Red Bull, Chapter 1

Chapter 1

 

I don’t know who needs to read this.  Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s not but hell, friend—-what’s good?  My name is Joyous Wallace and this is my testimony. I don’t know if your religious and that’s OK.  There is plenty of sex, drugs and human shit in my testimony that we all go through.  

 

I’m not perfect. You may not be religious but I want to tell you a story about how I found my faith.  But the thing is that’s not all there is. There’s something more. Some good news, I guess you can call it.  That’s what the words gospel mean. Good news.

 

 And how I found myself.  See, I’ve always been the red bull in my family.  The angry nigga. Sometimes you have to be like that where I’m from.  I had to be tough and shit. I had two brothers who were both gay as fuck and a sister who was an on again/off again drug addict.   

 

Let’s just say dis.   Shit ain’t sweet. 

 

Niggas dyin’ out here everyday and the only light in the hood comes from the lights of my club.  Club Marchioness. 




And maybe that’s why I think all the fucked up shit I go through is worth it.  Feel me? Because in the end….Club Marchioness is what lights up the block. And my family keeps those lights on.  Just like my grandmother intended. It’s legacy. It was what we had. Let’s just say my family is complicated. We own a club.   It’s called the Marchioness. It’s the hottest club in South Central, LA. Ask anyone and they knew us. 

 

In some ways we were hood fabulous.  In other ways my family was more drama than it was worth.




My name is Joyous Wallace.  I’m the oldest of the Wallace brothers.  




And it’s time I tell my fucking story. 

 

~

 

 

It all starts with me being on the street corner when I see something that gets my attention.  It’s a boy that I used to know from back in the day. A boy I grew up with. 

 

“Meek…”

 

I say the name silently isn’t he darkI.  I knew suspicious behavior. A man sneaking out of his car and looking all sorts of ways wasn’t up to any good.  But it’s the look of this man that makes me turn around. A blast from the past and when I say the past I mean the very beginning.

 

I see him randomly after all these years crossing the street and I get a call.  It’s from my sister Jamila.

 

“Where are you?”

 

“Church,” I lie.

 

It’s not like I can tell her that I’m selling drugs again.  It’s not like I can tell her that I have a stash full of drugs.  

 

“I know you ain’t at church Joyous.  Lemme just … get some dope off you.”

 

I think about it.  My sister was a drug addict.  I should care. I should turn her away from it but honestly what do I care? She want to kill herself? So be it.  That was my motto. Rather she get the shit from me then from someone else.

 

“I’ll bring it with me tonight to the dinner.”

 

I hang up the phone.  My mind keeps thinking about my promise to her? Did this make me a bad person?  There was a time being in church wouldn’t have been a lie. That time was long gone.

 

The police are raiding the area.  Not too far from me is the Marchioness.  The club. I don’t need the money from selling drugs being a club owner but business could be better and honestly…it was just a habit.  A habit I was having a hard time breaking.

 

I turn down the next alley escaping the police men but that’s when I see it. 

 

Gay sex.

 

It’s the second time in my life I actually watched a guy have sex with a guy.  I’m standing there stuck and surprised this is happening in the open in an alley somewhere.

 

“We gotta be quick,” a voice says, “Got a pregnant wife at home.

 

I’m standing behind the wall.  They can’t see me. Was this really Meek?  Was he making a drug deal on my turf. Everyone knew this was my turf.  The old gang left it alone because I was an OG.

 

“Don’t care bout your family…” Meek responds.

 

It’s definitely Meek.  I can tell by the look in his eyes.  It’s the same lil kid that used to make his voice sound deeper.

 

Then things changed. Meek was back there aight, and he was as naked as the day he was born, his shiny black skin glimmered with a dim flickering street light.  It’s a cooler night but not cold.

 

It was in the moments I mutter out a quiet, “Oh shit.”

 

He was standing behind somebody, and he was fucking that person too. Hard.

 

It wasn’t a gay guy this time though. The person was straight seemingly, naked, and was as starkly white as Meek was black, with only a farmer’s tan on the arms and above the neck providing any color. 

 

It was a man – an old guy – and he was standing on something to make up for the difference in their height as Meek stood behind him, humping hard while the skinny white man stood with a wide stance, bracing his hands against the wall of the alley and grunting with every savage thrust that made his entire body lurch upward.

 

My initial reaction was to charge in and help the poor old white guy, even though Meek was so big and strong he could probably fight me while continuing to pound away on his victim. Clearly, Meek had to be forcing himself on the old white dude, because I knew that Meek all my life, and he would never do anything like this willingly. It had to be some gang initiation or straight up rape for intimidation purposes.

 

You see, niggas got fucked in the hood all the time especially by OGs.  And they weren’t gay. It was how niggas got checked and put in their proper places. 

 

“Feels so good. Fuck me with your big black dick…”

 

The more I watched though, the more I realized that this was no rape. The white man was there because he wanted to be. A red bandanna was stuffed in his mouth to likely silence him, and his face was strained.

