Corrupted Chapter 5, Page 1Omar Tyree
A Serial E-book
The Business Goes On
DeWayne McDonald held his cell phone away from his ear and shook his head as he tried to cook his omelet over his hi-tech stove with his right hand. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He wished that he hadn’t answered the phone at all.
He said, “I just gave you two Gs, what, a week ago. I mean, you can’t keep calling me up with some damn emergencies. That’s your problem, how you gon’ keep makin’ it mine?”
“Because it’s for your son. And that was almost three weeks ago when you gave me that.”
“Yeah, whatever,” he piped in his wife-beater, shorts and slippers. “And stop fuckin’ lying about it being for my son. What a three-year-old need with two thousand dollars?”
The sunlight beamed through the extra large kitchen window and hit him flush in the face, just like he liked it. It was beautiful to wake up in the morning to his oversized, two-bedroom apartment of hardwood floors and brand new amenities. It made his hard life feel well worth the journey. But not the irritating phone call from his child’s mother.
“You know what, for a writer, you are very ignorant, okay. Everything I do is for Sean.”
“Yeah, aw’ight, you keep thinking I’m a damn fool. Well, I ain’t got two thousand to keep giving you for the hell of it. I’ma give you what I give you when I give it to you.”
“Oh, no you’re not either. And if you gave me what you supposed to regularly, I wouldn’t have to go through all this.”
It was the worst feeling in the world for D to be forced to cough up money each month to a woman who loved to remind him that he owed it her. He would rather the money be docked out of his check somehow and sent to her three or four times a year like his agent got from his advances and royalties. That way he wouldn’t have to deal with her mouth all the time. But Marsha didn’t like the idea of three or four lump payments. It would take too long for the next payment to come, and she understood how terrible she was at budgeting. So instead, they went through a monthly torture process, where she would try and pry a little bit more out of him, assuming that he had sold more books that month than in the previous months.
DeWayne explained that his royalties and advances didn’t work that way. Unless he was still selling his own books, which he was not, his royalties would accrue twice a year, with advances only paid when he started and completed new books under contract, which made Marsha ask persistently about his new projects.
“Did you start a new book yet? Did you finish it? Did your new royalty check come?”
They were the most irritating phone calls imaginable.
D would ask her, “What do my new books and royalties have to do with you? You’re not my agent.” She surely wasn’t asking him because she was interested in what he was writing. So thank God she lived in Chicago instead of somewhere near him on the east coast, where he might have to see her in person and want to strangle her.
Unfortunately, his relationship with his son and only child paid the cost. Every opportunity to see Sean became a marathon of patience and tolerance in dealing with his mother. In a perfect world, he would choose to marry her or claim full custody of his son to stop the grueling song and dance of paying her. But in the real world, neither option was likely to happen. Marsha was too irrational to marry, and D would have to prove that she was an incapable mother somehow to gain custody of his son, which would cost him more money in court, and drive him crazy if it didn’t work. He could only imagine how she would act toward him if he even tried it. So, for the meantime, he decided to bear her present methods of torture.
D flipped his omelet over for perfection. “Aw’ight, well, I’m about to eat,” he told her.
“So, when you gon’ send that to me?”
When hell freezes over! he thought to himself. But he didn’t need an extended argument. He wanted to eat.
He put two pieces of wheat bread in his toaster and answered, “I’ll call you later on.”
“DeWayne, you always say that shit.”
“And I always mean it too. So I’ll call you back.”
“Whatever,” she mumbled as she hung up.
D shook his head again as soon as it was over with. “Crazy-ass girl. How the fuck I even get involved with her?”
The answer was easy. He met Marsha at a Chicago poetry club after one of his first book events out there in Greektown. She had a body to kill for and crazy wild hair like a black Shakira. D asked her boldly if her crazy wild hair was real, and she let him touch it at the roots to prove that it was. So he got good and drunk and talked some real good shit to her. And since he was an out of towner from Brooklyn, she snuck back to his hotel room and fucked him that first night. She returned late that second night and fucked him again, even better than the first time. And before he left the hotel for his flight back to New York in the morning, she sucked his dick so good and long that he nearly fucked around and missed his plane.
