working, driving a cab.
My brothers and sisters, they're doing just the same.
So what happened, Gary? - Man, you just don't know.
- Well, tell me.
See, I'm gonna stop, all right.
I'll get it right.
Have you ever tried to quit before? Yeah, I'm gonna get past this.
You'll see.
You got another? No, man.
Hey, look here, man I'll talk to y'all later.
We'll do this later, okay? - I can't talk right now.
- All right.
- Take it easy, Gary.
- All right, man.
Pink tabs in the hole! You think I'm playing with your fucking ass.
I'm saying your shit ain't shit! I'm fucking tired of New York niggers taking money for shit that don't even get folks out of the gate.
You're a lying bitch! Your ass is high as shit right now! You think I'm out here getting niggers high for free? - Shit ain't free! - No, I'm gonna get $10 back.
Or I'm gonna find a phone and call the police.
I should take a bat against your head for even thinking some shit like that.
Do what the fuck you got to do, motherfucker! Yo! Where the fuck are you going? Hold up! - Hold up! - I'd bust that bitch in her head.
You ain't shit.
I said, hold up, goddamn it! Damn, you're a soft motherfucker.
I'm gonna get you two more pills.
But don't come back with that crying shit or I'll whip your ass for sure, most definitely.
Bitch! You're crazy, girl.
Ronnie baby.
Damn, man.
You're fierce, girl.
Man, you took that Gee Money for what, two of them bags? That nigger knows he's gotta kill me or I'm gonna call them jump-out boys on his ass.
You think that nigger gonna kill me for two bags? I think you can always get that shit up.
Fuck Gee Money! Fuck that boy.
Got the shit.
That's right.
You know what you're talking about, girl.
I used to live here with my girlfriend and our son.
Man, I wish we had some coke with it.
We'll get to that later.
- What? - You ain't hear that? - Come on.
- Shut your mouth.
Someone's downstairs.
Just do the shot, Ronnie! I ain't gonna be fucking with this shit if someone's coming up to bank our asses.
Shit, it might be the police.
Man, I ain't gonna do shit till you get back.
Nothing but a rat, that's all.
- I knew I heard something.
- Yeah, well.
You know this shit will make a person paranoid? You know this shit will make a person paranoid? You been known to run game on people.
Not on you, I ain't.
You gonna have to learn how to trust the people you love a little bit.
I ain't feeling much.
Me neither.
This is some shit.
- We got doo-doo here.
- Gee Money ain't about shit.
What're we gonna do? I can't even pimp that motherfucker no more.
I even did that.
Then the motherfucker might really try to beat my ass.
We're gonna figure this shit out.
What? I've gone and left my hat upstairs.
You wanna get it? You're the one who left it.
So that's how you gonna do me.
- What's up, Gary? - Hi.
How've you been? See you later, Mr.
- Hi, Mr.
and Mrs.
- Hey, Gary.
It just didn't happen that way Darlin', it just didn't happen that way It's all right It's all right DeAndre.
Why you ain't at school? Half day.
Half day? Yeah.
Hey, love, what's up? I'm looking for you.
What's going on? Charlene's been put out.
All her shit is in the street.
Best money in the sofa.
The cushions don't match, but the rest is like new.
This is my cousin, Tony.
You and him gonna carry that shit down to the second-hand shop.
Where's the sofa right now? Baby, I gave Scalio a cig to guard it.
Now come on.
- That's Scalio.
- Only in America.
Only in America, in the ghetto, can life be so fine.
This is why they hate us.
Goddamn niggers lazing around in the street.
My boy.
This is a real good couch right here.
- We've got to go to fucking work! - Fuck y'all! Keep driving, man.
What're you looking at? - Hey, Gary.
- Everyone else ate? Don't fret.
I saved you some.
- You get paid today? - Next Friday.
I got paid today.
Lendler said that, from now on, I get paid $15 every week.
That's a raise.
Lendler say I'm the best worker he's ever seen.
Shit, Maurice.
- What's that? - Fuck that.
No, that ain't right.
Bitch! Everything I bring in here is phat.
That was my turn.
That's my hit.
There ain't no water in the tap! - Say what? - Ain't no water.
Come here! - Yes, it is.
- It ain't! Let's go.
You were supposed to pay that damned water bill.
Now there ain't no goddamned water.
Look, when I started this here metal game, there were only a few people doing this.
Look, when I started this here metal game, there were only a few people doing this.
There was a time you could find a vacant property or a row house renovation You know, go in at night and rip up all that good plumbing.
