I walk out of the elevator and towards my apartment. As the bass of my favorite Janet Jackson song “Would you mind” fades out, I thought I heard moans I heard on the track before. Then I realize it’s not the song. Through my headphones, I can hear moaning nearby. As I take off my headphones, I look towards my neighbor’s door. “Is Carol finally getting some? It’s about time” I begin to tell myself. I mean it was “hump day”. Being nosey, I slowed down to listen in but the closer I got to her door, I realize it’s not coming from Carol’s apartment. “Wait? Where is that coming from?”
I turn around towards my apartment. Is that coming from my place? “AH Hell NO!” I ran towards my apartment door and searched for my keys in my purse. Getting frustrated, I just started grabbing things out of my bag to find space where my keys could be hidden. I finally find the keys and burst through my apartment door to find the last thing I needed to see; my boyfriend Bobby on the couch naked with another woman on top of him covered in cat make up with a camera positioned on a tripod sitting across from them.
“What the hell Bobby?” I screamed as I stood at the door irritated at the sight before my eyes. “Ginger! It’s not what it looks like!” Bobby responds as he looks over to the girl on top of him and tosses her to the side. “Na, baby” he points to the camera sitting across from them. “This a prank! See the camera? You’re on YouTube!” He jumps up in excitement. “Ha-ha! You’ve been pranked! I got you good baby. You should’ve seen your face!”
Bobby’s mystery woman sits up off the floor. “Oh, I must be getting punked too!” she says casually. Bobby turns to her. “Why would you say that?” he tries to ask her quietly.
“Really Bobby? I’m standing right here!” I impatiently told him as I folded my arms, waiting on his response. The mystery woman stands up, proudly showing off her summer ready body. “I’m so sorry, I’m being rude,” she tells me as she walks up to me nonchalant letting it all hang out, like she’s not naked in my living room. “I’m Justine!” she introduces herself as she reaches her hand out to me. Bobby slaps it.
“You’re doing too much!” he screams “What’s the matter with you?”
“Well, this is her apartment, might as well let her know who’s in here.” Justine responds.
“You’re not even supposed to be in here!” Bobby painfully remarks.
“Exactly!” I screamed growing impatient. “So, can someone explain to me what’s going on or ya’ll gonna keep talking to each other like I’m not here?”
“I’m trying to explain to you if you would let me talk!” Bobby stalls as he takes a deep breath.
I stand there with my arms folded. “I got the time today. Ok let’s hear it.” I said to him.
“The reason she is here is...” he slowly begins to say “because she’s a present to us! She’s a professional dancer!”
“Dancer?... Ok… then why is she naked on top of you?”
“She’s an Exotic Dancer and she was warming up for you!” he responds with a straight face. The nerve of this man!
“Exotic huh?... Warming up?... Ok”
I point to Bobby. “But why are you naked?” I then point to the camera, “and why is there a camera recording?”
I feel someone coming up behind me. I jump back and see a man I’ve never seen before also in cat make up and fake cat ears coming out the bathroom.
“I’m ready!” he screams gleefully with both arms in the air, loud and proud! I look over at the man as he stands there lost and confused.
I couldn’t register what was going on right in front of me. “What the fuck Bobby?” I screamed as I begin to lose my cool.
“Hey, I thought this was a three way... I mean if she wants to join it’s cool but she needs to put on the cat costume or I can’t get into it”
I felt my neck turned around 360 degrees like I was starring in “The Exorcist”. I guess I didn’t have the time today.
Marvin and Ray walk out of the dirty, dark and damp staircase and walked into the 5th floor hallway noticing men standing at T's apartment door. Ray, in his black and red hoody carrying his Jansport book bag looks devious but confident doesn't think twice of it. Marvin, a little shorter and nervous in his V neck and ripped up jeans worries if they will be a problem. Ray walks towards them. "Tell T Im here" he demands as if he has a right to be here. The men stare at him for a minute. One of the thugs pull out his phone and send two emojis to T. A man and a door. T opens the door and smiles when he realizes who it is. "What up y'all?" he says as he embraces them at the door. "Chillin, chillin" Ray responses giving him a hand shake. T looks over to Marvin. Marvin nods his head and says "What's Good?". T moves aside and signals them to walk in. "Come on in" he tells them.
