Jade Bowen – Part 1

The sun beamed down on them as they sat outside on the outskirts of a park in New York City.  It was the place that people came to find good chess competition.  He emptied the pieces out of his brown paper bag as they slid onto the table and banged into one another.  He set each piece up carefully, first the King and Queen, then the Bishops, the Knights, the Rooks and finally the Pawns.  When he placed the clock on the side of the table, she walked up to him and took a seat.  He looked at her with a haughty smirk as she glared down at the chessboard.

She wore jeans and a tee-shirt with a small bag strapped over her shoulder.  Her smile was alluring and had been the downfall of many men before her.  Her lips were full like moons at the winter solstice.  Her eyes were barely visible behind her dark shades while her brown skin was as smooth as soft, chocolate ice cream.  The man shook his head, “Are you lost, little lady?”

She didn’t pay attention to his sarcasm as she nodded to the clock, “whenever you’re ready.”

He was a shark, one of the best players that this park had seen in quite some time, but she was by no means intimidated by his reputation.  She enjoyed the strategy of the game just as much as anybody else.  The way everything is set up to attack the king slowly or quickly by tactical means.  She went in for the kill every time.  She wanted to pounce as soon as her opponent made the mistake. This was her life, but to him, it was just a game, and that is where he made a mistake.

“You first, Madame.”

He extended his hand and with that, she picked up her first piece and slapped the clock.  Pawn, E4.  Pawn, D4.  Pawn, C3.  She was playing a gambit, and he fell right into it.  Moments later, his fallacious smirk slowly began to fade as she pushed him into taking pieces so that she could get into a better attacking position.

A small crowd gathered around their game.  She folded her arms just under her chest as her breasts sat perfectly on top of her forearms.  She was built like a model, and every man knew it.  Most times, they were caught off guard when she showed what she could do, and that’s what she loved the most.

“Being underestimated is a position that I’d prefer.  The more your victim underestimates you, the more options you have to kill them.”

Words she lived by.  During each of his moves, she shifted her head slightly to the right, picking up on every sound the piece made when it met the board.  She was a student of the game.  When she was younger, her father blindfolded her and made her play games against him.  She could still hear his voice in the back of her mind.  Focus on the sound of the board.  You must learn how to see your opponent’s moves before they do.  You must see the whole board in your mind before you can take apart your adversary.  Always remain two steps ahead of them.

It wasn’t the same since he passed away and even though she was responsible for it, she had good reason to do it.  Things changed a lot as she grew up in her parent’s home and that was one of the things she had to deal with.  She had to deal with his death on her terms and most of the times; they came in the form of nightmares.

She tapped her finger across the surface of the table as his slowly dwindled down.  Minutes went by like seconds.  His eyes bounced back and forth between her, the clock and the board as his hands shook.  It wasn’t long before people realized that he was on the verge of being dismantled by this attractive young woman.  She wasn’t from around here.  She was too quiet to be a New Yorker.  Too reserved.  Too calm.  Her accent wasn’t as gritty.  He makes his move, and she smiles.  She could have ended the game, but she wanted him to suffer.  She enjoyed it.  She moved her Bishop down and took his Queen and with that move, you could feel the torment shooting from his soul.  He flipped his King over onto the board as the people around stood with their mouths open.

It wasn’t entirely because he had lost because, even with his skill, he has seen defeat a few times before in that very park.  It was her eyes.  The cool gray that covered her iris’s when she removed her sunglasses.  The way she looked at her opponent with eyes full of nothing and winked at him as if she could see everything in front of her.  It was the same look she had given certain men before she ended their lives.  Her beautiful smile was where they underestimated her.  The perfect shape of her lips, the complexion that flawlessly wrapped around her body.  The cluster of beauty marks in the middle of her cheek that made a small trail to the edge of her eyes.  Her pulchritude was uncanny, and it hid who she was.  Moments later, she got up and walked away from the table, parting the crowd with each step like the red sea.  She was dangerous.  Much more dangerous than anything that chess table had ever seen.

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If you enjoy spoken word, click the link below

“Chess Piece”

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Chemistry

I sat near the back of the library with my headphones on, writing verses to a spoken word piece.  I gripped my ink pen as the words bubbled inside of my mind and exploded onto the paper like tiny bursts of magnetic energy.  I flowed until I hit a writer’s block.  It forced me to relax my pen and lean my chair backward, balancing my weight on the two hind legs.

