Let’s Pretend You’re Black: Ty’Qwonne Blacksten (Part 7)

You:”Im headed to Ballstone and 49th st”

MMB: “Give me a reason not to smoke you right now!”

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Bucko Burger

Bucko Burgers

WARNING: Graphic and inappropriate language is used throughout the story.

It’s Saturday evening and you are hungry. You take food orders from your mom and grandmother before you leave. As you step out, you notice that the block is clear and hardly anyone is out. Seems odd that no one you recognize is outside. The burger stand is 5 blocks away, so you take a bus to get there. When you get to Bucko Burger, you see an inter-racial couple in their mid forties arguing outside. A black man who looks like an out-of-shape Terrance Howard, and a Latin Woman who is Mexican American, resembling  the late Jenni Rivera. You simply walk past them and pay them no mind. When you step in Bucko Burger, you give the cashier your order and sit patiently.

You take a look outside and the inter-racial couple boards the transit bus from across the street. You fill up your soft drinks and grab your order while hearing loud music from a car entering the parking lot. A bright orange 2015 chevy impala with 22 inch custom rims, matching the paint, pulls inside the parking lot. As you walk out of the restaurant doors, you hear the music shut off and hear the car doors slam shut. You already fear that it may be the Mezza’s, so you strut a little faster. Suddenly at a moments notice you hear the Mezza bird caw, a ritual performed by the Mezza’s to mark their territory.

Mezza Member A: “Cahhhh-Cahhhhh!!!!”(crow voice)

Mezza Member B:”Hey Nigga!!…Hey!!! You hear me calling you Cuzz!! Turn around Nigga!”

You: (Blank stare)

Mezza Member B: “Where you from Nigga!  This M-Tre (M3) all day!”

You: “I don’t bang, man. I’m not from anywhere.”(cracked voice)

MMB: “How is that so?..Where you headed, where you stay at?”

Mezza Member A: “FUCK BITCHSTONE!!” (a derogatory term for Ballstone boyz)

You:”Look, I don’t want any problems, I am just trying to get home. I ain’t from no where.”

MMB: “Nigga, Answer the fuckin question! Where tha fuck you headed to?” (biting his lower lip with genuine contempt)

You:”Im headed to Ballstone and 49th st”

MMB: “Give me a reason not to smoke you right now!”

Mezza Member A: “Take off on that nigga P-NUTT, He a bitch! He prolly a Bitchstone anyway!” (taking the role of  a demagogue)

You:”C’mon bruh, I ain’t wit that. I don’t got no problems with anybody. I just live there. I don’t bang tho.”

P-Nutt: “Fuck Bitchstone and yo faggot ass cousin Skooby! We know where the fuck ya’ll at. I am on his head. He got his coming, and fuck you too you fuck boy!”

The fact that he knows of Skooby and speaks ill of him, irritates you to the point of anger.

You:”Nigga, check this out. I told you I don’t bang, but if you wanna catch a fade. Let’s go. I ain’t turning down nothing”

P-Nutt:”Whats hattnin then!”

(Takes off his shirt and hands it to MMA)

You: (Puts food down)

P-Nutt charges at you and you avert his tackle. You square up with him and connect the first punch to his neck.  A crowd is starting to form around the burger stand to watch the melee. He swings wildly and connects with your chin. It stuns you and you feel your adrenal glands pumping up. Next thing you know you feel a blow to the back of the head and you get jumped. You try to curl up in a fetal position to brace for kicks and blows to the back, but the damage is done. The owner comes outside and fires his pistol in the sky.”BOOM-BOOM”. The Mezza’s hop back in their car and drive off. You hear the ambulance in the distance before blacking out.

As you wake up you realize you are in the ambulance and in extreme pain. Something bad has happened to you, and you don’t understand why.  You keep flashing in and out of consciousness.

Part 8 coming soon.

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Let’s Pretend You’re Black: Ty’Qwonne Blacksten (Part 6)

UNCLE ROCCO

Since you are approaching 17 1/2, you are in desperate need of getting  your  driver’s license. Uncle Rocco, a 48 year old heavyset dark-skinned man with a muscular build akin to Ving Rhames, is your fathers younger brother. Every weekend, he finds time to coach you on driving. Rocco, stays in an upper middle-class city 10 miles South of Troose called Maize Terrace. He is a licensed electrician who works as a lineman for the Edison Co. He is the closest thing you have to a male father figure.

Uncle Rocco:”Damn Ty’Qwonne, You are tryna kill me. The brakes are your friend. You need to ease on the gas pedal. Speed will kill you. Stop right here!”

You:”My Bad Unc’ I’m just excited to get my license. I’m tired of catching the bus. I need that Ford Explorer, like yesterday.”