The guys walk into his apartment. "Y'all thirsty or something?" he ask them as he close the door. "Na, we not here to stay long" Ray responds "Just need to re-up". T folds his head and nods. "Okay, okay" he says "Got the bread?". Ray goes into his book bag, pulls out and throws him a stack of cash. "That's what I like to see!" T says as he catches it "that's why I fuck with y'all. An once right?" Ray nods. "Ight. Let me fetch that for you" T responds as he walks towards the back. Marvin and Ray stand around. Marvin looks around and notice how well T is living. The nice furniture, the beautiful paintings, the sculptures and chandeliers. Even the floor was redone with tiles. He was not imagining this when he walked into this building in his ghetto. He must be getting paid he thought. "How much do you think he has back there?" Marvin ask Ray. Ray pulls out his gun "I don't know" he says as he cocks it "lets go find out!".
Marvin tries to stand in his way "Whoa, Ray!" he tries to say but Ray pushes him aside and rushes towards the back. Marvin quickly follows. They walk into T's room. As soon as T turns around, Ray pistol whips him. Knocking him unconscious. "Dude what the fuck?" Marvin screams. "Nigga you want to make some money right? Wanna go legit right?" he ask him repeatedly "Lets take all his shit and go while we have the chance". Marvin begins to walk back shaking his head "I don't know man" he tells him. Ray points the gun at him. "Nigga you better pick up that cash and drugs" he screams at him "we don't have time". T moan and groan on the floor. Ray kicks him several times then puts his gun back to Marvin. "You want to end up like him?"
Marvin looks down at T. They grab two duffel bags and grab any drugs or dollar bills they can find. They run out the apartment passed the men. The men look confused. Seth runs out with a bleeding head.
The staircase door bust wide open as Marvin and Ray comes through running downstairs of the ghetto apartment building. The men start shooting after them. Marvin and Ray shoot back, trying not to get caught up in each others cross fire. T runs out his apartment door. "Get them niggas!" he scream as he points to the stair case. Marvin and Ray continue to run down the stairs as T's thugs chase them.
Marvin spots someone's fresh urine on the floor. He tries to warn Ray. "Watch out!" he tells him but its too late. Ray falls down the stairs, pulling Marvin down with him. They get up off the floor and continue running out the building, wet, covered in piss. T's thugs continue to chase after them until they are no longer in sight. Seth catch up with his soldiers, holding on to his bleeding head. "Don't worry, we gonna get them" he tells them "Thats a must".
After a small lunch with her mother, Alexis leaves her mothers house. She turns around to say goodbye to her siblings and her mom. "Bye guys, I love you" she tells Alaina her little sister. "Love you too" she responds. Her little twin brothers stand there both looking shy. "You guys not going to say it?" she ask them. They look at each other and back at her and say "Like wise". Alexis smiles and give them all hugs. She look into her mothers eyes. "Now don't forget what I told you. Trust in God, not in man" she tells her "Faith without work is useless, God take care of those who take care of themselves. You have to be responsible for yourself" Alexis nods her head. "Yes mom I hear you" she responds. "I'll see you guys in church tomorrow". Alexis begins to walk away, waving goodbye. Alexis walks to the long island rail road station and gets on a train heading to locust manor. As she sits there, she begins to think about her life. She never planned on moving out of her mothers house before she got married but her fiancée Patrick convinced her it was time since they were about to get married but she's having a hard time making up her mind if that was her best decision. She loves Patrick and he supports her but at times she questions if he respects her. Looking at the time, Alexis surprises the train reaches her stop within 6 minutes of her boarding it.
