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"How was your first day of school?"
It was coming from Claudia. I shrugged my shoulders. She was in the living room when I walked in there. Her eyes were set on mine. She had just gotten off the phone and I figured I could sneak past her.
She was the ONLY sister I had that seemed to just have these spurts of moments where she gave a fuck about what I was doing.
Claudia was that type of girl. One day she wanted to give a fuck, the next day she barely recognized you. She was very wishy washy. I preferred a sister like Tonetta who just was the same all the time. Claudia was bi-polar. You never knew what you would get.
"I asked you a question Cornelius," she continued.
"It was ok."
I tried to walk away again but immediately she called me back, "Hey, let me talk to you for a minute bro."
God damn! The Tyra Show must have been wack today or something. That was the only reason I could have been being so lame.
"Were you hiding in the gym today?"
"Anaya said her and Tiny heard some teachers talking about how you must have been hiding from someone in the gym. Who you hiding from?"
I looked at Claudia. I knew Claudia well and if I tell her what happened with my Tray she would blow up. If she knew Tray was threatening me, she would flip, but knowing Claudia she would be so quick to forget it and I would be left out in the cold by myself again.
"I wasn't hiding from no one. I just don't like going, yo, damn."
"You hide in your room all damn day," she continued with me, "You need to open your mouth once in a while. I can't help you if I don't know why you always act the way you do. I hope this isn't cause of Daddy."
I know why she thought that. Mom had shut down after Daddy died. It wasn't the reason though. She knew it too. She had left her thoughts open as though she wanted me to expand on them. She wanted to open dialogue. Ya, she had been watching too much Tyra. There was no way in hell she was going to try to figure me out.
I wasn't sad about my situation. I was depressed. Life sucked right now and in all honesty, I was getting used to it.
"You done?" I shut her down.
Claudia rolled her eyes switching back to the nonchalant Claudia immediately, "I called for pizza. They should be coming. You know how Tonetta eats, if you not down here by the time the pizza comes, you out of luck baby bro."
I rolled my eyes.
I went into my room and locked the door. I sat on the room of my floor and thought about him. I thought about my Icarus.
I know it would have been disgusting but I couldn't help it. He was so beautiful. The thought of him got my dick hard immediately. I don't see how girls didn't just jump all over him. I didn't see how people didn't fall in love with him immediately.
I wanted to throw myself at him. I wanted to give him all of me.
I didn't even know his god dam name but like Juliet said, what's in a name?
I still heard his voice ringing in my ears as he acknowledged my existence. When did they allow Gods to come to Earth and rendezvous with humans?
I laid flat on my stomach, grabbing my dick and thinking about him. It wasn't long before I was hot in the moment, stroking up and down my shaft. I thought about the smallest details about him. The lips were slightly puckered when he was mad. I thought about the strong confident way that he grappled his own hands.
I felt myself coming to orgasm when the door shot open.
"What the FUCK are you doing?"
It was Bonnie. She had just walked into the room without any sense of stopping. She had walked out just when I came.
"OH MY GOD! Don't you knock?" I screamed out.
Bonnie found his hilarious sticking her head back out the door long enough to call not just one of my sisters but all of them, "Tonetta, Priscilla, Claudia!"
I struggled to get up! I just knew how fast my sisters came running when Bonnie got excited like that. I struggled to get to my feet.
My dick had a problem...the problem was that it came a lot. The semen at times just kept oozing out. It would sometime take rags and rags just to clean up one orgasm...especially if I have someone as cute as Icarus in my head.
What was worse was that it wasn't just Claudia, Tonetta and Priscilla that came running. My mother had somehow woken from her death for this one radical moment of misery.
As I struggled to my feet as Claudia, Tonetta and Priscilla all came to the room faster than the speed of lightning. I slipped on all the semen that had fallen on the floor. I slipped, ending up knocking my head hard on the wood floor...covered in my own semen which now had been spraying everywhere over me.
My mother was the one who came over me with a worried look, "You...ok?"
The pizza had arrived. I was stuck having to eat with my three sisters because my mother didn't cook anymore. Hell, she had disappeared into her ghostly presence again. Seeing her was becoming more and more like spotting a leprechaun. Luckily we were all older and responsible adults. In other words...Claudia always had a pizza number handy.