Just outside, there was a cluster of birds perched on the branch of a tree.  I removed my headphones and squinted at them as they fluttered their wings.  I imagined that they were in a deep conversation with each other, talking about the next place they were all going to arrive.  I thought it was amazing how animals could communicate non-verbally and at times, without saying anything at all but yet still be in total sync with each other.

Just then, I heard someone clear their throat behind me.  I leaned forward in my chair; the front legs came crashing down onto the carpeted floor.  I didn’t expect to see Kelly there, but I was excited to see her.  She was a figment of my imagination for the past year, living in the darkness that existed when I closed my eyes.  But now, she stood in front of me like a Phoenix, cradling two books in her hand.

I could only see the one on top; “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.  I had just begun reading the same novel a few days ago.  During the time we dated, she was always reading different books and honestly, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have ever picked up a book outside of the Bible.  We were a couple for half of the time we were enrolled at the same College, but now, she was a distant lover who had never been closer to my heart.

I fixed my mouth to speak, but she slid her pointer finger in the middle of her lips, urging me to keep them to myself.  I obliged.  She took a seat next to me and glanced at my phone to see what kind of music I was listening to.  She winked and grabbed an earbud, and then slid it into her ear as she flipped open The Invisible Man to the book-marked page.  Silently, she began reading, bobbing her head to Nas as he asked us, “whose world is this?”

She glanced at me, then nodded her head towards my paper, prompting me to pick up my pen and get to writing.  With that, I followed suit.  The ink pen effortlessly brushed over the lines of paper, seamlessly picking up where I left off.  She slid her hand on top of mine as her eyes moved peacefully back and forth across the page of her book.  She told me everything I needed to hear and never once opened her lips to say it.

 

If you enjoy Spoken-Word, check out the latest video, “Chess Piece.”

The Teacher – Part 2

She held my hand as I drove down the main street.  Her mahogany brown eyes shifted to a light brown color as the sunlight shone into her face through the passenger side window.  “Seriously baby,” she flicked her hands through her hair as she stared curiously into the visor’s mirror.  “Do you like it?  I think she cut it waay too short.  I mean, look at it.”

She turned her head to the side.  I glanced at her with my face scrunched up like an old man sucking on a lemon, “well… now that you mention it…”

She pouted, “see, I knew it!  Ugh!”  Her arms folded over her chest like a napkin as she poked her bottom lip out.  Her pulchritude was unmatched, even in her childish display.  “Turn around!  We are going back!”

I stifled my laugh as she sat in her seat.  Her eyes narrowed in my direction.  I couldn’t keep up the charade any longer as I blurted out a sea of laughter like waves crashing into the shore.  “Baby, you know I am only kidding.  Your hair is lovely, sweetheart.  I like the short haircut.  You’ve got like…” I quickly looked in her direction, then refocused on the road, “a Halle Berry type thing going on.  And you know how much I love Halle.”

“Gee, thanks.  I’m glad that my haircut reminds me of my husband’s crush.”

“Baby,” I said, smiling as I reached for her hand, “if Halle were on the side of the road right now, I wouldn’t stop for one second.”  She pushed her lips to the side of her mouth as if to show that she didn’t believe me.  “Alright.  Maybe I would ask what was wrong, but that’s it.”

“Yeah, that better be it.”

I looked in the rearview mirror.  My son sat in his toddler seat as he flew a toy airplane through the air, blowing his lips to mimic the sound of a jet engine.  “Jr, who are we picking?  Mommy or Halle?”

“Mommy!” he shouted forth with a snaggle-toothed smile.  His mother’s feminine features dominated his young, bright face.  With each blink, long eyelashes fluttered like butterfly wings on the edge of his eyelids.  A tiny cluster of beauty marks gathered together on his right cheek, and the natural arch of his brows looked as though they were professionally done.  The only features he received from me was my broad, flat nose and full lips.  He had my attitude wrapped up in the softness of his mother’s countenance; and for that, he would know how to get away with murder.

“See,” I said confidently, “there are two votes for mommy.  None for Halle.”

“Yeah, you two will say anything while I am in the car with you.”

“You know what?”  I wrestled the phone out of my pocket, “that’s it.  I’m going to snap a picture of you right now and–”

She laughed as I pulled my phone out and aimed it in her direction.  “Baby, keep your eyes on the road!  You are going to wreck!”  She lightheartedly pushed my phone away from her.

My son increased the volume of his jet engines, “vroooom, vroom!”

