My father was a war criminal.
My father embezzled money.
My father robbed the country of it’s resources.
My father started a genocide killing innocent people.
My father was placed on Interpol’s Most Wanted list.
I looked at the articles, “This says my father simultaneously enthralled and enslaved a generation of young boys who slaughtered on his behalf.”
There were always young boys around. There was always young boys around the palace growing up even after my father was gone.
Marcus wasn’t responding to this. He was looking down. He clearly was acting as though he didn’t even hear what was going on.
“He used child soldiers,” Brolic explained to me, “He was the #5 most wanted man in the world.”
“You knew about this?” I asked Marcus.
Marcus didn’t reply.
Why wasn’t Marcus replying? One of the photos had a mass grave caused by my father. Marcus wasn’t going to reply to this shit?
He was just looking down.
“Knew about it? Think about it. Child slaves. Do you think Marcus just chose to serve your family? How old was he when he became your servant?”
Atrocities…so many fucking atrocities.
Marcus wasn’t denying anything. He had faded from the conversation even though he was right in the room.
“You’ve said enough,” Jalen told Brolic.
“Don’t you think it’s weird Jalen?” Brolic asked him, “Don’t you think your boyfriend needs to know the truth about his royal family lineage.”
“ENOUGH!” Jalen shouted.
Brolic wouldn’t stop, “He should know that his mother continued his father’s atrocities after his father was gone. He should know all that he comes from a family of monsters.”
That was when Jalen hit him.
Jalen hit him hard across the face. Brolic stumbled backward. I could tell by Brolic’s face that he hadn’t expected Jalen to react in the way he did. I hadn’t expected Jalen to react like that. Why blame Brolic? Everything he was saying to me was the truth.
I was left out in the cold with all of it.
“You going to hit me though? You going to fucking hit me?” Brolic asked.
I could tell Brolic was hurt by it. I didn’t care that Jalen hit him though. I didn’t care about any of this.
I found myself running all of a sudden.
I had to get away.
I had no idea where I was going but I knew I had to get away.
I heard my name called from behind me. I heard Marcus’s voice. I heard Jalen’s voice. I didn’t care. My feet were carrying me faster than their voices could be heard. Soon their voices faded away and even then I continued running.
I cried at that moment.
It was a random guy. I was on a subway train. I didn’t know where I was going. I had paid for a metro card. I think that’s what they called it. I had just taken the subway. I just needed to get away.
“You seem lost…” he told me.
I was. I hadn’t even been paying attention to where I was going. The only thing that mattered to me was the fucked up shit that my father had done. I had been crying. I had been silently crying. I shouldn’t have run off like that. I knew I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t be there. I couldn’t be around Brolic taunting me. I couldn’t be around Marcus who acted as though he didn’t hear anything that I had been saying.
The guy had a scar over his left eye. He was good looking in a way. He wasn’t anything like Marcus, model good looking though. He was tall like Marcus however and seemed to have that gangster, hood mentality that Jalen had.
“I’m fine,” I replied.
“You sure?” he asked me, “You all crying and shit…staining your Prada shoes…”
“Actually they are stainless 2015 Gucci—” I said before stopping, “Um…never mind actually…”
I remembered what I had gotten last time I explained to people who I was. I realized another thing. Why was he talking to me? It was almost like he went out of his way to walk over to me and talk to me.
“You’re handsome,” he stated.
Was he flirting or something?”
“So why you crying, handsome?”
A part of me wanted to explain to him what I had found out about my father but I knew I was too trusting. I knew that I shouldn’t have been. I had been so isolated my entire life that I felt like no one ever meant me harm. I thought that people always wanted the best for me because that is the life that my parents exposed to me. They showed me only the good things.
They didn’t show me the bad things.
And this world had a lot of bad things.
“I should go…”
“Wait, wait sexy,” he stated at that moment, “I’m just trying to holla at you, why you scared….”
I felt uneasy. Was it so clear that I was gay to these Americans? I doubt that he had just gone out of his way to try to talk to a random person. Maybe I dressed too nice. Maybe me dressing in the way that I did made it just clear that I was gay male.
“I’m not interested…”
“That’s OK, I can change your mind.”
I was confused. Were all Americans pushy like this?
“I respectfully decline.”