 

Meeks hands were around this dude old enough to be his father, with one around his chest and the other down between the other man’s legs. Meek had the man’s dick in his clenched fist and was yanking hard on the skinny pale dick that practically disappeared in the big black paw.

 

Harder and harder Meek went, and I could hear his feral-sounding breathing along with somebody’s father, muffling and grunting. 

.

 

I remained where I stood, watching Meek pick up his clothes, his hard muscled body drenched with sweat.

 

~

 

 “This better be good,” OJ, my partner on the block says two hours later when I see him at a corner store.  

 

OJ is a tall lanky hood nigga with missing teeth and a penchant for walking around like he was invincible.   

 

“Just saw…Meek?  You remember from back in the day,” I said, and I barely got the word out when Tyler got all animated.

 

“Oh word.  Heard he was back.  Heard he was getting back in the game…”

 

The game.  That meant he would have to get a corner.  Everyone who got a corner went through the other OGs.  Sooner or later that would mean he would visit me like he would any of the others OGs in Compton.  He’d have to ask for permission. That’s the way shit worked out here. You ask for permission before you make a move.

 

“He wasn’t selling Dope.  Man…he was in the corner…fucking.”

 

I don’t know why it bothers me so bad.  I’m so disgusted.  

 

“He fucking Toya again?” Tyler said.

.

 

Toya was friends with my cousin Sheila.  She was an around the way pretty girl but if she hung with Sheila it was no doubt she was probably beyond Messi.

 

“It wasn’t Toya,” I told him. “It was a man.”

 

I think OJ is going to be straight up disgusted but he just says,   “You’re shittin’ me!” Tyler gasped. “Who?”

 

“Uh – I don’t know,” I said shrugging “Didn’t get a good look at him. White guy.  Ain’t it sick. Ain’t that faggot shit fucking sick man.”

 

OJ laughs and nods,  “Ain’t your brothers gay?”

 

“They different.”

 

“Won’t make a difference in hell.”

 

Oj laughs on when he says that.  I don’t think it occurs to him that he just said my brothers were going to hell. I don’t say anything.  Halfway because that’s just how nigga in the hood talk. Sure we all signed. I fucked bitches out of wedlock everyday but being gay was different.

 

It was wrong.  And maybe that’s why I know that I have to do something about my brothers.  Seeing Meek, a stand up real nigga, in the alley fucking like some fiend changed everything.  

 

I couldn’t let my brothers go to hell.  I had to fix them

 

.

 

————

 

Two days odd since Meek but for some reason I can’t stop thinking about him.  It’s like the devil. Every moment I close my eyes I see the disgusting view of him in that alley fucking a grown ass man as though he were a female.

 

“You sure they’ll be OK seeing me,” the guy states sitting next to me.



I lean him to over.  He’s referring to a simple revenge plot I have on my family.  It’s been a year and a half since my Uncle Regis and my cousins tried to steal the money my father left behind.  A year ago, my mother got sick, put a curse on us and left. My mother ran off, disappeared. Didn’t leave a note.  Not a call. Nothing. I guess she realized her children were grown and she was tired of being a fucking Wallace. The only person that talks to her is my brother Jamison and according to him she had already changed her last name.  She wanted nothing to do with us. 




Maybe she had a point.

 


“No,” I state, “See the thing about my family is that we like to hurt each other.  In the most awful ways. Somehow it brings us closer together in the end. And I’m tired of taking all the shit from my brothers.  It’s time I stir some shit up my damn self.”



It’s time I reminded them about the errors in the gay lifestyle. 


A long smirk comes across my face.  He looks at me at that moment and seems confused.  Really confused actually. To the point that I think he’s disturbed.




“I’m the last person they want to see…” he states.

 



“You’re my homie.  Trust me…you good.  Ok park right there nigga…” I state hitting him on his shoulder, “RIGHT THURRR my nigga…behind the garbage can.  Yeah aight. Coo. So bet. Turn your lights off. Stay here and I’ll go in do my thang with the family and text you when I want you to come through?”




“You want me to sit in the car?”



He was so bougie.  As though sitting in the car was a big fuckin’ deal.  I never liked this guy to be honest, but fuck it. This was about revenge against my family and this was the best fucking way to do it. 

 

 

 

“Yeah, it’s a surprise for a reason, nigga, duh—”



He looks around, “It’s fuckin winter out here—”

 


“Chill out cous.  It’s LA…not Alaska.  Like roll ya windows up and shit,” I state highly irritated.



“That’s not the point.   Joyous, we don’t talk like that.  We aren’t ‘homie’s’ or friends. You say you want me to come see the family to make amends.  I’m willing to do that. But now that I’m here you want me to be a secret?”


“A surprise.  Not a secret.” 

 

He gives me this weird ass look, “You a fuckin’ bullshitter man.  I should leave…”

 

 

“Who you talkin to…” I state, “Don’t let the fuckin Santa sweater and shit fool you nigga!  I got nephews and shit, but you know who I am…”



I give him a look.  I lean over real hard.  He freezes up all scared and shit, thinking I’m going to hit him.




