*fittedwearer's note: Going purely on what I'm at liberty to type on at this time, I had a pretty unexciting weekend...baby practice, Netflix, constantly updating my Facebook status, sleep, exploring an alternate reality--what? Don't form your face that way, it happened. (What, is that not normal or something?) Since the other highlight of my weekend invloved a picture taken aboard a temporarily abandoned school bus (unfortunately not of the Magic variety), I think I'll share a little of that....okay, a lot. This is a 2-part post, after all.
At some point(s) this weekend, I took a nap. I awoke slightly refreshed an hour or so later...or so I thought. I rolled over, stretched, got up, and went to drain some coolant at an alarming rate, as is standard male post-nap procedure. After groggily shuffling to the living room, I plopped down at my couch and looked for my lighter on the table...that's when I noticed a newspaper with the day's date on it. 2 things were odd about this newspaper: first, it was in the home of a current-day 23 year old who owns a laptop and smartphone, and that was odd enough. Even stranger was the headline: "GANGSTACTIVISM COMES TO PHILLY: "Rapper Turned Activist to Speak Today."
It fucked with my head so much that I didn't even have time to roll my eyes at whoever wrote that corny headline. There on the front cover under the headline was a picture of one Tupac Amaru Shakur, suited, smiling, waving to the assembled crowd, stepping either into or out of a limo...but most importantly, alive and well. Obviously, we all know (or...most of us do) what happened to Mr. Shakur on this plane of existence, so I thought it was some kind of sick joke...how could this be possible? I needed some answers fast.
...So I Googled it, and as I scrolled down the search results, my jaw got closer and closer to the ground as I realized that not only had Tupac somehow not died, but had continued his rap career for a while before eventually becoming a public speaker. True, the intellect and charisma which made his work, career, even life so captivating might also translate into other arenas, so that made it believable...but still, far as I knew, dude was dead. I had to know for sure...so I pagedug until I found the direct line to the local branch of his nationwide activism organization's offices and called them up:
Receptionist: Political Underground, this is Linda, how can I help you?
AJ: Uh...yeah. I just had a quick question...um...this might sound crazy, and I apologize if it does, but is Tupac Shakur...uh...still president of the organization?
Linda: Indeed he is.
*a noise that sounds suspiciously like paper unfolding is heard*
Linda: Mr. Shakur has been president and chief officer since Political Underground was established in the year 2000 to assist with the successful Gore campaign. Political Underground is a nationwide activism group whose goal is to ensure that the voices of otherwise disenfrancished portions of the American public are heard through the appropriate channels. Mr. Shakur will be speaking in Camden, New York, Boston, and Hartford in the upcoming week as well as today's speech in Philadelphia.
AJ: Wow, you really know your sheet.
Linda: Yes, we rehearse it 5 times before our shift and twice after lunch. Is there anything else I can help you with?
AJ: Well...actually, is there any way I can speak to Pac...uh, Mr. Shakur when he's in town today?
Linda: Oh, I'm afraid he's booked up solid, Mr. Shakur is a very busy man, and I'm just not sure he has time for unscheduled personal visits.
At this point, I knew something was going on. I didn't know what it was, but damn if I wasn't going to at least take a shot at finding out what it was.
AJ: *sighs, to self* ...fuck it, I already sound crazy to her... *to Linda* Okay, here's the deal, Linda...I'm having some kind of weird-ass trip or out-of-body experience right now...it's complicated, but the short version of it is I'm probably in some alternate reality or something and this might be my only chance to talk to Tupac.
Linda: Hold please.
*elevator music version of "Keep Your Head Up" plays*
AJ: Is this...is this Tupac? THE Tupac?
Tupac: No, it's the other Tupac. *laughs* Yeah, it's me. What's going on, man?
AJ: *stunned silence*
Tupac: Ay man, I wrote an album in 7 days, you can wrap up a sentence in that long.
AJ: *laughs* My fault, I'm a little...uh...nervous.
Tupac: It's cool, dawg...Linda said something about an alternate universe? What's good, man? Who am I talking to today?
AJ: I'm AJ...and yeah, I probably sound crazy but listen...
Tupac: Nah man, I feel you. I spent years of my life researching all kinds of theories...shit, I had a rap name that was a shout-out to a 15th-century philosopher. I'm open minded. So, AJ from an alternate universe...what can I do for you?
AJ: Oh. Damn, that went better than expected. Okay, so I'm sure if you know about that, you also know that I don't know how long I'm gonna be here...
Tupac: Right, right...
AJ: ...and I was a big fan of yours...
AJ: Oh, right. Um...yeah...you're dead in my universe, Pac.
Tupac: Dead? How? When? This Suge? I told you, motherfucker, I ain't into that no--
AJ: No, no...you got the wrong idea. See, in my universe, you were killed in 1996.
Tupac: Oh word? Damn, I thought I felt myself get a little stronger around September that year.
AJ: That's really how it works?
Tupac: Crazy, right? Do the research, man...it's deep. Anyway, continue at "I'm dead as of 15 years ago"...
AJ: Yeah...you died in a shooting in LA after you got into a fight at a championship boxing match.
Tupac: That Tyson fight in Vegas? Yeah I remember that...we watched the fight, partied a little, then went back to the room. We got in a little confrontation in the lobby of some hotel with some random dudes, but my boys told me it wasn't worth it and we kept it moving. Had a good time that night. Still got a tape I made with a girlie that night, since we're sharing.
AJ: Yeah, I heard. That's not how it went down in my universe. You got into a fight with some faceless gang members over some dumb shit, trashed some guy whose biggest claim to relevance is probably that moment, and they came back and shot y'all up. You caught four slugs talking to some ladies out your sunroof.
Tupac: Yeah, that sounds like me back then. Damn, so that's what would have happened if I hadn't turned myself around after I got out of jail. I wonder about that sometimes.
AJ: Turned yourself around?
Tupac: Yeah, man. I went crazy for a while...got shot back in 94, and went to jail when that chick act like she ain't know why rap entourages invite groupies to their hotel rooms after a show. Oh...this conversation is off the record, by the way...feel me?
AJ: No, this all happened in my universe too...besides, I probably won't be around here long enough to tell anyone that matters.
Tupac: True that. But still.
AJ: Gotcha, Pac.
Tupac: In fact, if you are what you say you are, you probably want the real on everything. I hope you understand why a man in my position can't really operate that way over the phone...
AJ: My thoughts exactly. That was the favor I was asking, to see if I could sit down with you for a few minutes in person and talk to you...not for a newspaper or an internet post or anything (the man lied), just for my own personal curousity. I want to know how the Pac I knew of became...well, you.
Tupac: Listen man...roses grow from concrete sometimes. Have I taught you nothing?
AJ: You right.
Tupac: But yeah, if you wanna come down here and rap with me, I'm here at Political Underground HQ and my speech ain't til 12.
AJ: Damn, 2 hours after dawn? You're really down for the cause.
Tupac: I do it for my people, man. Anyway, if you wanna come thru here, you're welcome.
AJ: I think I'll take you up on that...see you soon, Pac.
*starts to hang up*
Tupac: Wait, wait! AJ!
Tupac: In your universe, when I...died...I was still with Suge that night, right?
Tupac: They get him too?
Tupac: Hmm. Okay. Anyway, look forward to meeting you, AJ.
AJ: It'll be an honor.
Tupac: Ya damn right...later, man.
AJ: *laughs* Later, Pac.
"Tupac Back: Part II, Last Wordz"- coming Wednesday!