She gets off the train. Her phone rings. She takes it out her purse and see its her fiancé Patrick. She answers the call quickly as if her life dependent on it. "Hello?" She answers. "Whats wrong with your phone?" Patrick responds angrily. "Nothing" she tells him. "So why didn't you answer when I called before?" he asks her. "My phone never rang, this is the first time it's ringing" she explains. Patrick seems to be upset "What do you mean it didn't ring before? I called you. What if there was something important going on?" he goes on. Alexis takes a deep breath. "My phone didn't ring Patrick" she responds "what do you want me to say? Its not my fault." Patrick sucks its teeth. "When I call your phone, answer that shit" he demands. "Okay Patrick" she accepts passively. "We have to meet with the wedding planner tomorrow" he continues. "On the sabbath?" she questions. "She's a busy woman" he responds "We're lucky she even considering seeing us on a weekend". Alexis tone of voice changes "I can't, you know I go to church with my mother on saturday" she tells him. "Cancel it, you can praise God on sunday" he responds. "No Patrick, I can't. You know I have to be there for my mother and spend some time with God" she argues. Patrick sits up at his desk. "Um, who has been taking care of you for the last six years?" he asks her. Alexis sighs. "You" she responds. "Who has been paying the bills, giving you money, buying you clothes, food and providing place over your head?" he continues to ask her. "You Patrick" she tells him routinely.
"We've been going to be married in six weeks, its time you start showing me the proper respect" he tells her. "Whatever Patrick" Alexis tells him under her breath. "Whatever?.. Woman..." Patrick says before he gets distracted by a knock at his office door. He looks up and sees a woman. He signals the woman to come in, looking at her long legs, thick thighs and juicy lips. The way her hips and curves fill out her dress, he can't keep his eyes off her. Still on the phone he asks "You cleaned up around the house yet?"
Alexis gets off the train platform and walk towards their apartment building. "Im heading home now" she tells him. "So I guess Dinner isn't ready yet either" he added as he gets up and walk towards the other woman. "I just told you Im on my way home" she pleads. "Alright, I will see you later" he tells her. "Alright. Love you" Alexis responds. Patrick hangs up, grabs the woman in front of him and starts ripping her clothes off, laying her on the desk behind her. Alexis walks into her building.
Back at his apartment, T is surrounded by his team of thugs, they all stand around him patiently waiting to hear the plan. "Put the word out on the street" he tells them "I want them niggas alive. They have something that belongs to me and I want it back. All of it. If anyone sees them, don't press them on it right away. I want em to call me and let me know where they are. No matter where you are, no matter how far. Aint no mountain high enough to keep me from getting them niggas".
As Alexis gets home. The home phone rings. She set her bags down and picks up the receiver. "Hello?" she answered. "What up Bestie" Wes responded. Alexis smiles. "Hey Wes, What's up?" she asks him. Wes sits in the break room of his job, warming up a meal in the microwave. "Oh nothing, was just thinking of you" he tells her. "Wanted to see how you were doing. Your mean ol' fiancé isn't there is he?" Alexis laughs "Na, he's at the office" she tells him "Probably won't be home til late tonight". Wes sits up in excitement "Oh word? That mean I can come through right?" he says. Alexis heart drops just thinking about it "You funny" she tells him You know that's not going to happen".
"Yeah, with his insecure over protective ass" Wes responds "I told you, you shouldn't have gotten engaged right out of high school". Alexis rolls her eyes "Well I don't need you being here for him to think there's something going on" she explains. "Oh please, there hasn't been anything going on with us since we were freshmen" he reminds her. "Does he even know that we used to be more than friends back in the day?" Alexis sits up and looks into a photo of Patrick and herself. "No and he doesn't need to" she tells him "Last thing I need is for him to tell me who I can and can't be friends with. So what are you up to?" Wes sits down with his meal and flips through some pages of a book. "Well right now Im doing some reading. Reading about entrepreneurs that aspire me and their success stories" he tells her. "I wish you never dropped out of school" she tells him "You ever thought about going back?". Wes closes his book. "I don't have the money for that" he responds. "All I have is time and Im using this time to build my company. Thats the whole reason why I dropped out of school, to start my business." Alexis sighs. "You didn't even invest in your LLC yet" she tells him.
