Jay, was this partially inspired by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? I mean, I know that was inspired by Boys in the Hood among others, and that you are capable of constructing a story on your own, but certain things just really put me in the game when reading this. Especially the "Shit's embarrassing!" line. Ryder says that in the game and I heard it from him in my mind when I read it.
Edit: Oops, Ryder never says those words directly together, but I still get the GTA vibe.
You played it?
Nope -- the only GTA I've played is the most recent one, GTA IV. I love it! But this issue wasn't inspired by anything in particular.
I just wanted to give Markham someone to play off of -- another character who was turning his life around, but for different (more pure) reasons.