He’s quiet.  Real quiet, especially when he looks down and sees that I’m strapped with the iron under my sweater.  Yeah. He knew EXACTLY who I was. 

 



“Ok Joyous…I see you ain’t change much.”

 

 

He was angry but scared.  Scared enough to sit right where the fuck I told him to.

 



I get out the car, “You’ll wait.  Like I fuckin’ said. Besides…the only person who wants to piss off my family right now more than me…is you…”



And that’s why this surprise was going to be so fucking amazing.




~

 

 

I get to the door.  I. reach down to retuck my sweater and remember the gun on me.  Shit. I really didn’t want to take it in the house. I hated that shit.  It’s crazy what I’ve become hiding my gun under bushes before I get in a house, reaching back into my bag and pulling out a santa costume.  I got to get dressed right there on the porch.

 




“WHATTUP SEXY SANTA!”  some shorties walking up the street scream out as I’m getting dressed right there. 


Shit.  I turn my head fast.  If they knew who I was, it would ruin me.   I swear to god, all I know is that Joshua better have told everyone to put up their cameras.  If on God I see one flash, one fuckin glimmer, shimmer or flicker of light I am going the fuck off.  I’m fucking everybody up. Everybody…except the kids.




They were my fucking weakness.  My fuckin. Weakness. 




And that’s why hard-ass Joyous is dressing up like bitch ass Santa on Christmas. 

 


“HO HO HO!”



I storm into the door with a bag full of gifts.  It’s on some real cheesy ass shit. I have the stuffed stomach and all that.   As soon as I get in the door I see motherfuckin’ AK.

 



With a camera.



Flash.




“Yo.  Niggas in the hood will KILL for this!”  AK states.




My brother’s boyfriend.  Imagine growing up and finding out your brother was gay.  I ain’t really never been with the gay shit…so it was fucking hard.  Then imagine finding out your other brother who was lowkey a homophobe…is ALSO gay.   So now I have two gay brothers. I’m surrounded by it. But I love them. So I get through it.  That’s what you do when you love people. And I was a G…so niggas didn’t fuck with my brothers.  Period. 




You disrespect my brothers, you disrespect me.  And that’s on God. Gay or not. I had a lot of respect though, so all of a sudden niggas in the hood starts respecting them.  And I know I have some good looking brothers. No homo. I mean let’s just say both Jamison and Joshua could turn fucking heads any day if they wanted to. 



And then there was the fact that Joshua was real business savvy.  Add that with Jamison’s star power and ability to walk into a room and steal the attention from everyone and you had some boss ass gay boys.




And that would have been fine.


But then niggas in the hood started looking.  They dicks started getting hard for my brothers.  I’d never seen so many fucking straight niggas who I was cool with growing up all of a sudden start getting hard dicks looking at my brothers.  And that’s where the fucking problem was. That’s the fucking problem that I was still fucking having. The problem why I was pissed the fuck off tonight and getting my fucking revenge.

 


AK…



“Yo you think I’m a fuckin joke nigga?” I ask AK.

 


I walk up to AK.  The only thing worse than growing up and having your homies all of a sudden turn gay and gawk at your brothers is having YOUR ENEMY turn gay and become BOYFRIENDS with your brother. 



I’d tried to make amends but things between me and AK were getting worse and now shit was finally real.




AK who had been smiling at my expense was now straight faced.  He was serious. Real serious. He knew this shit would piss me off.  What he didn’t expect me to do though was get in his face. But I knew something he didn’t.  Something about him that was really pissing me the fuck off. 

 


“Yo we can take this shit outside bra—-” AK states, “You’ve been having problems wit me for a min…”

 

“RUN THE FUCK UP NIGGA!”

 

 


AK looks like he’s about to do it.  All of a sudden I see a few people run up to break up the fight.  I damn near charge at AK knocking over my weak ass cousin Lionel and even go toe to toe with his rather bulky father Uncle Regis.   I keep going at him.  

 

Lionel is on the floor talking shit, “Yo everybody calm the fuck down.  Joyous fuck—-you got here two seconds and you already fighting?”

 

 

“FUCK YOU!” I bark back.



“Santa—–wouldn’t talk like that,” my brother states.

 


Joshua turns my way.  Truth be told I always had a soft spot for Joshua.  He was the first one to come out of the closet. I always felt like I really had to protect him like he was some delicate flower or some shit.  I don’t know why. He’d grown up to be something like a boss. But he was still my little bro who used to follow me around trying to be like me. 

 

Only thing honestly that softens me up more than Joshua are the kids. 




The fuckin’ kids man. 

 

 

 

“Someone say Santa?”  Eva asks. 