It got to the point where the contractors put plastic plumbing in because they know that the metal got legs.
And all this metal gets melted down, up in Pittsburgh, or somewhere.
I don't know who owns this place, but I bet they got a mansion in the county.
While we're out here hustling.
It's good copper right there.
$18? Come on, look here, Chief.
I know the value of good metal.
This has got to be at least $25.
You want the $18? - This ain't even right.
- You don't want the $18.
Yeah, I'll take the $18.
We need two more bills.
I could probably get by with this.
Check it out.
There go the engineers.
That's what they call them.
Lord, look at that train.
Moe, you're wearing the city out, man! - So, are you gonna go? - I'll make it work.
I'll catch you back at the place, all right? All right, man.
Yo, Blue.
Yo, Curt.
My boy, Tony, he went to go cop for me.
You tell him to get with them gold star.
- They're right as rain.
- Oh, man, please.
I had a gold star two days ago.
It wasn't much.
That was two days ago.
Check out Bread.
Gold stars, yo.
- How'd he do that? - What, the dope fiend lean? He ain't falling down.
You know gravity don't mean shit when they toking.
What did you get? Black and whites.
- Ain't no problem with the $18? - No.
You had no problem? No, come on, man.
This house is where I live with my girl and my son.
It's Victorian, man.
Victorian design.
There's a lot of money in a house like this.
It's easy making money.
Making money is always hard.
Okay, like in school.
I went to Mergenthaler High School.
Vocational school.
They taught us how to make a living, but they didn't teach us how to live.
Money ain't that easy.
You see what I'm saying, man.
If you get past the money, you know what I'm saying past these drugs even.
The human mind, we don't even realize how powerful our minds are.
We don't use nearly any part of the power that we have.
You see, if you study it scientifically if man ever progresses to the point of using all of his mind then all things are possible.
Are you feeling it? Something.
Not like yesterday, though.
Yesterday was the bomb.
This is where miracles come from.
Man uses all of his mind and he'll be able to do all things.
Move mountains, and live underwater for years at a time.
Fly, even.
You're feeling it.
Better than you thought, Tony.
I remember when I bought this album.
Hi, Gary.
Hi, Fran.
What's going on? Come over here.
I have something for you.
I bet your mother don't know you be selling this.
It's only weed.
All this time, I'm thinking you're one of them church-going McCulloughs.
You got some street in you.
I'm doing this to get some money together before I go to college.
That's all.
How much I owe you? Nothing.
Look, I gotta get back to work, all right? Get on the ground! Put your hands up, man! Turn around! You right there, come here! - What's up? - Police.
Dang, man.
Here comes Ronnie.
If she finds out I didn't let her in on the blast, I'm in trouble.
Ronnie always been a little bit evil.
Gary! Gary, you up in there? Get down on your fucking knees! Why you be with her, Gar? When it come to coke and dope, she knows how to make things happen.
I'm telling you.
Your cousin, she got it going on.
If she knows we're up here together, she gonna find us.
Let's go out in the back, man.
We'll split up.
Come on.
Hey, love.
- How're you feeling? - I'm okay.
You got anything? People saw you in the window, Gary! You high.
And you ain't seeing to share it with me.
That's some cold shit.
Much as I do for you.
- You wrong, honey.
- You high, you shit! Now you're gonna say you ain't got nothing left? Look, I had just a little.
You'd best come up with some.
- I ain't got none.
- Where the fuck are you walking? I ain't got none! Get away from me! You don't do me like that.
All right, you're gonna see.
You lying bitch! I'm saying the sandwich is cold.
You buy half-hour.
You take it hot, now cold! It was cold when I took the first bite.
Give my money, you chink bitch! Too late, very sorry.
Suck this, then! No! What the fuck is you looking at? Police come for you right away! Young hoppers today, they're crazy.
It was hot before, now cold.
Not right, what he say.
I'm sorry for all that.
The boy, he just don't know.
He very bad.
All the time, very bad.
Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry for all that.
Can I get a single Newport? 35 cents.
That's a little steep, don't you think? A quarter's bad enough for singles, now it's 35 cents? You buy pack? Cheaper.
All I have is a quarter.
Can I get one at the old price? Sorry, 35 cents.
James from Essex.
Yeah, I wanna comment on what that other woman said.
I think all this crap about slavery and racism being responsible for people that don't work I think that's a bunch of crap.
You don't hear Italian people or Irish people complaining and they was treated real bad when they got to this country.