“Babe!  Stop, now.  You need to keep your eyes ahead!”

I glanced out the windshield.  “Baby, there is not a car anywhere near us, and besides, I have eyes all over my head.  Now, let me take this picture so I can post it on Facebook and let everyone else be the judge between you and Halle.”

“No!  Listen, I’ll take your word for it!  I won!  I look better than Halle, ok?  No pictures needed.  Now, would you please keep your eye on the road?  Please?”

I winked at her, then slid my phone in the compartment between the two front seats.  “Alright.  As long as I got my point across.”  We eased to a stop at a red light.  She grabbed my hand and leaned across my seat.  Moments later, I felt her lips brush against my flesh like a soft spring breeze.  “I love you, Mr. Jones.”

“I love you more, Mrs. Jones.”

The light just beyond us flickered from red to green.  I glanced at Junior in the backseat.  His airplane flew high in his right hand while he grabbed another fighter jet with the other.  “Baby,” my wife said as I slid my foot onto the gas.  Her hand moved to her belly at the same time, patiently, as if time was controlled by her motion.  “I think I am pregnant.”

I chuckled as our car inched into the intersection slowly like we were pulling a ton of bricks behind us.  “Well,” I looked in her direction.  Just beyond her window, an SUV headed straight for us like a flaming dart from the pit of hell.  My eyes widened as if I was trying to see the whole world at once.  My words caught in my throat like a piece of meat going down the windpipe.  I reached for her arm, knowing that I had to pull her away from the point of contact.  “My God!”

I yelled out, but before she could react, the SUV plowed into her side of the vehicle.  Instantly, I blacked out.

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I woke up in sweltering, pitch-black darkness.  Sweat mingled blood dripped from my brow as my chin brushed against the top of my chest.  My hands were tied behind my back, and I could feel the wires slicing through my wrists.  My body weight shifted the position of the uneven chair I sat in.  “Rise and shine.”  His voice was deep and fragile as the heart of man.  His wooden cane knocked against the concrete floor as he stepped closer to me.  “Take that off his head.”

Moments later, one of his soldiers removed the dark hood from over my skull.  I squinted my eyes as the high voltage light bulbs nearly painted the room a fluorescent white as if I was on the outskirts of heaven.  But I knew this was nothing like heaven and every bit like hell.  On the ground to the right, blood splatter decorated the concrete like exploded paintballs.  Various soldiers lined the walls, dressed in fatigues with their fingers sitting on triggers of automatic rifles aimed directly at me.  Black masks covered their faces as if they were scared to show me who they were.

Suddenly, a cold, hard fist smashed into my cheek with the weight of a bag of bricks.  Two more shots connected to my jaw in rapid succession.  The contact shot my face to the left and sent a spring of blood bubbling in my mouth like a fountain.  I spat out a thick glob of blood-soaked saliva.  It dripped slowly from my mouth like a molasses chain watch before it burst onto the cement.  I used my tongue to taste the residue.  It let me know that I was still alive.

“So, here we are.  This is what happens to degenerate leaders, Mr. Isaiah Jones?”  The man with the wooden cane planted himself in a silver folding chair that was positioned right in front of me.  With my head down, I slowly lifted my eyes towards him.

I spoke with every bit of resilience that I possessed.  I had been in situations like this before, and there wasn’t a time that I hadn’t made it out.  “Where is Seven?”

“Rook?”  He laughed.  “He wants to know where Seven is at.  His precious protégé.  The one that would rather die with you than fight with us.”  He clapped his hands once.  “Look up,” he said, smacking my thigh with his cane.  I gradually shifted my attention to the right.  The bright light beamed down onto me like I was center stage.  I waited a few moments until my eyes adjusted.

A thick glass window showed the inside of the adjacent room.  I squinted my eyes to get a better look.  I saw the faint image of a body swaying back and forth like strange fruit from a pole.  My cheekbones gyrated inside of my mouth.  My fist tightened like knots.  “Rook?” he laughed.  “Yeah, we had to teach that boy a lesson.  Turns out, he wasn’t as much of a killer as you expected.”  He leaned closer towards me.  The scent of Cuban cigars nicked at my muzzle.  “Guess you didn’t train him as good as you thought.”

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If you enjoy spoken-word, check out the piece below. The correlation between life and the game of chess.

https://youtu.be/bqHzYOsG3k8

Lady Kill

Harlem.  1922.