All of a sudden I was regretting being out here all alone especially on a subway with common people. I felt like a piece of meat or something that stuck out like a sore thumb.
“Let me show you around. You look like you ain’t from here.”
He could tell, he could tell I wasn’t from here.
“No thank you…”
I walked to the other side of the train excusing myself from people at that moment.
“Yo FUCKING watch it, what the FUCK!” I heard someone say.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry.
I was shocked. I leaned up against the corner of the subway. These people were rude. People didn’t speak to me like that. Didn’t they know who I was? I was a prince. I was…I was…they couldn’t…
Then all of a sudden I remembered what happened to people in my country who disrespected me. They disappeared. I always just thought they were fired. What if…what if something else happened to them? What if my family killed them off?
No…my family couldn’t…
Or could they?
“Why you walk away sexy?” the man with the scar was back.
He pressed up against me at that moment. His large muscular frame pressed me on the side of the train. People around didn’t seem to care. Half the people were in their own worlds having conversations or listening to music. The other bit of people just looked straight up mean and anti-social. No one seemed to care that this man was pestering me.
“Listen. Leave me alone. Please. I’m not interested.”
I walked away at that moment.
I was getting annoyed. This guy was persistent. What the fuck was going on?
I crossed into another subway car.
“Damn you got a fat ass…” he stated.
He had followed me! He was still hot on my trail this entire fucking time! I didn’t understand it. At that moment he did the unthinkable. He squeezed my ass. He straight up SQUEEZED my ass, taking a big hold of my butt cheek and keeping it there.
I pulled back.
I jumped back so far that I bumped into someone behind me.
“Watch it!” the person screamed.
I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take it.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!”
I had screamed so loud that everyone on the congested car turned to look at me. They were giving me this look almost like I wasn’t all there in the head. It made me think about how people probably looked at Jalen’s mom sometimes. The look was almost like “Look at this dude.”
“Yo you tripping,” the man with the scar said.
He finally seemed to get the clue all of a sudden and he backed away.
I turned to the other people. People were kind of backing away from me on the car but a group of black people were actually paying closer attention then everyone else on the train. They were looking at me with these specific looks. I didn’t know what to think about the looks they were giving me. They just seemed extremely interested.
I heard whispers.
They were talking about me. There were a group of them, maybe 5 or 6.
Were they planning on jumping me…were they planning on robbing me.
One of them started towards me.
Not again! Not again! People wouldn’t leave me alone. I must have had the biggest target on my back reading: He’s not from here. Fuck with him.
“Excuse me,” one of the boys said.
The other boys had surrounded me too. Thugs. All of them.
“Look!” I stated, “I’ll give you the shoes! Is that what you want? Don’t hit me. Don’t beat my ass. I’ll give you the ‘dough’ or whatever, homeboy. Please just don’t hurt me.”
“I don’t know what they say it in the hood. I’m not trying to ‘tote an ass whoopin’. I’m not trying to ‘catch a fair one’. I don’t want to be fair. I want to be clear. I am NOT about that life. OK? Take what you want. I promise. I’m a punk for real!”
Another one of the boys took a step forward, “Wait I think you have it wrong…”
I put my hands up before he socked me in the face, “No! I got it right. You gangster. You gangster.”
“Is that what you want to hear? Please! You’re tough. I’m not. My idea of being tough is when my Bentley limo breaks down and I have to take the ugly red corvette.”
“My idea of a hard knock life is when I have to drink wine that costs less than 200 dollars. I don’t fight. I don’t brawl. I’m serious…”
I wasn’t going to bullshit like last time with these guys. I wasn’t going to try to make friends or be nice. If they wanted to rob me they could just have it all. I started to take off all my stuff immediately.
“No…” one guy said, “Are you…are you Prince Djimon?”
He had an accent. He had an African accent. He wasn’t raising his hands to hit me. He was just standing there. The rest of them were just standing there as well.
Shit…they knew who I was.
“It is him, Tommy,” one of the boys said at that moment, “Oh my god, it’s Prince Djimon…”
They were from my country. They had to be. One of the boys immediately dropped to his knee. It was common in my country for people to do that to royalty especially when you were lower class. You would drop to your knee and you would kiss the hand of the royal.
“Get up, get up…”
“Prince Djimon!” another one said.
