Monday, March 8, 2010

King Maker - Part 3

Well guys and girls, here is the last part of King Maker, sad to say.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as i did.

Ultimately stemming from the nearby Eagle Creek
reservoir, creeks bordered the Breton Court condos
along the south and east. Not too long ago, several
kids had followed the tributaries back to the reservoir
and drowned. The tragedy was still repeated at
supper time to children who dawdled too long after
the street lights went on. The main drive of Breton
Court was laid out like a horseshoe with elongated
tips. As one went down either side, individual courts
of townhouses faced one another. King lived at the
base of the horseshoe. A few townhouses were still
owned and rented out by people who simply refused
to sell to the three owners even if they didn’t live
there.
King stayed in one of those. His condo overlooked
the southern bend of the creek, now overgrown with
weeds and filled with discarded shopping carts from
the nearly vacant strip mall on the other side of it. It
was better than living out of a car which he had done
for months. Clumped between his court of condos
and the next were trash dumpsters. A black raincoat
and a pair of jutting legs dangled from one. Merle
fell from his perch, a tangle of legs and arms in an
awkward sprawl, then drew the collar of his black
trench coat up about his neck, though there was no
chill to the air. The aluminum foil helmet was a nice
touch.
“What’s the good word, Merle?”
The old bullshit fool gave a clenched-fist salute,
though he didn’t pause from his rummaging activities.
Merle had a familiar spirit. Maybe he was one
of those faces, those strangers you bumped into on
a bus or train and instantly poured yourself out to.
Maybe he was one of those neighborhood peripheral
figures who seemed to travel in the same circles he
did, even if the two had never officially met. Thinking
back on those times, King felt a certain comfort
about the man, as if the shambling bearded tramp
were a filthy protective shadow. If he were the Merle
he had heard people whisper and laugh about over
the years, by most accounts, he appeared better,
younger, now than he did back in the day. Maybe he
cleaned up from drugs and such and was now
merely homeless. His breath smelled of pork rinds
and Funyuns.
“Signs, signs, everywhere are signs.”
“I heard that.” King plopped down on the curb,
withdrew a burrito from his bag, and offered it to
Merle. “Somehow I’m not really surprised to see you
here. You seem to get around.”
“That’s me. The bad penny.” Merle pinched off bits
of bread and scattered them about him. He shooed
away the birds, making way for a squirrel to come
collect as he will. Without a warning, Merle suddenly
bowled over, gripping his head as if trying to
keep it from exploding. His face flushed an agonized
shade of red, his mouth locked in a silent scream.
Collapsing on the ground, he waved King off from
helping him. When he next spoke, his voice had the
weak rasp of a sick kitten.
“You alright, man?”
“I’m fine. I suffer from spells.”
“You ought to see a doctor. Get that checked out.”
“I’m past the concerns of a doctor. What say you,
good King? Caught twixt the knights of Dred and
Night?”
“Nah, they just jawing. They needed to show their
teeth some.”
“The Night’s too long. Night’s daddy was a crackhead.
Got hit in the head with a shovel.”
“Do what?”
“He was sitting on a curb, people acting stupid.
Crackhead just bopped him straight in the side of the
old noggin.” Merle tapped the side of his head, dislodging
his aluminum cap. He sprayed food with
each sloppy bite, losing almost as much as he ate
while he spoke.
“My daddy was crazy, so I hear,” King said. He
fought to be legally emancipated from his mother
years ago. She had two little ones at home and he
was old enough to live on his own so that she could
concentrate on providing for the young ones. According
to his grandma, she was never quite the
same after his father’s death. Whenever she spoke
of him, it was with a mix of awe and sorrow, as if
either she had been betrayed or her idea of him had
