The Egg Story: An Original Narrative

I looked out the window and seen his bald head
I ran to the fridge and pulled out an egg
Scoped him with my scopes, he had no hair
Launched that shot and he was caught out there [1]

While riding down Mass. Ave. to the now defunct PEARL Art & Craft Supply™ [2] store in Central Square, Cambridge, a few days after Christmas in 1998, I was abruptly cut off by a cabbie who failed to use his turn signal. He then proceeded to park in a cabstand a few blocks up. I was riding very precariously to begin with, saddled with two backpacks–one on my front and one on my back–loaded with re-gifts to share with co-workers when this ass-hole nearly killed me, a contemporary St. Nick bearing gifts atop his bicycle. I decided to confront the cabbie, so I rode up to his window and knocked. He rolled it down as I began to inform him that he nearly killed me, cutting me off without using his turn signal. He interrupted me to see if I was requesting a ride to which I said, “No.”

He then spat on me and rolled up his window!

Saw the convertible driving by
Loaded up the slingshot, let one fly
He went for his to find he didn't have one
Put him in check, correct, with my egg-gun

I thought to myself as I rode away, half in disbelief, “What would Noise do?” Noise was a friend I recently made while working at PEARL Art & Craft Supply™. Noise was no messiah, but Noise was a scrapper, a street-wise tagger kid from East Cambridge–not exactly Compton, but as Compton as Cambridge gets–and someone who would never just walk away from something like that. But what I chose to do, Noise would never do. What I chose to do, most people would never think of, never-mind do. I somehow decided to go into the Harvest Co-op right next to PEARL Art & Craft Supply™ in Central Square, bicycle, backpacks, gifts and all, and grab an egg from the refrigerator aisle, skip the checkout clerks and return to the street, to the scene of the crime.

The egg, a symbol of life
I go inside your house and bust out your wife
Pulled out the jammy, he thought it was a joke
The trigger, I pulled - his face, the yolk

It was High Noon as I approached the cabstand outside PEARL Art & Craft Supply™ in Central Square, Cambridge. The cabbie saw me coming and began to start his engine. But it was too late. In what seemed like slow motion, I rode down the sidewalk between the cabstand and PEARL Art & Craft Supply™, and launched the ovum into the air, making a direct hit across the cab’s windshield, pieces of egg shrapnel flying into the midday Cambridge traffic. The cabbie got out and began to chase after me, but I easily outpaced him. A few blocks down at McDonald’s, I looked back. Behind the cabbie, who had ceased his pursuit, a red Jeep Wrangler whipped around and began speeding my way. Not knowing what to do, I rode down a narrow one-way street and ducked down an alley-way.

Reached in his pocket, took all his cash
Left my man standing with the egg mustache
Suckers, they come a dime a dozen
"When I say dozen, you know what I'm talkin' about, boyee"

Finding the alley-way a dead-end, I double-backed to the street where a giant black man came at me from out of nowhere, trying to kick my back wheel as I pedaled past him. I jumped a curb and rode into a bunch of card-bard boxes and trashcans and through a narrow space between two telephone poles. When I looked back, he was still on my tail, trying to kick my back wheel. I was in a real-life Hollywood chase scene! I got some distance between us, rounded a few corners, and rode down some more alley-ways in the labyrinthine street layout of central Cambridge. I hid behind a dumpster. My heart was racing, my body shaking, my cumbersome cargo rising with each breath. I heard heavy footsteps approach my position. Holy fuck: he found me! The giant man grabbed me by my front bag and started to drag me to the street. I pleaded with him not to leave my bike behind, so he grabbed it. And with me and my bags in one enormous hand, my bike in the other, we headed back to Bishop Allen Drive. Upon reaching the side-road, several Cambridge Police cruisers arrived on the scene, lights and sirens on, and surrounded the giant man, me, and my belongings. The cops got out of their cruisers and drew their side-arms, pointing them at the man: “Let go of the kid and get down on the ground!”

“It was me… I threw the egg!” I screamed.

Yeah, that's right, I'm the Egg Man
Driving Around, king of the town
Always got my windows rolled down
You know, I'm the Egg Man

The keyed-up cops eventually lowered their weapons and began to put the pieces together as Exhibit A and B came from around the corner: the cab with egg splattered across its windshield, and the Jeep Wrangler, also tainted with egg debris–the collateral damage of my counter-attack. When the large man’s equally large wife got out of her jeep, she had to be restrained by two cops as I heard her yell (I shit you not) "I’m gonna go Tyson on this white boy!” I was put into cuffs and told I was under arrest. Apparently, there was a default warrant out for my arrest for some vandalism charges I failed to pay the fines for two years prior. They read me my Rights as I was led towards a police van, where upon reaching it I stupidly said aloud, “Wow, I’ve never been in a paddy wagon before!”

“It’s not a paddy wagon!” one of the cops snapped in what I swear was an Irish brogue.

Humpty Dumpty was a big fat egg
He was playing the wall, then he broke his leg
Tossed it out the window, three minutes hot
Hit the Rastaman, he said, "Bloodclot!"

