Corrupted Chapter 8, Page 1Omar Tyree
A Serial E-book
While nearly everyone else from the BEA decided to hang out and enjoy the night life in downtown Manhattan, DeWayne Double D McDonald headed back to one of his hang out spots in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue. It was an easygoing sports bar where he could watch the NBA playoffs and invite out a girl or two to meet up with him for barbecue chicken and fries.
“Who you got to win it all this year, D, Miami or Dallas?” the bartender asked him. He was a bald, light brown black man in his late thirties, with tattooed biceps, wearing a white apron to remain clean behind the bar.
D took a sip of his beer and mumbled, “I got Miami.”
“You don’t think it’s too soon for them to win it all? They just put that team together down there.”
“They made it this far, didn’t they? And I don’t trust Dallas.”
“Even after they beat the Lakers and Oklahoma City?”
D smiled over his beer. “Nah, I still don’t trust the Mavericks.”
The ESPN network commentators were discussing the NBA Finals match-ups on the big screen TV that hung from the ceiling right above them at the bar. Groups of black men and a few women sat all around them at the bar stools and booth tables involved in conversations of their own. There were television screens all around the room that airing baseball games, boxing matches and mixed martial arts fights.
D felt so at peace there that he had been showing up for the past six months, ever since the playoffs in football season. He even watched the Super Bowl there, and the regulars had gotten to know and like him.
As the ESPN guys continued to discuss the game improvements of Dirk Niwitzki, the next great white hope from Germany, D began to shake his head.
“What do you think about this white boy, Jay?” he asked the bartender
“Who, Dirk? Man, Dirk is a monster. You see how he killed OKC? They couldn’t stop that boy.”
D groaned, “He’s average.”
The bartender smiled and shook his head. “Don’t bring that white boy hate back up in here, man. Give respect where it’s due.”
“They don’t give us no respect,” D responded without thinking. He was in one of his fuck-whitey moods, while working on his third beer.
The bartender looked at him and frowned. “Come on, man. Who you think paying for more season tickets, black guys or white guys? And you know that seventy-five percent of the league is black. So that sounds like a whole lot of respect to me. ”
DeWayne grinned and said, “Yeah, just keep dunking them basketballs . . . and caching footballs . . . and swinging at golf balls.”
The bartender laughed and headed down to the end of the bar for a new customer. I guess he’s in one of those moods, so let me give him some space, he assumed of the book writer.
D continued to sit there and mope, thinking about his day. He had signed less than twenty copies of his upcoming book at the BEA, so he had grabbed a box to take home with him. It sat unopened on the floor under his stool. However, Jackson had gone through six boxes at his signing. DeWayne felt that hard to swallow.
“Just be happy with what you got, man,” he mumbled to himself over his beer. “It’s better than working some dead-end fucking job, that’s for damn-sure.”
“So, when’s you’re new book dropping, D?” the bartender returned to ask him. He figured that asking D about his new book projects would spark more positive energy from him. And he was right.
DeWayne snapped back to attention and said, “Oh, I got one for you right here.” He stepped down from his stool to dig into his box of books. He pulled one out and handed it over.
Jay held the book up and read the title under the light. “A Real G Never Dies.”
D grinned at him. He was proud of his latest effort.
Jay asked him, “So . . . what’s the meaning of a ‘real G’?”
“A man who’s rep is so strong it lasts even after he’s dead,” D explained it. “So like . . . this book is about a crew of Brooklyn guys who are all influenced from the graveyard, so to speak, and then one of them finally decides to let it go for the love of a woman.”
The bartender took it in and nodded. “So it’s like, a gang of guys still idolizing John Gotti after his death.”
“Exactly. But instead of John Gotti, it’s Nino Brown.”
Jay nodded again and said, “You gon’ sign it for me?”
“You gon’ read it this time?”
Jay frowned at him. “I read the last one.”
D was getting him confused with the other bartender who didn’t read.
“Oh, my bad, you did read it. That was Quincy that didn’t.”
“Yeah, man, Quincy got a lot on his mind lately.”
“We all do,” DeWayne leveled with him.
“Hold on,” Jay told him as he went to take another drink order. He left the signed book right there on the bar counter. D inspected the cover jacket design of a sharply dressed black gangster in a suit and tie, standing in the middle of his henchmen who surrounded him.