been. At any rate, he had to get his social security
benefits transferred into his name but to her address
so that she could spend it. They’d make it
without him. As would Nakia. More family he’d
abandoned.
“An OG OD’d on the streets. Brought down in a
fight over a woman. He had to have her, though.”
“My pops wasn’t no drug addict.”
“Never said he was. Heavy is the head… and all
that.” Merle wiped his hands in the grass. “Prisons
and graveyards are full of fools who wore the
crown.”
“Truth and all, I didn’t know my father at all to
speak of. I just sort of fill in the blanks here and
there, the way I’d want them.” King froze, not understanding
why he gave up that bit of personal
information at all much less to a stranger. A white
stranger at that. Like he thought, maybe Merle had
one of those faces. Before he could speak again, the
homeless man spoke.
“Can I tell you something?” Merle leaned in, still
chewing on too big a bite of his burrito.
“Sure.”
“Last night, I dreamt of the dragon.”
“You sound like that’s supposed to mean something.”
King had an air of being trapped in himself,
of not knowing who he was, that came off as rather
petulant. “You act like you ain’t right in the head and
yet you seem so…”
“Content. I am what I am. I know who I am. I accept
who I am.”
King heard a bit too much bite in his tone. “What
does that mean?”
“You war with yourself. You’re the ‘should’ve’
man. You–”
“Should’ve finished high school. Should’ve gotten
involved in something larger than myself. Should’ve
let myself fall in love,” King said.
“Instead you hide, afraid of betrayal. A spectator
in your own life.”
“Until lately. I don’t know how to explain it.”
“You felt the call.”
“The call?”
“To action.” Merle thrust the remaining bread into
the air, a makeshift sword jabbing at clouds. He
turned the jousting loaf toward King and engaged
him in a one-sided duel, waving the bread about in
strokes and feints. “Feelings overtook you. Who you
really are wants to take over.”
“And who am I?” King kept turning to face the
loaf-wielding man. As much as instinct might have
told him to, he couldn’t write Merle off as either a
bum or a lunatic. He had too much gravitas, too
much presence, to be easily dismissed.
“That is the question. I can’t answer it for you.
Some people are built to lead, some to follow. Which
are you, lion or lamb?”
King inspected the stretch of Breton Court like
there were parts within the sphere of his influence
and the hinterlands, those areas on the outskirts, out
of his influence. Prez. Damn. What happened to that
brother? Everyone seemed infected with the same
sickness, on edge. King saw the fear, the frustration,
the cauldron of terror and rage with life reduced to
desperation and survival. So many stood by and did
nothing; sick of gangs and violence, yet suffering in
silence.
“You get off on knowing the rule book without
having to share anything.”
“Knowledge,” Merle tapped his aluminum foil helmet
with the loaf, then returned to feeding the birds
and squirrels, “is power.”
“Power is power, too.”
“Ah, the first lesson in ruling. That wasn’t so hard,
now was it?”
“What wasn’t?”
“Making a decision. Making the hard choices is a
gift.”
“What do…” King didn’t know why he sought
Merle’s advice, or approval, nor could he explain the
strange sense of kinship between them. “What’s my
next step?”
“Take hold of your destiny.”
“How do I do that?”
“Either you seek it out or…” Merle stood up as if
dismissed. “Here come your boys. Anyway, I have
places to be and fey to annoy.”
“What?”
“You’re the right guy, my guy. If you were another
guy, you’d be the wrong guy.”
Evenings were made to sit out and King relished the
few quiet moments. He had grown up in the area
though now he spent some time away, maybe to
come into his own. His boys were still his boys. So
they drank some, listened to the sounds of kids playing,
the occasional car horns, and dogs barking from
the fenced back patios of the rowhouses.
“Ain’t nothing changed,” King said.
“Look around you. Why would it change?” A
hard-faced man, with a scar on the back of his neck,
Wayne had the build of a defensive linesman, stocky