"But I will" he tells her "Copyrights, trademarks and all. School is not an option. Giving in papers won't get me paid. I got to prove it was the right decision. Did you know Walt Disney was sleeping in a studio he worked at when he went bankrupt before he started his company with his brother?" Alexis continue to listen to him talk as she put her things away and makes herself more comfortable.
"...and Russell Simmons started Def Jam for $5,000 using Rick Rubins dorm room as an office. Berry Gordy had to borrow $700 from his sister to start his studio. The way I see it...I just got to save my money. Keep Learning, mastering and creating. Every big business started off small. Business is an adventure, a process of discovery and Im just developing my unique knowledge of it all."
Alexis takes a sip of water. "Im glad to hear you are still focused" she responds. "Now if you can stay away from them hood rats you hang with, you'll be where you need to be in no time".
Wes gets lost, not knowing where the conversation is heading. "Who? Marvin and Ray? They are harmless". Alexis sucks her teeth "They're thugs. They are bad influence" she tells him.
Wes shakes his head. "Oh come on, they didn't have the same childhood as us" he reminds her "They were raised in that environment, they didn't have a chance. They are a product of their environment". Alexis gets frustrated with him "Last time I check, we all came from the same side of Jamaica Queens and you and I don't behave like animals" she tells him. "No, you're from rosedale, you're not from the hood" he reminds her. "Yeah but you are and you know better. Way more responsible." she argues. "Yeah but I live with a purpose, I always knew what I want do do while Im on this earth. They don't" Wes tells her. "You want to help our community those guys don't want to do anything but drink, smoke and have sex" she tells him "You're better than those guys, you need to take more responsibility for your own life and stop letting those guys bring you down with them". Wes laughs. "Look who's talking! You barley take care of yourself" he tells her. "I take care of myself!" she proclaim. "No, Patrick take cares of what you need. You spend your days living like he owns you. You're growing too dependent on him" he tells her. "I depend on no man, only God" she tells him "Well Patrick thinks he is your God.." he says looking at his watch, realizing he has to clock back in "look, I got to go. Me and the guys are going clubbing later. Want to come?"
Alexis looks at the phone as if he can see her reaction on her face "Now you know that is not my scene" she tells him "Need I remind you about Franz Anton Mesmer and the sanctuary?". Wes throws his hands in the air "Ah here we go with the conspiracy theories". Alexis gets defensive "You're the conspiracy theorist, Im speaking facts" she responds "The club is a place to captivate and manipulate you, opening yourself up spiritually, subliminally and subconsciously with those degrading music lyrics, flashing lights and booming beats. Its mind control. You're exposing yourself to demonic infestation. They steal your consciousness and you're ability to reason". Wes sucks his teeth "Oh please, It's just mindless fun".
"Its all fun and games until you wake up and catch something from a one night stand or get her pregnant..". she responds. Alexis sighs. "Well Im bout to do my chores and cook before the new year. Do some praying and read my bible while listening to some music"
Wes smiles at the fact she' so predictable. "Let me guess, Gospel?" he ask. "You know me well. I got to keep the faith" she tells him "In order to be where you want to be, you have to be the person God wants you to be.You should come with me to church tomorrow." He sighs. "Now you know how I feel about religion" he reminds her "I believe if someone thinks they can keep God's law, then they don't understand the depth and magnitude of their inborn sinful nature. Jesus taught to pray daily for God's forgiveness and thats the one thing I still do since I gave up religion. I don't have to be in church for that". Alexis usually disagrees with him but she's not in the mood to go back into that debate. "Okay Wes. At least stay out of trouble okay? Call me. You're in my prayers. Much Love, God bless." She tells him. He responds "One". They hang up. She sits there for a little bit, in idle thought. She looks around her surroundings, sighs and gets up.
She does her chores one by one. She begin to prepare the meals. Using the stove and the oven. After cooking over a hot stove, she place the food in plates on the table and in the microwave. She put the left overs in tupperware. She puts on her rubber gloves, grab her spray and other cleaning products and cleans up the kitchen and then the bathroom. Toilet, shower, mirror and sink. She then takes a shower and watches TV. Moments later she looks at the the time and stops watching TV to open the sabbath and pray peacefully. After praying, she sits down on the couch and reads her bible.