When are we gonna stop hearing about racism? Slavery was more than, like, 100 years ago.
There are so many people taking drugs.
They just do that to make us feel sorry.
You were driving late? - Lot of fares? - Some.
Driving tomorrow? Every day.
- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.
Black and whites, man? Oh, heck.
Gary? You awake? Are you all right? Hi, Ma.
What you need? Could you run up to the store for me? They need five pounds of potatoes and two boxes of Hamburger Helper up at the church.
That'll be enough, Gary.
Five pounds of potatoes and two boxes of Hamburger Helper? Okay, Mom.
- Lot of bags of bomb today.
- Yeah? - My men are on their way.
- Oh, yeah? - Here's your change, Ma.
- Thank you, baby.
- You want me to fix you something to eat? - No, I gotta go.
Where are you headed at? Boy, I'm talking to you.
What are you here for? You barely breathing.
I'm up.
Yeah? Where you get the money? I made a move or two.
- Ma, it won't hold air.
- So what you want me to do? You're having an asthma attack.
You think a shot of dope gonna do you good? You're having an asthma attack.
You think a shot of dope gonna do you good? Your brother Stevie around? He's upstairs.
Why are you always coming down here to get Stevie to cop for you? You think he don't get burned? He get burned, everybody get burned.
It's all in the game.
I know.
Gary, you shoulda never got caught up in this shit.
Yeah, all right, Fran.
And your son's starting to run wild.
He don't need to be out here, neither.
- What's DeAndre doing? - What do you think he doing? He's starting to creep out on them corners.
Where'd you think he got money enough to hand you off $10? - You can't put a stop to that? - Gary, that boy's 15.
As much as you and me been messing up, he feels he ain't got to answer to no one.
He ain't in school? - Warming up today.
- Hey, Stevie! - You rolling out? - In a minute.
Come on up.
Coke or dope, what do you need? Little of both? I got coke, red-tops.
All right.
I'll take four.
He's coming back, right? Be cool.
Ain't nobody trying to run a game on you.
- Y'all have a nice day.
- Slow up.
I still need some dope to go with that coke.
See that man right there with the cane? Go see him.
Who's got good dope? Wake up! Quit playing, Bugsy man.
Now what if I was police or a stick-up boy? You standing here like some no-thinking motherfucker, with your money all out.
- Yeah, but I'm cool with it.
- No, you're not.
I'm trying to school you in this shit, and you don't want to know.
I've got re-up soon.
You've got mine, I've got yours.
Not here, fool.
What'd I just say? I'll send Boo down the way.
Are you still working with him? He's about the dumbest.
Boo's cool.
Which one? Any of them.
That one right there, with the hips.
I got to her already.
You got the one, but you're ready for the rest? I'm 16 this summer.
My dick stay hard.
Andre where you been at? - Working.
- Working how? I'm out here all day, on the clock, getting it done.
It's a hard life, girl.
You been out here that long, I know you've got money for the movies.
- I don't know, I might.
- Who got the boy? - You got the heroin? - Across the way.
I want to go back down to Harper Park.
And see the one where that man cuts up all them people? The scary one? Yeah, I saw it.
It ain't that scary.
Come on, Andre! You done already said we was going.
And you said you're gonna get some new tennises for me, too.
Damn, girl! I hate a begging-ass bitch! - I can't stand no broke-ass man.
- Oh, shit.
All right, I'm gonna holler at you tomorrow.
Tyreeka is fine as I don't know what.
But all she think about is money, man.
I'm down to maybe 6.
No, we gotta have more than that still.
7? Man, your count is always late.
What's up with that? Let me check again.
She about the money? Your girl? She's cool when we're together, but I just can't tell sometimes.
Want to know if she for real or not? Next time you're in her house - ask her to fix you a sandwich.
- A sandwich? If she throws some dry-ass baloney between two pieces of bread you know she ain't keeping it real.
If she go back there and puts some lettuce and mayo on maybe some chips and a pickle on the side there then she damn sure in love with your black ass.
- I'm serious.
- Wait.
Chips and a pickle? I don't like pickles.
- First floor? - Right.
That's a whole lot easier.
Stereo, television, refrigerator, all that good stuff.
Let's do it.
It's real quiet around here.
I think most of these places are vacant.
- Ronnie knew what she was talking about.
- She can make things happen.
You empty the refrigerator.
I'll check out the back room.
Come on, start packing stuff up.
Hey, what's wrong? Nothing.