and chiseled, with the swinging step of someone
who knew how to use their size should the necessity
warrant. Thus also explaining why the plastic chair
wobbled every time he shifted his weight. A mane
of long dreadlocks furled down to his shoulders.
Wayne was King’s case manager down at Outreach
Inc., a ministry that worked with homeless and atrisk
youth. He’d helped King with his emancipation
and got his benefits straightened out. Even though
Wayne was four years older, the span of attaining his
college degree, he hung out with King now out of
true friendship as much as anything else. King had a
spark about him that drew folks to him.
“You know what your problem is?” King asked.
“What’s that?”
“You pessimistic. Now me, I’m a glass half full of
Kool Aid sort of man.”
“Just something in the air.” Wayne carried his survival
instinct, too. The eyes in the back of his head
that let him know when something was up. King respected
and depended on it.
“I know. I feel it, too. A vibe. Like a whole lot of
anger bubbling out there waiting for an excuse to
blow up.”
“Yeah, something like that,” Wayne said.
“Want another one?”
“Nah, I’m good with this one. Don’t need to be setting
a bad example for you young ’uns.”
“Sure.”
“What about you?” King raised a beer to Lott.
Lott bobbed his head to beats and rhymes only he
heard, keeping his own counsel. He was a week past
getting his hair tightened up and his large brown
eyes drifted with the activity of the court. His FedEx
uniform – a thick sweatshirt over blue slacks, his
name badge, “Lott Carey” with a picture featuring
his grill-revealing smile, wrapped around his arm –
girded him like a suit of armor. Lott put on his pimproll
strut for all the eyes to see as he moved toward
an open seat, a puffed-up exaggerated gait with a
cool blank stare, his face locked into a grimace of
put-on hostility purposefully designed to make old
ladies clutch their purses and white suburbanites
cross the street if they were in his path. A row of
faux gold caps grilled his teeth. He was a wrong
time/wrong place sort, always getting caught up in
situations he didn’t start but felt compelled to finish,
with jail being the typical finish line. These days he
kept his dreams simple: dreaming of holding a job
and breathing free air, not like some of the other
talkers on the block.
“You know I don’t drink.”
“It’s still polite to ask.”
“And where would we be without politeness?”
King nodded then popped open the beer. There
were too few evenings with anything approaching
peace, so he opted to enjoy the time he had.
It was a glass half full of Kool Aid evening.
A nest of fine braids lined Omarosa’s head, not a hair
out of place as if she had just stopped from the
beauty salon. Hers was a cultivated beauty, but
where would her kind be without beauty? With skin
like heavily creamed coffee, almond eyes that missed
nothing, and the high cheekbones with accompanying
aquiline nose of a European aristocrat, her
pointed ears were the only tell of her mixed fey heritage.
The pair of handcuffs clicked in her hand as
she spun one spindle through the rest of the cuff.
Invisible to all, she strolled along the court sidewalks.
Only three kinds of people generally
remained invisible: fiends, homeless, and pros. Such
a station in life supplied invisibility because as fixtures
in the neighborhood, most folks averted their
eyes from them either in sympathizing shame or due
to the desire to not be approached by them. Folks
tended to assume she was a pro, though few dared
ask her for sex. She allowed them to carry on in their
assumptions, for her kind also valued the power of
illusion. After all, few suspected the need to be on
guard against the sawn-off 12-gauge that rarely left
her side.
“The game begins again.” She didn’t turn her head
to address him nor otherwise betray any surprise at
his presence. Few managed to sneak up on her, with
her battle-hardened senses keen as the edge of the
blade strapped to her thigh. However, Merle had a
way of appearing when least expected. “All the players
are almost in place.”
“Indeed,” he said. “They’ve woken the dragons.”