“That’s a damn good cover design,” he mumbled again. “But it’s still too black for white people. Maybe I shouldn’t put shit on the cover.”
He thought about it deeper and mused, Maybe I should use a picture of a bagel with cheese and a bullet in the middle. That thought made him laugh.
Jay assumed he was laughing at something said on ESPN. He looked up at the television screen and asked him, “What they say?”
D shook it off. “Nah, I was laughing at something else. I’m sitting here thinking about white people buying a book with a picture of a bagel and a bullet in it.”
“Don’t forget the cream cheese,” Jay added with a smile.
“Yeah, right? These motherfuckers are totally different from us.”
“Yeah, and they got their sports bar a mile away.”
D thought about that and grumbled, “After all these fucking years you would think they would be used to us by now.”
The bartender shrugged. “That don’t mean they have to like us. They just have different views, man.” He said, “I remember I used to bartend at this place downtown, and it seemed like we didn’t agree on anything. I felt like, are they trying to disagree with me on purpose or what? And then when they got drunk . . .” He stopped and shook his head.
“We disagree too,” D told him. “And niggas get drunk in here. So what’s the difference?”
Jay shrugged and said, “We black.”
“Aw, man, you yellow. You should be able to fit right in wit ’em. What they think about you?”
The bartender stopped and leaned forward over the bar. He said, “Let me tell you something. When them white boys get drunk and start talking that bullshit, it all comes out in the wash. I had to hold myself back a few times from killing a few of them. I never feel that way in here. This been the best job I’ve had in years.”
D heard that and asked him, “What about the tips?” He assumed that white men would still tip better.
Jay nodded and confirmed it. “I chose my peace of mind over the money. It’s better for your heart.” With that he left again to fill another drink order.
DeWayne nodded himself. “That’s a good way of looking at it,” he mumbled as he finished up his beer. His cell phone rang from the holder on his hip. He grabbed it, looked and answered. “Hey girl, what are you doing? I called you an hour ago.”
“Yeah, I was busy. What’s up?” a raspy-voiced woman responded over the line.
“You tell me. You hangin’ t’nigt?”
“To do what?”
That was the wrong question and answer. DeWayne didn’t feel like the hassle of convincing
her. He shook his head and said, “Nevermind.”
“Aw, nigga you don’t even try,” she complained to him. She knew what he wanted. She said, “I need some money though.”
Yeah, you all do, D thought to himself with a grin. He decided to humor himself for a minute. “What are you gon’ do for it?”
“I’ll hang from your fucking ceiling fan, nigga. What ’chu want?” she answered.
D heard that from her and thought, This bitch is way too hard. You would think she was ugly by the way how she talk. That’s why I need me a soft white girl now, like Susan. I wonder what I could pay one of them on a Friday night. But I don’t need no hookers though. It’s more than just pussy; it’s the human connection I’m after.
He said, “You sound like you either joking or you need to back off them hard girl pills.”
“Whatever. You don’t think about how you talk to me. You told me to suck your dick until the black come off one time.”
D started laughing. That was that Li’l Wayne shit, he reflected. “I was joking,” he told her. “You ain’t never heard that Li’l Wayne and Drake song before?”
“I don’t listen to Li’l Wayne like that. That boy is ignorant. He got like four baby mommas now.”
DeWayne froze. He couldn’t argue with her on that note. He had one baby momma and she was driving him up the wall. But since he was already buzzed from the three beers, he asked her, “What if he offered you a million dollars to be one of them? Would you do it?”
She said, “I don’t need money all like that. And if a guy give you a million dollars, you gon’ fuck it up anyway. So I’d rather take like, a thousand dollars a week or something.”
DeWayne thought about that and did his math. “That’s only fifty-two-thousand a year.”
“Yeah, but it’s consistent. Then I can get myself together. But sometimes when you get more than what you need, you fuck it up.”
“Money to blow, huh?” D asked her with a grin.
“Yup, and that’s when you fuck it up. Then you turn around and don’t have it no more.”
She was making good sense, nice and logical. D nodded and thought about that. She got some good sense after all. He said, “So, what do you wanna do tonight?”
