Authors: Sean A. Wright
Just Wright Publications
Printed in USA
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by other means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the expressed written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotes for review.
This work is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or person(s) living or deceased is strictly coincidental. All characters, incidents and dialog are the product of the author’s imagination and are in no way tied to real events or people.
Front Cover Model
: Melinda Laureano
Back Cover Model:
To the greatest parents in the world Larry and Janice Wright, I love you and thank you for giving me years of wisdom, guidance, near perfect parenting and most importantly “THE GIFT OF LIFE”.
To my siblings; Kasaan , Jermaine, Rikki, Karim, I love you all. I couldn’t ask to be a big brother and example to a better set of siblings. (I could ask but who would listen)
To my children; Michael and De’Seanique, I love you both unconditionally and when it’s all said and done, I do all of this for you. You both are my sole reason for living and grinding every day. Daddy loves you.
There are so many people I want to thank for so many reasons, but I’m sure I won’t be able to single out everyone. So if I don’t mention your name but you know you deserve to see it, just know you are in my heart and words can’t express all that I feel anyway.
- With everything you have been through and all that you have overcome in your life. I use you as my muse. And when I paint my portrait of determination it will come out to look just like you.
- All the years that you worked double and triple shifts for 7days straight just to provide for us has paid off. You taught me that if you want something bad enough then you have to work extra hard. And to prove that I listen when I get rich off of this book I’m buying stock in MECHANICAL SCARECROWS!
- Thanks for teaching me what you know about the book game. (shorty can’t eat no books)
- Thanks for all of the support, and late night talks. I am sooo proud of you.
- Thanks for always keeping it real with me..keep doin ya thing.
(knock knock)- Thanks for always being there whenever I needed to talk or vent. Our bond is crazy.
- Thank you for teaching me ALL that I know about the literary game. You gave me the hope ,confidence, and know how to take this thing all the way. All of your help, wisdom and guidance will not go unrecognized. I owe you…and I thank you!
Damon Hasan Johnson
(my brother till the end) I thank you for being my right hand man since 4
grade. We have come a very long way. We have beaten the odds and statistics. A friendship/brotherhood like our can never be altered or replaced. Thank you for teach
ing me all that I know about BUSINESS period and most of all thanks for being my friend.
- Thanks for not paying your Worldcom bill. 10+ years later look at us now. Thank you for always having my back. Our bond will never be understood or broken.
- Thank you for always having my back. You are the world’s Greatest Godfather.
Uncle Phil, Aunt Robin, Nicole, & Shaun- It took me till I was 38 m*&^%ckin years old but I did it.
Rockaway Blvd and the 140
- I made it ya’ll!
- Thanks for teaching me all the things that I should have already known. We have been through some wars, but hey that’s what FRIENDS do. (there..I finally said it) you cannot get rid of SEANA-THAN..lol
-WOW! (need I say more?)
To my friends and fans I thank you all for your support.
Thanks for posing for my cover. This is only the beginning. I told you I got you.
- Thanks for giving me the best cover ever. Thanks for dealing with my late night jitters, last minute changes and phone calls. Thanks for getting team Sean off and running.
To my man Fred Lee
- thanks for holding me down Bee..lol
And a BIG thank you to
for seeing and believing in my vision.
To anyone I may have missed, I will be bringing the world years of my literary gift so I will catch you in books to come. Just know that you are not forgotten.
2006 was the night that would change my life forever. Mama and me were at the dinner table eating alone as usual, because daddy was working late again at the office. Tonight I was really enjoying dinner. Not just because mama had fixed my favorite dish of fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn bread and gravy, but more so because this was the rare occasion when I actually had someone to eat with. See, daddy was an executive at the Marketing Firm he worked for that on occasion would cause him to be stuck at the office very late and mama would often go over to Ms Gloria’s house for a night of gossip and late night spades games. This neglect caused me to end up home alone often and daddy didn’t like that. He especially didn’t like trying to contact mama on her cell phone and her not picking up, and he hated calling Ms. Gloria’s house and her saying mama wasn’t there.
Most times daddy would make it home from a long night at the office way before mama would make it home from Ms. Gloria’s house. Those antics would often cause heated arguments that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. I hated to hear those arguments and I hated to pick sides because I loved my parents both equally and unconditionally. But daddy was right. Some of mama’s actions were inappropriate and unbecoming of a good wife.
I mean, in daddy’s defense, he did work all day and all night at the firm so that we could have the finer things in life so that mama wouldn’t have to work. Mama on the other hand stayed home all day, watched reality T.V. and spent daddy’s money. But I guess that’s what divas do. Mama and I were enjoying our conversation about me being so good at doing hair and how I wanted to open up my own salon one day when daddy burst through the front door yelling and screaming about mama cheating on him. He was in a venomous rage and he smelled like a liquor store.