Now i guess you will have to get your own hands on a copy.
Keep reading.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Maurice Broaddus - King Maker - Part 2

Part 2 of King Maker
Seriously Extended just for you guys.
Enjoy.

Merle never imagined that a Timberland boot in his
midsection would be the defining moment of his day.
The abandoned shoe factory on the south side of
downtown had been declared a historic landmark, but
neither the city nor any foundation knew what to do
with it nor wanted to put up the money to restore it
for modern use. The owner languished with the albatross
of high property taxes, unable to sell it, so the
building existed in a state of limbo, between being and
not being, and thus was the perfect place for Merle to
break into and lay his head. With a flattened refrigerator
box as his mattress, visions of dragons, mist, and
silver-armored knights filled his dreams.
Waking with a start, disturbing the rats which
scurried along the broken bits of crates and skids,
Merle knew he had to make his way to the west side
of town.
“Sir Rupert?” he called out. A brown and black
squirrel, with a gray streak along its back, poked its
head through a hole in the bay door of the building.
“I had the dream again. I think the time has finally
come. He has returned.”
The squirrel sat back on its haunches, eagerly
working at an acorn.
“I know, I know. There have been several false
alarms, but this time I know it’s real.” Merle
wrapped his arms loosely around his knees and gathered
his wits while Sir Rupert ate.
The squirrel finished with the nut, turned, and ran
out the hole in the door.
“You’re right, you’re right. We mustn’t tarry.”
Scooping up his backpack and his black raincoat,
Merle slipped between the still-chained doors. The
raincoat doubled as his blanket, though its winter insert
had pulled free and with a few teeth missing
from the zippered lining, he was unable to reattach
it. Not much of a clothes horse, he kept his attire
simple. A furry hat, the kind a Russian soldier languishing
in Siberia would wear, a tattered black
sweater with matching jeans, and black socks with
no shoes. He had the most difficult of times keeping
shoes and suspected Sir Rupert, prankster that he
was, of nicking them at night. He pulled the raincoat
tight around him, buttoning it only at the middle
where a belt might fall. He already missed his normal
routine that had him checking in at the Wheeler
Mission, then panhandling outside of the Red Eye
CafĂ© – whose owner often let him push a broom for
a meal – and avoiding the police eager to sweep him
under the city’s rug. It would be little more than a
three hour haul to the west side that awaited him.
Merle kept to the bank of the White River which
was unusually low due to the lack of rain. Though
the White River was a natural ley line winding its
way through the heart of the city, another one lay
closer to Eagle Creek Park, along Breton Street.
Whatever called him, he knew his destiny had to lie
there. After three hours, he climbed up the embankment
to follow 38th Street west.
The Breton Court housing addition had changed
considerably in the quarter of a century since it was
established. Once a solidly all-white not-quitesuburban
enclave, it now languished as a
neighborhood in decline. Street lore attributed this
to two things. For one, the first black family moved
in a decade or so ago. Their white neighbors, not
wanting to let a bad element gain a foothold in the
neighborhood, harassed them to the point that a UHaul
truck was soon being loaded. Unfortunately,
they had made a slight miscalculation. The black
family was also seeking a respite from bad elements
and had more in common with their white neighbors
than not. And though they moved, they never
sold their town house in Breton Court. Instead, they
rented it out. They found the worst of the “bad elements”
they could find and let them live there
rent-free for six months. The white flight was more
of an exodus of Biblical proportions.
The second factor? The townhouses had since
been bought up primarily by three owners who, in
an act just shy of collusion, opted to let the property
run down, renting to Section 8 tenants or anyone
who had cash in hand. While the word “gentrification”
hadn’t been bandied about, their goal was to
sell off the whole piece for development and by
“development” they envisioned razing the entire
lot.
Merle plodded along the creek line which ran the
length of Breton Court from 38th Street. Sir Rupert
had long scampered off, perhaps to survey the scene
from his own vantage point. No matter, Merle recognized
layabouts and ne’er-do-wells when he saw
them.
“What you need, old timer? You look like you
need to get up.” A young man, more boy than man,
stepped toward him. His slightly faded blue jeans had
rolled-up cuffs and sagged just below his blue and
white striped boxer shorts despite the presence of a
skull-buckled chain through the belt loops. Rhinestones
dotted his black shirt.
“All’s not right in Who-ville,” Merle said.
“What you got, Dollar?” Another young man
sported a formidably sized pair of black Timberland
boots, smothered in a hooded jacket with a frog
across its back. Merle couldn’t help but think of the
cartoon with the frog singing “Hello my baby, hello
my darling” when no one but his owner was around.