 

Isabella, Eva and Sean were my nieces and nephew.  Eva and Isabella were the daughters of Joshua and his ex husband Keon.  It’s fucking annoying because Keon was one of the guys I grew up with too.  A nigga from the hood. It’s crazy this kept happening. Then there was Sean.   Sean is the son of my brother Jamison when he was with this girl. Jamison I guess used to be straight and now he’s gay.  I don’t know. Maybe he was always gay. I can’t keep up with the gay shit to be honest. 

 

Sean is new.  He’s kind of scared to run up like Eva and Isabella do.  I literally have been there every step of the way with Eva and Isabella.   They weren’t shy kids. So seeing them run up to Santa with all this joy felt…well Joyous.  But then there was Sean. There is something real timid about him.




“Hey…got you something too,” I tell Sean. 

 



“Me?”



“It’s Christmas, aint it?” 

 

 

I hand him a box with a couple shoes in it.  A gift card is laid above the boxed top. I put a note in there with how much is on the card.  When Sean sees the amount even his eyes light up for a minute and for a minute he lets his guard down. 

 

“How much?” Eva asks, running up.

 


I don’t respond.  All the risk of drug dealing was worth it .  I wanted the next generation of Wallace kids to have everything I never had. Joshua is paying attention to how they react.  He begins to shake his head. I know he knows what I did. I can’t hide it from Joshua. See my brother…he is smart. Too smart. 

 



“This is so amazing.  I wish Uncle Joyous was here to see it. Where’s Uncle Joyous!”



The girls begin a chant of “WE WANT UNCLE JOYOUS” so loud that their father grabs me and pulls me into the kitchen.  I think he’s annoyed that I was the one that actually taught them the chant and now they couldn’t go more than two days without annoying their father.   That was by design. Those is my young black queens. 

 

“How much was on that card?” Joshua asks me. 





“Like 20 dollars.’




He gives me a look, “You know damn well you didn’t give him just 20. He’s a kid Joyous.  You can’t keep spending like that…”



“Why not?”



He pauses.  I didn’t like seeing Joshua stress.  He did it a lot. He never let anyone see it.  I don’t know why. He was always this smart ass kid growing up that was into school.  I was so protective of how studious he was never letting anyone interrupt him. His focus on school, now, I think it was only to get away from us.  For some reason though he came back. He redid the Marchioness and got us all jobs. It’s because of him that we have the money we have now.



It’s because of him that we made it out the hood…



Kind of.




We were all gathered at Uncle Regis dusty ass house.  I hate his guts but I think we’ve all fucked each other over enough that if there is a Wallace still willing to be in the group, we’d welcome you.  Even if you fucked us over like Uncle Regis did time and time again. Especially after the death of my brother Jax and my father. And my grandmother.




Her too.  We’d experienced way too much loss. 

 


That’s when I see my brother signal me into the kitchen.  I get with Joshua. Others are gathering at the table. 

 

“I guess it doesn’t matter,” he states, “I think it was one of the first times I’ve actually seen the fucking kid smile.  I got you something. Here. Don’t open it yet though.”


He hands me a gift.  It’s small enough to throw in my bag.   I give my brother a hug. He always looks out and shit.  I start getting out of my Santa suit before the girls have a conniption.  They are still chanting how much they want me. The best part of their chant is watching them scream it in AK’s face as he tries to calm them down.  He knew nothing about being a fucking stepfather. He wasn’t their father and he knew the most he could do is a low light whisper to try to pray they’d stop screaming my name.  They wouldn’t. Isabella and Eva were my girls. Just as much as they were Joshua’s in my mind.



You can’t tell me any different.  And hopefully one day me and Sean would get that close…

 


“I didn’t get you anything.”



“You did.  You do so much for everyone and don’t even notice,” he tells me, “You deserve someone to do something for you.   You dressed up in that suit. You love my daughters and they adore you. You’re the Uncle of the year. Of the Millenium.”



“Ok nigga…you kissing ass…”


I knew my brother.  And he was trying to be nice because of what happened with His fake thug boyfriend.

 


He laughs, “I also wanted to apologize for…the picture.  I told AK but it was a while ago…”



“No fuck that.  You mean to tell me YOU, Joshua Wallace, who once brought an agenda with labeled itineraries when I told him I wanted to go to the movies didn’t tell his popoff boyfriend not to start shit with your popoff brother?”



He can’t even look me in my face.   He told him. He’d told him many times before this and AK still did it.  AK still took a fuckin picture.



“He’s trying to…ionno…do that brotherly teasing thing,” he tried to defend his boyfriend xstate, “Why it always gotta be so fuckin’ serious with you Joyous.  Can’t he just be playing?”



“I don’t fuckin’ play.  He don’t know me.”



“You knew that nigga since you were fuckin kids.  Are you kidding me?”



“BEEFING THOUGH!”  I add in, “He ain’t my homie.  And honestly I’ve been meaning to talk to you.  On some real shit Joshua about this gay thinng”

m

“Not again. I am gay. I am not changing. I told you I’m done with this situation with AK,” I state, “You are my brother and he is my boyfriend…period.”