Priscilla and Bonnie had huge smiles on my face. Tonetta was downing most of the food and Claudia was just kind of ignoring all of us.
"I have to be adopted," Priscilla stated, "There's no way in hell I'm included in all this."
It caused Bonnie to crack up laughing. I knew she was talking about my little accident in my room. My cheeks got red all over again. They would NEVER let it go.
Tonetta raised her head, "Could you shut the fuck up. You need stop acting so damn cute all the time...that shit getting old now."
"Oh maybe I should start acting hood like you," Priscilla snapped back and almost immediately got up and walked over to the other couch with Claudia.
She rolled her eyes at me.
Was Tonetta just standing up for me? By the look of how she grabbed another slice of pizza, I could tell she must have been doing it more to get Priscilla away from the food.
Bonnie stared at me a little longer almost like she was going to say something...but she didn't.
She just rolled her eyes oddly and walked away joining Claudia and Priscilla.
I heard them talking behind my back.
"Did you catch your boyfriend about to get knocked out?" Claudia asked Bonnie.
I looked back behind them being nosy. I didn't get involved in the gossip but I knew damn well if I wanted to know anything about ANYONE all I had to do was listen to my sister
Bonnie rolled her eyes, "Bitch please. I don't even want to hear that bullshit. But...by...who?"
Bonnie protected Tray like she was his hound. I had never seen anything like it. She lived and breathed Tray. She lived her life being "The Harsh Sister that dated Tray." That was her title. That was her motivation in life. She probably would put that in a resume, if she EVER got a job in her life.
Claudia smiled, "Ask miss Priscilla."
"What does that mean?"
Priscilla rolled her eyes, "Girl nothing. This boy from the west side kinda cute I been staring at got into it with Tray."
Bonnie stood up, "From the west side?"
"Girl calm down, I said he was cute. Shit, not like I'm dating him," Priscilla stated and looked over at Claudia, "Claudia wasn't the boy cute."
Claudia rolled her eyes, "I don't want no parts in that mess..."
Bonnie looked over at Tonetta, "You hear this shit."
Tonetta was the muscle. Out of all my sisters, I would probably say her and Priscilla got into it the most. They were just complete opposites when it came to personality. Tonetta was feminine but she also had that independent, bad girl attitude where she wanted to do whatever the boys did but she wanted to do it better. Priscilla was dependent to the fullest. She dated people who could do things for her. She was a girly girl.
Priscilla vs. Tonetta...was Barbie vs. G.I. Jane.
"He from the west side?" Tonetta asked Priscilla, "So he from Emerson?"
Claudia nodded, "Yeah, he from Emerson. He went hard on Tray in the cafeteria. He a cutie. He got detention because he went so hard."
Priscilla looked over at Claudia with annoyance, "Remind me never to take your ass to court."
Tonetta looked at her younger sister with a pissed off stare, "So he arguing with my niggas and he from Emerson. So he with them M83 faggots?"
Tonetta was getting mad and it was clear. We all were quiet. Bonnie was gloating though. I could see it in her eyes. She did not like the fact that her own sister thought the person who punked her boyfriend was "Cute".
"Bitch, you heard me ask you a damn question."
Priscilla shrugged, "And I don't fucking know. Like I said. He cute. No more no less. Maybe if you wasn't such a dike..."
"Bitch, what the fuck you just say?" Tonetta asked.
Priscilla looked at her, "I SAID..."
Before she could finish her sentence Tonetta walked over to her and slapped the daylights out of her. Like I said, Priscilla was a Barbie, but she was also a Barbie from the hood. When she got that slap across her jaw, I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was pissed and she wasn't just going to take that.
The two started fighting almost immediately, with Tonetta trying to box and Priscilla trying to cat fight. The problem was that Priscilla was so good at pulling hair, kicking and scratching that Tonetta had to start doing the same thing.
Of course I was the only one who cared enough to break it up. Claudia and Bonnie were just sitting there yelling, "Let them bitches fight! Let them bitches fight!"
I grabbed Priscilla, mostly because she was lighter and I knew she was probably more pissed that Tonetta had gotten that good slap on her.