He reached out to her, gently grabbing her forearm.  She swiftly turned towards him, and her eyes widened as if she’d seen a ghost, “Ehhis?  Oh my god.”  He smiled, and they embraced each other.

“Ehhis, dear, I’m so glad you took that deal,” she said, smiling.

The skin on his forehead wrinkled like blinds, “deal?  What deal?” he asked quizzically.

She playfully tapped him on his shoulder, “now, Ehhis.  Don’t worry about how I knew.  That is irrelevant.  The most important thing is that you have nothing to worry about now, and you will reach your dreams in the process.”  He looked down momentarily.  Her feet were wrapped up in fancy, golden colored heels that lifted her a few inches higher than she usually stood.  Her toenail polish matched the red that smothered her lips.  He slowly looked up towards her again, scanning every inch of her bare skin before making eye to eye contact.  The look on his face didn’t change as her smile began to fade, “Ehhis?  You took the deal, right?  Please tell me you told Luscious you would work for him.”

“I didn’t.”

She looked at him with a blank expression, then slowly shifted her line of vision to the right.   “Listen, Lady.  I just.  I just couldn’t do it.  He wanted me to forget all about Uncle Leroy’s–”

She cut him off, “Ehhis.  You have to leave right now.”  Her eyes became wider as she spoke while looking over his shoulder.  She began pushing him away, “you’ve got to get out of here, Ehhis. Now!”

“Why?”

“Ehhis!”  She said more sternly, “for the love of God; please go!  You’ve been set up!”

She gave him a stronger push, thrusting him into a group of men.  “Say, dirge!” one of them said, shoving him away even further, “watch yo’ step!”

He spun around just as he caught Luscious walking towards him calmly in a way that said he had everything under control.  “Ehhis,” his voice traveled above everything else, “you forgot your parting gift.”  With a venomous smile, he removed his pistol from its holster and aimed it in his direction.  Lady reached towards Luscious and pushed his arm away as he fired a bullet out of the gun.  Pow!  After the errant shot was fired, Luscious pushed her away from him.

She flew into the bar’s countertop and slid down to the ground after the contact.  Ehhis attempted to lunge towards them, but an arm the size of a man’s leg grabbed him and lifted him off the ground.  He was carried towards the door as his feet skid across the cement, “let me go!” he yelled as he was carried away from the commotion.  Luscious walked over to Lady as a few of the security guards chased Ehhis out of the club.  He bent down to Lady, grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her closer to him as he whispered venomously into her ear, “so, you want to protect the one man that can unravel my empire?  Is that REALLY what you want to do?”

He smiled vindictively smiled as she cried.  He pulled her up by her hair and led her forcefully back into his office.  Gunshots rang outside the club as they walked away.  He threw her into the chair when they arrived and slammed the door closed.  Laterius followed them in shortly after.  She inhaled slowly, attempting to calm herself as her hair was sprawled over her head in every direction.  Her eyeliner bled down her face intermixing with the steady stream of tears.  “What do we have here?” Laterius, an accomplice of Luscious, said as he looked towards Lady.

Luscious unbuttoned his shirt and loosened his cufflinks.  “We seem to have a problem with Lady.  Her affinity for Ehhis decided to peak at the wrong time,” he said as he walked over to Lady.  She sniffled, trying to hold in her cries.  Luscious pulled out the revolver that he just used to fire a shot at Ehhis and sat it on his desk, pointing right at Lady.

She shook her head, “please, baby, please… I just–”

He interrupted her, “you just showed me the weakness of your heart.  Let me help you understand something, darlin’.  Any friends of my enemies become my enemy as well.  And you?  Well, your actions showed me that you are a friend of my enemy.”  He pulled the hammer back on the pistol as it sat on his desk, still aimed at Lady.  She wiped the stream of tears from her eyes, but they reappeared on her face just as fast.  Laterius folded his arms as he leaned against the wall, smiling as if he was enjoying watching her break before his eyes.  “So, what do I do with my enemies?” he asked her.  She remained silent, and he grew impatient, raising his voice, “Lady, I asked you a question.  WHAT, do I do with my enemies?”

She wiped her tears again.  By this time, her makeup was washed entirely from her face by her stream-like tears.  Laterius spoke up, “say, baby.  What about this?” he said as he approached them, “we know one thing.  We know that Ehhis still has a thing for… Miss Lady here.  So, I say we use that to our advantage.”

