David runs to the back room and spots the red duffle bag he was instructed to get. He grabs the old rolling chair from the desk, places the heavy duffle on it, and rolls it to the dining room. He is extra careful as he and the wobbly rolling chair makes its way down the hallway.
As he gets closer to the kitchen, he hears more voices than when he left and slows down to peek his head in to as “who’s hear?”. His father smiles, knowing that he had taught young David well, “Just Pop and Miss Liz.” David rolls the chair toward his father, high-fiving Pop, and smiling toward Miss Liz, and when his father nods, he knows the chair is close enough. David goes to sit at the kids' table, playing with his toy gun while eavesdropping on the adult conversation.
David’s father, Magnum, looks over at Miss Liz, having a spirited conversation with herself in the floor lengthen mirror and turns to Pops “What is the urgency and why the hell is Liz crazy ass in my house?”
Miss Liz has been in the neighborhood for as long as most people can remember. She was sweet, and everyone always looked after her, especially Pops. Pops had a soft spot for Liz since they were kids growing up together, and he knew she was kinda “crazy,” but when you’re conceived by an older brother taking advantage of his special needs sister, there are bound for a few wires to get crossed.
The alarm goes off signally that someone with the passcode has entered, and it was no one other than Nine with his girlfriends, Krystal and Tisha, right behind him.
Nine and Magnum have been running together for years. They got their nicknames from the armed robberies they committed together in high school. Of course, they would and still tell all the women they fucked with that the nicknames were for another reason.
How do you think Nine got Krystal and Tisha to stop fighting over him and agree to a polygamous relationship? With his nine, of course.
Pops smiles, “Nine! Sit down. This is important, and Magnum is getting impatient.”
Magnum and Nine sit at the heads of the dining room table with Pop and an empty seat on one side and Krystal and Tisha on the other. Magnum looks at Pop again, “Speak!”
Pops takes his hat off and sits it on the table, “I know where Leo is.”
Nine and Magnum give each other looks of disbelief.
Pops continues, “Y'all know since Leo got out, he has been laying low.”
Nine interrupts, “He better. That nigga owes us.”
“Exactly why I am bringing this information to you. He is hiding out at the Grato Hotel on King St. Room 318” Pops says with a slick smile.
Nine jumps up, “Let’s go.”
Magnum being the more practical one, “How you know? Who told you?”
Pop drops his head while looking over at Liz.
“Aww, Hell Naw!” Nine yells while sitting back in his seat.
Pop walks over to Liz, “I know what yall are thinking, but she was outside the corner store and heard the owner tell the delivery guy to take the order to the Grato Hotel on King St. Room 318 for Leo.”
Pop looks around the room and continues, “Y'all know Leo’s step-uncle runs that hotel. It would be the perfect place to stash him.”
Nine hops out of his chair again, pull his dreads back in a ponytail and stomps toward Liz. “Look here, looney bitch. Did you hear them talking about Leo or that some crazy shit you made up in your head?”
Pop tries to protect her from Nine but Nine pushes him out of the way. Liz stutters in fear “I-, I-, I- “
Magnum yell in his deep baritone voice, “EVERYBODY SIT DOWN!” Pops and Nine slowly walk back their seats.
Magnum gets up and walks toward Liz. He grabs her wrinkled chocolate hand and places it in his large hand, guiding her to the dining room table. He pulls her chair out and motions her to sit. As Magnum sits back at the head of the table, she smiles at him.
“Liz, when you were outside the corner store, what did you hear the owner tell the delivery driver?” Magnum says in this soothing and charming voice.
The room is dead silent, waiting for her answer.
She speaks, “Take to Grato Hotel on King St. Room 318. Ask for Leo” She looks around the table then continues, “What planet am I on?”
Sighs fill the room as Nine declares, “Everybody get out! I gotta talk to my boy.”
Pop takes Liz and leaves the house after saying, “I wouldn’t have brought this to you if I didn’t think it was legit.”
Krystal and Tisha take David into the kitchen to make him a snack. Nine slaps them both on the ass as they exit.
Nine goes to sit next to Magnum, “You don’t actually believe this crazy bitch, do you?”
Magnum shakes his head “I don’t know, man. What if she is right?”
“This bitch don’t know what planet she’s on, but you expect me to believe she knows where Leo is at”
Magnum responds to Nine, “It's not just her, though. Pops brought this to us.”
While their birth fathers were either dead or in jail, Pops always gave them an alibi or a hot meal when they need.
Nine softens, “Yes, that’s true, and I know how bad you want Leo, but this intel ain’t solid.”
Magnum hits the table as he gets up “I don’t give a fuck! You know what Leo took from me! He owes me!”
“He owes me too, nigga. He owes us!” says Nine getting in Magnum’s face.
“Then why am I the only one trying to go get him?” Magnum states pushing toward Nine.
