Authors: Kiki Swinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica, #African American - Urban Life, #African American women, #African Americans, #Drama, #Drug Dealers, #Inner cities, #Street life
“Yeah, I’ma make the call from a pay phone, but in the meantime, you gon’ have to leave. ’Cause, I’m getting ready to close this place down for a while.”
“But why? She’s not in your house anymore.”
“It doesn’t matter. Because see, after they find her, they gon’ knock on every door ’round here to see if anybody got some information for ’em. So, if you ain’t trying to be one of those people, then it’ll be wise for you to get out of here now,” he insisted and walked away.
Seeing how serious this man was about this whole situation, I came to my senses and followed him right out the front door. And when we got outside, he locked the door and proceeded down the stairs. But, before he went about his way, he turned to me and said, “I want cha to take it easy, a’ight?”
I looked at him with a puzzled expression and said, “I will.”
“And if you need anything, I want you to come by here and holler at me too.”
“Okay, I will,” I assured him.
“A’ight. Now, gon’ get outta here,” he told me once more and started stepping in the opposite direction.
Just when I thought I was all cried out, I broke down like a baby when I walked into Teresa’s apartment. I couldn’t tell you if I was coming or going. All I could do was lie back on her living room sofa and think about all the good times we had, and there were many. Especially the time when we went on a double date with two other guys and we ended up skipping out on them after they paid for us to go out on an expensive dinner with them. I would’ve paid a ton of money to see their faces when the waiter told them we weren’t coming back to the table to join them. Boy, those were the days!
After about four to five hours of crying and reminiscing, I pulled myself together enough to straighten up the place a little. I couldn’t do much, like wash the dishes or clean up the bathroom, because the water was still turned off. However, I was able to clean up her bedroom and the living room and sweep the rugs, since the vacuum cleaner was broken. And after that was completed, I just sat there with my stomach growling out of control and wondered how in the hell I was going to get me something to eat. And then it came to me, that I could go to a pawn shop and pawn my fucking wedding band set. I mean, what use did I have for it? My marriage was on the verge of falling apart anyway. And since there was nothing for me to hold on to, I grabbed Teresa’s car keys and headed back out into the world.
I went to three pawn shops before I decided to let my diamonds go. I mean, it was crazy how crooked the pawn shop owners operated. The first place I went to tried to offer me only two hundred dollars for my wedding set that cost my husband nearly seven grand. So, I told them to burn in hell and went off to the next place, who in turn tried to offer me fifty dollars more, so you know where I told them to go. But, the last place did me a little more justice by offering me four hundred. And even though it was more than what the other two gentlemen were trying to hand over, I was still somewhat hesitant. But, when this man explained to me that this was the best offer I was going to get from anywhere, that’s when I decided to make the trade with him.
Immediately after I left the last pawn shop I stopped at a nearby gas station and filled Teresa’s car up with gas. The next place I stopped was at this Chinese restaurant. I got me a takeout order of shrimp egg foo young, two spring rolls, and two cold orange sodas. I ate both spring rolls on the way back to the apartment and they hit my stomach in the right way. I was honestly feeling like I had some energy in my body. So, I was okay.
Now once I arrived back at the apartment, I grabbed my food and hopped out of the car. And when I turned around to walk in the direction of the apartment building, two black police officers came out of nowhere and nearly scared the hell out of me.
“Excuse me,” one officer said, “is this Teresa Daniels’ car you’re driving?”
My heart jumped straight out of my chest when this man approached me with that question. But, what was really scary was the fact that I knew he already knew the answer, even if I elected not to answer him. So, what was the point? And since I knew he had his reasons why he wanted to come at me with that particular question, I answered him by saying, “Yes, it is. Why?”
“And what is your name?” his questions continued.
“Faith Simmons. Why?” I replied, as I clutched my bag of food close to my chest.
Falling to answer my question, he continued by saying, “Are you related to her in anyway?”
“No. But, she’s my best friend. Why?”
“Do you two reside together?”
“Yes, we do. And why are you asking me all of these questions? Is there something wrong?” I asked him.
“Calm down, Ms. Simmons,” the other officer said.