Luscious turned towards him, “let’s hear what you have in mind.”

“Well,” he said, “she will handle him for us.  She will be the one to kill Ehhis.  You see, he still has feelings for her.  A blind man can see that.  He will fall for her, do anything she says.  She is a powerful piece.  The Queen is always the most powerful piece to help bring down a king.  She lures him in and does the dirty work.  That way, two birds are killed with one stone.  Her weakness is eliminated, and the thorn in our side is gone.”

Luscious smiled, “I like that.  I like that a lot,” he said as he turned towards Lady.

She spoke in horror, “so… you… you want me to kill Ehhis?” she asked fretfully.

“But, of course,” Luscious said, “it’s either that or we kill you and him.  If you ask me, that’s a fair exchange.  Your life for his.”

“What… what are you asking me to do?” she said, sniffling, “I can’t… I can’t kill Ehhis!  For God’s sake, I have never even held a gun before now, and now you’re telling me I have to kill someone?”

“Look!” Luscious said forcefully, “our problem would have been done away with tonight if you did not decide to play the heroine and save his life!  Now, since you’ve done that, you will finish what should have ended tonight!” he picked up the pistol off the desk, “or, we can stop all of this right now,” he pressed the gun into her temple.

She felt the slight burn of a freshly fired pistol pressed into the side of her head.  “Ok!” she cried, “I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”

Luscious removed the gun from the side of her head, “great.  I knew you’d see it my way,” he said as he walked behind his desk and ordered Laterius to hand her a box of Kleenex.  He placed it on her lap as she stared back at it, lifeless.  Eyes bloodshot red from crying.  She had gotten herself into this, and there was no other way out.  It was the very last thing she ever wanted to do.  Yes, she still did have feelings for Ehhis, and she cared for him but not enough to preserve his life over hers.  She made a deal with the devil, and she could only hope to receive forgiveness.

 

 

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For the latest spoken-word video entitled, “Chess Piece,” click the link below

The Dinner

  1. Harlem.

 

Her mother, Elaine, entered the room with a kind smile on her face as she walked over to hug her daughter and then headed towards me.  She was the same height as Lady, and outside her dark, mahogany complexion, the two were nearly identical.  It was clear where she had gotten her beauty from.  Even in her mid-forties, her body still found a way to retain a bit of its peak from her golden years.

“Ehhis, how have you been?” she said in a voice of warmth.

“Mighty fine, thank you kindly!  How about yourself?”

“Oh, I’ve been quite alright.  Quite alright!”

Her long, sandy brown hair reached the middle of her back.  She turned towards Lady, “I’m just waiting for this daughter of mine to bring some grandbabies into this world.”

“Mother!”

“Oh please,” her father chimed in, “the last thing she needs is a baby, especially by this old–”

“Oh hush, old man!  This house is too quiet!  It’s time to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet running through here.”

Lady cleared her throat.  “Mother, please.  It is not the time.  It is just not the time.”

An awkward silence shifted between us like thick morning fog.  Lady’s father peered at me from his seat, and I avoided direct contact as if he could look directly into my soul.  “Well,” her mother interjected, “supper is ready.  Shall we?”  She smiled.

Geoffrey, their butler, came walked into the living room and directed us to the kitchen.  His cloudy, dark complexion was like train smoke as he walked ahead of down long hallways, passing artwork and statues along the way. Our footsteps made unnerving echoes throughout the hallow as we trailed feet behind Lady’s parents.  “Ehhis,” she whispered sternly, “please do not incite my father at the dinner table.”

“What?  I’m not even trying to.  He is the aggressor.”

“I know, but this is his house, so do your best to keep your tongue in check.”

“I ain’t makin’ no promises.”

“Ehhis!”

Her whisper went slightly above a secretive tone.  Geoffrey and her parents turned towards us.  We smiled as if nothing was said.  They turned around, and she continued, “Ehhis, I know you.  Do your best to be respectful.”

“Respect is not given, it is earned.”

“How ironic.  Father says the same thing.”

Finally, we arrived at the dining room table.  Geoffrey pulled out everyone’s chair, but I sat down before he could reach mine.
“Ehhis,” her mother said, “it is fine.  It’s his duty.”

I turned to her, “I understand, ma’am.  But I can take care of it myself.”