Priscilla was trying to break away from me and get in the kitchen. I knew what that had meant. My four sisters fought each other all the time. The only two that hadn't fought each other were the twins Claudia and Bonnie. I knew exactly when they fought and I knew exactly what to do to keep it from escalating into something bigger. Kitchen and Priscilla was a no-no. She was going for a knife and she would either cut Tonetta or cut anyone who stood in her way to getting to Tonetta.
"We don't do that gay shit in the hood," Tonetta urged on, "You stop that fake ass plastic shit cause you steppin` to a real bitch now. You talk that gay shit, I'll slap that gay shit out. You hear me. NO HOMO!"
Tonetta's words rushed through me. It was the story of my life.
Being gay was one of the worst insults you could give someone and being a black, male and gay meant I was committing the worst offense to my entire race
They started cursing at each other over one another back and forth till I couldn't really get all of it.
"Fuck you. You just mad, cause I'm tired these fake ass, tired ass, beat down Suwoo niggas and I got my eye on a sexy ass M83 dude. Watch how I work this shit out."
The threat was clear and direct.
My family had always been clearly wrapped in the Suwoo Gang even though Tonetta was the only really active member. My sister Bonnie was in a very long time relationship with one of the members, but Claudia, Tonetta and Priscilla had multiple relationships with other members. The members of the Suwoo Gang were always around us. Priscilla wanting to mess with a guy from another gang would be a direct slap to Tonetta.
I figured Priscilla was just mad and pissed. She'd be up under Tonetta tomorrow, telling her she needed her to do something for her. That was how shit like that worked.
The week had gone by relatively smoothly. He didn't have any more run ins with the other gang. There had been something brewing though. He could feel it. It was like everyone was walking on eggshells. For what he knew, the territories were somewhat restored. It seemed for now that the Suwoo cats had been sticking to their turf.
It was something like a truce, he figured.
Luis walked up to him between classes, handing him a book
bag, "Here take this."
"What is it?"
"A couple bricks. You got to flip it for me."
"Damn nigga, gladly. You coulda got me after class though.
You doing this shit all in the open."
Luis looked around, "Does it look like I give a FUCK about academia bro? You going to flip it or not?"
Kendrick laughed at Luis's honesty.
"Aight, you can call me the
snowman by the time I'm done flipping these."
Luis saluted him with a light laugh and walked away. Kendrick watched as he walked away. Luis and him and grown up together. They had always been best friends. That was his fucking road dog. He'd kill for Luis in a minute, but he asked himself would he die for Luis?
The answer was no. Luis's life wasn't worth his own. He was beginning to notice that every day. Luis was doing nothing fast. These little bricks wouldn't last. They had to expand their territory.
To expand their territory they would have to cut into Suwoo territory. By
moving east, M83 would get more customers.
More heads to sell meant more dough.
You flip it some more. You double
it. Then you are banking.
To do that, they had to go to war with the Suwoo cats. Luis
knew that. Kendrick knew that.
The only problem was when...
"You just going to block the hallway?"
Kendrick was startled when he turned to see the girl who was talking to him. She was beautiful. She stood at five four, with red curls. He had been staring at her all week, watching her with the most interested gaze ever.
To him, she was the type you made wifey. She was the type you traded in the fast life for and settled down. Her perfect little smile was on point.
He licked his lips...
"Oh my bad, shawty," he stated.
She was walking away. He couldn't help but to start at her round curves. She had the perfect light tan complexion. She reminded him of Roxy from 106 and park but only with the deepest red tinted hair.
She acted like she wasn't going to turn around at first, but then she swung around with one eye raised popping her bubble gum loudly, "Yea?"
"What's your name yo?"
"Priscilla...some people call me Prissy..." she said still seeming annoyed by how high her eyebrows were arched and the motion in her head as she talked.
"Aight Prissy, you got a last name."
She rolled her eyes, "Quit trying to fuck wit me...you know damn well, I meant my last name is Harsh."
"Not for long?"
"What nigga?" she stated, taking what he meant the entirely wrong way.
"Your last name won't be Harsh for long. I'm fitting to change that one day," he said licking his lips.