{The Ford Explorer referenced is an abandoned vehicle in Uncle Rocco’s garage}

Uncle Rocco:”I already told you. You ain’t gonna get nothing if you don’t get them grades up and graduate. When you graduate, I will personally get the alternator replaced and give it a paint job. The pink slip will be handed over to you.”

You:”C’mon Unc’. I’m gonna graduate, but I honestly don’t know what it is that I am gonna do. It feels like I’m lost. I would go to college, but honestly, it ain’t for me. Things is changing Unc’. I read online that Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates ain’t finish college. If they quit college, why should I go.”

Rocco:”If you don’t go to college, Whatchu gonna do?!..Smoke weed and hang with the Ballstone Boys. I know you are hanging with ya cousin Skooby, and he is a bad influence. He is a rowdy wanna-be punk. He doesn’t see himself beyond the hood! You wanna be stuck in the hood?!”

You:”But Unc’ Skooby ain’t as bad as you think. He….”

Rocco:”Don’t But Unc’ me!!! Your father would break out of prison if he knew you was hanging with him. You know your pops wouldn’t go for that bullshit! Let me tell you something about me….I grew up in Troose. I was an Original Troose Crip member. I ran around smoking weed, selling PCP, and driving low-riders!”

You: (Shocked)

Rocco: “I was a shit starting, blue rag banging nightmare. I know all about that lifestyle, but you know what got me out?..”

You: (silent)

Rocco: “They killed my cousin Tracy in broad daylight. In front of his mama’s house” {tearing up, crying}

Rocco: “I knew from that day forward, I had a choice to make. Fuck around and let the hood dictate my future, ending up dead like my big cousin. Or go out here and find a way out. I was lucky. I knew I had a second chance. I went to trade school and became an electrician. It was hard as hell leaving the hood and staying wit Sharice(his wife) and her mom.  Mrs Reece (his mother-in-law) was a sweetheart for taking me in. If it wasn’t for them I would be dead.”

You: (aghast)

Rocco: “So, when I am telling you that you need to graduate from school, I mean it with all my heart. I am telling you from a person who has been where you have been. I used to hang with guys like Skooby. Guess where they at now? The cemetery. None of them made it.”

You: “I understand that Uncle Rocco. It’s just hard to focus on school, when you living in a war zone. I’m living in constant fear that I might get killed, or moms might get robbed or shot by a stray bullet walking home from work. You know how it is Unc'”

Rocco:”You are right, I would take you in if it wouldn’t offend your mom. She is too proud of a woman to let you stay with me.”

You:”Nah, I couldn’t invade ya space like that Unc’..I got too much respect for you. Plus, you know moms ain’t having it. I’m her only child. I am her baby.”

Rocco: “I promised your Daddy that I would take care of you for him. I have to protect you. I don’t want you to be another one of these young boys getting killed or sent to prison off of making a few hundred dollars. Don’t be a fuck up T.Q, you ain’t like these other kids. You are smart. Go to school and be something in life. Skooby ain’t never gonna get past Ballstone Avenue. He is stuck on the 4 corners his gang run. Beyond those lines, he knows he is a dead man. He is stuck on the corner. Skooby is the type of guy that don’t wanna see you go beyond Ballstone either. Remember that.”

Part 7 coming soon.

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Let’s pretend you’re black: Ty’Qwonne Blacksten (Part 5)

Black women on #blacklivesmatter

It’s Saturday morning and the men are busy watching college football. Most of the women are preparing to go to church in the morning by heading to the hair salon. There are 3 hair salons in the city of Troose, but Nadine’s hair salon is the most popular. Nadine and her staff handle most of the African-American community. Councilwomen, Bus Drivers, Restaurant Workers, and Postal Workers all go to Nadine’s to spend half of the day. Here is the dialogue that goes on in Nadine’s:

TV: (News Broadcaster) “Officer slammed child and has been placed on unpaid leave until further notice.”

Red mohawk:”You see that Nadine….That officer need his ass whooped, slammin’ a lil ass girl like that. These officers is losin they rabid ass mind!”

(Salon groaning in unison)

Nadine:”Yep, but the backstory say that she was a lil badass. Being hella defiant, screaming at the officer and teacher. She was doin 4 much. Im jus sayin!”

Short brown hair:”So what!, that still don’t make it right. He wouldn’t slam no White girl like that. If Becky was actin out, she wouldn’t even get pepper sprayed. I don’t know why we keep letting these White cops get away with this nonsense gurl!”

Salon Worker Jada:”I agree, I also think that our Black men don’t treat us any better”

(Salon agreeing in accord)

Nadine:” We all being portrayed as bitches and hoes, nothing more than a sex tool to our men. A Black woman is known as a baby momma, but what do they call Sarah Palin daughter?”