From that point on, Chicago became Double D’s favorite city for awhile. He visited often and even thought about getting an apartment out there. But then Marsha got pregnant after too much sucking and boning, while forgetting about the condoms. They had apparently gotten too comfortable with each other. That’s when everything changed.
D wasn’t planning on settling down with her, or at least not yet. He felt good the way things were. He had even flown her out to see him in Brooklyn a few times. And everybody liked her. But once she got pregnant . . . the girl started demanding things.
“Fly me back out to New York. I’m bored. I wanna see you.”
But D had a disciplined schedule to keep.
“Yo, I’m kinda working on this new book right now. I got a deadline to make. I can’t really be umm . . . hanging out like that right now.”
“Well, if I was there with you, I would just be there for you whenever.”
He knew what that meant. She was fine with moving in with his ass, especially since she had no problem finding jobs. Marsha would walk into a public place with her wild hair and sculptured body and walk out with a job without even filling out an application. That’s how erotic she was. Even women jumped to hire her. But when she started clamping down on D’s personal space, he didn’t like that shit. And it only got worse when he rejected her offers.
“Well, give me a few days to think about it. I’m up on my shit right now.”
He meant his new book hustle. When D was up on it, he blocked out everything. How else can a motherfucker finish a good book in Brooklyn? It was focus time. And after being locked in prison with unstable roommates for a number of years, he treasured his time alone.
“Give you a few days to think about it?” she huffed. “But what if I wanna see you now?”
It’s crazy how the timing of a woman’s assertion can drive a man crazy in a good way or in a bad way, depending on where his mind was at the moment, but D’s mind was definitely not on fucking with a girl he had to fly out from Chicago to see him, and who he didn’t want pregnant in the first place. The pregnancy only made her seem like more of a spoiled rotten bitch in his opinion. Or maybe he just didn’t notice it beforehand. But it was definitely coming out after her oven had been popped.
“I’m saying, man, I’m trying to get this shit done right now,” he told her.
“And if I was there, you could do what you need to do and then deal with me afterwards. I mean, what is the problem?”
The problem was, no girl dictates what D does. And if he wanted to bring her back to Brooklyn, he’d do it on his time and not on hers. But Marsha wasn’t trying to hear all of that.
She said, “I mean, you act like you don’t like me anymore.”
Shit! D thought to himself. This girl is fucking killing me. Is it her hormones talking or what?
That’s when he started with his blow off game. “I’ll call you back on it.”
As they say, a woman scorned is the worst thing on earth. And it all went downhill from there. Marsha seemed to ask for money just to irritate his ass on purpose.
So as D spread grape jelly on his hot wheat toast and poured a tall glass of orange juice, he wondered how different things could be had he moved Marsha in with him in Brooklyn, instead playing it scared and keeping her a plane ticket and a couple of taxi rides away in Chicago.
But as he sat in his tall chair at his kitchen table of Jamaican bamboo and began to dig into his omelet with his fork, he shook his head for a third time.
“Nawww,” he groaned with the first bite. He thought, If I would have moved her ass in here, I’d be headed back to jail for domestic violence right now. Then my son wouldn’t even like me.
D was convinced that Marsha was an attention freak. The more she was around him, the more she proved it. But his book hustle stopped for no one; not even for the mother of his child. So he figured that giving himself space from her was the best decision he could make.
As a taxi pulled away from the curb behind her, Darlene floated toward the huge Jacob Javits Center of glass, glowing with a bright yellow short jacket over her knee-length white dress. She wore white pearls around her neck and in her ears, with white bow-tie shoes and sheer stockings. Her hair was pulled back into flawless ponytail with a bun, and she clutched a small white leather purse in her left hand, filled her cell phone, personal items and business cards. It was an outfit she couldn’t wait to wear in New York and dazzle them with. And it was perfect for a long and busy Friday.
“Wow, nice outfit,” the first suit-wearing publishing professional commented to her. He was a white man in his late thirties, who reminded her of her father, Herbert Krause. He had the same friendly gaze and an easy flow about him with sandy brown hair. Only her father was at least twenty years older and definitely grayer around the edges.
Darlene smiled and said, “Thank you.”
“No problem.” He even held the glass door open for her.
She walked through it and said, “Thanks again.”
“Oh, you deserve it.”