Come on then! - How much do you think we'll get for this? - I don't know.
I'll go get that thing.
There's someone across the way.
Oh, yeah? What's up? What's up? I see what's up.
Look here.
Y'all hook me up, I won't say nothing about it.
Hook you up? Yeah, we can do that.
All right.
That's it.
Mentality, I don't know - What? - That was the man's neighbor.
You think they're worried about us? Rather snatch up some corner boy with a few rocks in his pocket.
Less work for them.
It's all in the game, you know? Where's my change? You ain't got no change.
I bought you two packs before.
- You owe me.
- You're on that bullshit.
- You got that $10 for me, right? - Yeah, you wait for it.
Jump out! Yes, Lord.
- Boo, what the fuck are you doing? - Jump out.
You best leave that shit be, now.
I've gotta snatch it now.
It won't be there when they roll out.
Oh, shit.
Everybody up against the wall.
Right there, let me see your hands.
DeAndre, get your ass over here.
You going somewhere? Now, up against there.
What's up, Bob Brown? You got anything in your pockets? Little man on a big corner? - No, I was just passing through.
- Just passing through? Get going.
Why don't you let your partner search me? - Is he going? - No.
He's got a mouth, but he's clean.
I even see you looking out a window today, you're taking a humble.
- You're saying I can't be outside? - No, not today.
- That ain't right.
- You're on my corner! I decide what's right! Now, get.
Ain't you got better sense to be talking back to Bob Brown? He ain't all that.
Where's Hungry? He got my shit.
Wherever he at, your vials is right along with him and they get along right fine, I know that.
I'll beat your ass! You all right? Where Hungry at? Where Hungry at? Who else gonna ask, "Where Hungry at?" Hey, Bread.
What are you talking about? Nothing.
Don't miss that line.
Who you talking to? I'm just worried that the sight of my fine black ass might make your hand shake.
Scalio, you're too crazy.
Asses come and asses go.
Rita don't never blow a shot, and you know that.
Long? Thirty on the hypo.
Going, going gone.
- What you got? - Spider bag.
Them spider bags was good yesterday.
Not so good today, I think.
Ain't been no good dope out here worth a goddamn for 10 years.
You got that right.
It's all just chemicals now.
Back in the day, that shit would drop a nigger.
Yes, Lord.
Now we're down to bullshit.
Tell it, Curt.
We ain't even addicted to drugs.
We addicted to the needle.
Curt's still talking that shit.
Saying dope ain't dope.
It ain't dope.
Not no more.
Motherfucker, I'm high right now.
You think you high.
Nigger, you ain't shit.
Instead of shooting chemicals, remembering what good dope was.
I'm about to go get me some more chemicals and do me some real remembering.
I'm saying, you shouldn't cut him in on this.
That man's neighbor, he don't deserve no blast for doing this kind of dirt.
Man, I agree with you.
Would you sell your next-door neighbor out like that for shot of dope The mentality out here Besides, man, we bring him back a blast, he still might call the police.
Ma, got $10 I could borrow? No, Gary, I don't.
All right.
If I had it, I'd give it to you.
- I'm looking for Ronnie.
Ronnie at home? - No.
- What about Tony? - He don't live here.
Hey, Bread, have you seen Ronnie? - Did I see Ronnie? - Yeah.
She was here.
She ain't here now.
- Hey, is Stevie here? - No, he's gone somewhere.
What about Fran? Her, too.
Can I bum one cigarette? Last one.
Go check that thing.
- I'm looking for your mother.
- I don't know where she at.
Guess I'll be moving along then.
It's coke, but maybe you could trade it for what you need.
- Even up.
- Three for two.
Come on, I need a little coke to go on top of the dope.
I got the killer weed today and they're going for straight $10.
You want to keep a little coke, go two-for-one, you still have a red-top left.
- Two-for-one's worse than three-for-two.
- Depends on what you need.
Come on, you all, Bob Brown's got a wagon.
Roll-out time.
Got to go.
- Get against the wall.
- I know.
Where you going? Come on.
Trying to run away from me? Let's go.
Even up now.
I'm going one-for-one.
All you got to do is pick them up.
Lord have mercy.
- How's your family, Officer Tucker? - Yeah, whatever, man.
- Motherfucker, get off my face! - My bad.
- Man, who gave out testers? - Found them in the road.
You got one? Got two, motherfucker.
Let me have one.
Come on, I'm going ill, man.
Man you're looking flat-out rough.
Can't get started.
Man, I can hook you up.
I found this spot.
