Corrupted Chapter 9, Page 1Omar Tyree
A Serial E-book
Natalie Cumberland and her husband arrived at the police precinct in the Queens, New York in separate squad cars, only to sit on holding benches right across from each other. And they were both embarrassed by it.
Natalie snuck a peek at her husband’s scared and battered face and shook her head. This is exactly kind of book that Vincent wants me to write about, Me & My Crazy-Ass Husband, she assumed with a ready-made title. People love nonsense like this. That’s all you see on TV nowadays, people arguing and ready to fight each other. And we’re actually sitting here going through this craziness. I guess we needed some of those television bodyguards to hold us back.
On Michael’s bench, he wanted to rewind the entire scene and remain asleep that night instead of even bothering his wife. He had pulled on his pants and a button up shirt for the short trip to the precinct. He realized now that he and his wife had been itching for a fight their whole time in New York. His loss of a job and her lack of a new publishing contact had put them both on edge. So Natalie was right, maybe he should have stayed at home.
Shit, I’d rewind the last two years of my life before losing my damn job if I could, he told himself. I would have seen it all coming and started looking for something else to do. But naw, my ass got good and comfortable. And look at me now.
The back of his head was lumped up from Natalie’s beat down with a headache threatening. Shit, I ain’t know the girl had it in her like that, he joked. He would have smiled at the ridiculousness of it all, but his face hurt in too many places to try it.
An investigating detective approached and looked at them both. He was an older black man with a short, salt and pepper Afro, wearing an old, dark suit with an undone tie. His tie represented how he felt that Friday night. He was ready to pull away from it all and be done with his work for the evening.
He took a deep breath and asked them, “What do we have here, a husband and wife?” as if he was taking a random guess.
“Yeah,” Michael mumbled. They both nodded and were still embarrassed. But there was no reason to be angry or disrespectful to the officers. They were only doing their jobs. He and his wife were church-going, mannerly people anyway . . . usually.
“So, you two got into a fight, or he assaulted you?” the old detective asked Natalie specifically. He was giving the couple an easy way out if they wanted it. He could imagine how it all went down with adult tempers and egos flaring on a Friday night. And they were both remorseful already. If they were not, they would have separated them at the precinct.
Natalie understood the officer’s question immediately. She grumbled, “Yeah, we just got to fighting, late night. It’s been a real stressful couple of days for both of us. And we got a little too anxious to catch our flight back home this morning.”
“Yeah, I see,” the detective quipped.
Natalie was letting the officer know that they were conscious about the time and could still possibly make their flight Detroit, but the officer didn’t respond to it.
Understanding that his wife was letting him off the hook, Michael looked over at her through his stinging set of eyes and apologized to her without speaking it. The detective read the unspoken words between them and took it all in.
“Where are you guys from?” he asked them.
“Detroit,” they answered in unison.
The detective nodded and said, “I got family out there in Flint.”
Michael looked up and said, “That’s where her people from.”
Natalie didn’t want to admit it under the present circumstances. As an officer of the law with family in the Flint, Michigan area, she was quite certain he knew of the city’s brutal reputation. And after just whipping her husband’s ass, she didn’t want him painting the wrong picture of her.
She said, “My grandparents moved from Flint a long time ago.”
The officer grinned, understanding her concerns. He said, “You know we still have to file a report on you guys. You understand that, right? We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t.”
The Cumberlands nodded with full comprehension. There was no way out of documenting their embarrassing predicament that evening. But at least the officer was letting them off the hook from anything more news worthy. They could both live with a simple disturbance report, or whatever, and move on.
The officer asked them, “Now are you sure you got this all out of your system?”
They both nodded again, eagerly.
“Oh, yeah, we’re sure,” Natalie spoke up.
The detective looked at her husband.
“Yeah, we’re good,” Michael stated.
“You weren’t good earlier,” the officer reminded him. “But all right. We’ll get some information from you guys in a few minutes and get you both out of here. What time is your flight?”
“Six o’clock,” Michael answered him.