“Don’t know. You up?” Dollar asked, never one to
let any potential sale slip past. The court had been a
quiet stretch of real estate until Dollar built it up into
a profitable venture. He was due to be moved up the
ranks soon, climbing the corporate ladder, to get
away from actually handling product.
“No, no. Just passing through,” Merle said while
he fished in his pockets as if he misplaced his wallet.
“What? We some sightseeing stop? Get right or get
gone.”
“I’m tired of these ghetto tourist types. ‘Let’s see
how the po’ folks be living.’” The Timberland-booted
man stepped nearer, a hulk of aggression needing to
be vented.
“Come on, man. Green said no drama less we had
no choice.” Dollar understood that in such stark economic
times, fiscal responsibilities demanded certain
precaution. Ever-present muscle was the cost of
doing business. But some of these young bucks were
too eager to make a name, thinking that being crazy
was the surest route to success. It was a headache he
didn’t need.
“Green?” Merle had hoped to never hear that
name again. He buried the gleam of recognition too
late.
“You know Green?” Dollar tilted his head with
piqued curiosity.
“Yes. Uh, not really. Maybe I’ve heard the name.”
“I bet his country ass is a snitch.” Mr Size 12 Boots
gave him an exaggerated sniff. “Yeah, he smells like
a snitch bitch.”
Merle waved his fingers in front of him as if with
a sudden display of jazz hands. “These are not the
droids you are looking for.”
“Are you making fun of me?” Before Merle could
respond, the young man punched him in the gut
with such force that Merle crumpled to the ground.
With blood in the water, the Timberland boot
slammed into his side three or four times for good
measure before the man bent over to grab him by
the lapels. “Yeah, I’m gonna give you a name to remember.”
“My man.” Dollar backed up a step or two, looking
over his shoulder for Green, instead spying another
approaching figure. “Ease up.”
“We got a problem?” Tall and straight, visibly muscled,
but not with the dieseled artifice of prison
weight, the man had the complexion of burnt cocoa.
His eyes burned with a stern glint, both decisive and
sure. Hard, but not in a street tough way, his walk
was street savvy, with a hint of the swagger of someone
who knew how handsome he was. Carrying
himself properly was a survival tool. Level chin,
squared up, not moving too fast which betrayed fear.
The streets hadn’t changed much in the years Merle
had wandered them. If your body language portrayed
you as scared, you became nothing but prey. Despite
the oversized black T-shirt with a Jackie Robinson
portrait, the young man wasn’t much older than the
other man-boys. He cold-eyed both Dollar and Mr
Size 12, though not so hard as to give Mr Size 12 a
challenge he’d have no choice but to respond to.
“Nah, we ain’t got a problem. Simply a misunderstanding,”
Dollar said.
“He in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr
Size 12 said. “He needed… directions.”
“He’s just an old man.” The man turned to Mr Size
12 with a weary disappointment. For a moment, the
two seemed to square off, an untold story between
them, but Mr Size 12 without displaying a measure
of backing down, withdrew nonetheless. It was as if
his spirit, if not his bearing, deserted him. “Come on,
man, he isn’t even worth the hassle. Things that slow
out here?”
“Come on. Fun’s fun, but we still on the clock,”
Dollar said.
The Timberland-booted man cocked his hand like
a gun, fired off a shot at Merle, then trailed Dollar.
“You all right? You know them?” The man’s gaze
followed them, disappointment rife in his eyes as he
helped Merle to his feet.
“All jackals and hyenas… without a lion in sight.”
Merle brushed the leaves and loose dirt from him,
though his many-stained jacket reeked of grime.
“Uh huh.”
“Who is my would-be savior?”
“My name’s King. King James White.”
“Merle.”
“Merle what?” King asked.
“At your service, oh King.” Merle bowed before
King’s steady gaze.
“Great.”
“Damn, son. You broke him off a piece for real.” Dollar
laughed as they made their way back to the spot.
Brief distraction aside, they were still on the grind,
though he always had his eye out for new talent.
“You ready to step up to this here game?”
“I’m here to put in work. I’m tired of playing out
here.” Prez knew what he was going to hear from
Big Momma. Not even in her house and already he’d
found the streets. But he’d been watching Dollar
from way back, a few years at least. Steady slinging,
always in fine clothes and just enough bling to set it
off. It was either the game or continue to attend
Northwest High School. Though the ladies were fine
up in there, ladies could be had just as easily out
here. No point in wasting everyone’s time killing
time and taking up space in school when he needed
to be out here doing dirt.
“Anxious to make a name for yourself.”
“Something like that.”
“I feel you. Look here, you hang with us for a
minute. Think of yourself as an apprentice or some
shit. See how we do. We got our eyes on you and
we’ll see how you handle yourself.”
“Yeah?”
They bumped fists. A new day, same as it ever was.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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Now you can also follow me on twitter, yip i finally joined the band wagon.
Make sure you join my tweets at
http://twitter.com/idavid85