They practically asking you to take their shit.
It's out the county.
You up? - I'll need a jumper first though.
- I caught two of them testers.
I can get you out the gate.
Then everything from the store we split.
- What are you boosting? - Kitchen shit, steam irons.
This one store's been keeping me well all week.
- What's security at, man? - Ain't about shit.
Come on.
All right.
Is your name Doug? You be over there at the Dew Drop Inn? You mean where Fran and Stevie live at? I think I've seen you there before.
My name's Gary.
Okay, so this is how we're going to do it, right? We're going to go in separate.
Then you follow me up the escalator, where they got the shelf with the irons.
You be the lookout.
I'll scoop.
Ain't nothing to it.
Ma it's Gary.
I'm locked up.
I'm out in the county.
They locked me up.
I was with a friend we were coming out the JC Penney, and these two security guards they grabbed us and said we stole something.
No, it's some kind of mistake, Ma.
Will you see if Cardy can get the money together? Please, Ma, just see if you can bail me out.
I'm all right.
You all just get me out of this place.
McCullough! - Come on, the city's taking you.
- The city's taking me? Assault one.
Assault? I haven't assaulted anyone.
Complainant is a Veronica Boice.
Know her? - Where're they taking me? - Eagle Street.
Come on.
- Phone call, Gary.
- Who is it? Didn't say.
Hey, Fran.
How're you doing? Gary, there's something you should know.
Are you sure? Officer! Shut the fuck up! You ain't going to no infirmary, motherfucker.
I guess we need to pick out some names then? DeAndre! I heard you got locked up.
The city jail ain't no joke.
I'm leaving that stuff alone.
Know what I'm saying, don't ask me for anything.
No, please, I wasn't thinking anything like that.
Hey, R.
, what you got there, man? We're trying to put the rim back up on the backboard.
We're trying to get it straight and tight, but we ain't got the right screws.
You need washers.
Washers? Yeah, let me see that thing.
You have to have this like this to go right up here.
You need washers, or somebody get hurt.
Well, it's up there, anyway.
That's cool.
Thanks, Mr.
No problem.
Here, take this.
Get this out of your way.
Ball up! All net.
You got a little something.
But not with me on the case, watch.
- What have you got right there? - What you gonna do? Damn, Dre.
Right here.
- 'Cause it's tilted.
- Ain't tilted.
- Five by one.
- Make it ten.
Come on, you know they call me Ambo.
You know I got that asthma.
- All right, five, but you got to win by two.
- Ain't no problem.
I'm gonna win by five or six.
Hey, love.
Be right back.
- Why you put that charge on me? - You shouldn't have hit me.
You know I didn't.
- You had me locked up for nothing at all.
- You was locked up for boosting anyway.
They took me to Eagle Street because of your charge.
You should have never cut me out of that blast.
What's yours is mine.
Hey, love welcome home.
Them spider bags, they're the bomb today.
DeAndre! Curt you've been out here on Monroe and Fayette a long time.
Who're you telling? I've been on this corner since that lamppost over there was a goddamn twig.
I'm a soldier.
I guess you've seen the younger ones coming up.
Seen a lot of people come on the corner for the first time.
Do you know Gary McCullough? Yeah, Gary.
Gary had it going on.
Money, cars, houses.
Used to play the stock market.
Gary was making crazy money before he stumbled.
- Gave lot of it away, too.
- Yeah? - To who? - People around the way.
Anyone who needed it, really.
Gary was always soft.
Good hearted.
Let me ask you something.
Why did he fall? Started fooling around with that pipe.
Gary McCullough started out on crack? That ready rock changed the whole game around.
Used to be different.
Used to be rules to this shit.
With that rock you saw people becoming drug addicts.
Made heroin look like it wasn't shit.
It weren't menfolk either.
Had women on the pipe, children, too.
That's when it really started getting bad.
But in Gary's case what led him to the corner at all, do you think? I look at it like he got hurt.
He gave so much away, and so little came back.
Hey, now.
You know how it is.
But the world can be that way.
So he's hiding the hurt in the drugs.
He's just like everybody else, looking for a little love.
Everybody got to have some love.
Is there love in drugs? Shit! So what is there? I mean, I'm asking.
And I'm telling you every motherfucking dope fiend out here is chasing after something and never quite getting there.
So what are you chasing, Curt? Let me tell you something.
When you get that first shot of dope it's the best motherfucking feeling in your life.
It's better than sex.
And every time after that you looking for the first time over and over again.