The officer gave him another look. “You need to get some more ice and bandages before you leave, don’t you?” It was a good question. The man still needed medical attention, and the quicker he got it for his wounds, the better off he would be to avoid permanent scarring.
Natalie realized as much and sighed. Michael would need at least a quick visit to a nearby hospital, which meant they would still miss their plane. Hospitals rarely saw patients right away. Even the emergency room meant an hour or two unless you were dying. And her husband surely wasn’t dying.
“I guess we should have gone there first,” he joked and attempted to smile. But even a slight smile hurt him.
Aahhh, shit! I better not do that no more, he told himself. I need to slam my whole face in some ice, like a walrus going fishing. Baby girl got me good tonight. But he wasn’t even mad about it. He loved his wife. He just didn’t have a job anymore to feel like a complete man around her, which was surely a problem.
Chelsea Christmas sat inside the lobby of The Millennium Hotel with her heels up on a deep-set and comfortable brown sofa. She was making desperate cell phone calls to see who she could catch up with for her final night in New York city.
“How long you been up here?” her third male friend of the night asked her over the line.
Chelsea paused and thought about it as not to offend him. “I just got up here yesterday afternoon, but I had this book industry party to go to, then we went to an after party and I still had to be up early this morning for a book signing at the BEA.”
“Oh, so you were up here for the book shit again?”
“Well, that is what I do. That’s like me asking you if you were back in Miami for a football game.”
“So, when you leaving?”
She paused to think about her answer again. “Tomorrow afternoon,” she lied. She didn’t want him to feel rushed or like an afterthought.
But he thought that way anyway. He said, “So, you waited this long to call me? You should have called me earlier. What you want me to take you out for breakfast in the morning or something before you leave? Because I’m in for the night.”
Shit! Chelsea cursed herself. It was her third strike out in a row. Damon really fucked me up tonight, she realized. Now it’s too late to call anybody. But who would have ever thought a bad bitch like me couldn’t pull a last-minute booty call in New York?
“What time you wanna do breakfast?” she asked him anyway.
“I don’t know, ten o’clock. What time you gon’ be up?”
“Oh, I’m up early, like eight.”
“Well, I ain’t up that early. For what?” he responded. “I don’t have training camp right now. We in an NFL lockout.”
“How long is that supposed to last?” she asked him. She
was curious about his contract money, along with hundreds of other football players.
“Whenever they agree to terms. But it won’t really affect me for now. I’m still under a new four-year deal. I resigned right before this shit started, so I’m good.”
Chelsea nodded. His maturity, poise and the career longevity was a good thing. “Doesn’t it feel good to be secure financially?” she asked him. She thought about her own career.
He said, “Girl, you already know. But let me call you in the morning then. I was sitting back watching a movie.”
Chelsea heard that and frowned. Was he really watching a movie or was that bullshit to get her off the line for something else he was about to get into?
Yeah, that shit’s game, she assumed. But okay, if he wants to play that way, then so be it.
“You gon’ call me or you want me to call you?” she asked him.
“Well, if you’ll be up long before I will, I guess it’s up to me to call you when I get up.”
“Or, I could call early to wake you,” she suggested. She only wanted to see how he would respond to it.
“Negative,” he told her. “If I ain’t up when you call me, then I ain’t trying to be up.”
More game, she mused. His ass would be up in the morning before me to stay on his football workout schedule, unless this lockout has changed him that much, which I doubt.
She began to smile it off, loving the way he lied.
I really need to stop dealing with so many of these athletes, she admitted. But they’re not the clingy type, that’s why I like their flow so much. I can come and go as I please with them.
During her cell phone call, as she continued to think about her crushes on athletes, a sexy, honey brown brother in his twenties walked into the lobby and looked around as if he was lost or searching for someone. He had the good looks and baby soft skin of a model, but he was far too short for that. Yet, he carried a brown Fendi bag and was dressed as if he had a stylist, so she figured he had to be into something; maybe an R&B singer.
On instincts, she moved quickly to end her phone call with the game master. “All right, well, I’ll call you in the morning then. Or you call me,” she corrected herself.
“Yeah, I got you.”