Daddy had accused mama of cheating before, but this time was different. Without much warning he smacked mama out of the chair and dragged her kicking and screaming into the bedroom. I was in total shock. As far back as I could remember daddy had never raised his hand to mama. This was all happening so fast I had no time to react. I just sat there speechless. By the time I snapped out of my trance and ran to the bedroom door it was locked and I could only hear him beating her savagely on the other side of it. I cried and begged for him to stop while I banged on the door. After what seemed like an eternity I heard a gunshot, and then there was an eerie silence. The door opened and daddy came out with a gun in his hand drenched in blood. He walked passed me and I ran into the room. My worst fears were confirmed. There was my mother, her beautiful Hispanic skin battered and bruised with a hole in her heart from the .45 that daddy kept in the house for protection. I screamed to the top of my lungs and ran into the living room where my father, my hero sat there with the gun in his hand and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He turned, looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I’m so sorry baby.”
I was awakened yet again by the sound of the infant baby next to me screaming to the top of her lungs. I had been on the Greyhound for hours now and when this lady and her baby got on in Cleveland I knew it was going to be an even longer ride to Baltimore. I had never been on a Greyhound before and my first trip was proving to be a horrible one.
The lady, who just happened to sit next to me, had to be all of 400 lbs so when she sat down she inadvertently pinned me up against the window. And then the constant crying of her baby made matters even worse. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against big people, and I love babies but this was ridiculous. I managed to free one of my arms to use the pre-paid cell phone given to me by Mrs. Gloria to use for the trip.
After my parents’ funeral I was left with a decision to make. It was either go to Puerto Rico and stay with my mother’s side of the family or go to Baltimore and stay with my dad’s mother. I barely knew either side of the family. Since they both lived so far away, I hardly ever got to see them. I mean, an occasional summer here and there but that was about it. I never really understood why the closeness wasn’t there but I think it had something to do with the disapproval of my mom and dad’s marriage. I was actually born in Baltimore, but after my birth, then the marriage, from what I am told all hell broke loose. So when daddy’s firm asked him to take the job in the small town of Marion, Ohio he figured what the hell? I wasn’t old enough to be in school yet, and I was too young to have any friends to miss. So he packed us up and moved us to a place where we could be one big happy family just my daddy, my mama, and me.
I had chosen to move back to Baltimore. I figured since I was much older now, and I was raised in the suburbs of Marion where there is absolutely nothing to do, the live streets of Baltimore is where I wanted to be. I had been trying to call my grandmother periodically since I left Marion to confirm that she would be picking me up, and also just to let her know that I was okay. But each time I called she either didn’t pick up or she was very short winded with me. So here I was calling again to let her know that I would finally be pulling into the bus station in 10 minutes but yet again I only got her voice mail.
I thought, I hope she is there on time. I didn’t even know what she looked like. The whole situation didn’t sit well with me but it was too late to turn back now and besides, it was time that I got to know my dad’s family.
When I got off the bus I looked around and didn’t see anyone who looked familiar to me. I called my grandmother’s cell phone again, and again it just rang and went to voice mail. I also called her house and still no answer. Damn. What was I going to do now? I had no choice but to sit on a nearby bench and wait for her to show up. As time went by I saw people slowly starting to vacate the area with friends and family that were waiting to pick them up. I had been there for 30 minutes and still no word from my grandmother. Then, just when I was about to call her again I saw an elderly woman that looked just like my daddy. She was standing near a car with another elderly man. That has got to be her I thought to myself. But what if I was wrong? No. I couldn’t be wrong. She looked too much like my daddy. In any event I had to give it a chance.
I grabbed my suitcase and walked over to her. She was so engulfed in her conversation with her manfriend that she never saw me approaching. I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of uncontrollable nerves. I stuttered as I tapped her on the shoulder.
“Uh, excuse me. Grandma Bell?” she turned around with a scowl on her face that would scare anybody away.
“Tiffany?” She kind of barked at me.
“Yes maam. Hey grandma longtime no see.” I said reaching out to hug her. She ignored the gesture and looked at her watch.
“Well it’s about damn time you got here. You know how long I been out here waiting on you?” Damn. She was coming at me like I drove the bus or like I wasn’t waiting on her too.
“Grandma, I was over there waiting on you for like 30 minutes. I didn’t even know you were over here. I have been calling you all day and...”
She cut me off. “Look child, just get in the car. And stop with all the back talk. I’m already late putting my dinner on fooling with you.” She turned to her man friend
“Rufus. Put yo eyes back in ya head and help with the suitcase so we can get on out of here.”
He extended his hand. “Hello little lady, how are you? My name is Rufus. I’m a friend of your grandmama’s.”
I shook his hand. “Hello sir. My name is Tiffany.”
He was reluctant to let my hand go. “Well hello Tiffany. How are you?” He said with a sly smile showing his one gold tooth surrounded by empty spaces where the others used to be.
“Rufus put the damn bags in the car.” Grandma yelled. This was going to be very interesting.