Geoffrey looked offended, yet, appreciative at the same time. “Well, would you like to serve the food as well?” her father said.  I began to get up, but my lady restrained me, subtly forbidding me to respond to his sarcasm.  Geoffrey served the food.  Smothered pork chops, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, hot water cornbread and lemon-aid.  The dinner was filled with the clanging of silverware against plates and nods of approval of the food that was served.  Geoffrey did his job of refilling our glasses with ice cold lemon-aid and providing seconds of whatever we requested.

From the corner of my eye, I noticed the interactions between Geoffrey and Elaine.  The coy, flirty smiles that they exchanged when they thought nobody was watching.  They looked like they enjoyed the thrill of almost being caught like it was something that drove their relationship.  I pretended to take a drink, watching their interaction through the distortion of my glass.  It would take a blind man to not know there was something amiss between those two.  Luckily, she was married to one.  We finished our food.  Her father wiped his mouth with a napkin, then sipped a cup of tea with his pinky finger extended.  I thought of the artwork that hung on his wall and the records that were buried in the drawer.

“So, miss Elaine” I smiled warmly at her.

“Yes, dear?”

“I noticed there were a few paintings and records by Negro artists around the house.  My lady said they were yours.  Why are they tucked away beneath everything else?”

My Lady sensed what I was doing.  She tried to interject, but I cut her off and directed the question back to her mother.  Her father looked as if I just scolded him, placing his mug gently down on the table.  Elaine looked at him with a thwarted countenance and then turned towards me.  “Well,” she said, “there is really not enough room for all of the artwork we have.  So, we just decided to put the ones up that fit the décor of the rooms.  It gives it a better ‘Feng shay’ as father puts it.”

He nodded his head as if she correctly gave the answers they rehearsed for times like this.  He added, “you do know what that means, right?” his hands were folded onto his protruding belly, and his peach complexion looked freshly painted onto his flesh.

“Not really.”

He laughed, “It figures.  You’re not good for my daughter.  You have no class.”

“Charles, that’s enough,” her mother said.

“Why are you defending this fool?  He has nothing to offer our little girl.  He’s not doing a thing but suckin’ her dry,” he paused, “well really, suckin’ me dry since I’m the one givin’ her all the money.”

“It ain’t always about money.  If you knew that, then maybe things wouldn’t be the way they are between us.”

“Oh?” he said, looking at Elaine, “and, how are they?”

Lady and I looked back and forth between them like siblings watching their parents argue.  Lady took a drink of lemon-aid, and I looked towards Elaine.  She had a scowl, mirroring the same face my mother gave my father when she was going to lay into him with her words.  She never cussed at him in front of us, but she knew how to give the most sanctified tongue lashing my ears had ever heard.  I wondered if Elaine had the same type of skill.  “Oh, trust me,” she said, “you don’t want to talk about that now.  Not here.  Not in front of them.”

“Oh, come now,” he said as if he was just insulted, “the likes of him?  And Lady?  Non-sense.  Speak woman.”

She tapped her fingernails on the table from right to left, one after the other.  Geoffrey walked back in, refilling glasses with Lemon-aid.  He knew he stepped into a war zone. I could tell he was uncomfortable when he poured the drink into my glass and splashed a few drops on the table in front of me.  “I’m sorry, sir,” he said, wiping up the small accident.

Charles took another sip of tea while his pinky was still erect.  She was hesitating to answer, either searching for the words or trying to figure out how to say them.  She finally spoke up, “fine.  Let’s talk about how you can’t even get your little man-man to act right when it’s time for coitus.”

Her father’s eyes bucked open as he slammed his glass on the table.  My Lady’s eyes widened as she gasped.  I looked between all of them at the table.  I didn’t know exactly what she meant, but I picked up on the context clues and assumed the rest.  I was right.  He sat upright in his chair.  His face was slowing turning beet red.  Geoffrey quickly exited out the room before things got worse.  My lady’s mouth was open wide and dark like outer space.  Elaine continued, “yeah, I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of them, but since you pushed me to do so, there it is!  Hell, you deserve it the way you’ve carried on with Ehhis this night.  It’s completely ridiculous!”

Charles stood up, “woman, have you lost your mind?  I ought’ to put you back on the first ship back to Africa!”

“Charles, sit your behind down!  You can barely tie your own shoe without me around here to help you!  Had it not been for your parents, you wouldn’t even be in the position you are in now, and you’re talking like you’re some big shot.”

I smiled as I drank more of my lemon-aid.  My lady smacked me on the arm, and Charles looked towards me, “what are you smiling at, boy?! I’ll put you in the same boat!  You’re the reason she’s fired up right now!”