Nine doesn’t take the bait but walks away. “Look nigga, I’m usually the crazy one, and you are the brains, but somehow we done switched. I’m just trying to be smart about this”
After a minute of silence, Nine proposes a plan “There is only one way to find out if he is there or not. Leo owes US. We need to find this nigga” Magnum nods in agreement, “We move after dark.”
Hours go by, and Magnum finds himself tucking David into bed. “Daddy, are you going to find Leo tonight?”
Magnum chuckles at his nosey son, “Yes. Leo stole from me and Uncle Nine. He owes us. And what happens to people who owe us?”
David puts on the most serious face a seven-year-old could muster and answers, “Pay or Die.”
Magnum rubs his head and kisses him good night, “That’s right. Sleep tight”
As Magnum walks toward the door and turns off the light, David calls out, “I hope you find him,” as he closed his eyes to fall asleep.
As Magnum walks toward Nine’s room, he hears the moans of Nine, Krystal, and Tisha. Magnum knocks on the door, “Nigga put it away and let’s roll.”
Nine grunts from the other side of the door, “Nigga hold the fuck up.”
The moans turn to grunts and screams of release, and moments later, Nine emerges from the room with a massive grin on his face.
Magnum walks toward the dining room, “Really?!” Nine just shrugs and follows him.
They grab the red bag, get in the car, and head toward the Grato Hotel.
As they approach Leo’s room, Magnum can feel his face getting hot. Leo ruined his life and owed him his.
Nine uses the key he stole off the cleaning cart to enter Leo’s room. They find Leo on his couch doing lines of coke while watching late-night talk shows. Leo attempts to yell, but Nine punches him in the face and knocks him out cold.
Leo awakes to his hands, feet, and body tied to a chair with Magnum and Nine looking at him.
Nine breaks the silence, “Well look who done woke the fuck up.”
Magnum continues to stare without speaking.
Nine continues, “We been looking for you, Leo. It’s been a long-ass time. The last time we saw you, the cops was taking your ass away before we could get to you. I even tried to get my connects inside to get you, but you joined a gang for protection. That was smart.”
Nine looks at Magnum, who is still staring at Leo. “You remember Magnum, right, Leo?? You remember what you did?”
Leo looks at Nine and then Magnum, “Look, man, I am so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t find out until I was inside; that is why I had to join the gang in the first place.”
Magnum asks Leo, “Why the fuck is you out? After seven years? How?”
Leo shaking and scared, replies, “Technicality. The judge who handled my trial was corrupt, and all his cases were thrown out, and people were released. Again. I am so sorry. I didn’t know about Stacey.”
Magnum yells, “Don’t say her fucking name!!”
Nine watches as Magnum approaches Leo, yelling, “Don’t you dare! She was beautiful, kind, loving, and pregnant!! You killed my wife. You could have killed my son. And now I am going to kill you.”
Before Nine could stop him, Magnum releases his entire clip into Leo.
Magnum just stood there, staring at the man who killed the woman he loved seven years ago.
He could hear Nine scurrying around, grabbing shell casings and gun, and putting them in the red bag. He could hear Nine saying that they were not supposed to shoot him but torture him. He could hear Nine telling him they had to go as the police sirens drew closer.
Magnum knew he should leave, but his legs wouldn’t move. All he could think about was Stacey, how much he loved her, and how he wanted for the day to kill her killer.
Nine pulls Magnum out of the hotel room and into the car seconds before the police arrive.
They drive back to the house in silence.
The next morning, Krystal and Tisha are making breakfast for the boys. David is already at the table with Nine when his father comes into the kitchen. David hands his father the newspaper and asks, “Did you find Leo, Daddy?
Magnum looks over at Nine, then to his son, “I did.”
David then asks, “Did he pay or die?”
Nine responses to David, “What he owed was too great, so he had to die.”
David smiles as Krystal places and pancakes on his plate. They all eat breakfast in peace, knowing justice is served.
This week I am picking a writing prompt from this book I recently bought. This prompt this week is:
Name something you're afraid to try but really want to. What makes you afraid to try it?
I have wanted to try skydiving since I saw Will Smith talk about his experience doing it. He says he confronted fear. He also says that it is the point of maximum danger and minimum fear. It honestly looks likes the most excellent and scariest experience of all time.
My cousin has been a few times and confirms how amazing the experience is.
The reason I have not tried it is also the reason I want to do it. FEAR.
I have a fear of not having control. This is the reason I try to plan and prepare for everything. I honestly feel like skydiving would be a therapeutic experience for me. I would come face to face with my greatest fear. ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL!
Therapy has helped with my control issues, but I still feel like skydiving would be amazing for me and JUST FUN!
And while facing that fear and still being able to jump out of the plane, I would be fearless.
In an article in Jumptown, a skydiving website in Massachusetts, they describe the way skydiving makes you feel as:
To leap out above the clouds, far above (and in spite of) the crowd that tells you you're crazy for doing it, is quite literally falling in love. It gets you out of your worried head; it shows you how powerful you are; it gives you a peek at just how much brilliance life has in store for you.
