Authors: Kiki Swinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica, #African American - Urban Life, #African American women, #African Americans, #Drama, #Drug Dealers, #Inner cities, #Street life
“Riding up and down Darren’s block.”
“For what?” I asked sarcastically.
“I only did it to see if I could catch him coming out of his house by himself.”
I shook my head in disbelief and chuckled. “Teresa, you got some serious fucking problems.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Well, you tell me why you wanted me over here so bad?”
Teresa grabbed a glass out of the dish rack and filled it with some tap water from the sink faucet, took a sip of it, and then she said, “Because a bitch is trying to get high. But, I can’t do shit if I ain’t got no money.”
“So, you called me over here to give you money to buy you some dope?”
“That was the idea. Shit, I’ve been sponsoring us all fucking week. And now I don’t have a dime to my name.”
“Look, I don’t mind picking up the tab sometimes. But, don’t you think you need to slow down a little bit, since you’re going to keep the baby?”
“After the shit that happened yesterday, I’d be a fool to keep this baby!”
“So, when do you plan to terminate the pregnancy?”
“I called the abortion clinic in Norfolk this morning and made an appointment for next Saturday, at ten o’clock.”
“How much will that cost?”
“Three hundred and twenty dollars.”
“You’ve got that kind of money?”
“I will after I get my last check next week.”
“So, what are you going to do about your bills?”
“I can’t worry about that right now. I’ve got to get this taken care of first.”
“Well, you need to be looking for another job while you’re at it.”
“Girl, I got about three more weeks before my bills are due again, so I’m gon’ be all right,” she replied, and then she drifted back to our prior conversation. “But, never mind all that, let’s get out of here so we can go make this run.”
“Where are we going?”
“Where I get my shit from.”
“Teresa, I am not taking my brand new Jaguar into nobody’s ghetto to buy drugs. I will stick out like a sore thumb.”
“Girl please, the niggas out there be driving better cars than yours,” she commented and then she walked out of the kitchen and went into the hall closet to retrieve her jacket. And not even five seconds later, she was back in the kitchen and standing in the middle of the floor with her hand on her hip and asking me why I was still sitting there? And the rebuttal I used with her was, “Because I’m not driving my car.”
“Well, all right. Then we’ll take mine,” she agreed and then we left.
Teresa had us in the heart of Norfolk’s housing project called Grandy Park. The place was saturated with dealers and dope fiends on every corner. To see those dealers selling to those fiends out in the open like that really blew my mind. But, what really threw me for a loop was when I rode by a guy and a girl and overheard them arguing because she found out he had some dope and he didn’t share it with her.
“Oh, dat’s all right, you sneaky muthafucka!” I heard her yell. “You ain’t have to share your shit wit’ me, but it’s all good. ’Cause as soon as I make my next score, I’m gon’ put the duck on your ass, just like you did me!” she continued. But homeboy wasn’t fazed by her idle threats. And neither was I, which was why I hurried up and rolled up the passenger side window.
Now as we approached the end of the strip, Teresa noticed her brother Eugene standing next to a light pole by a crowd of people, so she pulled her car over to the side of the curb and yelled out his name. It took him a second to figure out who was calling his name. But, once he realized that it was Teresa, he rushed right over to where we were parked. As soon as he got within one foot of the car, Teresa and I got a quick whiff of his disgusting body odor, which was very unpleasant and I didn’t hesitate to let it be known.
“Why do you smell like that?” I asked him in a blunt manner.
Eugene leaned against the driver side door with both elbows and said, “Smell like what?”
“Like you haven’t taken a bath in a week.”
“Oh, you’re tripping! I don’t smell that bad.”
“You’ve got to be kidding, right?” I continued sarcastically.
Ignoring my comments, he waved me off with his hand and immediately asked Teresa what was up.
“How long you been out here?” she asked him.
“All day, why?”
“Because I wanna know who got the good shit out here.”
“Whatcha trying to get?”
“Well, you know I want some dope. But since Faith wants to speed ball, we gon’ need some coke too.”
“How much y’all trying to get?” he wanted to know.
“What can we get for a hundred dollars?” I asked.
