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STREET NOTES 1ST. TRACK
NOTE. FOR THE SAKE OF REPETITIVE ADULT LANGUAGE SHORT SPELLED WORDS AND ABBRVIATIONS ARE USED.
Basil & Isis
I got backs!. Stop trippin you know the law batch!. The man said half –jokingly. You stop trippin nigga I called backs its my spot and my motha...horn.
“Smack”! My your ass bitch. That sound traveled in suspended animation across the room in the abandoned house.
You punk moth...Ima kill you!. She said as she lunged toward him six inch blade in hand. The other two men held her back as she clutched the knife slashing the air. The would be victim caught her knife hand and slapped her again. She stood there stiff as a statue her jaw tensed blood pooling at the corner of her mouth. Aw shit shit done hit the fan. Somebody said. Hey Ice I’m sorry this shit got me jittery it don’t feel like the same shit you got last time. The man who slapped her said. Isis glared through him like a magnifying glass. The carbonated smoke encapsulating the small area the uninvited guest occupied. She now looked past him and out into space minus the knife. The young woman was untimely reaching the summit of her beauty with each day like the narcotic cloud disappearing in the air however she was still a major piece on the chess board but the queen was in lieu of capture. ”Damn nigga you Ike Turner or some shit. The taller man with the copper red skin tone said as he choked on the smoke” sputtering from his mouth.” Just pass the mothafuckin dope nigga ! The short angry looking man said wielding the knife the women had just threatened him with.” Now if I have to use this shank somebody’s going to the hospital.” He snatched the crack horn from the man’s hand and took a long pull and finished his sentence. “ Or to the mothaf...morgue. “Oh now you just gonna stand there lookin crazy hit this shit boo”.He said to the woman as he amazingly still held the smoke in his mouth his head tilted up at an angle. She looked up at him with an under current of vehemance which was subtracted by the weakness of addiction as she walked over to receive the jetstream of secondhand smoke from the mans mouth simultaneously handing her the stem. She deeply inhaled the drug for a few seconds ,blew out a head full of smoke, stopping for a second then took a hit on the horn. Be cool baby this some Kharachi shit” He said with a demonic smile. Her eyes popped wide open as the drug played its usual sympony of bells, ghost and shadow games and the melodious theme of another life played out in her inebriated state. ’First Love’ a song she never forgot softly lamenting in her padded cell of voluntary confinement. And there she was home her forever love holding her close, his Viking’s ‘starter jacket’ drapped over her head as they ran in the rain through ‘M.L.K’ park. “Damn” She wheezed at the memory and awaited for the drug to transport her to that special place in her life “One foot in the real world and the other tug-a-waring for autonomy a kaleidoscope ;of abnormalities in one person however she was functional enough to dig the business at hand. The other two guys looked stuck and dumbfounded. “Lets go my niggas and get this merch. Arock hollered. Isis mechanically got to her feet. Jimmy and Six in tow. They left the spot through the alley exit and jumped in the hoop mobile rolling down ‘Oakland Avenue’ enroute to 35th to 35WS. “Yo Jimmy you drive and I’ll save you a bump” The short man known as A-Rock promised. “Don’t be bull...either you little short bastard Jimmy said. “I got you dog” Arock promised again. “If you believe that you should be the one going to the hospital...the psych ward”. That was Six he got
that name for his knack for deft hands and he actually had a sixth small pinkie on his left hand. Isis sat in the passenger seat silent.
Okay everyone knows what’s up in and out play the roll if something comes up we all rush it or whatever and out the door. Arock was giving the routine pep talk. And that’s okay bout that bump nigga cause I got a rocket in my pocket since you wanna play games Jimmy said. That’s some bull....dog how you holding out on the crew. Arock said. Nigga please. Jimmy returned. The old beater ran like a champ down 35WSouth to 62 East to 77South to the Big Mall. The last fumes of the drug stunk like a bad carburetor non- the- less the crew stressed over what was left. J.C also known as Jimmy. They were there in no time. He pulled in the parking lot transporting a car load full of as identified by mainstream society ‘the usual suspects’ A Rock Six and Isis strolled through the mall like ordinary customers each pretending not to know the other. Six was tall and dressed dapper so the store personnel didn’t zone in on him at first glance. On the other hand A Rock could have dressed like the president and would have still looked shifty and crooked out so he was always the store decoy. And Isis even with the dope decreasing her profile on the heat index, was still hot enough to grab a mans attention. At five feet two with respectable dimensions she was a small slice of chocolate with two long black braids she wore tied down in a red bandanna loc style. “Anything I can help you with sir” It was personnel on A Rock.” What took you so long?” he asked “Excuse me?” the employee answered. ARock’s lips spread out into a devious grin. Yall got any of them silk draws? He asked. licking his lips like a decadent lizard. The woman grimaced at his uncouth request but answered gracefully. We have a silk boxer or would you prefer briefs. “Let me see them “ he asked. From the peripheral he could see Icee had already scored and was leaving the store. He couldn’t tell whether or not Six hit. But he was sure enough based on past expeditions...he knew Six would get it in someway. He looked up at the clerk and asked nonchalantly. “You got them joints in a four X? I may be height challenged but hoizonally I’m tall-can you dig it?” The girl flushed before contorting a smile that didn’t meet her eyes. Security walked past them. “Have a nice day” she said. As she busied herself with a more productive task. A Rock gave her a lewd look before casually walking to the exit door and outside. He got as far as the pavement when he heard keys and a commanding voice. “Sir I need you to come with me”! “What!” ARock jumped, ready to bang as he made a three hundred sixty degree turn to meet his assailant.”So you got games to play ha nigga” ARrock said. You score while you bullshitting” Arock asked. “You know how I do nigga” Six snapped back. There’s Jimmy lets roll looks like Isis is already in the car. Six said They were about ten feet to the car when Six started laughing again still amused by his prank. “You think that shit is still funny ha fool” ARock said still unamused. “Where is your sense of humor dog,you know I gave your lil ass a heart attack when you thought I was OneTime?” “Well your the one that was about to get put on his back... and jacked for your merch nigga and you lucky you got merch after that bulls... They got in the car and Jimmy was on cue for instigating. This was a gag thrown on more than one occasion.”Yo Six did he scream like a bitch” Jimmy stirred the pot again as he looked out of all the mirrors for the police” Dog I could see the purple Koolaid pumping in his heart. “Yeah fu.. both of you square ass bitches. AR said throwing up the dubb middle fingers.Isis sat there quietley having already downsized her work and folded her product into nice neat stacks and into bags they always kept in the car. From the front passenger seat ARock looked back at her. Hey boo you hear these rudee poot motha.. on this bullshit. He said. But she looked right passed him. Jimmy had sparked a fat blunt and the smoke was debilitating. What the fuck you smoking weed for dog we crack monsters up in this bitch.Six protested.”You finally said something right you bony freak of nature. “The little light skinned man agreed. Jimmy passed the blunt but nobody took it. The nineteen eighty two Sunbird flew back down 62 West and back to the hood with the goods. It was a good sting. They got back to the honeycomb hideout and dropped down the mecrh. “Good shit everybody!” Six said. We got over five thousand in merch now its hotel motel Holiday Inn time baby, we gone flip this product and do the right thing?” Six implored. “And what might that be Mr.Crackhead CEO” Arock asked now amused. Get high n- a mothafucka.”Boy you gettin smarter and smarter you keep that up you goin be the CEO for Crackheads Inc. “And you’ll be the secretary of smoke my wanna be Deboe nigga. Everybody laughed. “Pass that blunt Jimmy” It was Isis. “And the dead has awakened” .A.R blurted. The car pulled into the Fair Oaks motel. “And your gonna be that dead mothafucka the next time you put a hand on me nigga. Her words had a cold and exact tone that stuck everyone up hostage in the moment; unexpected. “What bitch?” A.R blared but with not nearly the same amount of tone and intensity.
She looked like someone who didn’t care about anything as her usual soft brown eyes turned into squinted cold black chips. She rolled her tongue at him only to reveal the small razor cube that was usually a part of her oral hygiene kit.
Both of you stop this madness we got over four thousand in merch a five star hotel and we don’t have time for this bullshit. Jimmy attempted to diffuse the situation. “That’s five thousand negro and the same goes for that run down grimy ass motel. Six checked him. I just wanted to get everyone’s attention. Yeah right we all count merch around here you four eyed M.F! ARock screamed on him. “It was an honest mistake” Jimmy said. There ain’t a damn thing honest about anybody in this car except that were honest to God no good criminals. ARock said trying to subtract the earlier scene. “You done preaching so we can check in” Isis asked matter of factly. “My girl” Six mused. She gave him the whatever look as he got out of the car to get the room. The usual routine was to flip some merch in excange for a room which worked about ninety seven percent of the time the three percent was contingent that they had good stuff which usually was the case.
Hey Jimmy now you get to do some real work ole designated driving non hustling ass biatch .ARock jeered before he reached the motel. I’ll remember that on the next trip and leave your lil monkey ass stranded.Jimmy returned. “Alright everybody pitch up on this bop. Isis removed a few lesser expensive items from her stash and everyone else followed suite. Her phone rang hello” “What’s up girl how you doing?”The other end of the phone communicated. Pause. “I’m cool can I call you back in ten minutes. Isis asked. Yeah girl are you okay. I’m cool let me call you back” Okay. All she could do is sit there pondering on who gave this person her phone number. “Peety still got work?” ARock asked communal to anybody. I called him earlier about a teenebop. Isis answered. Straight ? He asked. For sho. She confirmed. Cool He said.. “We good to go Jimmy said getting back in the car. You make sure we got a room with A.C.its hotter than a fat bitches crack out here? .Six said. Everything is good,now lets not forget what the fu... we do?” Jimmy said. “We already know so let’s get busy
“Well lets do that Peety got the work” Isis said flatly.The hooptie hit 35 North to 94 West to Broadway and stopped at the Murder Station for some petro for the Metro. The gas station looked like they were giving away government cheese it was so many negros on the premises. Jimmy got out to get the gas walking through a lake of melanin.” I got that work cuz you straight?” I’m cool he answered. The weed high was loosing its europhoric punch and with hard reality came a strong allergic reaction. “Side bet I hit four!.Ten you hit five on a miss.! The callatoral audio was straight from a craps game along the side of the building. J.C got back to the car to pump the gas. I’ll pay for the gas which everyone involved will reimburse me in dope. He said. I got your reimbursement nigga. ARock said.”We got you man” Isis said casually. After all it was her connect. “What’s love got to do with it” She checked the caller I.D and hit mute.They left the Murder Station to go to the dope spot. Isis got out the car and walked up to the house. “Hey lady you looking good today baby” It was her friend Pettie. “I look good everyday dude” she returned. “For sho sweet fly and I can’t say the same for the rest of them female’s who fu..with them rocks. She almost blushed but stepped up on point. “Come on with all that drag dog you got the work or looking for a date?’. She cut to the quick. You sure ain’t nothin slow are you baby?” He said. “Slow will get you killed in these streets nigga”. “True indeed” He agreed.They stepped around the side of the house and he open palmed the sixteenth of an ounce which in this case was almost the size of a golf ball. Thats what’s up Lil momma you could damn near keep a nigga in biness and on my nation I don’t just drop shit for most people I respect your game sis so when you blow that there get at me by yourself and we can work with sumin sumin. He said as his eyes ran a slow obstacle course on her dimensions. She didnt answer but didnt forget it. Keep them curves tight.”Whatever negro and good looking out”. she smiled at him and walked back to the front of the house and back to the car. “My girl- that nigga served you up something nice ha Ice” Jimmy inquired. She looked straight ahead emotionless. “Step on the pedal back to the spot so we can cut this shit down” A.R. barked. He usually took control of the dope once it was in the car but for some reason he chilled. The quick ride back to the motel was festive with everyone anticipating that first mega blast via transport beyond the ozone layer was enough to keep everyone in good spirits. They parked by their room door at the motel and unlocked the door merch in tow. Once inside the Smoke Out Olympics were about to be underway. “That nigga Pettie like Ice” Jimmy said. Smirking over at ARock. “I can’t tell with this short ass ‘Bop’ he gave her” Jimmy looked at it. Its straight its bigger than the average Teen he said with a quick sly glance at Isis.