 


That’s how Joshua gets about AK.  I don’t fucking get it. He is so fucking smart until he gets with this fucking AK guy.  I did not trust him. I did not like him. I didn’t see what Joshua saw in him. AK was all wrong for Joshua. 

 


He walks off without giving me the chance to explain things.  As soon as he does I turn and see that he is replaced by my sister Jamila. 

 

She has been listening in clearly. She asks for the dope before even speaking to me.

 



“He treats him good,” Jamila states, “What’s your problem?”



“Treats him good?” I ask Jamila, “You high?”



“No…”



I look at her.  I look over at her nose.  Her pores are all inflamed.  




“Liar,” I shake my head. 




Jamila couldn’t see clear.  She was kissing Joshua’s ass hoping to get back in his good graces after she had a relapse.   Today was the first day I was seeing her. This was supposed to be the “WELCOME HOME JAMILA” thing.  Joshua even had it posted on a banner. It was kind of annoying that Joshua had such a good heart. It was kind of annoying that he was literally here welcoming her back again.  He had put in so much work to get her back on track. So much work that for a time I thought she had really transformed. That’s the thing about addicts. You go back. Over and over.  And over and over. 

 

Wasn’t shit changing.  Not even Joshua with his fancy clothes, and therapy he wasted on her.  Jamila was still Jamila. She would die that way.

 

But Joshua never got it.




“Come sit everybody!  Where’s Jamison?”



I shrug, “I don’t fuckin know…”


Joshua is relentless with his good mood. 

 


“Well sit.  Everyone come on.  We welcoming my sister back home.   Come on. Sit. The food’s ready. Kids at the KID TABLE!” 



Hearing my brother talk sometimes I think I hear my grandmother.  It’s weird. He looks the most like her too. My dad would always say that they had the same spirit.  Dad never got a long with grandma and he hated Joshua.  

 

“When you gonna get a kid?” Uncle Regis asks me, “How the hell your two gay brothers have a child before you do?  What type shit is THAT?”



He laughs heartily and AK laughs along with him. I turn to Joshua.  See. Joshua doesn’t see that shit. He’s out taking care of people.  Making sure everyone is OK. He doesn’t see the fucked up shit his “nice” boyfriend does.   At least until we got through prayers. I was about to leave it alone for a little minute but he kept going.  He kept fucking going. 




“How Imma have a kid if I’m already supporting you and your two grown ass kids?” I tell them, “But we ain’t gonna talk about that shit.”


Shiela and Lionel were both just… there. As always.
It’s kind of annoying.   Joshua not only forgave Uncle Regis but he continued to help him avoid bankruptcy by giving them so much money.  It was ridiculous how nice he was and it was honestly becoming a bit of a concern. 

 


“Lionel and Sheila are gonna work in the club when we reopen for my January Ball,” Joshua assures me, directing a catering staff—-that he hired on Christmas—-to begin catering the food. Joshua was like grandma in that  he provided for everyone but yeah…this was his Joshua twist to it. Because he refused to cook. 




“And what about his grown ass…”  I ask about Uncle Regis, “He ain’t too lazy to work.”

 

Joshua shakes his head, “Joyous.  Stop worrying about that. Where is Jamison?”




“I don’t fuckin know!”



“Right here,” a voice states.

 

Jamison walks in.  He had to try to make a special entrance I guess.  He saunters into the room and something’s different.  Jamison has someone with him. 

 


He’s holding her hand.





“Everyone I want you meet my girlfriend Courtney. “

 



Jamison has brought a girl home.  Not just any girl. He brought home a white girl.  I watch as he walks in the house. Jamison’s entire swagger was different.  He’d never been a hood guy like me but Jamison also wasn’t all preppy like this.  His voice changed. He was trying to…well…almost sound like Joshua. Joshua was naturally stuck up.  Jamison wasn’t.



“Where’s English—-” Joshua starts freaking out.

 

 

“As in the language?”  Courtney asks confused.



“As in—-” Joshua starts.

 


I can see him form the word “EX”.  As in Joshua’s ex boyfriend. Or ex-friend thing.   I wasn’t sure. I punch Joshua in the leg. Hard. Hard enough where he squirms in pain.  I was not ready for Joshua Vs. Jamison tonight. All of our lives Joshua vs. Jamison had been the bane of my existence.   I’m not trying to say I don’t explode. I’m the Red Bull of my family. I tend to see red every once in a while. But Joshua vs.  Jamison, I’d learned over the years was a slow simmering pot. 



No one wanted the fuck shit that would come out of a Joshua Vs. Jamison fight. 

 

“So this is happening…” Sheila states from the table.





Her messy ass was eating this shit up.  Sheila loved to be part of all the drama.  All of it. I see her at the table just loving this shit.  

