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Capital City, Page 1

Omar Tyree

  Capital City

  Omar Tyree

  All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page














  Epilogue - Butterman AKA Jeffrey Kirkland, Jr.

  Copyright Page

  They walk in circles


  dancing to the white man’s tunes


  to get a piece of the action.

  But once the music stops

  the playtime is over.


  Six feet under.

  Who’s up next?

  —Musical Chairs

  In the tradition of Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and Chester Himes.

  For the hardcore stories of Claude Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, and Malcolm X.

  And in honor of the masters:

  Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright.

  I dedicate this book to the brothers from New York to L.A., Detroit to Houston, and Jamaica to Africa.



  Steve is dying to jump into my car.

  “Come on, Butterman, gi’me a ride home.”

  “I’m not goin’nat way, Joe.”

  “Where you goin’?”

  “I’m ’bout to go up UDC.”

  He smiles through crooked-ass yellow teeth. “What’chu got a pretty bitch up there, you’n?”


  “Well, yo, you know niggas gon’ be gettin’ paid wit’ Christmas comin’ up and all.”

  Steve looks serious now, and he’s talking my language—business.

  “Yeah, I’m gon’ set us up for two ounces t’night. Matter fact, tell Rudy to beep me if you see ’im.”

  “Yeah, I just seen dat nigga up U Street a couple of minutes ago. You might be able t’ ride up there and catch ’im.”

  “Aw’ight, well, let me get outta here then. I’ll catch you later on.”

  Steve is out here shaking like he’s cold as shit. But I don’t have time to drive him home. He need to buy a better coat instead of wearing that cheap, plastic-looking, black nylon jacket he got on. I mean, I pay these niggas enough money to buy some nice gear. They just blow it on stupid shit all the time.

  I’m riding up Fourteenth Street Northwest. I’m about to turn west. Then I’ll head north up Connecticut Avenue to get to UDC before Wes gets out of school at two o’clock.

  “Yo, da fuckin’ light is green!” I shout. I hate that shit. People get to the light and start daydreaming. Stupid-ass white girl.

  TLC on the radio. They kicking it. I’d bang all of them. Just let me meet them. I got game for all the girls, including famous singers. Mary J. Blige can get some of this too.

  I luck up and get a parking spot right out in front of the school. That’s good timing. They’re just getting out now. I jump out and stand in front of my car, waiting.

  Here comes this girl Brenda. She’s smoothly brown-skinned with long-ass hair running halfway down her back, and a phat-ass body—phat to death! But I banged her already and her shit wasn’t all that good.

  “Ay, Butterman.”

  I smile. “What’s up, girl?”

  “Nothin’. Who you up here for?”

  She all excited and shit. I should give some girl name just to fuck with her, but I’m not gon’ do that.She might mess up my play with her girlfriend Latrell. I booked Latrell at the Ritz last Sunday night. She a light-skinned girl with her own money. She goes to American University, and she’s bad as shit!

  “I’m out here to check on my boy, Wes. You know ’im, right?” I ask Brenda.

  She looks back toward the school. “Yeah, he must still be in dat building.”

  “Yeah, well, that’s what I’m up here for.”

  “Oh,” Brenda says. She acts like she’s disappointed. I guess she’s wishing I could have came up here to see her.

  “Aw’ight, I’ll catch’chu,” I tell her. She cock-blocking now, and it’s all kinds of pretty girls coming up out of this school.

  “Oh, okay den. Call me, all right.”

  “Yeah, aw’ight.” Jus’ get da hell outta here! I’m thinking. Damn, I hate when girls just sit around you with nothing to say!

  She walks toward the Van Ness Metro station.

  Yeah, here comes Wes! He’s wearing this dark blue trench coat, probably a London Fog. But Joe needs to stop dressing like an old-ass man and buy some hip gear. For real!

  “Yo, Wes, what’s up? Come here, man.”

  I walk over to him. He frowns at me like I’m sweating him. Fuck it, I am. I know this nigga needs some money. He needs to stop fronting.

  “What’s going on?” he asks me.