“Five pills of dope and a fifty bag of powder.”
“So, who got the best shit?” Teresa asked again.
“Dat nigga Spanky got some banging-ass dope, ’cause a few of these muthafuckas ’round here done already O.D’d off that shit! But, as far as that powder, I think dat nigga Pie got some a’ight shit!”
“Whatcha mean it’s all right?”
“What I’m saying is, I ain’t heard nobody throwing salt on his shit, so it’s gotta be a’ight.”
“Well, here,” Faith said, handing him two crisp fifty-dollar bills, “go ’head and get the stuff.”
Eugene took the money from me and raced off in the direction of the first dealer. When Eugene walked away from him, he ran over to the other side of the street and handed the second dealer money in exchange for his drugs. But, what was so different from this transaction, was that this guy handed Eugene a few dollars back and he slid it in his front pants pockets. So, I didn’t hesitate to wonder what that was all about. And right before Eugene got a chance to make it back over to the car, I asked Teresa if she was aware of what had just happened.
“Whatcha talking about?” she wondered.
“That guy just gave Eugene money and he stuck it in his pocket.”
“Just a few seconds ago.”
“Nah, I didn’t see that,” she began to say. “My ass was looking at this fine-ass young boy over to my left.”
“Well, I just saw him. So, he’s got some explaining to do.”
“Girl, don’t even sweat it,” she started saying, but was interrupted by the presence of her brother.
“Here we go, ladies,” he said in a giddy way, handing Teresa five pills of heroin and a very small bag of powder.
I took the bag of coke out of Teresa’s hand and took a closer look at it. After I opened it and gave it a taste test, I looked back at Eugene and told him that it was fine, but couldn’t hold my tongue about the size of it.
“Why is the bag so small?” I asked him.
“That bag of powder ain’t small. That’s what niggas is giving you for fifty dollars.”
“Well, if that’s the case, then why did he give you some money back?” “That’s because I told him to give me a fifty bag for forty dollars.”
“Well, you need to give me back my change!”
“Shit, how do I look like, giving you back the ten dollars when I went and copped the shit for y’all? I mean, that shit didn’t even sound right coming outta your mouth.”
“Yeah, Faith, he earned it. So, let ’im have it,” Teresa interjected.
I rolled my eyes and sighed at the larceny he was feeding me. But, I did leave well enough alone, since Teresa was siding with him. Dope fiend or not, that was her brother. So, I couldn’t expect anything less.
After they exchanged a few more words, she started up her car and had us out of there and back to her apartment in less than twenty minutes flat. Once we were inside, Teresa went right to work on her needle fix. I refused to watch her jam the syringe into her arm this time around. I grabbed myself a plate from her kitchen and mixed both of my treats together with my straw and went for what I knew. And when everything was all said and done, me and Teresa were both lying around on the living room sofa, spaced the fuck out! And boy, what a feeling!
I’d been spending time at Teresa’s house damn near every day for the past two months. And of course Eric was not at all happy about it, especially after noticing how our checking account balance had dwindled a bit. According to our bank statement, I had made over $4,200 worth of ATM withdrawals. So, while I was preparing dinner in a pair of gray sweat pants and a pink tank top that revealed my belly button, Eric took a seat and laid the bank statement flat out on the table.
“I need you to explain something to me,” he started off.
I turned around from the kitchen stove and said, “Sure. What’s the matter?”
“Why have you been making frequent trips to the ATM machine, and only making withdrawals in seventy-dollar increments?”
“Because I needed the money,” I replied as the palms of my hands began to sweat.
“Needed for what?” he pressed on.
“Well, I been lending Teresa money to cover some of her bills. And I’ve been using the rest for gas and other miscellaneous things.”
“Wait. You and I both have gas cards. So, when did you start using cash to fill up?”
“What’s up with all the damn questions? Can’t you just take my word for it?” I told him and turned back around to continue cooking.
“No, I will not take your word for it. Because these impulsive trips back and forth to the ATM is not something you used to do. And then to withdraw over $4,200 in a matter of a month and a half, and have nothing to show for it, is not your make-up. So, I believe there’s something you’re not telling me.”