 

I look over at Jamison.  I lowkey would fuck him up if this wasn’t Christmas and the kids weren’t here.  I be damn though any of them kids see a lick of violence. So I don’t swing on him but I know he was starting some shit by bringing this white girl here.  He was just dating English. English was good. He was a good fucking guy. I wasn’t OK with Joshua being gay but just now getting OK with Jamison being gay.  He was dating a coo nigga unlike Joshua. This nigga English was one of the coolest gay guys I knew in my life.

 

 

There’s tension and I don’t know where it’s coming from.





“What did I just walk into?” Jamison asks.




I’m annoyed with him.  The only reason he’s asking is because he was hoping him bringing this white girl would be the most of our concerns.  But he didn’t know about what happened with me and AK before this. He didn’t know that there was something on my mind.




None of them knew.

 



Lionel shakes his head, “We all want to know.  Cause damn nigga. Is this really all about AK taking that Photo cause you need to chill…”

 

 


Lionel was lame as hell.  He was the first one date a white girl but she ran off with him not too long ago to be with a white guy.   Now his black ass is back in the hood with the rest of us. Started sagging his pants and shit, acting tough calling himself Lio in the hood and trying to pull some of the bad shawties who come up to the Marchioness.   All of a sudden he’s back to collared greens and cornbread when he realized the green pastures he prayed for would fuck him over in the long run. Lionel wouldn’t be the first. And Jamison wouldn’t be the last. 

 


“Yo shut the fuck up,” I tell Lionel,“This is about the truth…”

 


I look around the room.  AK has his hands over Joshua’s chair.   He was the perfect gentleman when Joshua was around.  He pulled out Joshua’s chair. He did everything Joshua wanted.  He had everyone thinking Joshua finally got the love that he deserved.  No. I knew better. 

 






“What truth?” Joshua asks. 

 

 

 

I look over at Joshua.  I’d been holding this in for far too long.  It pissed me off but I had to say something. 



“AK ain’t shit,” I tell Joshua, “He a ain’t shit nigga.  He still gangbangs… I see him all the time…”



“Here we go with this shit again,” Jamila drops her head.



They all act like that.  Every last one of them liked AK.  They was all up AKs ass. Even fucking . 



“At this point,” Jamison sighs, “Either you got proof or…”



I give Jamison a look.  He’d come in here and literally made a huge scene with bringing this girl home.   Jamila hadn’t stopped looking at the girl yet. He was making eveyrone uncomfortable and had the nerve to come at me. 

 

“I got proof.   I got a wtiness.  My homie saw Joshua stealin’ money from the Marchioness out the safe…”



I look over at Joshua.  I see his head drop. He sinks into his chair.  I hate he has this look on his face. I never want to hurt my little nigga, but this nigga AK…we had beef.

 


And someone like me…if I have beef with you I never stop until either you’re gone…or me.  I don’t care if we stopped gangbanging. I don’t care if he was with my little brother.

 

“This true?” Jamison asks. 





“Of course it ain’t true.  He’s mad I love his little brother, that’s it.”




“You think I’m doing all this cause you smashing my little brother?” I ask, “He can do WAY better than you.  Tell me what my homie said was a lie. Say it.”




It’s Joshua who interferes.





“AK wasn’t stealing money.  He was…putting money back in there.  Putting money back in there that he is getting from the streets…”  Joshua states, “He’s been helping us for some time now. I didn’t want to share this with you.”

 

My heart drops.   I’m confused. Beyond confused.  What the hell was he doing putting money INTO the Marchioness for.




“What’s wrong?” I ask, “Yo what the fuck is this nigga giving us money for?  We don’t need his fuckin handouts. You know how much money we making?”





“He got a point,” Jamison asks, “Why is your boyfriend giving us money?”




“Guys—”  he starts.




There it goes.  My little brother Joshua had a thing about keeping secrets.  He couldn’t help himself. He always thought he could just handle everything on his own.  He always loved to keep us out of the loop. As though he was the only one who could help anyone else.  As though he had a monopoly on good will and shit.

 

“What you hiding?” I ask finally.




He sighs, “We’re broke.  Dead broke.”




Jamison and I look at each other.  We look over at our sister Jamila. Jamila is quiet.  She’s looking down and not even saying a word. She’s been quiet since she got here save the little point where she stuck up for Joshua.  

 


“We bring in too much money to ever be broke…”





“We are in debt…” Joshua states.




I knew Joshua.  I knew him way too well.  He would never allow this to happen.  Not unless someone he loved really really needed something badly.  Otherwise our income was too good and Joshua was too careful, to specific to ever let us go into bad debt ever. 

 


“It’s him,” I point to AK.

 


“Yo what is your fucking obsession with me?” AK asks, “You gay or something.  I’m smashing your brother nigga, not you—-”




I get up.  He must have thought I was a joke.  He must have thought something about me was a joke.  Maybe I was jumping to conclusions. Maybe I was dead wrong.  And I guess a part of me did look stupid for continuing to jump to conclusion but I wasn’t a fucking joke.  And he was going to learn that shit tonight. 