Past injuries and future preoccupations literally disappear during a skydive. During that time in the sky, you are one hundred percent present. For some, that's a gift beyond price.
Maybe one day, I will be able to build the courage to go skydiving. You know I have done the research on the subject and found a place near the beach. Does anybody want to come?
I’ve made some progress in my weight loss journey to lose the quarantine weight, but I have been in the place before. I have been in the place where I start making progress, and I feel good, but I am not making it fast enough, so I give up. Or I feel like I am making progress so I can fall back into some old habits – what’s the worse that can happen – then I start picking the weight right back up. So, this week I am going to write an open letter to myself to keep me motivated on this journey. I hope you will be able to read it to be motivated as well.
Life can be unpredictable, which can lead to amazing moments, but it can also lead to tough and challenging times. Tough times often build tough people. However, getting through that tough times can seem too big of a task. When life gets tough, it is essential to remember that it is okay to ask for help, that tough times happen to everyone, and you are stronger than you realize. These are things I had to tell myself in 2017. The summer of 2017 was one of the hardest times of my life. I was broke, depressed, and ashamed to ask for help. Get ready because it is storytime.
For some back story, when I graduated college in 2016, I was determined to go off and live this fabulous life I dreamed of. I was going to graduate with my degree, get a fantastic job in the city, have a fly ass apartment, and live my life like a fab sitcom. And I did…or attempted to…
I moved to Raleigh the day after I graduate with a "promising" job at a "marketing firm" to my "fly ass" apartment to begin my "fab" life.
A LOT of quotation marks, right? RIGHT!! So here is the real real
I moved into a cheap apartment in a questionable neighborhood – I mean a lady got mugged in my apartment complex parking lot – with a job that ended up falling through THE DAY I SIGNED MY LEASE. Luckily, I found another "promising job," which was me standing in a retail store (Walmart, Sam's Club, Best Buy. Etc) for HOURS multiple times a week, asking people if you would like AT&T cable service.
I am not saying that job is horrible but it not for me!
So, I quit! In my mind, I have this brand-new business degree, meaning I can get any job I want, right?
After applying around in July 2016, I ended up getting a job at a call center working for Blue Cross Blue Shield as a tele-insurance agent. After a few months, I got an offer at a logistics firm for a sales/marketing position with great pay and excellent benefits. Sept 2016, I started at the logistics firm; everything was going well. I was making good money, being social, things we great. UNTIL...
Feb 2017, I GOT LAID OFF!
Never in my life would I think that at the age of 22, I would get laid off. I thought that shit only happened to people in their 40s.
This is where I think my depression started, and everything went downhill.
I applied to be the marketing assistant at an amazing nonprofit that tutors low-income kids. I loved that job. I got to use the marketing skills that I developed in college, BUT I was making peanuts. It was a nonprofit, so they couldn't pay me a lot, but I loved the work, so I got a second job at Target to help with the bills. Whenever I wasn't at the nonprofit, I was at Target and vice versa.
I was not social, I was BARELY making ends meet, I was paying bills with my credit cards with no idea how I was going to pay that bill either, and whenever I did have a day off, I would stay in the house and play video games. I WAS STRUGGLING.
BY THE WAY, I was lying to everyone that I was doing great. Whenever I talked to my mom, granny, or friends, I would tell them EVERYTHING IS GREAT knowing that was a whole ass lie!!!
I did this for 4 MONTHS! Crying in my car from being so tired from working multiple jobs and side gigs to make ends meet, only eating two times a day sometimes because I couldn't afford three meals that day, lying to my family and friends. I remember crying on my MF Birthday.
I WAS DEPRESSED AND BROKE AND FELT SOOO ALONE!!! My life wasn't supposed to be like this.
Then I broke down
In July 2017, I could not afford my rent. I had maxed out all my credit cards, I had only a few hundred in the bank, and I had no idea what to do. I balled up in my closet crying my eyes out thinking about how all I wanted to do was disappear, I wanted to leave and hide where no one could find me, and honestly, I wanted to die. Death felt easier than telling my family I failed.
BUT THANK GOD
Something in my heart told me to pick up the phone and call my family. I called my Godmother, who was with my grandmother, and I just started crying and telling them the whole truth about me struggling and being broke.
My grandmother called my mother and told her to leave work right now because they were coming to Raleigh to get me. THANK GOD FOR MY AMAZING FAMILY.
I moved back SC feeling like a failure and honestly being a bit depressed there but with my family and friends' support. I made it through. I got a new job, saved some money, and got back on my feet.
That summer was one of the toughest times in my life, but it was in those moments that I figured so much about myself and learned my most valuable lessons. I learned that it is okay to ask for help, that everyone struggles and I learned hard lessons about finances.
I realized I am stronger than I give myself credit for, and most importantly, my friends and family will love me NO MATTER WHAT – not everyone can say that.
Tough times are difficult, but having a support group in your corner, you can get through it and come out stronger on the other side.
Share some of your tough times and tough lessons in the comments below. Let's support each other!!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.