“Well, I’m trying to be calm. But, it’s hard when someone is keeping you in the dark about something.”
“I understand,” the same officer said, “But, is there somewhere else we can talk in private?”
“Yes, we can go in the house.” I escorted them both into Teresa’s apartment. And as soon as we walked inside I reached for the light switch on the wall and flipped it upwards to turn it on, but the damn thing wouldn’t work. So, they stood at the front door while I tried the rest of the light switches. When I realized that they weren’t working either, something told me that the electricity was shut off.
“I’m so sorry that we have to be in the dark. But, it seems as though the lights just got cut off while I was out,” I began to explain as I walked back to where they were both standing.
“Oh, it’s perfectly all right. We have flashlights,” the first officer who approached me said. “Now, we came by here to tell a relative of Teresa’s that we found her dead in a back alley of a drug-infested area in Huntersville. And it appears that she died of an overdose of heroin.”
“No, you must be mistaken,” I said, as I backed away from them .
“No, I’m sorry. But, we’re not mistaken. She had her driver’s license on her when we found her body,” the same officer concluded.
Even though I had already been through the hard part of seeing Teresa’s stiff body laid up in Walt’s house, having someone remind me that she was gone hit me harder this time around. I honestly bawled out of control and there was nothing these officers could do to calm me down.
“Can I ask you something?” the first officer wanted to know.
“Yeah, sure,” I said, still sobbing.
“Does she have any relatives you can contact and let them know what we’ve just told you?”
“Yes, she has a mother. But, she lives out of state.”
“Will you be able to contact her?”
“Yes, I will,” I told him.
“Well, do that for us. And if her mother happens to have any questions, she can call either one of us,” he continued while the both of them handed me their cards.
“Okay, I’ll let her know,” I told them and took both of their cards in hand.
They said a few more words before they left, but it all sounded scrambled up to me. I guess it was because I’d heard all I needed to hear.
It took me two days to finally get in contact with Teresa’s mother, and when I broke the news to her, I could feel her pain through her cry. She was really torn up when I told her where the police found Teresa’s body, and I couldn’t blame her. But, what I didn’t tell her was that I was in the vicinity and allowed one of Teresa’s male friends to throw her body out on the street after we found her dead. I couldn’t bear the thought of how she would take that information, much less how she would think of me, so I left it alone and prayed that Teresa would forgive me.
Since her mother lived out of town, she planned to have Teresa’s body shipped back home with her and have her buried in a cemetery in her area. Of course I was opposed to that idea, but when Mrs. Daniels told me she would have a small memorial service done at a local funeral home, it made me feel really good that I would be able to say goodbye. And as far as the things in her apartment went, when Mrs. Daniels took a mini-tour of the place and realized that there was nothing of value in the entire residence, she told me to only pack up the pictures and that I could keep everything else, including the car. So, I was ecstatic about that.
Only a few people attended Teresa’s memorial service. Mrs. Daniels had her looking so pretty in that casket and no one could even tell she was pregnant. After the service, I kissed Mrs. Daniels on the cheek and bid her farewell. She encouraged me to keep in touch with her, so I told her I would. But, deep down inside, I knew I wouldn’t.
All the drama and stress I had caused me to run right back to that dope. And just think that I was doing really good before all that shit fell into my lap. But, what was really bad was that my dope habit had doubled from three pills a day to six. People told me that the meth pills were going to increase my appetite for more dope, and they did. I couldn’t stay out of Grandy Park for nothing in the world. I also had my share of running into Papoose on a daily basis and he made it his business to dog me every chance he got. I couldn’t get no play from that motherfucker to save my life. And not only that, when he found out happened to Teresa, he tried to rag me out, saying, “You feel lonely without your partner in crime, huh? Well, don’t be sad, ’cause if she would not have died from that O.D., then one of these niggas would’ve probably plugged her skull up with some lead, sooner or later.”
Now hearing him say that really put a bad taste in my mouth, but I brushed it off because he was the most ignorant nigga I knew. And besides, he’d get his one of these days.