I smiled wide, thoroughly enjoying the situation he found himself in.  Elaine was much more reckless with her words.  I felt as if she was partly defending me in her responses, “this ain’t about him, Charles!  This is about us!  Sit your wobbly behind down, you know good and well Ehhis ain’t the cause of none of this!”  I knew Lady got her beauty from Elaine, but it wasn’t until now that I saw where she got her feistiness from as well.  Elaine was a firecracker.  His face was completely red.  Geoffrey came out of the kitchen and walked towards me.

With a vague smirk, he filled my glass up with water.  The ice clanged on the sides of the glass pitcher as he poured.  Charles interrupted him,
“That’ll be enough, Geoffrey.  Our guest was just leaving!” I stood up and tipped my hat to Elaine.

“No, don’t leave yet,” Elaine said, “there is one more thing I need to say, and I want you to hear this.”  She stood up at the table.  Her eyes on fire, chest moving up and down at a rapid pace from her breathing.  Geoffrey looked up towards her and subtly shook his head.  I saw their interaction and looked towards my Lady.  We made eye contact, then we both looked at her father as he peered between all of us.  His face was still beet red.

“Well, speak, woman!”  She examined him intensely.  She had something to say, and it seemed that she was holding onto it for ages.  I imagined that it was that very thing that was trying to push its way out her chest through her heavy breathing.  “Spit it out!” Charles demanded.

She finally exploded, “I cheated on you 24 years ago!”  The room went silent.  My lady and I sat with blank looks on her face, not knowing what to do next.  “And that’s not it!” Elaine added, “I’ve been cheating with the same man since then.  And Lady is not your daughter!  She is Geoffrey’s!”

I looked at my Lady, and she turned to look at Geoffrey as he stood by the door just as uncomfortable as he could have ever been.  The silence in the room was deafening.  I put my head down, wanting to sink under the table and disappear.  Charles sat lifeless at the head of the table.  He passed out and rolled off his chair onto the ground.  The craziest part about that is that nobody went over to check on him.  Not one soul.

 

 

 

 

If you enjoy Spoken-Word, check out the brand-new video entitled, “Chess Piece.”

The Teacher – Part 1

His face was hard and cold like brick walls in the winter time.  I could tell he wanted to cry, but his soul had his tears frozen in their ducts.  A thick, luminous ray of moonlight shot through the window and highlighted the faint scar that ran from the bottom of his eye to the corner of his lips.  It protruded just above his skin like a caterpillar crawling along a tree branch.  My mind drifted away as it transfigured my younger face onto his body.  He had too much of his life ahead of him.

We sat on the couch; our knees brushed against each other like a paintbrush on a canvas.  His passionate gaze burned like a fiery meteor leaving a dragon tail across the night sky on its way to annihilate the earth.  His jawbones gyrated inside of his mouth like factory gears, displaying traits of the machine I trained him to be.  His fingers interlocked patiently, forming a semi-circle on his lap.  “You know you can leave,” I said, piercing through the silence between us.

My suggestion seemed to inflame him even more.  “I’m not going anywhere.”  I made a trap door beneath the couch in the living room.  It led through a burrowed tunnel, three miles east of my home amid tall, forest trees.  It would spit him out on the edge of Lake Tiache’ where he could hop into a speedboat and get away undetected as if he was never with me.  But he was stubborn.  He was my best soldier, and he said that he would go to the grave with me if it were necessary.  It was the type of loyalty that Jesus didn’t see in the hours before his arrest.

I exhaled.  The wind left my lungs with a thick sense of anticipation just as tiny flickers of light blinked outside like a swarm of fireflies.  Their black foot helicopter was silent, but I still knew it was just miles away.  Leaves crunched as men scurried around the sides of my house.  I had trained myself for times like this.  I could hear the slightest shift in the movement outside if I sat in complete silence, and right now, I was clothed in it.  They were trained better than that, I thought to myself.  It had to be their nervousness.  There wasn’t a man coming for me that I hadn’t taught how to kill.  Flawlessly.

I fixed my eyes on the young man beside me; his nostrils flared like tiny umbrellas.  His eyes widened like dinner plates as he tilted his brow forward as if it was weighted down.  His interlocked hands slowly released and formed boulder-like fists at the end of his arms.  His veins puffed up in his forearms as if he had just taken a shot of heroin.  Adrenaline worked the same.  “Everything is going to be fine,” I said as we waited in silence.  “Just don’t breathe the air.”