“True that but not for somebody you been coppin from”ARock said half unconvinced and looking over at Isis to detect any larceny. “He said if I come back alone he’ll tighten us up” she said dryly. “Is that right?” ARock said doubfully.Six flashed his new horn. “Meet my little friend" He said sounding like a wack Tony Montana.Everybody and a toast to crack smoke ventilated lungs Six said as he raised his new toy to the ceiling. “This nigga's dumb and that pathetic looking horn,just give me a 'satelite' and I'm alright "I dont dig all that glass" Arock said. In right now "Nigga please youll smoke on whatever a MF fade you with Jimmy cracked on him’. Damn right nigga now what you got on my next hit” Arock said. “The same thing I 'gave you' last year" Jimmy said. "Skip that fool lets smoke. He said as Jimmy went on praising his new gift. Isis stood parralell to the three men patiently waiting as ARock continued to examine the dope. “C’mon with it dog and stop playing Columbo and lets do this” Jimmy scolded. AR unpulsed cut the rock down to four big halves and then to fourths everyone copped their piece. Isis and Jimmy were the only ones with something to smoke with and now it was AR’s turn to be patient as Isis stood frozen to the floor and with a dope induced shaking hand passed the horn to Jimmy. “Oh thats the rotation you working with baby” He asked her in a low threatening tone .She shrugged her narrow shouders and blew out the toxic smoke. His brow creased as he looked over at Six who with a small nervous twitch passed him the crack pipe after a healthy hit left on it. “Dont let that nigga punk you Six,you the coldest nigga ever to walk in and leave out with a store”. A matter of fact but the drug made him timid. Jimmy was serious about this. “Why you wanna agitate shit nigga, we got all this dope I’m bout to go pick a few strawberry and you on bull.... Arock scowled ! “Yo dog It aint my fault you dont have a horn-you and me both so just chill!. Jimmy hollered. Icee you should of got a ‘zone’ from ya boy. Jimmy said. Yo J be cool with all that ‘your boy bullshit’ I aint really in with this nigga like that. “He knows I’ll be back and that’s it. she said.There was a knock at the door. “Who is it?” Jimmy asked,walking over to the door and peeped through the peep hole. Hey baby its Charlene and NaNA.
“Oh yeah?” “What up boo?” Lo and behold we was just talking about some hood rats.
Oh for real nigga. Charlene said with an attitude and pushed him aside and walked in the shattered motel room
“How the fu.. yall know we was here?” AR demanded. C’mon baby the bucket parked right out front and it smells like a crack factory in this bitc.. “Na Na said with a chuckle. “Seriously?” ARrock asked. “Seriously dude here” she reached in her purse and came out with a spray container and pumped a few shots of fragrance in the air. This shit is industrial you can tell already. "The two women scantily attired pranced over and took a seat. Isis gave them a pathetic look before turning the door knob. “You know you dont have to go girl,in fact you should stay. I got a bonus bump for you if you stay!” Arock implored. F. U.nigga! she turned her head to say as the two women got more comfortable. “That’s what I’m trying to get you to do. He said.” You got enough to handle -see ya. “Where you goin” He asked. She picked her back pack up and was on the other side of the door before A’rock could say another word just as her phone rang. “Hello” She answered her phone. “Jolene?” The other end of the line answered back. “Hey Trish” She flatly returned the greeting.”Its a damn shame that people in Minneaplois don’t make it to St.Paul even to see their own mama. The other end of the phone communicated. Isis clenched her teeth frost bitten by her sisters words,she fumbled around in her purse for a cigarette nearly dropping the phone.”You there girl?” Jolene’s sister asked. “Damn girl what do want. Thinking how relentless her big sister could be and the urge to hang up on her was aquitted by reason of sanity because it would be crazy to think she could avoid her. Unlike herself Trish traversed daily throughout the metro, it was her job as a parcell carrier...and as always she would see her somewhere and most times not at her best. “Hello?!” Trish spoke on the other end. “I’m here ! what the fu..you want me to do -drop down and give you twenty push ups. Jolene snapped. “Preferrably to check you into the nearest rehab center. Trish returned the fire. “Oh for real!. Isis spat. “You don’t know me, you dont know what this shit is about I been to treatment-damn near all of them!. The motel door swung open. AR stood in the doorway half naked. C’mon Ice you got to move around you gone blow up the spot. He said before slamming the door. She spun on her heels and sped down the side walk. The streets were hot with the multiple sources of yaol hitting the twin cities and beyond. “Listen Jo I know that shit got you bound but all I’m asking is that you don’t stop trying don’t stop asking the Lord to pull you through were all helpless and weak to something or another. “I know my little sister and I love you Jo”. “From cold to warm ha Trish that’s that kinnegarden ass psycology you working...slap a bitch and give her some flowers. Trishes hearty laugh on the other side of the phone was contagious enough to make Jolene chuckle. "Oh that shits funny ha bitch?" Jolene said now laughing.
"But seriously Jo mama just got out the hospital with her second stroke in six months I tried to call you. “Is this your new number?” Jolene didn’t answer.
The narcotic haze had once again been ambushed by reality and the damn that had held back the flood was now breeched and the tears fell unchecked as the tremble in her big sisters voice insited her sobs. “Its okay Jo Jo tomorrow is Sunday why don’t you come over for dinner mama would love to see you. She was too choked to answer. The noisy traffic on Chicago & Franklin was menacing and always with danger threatening to make the ten o'clock news. “Hey girl you alright?” I got that Karachi, come smoke with a nigga thata get your head right baby. A common passerby said. She put her hand up like a stop sign for him to move on. It was a smoke free friend but she ignored him and continued walking at an almost sprint pace. She pulled herself together.
I see Basil at least a few times a month he lives in Richfield. Her heart jolted out of its resting position. But she spoke cooly. “What’s up with him” Isis asked. That’s what he asked me about you whenever I see him. “Stop playing girl and a relationship is the last thing I need” Jolene said weakly. “I agree but things change” Trish said. A long pause. I gotta go Trish. Don’t forget tomorrow. What time. She asked. What do you mean what time girl just bring your butt on over. I’ll try-I can’t promise but I’ll try. I hope your never sick, dying and lonely.” “Please, I wrote the book” Jolene solemnly said. Just do it for mama Jo. Nobody’s doing any damn thing for me and preferably that’s the way I like it.” Jolene snapped. “Yeah you say that now but you better be thankful and be careful what you say girl.” Her big sister returned. “Yeah whatever’s cleaver, look Trish I gotta go. See ya.” Jolene hung up the phone. “And wouldn’t wanna be ya” she said to herself. A police siren blared out of nowhere startled her. She looked at her watch almost an hour had gone out. She figured the freak show was over by now so she motivated back to the motel in hot pursuit of another mega blast. It was Saturday evening almost nite time and things were about to get real ill. “Yo Ice what up baby girl what you working with?” I got some nice size twenty balls. It was a local hype with just enough game to stay high. He ran across the street nearly getting posterized as a pancake by a truck. “Learn how to drive nigga!” he blurted out to the disappearing vehicle. “Doonie you ran yo dumbass right out in front of the truck.” She informed him. “Fu** that mark Jo” Yeah whatever nigga-they gone find your punk ass displayed out in the chalk line!”. Jolene exclaimed animating the chalked figure at a crime scene. “Girl you still crazy” Doonie said chuckling. “Hey Jo remember back in middle school you put three thumbtacks in Mr. Bennett’s chair and he got so mad he threw the chair across the room.” Yeah and at that point it wasn’t that funny anymore. She recollected.
“That’s what made it even more funnier” Doonie said. Still laughing.
Yeah and as I recall you were the one sent to the office because of that. Jolene said. Yeah just because I was laughing the most... and just in time to see that mark get fired in the office. Isis said. Damn that shit was funny it seems like it was another life ago. Doonie said as if longing for the forgotten. Not to me –it just seems like a time when everything was the realest no dope no problems just fun and games. She said. An ambulance sped by them and turned off on Park Avenue a cop car trailing behind them at break neck speed. “I’m bout to bounce Doo.” “What about that work Jo. I’ll break you off something proper dopp”.
“Who’s work is it? She asked. “Them Detroit Niggas got a dub and half off a bop. He said boastfully. “Oh for real” she said almost impressed she looked up at the sky then back at Doonie “I’ll see you in traffic Doo” Later Jo, keep your game tight. She hustled back to the motel amidst the colorful traffic of dope pushers/ fiends gangbangers prostitutes and wanna bees. She stopped at the L for a taste on Chicago and Franklin. She laughed to herself thinking about Doonie. She had never met anyone more meticulous with numbers, a mathematical guru. Back out of the liquor store and beating it back to the spot she cut through Peavey Park and was back at the motel. She stood at the door for a few seconds before knocking. She almost knocked on Six’s head as he opened the door to walk out the two women in tow. “You right on time Ice cause that last pill was going up in smoke. He said She looked at the short man half of amused half annoyed. She pushed the door behind them. A-rock looked like a mad crack pharmacist , eyes bulging while cutting the remainder of the quarter ounce packet with a shaky hand. “Well I guess now you can un ass my share as I’m back without a minute to spare” She spat. He looked up from his repetitive task of cutting and scraping the dope with a razor blade. We was wondering when you was coming back. Them hoes thought they was going smoke all this dope Ice. A rock looked up at her again with a lopsided grin. Isis didn’t return the glance her eyes shifted to the corner of the room where Jimmy was slumped over semi-conscious in a chair. Isis walked toward the substance. “Excuse me?” she said extending her hand toward the drug. “Not so fast!” “Don’t think I don’t know you cuffed some of that work from Peety earlier today” He scowled.
“What nigga?!” Your tripping,that’s the best deal you could have got for a sixteenth you seen it with your own eyes. She screamed on him.
“True that, but I still think the nigga gave you more, on the strength.” Arock said still trying to pry.” “You can think what you want ‘brother’ but the proof is what you smoking and I’m supposed to get back with him later on a couple of pills. “That right”? He asked unconvinced but unsure. “So excuse me” she said as she took her share of the synthetic yaol. Arock reluctantly pushed her portion over with the razor blade. He thought he knew the breaking point for Isis. He had to think smart as he was aware all the players around him had skills and it was only through their weaknesses that he gained a leverage of control. He never had to put hands on Ice before and he pondered on the matter in his paranoid state. Isis copped a squat on the floor, one knee down the other up and put dope on the stem and inhaled the smoke like an African Shaman. “When you going hollar back at Peetty. Arock asked. She held in the smoke and blew it in A-rocks direction. Maybe tomorrow I don’t know. I thought you said tonight. A’rock said. Oh I take that back not tomorrow I can’t do anything until Monday. She said. “What you and that nigga Peety on something?!. Arock yelled. Plus you know we got work tomorrow the stores goin be giving that shit away its our biggest day of the week. He pleaded. I know that’s not the only Sunday either well be alright. She said “Save me a bump of that” Arock said with a cross look of anger and shame. She sat quietly on her haunches. A’rock sat ridged and hopeful. She took in a blast and beckoned him with her index finger. He was confused and struggled with an unexpected emotion that conflicted with his high and maybe even his manhood and the tide that washed them both to a lonely shore was only a voice. “Come get it” Her hand stroked his sparse facial hair, her voice like the closed caption for the heart-impaired, the smoke the; illumination of heaven on earth, but as the sun doesn’t always shine neither is bliss infinite so as she magically appeared in the doorway hands on her hips she watched him fight to get back to shore their eyes locked before she looked away leaving him to drown and chose not to acknowledge or desire her position as ‘Queen for the moment’ and spoke softly. I’ll see you Monday baby. His response illegible- as he stared at the deep chocolate complexioned pint sized jet centerfold beauty from a past era. The dope stem burning the flesh on his bottom lip his expression a regression back to childhood. She turned on her heels and left him unplugged and inoperable. She cut back through the park feeling for her stash in her jacket as a car horn blew her attention in that direction it was Six headed back to the spot. She chucked him a deuce and her phone rang, it was her sister she let it roll over to voice mail and she listened guilt gnawing at the good in her. Her motivation stayed steady as the sun fell below the horizon and she stabbed back into her purse looking for the stash.“ The phone rang again this time she answered it quickly. Hey Trish I can’t talk I’m on some business. Jolene! Her sister’s voice derailed her intention. Mama’s in HCMC get down here quick. Patricia screamed. What?! Jolene asked. Just to make sure she heard correctly. I said Mama’s in HCMC with another stroke. Her voice was beyond hysterical and it sounded like it just happened. Not knowing what to do she kept walking but in her drugged anticipated mind she still knew she had to get to the hospital but when was the question. Another loud horn snapped her back in real time, Six had'nt made it to the light on Franklin & Ninth before she ran to flag him down. He bust a U turn and swooped her up. " What’s up baby girl?. I KNEW you cuffed some work from that nigga P good looking out Ice Ice babyyy! He hapily exclaimed.
"This ain’t about no got damn dope man my mother just got rushed to the hospital and I need to get there. The news flash jump started Six into action.
“Which one?!” he asked. HCMC. “Be cool baby we there” he said as the car hit Franklin to Chicago to the hospital.