Speaking of days, I’d been living by candlelight for six days and had a seventy-two hour eviction noticed posted on the front door for two days. I had approximately twenty-four hours to pack up my shit and head out of there before I was forced out by the local sheriff’s deputy. And I was not looking forward to that. So, had to come up with a plan real quick. Meanwhile, I jumped in the car and decided to head out to Grandy Park for a re-up of those spider bags that were floating around. Now out of that four hundred dollars I got from the pawn shop, I only had forty dollars left to my name. So, I was gonna get two bags and save the other twenty dollars for tomorrow. But, little did I know I was going to find a ghost town when I made my entrance.
“Where the fuck is everybody at?” I asked this fiend, whom I’d seen roaming around every now and then.
“Everybody done closed down shop ’cause the narcs just came through here and did a sweep,” he said.
“How long ago was that?”
“Probably about thirty minutes ago.”
“So, there’s nobody out here holding?”
“Nope. Your best bet is to go out Huntersville to the candy shop. That nigga Walt be having dem Huntersville boys up in there selling that good shit.”
“You talking about Walt that wears the red baseball cap?”
“Yeah, that’s him,” the fiend assured me.
“Well, all right, thanks,” I told the guy and left.
On my way to Walt’s place, which I had no idea that they called the candy shop, my mind started dredging up memories that surrounded Teresa’s death. So, I was somewhat hesitant to step back into that house.
But, fear sure has its way of taking the backseat when copping drugs are involved. Because as soon as I was about to turn this car around and find somewhere else to buy me a couple of pills of dope, I thought about the huge chance that I could run into some garbage and I couldn’t afford to do that right now. So, I immediately convinced myself that I was going to be all right.
When I pulled up, Walt was standing outside talking to this young boy, and from the looks of things, this young boy definitely looked like he was peddling something, so I hopped out of the car that instant.
“What’s up, stranger?” I said with a cheesy smile.
Walt smiled back and said, “Hey, baby girl. Couldn’t stay away for long, huh?”
With no remote interest to answer his question, I responded by saying, “I’m just trying to cop some good dope.”
“Oh, well, you came to the right place.”
“What’s running around here?” I asked him as I got a little closer.
“Well, I got some people in the house holding that Helter Skelter. And this youngin’ right here got dem half of caps.”
“Which one is better?”
“My shit is better!” the young boy spoke up.
“Is it for real?” I looked back at Walt for his approval.
“Yeah, it’s real good. But, his joints go for fifteen dollars a pop.”
“Oh nah, I ain’t trying to buy a half of cap of dope for fifteen dollars, when I can get two for twenty,” I told them both and started walking toward the house.
“Listen, homegirl, my shit is a missile. Ask anybody ’round here,” the guy blurted out.
“I’m quite sure it is, but I’ll take my chances with that Helter Skelter,” I continued and proceeded into the house.
Walt walked behind me and pointed me in the direction of the house, where he let the other young boys set up shop. The house, of course, was still smelly, but I guessed you’d get used to the smell after you’d been in there for awhile. As we approached the side of the house where all the action was, I heard voices of men instructing others to form a line. So, I looked at Walt and said, “It sure is a lot of chaos going on around that corner.”
He chuckled a bit and said, “It gets like this all the time.”
“Is their dope really that good?” I asked him once again.
“Oh yeah. I wouldn’t have dem in my spot if it wasn’t.”
“Well be honest, which dope you think is better, the shit your peoples got or the half of caps?”
“Personally, I would’ve coped one of dem half of caps because the shit is mixed up with that Q & B and horse tranquilizer.”
Shocked by his response, I said, “Horse tranquilizer!”
“Hell yeah, and that shit is on the money too!”
“So, why ain’t he got a long line of niggas trying to cop his shit?”
“He did a while ago. But, everybody ain’t got the money he’s asking for, so that’s why I got a crowd of muthafuckers in here,” he explained as we approached an old wooden door.
And before Walt had a chance to grab a hold to the knob and turn it, the door opened and out came three dope fiends. One by one, they all came strolling out of the room with their faces lit up. You could tell that their only concern was to get high, because when they walked by us, they didn’t look our way. It was as if they were programmed or something, and believe it or not, good dope did that to you. So, I was truly looking forward to having that same expression on my face.