He didn’t respond.  Out of all my soldiers, he was the one who stayed glued to me like a disciple.  It wasn’t long that I realized he had slid me into the place that his father had never touched.  There was a bond between us, and although we never spoke the words, love flowed through us like rivers of forgiveness.  “I will kill them all,” he said in a voice that would have shaken the smile from a stone-faced statue.  His passion soaked words marched around the house like Goliaths in full armor.

I could’ve run.  All of this could’ve been avoided, but I was tired of running just to escape, only to have to run again.  I was tired of fighting, using my self-control to strike the men I trained, but not kill them.  If I wanted to, I could have ended their lives.  Every one of them that came for me.  Specs of dust fluttered along the moon’s glow, leading to a picture of my wife.  Her buoyant smile is what kept me afloat during the times I was too tired to pick myself up off the ground.  I couldn’t wait to hold her again, but I knew there was too much work left undone for me to meet her.

My five-year-old son sat beside her.  His snaggle-toothed smile was the most beautiful blemish I’d ever seen.  Fifteen years had passed since the accident, and the surgical scar on my chest was the painful reminder of the day I found out they were both gone.  The lone picture in the front room was all I had left of them.  The memories locked inside of my mind kept me from needing tangible reminders of how much they meant to me.

The footsteps outside moved in closer.  Shadows scurried past the windows like demons as the propellers sliced through the wind like a hot knife through butter.  I heard it all.  Every last thing.  The sounds on the roof proved that these troops lacked discipline.  Their anxiety got the best of them.  The meekness of my heart allowed me to remove all the traps and triggers that would have ripped the first string of men into pieces.

“They don’t have to die,” I suggested.

“They do.  They will die.  Each and every last one of them will die for this treachery.  I will make sure of it.”

His dark skin shone from his body like an oil-polluted African river full of blood diamonds.  I wanted to temper his aggression, but there was no need.  He knew that he could attack, but he could not kill.  Not them.  Not his brothers.  “Are you ready?” I asked while the men outside took their positions.  “They are coming in.”

“I’m ready.”

“Remember what I said.  Just don’t breathe the air and everything will be ok.”

——————–

If you enjoy Spoken-Word, check out the piece below entitled, “Pennies.”

https://youtu.be/bfrnT_PEA_M

Pennies

“Mama!  Mama!  Aye, Mama!  I’m right here!”

His mother took a seat in the front room, oblivious to the fact that her son was yelling for her attention.  She wiped a tear from her eye as he laughed and walked into the room.  “Mama, why are you ignoring me?  Are you mad that I broke curfew again last night?  Alright, I’m sorry.  It won’t happen again.”  He sat down next to her but still, she didn’t say a word.  She rocked back and forth on the edge of the couch, holding her arms as if she was freezing but the temperature was calm.

A faint breeze blew through the front room window that was halfway open, causing the curtains to flutter as if they were waving goodbye.  The front door opened as her husband walked through somberly.  “Pop,” his son said as he stood up, “can you talk to Mom?  She is really mad at me right now, and she hasn’t said a word since I came in here.”

His father ignored him on his way towards his wife.  He sat down next to her on the couch as he placed his phone on the table and put his arm around her.  She cried on his shoulder.  “It’s going to be alright, sweetheart,” he said, kissing her on the forehead.  “We will make it through.”  Their son’s eyebrows wrinkled together like an accordion as he watched their interaction.

“Aye yall, what’s wrong?  Why yall so sad?”

His mother spoke, “honey, I just… I just can’t believe this happened.  He wasn’t the type to resist anything, and we didn’t raise him that way!  Why are they saying these things about our boy!”

“I know, baby, I know.  We can’t listen to that right now.  It won’t do anything but make us angrier, ok?  Don’t watch the news, don’t read the paper, don’t go on the internet.  We have to keep our minds clear right now.”

Their son didn’t understand why he was being ignored until he looked at his father’s cell phone.  He gasped when he saw his picture and read what was on the screen, “RIP, my one and only son.  Wesley Armon Jones.”  Suddenly, everything went dark as his mind slowly pieced together what happened on his way home from a party with his friends last night.  The last thing he saw was an officer with his gun aimed directly at him as he yelled, “my hands are up, officer!  They are up!”

If you like Spoken-Word, click the link below and check out the new video entitled, “Pennies.”