(clapping and laughing)

Long Haired woman:” Tell me about it, then you got these White women taking our men. Them damn,(snapping her fingers) whats they name?..Kardashians are taking every rich Black man they see.”

Jada:” Walking around on television with fake asses, fake lips, and sun tans, these hoes wanna be Black so fuckin bad. We can’t even have our big asses anymore. White women wanna take that!” (cackling in laughter)

Nadine:”Y’all know Stretch got out!”

Jada:”That’s random, what made you think of that?”

Nadine:”Kardashian and Lamar Odom, Stretch look just like Lamar Odom”

Red Mohawk:”Yeah he do, He look good too. I’ll take care of his ass. Jail time did him good. Shiit!”(laughing)

Senior Citizen Pearline:”We losin too many of our sons and fathers to jail and gun violence. I have lost a Grandson and a Son behind this madness.”

Nadine:”Our men are passing away and going to jail, and we are left with the responsibility. When we need help or government assistance, we are shamed. We get stamped as welfare queens, cause we swipe an EBT card for food. When a White woman get stuck with responsibility, she divorces, or sues!”

Jada:”Maybe we need to get married, instead of having these no good, jailbird nigga babies, Hey, I’m just Sayin!!! It takes two.”

Nadine:”Even if we get married, what we gonna sue them for? Some Retro Jordan shoes. Hell. they barely wanna pay child support! What the hell I’m gonna sue for? A blunt!”

(salon roaring in laughter)

Senior Citizen Pearline:”We need to talk about whats really killing US!!! Violence and police brutality are killing our Black men, but you know what is killing us?”

Red Mohawk:”What?..broke ass baby daddies?”

(Salon laughs)

Pearline:”Heart disease, Diabetes, Breast Cancer, High Blood Pressure! These are the things killing us. When I was young like ya’ll, I took my health for granted. I cooked soul food and fried foods with a heavy hand of salt and butter. I refused to exercise. I didn’t wanna change my eating habits. I went through KFC drive-thru’s to compensate working two jobs to feed my children, and guess what happened. I had a stroke and renal failure in my 50’s. I go to kidney dialysis 3 times a week. I have to take 20 pills and vitamins a day, just to get through.”

(Salon quiet and somber)

Long Haired Woman:”I feel you Mrs. Pearline, I just can’t mess up my weave. I paid good money for my Brazilian hair. No disrespect, but I don’t do pack hair. The sweat would damage my hair.”

(salon humming and laughing)

Pearline:”So you just chose hair over heart disease?  If you don’t take care of your health, hair will be the last thing you need to worry about..Trust me on that, Sweetie”

Part 6 coming soon.

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Let’s pretend you’re black:Ty’Qwonne Blacksten (Part 4) of short series

The Felon’s Point of View

WARNING: Foul and inappropriate language is used in the following story.

It is Grandma’s birthday and all of your family are showing up to the event. Grandma will be 68 years old today and is still alive, despite diabetes complications. You are talking with your best friend/cousin named “Skooby”, a local blood member from the Ballstone Boyz. Skooby is 4 years older than you, and has done time in juvenile hall and youth authority. Skooby and you take a walk around the block and light up a blunt filled with marijuana. You guys pick a spot near a dumpster in an alley and talk about how crazy things are getting in Troose.

You:”Shit gettin crazy out here Skoob, niggaz is straight savages killin in broad daylight!”

Skooby:”That’s why I always keep that Nina Ross(gun) on me, in case these niggaz wanna try me wit that fuck-shit!”—(Fuck-shit means, weird or strange behavior)

You:”I gotta find a way to get me and moms up outta here. Im getting tired of making 170 bucks a week on this part-time shit. I’m tryna ball like Trump or Bill Gates one day. Create some shit like Steve Jobs. I am tired of being poor. Mom’s getting older, and pops getting out in 6 years. Im tryna have shit laced by time Pops get out so he can never have to work again”

Skooby:”I feel you bro. Thats why a nigga out here getting it. I stay on the come up getting that Guap (money). You think a nigga posed to get up and go to work for only enough money to pay the light bill and eat canned food. Nigga fuck that. Squares out here working at McDonald’s for a whole month just to buy some Jordan’s. What you make in a month, I make in a day.”(laughing hysterically)

You:(disturbed and uncomfortable look)

Skooby:”I used to be like you. Listen to the white man, wanna get a job and go the right path. That shit is for suckas B. The white man want you to work for him till you old and grey and aint got shit but diabetes and a social security check. Fuck that! My squad starting our own enterprise out here. All my niggas got new whips and bad bitches. Look at FatBoy Troy. That nigga used to wear the same Jordan sandals er’day. No money, hummin and bummin. Look at him now, he got his own turf, a brand new Challenger on 24’s with a bedroom full of Jordan’s. Bitches jock him now. You need to stop depending on the white man. That shit will hold you back bruh-bruh.”