In central booking [3] they tried to pin two charges on me: failure to pay the fine from the earlier vandalism charge and assault and battery with a deadly weapon: the egg. They waived the assault charges as I had no “prior,” but not the vandalism charge, which I narrowly avoided getting arrested for a few years back, but still ended up getting a summons to the Concord District Courthouse and ordered to pay a $300 fine, which I temporarily dodged by explaining to the judge that I was about to go to England to work and travel abroad for a while, and that paying this fine now would affect these plans. The judge graciously allowed me to the pay the fine when I came home. But when I retuned to the States, I never bothered to pay the fine and never heard about a “default warrant” before. So, apparently, because of these technicalities, I had to spend one night in jail–no ifs, ands, or buts. I could make my one call, but it wouldn’t matter because the default warrant stipulated that I had to be detained for at least one night.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?
I egged the chicken, and then I ate his leg
Riding the trains, in between cars
When I pull out the station, You're Gonna Get Yours

At least we all got our own cells. We had to take off our shoes and place them under our cell doors and they were then moved out of reach. A diagonal shadow cast across an outside wall I could see through a small window opposite my cell became my clock, showing the slow passage of day into night. The cops fed us McDonald’s for dinner: two cheeseburgers and one water each. No fries, no soda. They served us our meals under our cell doors. Different voices would yell out from one cell to another, warning of future confrontations back on the street. This went on throughout the night. It was hard to get any sleep with all the disembodied threats of Cambridge street toughs. My “bed” was a narrow slab of concrete with no mattress or linens.

It was a long night.

Drive-by eggings, plaguing L.A.
"Yo, you just got my little cousin, ese!"
Sometimes hard-boiled, sometimes runny
It comes from a chicken, not a bunny, dummy

We were rudely awoken at the ass-crack of dawn. They let us out of our cells and handcuffed us to one another in a long line of deadbeats, gang-bangers, petty thieves, and me. Not that I was at one of the ends–some scrawny kid from Somerville was. We were then loaded into another police van and transported to the Edward J. Sullivan Middlesex County Courthouse in East Cambridge, a tall brutalist structure that screams “cyberpunk dystopia.” [4] Somehow, en route to the courthouse, the scrawny kid from Somerville got loose from his single cuff, to the cheers of the others who helped him hatch a plan to make a run for it once they opened the back door. The intricate scheme involved back-roads, alley-ways, and railroad tracks. None of it mattered though, for when he tried to follow through with this ridiculous plan, several officers tackled the poor kid within a hundred feet. The cops then put us all into ankle-shackles and we entered the courthouse.

People laugh, it's no joke
My name's "Yauch" and I'm throwing the yolk

"Now they got me in a cell," but I don't care
It was then that I got caught catching people out there
Up on the roof, in my car, up all night
I'm going through science like Dolomite

The Edward J. Sullivan Middlesex County Courthouse in East Cambridge is split into two sections: the lower part of the tower houses courtrooms and offices; the top part is a giant penthouse of corrections. About three-quarters of the way up a bright orange band painted across the béton brut surface visually demarcates the dual functions of the law-and-order building. Some occupants spend months awaiting to be arraigned above the orange band, others a few days. Luckily for me I was only there a few hours, for here we did not have our own cells. This lockup was more of your open-layout-no-walls-thinking-outside-the-box-type jail—you know, for the progressive inmates! Anyway, as I entered this modernist dungeon, I noticed one empty seat along the wall, but being raised well, I decided not to take it. The scrawny kid from Somerville brashly took it and was immediately slammed to the ground by some surly looking inmate.

“That’s my seat!” he intoned, and began to relentlessly pound on the poor kid.

The Mack...Who? 
I'm the Egg Man... Taxi Driver?
I'm the Egg Man
Egg Man, Egg Man

We all dressed in black, we snuck up around the back
We began to attack, the eggs did crack on Haze's back
Sam I am, down with the program
Green eggs and ham, Yosemite Sam

I found a space on the floor where I befriended a slender quiet-looking man who spoke of Marx and heroin in a strong French accent. I believe he was Quebecois. I was eventually called before the judge and was basically ordered to pay the $300 fine for the earlier vandalism charge, but had to do that at the Concord District Courthouse out near Walden Pond. I agreed to do this and was released. I walked back to the Central Square Police Station to retrieve my bike and bags, took the commuter rail out to Concord, and rode to the courthouse to pay my fine. While waiting in the courtroom I read from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, a copy of which was in one of my bags. The actual Walden Pond, where Thoreau wrote his reflections on the simple way of “life in the woods,” was just down the road from where I sat. I was a stone’s-throw away from the birthplace of Walden. Concord is also the place of my own birth at Emerson Hospital. I had come full circle.

Come Halloween, you know I come strapped
I throw it at a sucker... "k-pap"
You made the mistake you judge a man by his race
You go through life with egg on your face

When I finally got back to Chinatown in Boston where I was living in an artist’s loft at the time, I told my roommates what I had been through over the previous twenty-four hours and they thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard. To this day, people bug me to tell them “The Egg Story.” And to this day, I still have no idea why I decided to boost an egg from the Harvest Co-op in Central Square and throw it at a cabbie. What a strange impulse. I rarely have such impulses these days... I’m glad I did then.

Woke up in the morning, peculiar feeling
Looked up and saw egg dripping from the ceiling
Family, punk rocks, the businessman
I'll dog everybody with the egg in my hand

It's not like the crack that you put in a pipe
But crack on your forehead; here's a towel, now wipe!

 

 

[1] All lyrics by the Beastie Boys, “Egg Man” on Paul’s Boutique, 1989. 

[2] PEARL Art & Craft Supply™ was an art supply chain store that had several retail locations throughout the United States. After 81 years in business, PEARL went bankrupt and began closing stores in 2010, culminating with the final closure of the Fort Lauderdale headquarters in 2014.

[3] The Cambridge Police Department moved its headquarters on December 8, 2008. They are now located in the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility at 125 Sixth Street in East Cambridge, having vacated their Central Square location after 135 years.

[4] At the time of this writing, the fate of the Edward J. Sullivan Middlesex County Courthouse in East Cambridge was still up in the air. There were plans to convert the maximum-security lock-up and courthouse complex to a chic "home for high-tech offices, along with additional retail and residential space" for yuppies, thus completing the modernist Circle of Life.