  “Stop lookin’ all down an’ shit, man. Christmas is right around the corna.”

  “Yeah, just another day for Mr. Charlie to collect black peoples’ checks.”

  “Look, man, you not in school now, so stop pushin’ that political shit.”

  His eyes follow this sexy-looking tan-skinned girl walking across the street. She’s probably going into Taco Bell. She a cute little something, wearing a three-quarter length tan leather coat, like mine. But my joint got the cowboy tassels hanging down from the sleeves and on the back. Wes got good taste though.

  “You want me to call her for you, man?” I ask him with a smile.

  Wes breaks out of his trance. “Huh? Oh, no.”

  “You starin’ at her like you wanna eat her shit, you’n.” I laugh to try and lighten him up.

  “Yeah, she’s probably more your type anyway,” he says.

  “What’chu mean by dat?”

  “She probably wants it fast and glamorous, like this car you have.”

  He looks at my white Mitsubishi 3000 GT. I just got the shit a month ago. I was out in Alexandria, Virginia, when these bammas shot up my white 300Z Turbo, thinking I was somebody else because I had tinted windows. That was it for me! Too many guys in trouble got Zs.

  “That’s why I’m tryin’ ta bring you in, Wes. When you start makin’ money wit’ me, you can pick the girls you want. For real!”

  Wes frowns. “Yup, right before I go to jail.”

  I shake my head and get serious. “Look, man, I’m gon’ have you jus’ dealin’ wit’ da money. You ain’t gon’ be sellin’. I need you to be like, my banker. ’Cause I’m ’bout ta cut a lot’a niggas loose.”

  Wes finally smiles. “Look, J, I don’t think we’re in a movie here, so it’s not as easy as you make it sound. Okay?”

  I smile and shake my head again. He amazes me. Anybody else would be dying to be down, but you can’t trust most of them. That’s why I’m trying to cut a lot of these runners loose now.

  “You got my beeper number, right?” I ask him.

  “It’s on my dresser at home. And you better get a move on.”

  He points behind me, where a meter maid is eying my car.

  “Oh, shit!” I yell. “Yo, I’m ’bout to move now.”

  “Okay,” she says, grinning in her blue uniform and hat. D.C. Parking Authority ain’t no joke! These parking ticketers act like they get extra paychecks for writing tickets.

  Wes is heading for the Metro. That’s all right. He’s gonna be down soon, I’m telling you. I got everything all mapped out. All I have to do is make a few more thousand and make that connection in New York.

  I’m gon’ fuck Max’s head up. He thinks
he the only one that got slammin’-ass ounces in D.C. I’m gonna go up to New York, buy a quarter-kilo and blow you’n out of the water. For real! He carrying me now, talking that trash he talk. But wait when I make my move. He’ll see. I’m gon’ have it going on.

  I’m heading back to Georgia Avenue now. I got all kinds of stuff to do today. First I have to get my hair cut; then I have to get fitted at this tuxedo place for my cousin’s wedding next week, and I have to touch base with Max for those two ounces—damn, I hate dealing with that loser. And then I have to talk to my runners before I fly to stay with my girl in Atlanta this weekend.

  Damn, I almost forgot! I have to pick up Keisha and Little Red to see my boy Red at Lorton today. Red got four years for beating down this dude from Baltimore. Dude thought Red was a punk. Man, Red beat down many niggas back in the day. He big as a linebacker for the Redskins now.

  Tub? Man, that was my straight nigga. He went down when we had a shoot-out with some crew from Southwest last year. DeShawn shot two of their boys. But nobody seen him since. You’n just up and disappeared on us. And John-John? Aw, man, that nigga got strung out on drugs and fell in love. He got this girl pregnant and shit. He was always girlin’ anyway. He didn’t have the stomach for this drug game. Joe was always acting paranoid. So me? I have to start the shit all over again. And by the time Red get out, we gonna have a cartel. But first, I have to get rid of these stupid-ass runners. These niggas don’t know their face from their ass.