My heart started beating uncontrollably after Eric continued to press the issue. But, I knew I had to play it cool, so I turned back around toward him and said, “You are really blowing this whole thing out of proportion.”
“Well, just tell me where all that money went?”
“But, I’ve already told you.”
“Faith, you’re lying!” he replied, his voice escalating.
“Please don’t call me a liar! Because you have no idea what you’re talking about,” I struck back.
“Well then, what’s this?” he continued as he pulled a folded envelope from the top pocket of his shirt and threw it across the table at me.
Immediately I became consumed by anxiety at the sight of this mystery envelope. And as bad as I wanted to see what it was he was talking about, my body wouldn’t allow me to move an inch. So, I had no other choice but to stand there. But Eric wasn’t buying into my hesitation, so he sought after another avenue to get me to talk. And when he got up from the chair, he grabbed the envelope from off the table and literally shoved it into my chest.
“Here, take it and open it,” he demanded.
Still somewhat apprehensive about what I was about to get into with Eric, I remained motionless and watched as the envelope fell from my chest.
“Oh, so you’re not in the mood to open it?” he asked sarcastically as he grabbed the envelope from out of thin air.
“What is it?” I finally got up the gumption to ask.
Eric ripped the letter from the envelope out of it and opened it up directly in front of me. And before I knew it, I was faced with my biggest nightmare.
“Here. Read it out loud for me,” he continued as he turned the piece of paper around so I could read the contents of it.
I quickly scanned the letter from top to bottom and as my mind began to retain every word typed in black ink, my heart started beating out of control. And to think that I was motionless before, I was completely paralyzed from head to toe. So, if I had any intentions of walking out of this kitchen before this whole thing blew up in my face, I would be shit out of luck.
“Read it!” he yelled.
“You read it,” I struck back.
“No problem,” he replied and turned the letter around to face him. “Dear Faith Simmons,” he continued. “This letter is to inform you that your urine drug screen came back positive, detecting drug use of cocaine and heroin. The results of this screening will be forwarded to your employer. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office immediately. Sincerely, Carolyn Ginn, Urgent Care- Lab Technician.”
After Eric finished reading the last word from the letter, he looked back into my eyes and asked me if I had something to say. Instead of responding, I shook my head.
“Well, you may not have anything to say,” he told me, “but, this letter definitely explains your frequent trips to the ATM machine. And not only that, I know why you can’t stay away from Teresa’s house.”
“She’s my best friend,” I blurted out.
Totally ignoring what I had just said, he stood closer to me and said, “How long has this been going on?”
With a dumbfounded expression, I said, “What?”
“How long have you been using drugs?” he asked me again.
“I don’t use drugs,” I began to lie. “The results from that letter have to be a mistake.”
“Cut it out, Faith!” Eric yelled to the top of his voice. “Stop with all the fucking lies! You have a drug problem, and it’s time that you face it.”
“I don’t have a drug problem,” I responded nonchalantly and turned back around toward the stove.
Seeing my reaction, Eric stormed away from me and headed toward the entryway of the kitchen. But, then I heard him abruptly stop in his tracks and turn back around. “Now, I get it,” he said. “It all makes sense.”
“What makes sense?” I replied, turning slightly in his direction.
“You were forced to resign, weren’t you?” he didn’t hesitate to ask.
“No, I wasn’t,” I lied once more.
“You’re lying, because I know how you loved working at that school. So, you would not have resigned on your own if your life depended on it.”
“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but no one forced me to resign,” I began saying. “I told you, I did it so I could spend more time with you and Kimora.”
“You’re lying!” he roared once again.
“Can you hold it down before Kimora hears you?” I pleaded.
“You know what, Faith? I’ve got a better idea,” he said, as he took a step closer to me. “I’m gonna do you and I both a favor, and leave.”
I turned all the way around and asked him where he was going. And in a cruel manner he told me he was going to his parents’ house and that he was also taking Kimora with him.
“She’s not going anywhere!” I protested.
“Oh yes, the hell she is. And please don’t try to stop me, because if you do, then you will be sorry!” he warned me.