She fought back the tears but they eventually fell down her cheeks. Six looked over at her without a word and held her hand for the rest of the ride. They pulled up to the emergency entrance and she jumped out. “I’ll see you later” she said without looking back. She walked through the lobby to the front desk. “My mother just got here about fifteen minutes ago her name is Wanetta Henderson. Isis showed her identification and was directed to security who gave her a guest pass to go back to see her mother. Patricia and her maternal aunt Emma Jean were there. The two sisters hugged as their aunt pretended not to see them. The woman known to everyone as ‘mama’ who appeared to be hooked up to a series of machines and tubes breathing despondent;desolate. Jolene stared into the vacuum that contained her mother, thinking how far away she was and how far apart they had been for the past three years and nothing within her power including this dramatic last minute scene of her mother’s life could bring that time back. And who was she fooling anyway with the street medication on her person was enough to deaden this emotional impact and return to the real world. “Damit…!” The word shot off in her head like an assault riffle. “I can do this” a quick affirmation. The words slipped past her consciousness. “Do what?” Trisha asked. She looked deep into her sisters eyes they were blank depleted and tired. Her mother’s sister eyes were cold and unforgiving as they cut Jolene to the bone. The doctor walked in introduced himself and spoke quietly. “I’m sorry this is the worst part of my job” He said trying to humanize himself being the messenger of bad news. He continued. “Your mother had what is called a ‘hemorrhagic stroke’. “A what?” Jolene exclaimed. “A hemorrhagic stroke.” The doctor repeated as elementary as one could. It’s easier when I tell you. A ruptured blood vessel in the brain burst and bleeding starts immediately and the brain tissue is irritated and swelling occurs. “At this point the bleeding collects into a mass called a hematoma.” Jolene shrugged off the effort to ask ‘what the hell is that.’ She was only ready to leave, the small street commodity in her purse felt heavy yet the problems life so insistently imposed was heavier -she had to do something. The doctor’s voice carried a sedative monotone that suppressed her anxiety for the moment. “The collected blood then increases pressure on the brain and presses it against the skull and can cause brain damage. The doctor concluded. The internal battle raging inside her was of ‘Civil War’ proportion, the first one being a country fighting itself verses her experience of total mind and body domination was a fight she lost daily. Most of the time she considered herself a traitor against her own good intended will, and this one was starting to look no different. “So having said that she will be placed in intensive care for few days at best” The doctors voice no longer held her as she saw herself acting out her next moves while staring through her mother’s invalid frame and the voice that always presented the most failed ventures continued to walk her through the familiar course of the damned like an old friend. “Can she have visitors in ICU?” Jolene asked now following through her escape route. The anxiety building in her chest. “Certainly” the doctor answered. He didn’t finish his statement before she gave her sister and auntie an empty goodbye. “Ya’ll gon be here tomorrow right. She said attempting give traction to her lie. I’ll see you then bye now.” She didn’t bother to think or care about the abruptness of her exit only the desired ends is all that was needed. She felt her heartbeat sprinting in her chest as she skipped the elevator to the stairs. She thought about going in the bathroom for a quick blast but feared the smoke would set off the smoke alarm. Two more flights of stairs and she would be outside. She practically jumped down half of the first flight as she was a track star back in high school. She coasted down the last flight of stairs and hit the exit door but it was locked. She passed through the lobby and out the main door.
“Jolene!” She had finally made it outside and was on rollerblades as she glided down the sidewalk. “Jolene! She didn’t even hear her name being called she had a tunnel vision for one thing only, but the footsteps behind her startled her then the voice that followed must have been a trick or someone playing with her already tampered emotional state. She dismissed all possible links to anything apparent. Jolene! This time she made a three sixty the cylindrical momentum causing her to stumble backward at the end of the circle. " Damn girl where’s the fire?" The site was overwhelming his wide smile accentuating his masculine jawline the skin laying down like dark velvet on his naturally hairless face.The gravity she was riding the currents with now expelled she stood there floating in place. He ran to embrace her as she trembled and embraced her limp frame, until their time capsule burst and the verbal explosions peppered the passer byes.
"Woman are you crazy ?!" Without a thought she answered. "Yes!" He held his jaw rubbing off the sting of her open hand slap. "What?" He answered, unexpecting her answer but needing to hear it again.
"I said yeah I’m crazy…nigga what else do you want to know, or was I supposed to run to your open arms after all this time-you got me fucked up in the game Bitch!" She couldn't believe her own words all she could see were the times she would fantasize about their reunion in picture book definition until now. "Excuse me." Someone said rushing past the scene looking back precariously. He stood in the same place still rubbing his jaw as the flames of her temperament reduced itself to embers. Your right Jolene I got no right to come back here after five years of no communication, I'm sorry. She stared away from him and everything in creation. He jestured to touch her shoulder and stopped in mid air. And turned around walking slowly the opposite direction. "You have a daughter" she said almost to no one. He stopped in his tracks hesitant ;uncertain. "Look can we talk for a minute...please" "Talk" she said coolly. Lets go accross the treet to the park. She silently agreed. The park benches were dirty so they stood up in the sand box leaning on the play fixtures. "What's her name?" He asked. Waleena her nick name is lil Ba short for Basil she's your spitting image. Jolene reached in her purse for her picture wallet and her hand touched the narcotic and it sent a shiver down her spine and she felt queasy. Basil was tilting up a coca cola bottle and motioned for her to take a sip. "I don't want no damn soda pop"she said. Its rum and coke try some. She took it without need for further convincing. She turned up the twenty ounce bottle and frowned. Damn not much coke in here but that's cool too I needed that, a lot happens in seven years you never used to drink. She looked over at him awaiting a response,when none came she continued looking through her purse. Here it is. She said opening up the time worn wallet and unleashing a photographic collection of their daughters cute shots. "Here you go". She handed them over. "Woe" ! Was all he could say as the pictures made him mute and entered his heart un impeaded. One of the pictures she was sticking her tongue out making the cutest little mean face it looked like it was taken last year. Jolene still had the charged coke bottle as he looked over at it but he realized that the natural high he was on could not be matched by anything he could ingest or smoke and all he could think about now was when he could see his baby girl. Still staring at the picture he spoke. Jo I don't have any excuses but I didn't know when I left on the scholarship you were pregnant. "I was going to tell you when you came back for winter break but you never did. She looked up at the cloudy sky and took another pull on the R&C. "Forgive me for being blunt but what the fuck were you doing for five years and not even a voice mail?" She said more calmly than she desired. This time he did reach out for the drink. She passed it over waiting intently for his answer. He took a swig and exhaled a breath of alcoholic air. My first year at Florida A&I was the best year I had there. I was averaging over a hundred yards a game with two to three touchdowns. NFL scouts were drooling over me and it was easy then I got this feeling of invincibility like there was nothing that I couldn't do" "What do you mean?" Jolene asked. I started getting too much into parties, women and drugs. She almost regretted having asked. But she shook it off. So I got busted on a few possessions. Wait a minute first the drink now your talking about dope man did you ever change. He stopped to look at her and the clouds forming overhead. “All you got is liquor. She asked hoping he didn’t detect the desperation in her voice. “Yeah and I have to stop that. I’m going to try out for the Vikings. So what the fu.. man everybody’s got a hard luck story so you went down to Florida and fucked your life up forgot about us and now you drag your sorry ass back here apologetic and broke!” She said irritated and subdued by the monkey on her back. “Hey Bay I’m going to have to see you in traffic I have to be somewhere” She said with all avenues to patience reaching a dead end. “He stared bleakly out into space as she left him with a look of contempt and the defeated expression starting to detail his face made it all the more sweeter as the thunder clouds formed overhead and the rain begin to pour. And that old haunting song that reduced her to the lowest emotional decimals crept its way into her head, her heart her mind and intentions freelancing with the enemy. She watched Basil pull out an umbrella. “Get up under here Jocee.” Remembering how he used to call her that made matters more difficult. She stayed planted as he kept calling for her to get under. “Come on Jo I’ll give you a ride I’m parked on the other side of the hospital! He said in a rush to get out of the rain.” She tried with all she had to forget that scene three years ago in M.L.K. Park in the rain his lettered jacket over her head the smell of the rain mixed with his after shave how they kissed and hugged all the way home and her feet wouldn’t move. On the contrary everyone else was running amuck- but she couldn’t move. Basil must have been on cue as the umbrella fell to the ground like broken English. He rushed through the raindrops and embraced her the storm clouds dimming the entire area like an eerie candlelight vigil. He kissed her clumsily at first and she pulled away but he was persistent as she raised her hand to slap him but it turned into a love tap and found its way around his back meeting the other hand.
Now at ease the two absorbed each other easy, softly, then deeply their tongues slowly; entangle, the rain drops unmoved by their passion beating them , yet their bliss was impenetrable. Screams melted in their kiss; unanswered yet unwavering but ending just before the cliff of sound as they both realize the foreign element in the mist to be a woman in danger. They break their intimate grip. “What the hell was that?” Basil said, looking closer in the area of the scream, they both walk past the pool to where a woman lay unconscious. Basil quickly grabbed his phone. “What are you doing” Jolene asks. “I’m calling 911” He answered. “For what they gonna see this white bitch laying here half dead and put two and two together and come up with one of us did it, wrong answer wrong thing to do hang up the phone Bay let’s get out of here.” He looked at her unmoved as the phone rang. “She’s still alive” Basil said as he checked her pulse. “What the f… now your Doogie Howser or some M.F. body you call them I’m out of here you can give the bitch CPR and carry her white ass across the street to the hospital Basil burst out in laughter. You always got some crazy shit to say at the most unusual times… I always dug that about you. He said uncomfortably. Jolene gave him a perilous grin. I’m out of here Bay. She said and swiftly got in the wind the rain beating down from the sky, the thunder banging through every ear drum and lightning cracking open an unseen world. She wanted to run back but kept pushing forward her clothes about twenty pounds heavier with rain she ran wishing she could run between the raindrops She was halfway through the park when it slowly dawned on her how they just traversed from a thirty mile an hour lane to the fast open freeway. In less than thirty minutes. And he must have felt it too She thought. As she spun on her heels to see him following her. He was drenched, even with the umbrella. “Thought about it ha man?” She asked. It’s raining like a motha out here where is your car. Jolene yelled over the noisy elements. A few blocks away. The rain drops hitting his umbrella like liquid bullets. I was going to give the police a report but my battery died.! She rolled her eyes up and squirmed under the umbrella. Don’t trust these cops man! . I’m not worried I haven’t done anything.! That’s what them dudes up in Stillwater and Oak Park Height’s probably said.! Whatever. He said. Let’s go man before we get booked for this shit! She said. Okay let’s run for it! Basil said. She couldn’t help but smile, it reminded her of good times. Go! He hollered and they took off like jets. She screamed like a little girl as the rain crashed down on them. Oh shit! Basil shouted as the rain and wind folded his umbrella in half. There’s my car on the right side of the street! They raced to the other side of the street. Basil fumbled with his keys nearly dropping them down a street drain grate. Inside the car they breathed out heavily; exhausted. Damn that rain is relentless. Basil exclaimed.
And strangely before he could finish the sentence it stopped at least down to a few drops.
I have to get out of these clothes. Isis said.
Where do you need to go? Basil asked looking at his watch. Whoa its almost eight o’clock I need to be at the post office in less than twenty minutes. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill. Here take this for a taxi, sorry I can’t give you a ride. This post office gig is really strict and I’m kind of on probation for earlier late shows.
He started the car as the sun miraculously broke out of the clouds on hot dry cycle.
Listen I need your number Jo he said. She thought about it. For what? Stop it Jo, I want to spend some time with my daughter. I don’t have her, she with mama and her number is still the same. She said turning the corner of her lips up. Okay I’m busted I want to spend some time with you and my daughter” He broke down. “We can talk about it” She said somberly and gave him the number. She peered over at him. He had not changed much at twenty one, she was three years older than him but didn’t look it and she kept it inside that she was still very much attracted to him. Let me out here. Jolene said.
On Chicago Avenue? He asked surprised.
Yeah I’m hungry I have to get something to eat then I can catch a cab at the stand down the street.
Oh okay be careful Jo its always something going on over there…that usually makes the news.
“Okay I will. She said not really listening and getting impatient.
Basil stopped the car and Jolene was on the pavement before he came to a complete stop.
She walked over to the driver’s side to thank him.
He reached out to hold her hand. She half smiled.
Momma’s in the hospital. She said.
For what. He asked shocked.
Her second stroke in less than six months. She said as he shook his head.
You better get to work man. Yeah I know and I’m lucky I have extra clothes in my locker. Okay see you Jolee. I’ll call you later. He said.
Bye. She said. She stood there for a few seconds watching car slowly drive of sight. Now alone she knew the chief concern to be alone resided in her purse and was much relieved to be out of cops reach for a targeted or random search. She thought about Basil and his kind nature. And knew it was of no use in her world. She could feel Basil’s eyes searing her spine as she walked past The Chef’s Café and it was crippling but she had to keep it moving She crossed the pedestrian and headed back through Peavey Park and hit the alleys parallel to Chicago avenue and found the spot to hit the work; an abandoned building, she walked through the back entrance and rigged a two by four plank inside the doorway to hear any intruder, she never had or suspected any problems she nearly knew everybody and vice versa. She could hear the cop sirens back at the park apparently responding to the woman in Abbott Park.