  I walk inside my favorite barbershop on Georgia Ave. “Hey, it’s the man named Butter!” shouts Georgie, the head barber. Georgie been cutting heads for years. He’s always telling us about it.

  “Yeah, it’s him, the man wit’ all the women,” I holler back.

  I take a seat in the small cushioned chair and grab a Jet magazine. It’s about four of us waiting and only three barbers cutting heads today.

  “Yo, where Gene at?” I ask Georgie. Georgie has thick gray hair and a tanned complexion. His skin shines like shit. More than mine!

  “That young’un don’t wanna make no money,” he says. “You young’uns t’day just don’t value how much hard work can do for you. Why, me and my brother Isaac used to be hustlin’ all up and down this avenue, washin’ cars, carrying groceries for old ladies and everything else you could do to make a buck.” He smiles at me while cutting this older guy’s head. “You know that’s why they call me Georgie, right?”

  “Yeah.” I done heard the shit a million times before, I think to myself. But I wonder if Georgie sold any drugs. He probably did. Everybody has to put in some illegal time before they can really house shit, you know. That’s how all them rich-ass white people got theirs.

  “Yeah, I just don’t know about us black people t’day,” Georgie says. He shakes his head to the middle-aged brown-skinned man wearing a business suit and tie in his chair.

  Georgie is still talking that old-timer shit. “I mean, wit’ all the skills these young’uns have, and the educational opportunities and everything, I just don’t see what their problem is.”

  “They need money and they’re tired of being poor,” I instigate, just to get Georgie started.

  He stops and turns off his clippers, looking at me. “Let me tell you somethin’, son: all the money in the world can’t make a sick man healthy unless he knows how he’s sick. And if he don’t know he’s sick, then the money gon’ kill ’im jus’ like the drugs, jus’ like the whiskey and these scandalous and dirty women.”

  Niggas start lunchin’ when Georgie says “scandalous and dirty women.” But he still got his mouth running while cutting dude’s head.

  “Have you ever heard the dumb-man’s joke about the Martian that came to earth?” he asks me.

  I smile. “Naw.”

  Shit is about to get good now. I love these damn “dumb man’s jokes” he talks about. That’s that old-timer shit, when niggas ain’t have no money to go to the movies. They just sat back and told crazy-ass stories.

  The barbershop is quiet as hell now. We all waiting to hear this dumb-man’s joke.

  “Well, a green Martian came to earth and met a black man, a white man, an’ a Korean. And he said to all three of them, ‘Which one of you is the smartest?’ The black man scratched his head and said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ The white man looked him in the eye and said, ‘Whoever has studied the hardest.’ And the Korean bowed and said, ‘The man who has progressed today more than he has progressed yesterday and less than he will progress tomorrow.’ Then the Martian asked, ‘If I could give you anything in this world that you want, what would that thing be?’ The black man jumped up and down and said, ‘I want all the money in the world.’ The white man said, ‘Love and happiness.’ And the Korean said, ‘If such a thing could be achieved on this earth, then I would ask to live forever healthy.’ So the white man was given a beautiful wife who cooked, cleaned, and had the best—excuse my French—pussy in the world. The Korean lived to see Judgment Day. And the greedy nigga was rich for about five years before he spent up all his money. Then he went back to the Martian for another wish. And the Martian said, ‘I gave you what you asked for the first time. But I’m a fair man, so what would you like to have now?’ And the black man looked down at his feet and then looked the Martian in the eye and scratched his head. ‘Well, I think I would like to have some brains this time. ’Cause da good lawd knows I’m ti’ed of bein’ stupid.’”

  Niggas start laughing like hell. Georgie stops cutting until dude in the chair gets back to normal. I knew this shit would happen. That’s why I led Georgie on like I did. That old-timer shit is a trip.

  * * *

  It’s a quarter to four. I got a fresh, high-rounded, temple-tape cut. Now I’m rushing over to Keisha’s house to get her and Little Red to head to Lorton. When I get to her house on Fifth Street Northwest, she and Little Red are waiting on the patio outside in the cold.