He took a knee as well. People on the train were all of a sudden paying attention. Fuck. This was not good. I wasn’t trying to put myself on blast or anything like that. I wasn’t trying to let people know who I was. A part of me was glad these weren’t hoodlums but at the same time I didn’t want this kind of attention on public transportation.
I was a prince in hiding after all.
Soon all 5 boys were on their feet with their hands out waiting for me to give them my hand so they could kiss it.
“Get up, get up!” I said.
“Prince did we make you angry. I apologize.”
“Prince?” someone who overheard them was stating.
Whispers were going around the train. I was causing a scene. God. How the hell did this happen? I was minding my own business. I was trying to at least. I wasn’t even going around throwing money anymore. I was trying to be extremely low key but now all of a sudden people were pulling out their cellphones.
People were talking. People were staring at me. People were taking pictures on their cellphones of me and the people from my country that were basically worshiping me on the floor of the subway.
“You aren’t angering me. Please get up.”
They must have been immigrants or something. They looked American but they were definitely African and they were definitely from my country and under my monarchy. I could tell by their handsome regal faces. My country produced some fine looking black men. I had to admit. Marcus was the best looking of them but my country was known for handsome, strong, muscular men.
“Everyone thought you were dead,” one of the boys said.
“People won’t believe us when we tell them you’re alive.”
“No people can’t know.”
“Can I have a picture!” I heard a voice say.
This was the ratchet Americans. They were coming up to me all of a sudden. At first it was just one and then another came up to me. Then it seemed like a swarm of people were surrounding me.
“Look…look at my phone, on Google…he’s really a prince.”
“He’s on Wikipedia!”
I had a Wikipedia page?
“His family is worth half a billion dollars!”
It was more like a quarter of a billion. People always seemed to exaggerate.
“PRINCE! OVER HERE!”
No. This wasn’t happening. I had to get out of here.
It was a stop. I had no idea which stop it was. I didn’t care. I got off the train pushing my way off the train. God I had no idea where I was.
I was in the subway area when I made my way outside. The sign next to me read “Columbus Ave”. I was so happy to get away from all those people on the train. I had caused a small riot. I had to be more careful. I had to be more incognito.
I noticed immediately as I walked that this was the gay neighborhood. It had to be. I hadn’t seen so many rainbow flags in my life. It impressed me that Americans could be so open about there’s.
“Hey handsome!” I saw a drag queen say.
The street was busy. It was extremely interesting actually. I didn’t feel that out of place here. People were dressed a little bit more like people. Some people seemed to actually be wearing labels. Most of the people had on tight clothes. I didn’t feel like I was too far out of place.
I actually smiled back at the drag queen.
“I found you sexy.”
I turned around at that moment. It was the guy from the train with the scar. What the fuck? I still hadn’t dodged him? He had followed me off of the train. He was damn near stalking me at this point.
“Look man I’m not interested.”
He grabbed on his dick at that moment between his pants. He took a long big hold of it as though the size should have really impressed me. It was almost like he was trying to make a point about the girth and size of his dick.
I just kept backing up at that moment trying not to get caught up.
“Look, you keep following me. I told you I wasn’t interested.”
“How about now?”
Just at that moment he pulled his dick out. He pulled his dick out! In the middle of the street. His dick was swinging from left to right. What the fuck was going on!
People walked past. A couple people stared. One man even let out an “Ooh” and started to laugh. They found this kind of behavior funny. What the fuck was going on with these Americans? I felt like I was in a world that I didn’t understand. Someone just pulled their dick out in the middle of the streets and no one called officials or anything? No one was even that surprised by it!
“Would you like me to cut that off?” another voice stated.
I turned to see Marcus.
How the fuck was Marcus there? I was so confused. Marcus walked in front of me blocking the guy’s view of me. He stood in front of me at that moment.
“You need to chill son, just having a good time,” the man stated.
“Get lost…” Marcus replied.
The man sighed deeply as though annoyed.
I was so happy to see Marcus. I wanted to tell him. If only he knew half the stuff that I had gone through after running away. A part of me kept feeling like I didn’t need Marcus around but every time he wasn’t around it seemed like something crazy happened.