As soon as she hung up her call, she spoke to the young, handsome stranger before he could get away from her and reach the elevators. “Are you looking for someone?”
He turned and looked dead in her face and grinned. “I thought you were somebody I knew.”
Chelsea immediately flirted with him. “Was she as cute as me?”
She caught the youngster off guard and made him laugh out loud. Oh yeah, he’s easy, she told herself. Let me fuck with his head right quick for fun. I don’t have nothing better to do.
He asked her, “You stay here?”
“For tonight I am. Where you stay?”
“I’m here for this whole weekend.”
“Oh yeah, where you from?”
“Like the Jackson family? Can you dance?” she joked to him.
He laughed again and said, “How you know?”
“You look like it. Let me see your best moves,” she told him.
She was pulling his strings good and kept him laughing. He said, “I need my music,” and pulled out an expensive pair of Beats headphones by Dr. Dre.
“So, you are a musician then,” she confirmed.
“What, you can tell?”
She looked again at his outfit, including his two-toned boots in the summertime and grinned. His ass looks straight out of a pop magazine, styled from head to toe, and he’s asking me if I can tell. Shit, he’s so young and green I need a lawnmower to cut his grass and trim his hedges.
She said, “Yeah, I can tell. What, you’re recording up here?”
He pulled half a dozen recorded CDs out of his bag instead of an I-Pod. So she figured he was coming straight from a New York studio recording session. She had girlfriends in Miami who recorded, so she knew the process.
He said, “Yeah, I’m working on my second album.”
“What’s the name of the first one?” she questioned. “And what’s your performance name?”
“Oh, it was just a self-recorded album from a studio back home. They call me G. Flow.”
Chelsea stopped and grinned. She had never seen him or heard of him before. But his performance name reminded her of the term “G-Spot” for the sexually liberated women. “That sounds more like a rapper name,” she told him. “And what was the name of your first album? I mean, was it only a demo?”
“Oh, naw, we were selling it, but locally. It was called I’ve Arrived.”
“You’ve arrived where?”
He laughed again and said, “You know, on the scene. You wanna hear some of it?”
As he approached her sitting there on the lobby sofa, she finally understood why he had the giggles. Is he high? she questioned. She took a whiff of the strong aroma of marijuana in his clothes. Why do so many musicians insist on getting high?
She stopped him in his tracks and asked him, “Did someone drop you off here at the hotel, or did you catch a taxi over here?”
“I caught a taxi. Why?”
“I’m just wondering if the taxi driver could smell that you’ve been smoking, that’s all. Because I can smell it.”
He lifted his arms to his nose to sniff the sleeves of his yellow, button up shirt. “For real? You can still smell it? That was a while ago.”
“And you think the smell is just gonna disappear?”
He thought about it and shrugged. “I don’t know.” Then he giggled.
Suddenly, Chelsea felt more like a big sister than a flirt. She said, “You think smoking weed makes you record better music, or you just do it socially.”
That question stumped him. He shook it off and said, “I don’t know, I just do it. But you wanna hear my music?”
“Aw’ight, let me hear it,” Chelsea huffed at him. She was ready to send the boy back on his way to his room and go on about her business. But then she listened to his music, expecting pop, but hearing soul. He sounded like a mix between DeAngelo and Usher, old soul and new soul mixed together.
“Oh shit, who wrote and produced this?” she asked him, while still listening. She was immediately impressed, listening to song after song. He had four on the first CD.
The young musician grinned at her, feeling proud of himself.
Damn, he deserves some pussy for this, she joked. The young man’s music changed her perspective back to flirting.
“Do girls like you back home in Indiana?”
He laughed and said, “Of course. Why wouldn’t they?”
She continued to listen to his powerful soul music and wondered if he could fuck beyond his youthfulness. “How many girlfriends have you had?” she asked him.
He frowned and said, “What? You mean, like, official girlfriends or just . . . girls?”
He was back to being green and cute again, with no idea.
It’s so much fun to fuck with these young guys sometimes, Chelsea figured. He doesn’t have a clue who he’s dealing with right now. I could read his whole sexual life in one night.