She deftly broke out her switchblade with her right hand and reached for the dope in her purse still strapped around her shoulder with the left hand. Jolene cut off a small chunk wrapped the rest up and hid it back in her purse she squatted down to put the work on the horn. The sizzling sound it made as her lighter melted the pebble was nearly synonymous with the high. The ingested smoke tasted funny like gas and she figured it was whatever the dope had been transported in and it didn’t weaken the product as the tight tinging in her ears amplified . But she heard something else, she heard the wood plank she had propped up against the door fall to the floor. She didn’t think much of it probably another fiend looking for a free hit. She didn’t mind sharing sometimes and she wondered who the fiend could be. She didn’t hear anyone as she waited seconds turned into a minute still nothing and she figured a dog or a cat knocked over the wood or the wind. She squatted to go in for another round of smoke shifting her weight onto her left leg her right knee knocked the pipe out of her hand, it went up in darkness as the boarded up house was dank and very dim even in broad day light. Her hand blindly grabbed at the air before it splintered into shards on the cement floor. “There she is?” The voice sounded vaguely familiar. “Let me get some backs on that horn baby. The voice said. She stood up to face the voice. It was a fiend she hardly knew and could not completely identify in the dark. “All done homie you missed it “ She walked passed him toward the light beam at the back entrance of the house. She had one foot out the door. “You wouldn’t leave us here alone to entertain ourselves would you lil mama” Another man filled the door frame. “ I didn’t come here with you nigga” she spat at him as she tried to move his large frame from the door. He pushed her with one hand back into the abandoned house to the floor. She laid there and could not help thinking about the woman lying in the park. “Now can I get that hit since you not in a hurry no more.” The fiend said. Fuck you nigga. She cold calmly said. “Now that is exactly what I had in mind…they say great minds think alike let’s see what they bodies can do. The big man said. He walked over to the entrance closed the door and pushed an old dresser up against it. The first guy was almost the same height as Isis as she calculated his movements in the shadowy atmosphere, he snatched her purse from her tearing the strap from around her arm. Owe got damn it she yelled. Holding her shoulder. “I’m sorry” the smaller man said mockingly while ransacking through her purse “Tadow! There it is. He exclaimed having discovered the dope. Fuck that dope I want something else from lil mama. Her heart picked up as she held her diaphragm to control her breathing. The big man stooped down and started fondling her. “Where’s your pipe at baby aint you got no pipe!”. Shorty shut the fu.. up cant you see I’m taking care of business M.F. My bad big dog my bad. I’m just trying to hit this shit” Do that bullshit when I’m through. The big man was a real life Deboe straight from the pen and no worries about going back . Isis hand was sweating so badly the switchblade she held concealed almost slipped out of it. She sat upright, her small frame dwarfed alongside of the giant. “She was consumed by every nerve ending in her body. Now how we gonna do this baby its up to you slow and easy or rough and hard it don’t matter to me but its gon happen one way or the other.” Silence. The other guy was salvaging the premises for something to smoke the dope in. “It don’t matter to me either”
She said methodically. “That’s what I’m talking about baby” he growled cupping her breast and reached down to unfasten her jeans then she made her move. Her knife hand ripped through the air honed in for lethal carnage and the anticipation she felt for the business end of the knife
to meet its mark was dizzying but it didn’t happen. Like a big cat he intercepted her move with one hand and struck her with the edge of his other hand across her temple. There is no way he should have been able to evade her assault she thought as the lights flickered on and off in her head. “Okay bit… we can rough ride it out since that’s what you on, and on the real that’s how I like it anyway I was just trying to be nice to yo un grateful ass.. He gave her a big green and yellow toothed smile that blurred in the darkness of the room and her aching head that was reeling from the heavy blow but she clung to the consequences if she went under. The big man stood over her brandishing her own knife at her. He grabbed her by one of her braids. Now we gonna do this right, get up on your knees got damn it!. She slowly obeyed the command as he unveiled himself and with the knife at her neck beckoned for her to engage. “Do what you do best bit… He towered over her as she was regaining her senses, she flinched anticipating another blow. I’m not goin hit you again…at least not like that so as long as you act right. Will you let go of my hair? She pleaded. Okay long as you don’t try no slick shit. She nodded in submission and reached for him. He dropped down in front of her face and she obediently took hold of him. With his member in her hand her saliva dribbled the blade out of her mouth that she carried more comfortable than her teeth and gums and into her free hand. She swayed her head away from his knife hand pretending to intake his organ and with deft surgical precision incised a deadly trench along the side of the man’s private part that eventually would be made a public part of a treacherous site.
As the blood squirted from the severed vein she completed the incision down to the base of his penis and made the final cut dismembering him as one would slice through ring bologna throwing herself backwards and away from the crimson fountain. In the centerfold of her carnage she watched fascinated how her attacker clutched himself in the throes of agony the blood oozing between his tightly closed fist and not a solitary utterance from his lips, his knees crashed to the floor sending a seismic wave to where she lay on the floor panting as the veins popped so close to the surface of his forehead she put her hands up to her face to guard against another vessel explosion-but it never came instead he finished his fall to the floor; head butting the old tiled floor sideways and laid there mouth wide open muted and decapitated. Shorty had not even noticed his friends destruction and was off in another part of the big dilapidated house obviously having found the means to smoke her dope. She had an impulse to surprise him but thought better of it as she reasoned him to be the perfect witness and she didn’t have another murder in her. And she thought had it not been for that dope she never would have come here. She pondered and in the desperation of events swore to leave it behind her. Out the abandoned house and into the last rays of sunshine as it started to set. She took the back streets again for a different reason this time- murder and she sighed despairingly realizing the fact both were drug related.
The blood on her clothes was from a Michael Meyers episode she had to get back to the hotel unseen; impossible she thought. She picked up the pace almost jogging, she got past a house in the alley full of kids all playing in the front of the house, except for one small girl who smiled at her so wondrously innocent that she longed to run and hold her own daughter and kiss her. And just ahead in a garbage container was her answer, hanging over the rim of the container was a tattered button down denim coat that went down just above the ankle. “Perfect” she thought out loud. She was in it as if she never stopped to pick it up. It wasn’t a contoured fit and a little outdated and reeked of stale beer but as long as it covered the slaughter house blood she was soaked in it would have to do. She thought. Her stomach heaved but there was nothing in it to come out so she kept her pace now less fearful but still with speed and a purpose she missed Franklin Avenue and stuck to the alleys and could now see the motel just over the bridge crossing 35 W. The stench of blood alongside the vision of a hot shower and clean clothes shot her anxiety level to dopamine fueled performance and sent her in full forward motion running the remaining distance. The quick jolt of energy sent her mind back to the days when she ran the 100 meter race and was number two on the track team. She remembered her coach always telling her she was really number one if she would just tap into her potential. But she discovered her partying potential sooner and now she was just about there.
She expected to see A rock and company and was not surprised when she knocked on the door and it opened and he was as usual pretending to be busy instead of picking imaginary crack off the floor also known as picking cotton because everything that resembled a white rock is mistaken for crack and it was usually lint. Isis excused herself past him. “He didn’t notice a thing with the long jacket on and she was much thankful for that. However she could feel him ready to start antagonizing so she quickly walked into the bathroom to shower. Jimmy who looked to be half dead earlier raised his head up only to flop it back down in his chest. And Rock went back to his carpet diving. Under the shower she thought she would scream to the top of her lungs as the jet streams of hot water purified her body and opened her senses she wanted to stay there for hours scrubbing her body down like some sort of equipment over and over again until not even the slightest remains of even an imaginable trace of blood could be seen, but about thirty minutes was enough. Out the shower she put the clothes she had on inside the long jacket and tied the arms around to make a tight ball then she put the ball of blood soaked clothes in a big shopping bag.
She ran her hands along her arms and legs feeling for any impurities before leaving the bathroom. She toweled and changed clothes in the bathroom. Once out she picked up the remote and flipped through the channels. “Just right across the street from the Hennepin County Medical Center a horrific crime took place during a heavy rainstorm that left a woman in a coma details at nine on Nine. Jolene thought about Basil and searched for her phone she heard it ringing in the dirty pile of wrapped up clothes. Wow! She thought and went back in the bathroom she held her breath, untied the bag and jacket then went in the bloody pile, retrieving her phone that by now had stopped ringing. Phone in hand she recognized the number to be Basil’s and put it in her purse and retied the bundle of bloody DNA. Hey Jo just calling to see that you made it back and out of those drenched clothes you okay?” The voice mail communicated. She fought the impulse to call him right back she needed someone to talk to its been a fucked up day and wished she could have some privacy in the motel room. I’ll call him back later. She thought. She walked out of the bathroom cool and reserved only to see A’rock still on the floor. That irritated her all the more so she stepped outside the motel room to call Basil back
The line rolled over to voice mail and she figured he must have called her back on his break. She stood outside the motel door thinking about Basil. He wasn’t a bad person but those three years would not let her pronounce him not guilty for neglect. She thought. And he didn’t know she was pregnant- but he never called to find out or tell her his whereabouts. She leveled the scales again. And Wayleena sure could use a good father and get her the hell away from Emma. She frowned. And now wondered if her would be assailant was dead. And her afterthought was nothing remote of an anonymous call for help to the circumstantial victim. It was about ten o’clock at night and she wondered what the rest of the night would bring and she prayed it would be non- life threatening. But one way or another her life was usually the barter of the day. She went back in the motel room and into the bathroom to finish grooming. Now where you going you said you was going over your people house for the weekend that was a lie. He hollered. She smirked at him as he stood up from the floor in a failed effort to retain a fraction of manhood. “I changed my mind” She said flatly. The smirk turned into a devilish smile. “You think that shit is funny I told you what we had planned for tomorrow now you wanna fuck shit up I ought…
He stopped in middle of his sentence. “And I told you that I ain’t goin be able to be there nigga!”
“Who the hell you pose to be now ‘Foxy Brown or some M.F body” A’rock said more contained. “We been scoring licks at all these stores making good money now all a sudden you wanna trip. Isis reached in her purse for a square-casually peering at the short angry dope fiend. What baby you run out yaa.? She said softening her tone. He looked up at her sheepishly. “Why you effin with a nigga Ice you see the program I’m on hell M.F yeah I need a hit, let’s go get these stores baby! He pleaded. Not goin be able to do it boo. His mouth was starting to twitch as Isis lit her cigarette and took a deep drag and passed the lipstick discolored filter tip to him. So when the fuck you coming back? “Stop being so mean” she purred and stroked his jaw line. Why don’t you stay and chill ‘just me and you.’ He duped the hook line from a Tone Toni Tony cut. Damn you can still sing…a little and if I didn’t know your ass I probably would. A-rock’s face blackened. Oh for real, you knew a nigga last time”.! He snapped. Nigga please that was over a year ago and I been thanking the good Lord above I didn’t catch an STD. She chuckled. “Excuse me” She said brushing by him headed for the door. Where you going to see that nigga Pettie ha bitch? You know you was supposed to cut down with a nigga. She was out the door.