“I’m so glad to see—wait…” I stopped all of a sudden thinking about the circumstance, “How did you know where I was…”
Marcus pulled me close all of a sudden.
The way he aggressively pulled me close I thought he was about to kiss me or something. I wasn’t sure why I would think of something so stupid as that. Instead however he held me there and put his hand in the pocket of my blazer. He pulled out a small chip.
“GPS…” he stated.
“You were tracking me.”
“And for good reason,” Marcus replied, “You can’t go running off like that Prince. You aren’t a normal person. The sooner you understand that the better. I am not enough to protect you. You need a large security detail.”
“I can’t believe you were tracking me!”
I was pissed at that moment. I felt violated.
“This has to end. You living in the ghetto. You mingling with the common folk. You’ve had your fun, Djimon. It’s over. We need to move to the fortress in Istanbul. Someone just pulled out showed his penis…his penis… to the PRINCE of the Nubian Dynasty.”
“I can’t go back.”
“What do you mean you can’t go back?”
“I have a question. My sister. Did she know about my father’s history?”
“Her American advisers told her.”
“And no one told me.”
“Everyone assumed that you would follow your father’s footsteps. People think…well…”
“Tell me Marcus.”
Marcus was trying to spare my feelings. I could tell that he was. The way he was acting was showing that he was holding back. For years it had been clear he was holding back from me. I didn’t want him to hold back anymore. I wanted him to tell me the truth. I wanted to know what people really thought in my country.
Marcus sighed, “People think you are just a spoiled prince. Your sister and her advisers believed that if you took the throne you would continue to use up the country’s riches for your own benefit just like your father.”
“So my sister is the good guy.”
This entire time I was thinking my mother was the good guy. I was thinking my sister was just some bitch in the way trying to gain power for herself. The truth was she was trying to save the country. She was trying to save the country from the rest of my family. She was trying to save the country from me…
“You are the rightful heir to the throne regardless.”
“She was right,” I stated, “When I became king I was going to let my uncle or some advisory run the country. I would have used the money to just go on trips, have balls, be a royal. I didn’t care about the country. I…I am a monster…”
I was crying.
I was fucking crying at that moment. Everything was hitting me. We had been walking together. We were on a pier now. It was nighttime. The moon was over head. Marcus stood close to me on the pier. He was being quiet. He wasn’t saying anything.
“You aren’t a monster,” he replied.
“I’m not? Did my family enslave you? Please tell the truth.”
“It’s more…complicated then what Brolic was making it seem.”
“Slavery is simple, Marcus. Yes or no.”
I sighed. I couldn’t understand how I was blind to all of this. I was blind to the people my family was. The only thing I was concerned about was wealth. The only thing I was concerned about was what Ricardo Tisci had coming out in the fall or what Rihanna was wearing at the Met Gala.
I got upset if the backseat of a Range Rover wasn’t heated.
I complained that the elephants I rode in India were uncomfortable.
I didn’t know SHIT about running a country and I didn’t care.
“I can’t do this,” I explained, “I’ll call my uncle. I’ll tell him to stop the civil war. Let my sister have the country.”
“She killed your mother. She is just saying these things. She is no better than anyone else,” Marcus replied.
“Neither am I.”
“Look. I know you. You have a heart. You want to know something?”
Marcus sighed deeply, “When I was sold into slavery to your family I was devastated. I had to say goodbye to my own family. But my mother was happy. Just by being around royals I was afforded a lifestyle that I would have never had. My brothers didn’t make it to 15. You know that?”
I shook my head.
“I didn’t know you had brothers…”
I had never asked Marcus about those kind of things. My concern was always how he could serve me. I never cared about who Marcus actually was.
“Three of them. Two starved to death and the third was a child soldier that was killed. When you became my friend, I was the star of my family. Just because you liked me. I had surpassed the rank of everyone in my family just by gaining the favor of a little boy.”
I remembered liking Marcus. I remembered how I told my mother to send the other little boy servants away. She did as well. Only Marcus stayed around. God. I didn’t even want to think what happened to those other little boys now. Had they become child soldiers? Had they died in battle trying to be my father’s personal army.
“I was thinking about myself,” I told him, “I just thought you were the cutest one.”
I was shocked. How did he think this was funny? I was in tears.