As we drove through the streets of Baltimore it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was a long way from Marion, Ohio. The streets were so busy and every block was so congested. I had never seen so many people clustered together in one area in my life. I saw everything from young girls jumping double dutch, to two grown women fighting in the middle of the street. A little further down, I saw pimps and prostitutes. I then saw a man leaned over with spit hanging out of his mouth and he appeared to be asleep while he was standing up. But I couldn’t understand how he could lean over so far without falling, especially while he was asleep. And then just like that. He woke up, stood up stra’ight, wiped his mouth and staggered up the street. I would learn later that he was what is commonly known as a dope fiend. My last show before we turned onto Mama Bell’s block was a boy who couldn’t have been no older than sixteen pull a gun out on grown man and yell out “Nigga do I gotta kill you to get my fucking money?” I was amazed because all of this was done in broad daylight and the other people just kept going on about their business like they didn’t see anything. Even Mama Bell and Rufus just kept driving unfazed. This must have been the norm around here. What did I get myself into?
When we pulled up to Mama Belle’s house nothing really looked too familiar. I mean, the last time I was here was years ago. I was only around 7 or 8 I think. Mama Belle’s house sat in the middle of a pretty decent looking block compared to what I had seen in Baltimore so far. She owned a two-story house that was green and white. In the front yard there were porcelain figurines and fake pink flamingos for some reason. There was a porch with a rocking chair and wind chimes that hung from the porch roof. The house was in need of a good pain’ting. The pain’t was chipped and looked like it hadn’t been done over since the house was built. But hey, who was I to complain? This was my new home. At least until I could get settled, go to school, find a job and save up to move out. I really couldn’t wait to get into the salon business.
My father used to order me fashion and hair magazines and between the magazines and music videos I knew Baltimore females had some of the best hairstyles I had ever seen. Yeah. They shit was tight, and I couldn’t wait to be held responsible for the hair do’s that would be the talk of the town. When I got inside the house I stopped and looked around. Things were really looking different. Everywhere I turned there was some sort of religious symbol. Either a Bible or a cross hanging up, there was even a tapestry of the last supper.
On the hallway wall there was the one poem that every black family had on the wall. Yeah, you guessed it. “Footprints”. Mama Belle must have noticed the confused look on my face.
“Yeah. Things look a lot different since the last time you were here huh? First room on the left is yours. Everything you need is on the bed.” Mr. Rufus followed me into the bedroom with my suitcase.
The room was unbearably small. It wasn’t even the size of a full bedroom. It was hardly furnished. There was a small nightstand that was lopsided so it tilted back and forth. Against the wall was a small dresser and for some reason the bottom drawer was missing. There was no T.V. and the bed was only a twin size and that barely fit in the room. There wasn’t even a closet. I was definitely not used to living like this but it would have to do for now. I looked on the bed and noticed a washcloth, towel, bar of soap and a newspaper.
I yelled out into the hallway “Hey Grandma, what’s the newspaper for?” Grandma came out of the kitchen and headed to my room.
“It’s so you can get your tail up in the morning and look for a job, that’s what it’s for. Now you family and all, but ain’t no free rides around here.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“But grandma, I just got here.” She put her hands on her hips.
“Yeah I know, and the sooner you get to work, the sooner you can help with the lights, gas and groceries. Now that’s the end of it. Go get washed up for dinner.”
I rolled my eyes and closed my door, then let out a deep sigh and plopped down on my bed. It was all hard and shit. I started to unpack my clothes but then decided to do it later. All I wanted to do at this point was to take a shower and relax. I grabbed my nightclothes and headed to the bathroom. The bathroom was covered in blue wallpaper and it had matching shower curtains. I went to put my toothbrush in the toothbrush holder on the sink and I jumped back in a mixture of excitement and fear. Sitting right there on the sink in a jar of water was Mama Belle’s dentures. They scared the shit out of me. I smiled and got prepared for my shower.
Once inside the shower I let the hot water pour over my head as I leaned my head up against the porcelain tiles. While the hot soothing water poured over my body I became lost in my own thoughts and all I could do was think about mama and daddy and how much I missed them. I was also a little angry because they left me. They left me all alone. I broke down crying right there in the shower and silently cried out for my mother and father.
After I got out of the shower and put on my nightclothes. I brushed my teeth and headed back to my room. When I got back to my room I reached in my bag and unpacked two candles. I placed them on the night stand and lit them both. I then got on my knees and said my nightly prayer.
Each night since my parent’s death I prayed that god would keep them safe, I prayed that I would be with them again one day, and I always ended the prayer wishing that their deaths were just a bad dream and that I would wake up from it. When the prayer was finished I crossed my heart and looked up into the sky.
“Good night mommy and daddy. I love you.” I looked up and saw Mamma Belle standing in the door just watching me.
“C’mon and get to the table, dinner is ready.” “If it’s okay with you Grandma, I’ll skip dinner.” “Well suit ya’self, but if you ain’t gonna’ eat you need to carry your tail to bed. I’ve got you set up with a friend of the church for an interview tomorrow down at his diner. Now the job is practically yours, he just wants to meet you. So wear something nice and try not to mess this up.” She turned on her heels and closed the door without even saying good night. I don’t know what the problem was, but I was definitely not feeling the love. I prayed things would get greater later.