He watched her do a little laugh, but all of a sudden when it seemed like she was folding a little and he got her entertained, her face got annoyed once again and she rolled her eyes.
"That's it? Step your game up," she replied.
Priscilla walked way just then leaving him just staring at her from the back, wondering with the biggest interest ever. She was definitely playing hard to get and he definitely loved a challenge.
I was called to the Principal's office. He was supposedly some new guy. My friend Willy said he was supposed to be real tough or something. He was like Coach Carter or that guy from Lean On Me. The Principal was supposedly all about his students.
I walked into the office to see him sitting there. His name was on his desk. Principal Broyles was sitting there with his hands across the table.
I sat down.
"Cornelius Harsh. Do you know why you are here?"
"You know I get a lot of files on my desk especially in the last week that I've been
here. A lot of these kids are not going to be held back
You are one of those kids, but looking in
your folder...for some reason I couldn't bring myself to sign i+t."
It didn't come to a huge surprise to me. Hell, school was not my thing, especially math. It was like watching paint dry to me. I never found it even the least bit interesting.
"It confuses me. All your teachers have how well behaved you are in class. You seem to be paying attention. You don't have any complaints at all. No signs of drug use or gang activity. All your teachers say you don't really talk to too many people. Peer pressure isn't the problem. A 1.2 gpa out of 4.0 is horrible for someone who seems to have all the focus needed to achieve big thing. So what is?"
"I don't know."
I really just wanted to say I'm dumb. He should have figured that one out by himself though. Didn't see why he was wasting my time on it.
"Well I think I figured it out. Your father was killed recently?"
What did that have to do with anything"
"Deaths can be hard on a young mind you know. I understand you probably have had a hard time concentrating. The reason why I am so interested in your case is well...I knew your dad."
"Yeah, he was a mechanic, wasn't he?"
"Well I remember one day Mr. Harsh fixed my car.
The thing was that my daughter had left her
lunch in my car before I had dropped it off at his shop.
Not only did he parade 30 minutes out of his
way to get her the lunch, but he also fixed the car way before schedule so that
I could pick her up. After that, he was
the only one I'd ever let touch my car.
Your dad...your dad was a good man.
After knowing being his customer for more than 10 years, I can tell you
that he was well liked. Everyone loved
"I know he was."
I knew too well how good of a man my dad was. It still hurt to talk about him not being around anymore.
are the spitting image of him. Have you
gotten any leads about who killed him?
"The detectives are still researching it. They said they will let us know."
"It's crazy that a kind man like that would be gunned down so brutally. You know he wouldn't have been happy to know your grades have slipped so much?"
"No he wouldn't be, but I can't do anything about that."
"Yes you can. I'm going to do your dad a favor since he did one for me. You get a second chance. Not too many can say that."
"I guess I should thank you..."
I didn't know how to. I didn't even know if I really cared to. I just wasn't a good student. I never had been. I struggled to care though. I felt somehow something was really going down.
"No...you'll prove it to me...better yet, prove it to your dad," the professor said, "You got till the end of the term to improve your grades. I suggest asking your teachers to hook you up with a tutor."
"I don't get along with other students..."
He looked at me real sternly. He was a tough ass. I could tell. He was just looking at me like I had just held up a big sign that said "I'm stupid."
He shook his head, "We're done here..."
"Find a tutor...or fail. Good day Mr. Harsh."
I sighed deeply before getting up off my chair. Everyone `thought' I was smart. I should have been smart. Little did they know I was getting worse grades the popular kids. I was an idiot stuck in a geek's body. What could be worse?
Class had just ended. Kendrick stood by his locker hoping that he would be able to see Priscilla. Of course he didn't let anyone know that was who he was waiting for. He was posted, his arms crossed leaning against his locker.
He knew he was a sexy ass guy. He could probably get most of these girls easy. He could see a couple of the hood rat ones already looking at him. He had a couple of girls he'd slept with from the west side still in the school, still giving him smart little stares cause he never called them back after he has sex with them.
Kendrick wasn't that type. Smash them and leave them. That was his motto.
Maybe Priscilla was different.