It begins raining heavy outside, with no signs of stopping. Alexis sits on the couch listening to gospel music, reading her bible. The house phone rings. She reaches for the phone and answers it.
"Hey girl!" her best friend Vicki says on the other end. "Hey Vicki, Whats up?" she responds. "Oh nothing, just got home from work" she tells her. "Oh yeah, you're officially a registered nurse right?" Alexis asks "Congratulations. I knew you was graduating when I heard the band rehearsing the mission impossible theme song". Vicki sarcastically laughs. "At least I don't have to put up with Patrick to live my life" she tells her "What are you still doing with him? You guys been engaged for six years! He's not ready to take the next step. You need to go do your own thing honey" Alexis sits down "Oh come on, thats not fair" she tells her in his defense "We were going to get married sooner but he got that promotion at his firm and he wants to start a family and have the whole nine yard. House, backyard, pool, somewhere deep into long island like Baldwin or something. He's trying to get us finically stable to get to where we're going to be. The bible says Love is patient"
"And it also says Love is kind which Patrick is not! He is so rude. It's like he always have an attitude problem" Vicki quickly snaps.
"He's the ruthless business type" Alexis tells her in his defense". Vicki sucks her teeth.
"Ruthless my ass" she responds "He need to take a chill pill. Girl you can do so much better. What happened to the restaurant you wanted to start? Did you ever look back into culinary arts?"
"I did but Patrick keeps talking me out of it" alexis tells her "He thinks I should hold on to the money I inherited from my grandmother instead of investing it into a business"
Vicki sighs "But you would be investing into your future. Trust me girl, it has to be better than what Im doing. Feeding old people, wiping their ass, giving them showers....and thats just my night job. My day job, I got to deal with stab wounds, gun shots, this one damn fool came with a hamster up his ass. I don't understand it sometimes"
Alexis laughs. "Yeah, that doesn't sound fun" she responds. "Don't live your life living for Patrick" Vicki pleads "He doesn't deserve you. It's time for you to take control." There's several loud bangs at the door. Alexis jump. "Lord have mercy." Alexis scream. "What happened?" Vicki asks. Alexis rushes over to the door. "Who is it?" Alexis ask as she tries to look into the peephole. The banging continues. Alexis jumps back. "Vicki, let me call you back" she tells her as hangs up. "Man, it's us. Open the door! "
Alexis automatically recognizes the voice. Was that Marvin? Wes's Friend? Alexis opens the door. She finds Marvin and Ray outside holding onto to Wes. They are all wet but Wes is covered in blood. "Whoa, what happened? " she ask. The boys walk in, holding on to Wes. "We was at a party and everything was cool for a minute" Ray begins. They place the drunken wet Wes in a chair. "Man, everything was poppin!" he begins to scream "The drinks were poppin, the girls was poppin then niggas came in hatin, so we had to do what we do!" Alexis stands there lost and confused. "So what happened? " she ask again. "I got shot!" he screams. Alexis panics! "So what are you guys doing here? " she screams. "We got to take the bullet out" Marvin tells her calmly.
Alexis has a quick anxiety attack. "What? Why here? Why not a hospital? " she ask trying to stop her voice from cracking up. "You know damn well we can't go to no hospital" Ray tells her "They'll call the cops".
"And I got warrants" Marvin add on top of that."You can't be serious guys, a bullet wound is a very serious thing" Alexis tries to reason with them. "I really do think we should get someone who has experience in this".
"Man, we can't go anywhere else" Wes tells her. "We need to get this out of me. Look online and find out how to do this". Alexis has heard Wes say some stupid things before but this one took the cake. "You really expect to find out how to treat a bullet wound online?". Marvin goes online and searches for it. "Found it!" he screams. "See we can do this!" Wes tells her. Alexis looks at the time. She got an hour before Patrick comes home. Maybe they can quickly get it out the way, clean up and get them out before he comes home. She sighs. "Alright. So what we doing?"
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