“Fuck you bitch!!” He hollered clear and audible from the other side of the door. The night air was lit with dope death and delusion as Isis inhaled the illicit oxygen expanding her lungs and breathing out. The thought flashed across her brain ‘ how long this time’ Impaired reason rational and deliverance spun the barrel with the one fatal shot to the head. Cars drove by with bass beaten speakers breeching the five senses. “What it do shorty!!” A young man half her age hollered out the car window slowing down then speeding up after not receiving the desired effect . She was at the end of Franklin crossing Chicago avenue and thought about stopping at ‘Chefs Café’ for some grub but the ‘five bus’ was pulling up. “Damn I’m hungry as a MF” she said out loud remembering she hadn’t had a real meal in about a day. But she figured she would eat at ‘Sunny’s’ But the five bus was already at the corner. And was packed as always and Saturday night was an explosion of chocolate madness fused with dangerous comedy. She stepped on quickly headed toward the back as the front seats were already taken. The back of the bus was always live caps loud and raw until somebody got mad and a fight broke out or a gun or knife. “Hey girl!” Someone yelled from the back of the bus. She looked up to see her old high school friend “Faye”
Girl how you doing I’m in treatment now had to leave that shit alone had a bitch on pause with no cause with lost draws.. “How you doing Ice?” You know Jerry locked up dope fiend ass trying to sell dope to a police jammed him on possession and sales. And that’s some bullshit cause the nigga gone smoke whatever he got that’s why the judge only gave him ninety days in the workhouse and treatment. Girl you looking good you must be doing something right. You in treatment. Faye comically asked. Jolene chuckled. ” I need to be but I ain’t got time to be locked down for thirty days- bitch need some money honey. “Okay” Faye chimed. “And if I didn’t have a sponsor I wouldn’t have done it either I’m in aftercare now I got a sponsor’ from Apple Valley. “Sponsor?” Isis asked dumbfounded. You talking about somebody you call when you bout to relapse? Isis asked. “No bitch I’m talking about someone I call when I need some bread baby. “Got you another white boy ha girl.” Isis declared. “He’s an older gentleman with refined taste and personality. “Faye said putting on a fake air. And love a bitch to death I’m about to get my license un revoked so the next time you see a me it won’t be on this bus…with all these niggas look like we going to South Africa. Girl you is a mess. Jolene laughingly said. She finished. If he that loaded you should marry him, your old ass ain’t getting any younger. Jolene said. Shhhhh I don’t get no complaints. Faye boastfully said. Faye was about five years older than Jolene but like her friend held down just as much gravity in the right places and respectively owned dime piece status regardless of what internal damages may lay await in dormancy; mentally and physically. “Get married?” Faye returned “So he can kill us both!” They both howled in laughter. That was in unison with all the other loud conversations. Girl you know I’m not going to just sit in a damn house all day and cook for a mothafucka- even if it’s a mansion. I’m too damn hard headed. She finished. “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife” Jolene said. “Although many have tried…and failed with somebody being either dead or on life support Faye said. And it ain’t about being a hoe it’s just you might see something you wanna try. She finished. The two women both looked at each other and burst into laughter almost louder that the current level of noise on the crowded bus. Like I said you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife Jolene said. As they still laughed. ” Where are you going girl my stop coming up Faye asked . Sunny’s “ Why you going there the liquor store still open” Faye said. I’m meeting somebody you wouldn’t believe.
Who Faye asked.
Basil. Jolene said.
Where the hell did you find his ass Faye asked.
He just got back from Florida. Jolene answered.
“Where you going” Jolene asked. Liquor store. “Bitch I thought you were in treatment” Jolene said. “Please I’m gone have my taste, take my number girl..” Faye said pulling out her phone while Isis fumbled around for hers in lieu of the bus stopping on ninth street in front of Little Judges liquor store. Ok you be good girl…or be good at being bad Faye advised. They hug and Faye got off and disappeared into the liquor store. The bus dragged back into to traffic as Isis phone rang. Hey Jocee what’s up. It was Basil.
Hey what’s up.
Can I come scoop you in about fifteen minutes for a drink.
She felt a sharp nerve run up her spine carrying electricity responsive to dangerous impulses as she thought about her promise.
Then she quickly reasoned that it was only a drink.
Okay I’m on the five bus about a few minutes from downtown I’ll just get off on Nicollet and catch another bus to Main street or just walk. Okay she said.
See you soon bye Basil said.
It was five minutes to twelve midnight and downtown Minneapolis was live. She pulled the exit string to get off on Nicollet Plaza. She walked down to Hennepin to kill some time. Hennepin was the ‘Track’ its star Fillies were numerous white girls, many under age some came from well to do families hundreds of miles away others as close as Edina, Hopkins, and Minneapolis St Paul. And unlike the addict women on Chicago and Franklin these women were professional and mostly drug free. Twenty dollars only bought a drink and conversation.
The Jockies or Pimps were the lean clean money making machines. Young and middle aged black men operating under the noses of white Minneapolis cops twenty four seven. And the ones who did know were the ones who usually released the women after being arrested in exchange for certain goods and services.
Isis watched a ‘trick’ couple come out of Moby Dicks arm and arm and get into a cab. She wondered what it was like to be a prostitute and cringed at the thought. She was proud of herself for never having slummed herself down to sex for crack and felt the same way about money. She was at the intersection of Hennepin and Main street she picked up the pace and was a block away from the Post Office just in time to see Basil walking down to stairs.
Good God Amighty I must have been a damn fool to have stayed away from you for three years.
And if you could tell me the measurement holding them jeans down I believe we now have an eighth wonder of the world. Basil said amazed at the pint sized dish walking towards him.
Hmmp the same ones them bitches in Florida had negro. She calmly returned.
Stunned for a quick second he kept the tone.
Okay but all bullshit aside you looking real good lady. He said more sincerely.
Thank you. She said just as calmly.
What’s up? She asked rhetorically.
Not much just wanted to chill with get a few drinks.
I’m trying to quit. She said flatly.
Oh umm let’s get something to eat would that be cool .Basil asked.
She took in a deep breath of the warm July night.
Fuck it lets go to Sunny’s I got one more drink in me before I check into rehab. She determined.
You sure, I mean I don’t want it to be on me if…
I’m a grown ass woman man you don’t have a remote for me. She said
I wished I did I would steer you right back to the crib. He said laughing.
Oh please dude you have to start back from scratch. She teased.
What do you mean? He asked not so jovial.
I mean your application has expired. She said with a devilish grin.
Are there anymore applicants? He asked coyly.
“Time will tell” She said with a wink.
I agree, you better get that drink, and I hope its ladies drink free night or half price or whatever I’ll go broke on your drinks tonight. He said resuming glee.
No you didn’t negro! She said with a throaty chuckle.
Come on lets go man. She mused walking toward his car.
I’m right behind you baby. He jeered.
They took the scenic route down Hennepin Avenue.
You want to go to Moby’s. Basil asked.
It don’t matter. She said.
Basil shrugged his shoulders and drove past the bar. How about the speak easy. He offered.
You sure are procrastinating for someone trying to get a drunk a lay. She said slightly raising her eyebrow; tempting.
Well uh I’m just trying to appease you baby. He cooed.
Appease me? She said not entirely knowing what the word meant.
Let’s just head to Sunny’s. He said.
Cool. She said drowsily.
Basil started thinking about what she said earlier about starting over as he stared peripherally and mentally at what he felt shammed to look at face to face.
A woman he had known since tenth grade and was for the most part pliable to his easy will.
This new woman was the same physically and even more developed since three years ago and the jolt of that thought made an incline in the lower region. But that was it and he understood that to get past this he couldn’t chance any sudden moves.
I’ll be patience and plan it all through. He thought.
They drove by HCMC and Jolene coiled and suddenly wanted to tell Basil to drop her off so she could be with her mother.
But thought of surprising her mother with the news of her going cold turkey. On second thought she knew it wouldn’t be a surprise but another failed plan. Driving back down Chicago avenue looked more depressing than ever and she wished they had of stopped at Moby’s. Looking at the zombies, predators and prey she knew this time it was life or death. Life if I can stay clean if not I’m going to smoke until I’m killed or a slow dance with death. She thought. And that drink is not going to happen because it starts right now. She thought looking over at her old boyfriend.
They reached Sunny’s and she took in a deep breath to tell Basil she wasn’t going to be drinking.
But before she could exhale two undercover cars burned rubber to stop alongside of them the sirens veiling the area, a Fire Truck roaring down Chicago avenue muffled their voices. “Put your hands in the air and get down on your knees now!” “What the fuck!” Isis said. As Basil stood frozen to the ground. “I said put your hands in the air and get down on fucking knees now ! “This is some bull shit!” Isis said before complying to the order Basil following suit. And I said this is some fucking bullshit we ain’t did shit officer.!” Well let the court figure that out! “Be cool Jol we haven’t done anything it’s a mistake they’ll figure it out. “Yeah and while we figure it out you’ll be wining and dining in our luxurious county Inn Sutes. The officer said, as he and his partner cuffed their two suspects.
“You have a right to remain silent…
“I don’t don’t wanna hear that shit” Isis blasted.
“But it’s my job to tell you” The officer returned.
“Is it your job to molest my ass copper” She turned around to face him as his pale face bio engineered melanin, making him a shade darker under the street active lit night. Pussy cat gat your tongue Mr. Officer” Isis continued. ‘I have had enough of you lady” The officer said flustered and irritated. “Ill bet you wished that were in real time ha baby” She purred. Now whats that supposed to mean. People were starting to stop and stare at the scene. Let’s talk about it in the car Mr. Officer. The man’s forehead was glistening above his bushy eyebrows. More people began to crowd the area outside Sonny’s bar. “Go on beat it there’s nothing here to see”.
I love a man with authority. She whispered.
The frisk was over as the detective walked Isis to the squad car. Basil was already in the cop car in front.
Chicago and Lake was an epic center of organized commotion and everybody’s part was summed up in simple division. The divisible number being the minority blacks in a white state like Minnesota divided by the majority white police force with the final remainering balance being that small group of brothas that’s gonna always find trouble filtered out of the masses of blacks via incarceration and justified police deadly force. Isis reveled in the awkward silence as the car sped downtown. She could even hear the man’s breathing; unbalanced. “Your too cute to be a cop you must have just started or something” She went in on him again. Awkward silence again. The detective took in a deep breath and exhaled.
“You don’t look like a murderer, how long you been killing people”. The officer fought back.
The statement was not a new flash and rendered no emotion so she struck back before he completed the sentence. “You’re the one with the gun how many brothas have you killed or women you fondled rookie”. The officer looked at her through the rear view mirror. “But you’re the one being charged with murder not me now shut the fuck up before I tighten those cuffs!”. He ordered. “Mr. big bad officer getting tough with a women in cuffs, you got a girlfriend or wife or both. He smiled restrained. The underground garage door leading to the detained booking room was a block away, she just realized the cop car carrying Basil was no longer in front of them and she panicked.
She looked in the heartless blank pitfalls of the cops soulless eyes through the rearview mirror in search of a clue. The garage door seemed to approach them instead of the opposite. “Oh your friend back there?” He chuckled. He’s singing like a church mouse…or I should say a rat. Panic set in again. Her eyes stared blank into space.
“Looks like that pussycat’s got your tongue now ha Missy” The detective mused.
“Yeah right, I’ll be out in a hour.” She said confidently. Inside the police garage the officer got out and made clearance for entry with suspect. The first door unlocked with a loud clank and a sickening feeling sank in her gut. What could Basil tell them? The thought was even ludicrous. But there was a such thing as duress and what if he folded under pressure. The what if’s were multiplying. “Alright take your shoes off and stand against the wall”. The deputy ordered. She was all too familiar with the drill.
“Mr. Basil Montgomery… what a name, what a hell of a football player you know I used to follow back when you were at North High. Damn nobody could run a pigskin like you did man.
Back then I used to coach little league and my lil guys worshiped you I took them to see you play the state championship game in the Dome against the …………………. Where you had a phenomenal two hundred yard rushing and three touchdown passes and an open door invitation to any of the Big Ten universities across the country. Was hoping you would have stayed in Minnesota all the good players never stay. Anyway how did they treat you down in Texas cause we didn’t hear that much from you after that. Stunned the detective knew so much about him, he sat motionless and mute. It’s okay son I know your not a murderer but unfortunately when two or more people go down for a murder case it’s a race to clear the other ones ass as fast as you can see jimmy crack corn … and unfortunately this case is no different.
“Your girls been singing like Whitney for the past hour”.
“She even told us some shit we didn’t even know about ”
“And that’s just it Basil people will say anything to save their hides, I been a cop for twenty years I know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen every kind of people heard every kind a lie a criminal can concoct and I know you aint a criminal. You got a few open marijuana possessions in Texas
I could have you extradited for. That got his attention.
“ I didn’t do so well in Texas maybe I should have stayed here, I got a job as a mail carrier at the post office I’m gonna train as a walk on for the Vikings. I’m still young.
“About twenty four right” the detective asked. “ I’ll be twenty four next week. Nice and happy B day in advance. It would be a sad day in hell Basil to spend your twenty fourth birthday behind bars with a bunch of big diesel queers.” I didn’t kill anybody officer “ Basil choked.
“I believe you and I don’t just tell anybody that, I mean with the exception of those petty ass weed charges your records clean as a baby’s ass.
“But your friend is telling us something way different”
Tagged you at the scene of the crime scene lab took DNA.
“Of course my DNA is there I’m the one who called the police after checking her pulse”
“Checking her pulse?” “You a doctor”
“Seriously?” “Am I being charged with something officer”
“Not unless you feel inclined to confess something that will help out in your case” The officer concluded.
“As of now I have nothing left to say” Basil finished.
Very good Mr. Montgomery. That poor woman died the day after the assault.
“I’m sorry to hear that. ”Basil said with less concern than he really felt.
“What’s really to be sorry for young bro is injustice for that poor woman’s family.”
Again the desensitized pull took over his senses and this cops effort to frame his woman made it that much easier he thought as silence filled the squad car. Burning tires cut through the silence as the squad car skidded to the curb.
“Get out !” the cop yelled. Basil was shook.
“ I-I thought we were going to jail. Basil stammered. “You thought like shit asshole I know where to find you when I need you. The officer jumped out of the car and walked to the passenger side to let Basil out.