“Exactly. You didn’t know about the politics. You didn’t know about the other stuff. You just liked me. You don’t have a bad heart. Don’t you get it?”
“But my father—”
“You aren’t your father. You aren’t the war criminal,” Marcus explained to me at that moment, “You have a good heart and I know it because I’ve been with you for most of my life. I’ve protected you for most of my life. Sure you are naive. You have been sheltered. You are spoiled…”
“Geez…you’re really building my ego here.”
Marcus put a finger to my lips, “Let me finish. You are also kind, caring, educated, well-spoken, cultured and civilized. You have the warmest smile of anyone I know and your eyes…your eyes are like angels. There is no one in this world as beautiful as you are.”
I was shocked.
I was so shocked that my mouth had dropped open.
“You think I’m beautiful.”
Marcus didn’t hesitate, “Inside and out. With all your flaws and all your childish rants there is a beauty. And you know what, Djimon? You want to know what I really think?”
“This is NOT as your servant and NOT as your slave. This is as your friend. To me…you are the most beautiful thing in the world.”
He had leaned into me again. He was holding me.
Every part of my body wanted to kiss him. Every part of my body just wanted to put my mouth up against his. I thought I was over him. I thought my rising feelings for Jalen had squashed what I had always felt about Marcus. I was wrong.
I didn’t just hear what he was saying now. I actually felt it. I felt it in my soul. He believed in me. He actually believed in me and there was something so beautiful about that.
He was looking at me.
We were so close. He was rubbing the side of my face.
“I love you…” he stated.
I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t know if it meant that he was in love with me or he just loved me as a leader. The way he rubbed my face though in the cold streets of New York made me feel like there was something beyond what he was telling me.
I almost felt like maybe he did want more. He was so afraid though. He was so afraid to cross that line into something that he couldn’t come back from.
But I wanted him to cross that line. God. I wanted Marcus to cross that line. Marcus with his model face and his dark skin. I wanted him to kiss me on that pier in New York City and never stop.
That was all I could say. I was a child again, obsessed with the young new boy in the palace that was given to me to serve him. I was that young boy who wanted the new servant all for myself even though all the girls around the palace just crushed over him. I wanted him for myself and I forbade anyone from being friends with him.
I had told my parents that he would be mine.
And so it was.
He was mine forever. My lips puckered ready for him to kiss me. He was so close. I could feel his breath next to mine. I could feel his lips so close to touching my own.
“We should head back,” he stated immediately.
He was breathing heavy. He was breathing as heavy as I was. How could he stop? How the fuck could he stop just like that.
Marcus didn’t sleep in the same room as me that night. He slept downstairs. I was sure he did it on purpose. I was sure he was trying to keep his distance from me because we had almost kissed. I was sure he was purposely trying to stay away from me.
The next morning I got a knock on the door. A part of me thought it would be Marcus. A part of me thought that he would come back to talk. That wasn’t the case though.
It was actually Jalen.
I felt guilty almost when I saw Jalen’s face. Damn. I was really torn at this moment. My feelings were almost equal for Jalen and Marcus. It wasn’t like Marcus wanted to be with me though. Jalen on the other hand at least gave me some sort of attention.
It had just slipped off my tongue before I could really catch it.
Jalen seemed confused. He even tilted his head like a puppy who heard a vacuum for the first time.
“You weren’t knocking on the door to talk about last night were you?” I asked.
“No. I wasn’t…what happened yesterday?” he asked.
“You and Marcus were out yesterday right?”
“Jalen, you said you didn’t come up here to talk about yesterday.”
He looked suspicious. It was all my fault. I tried to refocus him back on the reason that he initially knocked on my door but it was clear that now his mind was on something else.
“We have an issue outside…a big one,” Jalen stated solemnly.
I didn’t understand what he was talking about until I walked downstairs. I could hear it even before I got to the bottom of the steps. Marcus, Jalen’s mom and his brother were already downstairs. They were looking outside of the windows.
I was well aware of the sound. I had grown up with it, especially the times that I was in school in DC. I had known what those sounds meant.
Yes. It was.
“They must have followed us back yesterday,” Marcus stated, “Maybe someone saw you…or… do you remember?”
The people on the train. All those people on the train. My cover was blown.
Paparazzi. Tons of them. They had found me.
The jig was up.