He heard the east side girls were easy. Luis had smashed a couple of them back in the day. She sure was playing hard to get.
He had to get that.
"Who you daydreaming about?"
Kendrick turned around to see his boys coming up to him. They were all centered around each other. They all had scarves hanging out of their pockets.
"They got mad shawties out here kid," he said.
Luis was the first was to slap him up and posted next to him. The two looked down the hallway. Kendrick knew Luis wasn't looking for no girls. He was looking for the east side crew. The beef between the crews were building.
It was a silent boil that was getting bigger and bigger.
"Something going down soon, I need your head in the game," Luis told him.
The other gang members were close enough. Kendrick knew they looked up to him. He was one of the true members of the gang. He'd always done whatever he was asked. That was the secret problem that burned him inside.
"Them boys keep stepping in our territory," Luis explained to him, "Big Boy said one last time. One last time and we going to war."
Big Boy was the guy who called all the moves. He was an O.G in the M83. He had come from the Dominican and started to build his army down here. He was a real gangsta.
It was the only one that Kendrick ever felt scared of at times. Big boy was the face of M83. He ducked low. People didn't know who he was. Kendrick didn't let anyone know who he was. Luis was the only one that talked to Big Boy.
"What's going out here?"
Kendrick looked at the guy coming at them. It was the same nosy ass principal that had broken up his fight with that guy from the east side. He rolled his eyes, knowing the damn principal was suspicious of them.
"You guys gangbanging in my school?"
The boys laughed. They didn't think he would be so up forward with it.
One of them chuckled a quick, "Naw, pa, we just singing spirituals and shit."
The principal took a deep look at them, "Listen to me good. All you listen to me real good. These are not the streets. This here is MY school. We going to do things MY way. Forgot everything you learned out on the streets. This is the new place where you need to prove yourself or you can get the hell out of my institution."
Kendrick came forward, "Yo, what the hell you just say?"
No body talked to his boys crazy in front of his face. Principal or not. Anyone could get it. Kendrick was surprised however when the Principal went right back in his face.
The principal wasn't shaking like those other old guys who pretended to be tough. He seemed like he was the real deal.
"You want me to repeat myself," he asked, "I want you all to clear out my hallways and either get to class or have the cops called on you for trespassing."
Surprisingly the principal seemed to get to them.
Luis grabbed Kendrick by his arm, "Come on kid."
"No you go ahead. I have to talk to Kendrick for a minute," the principal stated.
The other boys seemed reluctant but Kendrick nodded at them, letting them know it was cool. He looked over at the principal. He wasn't scared of any guy in a tie. He never would be.
"You know my name?"
They were alone. Class had started.
The principal nodded his head, "Kendrick Vargas. I looked at your folder. I was looking in your folder for a week trying to figure you out. Top performance in math and science classes, yet you have a criminal record almost as long as your educational accomplishes. You realize if you attended classes more you could probably be the valedictorian?"
"I don't want to be."
Kendrick shook his head. There was no way people could know he did so well in school. It would ruin his rep. The principal didn't understand. He was some uppity ass guy from the suburbs somewhere. Kendrick's pride was all he had. The fact that he secretly studied and was trying to get out would put a target on his back from his enemies. With the east side guy around, it was the last thing he wanted to do.
"You don't want recognition?"
"I'm not your son. Young man, I read some of your literature essays. They were so good, I was tempted to publish them without you knowing. Your speech is impeccable. Why do you continue to speak like a common idiot? Why do you continue to lower yourself?"
Kendrick was speechless. No one had asked him those questions. The teachers knew he was smart. They would write on his papers but they knew for the most part he was a bad ass and most of them had just chalked it up to dumb luck. This professor was really getting to him.
"You don't understand..."
The professor looked at him raising an eyebrow, "Don't understand what? I don't understand being young and different? I grew up in these streets just like you. It was tough back then too. You have potential Kendrick. You have potential to do big things. Why don't you?
"I'm cool. I just want a quiet plane ticket out of here."
Kendrick had never admitted it to anyone. He was always so scared someone would use it against him. He couldn't admit to anyone that he wanted to get away from the Bottom. The Bottom wasn't a place for him.
He didn't know why he admitted it to the principal.