  “Why you got him out in the cold like this?” I ask her, jumping out to open the door for them.

  “’Cause you thirty minutes late and I was ti’ed of waitin’ in’na house,” she says. Keisha always had that damn mouth of hers. I don’t see how Red was able to put up with her all these damn years.

  Keisha’s dark-skinned with that shiny skin like Georgie. Little Red is brown, browner than Red but lighter than her. He don’t have rusty brown hair like Red either. We just call him Little Red because he’s Red’s son. “Now you know we gotta rush up dere befo’ Lorton visitin’ hours is ova wit’, you’n.”

  This girl never could talk too damn well, to me. But fuck it, it’s Red’s girl.

  “I know that shit,” I tell her.

  “Wail, you bes’ ack like you wanna get to it den.”

  I shake my head and turn on my radio. Babyface and Toni Braxton are on.

  “Naw, Joe. I’on wanna listen t’ dat,” Keisha says, pulling out a tape. “Dis Junk Yard.”

  “Ruff It Off?” I ask her.

  She smiles. “Yay’ah.”

  We head for I-95 South with this big-butt girl bouncing in my new car to this Junk Yard single: “Ruff it off! Ruff, ruff, ruff it off!”

  “Yo, do you have ta act all crazy in my shit?” I ask her.

  She looks at me and rolls her eyes. “Joe, I mean, ’nis ride is like dat ’n all, but ain’t nobody gon’ hurt’cha damn car.”

  I shake my head and keep driving. Little Red is in the back seat, chilling.

  “Li’l Red? You cool back there, shaw’?”

  He don’t even answer me. He nods his head and smiles.

  “Li’l Red a cool nigga,” I say to his mother.

  She looks at me like I said something wrong. “My son is not a nigga, okay?”

  I start laughing. “Girl, you know what I mean.”

  “No, I don’t. And I’m ti’ed of all y’all bammas callin’ people nigga dis and nigga dat.”

  “Oh, like you speak proper English.”

  “I ain’t say nothin’ ’bout propa English. What I’m sayin’,
Joe, is I don’t want nobody callin’ my son a nigga. He is not a nigga. My son is a li’l human bein’. A black human bein’. And I want him t’ be proud of himself and not a nigga.

  She has a point, so I don’t say nothing else about it on our ride to Lorton. Maybe I should stop saying “nigga.” But I mean, once you get used to saying it, it’s like a habit. We get to Lorton and give our names and I.D. at the sign-in table. Red comes out to the visiting table looking healthy as shit and built like a Mack truck.

  He salutes me, pumping his fists, “Y-o-o-o, nigga!”

  I smile at Keisha, then look back to Red. But Keisha jumps in before I can say anything.

  “Mitchell, why mus’ y’all always use that word ‘nigga’?”

  “’Cause, he my nigga,” Red answers. I laugh like shit.

  “That’s not funny, Butterman. I don’t see what’s so funny, Jeffrey.”

  Keisha looks mad as shit. She even used my real name.

  Red says, “Yo, cool out. Aw’ight?”

  “No, I ain’t gon’ fuckin’ cool out. Y’all need t’ cool out wit’ all dat nigga shit.”

  Red shakes his head. I know what he’s thinking. Yo, why couldn’t you leave this damn girl home and jus’ bring my son up here ta see me? We smile at our hidden message.

  Keisha stands abruptly. “Well, I have to go t’ da women’s room, not the niggas’ room.”

  Red shakes his head and grins. “She trippin’, man. So what’s up?” he asks me seriously, playing with his cool-ass son.

  “I’m still tryin’ t’ pull all the strings together,” I tell him. Honestly I don’t know, because that nigga Wes is acting like a girl afraid of dick.

  “So what’s up wit’cha banker boy?” Red asks me.

  I smile, thinking that Red knows me well. “Man, you’n actin’ like he don’t want no money, Joe.”

  Red’s nostrils flare like a dragon. It’s the look he gives niggas before he kicks somebody’s ass. “Well, fuck that nigga, man! Is it anybody else you can trust wit’ da money?”