Isis walked up and down the women’s dormitory, her brain on fire deducting, dividing and figuring who knew what and how. All of her answers narrowed down to none. She had not talked to anyone and she planned to keep it that way. Three days had gone by and she knew if she had not been charged within 48 hours it was almost guaranteed she would be released the third day. “Jolene Henderson stand by the front door you have a visitor” She stopped in her tracks and thought for a quick second; no one knew she was here outside of Basil so it could only be a cop with one last ditch effort to pull intel from her. The door opened with a loud electronic clank and she stepped out to the portal behind the last door to the hallway. “She was escorted by a big lumberjack looking female deputy who she thought must have been a millimeter short of testosterone of being a man. In the visiting room the detective motioned for her to take a seat. He had a fresh pack of Newport’s on the table. I would offer you a smoke only you can’t smoke in jail. “Damn environmental freaks” The cop said.
“I don’t smoke” she lied to deflect his psychological game.
“That’s good, you’ll live to be a hundred and wither away like an old dried up prune.
“She chuckled” what’s the business copper. “ I can watch jokes at home on TV”.
“I don’t think your going home anytime soon young lady” He said cheerfully
This was at the crime scene, you know anything about it?” He asked. His cold blue eyes fluctuating temperaments from cold to luke warm. “They found a crack pipe at the murder scene”
“Who’s is it he asked”
“You got it. You tell me ”. Isis snapped.
“Yeah but it’s got your lipstick on it”
“Funny how this new DNA stuff works you can’t argue with science, and all it takes is a hair follicle, saliva or hey this just in lipstick on a crack pipe! The detective’s sarcasm playing on Isis’s nerve. I don’t care about no got damn DNA or the rest of that bullshit you talkin. I been sitting up here for almost three days now it’s down to the last few minutes and its obvious you don’t have enough evidence to charge me so I hope you find the right person were done it
Isis stood up like a proud black diva with just the right cut of gangsta as the white detective sized her up with his cold beady eyes. “You think your hot s…t don’t you” “I’ve seen hookers like you hit the track and die trying to crawl back to where they started and funny thing Ms. Jolene…they never and I mean never make it back. Isis stood up by the door waiting for the electronic clank, she looked back at the officer her eyes narrowed down to slits. “Crackerjack you got lots of nerve coming in here with that old make shift starter kit of bullshit you callin evidence. That crack pipe you got could very damn well have my lipstick on it. She paused to sensuously lick her lips to test the old veteran cops ethics they’re eyes locked in the square circle neither pupils blinked and just when she was about to give him credit she caught his eyes artfully breach territory to travel down her time flawed but taut sculpture. Then she went in on him. You know us dope-fiends network just like you and your cracker buddies taking shots of booze all day now just suppose some unfortunate black bastard in the hood gets killed and that flask you and your buddies been sipping on somehow or another gets found at the scene of the crime…only instead of a cops fingerprints on that old flask now bay bay or Craig who don’t even drink or know what the fuck Scotch is,now is identified as suspect/murderer because you know due process don’t do for niggas in the hood and last and hilariously Craig of all people Scotch man. Similarly like the old plant a murder weapon or crack pipe on an suspect perceived or known to have a criminal record. I’m guilty of smoking crack cracker but not murder!
Isis put her forefinger to her temple in mock contemplation. “Damn I was just looking for my stem too-I had a good bump left on that bitch. And smack in the middle of that crack joke for a split second she wondered if she really did leave some work on the stem. She rocked her head back and laughed a loud throaty laugh not consistent with her size, as the jail door opened. “Let’s see if a public defender shares your over active imagination bitch! The cop was noticeably heated, his face contorting with each varying shade of red .That bullshit won’t hold up in court Judge Judy. The cop hollered behind her trail of long laughter. “Put me at the murder scene Mr. Law & Order!” She yelled back “I intend to!” She looked back one last time at the cop to see other officers consoling him to calm down. Back in the PC dorm she felt anxious yet relieved at the fact she had not been charged with a crime yet. And as the seconds succumbed to minutes and minutes consumed by hours, worry and frustration filled her chest again. And as she was putting pressure on the jailhouse mattress closing another day she heard her name on speaker. Ordering her to roll up her stuff and stand by the door. “Roll it up my nigga roll it up”!
A few of the women chanted the hip hop hook.
While in probable cause people rarely spoke with the exception of one or two idiots talking about their case. It was a known fact that speaker recorders were in the ceilings and everywhere else. But this case always was the exception. Her panic now morphed into uncut excitement as she tried to subdue it but was unable. “Can’t keep a good bitch. .down!” she jeered at the burly female officer as she dropped her bedding on the floor. “Bedding goes in the bin to your right” The butch broad bellowed. My back is hurt from that hard ass mattress baby-help me out. The big dyke gave Isis a hard stare. “Oh yo job don’t allow you to be nice to a lady” She charmed.” I don’t see no lady”. The guard came back. “Damn you hard girl, whoever broke that steel heart of yours must have been a dog M.F” Isis empathized. And for a spark of a second the chill in the guards eyes went from sub zero to below freezing. ”Pick your shit up and throw it in the bin! The dyke ordered. Isis stood there absorbing the woman’s now glacier elements and subtlety leaned into her bosom. “Isis 612-875-2020 get at me boo.” Isis said under her breath and briskly paced to the locked exit door awaiting to be released. She could feel the big woman’s gaze penetrating her back as the jailhouse door lock clanged loose and released her. At this moment Basil was the only one she could think of who could have fingered her to the park scene and that was only under duress. He wasn’t a seasoned criminal so the pressure could have folded him. She reasoned, but still in her heart she couldn’t completely believe it. Those corrupt cops would do anything to get a body count from the hood for the D.A. In the middle of that thought her phone rang. “Where in the hell have you been I left a hundred messages on your phone?! It was Basil and as she held the phone up to eye level she could see the multiple times he left voice mails. But all the same that wasn’t a clearance on truth- that could have been staged. “What happened to you?” she asked. Cop drove me around for about thirty minutes trying to squeeze a confession out of me…against you.
“I can believe that” she said.
“What did you tell him”
“The fuck you mean what I tell them?!”
"Fuck it where you at dude?" the answer a grenade the reciever unaware and the silence merged in with a dial tone.
"I'm at the downtown library" he answered still dupped by the answer
The library- what the fuck you doing at the library? She fired at him.
"Whoa baby girl some people can read you dig"
"Whatever dude I'll see you in a minute.
“Something in his voice she couldn't lock into but she starting to believe him or hoping to believe him she had no room for mistakes she was looking at double murder,and eventhough she was clear on the park murder if they traced Debo back to her they would try to stick her with both.”
Ever since she’d known him he was always honest but shit changes. She thought. He never was quick to anger which is what attracted her to him.
And thats what it was that registered in his voice.
She didnt bother to take the bus from 'Castle Grey Skull" on six street and walked like a giant to Nicollet and Hennepin.
Walking through the front entrance of the library looked like 'Grand Central Station' she couldn’t believe how homeless people hung out at the library but she was reminded by Mr.College boy that not everybody is illiterate.
And there he was at the other end of the library staring out the window. Her heels echoed down off the walls as she walked down to meet him getting annoyed that he hadn’t noticed her yet. He must have sensed it because turned away from the window smiling to meet her.
She watched him trot the rest of the way to meet her and resented she was still attracted to him. He walked up to her and hugged her she limply returned it..
“So what they say?” She zoned in with a question. He shrugged his shoulders and looked straight through her...or that’s what it felt like. She almost winced. "I said hi and how are you?" he said short but happy to see her and took her limp hand. He could not begin to understand the pressure she was mounted under and it wouldn't be wise to tell him no matter what. So they stood there on the crowded ground floor library each thinking independently and peripherally about each other from the first person. The cop was digging stuff up from Florida trying to threaten me with it if I didn’t snitch you out”
“Snitch me out?!” She slowly belted ticking down to an explosion.
Yes the, cops exact words. Basil repeated.
Paranoia crept its way in from her subconscious to mainstream thought as she envisioned Debo crashing to his knees the blood squirting from his joint like a faulty water fountain-one irregular gush- pause as his bloody hand tried to stop the deadly flow the silent tears streaking his face; consistent with his stretched open mouth, with not a sound.
“Talking about my Jo Jo was a killer, and I know you couldn’t kill a fly”
“What?!” She bolted back to real time.
“I said you couldn’t kill a fly”
“Fuck that faggot ass cop.” She said clicking her tongue”
“Ha ha ha” he laughed. “You should of heard his dumb ass talking about you were telling the police I killed the woman. And I’m thinking damn Jo was right, and it’s a damn shame a brother can’t do the right thing and try to help these racist ass cops without them trying to pin a murder rap on somebody” He said.
“I tried to tell you that and now...she clicked her tongue again rolling her eyes up to the ceiling not finishing the sentence.
He looked at her as her angry face incredibly toning down to a sexy pout, her chest expanding then back in as the tension leaving the body and converting into seductive energy.
She looked at him and saw the young man that had her sprung the day she layed eyes on him. She weakly contemplated how long she could keep her knife sharp to cut what she was feeling, his kiss came suddenly and warm against the cold steel surrounding her heart and her desires breeching the home team advantage of her relentless battle for control melted with each kiss with each stroke of his hand in the small of her back but as the time dissolved in front of them and the sands disappeared down the hour glass the two ended up back in stalemate. And her perfect fantasy vanishing and in the thick haze she heard the parting of their bodies still clad in jackets; the smell of rain still on them. I'll be seeing you JoJo" He said turning to leave. "No wait"! she cried. Basil turned on his heels to stare at her unbelieving, yet un yielding waiting for the moment-the one they both anticipated only with the how and where preceding the action. He didn't need another sign to keep the feeling moving and this time the kiss was real and the place was coming up. They reluctantly pried themselves apart and jetted back out the front entrance to his car. A spectator applauded them but they neither heard or felt anything but the overflow of heat that needed to be ventilated. Jolene couldn't help feeling guilty about how she had been treating Basil. After all she reasoned he made one mistake and unlike me truly found the way back home. A half block down from where Basil parked they could see a police officer writing him a ticket. "Damn can we ever escape these M.Fs"! Isis expolded.
"Be cool baby he's just doing his job being a dick and believe it or not that’s what they used to called" Basil said.
"Who cares" she returned. And after a few seconds.
"For real?" she asked.
Hold up it’s not even a real cop it’s a meter maid. He said
Damn near the same. Jolene said.
"You better go back to the library" Jolene cracked.
"You act like you never been to school Jo Jo and I know your far from being illiterate"
"Yeah but out here nothing from a book can show you how to survive" You know that Bay" she implored.
As he reveled in the moment of her calling him Bay,she hadnt called him that since they're incidental reunion. And even though the meter maid put out their fire with a ticket he but the embers still burned. They slow walked it to the car down off Nicollet Plaza as the meter maid put the ticket under the wiper blade and got back in his funny looking ride.
He reached for her hand the rest of the way to the car; her hand still limp but volunteering. Quiet with invisible headphones on blast their thoughts in concert and the first to speak would be the opening act...for the both of them but the concert remained private inaudible to the outside world and this the magic of the sirens the reality of gravity gripping their astral projections her hands now clutching his back they're flesh spinning that lucky roulette ball out of orbit. The fire was lit once more this time the temperature above the contained celcius of this world; icy hot-windows fogged by a supernatural climate as the vehicle moved rythmically in place. Neither cared about theyre public space travel and in light year speed it was over ten minutes reel time, a day real time put them both together a lifetime but now the air was stale as they slid off each other the windows back down gravity back on point, the hand full of people huddled with raised eyebrows, jeers and dismay watched the car transform from a spaceship and back to a Chevy sped away from the scene.
Silence still kept the tempo and after tremor of the act and they knew the first one to speak would be the blame. But Wanetta. She thought. We need to get Wanetta back that bitch Emma is trying to take our daughter. I’ll talk to her. He said And go down to Child Protection and talk to them I don’t know how far along they are Trisha just told me. Then we need to get busy I got nothing against your aunt but she damn sure can’t have my baby girl. He said.
Fuck that fat bitch and the first thing she is going to say to you is where the fuck you been the first three years of your baby girls life. What are you going to say to that. Basil’s face darkened and could sense Jolene was not only speaking for her sister but also for herself. That’s messed up Jo but the only thing I can do now is be there for our daughter. Basil said. As Jolene just stared out the window.