"You heard of Morehouse? In Atlanta? They had some local reps are coming out here at the end of the semester. With the right backing, I'm sure you could get a full scholarship. You know what that means."
Kendrick's eyes lit up a little bit, "A full...scholarship?"
"I could put in a reference for you."
Kendrick backed down, crossing his arms, "Yo man, don't
front on me. I don't put up with that
shit, principal or not. A dude front on
me and I'm coming for him."
The principal seemed to shake off his warning, "Kendrick...you just got to do one thing for me."
"There's a boy. He's the son of an old friend of mine. He needs help. You obviously would need more extracurricular activities. I figured since you don't like too much attention, you could do something private. Some private tutoring."
"I do need some extracurricular stuff huh?
"I'm not lying to you...son."
Kendrick smiled. He couldn't believe this uppity guy had actually made him smile.
My armpits were sweating. I was so fucking nervous. What made it even worse was that I hadn't used deodorant that day. My dumb ass sister Priscilla was spending forever in the bathroom as always. She wouldn't even take two seconds to get my deodorant out from the cabinet for me.
My only friend Willy had said he was going to wait for me. Willy wasn't the smartest thing. He was actually in the special education classes. He needed a lot of help sometimes, but before he showed up I remembered I was supposed to meet this damn tutor.
I knew he would be upset, but I took the risk and headed back.
I needed a tutor or else I wouldn't graduate. There was no way in hell that I was going to spend an extra year in college. Hell, for all that I would drop out like Tonetta.
This was my last shot.
I circled back into the library. Surprisingly, I spent a lot of time here. I did read, just probably nothing educational or useful. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures in history books and imagining crazy stories to myself.
I was used to the library. It was my home away from home. It was more comfortable than being at home listening to Tray have sex with Bonnie loud enough that they could have their own symphony or listen to Tonetta call me a faggot or get disappointed looks by Priscilla. I rather have been at the library.
I looked around. Usually the library was empty after school so I figured that it would be the guy who was sitting by himself at the end of the book aisle at a small table.
"You my tutor."
The guy shook his head.
I turned around to see who my new tutor was. I couldn't believe it. My heart was heavy. It was Icarus. He was standing there.
Icarus reached out his hand, "I remember you...I'm
Kendrick. What was your name again homie?"
Kendrick was Icarus. Icarus was Kendrick. I got nervous all of a sudden. I tried not to smile. I always had a nervous smile when I got nervous. I tried so hard, but the creepy ass smile spread across my face and by the way Kendrick's eyebrow twisted I knew he thought I must be on some crazy man shit. I shook his hand and he looked freaked out.
"Was I supposed to give you a pound. Tap your hand. Hood handshake. I'm sorry. You want to try it again. I can do it better. I don't shake a lot of people's hands like that. I'm so sorry my hands are sweaty..."
I was talking at 90 wpm. He looked at me like I was even crazier.
"Ok," I said smiling again, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?" Kendrick asked, "You didn't even give
me your name."
"Oh shit. I'm so sorry. I'm such an idiot."
"YO! Can you stop apologizing? What's your name homeboy."
Kendrick looked at me with this weird look. For a moment it felt as though he had recognized me or something. He looked scared though. It wasn't welcoming. It was almost like he wanted to walk away or something.
"Harsh?" he asked.
"You know my last name?" I wondered, "Oh you must know my
Kendrick nodded, "I ran into your sister Priscilla a couple times. Um...let's change the subject off of family. You ready to get to work? Damn...wait...what's that smell..."
"I don't know..."
"Son, you don't smell that? Oh my fucking god. This library smells like armpits and shit."
My face blushed red. I couldn't believe this. It was the day that the person who I've been dreaming about speaks to me and I am having body odor issues. This made you think why people committed suicide. It started to make so much more sense now.
"You mind if we reschedule."
"Why what's wrong?"
"I just...I had some things I had to do. It was nice meeting you," I stated, running off before he got another whiff of the smell.
It was impossible that he didn't know it was from me. He knew. He was just being nice and not bluntly saying, "Yo you stink." I couldn't believe I had fucked it up that fast.
I looked back one last time to see my Icarus...no...my Kendrick.