“I told you, I need some money.”
“But that’s not answering my question.”
She said, “It don’t really matter what I do, as long as you don’t want me to do nothing too crazy. I mean, you pretty safe though. That’s why I fuck with you like that.”
D listened to her and paused. He cracked a smile and said, “It sound like you saying you like me in your own li’l way.”
She said, “Aw, nigga, of course I like you. Why would I fuck with you if I didn’t like you? I ain’t after money like that. I’m just telling you I need money tonight. But if you think about it, I haven’t been asking you for money.”
She said, “It’s a lot of guys out here who try to throw money at me, but I’m not trying to get caught up into nothing.”
“True, but once you start asking . . .” he hinted.
“Oh, well, forget I even asked you then, you gon’ get all like that. But you can call me up and ask me for some pussy though, right? Niggas be trippin’ out here,” she complained.
D heard all of that and paused again. “How much you need?” he asked her.
She lightened up and changed her tune. “Just a couple hundred dollars. I’ve been pushing back a couple of bills that I need to pay this weekend.”
He thought of Marsha in Chicago. A couple hundred dollars is a lot cheaper than a couple of thousand.
He said, “You remember that sports bar on Flatbush you met me at before?”
“Oh, yeah, I like that place. It’s in the cut.”
“Yeah, well, I’m over there now. Meet me there.”
“Aw’ight, so you got me?” she asked him to make sure.
“Yeah, I got you,” he grumbled. “Just make sure you look and smell good t’night,” he joked.
“Aw, nigga, that’s always. But what are you sayin’? You try’na tell me something different?”
He said, “Naw, I was just fucking with you.”
“Oh, don’t even play like that. That is not attractive.”
“Well, stop calling me a nigga, that ain’t attractive either,” he complained back to her.
She chuckled and said, “Oh, aw’ight, my bad. I was hanging out with my girl earlier and we get to talking like that.”
“Yeah, well, you need to get that shit out your system now before you come see me.”
“Yeah, whatever. Aw’ight.”
DeWayne shook his head and thought about her. Everything about Amber Cunningham was fast. A proud young Caribbean woman with Chinese Jamaican heritage, D had lucked up on her and said the right things on the right night. And once she started hanging out with him and visited his condo, it was a wrap. His Brooklyn bachelor bad had pulled in a lot of girls. But he had been very selective about who got a chance to spend time with him there. Despite her hard stance and tart language, Amber was one of the chosen few he still bothered to deal with. She was as safe, clean and drama free as he was.
D hung up with her and smiled immediately. He looked back to Jay behind the bar and announced, “That girl you said look like Aaliyah is coming back.”
Jay smiled back to him. He was definitely smitten by the girl. “Where did you meet her at?” he asked.
“At this Jamaican party. I ain’t think I had a chance in the world with her. Every rude boy in there wanted her. But I said what I had to say, gave her my number and left. And she called me a couple days later. The rest is what it is.”
“Are you serious about her?” Jay asked him.
D hadn’t thought that much about it. “Why?”
“I’m just sayin’, when you get a girl like that, what makes guys turn them away?”
D smiled and chuckled. “Man, sometimes, it’s just ah . . . everything don’t match up all the time. Like, she’s real independent. So sometimes she feels like being bothered with you, and other times she don’t. So if you get too strung out on her, it could end up being a trap. That’s why she likes me. I don’t really bother her that much.”
The bartender nodded. He joked and said, “You right about that, because I would bother her a lot if I had the chance.”
DeWayne laughed it off. “Well, that won’t happen. She don’t even like yellow men.”
Jay countered, “Well, that’s too bad. She don’t know she’s missing. My banana peels real long.”
And they laughed at the bar together.
In a borough away to the north in Queens, Natalie Cumberland and her husband Michael had relocated to a hotel that was close by LaGuardia Airport. They were staying in a discounted room with an early 6:15 AM flight back to Detroit on discounted tickets. You had to fly that early to get the best deal, and Natalie was doing everything she could to save money. But the process of being frugal was seriously getting under her skin.
She sat up in the stiff hotel bed, in a no-thrills room, fully clothed, with her shoes off and complained, while clicking the remote control at the cheap television set that sat on the small dresser in front on her.