Where you want me to drop you Jolene? I’m going to see mama She said. Can l come up with you I haven’t seen her in a long time. Jolene thought about it for a minute. I have to tell her something. Like apologize for being an ass. Is what. She thought. I need to be alone with her for a while. Is what she said instead. The weather had tempered down for the moment but rain clouds were moving in again as they got closer to the hospital. Patients in wheelchairs and I.Vs were smoking cigarettes in front of HCMC. They pulled up around the curved driveway and stopped at the entrance. Basil leaned over and softly kissed her and her heart fell to the floor. The magic that passed and the present clashing in her mind made her dizzy and she slowly got out of the car and at the last minute. Give your mom my best wishes and hopes to get well. Jolene stopped at the door and took a deep breath. Ok I will. She said looking back and smiled uncertain. The hospital kept its cold sterile posture as she moved passed security and to the elevator.The floaing box levitated to the third floor where her mother was in intensive care. She she wished her sister could understand where she was at, and not where she came from because sometimes a good seed doesn’t harvest a good crop. The elevator stopped and a rush of people boarded as she stepped on. She walked down the hallway where her mother was and saw the door to her room not quite closed.
She walked in. "Excuse me" A short taut woman exclaimed, standing next to a young girl lying on the hospital bed and two women sitting down. The girl was hooked to the same machine her mother had been hours ago. Excuse me this is room B319 right. Jolene returned, quickly stepping back outside the room and double checking the room number. "I'm sorry my mother was just in here earlier today they must have moved her. "Probably they just put my daughter here an hour ago. The tall dark skinned woman said.
"Damn" she thought looking at her watch that was five hours ago she thought.
"Okay thanks" Jolene half spoke turning on her heels leaving the somber family.
She walked around the maze of rooms getting lost before she found a group of nurses at the main desk. Excuse me my mother was just in...
"Damn she exclaimed!" getting frustrated trying to remember the room number. "Umm...B319"
The nurse walked over to the computer to locate her mother, the computer keys clicking with machine gun speed. She paused then fired on the keys again simultaneously looking up at Jolene.
"And what did you say her name was. The nurse asked. Jolene Henderson Jolene answered.
"Okay give me a sec I'll find a doctor"
"Oh there you are, I was just going to ask you about a patient" The nurse said almost running into the doctor.
Jolene’s phone rang. It was her sister and she let it roll over to voice mail but not before noticing she had called about a dozen times earlier.
She didn't want a confrontation about what happened earlier at least not today.
"Hi I'm Doctor Abdullah"
"Who? Jolene asked.
"Doctor Abdullah. The tall Arab looking man replied.
"Hi can you tell me where they moved my mother" Jolene asked almost irritably.
"Sure I have her records here" He held up a folder.
"Let’s go to my office please". He said leading the way. She stopped as he walked past her. Go to your office? She asked. What’s the problem just tell me what room my mother is in. Jolene demanded. Catching her breath not sure what was exactly going on. The doctor turned around to look at her then again asked her to come to his office.
"Will you please tell me what the problem is doctor!
Your mother had some severe complications from the multiple strokes she had.
Will you please come to my office so we can talk in detail.
Reluctantly she followed the tall dark shadow disguised as a doctor with a bad omen.
His office felt like a death chamber housing all of the broken and left behind souls that could no longer face what was on the other side of that door.
Now what she so urgently needed to know was something she didn't want to hear and no matter how she prepared to brace for it she gave in to defeat and felt the cold air in that dark room take what was left of her along with her mother.
"As you suspect Miss...
"Miss?" The doctor softly said trying to get her attention.
"Jolene" she answered from somewhere inside she didn't recognize.
Let’s sit down" the doctor said. Not wanting to but as the pressure built more in her stomach she sat down right across from the doctor. Your mother died this morning from complications of blood clotting in her brain. Every word after that was lost on a dead corpse...her own but not before the contents under pressure that could no longer be contained had to be released. No! One word was amplified and singled out to express and explain the hurt that would be another tattered garment spiked over her wounded heart. The Sunday dinner I’m going, I mean I was going to go. No mama No! And all she could remember of her mother was a life support machine. The strange man with the tragic message looked on with pity and another doctor –aka The Monkey was now about ten pounds heavier and a hundred times stronger on her back and with another message for her. "You need a blast for real this time!.
But it could'nt be real none of it, she had already made her mind up to go to mamas house for dinner this Sunday. That’s why she told ARock she couldn’t boost Sunday.
Hell nall where yall put my mama man! She jumped up slamming her hands down on the doctor’s desk.
The doctor’s calm snatched from under him as he stood up starring intensely into the dark empty wells of her pupils.
Security was there by now but the doctor assured them everything was ok
He ushered Jolene peacefully out of the office. I'm not supposed to do this and I normally don't but given the circumstances I'll prescribe something for you to sleep. Jolene was listless and functioning on Zombie time.
"On second thought do you need to go to our Crises Center for a few days. The Doctor asked. Her despondence was a good enough answer for him but he waited for her answer. Jolene shook her head and walked to the elevator not bothering about the sleeping pills. I'm sorry for your loss. He said as the floating box signaled for her to come aboard he watched her get on the elevator and turned on his heels headed back to the sterile dungeon. She didn’t look up she just stepped onto the elevator and as the box seemed to free fall indefinitely along with her life she wished it would crash to the basement floor and beyond she had no place to be and no one to see...except one thing ,and she didn’t need any reservations and it required no preferences , or particulars. Then suddenly she thought about her promise…but with condition.
And that would be to get higher than humanly possible. And then report to rehab. Anybody would understand that if their mother died. She figured. Now she needed the elevator to stop and as if it heard her the bell rang out stopping on the ground floor. The sun shone bright in the lobby and she was out and back on the street with a mission. Her phone rang but she turned it off without bothering to see who it was. She ran across Chicago avenue to catch the five bus and was nearly posterized for a hood ornament in the hood. Nothing mattered anymore as she thought about a bus ticket out of here. She looked behind her now paranoid of another police encounter the way things were going now.
As she boarded the bus she realized she didn’t have to look any further because sitting in the rear was a metro bus cop pretending to read a book. She stood up in the front of the packed bus and again thought about the idea of a bus ticket out of town. But then the funeral; how could she not go to her own mother’s funeral. Her mind was in a multiple auto accident jam packed with cars trying to exit...but the ramp was blocked. I don’t need to think about anything she reasoned. Anything! Her voice screamed in her head as she checked her jacket and purse on the low for what she already knew was not there. But there was always that illusive chance that maybe...
She cursed herself and nearly slammed her purse to the floor pushing through the crowd to grab a seat. "Excuse you.!" An older black woman said as she hurried to get off the bus. Sorry! Jolene said mindlessly. What was left of her heart she hated could not be desensitized so she could just disappear. The big iron horse aka the infamous five bus moved like a mule, its engine the dragging soundbite for a slow motion picture the exit bell in constant sync as people got on and off. It was a long ride to wherever she was going as the bus just crossed Broadway & Penn. The unconscious pull was slowly breeching consciousness as she knew this side of town was home to her big sister. And she mentally played the tape of their meeting and she hoped her mean old resentful auntie would not be there. "But who was she fooling. She thought. Her mother's big sister had every right to despise her or even hate her. And I still have a right not to give no Fu.** She stubbornly reasoned The Big Mall would be ripe for picking before the stores closed. But she changed her mind...she didn’t really want to do anything but get high.
And she had two hard options her sister’s house or the dope spot Peetie should be there on a Saturday. The fiends is out like night of the living dead. She observed. Isis said a quick prayer and pulled the string to get off on Penn & Lowry. Okay baby be strong cause these simple minded motha fuckas don’t care shit about mama died. She thought. North side Apps a jungle of maps and traps snake eye craps misguided missile caps under the cherry moon bodies wrapped and found under the Mississippi River of Doom with the scraps I keep a strap in my lap give a nigga a permanent nap in the land of many lakes stay awake no mistakes making dough like little Debbie cakes… take advantage of every mistake. A local rap played out at the stop light forever hard hitting car speakers beating the atmosphere causing pressure clouds to rain pain to the landscape. Hey baby girl what’s happening come holler at a nigga.. with you lil fine ass. Punk ass nigga. She thought. As the drunk man staggered trying to cross the street.
What up Ice, where the hell you been ?
Damn girl where you going to the fire department slow down.
“What’s up man. I don’t have time for no bull shit. She said irritated.
Yo baby girl-chop one of these trees with a nigga. He casually said still trying to catch up to her. That’s got to be the biggest damn joint ever seen. She thought as he got closer.
I got it wrapped up nice and easy with the honey seal on it so it don’t fall apart. He said As if he read her curiosity.
That’s about three joints rolled in one nigga. She said.
Tripple the pleasure shorty bang bang. He said slyly.
She first thought no but reasoned it would calm her nerves.
Now walking along side of her the dude exchanged daps and sparked the blunt. The bus stop across the street on Emerson had about seven brothers posted up lighting up the atmosphere with the skunk smoke clouding the area. Isis and the man posted up at Dave’s.
This shit be that killarachi Ice. The man said as held in the smoke trying to talk at the same time. I can’t tell nigga you won’t pass the M.F
Be cool Ice this shit a creep up on you.
“Word nigga?” She said. That’s what happening. He said with Chinese eyes.
Let me see what it do. Ice reached her hand out for the blunt and pulled on it like a suction cup. I don’t even really smoke weed. She said also talking while inhaling. This here goin put you on the fan list Ice.
She squinted at him in dismay and passed the blunt back. ”Nigga please.
What you working with tonight girl. He asked. She had to think for a minute. I got business…
She said as the last words got lost in her head the weed was potent. Good lookin out dog see you in the mix. She said. She tried with all her strength to walk straight as the Marijuana recommended otherwise. Damn she thought what kind of weed is this.
Yo baby girl lets cop a erk & jerk to put a cut on this good shit. The words blurred out of his mouth with a high volume slow speaker phone effect. Every word illegible. What kind of shit is this. Is all she could think of..
Somewhere deep in her sub conscious un breached by the drug she tried to connect with.
Her mother’s house approximately three houses away was her final call destination of consciousness. Her footsteps seemed to melt in the concrete the closer she got. How about that drink baby.” The man said. By now his voice; a vocal caricature in a cartoon wasteland drowned out by the hysterical laughter of evil clowns. “I’m tripping a dim voice called out in the fog and was helpless to do anything about it. The little girl sat in the window looking at the constant commotion outside, loud cars a couple arguing down the street. Isis took one step no thought just involuntary movement. Get out that window girl we don’t need you getting hit by no stray bullet by one of these crazy fools. Laughter rolled around in her head like stray marbles on a hardwood floor. Aha! I told you this shit was John Boss didn’t I. The man shouted between bouts of choked laughter. Here let me help you out baby. The man said as he grappled various parts of her body. They stood at the bottom of the stairs leading to her mother’s house she was incoherant and in another world.
I got you now lil mama and we goin have that drink tonight baby.
He said nearly picking her limp body up and carrying her away from the house.
Mama! No answer. Mama!
Child what are you doing get back in this house now. The woman grabbed the little girl but she slipped away.
The man who now had Isis in his arms and carrying her as if they had just gotten married dropped her where he stood, her head making a sickening thud as the rest of her body hit the ground. In flight taking off like a rat the man dashed away. Mama! The girl ran down the stairs to her mother while her auntie stood in the doorway her face contorting from despise to stoic as Isis limp body lay prone on the sidewalk. The woman continued to stare down at Isis her sister with no compassion as the girl’s wails and screams cut through the night. Mama, wake up! Mama!
Get back up here Bassima! The woman angrily shouted at the child.
But the little girl continued to sit there sobbing on the sidewalk her mother unconscious.
Patricia! The woman in the doorway yelled.
Your sister out here! Her Aunt Emma said with contempt.
Patricia ran from upstairs to the front door, the woman standing in the doorway had left and was in the kitchen pouring a glass of gin.
What just happened! Patricia yelled.
I don’t know apparently her dope fiend ass passed out on the sidewalk. Emma said coldly and matter of factly.
Patricia ran through the living room and out the front door clearing the stairs like an Olympic athlete She was now kneeling by her sisters head.
The girl now muffling her cries to a few sniffles with tears still streaming down her small cheeks.
Bassima. Go get a towel. Patricia yelled.
Okay. The little said between muffled sobs. She ran up to the house relieved that her mother could be helped.
Patricia checked her heartbeat and pulse and was also relieved her sister was not dead.
She softly called out her name.
She put her head on her thigh and could see the cut just below her hairline.
Bassima was back with the towel
Patricia dabbed at the cut- Isis had amazingly stopped bleeding. People were starting to stop and stare. Did you see what happened honey. Her aunt asked. Bassima looked at her mother’s helpless body and started weeping again. Take your time Bassima and tell me what happened her auntie comforted her.
There was a man who dropped mommy like this. The child copied the act. Then he ran.
Go in the house and get the phone Way quick it’s in the kitchen on the table!