She was already pleased with the attention that she was getting. The taxi driver had been extra chatty that morning as well, while peeking at her often through his rearview mirror, to the point where she was tempted to tell him to keep his eyes on the road. But she was safe and sound at her destination now, where she looked forward to dazzling the two men who could count the most to her, Vincent Biddle and Antonio Martinez; one for business and the other for personal.
“Are you an author, an editor or . . . ?”
The publishing professional was more curious now, attempting to size her up for a conversation, but Darlene had no time for it.
“I’m trying to be, so wish me luck,” she said, breezing on by him with a smile. She smelled good too, nice and edible.
“Well, good luck,” he told her. And I wish it was me, he thought.
Darlene could feel his eyes on her ass as she walked ahead of him toward the escalators. It was all normal now for her to ignore them and know that they were there, lusting for her. She used it all as fuel to write about the men and the situations that they got themselves in, or tried to, along with the women who fell for it.
But she was one of them, a hopeless romantic at heart herself, traveling all the way to the Big Apple for the love of writing and dreaming and hoping, while desiring two perfect endings; one business and the other one personal.
She reached the escalator to ride it down, overlooking the gigantic showrooms of publishing companies.
She took a deep breath and whispered to herself, “Here we go again.” And when she looked down to the bottom of the esculator, there was Tony waiting to meet her in his sharp uniform as well. He looked better than he did in her dreams.
Whoa, is this really happening? She had to brace herself before she acted too giddy.
“Wow, what an outfit,” Antonio told her and took her hand at the bottom.
“Thank you,” she gushed again. “I like what you’re wearing too, soft corduroy,” she said with a touch of his beige sports jacket.
“Oh, no, this is flea market compared to what you’re wearing,” he joked.
Her smile was so big and genuine that her cheeks nearly hurt.
“Please, stop it,” she complained insincerely.
“Hey, man, you shouldn’t have worn that if you didn’t want all the attention. Girls do that all the time, wear things that they can’t handle. And I have three sisters, so I know.”
“Yeah, you remind me all the time,” she teased.
“So, where are you off to first?” he asked her, as if he had no idea.
First she pulled her hand away from his. “We’re on business right now,” she said with a soft grin.
“Oh, yeah, my bad. I was hypnotized. You walked in here like Cinderella at the ball with magic shoes on.”
Darlene chuckled and couldn’t help herself. It went all the way into her stomach. She even had to grab her ribs to stop them from cramping up.
“You’re so funny.”
“I’m just telling the truth, man. You look fabulous. Give her a contract right now.”
“Okay, well, I wanna stop past Vincent’s booth at Williams & Klein first,” she told him to stop their silliness. It was time for her game face. But once she mentioned Vincent at Williams & Klein, Antonio paused.
Okay, this is where I make a slight detour, he plotted. He didn’t want to return to the booth with Vincent at Darlene’s side, but he could walk back through the area after she was already there.
He told her, “Well, let’s split up then and I’ll join you over there after you get started with him, so we can make it look more like an accident or something, you know.”
Darlene continued to grin at him. “And how long do we plan to act like we barely know each other?”
He shrugged, “You tell me.”
She nodded. “Okay. I will.”
“All right, so I’ll take a trip to the bathroom and then come back and find you.”
“Wait, do you know where it is?” she asked before he walked away.
“Yeah, I saw him earlier,” Tony admitted.
Darlene was shocked. “You did?”
“Yeah, he noticed me again, so what could I do? Even that PR woman spoke to me. Ahh, Lauren something.”
“Grandeis,” Darlene informed him. She had told her agent everything that morning before she left her hotel room, and he told her how great of a job she was doing. Her audacious trip to New York had made his job a hell of a lot easier to pitch her.
“Yeah, she asked me if I wanted to model or star on Broadway,” Antonio added. “You believe that?”
That threw Darlene for an additional loop. “Well, that’s good. What did you say about it?”
“I told her to bring the noise and see what she could do,” he exaggerated.
“Okay, and what did Vincent talk to you about?”
Tony paused again. Do I tell her the truth or what? he mused.
“He looked at some of my work, and he advised me to find an agent or a lawyer and tighten things up,” he decided to tell her.
Darlene starred at him as if she didn’t know what else to say. “Well . . . that’s good, right? I mean, at least he looked at it.”