 



I get up off the table clearing the whole shit out.  I run over to that nigga and hit him! WHAM! My fist rams into AK’s face. 



The first punch glaned AK’s chin.  He noticed too late that it was a feint, though, when the second punch doubled him over and expelled the last bit of  choked air from his beer-weighted abs. 

 



It was some shit.  Outside of having the shit knocked out of him, he stood up real quick though.  I have to admit I never hit someone like that and had them stand up again. I had knocked out bigger niggas then AK.  

 

I stood up straight, eyes bulging with rage and stared at AK.   I tried to swing. The blow felt sluggish. I knew the second I launched it that it was sloppy.  THe spry , smirking dickhead ducked under it. Before I could even register the dodge, however, a body shot , this one to my ribs, sent fresh ripples of pain through my torso.   I idnd’t fall—-but i twas closer than I’d like.  

 

I sent another shot, he shoved me off.  I manage to get to him. Three more punches that did land.   He falls. I threw a haymaker that the kid ducked and didn’t parry than another that the kid swung under again and responded with  an upper cut.  

 

 

 

Fuck. 

 


And at that moment we look at each other and we look at the knives on the ground.  There came a point in a fight where the gangster came out. And we both knew that we wouldn’t stop here. 




Fuck that.  I was a ganster.  He wasn’t going to disrespect me.  He wasn’t going to keep fucking my brother.  He wasn’t going to keep coming around my family.  Niggas in the hood clowned me everyday. EVERY FUCKING DAY. 

 



“AK fucking your gay ass brother.”




“Yo  AK really out here BENDING your brother over man…”




Shit had changed.  My name didn’t have the respect it used to have.  Going straight and legal was one part o fit. But the other was AK.  Somehow he got respect in the streets. The same kind of respect, if not more.   AK could go on any block and get respect like any nigga. This was a fucking gay gangster.  Where they do that at?


 


But that’s when Jamila jumps up, “IT’S ME!”

 

I look at Jamila.




“What?”




“I’m in debt…” Jamila tells the rest of the family, “Joshua has been helping me out of it…it’s still not enough…”



Jamison gets up, “How much we have left?”




“Nothing…I….I spent all of it…”

 


“The club?”  Jamison asks, “We still…we still own the club…”



Silence. 

 


I look at Joshua.  I see his face. He’s not lying.  We were broke. All of our hopes. All of our dreams.  Everything we had. 

 

“What the fuck kind of debt was Jamila in that was so serious?” I ask.

 



Joshua shakes her head, “It doesn’t matter…”




“YOU SPENT ALL OUR MONEY ON A FUCKING CRACKHEAD!” Jamison gets in his face.





I look at Jamison.  What sucks is that in this moment Joshua doesn’t say anything back to Jamison.  Jamison is so mad he’s shaking. He’s not mad at Jamila. The thing is Jamila was going to be Jamila.  Jamison could always accept it.

 



“Leave him alone…”  I warn Jamison, “Before I beat your ass…”

 



Jamison is so mad that he’s shaking.  Tears are filling up in his eyes. Joshua looks defeated.  What Jamison couldn’t accept was Joshua being Joshua. Jamila would always go back to her drugs,  Jamison would always go back to his complicated love life, I’d always go back to the streets and Joshua…well Joshua would always come back to try to fix things.

 

 

Joshua turns,  “I have to consider bankruptcy.”

 

Hearing those words come out of his mouth was a lot to take in.

 

“It can’t be that bad,” I state.

 

He nods, “I’m in court with Keon.  He’s taking me to court for custody.  I’m spending god knows what in legal fees…”

 

I jump up, “He’s doing what?”

 

I’m shocked at this.  Keon was the father of my nieces. When he was with Joshua they actually decided as a couple to have them.  I had love for Keon unlike AK. He was actually family even if Joshua wasn’t with him anymore.

 

Or so I thought.  The fact that he would try to sue Joshua for custody was crazy.  I’d never met a better father than Joshua in my life.

 

“I fucked up…”. I admit.

 

They all look at me.  

 

Even fucking Jamila at this point who was acting all quiet like a cat had her tongue.  Out of no where she asks, “What’d you do?”

 

“Keon is outside.”



“What the fuck?” Joshua asks. 

 


Just at that moment Jamila gets up, “This is stressing me out.”

I watch as she looks on here phone.  Everyone does.  It’s clear that she is meeting someone.  It’s clear that she was going outside.  We all watch her interrupt the moment.  We all watch her go outside.

 

 

There is silence for a moment.

 

 

“She’s buying drugs,” Sheila states, “I watched her.”

Trying to stop Jamila from using caused her to run away.  Cleaning her up like my brother Joshua did caused her to become someone she wasn’t and sooner or later she always reverted.  That’s the thing about drug addicition.  It’s an addiction.  Something that you can’t live without.  And she keeps going back, over and over, fighting her demons the best she can but never long enough.  For a moment it sobers us up a moment I think.   My sister was suffering and shit.  That definitely put shit into perspective.