Okay. Again she ran up the stairs and was back with the phone in record time. Mamma don’t die please get up!. Mamma!!! The little girl begged kneeling down by her mother. Aunt Emma was back in the doorway cigarette dangling at the corner of her mouth with a crude smile of satisfaction. Isis could see Emma standing over her. “You’ll pay now you junkie dope fiend bitch” She hissed. And Isis witnessed her own body being lowered into the ground next to her mother now reaching out with long claws tearing away her face. As her resentful auntie’s last words spat into her grave “good bye and good riddance…bitch.” And that was the last thing she heard before she sat up like a spring board. Praise God!! And All Praise Be To Allah! Patricia exclaimed. Jolene looked like she escaped from an axe murder scene. Eyes bucked with her rocking back and forth. Take it easy Jo God is great there’s an ambulance on the way. The words found quick traction in her near death daze. As her mind snapped back into agile form but her body ached and as sharp as she always is it hurt to think too much. Where’s my baby!!!
I’m right here momma! The little girl ran into her mother’s open arms.
Bassima! Get your ass back up here. Emma yelled
The little girl broke the embrace hesitative looking back at her auntie then her mother. Jolene pulled her back into her arms her daughter’s tears smeared across her cheek. Bassima’s small arms looked like they were choking her mother as she clung tight.
Between her own tears that quickly went into sobs she spoke quietly.
“Momma has to go.”
How come momma, can’t you just stay until the ambalance comes. Bassima’s exact wordt. No baby but I’ll be back soon. Jolene said breaking the embrace then pulling her back into her arms again. Patricia got down on her haunches and moved closer to her sister. You know you should stay until the paramedics come. Patricia adjusted the bandage around Jolene’s head; the blood visibly starting to leak again. No way sis I have to go. Jolene said.
Where to?! Patricia exclaimed her tone losing patience. Bassima baby please go in the house. Again the child hesitated between two adult persuasions, looking back from her mother to her auntie then hugged her mother one last time and somberly walked up the stairs. Now what was I saying. Patricia started back pulsed by her sisters insolence. Oh the smoke house. She paused to look at her little sister. How about the liquor store or if your broke maybe the local mall to go steal something. By now Jolene was boiling but her head was hurting and her body still ached she managed to get on her feet and stood there sort of propped up. You feel better now big sister counsel little sister from her fucking high horse. All the people had not left so the jeers and heckles jockeyed from the crowd. Come on Jo lets go in the house this isn’t a show.
Naw bitch yes it is. It’s the Dr. Patricia counsel for dumbasses- only you got to find a patient cause I ain’t the one. She said with as much effort she could hold. Come on for real Jo you could have been killed out here. Patricia said.
Who cares Jolene faintly said. Bassima me and what about mamma went to her grave without even a word from you.
Jolene straightened her posture touching the bandage. I can’t take this shit anymore. I might as well be dead too. She thought. Are you done. Jolene asked taking in deep breath. Among the buzz of people still watching the smell of skunk permeated the air and made her sick to the stomach. Okay have it your way Jo I’m not doing this with you. But listen. She said leaning over to whisper in her ear. You better get your shit together because Emma already filed an order with child protection for lil Bay
That bitch can’t take my child. Jolene said.
Patricia gave her a pathetic look then walked up the stairs. Jolene took the first step away from the scene as sirens blared through the night she rambled through her purse for a cigarette. The nicotine sharpened her senses a few more pulls and she was recalling the incident. That mothafuckin hype! “Everything okay baby” A strange voice asked. She casually reached in her purse again and removed what she called a cold cube and just as casual placed it in the dental works. She was passed Dave’s lock shop when she saw the cops stop in front of her mother’s old house.
Let’s see. She said. Where am I going. She thought.
She knew and she wished that she could pretend she didn’t know and her body could just auto pilot itself to the desired destination. But here I am again back at the cross roads. She thought.
Peety’s place was less than ten minutes on foot as the five south bus pulled up on Freemont and Broadway.
All she could see was Bassima’s cute little face; un equated for the expression of a normal child and Emma could she really take her child? She wanted to scream. The five bus was pulling off when she made up her mind. And to her surprise or disappointment it stopped. Climbing the stairs she realized more than ever had that bus kept going, where and what she would have done would be no coming back. The bus driver waved her pay because the machine was jammed. It was about eleven o clock pm the five bus was crowded as if it was two in the afternoon it was a miracle she got a seat. “Basil!” She thought. And reached for her phone but it wasn’t there. It must have fallen out of my purse with that nigga. She thought. The bus slow dragged its way down the street, all the action made her drowsy. I sure could use a cup of strong coffee. She thought. So now what? She thought as the pressure from another hit subsided. But she didn’t know she only knew that she couldn’t get high…period.
But how? I don’t know if I have another treatment left in me.
Then she saw her mother’s face. Go get yourself well baby. Was always her mother’s advice.
And every time she went it was always a failure. Why! It exclaimed in her aching head.
The bus stopped again. “If this bus stops one more time I’m walking” The voice next to her said.
She ignored it not wanting to talk to anyone. Excuse me pretty lady… The voice was a smooth baritone. She attempted to ignore it again. But her curiosity got the better of her and without answering she quickly glanced over at the man that had the window seat next to her. You got a bad owee there and I hope to God it doesn’t leave a scar on that beautiful face. Tired and beleaguered she ignored him. “What happened” the baritone voice asked. I got robbed. Can I use your phone real quick? She asked. Sure. The man answered. She dialed the numbers fast and easy and under twenty seconds she was talking to her ex first love. Hello. The other end answered. Hey it’s me. Isis said.
I been trying to call you for hours you alright.
I lost my damn phone..
What? He said.
I lost my phone by momma’s house. I’m on the five now about to cross Chicago and Franklin can you meet me in Chef’s Café.
Yeah I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes.
He stood there looking at his phone and wondered what now.
,“Preciate that” Isis said handing the man back his phone.
Forgive me for prying but I figured a foxy lil piece like you had a man. The guy next to her said.
Isis gave him a fake smile.
Wow. He sighed. Even with that turban and a fake smile your still beautiful.
I’m Lenny but most people call me LB. He extended his hand.
She limply shook his hand unimpressed and anticipated her debt to be nice in exchange for using his phone.
I just want to know one thing. He asked.
Isis looked at him blank faced before he finished his sentence.
That man you got. Is he going to bring justice to the nigga responsible for that. He asked pointing to her head. Because on my Blood nation baby if you was my woman the nigga who did that would be leaking body fluids before the night was up.
She looked in his eyes and could see the quick violent nature he was capable of.
It’s not worth killing anybody over. She said.
But I bet you would like to see him get his ass beat. He returned.
You might be right about that. She said quietly.
“Excuse me” She said and reached over to pull the bus string.
Any chance we could be friends. The man asked.
She stood up and gave him a quick visual he was slim not that tall with a bold yellow complexion with jet black hair slicked back.
Sorry I’m not looking for that kind of friend. She turned on her heels before he could response and was down the bus stairs and out on the block.
Franklin and Chicago was as usual an epicenter for the crack exchange market with that being its domestic growth product. The distributers held down spots on the block with short term territories. Whoever at the time had the biggest crew and the most artillery determined who stayed and who got pushed out. They came from Chicago, Detroit, Miami ,Gary, and California. With the locals playing second string.
Isis crossed the street she thought about stopping in the Inn for a drink but remembered her resolution.
She walked over to Chef’s Café pulling against the natural gravitational forces tugging her toward the bar. She could smell the cigarettes and booze filtering out the bar meshed with the grease coming from the Café.
She could taste the rum and coke sliding down the back of her throat, but realized she was growing weak from no food. Maybe I’ll eat and bust one last shot before I turn in to rehab. She thought. She reached for her phone and realized she didn’t have it and wished Basil would hurry up. She also realized she was flat broke. ‘Bitch ass pigs kept my money for evidence. She remembered. It was about fifteen minutes to twelve and the Chef closed at one. She ordered wings and fries and sat down and waited for Basil and her food. Twenty minutes passed and Basil walks in.
Hey lil momma how you doing. He asked. Somewhat tired. Lil momma yo ass man that’s what the rest of these jive ass niggas be hollering. I’m more woman than half of these rudy poot M.F put together. She said.
Damn Jo you must be hungry, you order something. He said with a smile.
Bay I aint ate in two days. She said.
Got damn no wonder you almost bit my head off girl. He said laughing.
Jolene giggled, slowly at first then bits of laughter worked their way up from her belly and in seconds she was cracking up hysterically racking her torso back and forth. Basil watched her his own laughter diminishing. The Café was preparing to close and they were the only ones in there. Hey buddy if your ordering from the grill order up cause in five minutes I’m shutting it down.
Basil ordered a Cali burger and fries and looked back over at Jolene who was now crying just as hard as she was laughing just a minute ago. He pulled her small frame into his and held her long and tight.
Momma died today. She said between sobs.
Basil’s face creased and the tears began to fall from his eyes. He had known Wanetta half of his life. They both stood there in the middle of the restaurant embraced and crying in each
others arms. They’re food came shortly as the work crew were trying to close early.
One three piece wing and fries. The woman handed Jolene sat her order on the table as the two still held on tight to
And I got a Cali burger and fries coming up for you sir.
The waitress said.
Basil and Jolene still stood holding on tight to each other.
I’m going to treatment Basil. Jolene said breaking they’re embrace.
You’re going to have to get Bassima from that wench.
I’m going to child protection services first thing Monday. Basil said.
Good that’s when I’m going to rehab.
One three piece wing and a fry. The waitress said handing Jolene her order.
I’m not hungry. Jolene said
Come on baby you have got to eat or you’ll be going to the hospital. Basil said.
Picking up they’re bags and heading for the door.
That’s probably where I need to be. She thought about the doctor’s request for the Crisis center.
Basil looked at Jolene uncertain of the seriousness of her words. He took her hand and they walked out into the busy night.
Outside the night air was hot and muggy as the two headed for his car.
Damn Jo I aint never seen Franklin and Chicago like this. He said. Black men from the ages of seventeen to fifties populated the area, the predominate colors well known for everybody to see who had the upper hand. Yeah a lot changed in three years and its getting even crazier with them niggas from California here now. Jolene said.
A loud siren crashed their conversation.
And the police they’re the biggest criminals of all. I could tell you some stories man. She said discouraged.
The sirens were getting closer as they got in the car. Let’s go to Sunny’s I need one last drink. Jolene said. I don’t think that’s a good idea Jocee.
I don’t either but I need something for my nerves Bay I feel like I’m about explode.
Basil breathed out a long exhalation. Ok let’s get one drink. He said.
Basil gunned the car down Chicago avenue to Lake street. Jolene ate a wing and a few fries as Basil took a few bites of his burger. They were in the parking lot in less than five minutes.
Inside Jolene walked over to the jukebox and played a few songs. Basil ordered the drinks then walked over to the pool table to set up a game. Jolene walked the drinks over to the pool table.
You break first. Basil said. Jolene shrugged her shoulders and lit a cigarette. She broke the triangle knocking three balls in. Whoomp there it is. The words jumped out of the juke box. That’s right on time girl. Basil said.
I did not know that was going to happen. Jolene said. Taking a sip of her rum and coke.
Basil smiled. The bar was less crowded than usual. Jolene called a shot and missed.
Basil knocked back a double shot of whiskey and took his shot looking over at Jolene. How’s that drink treating you. He asked. It’s a little less watered down than usual, he must have made a mistake. They both chuckled. Whoomp there she is! Whoomp there she is. What’s happening baby long time no see. Isis turned around to see who it was. Hey Petey. She said curtly.
Got damn you looking good as always. He said noticeably tipsy.
And got damn back to you where were you when I really needed you. She thought.
Like you don’t need him now…one last drink would be even better with one last blast and then rehab. The old voice reassured her. Basil stood across the pool table stoically leaning on his stick. Say you remember what we talked about earlier. Petey slurred.
She looked over at Basil still calmly taking everything in. Peety had not even noticed him or was too drunk to care as he had two goons covering him. Excuse me Bay. She said.
Oh you with ole boy” Petey said amused.
Isis stared coldly at him. Let me holler at you for a minute man. She said.
Now that’s what I’m talking about baby. He said unassuming.
Look dude I’m trying to leave this shit alone I’m out with my kids father. I’m alright.
So you alright now. He mocked. That aint what you said last night. He said sobering up.
But that’s what I’m saying right now bro. She said. Slowly angering at his persistence.
And all that flirty shit you was on when you wanted a nigga to break you off a pill.
Nigga I paid you cash every time and never once came up short. She returned.
He stared hard into her eyes and she stared back never blinking.
His brow creased with frustration and rejection of something he thought he could possess.
And without a moment’s notice his right hand swung from his left shoulder to make contact with the small woman’s cheek.
But before his hand reached its target Basil had the smaller man’s hand by the wrist simultaneous to one of his goons socking Basil on the chin and just before his partner could join the double team
baby you have got to eat or you’ll be going to the hospital. Basil said.
You break first. Basil said. Jolene shrugged her shoulders and lit a cigarette. She broke the triangle knocking three balls in. Whoomp there it is. The words jumped out of the juke box. That’s right on time girl