You:”Don’t you fear going to jail and dying? Niggaz is droppin like bird shit. Goin to jail and doing 25-to-life bids.  Black men are incarcerated at high rates. I’m not trying to be another statistic. They say we either end up dead, jail, or paralyzed. I can’t walk that path. What if you die?”

Skooby:”youz a scary ass nigga (puffs the blunt). You gonna die anyway! you could drive your car and get into an accident and die. Fuck them statistics. Them statistics aint taking care of me and my niggaz. You brainwashed TQ. That’s why you ain’t gonna be shit. You wanna regular job to be a house nigga and never have shit.”

Unknown voice:”TEEEEEEEEEE-KYOUUUUUUUU!!!!”

Skooby:”Ah, shit, I forgot to tell you that cousin Stretch got out!”

Stretch, a black man with a svelte, muscular figure, standing at 6’4, is a cousin of yours who went to prison when you were 5 years old. He was a member of the 45th St Ballstone Bloods, who went to jail for armed robbery. He was 18 at the time of the crime, coming off a botched college basketball career. He was a 4-star recruit who earned a scholarship to a NCAA Division-1 basketball team. During his freshman season he averaged 20 pts a game. Stretch, had a problem with who he surrounded himself with. He was always around his childhood friends from the hood. They convinced him to participate in an armed robbery. The event was captured on a surveillance camera and became national news. Stretch, real name Egypt Browne, was sent to prison for 15 years. Due to good behavior, and prison overcrowding, he qualified for early release.

Stretch:”Wassup Black MEN!!!”

You:”Wassup”(in an estranged and aloof tone)

Skooby:”Whattup Stretch! You done got buff. You used to be a twig, nigga!”

Stretch:”Yeah, that’s what that prison food will do to you. You youngstas got a  lot to learn. T.Q, you was too little to know who I am, but I am your big cousin. You are a grown man now, and Skooby you got big too.”

Skooby: “I’m tryna tell this nigga about making money off tha block, but he ain’t listening.”

You: (Looking uncomfortable)

Stretch:”That shit is stupid Skooby, Jail is not a place for boys. It’s a lot of shit that goes on in prison that you guys don’t understand. I have seen grown men get raped, stabbed,  and killed in prison. Yes, you can die in prison. Skooby you are a knuckle-head that won’t listen to anyone. But I am telling you guys, prison is no joke! I have seen grown men cry in prison.”

Skooby: (growing irritated)” Youz a old head. You don’t know what shit is like on the block right now. Shit has changed. Mezza’s and the Troose 13’s is running shit. Aspey’s are fucking wit crabz (crips) and shit is all fucked up. Niggas is out here getting killed like Iraq. You don’t know shit!”

Stretch:”First of all, Im your O.G.!! Nigga don’t get it twisted. I used to run wit some of your lil homies uncles. You a poo-butt snot nosed wanna be. I’ve lined it up (fought) wit Crips in the chow hall, 2 on 1. I served time for puttin in work for the hood. You just went to Juvie (Juvenile hall). Do you know what it’s like to not have none of the homies write you or put money on your books (commissary)? Do you know what its like to not have a relationship with your child, because of a fuck up you did when you was 19? My baby momma moved on to another man, who my son calls daddy, and won’t acknowledge me or my phone calls. You don’t know that pain, Blood!”

Skooby: (puzzled look)

You: (involved and intrigued)

Stretch:”I have been looking for a job for the past two months I’ve been out, and can’t get hired. I have tried everything. There is no equal-opportunity for an ex-felon. I have to register wherever I live.  My P.O (probation officer) is my fuckin baby sitter. I have to piss in a cup and check in with her at a moments notice. I have no rights. Cops can harass and take me to jail, simply off of suspicion. I can’t hang with none of my homies cause of gang-injunction laws. The White man won’t hire me. The Black man won’t hire me. He is just as scared of me as the White man is. I can’t even get a job doing construction. The Mexicans and Latinos are taking over the labor industry. They come into our country with skilled trades and businesses. We barely have a culture, we don’t wanna help each other out. The million man march and Black lives matter shit is cute, but we don’t wanna help each other out. The ex-felons don’t have a voice. Especially the Blacks. Mexicans and Whites get a job working for their cousin when they get out of jail. Where do the Blacks go? Back to the block to sell some crack and end up back in Prison. It is an invisible caste system that never gets publicized. So, for now, I have to stick to these temporary jobs I get at the local “Labor-Ready”. I am removing roof shingles and digging holes for less than 40 bucks a day. You young bucks got a lot to learn!”

Part 5 coming soon…

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