“None of this is my fault,” I state, “I ain’t tell Jamila to go do drugs.  I was trying to piss off your bitch ass boyfriend,” I admit.



I know it sounds petty.  Once again AK was out here in these streets making me look crazy as fuck.   And its almost as though he knows how to even make this moment even worse. As if it’s not bad enough that I just got caught doing some petty shit.  As if it isnt bad enough that once again my gay ass brothers are able to bring some drama and I am left picking up my jaw off the floor yet again. It’s all bad enough but AK makes it worse.




He throws a tantrum with Joshua.



“You know if your brother would go so far as to invite your ex to dinner with your new man then what’s the point of this?  Why keep trying. Your brother HATES Me. I love you to death but I can’t maybe this shit ain’t real like I thought.”




He slams his arm on the table.  He was acting real tough right now storming off but I swear to God if he raised his voice again at my brother I was going to end this nigga.     AK barks at Joshua. And then runs off. What’s worse is his bitch fit works and my brother goes after him. He stops halfway out the door. 



And gives me a desperate loo.




“Joyous, please get RID of Keon! And bring Jamila back…”

 

I felt bad for him.  Joshua Wallace…the fixer.  Who knows if AK really broke up with him.  Who knows if he meant it? A part of me hoped that was the case at this point.  

 

Maybe there’s some things he can’t fix.

That’s what he did.  And he just fixed something for Jamila.  He just did the only thing he was ever good at.  At the end of the day regardless of what Jamila did this time it just so happened to be bad enough that it fucked us all over. 

 



Merry Christmas.





I grab the bottle of Hennessy from Lionel, who has been whispering with Sheila about all the shit that they heard. 

 


“I’ll go tell him to leave.  But whoever is selling drugs to my baby sister is getting beat the fuck up. ..”


 

 

As I get outside I notice Keon has gotten out of the car.  He is walking up to me. There is a look in his eyes.  Something that concerns me. 

 

 

“Yo….”

“Yo,” I start off ready to tell him off.

 

“You remember that nigga Meek?”

Meek.  Odd.  Weird thing to bring up.

 

“Man fuck Meek.  What the fuck is going on between you and my brother.”

He pauses for a second.  Keon had this look in his eyes, “What do you think is happening?  I’m ruining him.  He left me for some drug dealer. Got my kids growing up in your chaotic ass family…'”

Keon has this look in his eyes.  He’s been out of the car pacing for some time now.  I turn toward the house and I see what is really pissing Keon off.   There is a clear view of my brother and AK at the table.  They look close.  They look like they are enjoying each other.  And then there were the kids.  Keon’s daughters were on AK’s lap,.   They loved AK.  I don’t think it could be easy for Keon.

 

 

“Listen….I get you upset but that’s my family.  You ain’t going to disrespect us.”

He stares at me real hard, “Your family won’t fucking exist soon.”

“Nigga what you just say?”

I take a step forward.  He jerks back fast and pulls a knife out of his pocket.  He was a guy from the hood.  We fought a couple times back in the day.  I knew that he was tougher back then but I guess all of that was gone now.  Now he wanted to pull out weapons on niggas and shit.  I stop moving.  I wasn’t going to make a scene.  Not today.

 

 

 

“You Wallace’s will finally get what’s coming to you,” Keon explains, “Starting with Jamila…”

“Jamila.”

He points to the car.  He’s using it as a distraction beacuse I’m taking steps closer and closer to him.  The moment he even lets his guard down a little bit I was going to go after him, pop that knife off of him and beat his fucking ass like I should.  But him mentioning my sister makes me immediately nervous.

 

 

I turn and see that there is a car there.   By now Keon was in his car pulling off and I have turned my focus completely to this new car on the block that’s parked out in the cold on a dark corner.   I look over there and it’s clear that Jamila is in there with someone.

 

 


A drug deal?

I move closer to the car.  My heart is racing.  I sneak up to the car.  When I get there I see an ass. A firm solid ass.  The most beautiful ass that I’ve ever seen in the world.   It doesn’t take much to know what was going on.  It was just reasoning.  Jamila was broke and I’d been given her weaker drugs to slowly get her off of them.  She’s noticed, I think.  So she wanted something stronger.  Desperately, she called a drug dealer.  Who else was so bold then to come to my area but Meek….a new guy who had attachments in the hood but didn’t know the new rules yet.   And of course, Jamila didn’t have a way to pay.  She was broke.  And Meek was a good looking guy.

So she did it.  She offered her pussy for drugs.  And he accepted the deal..  And here he was banging my baby sister out in the front seat of his fucking car so that she can get high one more time.

 

 

I pull the door open and that’s when I see a ghost from the past, “Meek…”

 

 

Meek was FUCKING my sister.  The same man that fucked my brother.   I don’t know what pissed me off even more.  That the drug dealer was fucking my sister or that for some strange, strange reason—-that I can’t explain—–I was turned on by it…