Maurice Broaddus - King Maker - Part 1

Something Interesting for you avid readers out there.

The folks at Angry robot have made abailable the first chapter of a new promising book, King Maker, and i thought i would bring it to you personally.


I will be introducing it in 3/4 parts so make sure you stay tuned over the next couple of days to get the full story.

I've already started nagging my contacts at AR to send me a full printed copy of this great new novel.

Well enough of my chatting, here is Part 1 of the King Maker Sample.

“It ain’t even right,” King said to stave off the impending
silence. He drummed his fingers along the
steering wheel. Absently noting the recently closed
or unoccupied stores in several strip malls along
Lafayette Road, it was as if blank spaces pocked his
neighborhood. Even the newly opened Wal-Mart
struggled, though neighborhood lore held that
within its first week it had to let fifty of its employees
go for excessive shoplifting. He hated driving, preferring
to walk when he could, but Big Momma
asked him to pick up her son and even loaned him
her car to do it. King hardly knew Prez – as he was
known around the way, though born Preston Wilcox
– but Big Momma was a neighborhood fixture. Her
word that he was a good kid was all King needed,
despite the boy striking him as just another neighborhood
knucklehead.
“I know.” Prez had a just-shy-of-amiable halfsmile
on his face. The wisps of an attempted goatee
sprouted along the sides of his mouth. Eyes fixed on
the road, he nestled into his oversized Kellogg’s
jacket, a picture of the Honey Smacks frog danced
on the back. Though late in the summer, the temperatures
remained fairly mild.
“You should have your own spot.” King heard the
lecturing tone in his voice, but chalked it up to wanting
to mentor the boy. The streets had their lure and
anything he could do to inoculate Prez to their madness,
well, he couldn’t help himself. His street, his
responsibility – that had always been his way.
“Ain’t no shame in it.” A sullenness quilted Prez’s
face, man-child struggling with independence but
having to retreat to his moms. Grandmoms, technically.
His moms turned him over to Big Momma so
that raising a child wouldn’t slow her down. He
knew full well that he’d have to hide any of his foolishness
from Big Momma because she would have
none of it.
“I know. Big Momma ain’t gonna let her baby
sleep out on the street.”
“Shit, I’d still be on my own if this dude who I
stayed with had let me know that he was moving
out and his cousin would be taking his place. But his
cousin wasn’t trying to pay no rent, and it wasn’t like
either of us were on the lease. So, boom, the landlord
kicks us out. We only had till Monday to get our
stuff out of there before he puts it out. And the
cousin ain’t even started to pack his stuff up.”
“Yeah,” King said without commitment, part from
having nothing to add, part due to distraction. He
eased off the gas as they passed a row of apartments.
A little girl skipped into an open door while a
woman struggled with pulling a basket of clothes
from the backseat of her car.
“What’s up?” Prez asked, noting King’s focused attention.
“Nothing.” It wasn’t as if King was going to say
“That’s my baby’s momma’s place. Look at her. You
know she be having men all up in there all hours of
the night. In front of Nakia.”
Prez spied a buxom, dark-complexioned woman
walking in the front door of her apartment carrying
a load of laundry. “Pretty girl.”
“Reminds me of someone I used to know.”
King flipped through radio stations, though Black
radio in Indianapolis only came in two flavors: hip
hop and adult soul. He loved hip hop, but he really
needed something with a melody right now. His
mom called his taste in music the legacy of his father.
King had no true sense of who Luther White was,
only the legend his mother made him out to be. It
was easy to be a legend when you were long dead
and gone.
As if Saturday afternoon traffic in front of Meijer
wasn’t going to be bad enough, they crept the last
mile to the Breton Court townhouses due to construction
on the only street leading there. Prez
eased back in his seat and put one of his Timberlands
on King’s dashboard. A half-muttered “my
bad” and the foot lowering followed a stern gaze
from King. Kids today, King thought, no respect for
anything.
Sliding into one of the parking spots, one assigned
per townhouse, King grabbed the two bags of clothes
from his trunk, to which Prez nodded in appreciation,
and carried them toward Big Momma’s.
Already outside holding court, she slowly fanned
herself with a tattered magazine. Her usual courtesans,
the neighbors from across the way, sat around
the plastic table. King couldn’t quite remember the
name of his neighbor who lived across from Big
Momma, though they seemed like a nice family.
Every Sunday they dressed up for church along with
their two kids. The neighborhood kids (half of whom
Big Momma ostensibly babysat) played with a garden
hose, spraying each other and turning the center
of the court into a mud slick, a dirt-floored “slip‘n’slide”.
The white-haired candy lady, who had lived in
the court longer than anyone else, stood on her
porch passing out popsicles to any kid who took a
break from the hose. Her cats keened against the
front storm door like children denied the chance to
play with their friends.
“Damn,” he said to himself, as Prez left him with
his bags to hook up with a couple of neighborhood
knuckleheads who were setting up shop on the corner.
Their fixed gazes dared him to do something
about their presence. His face flushed with heat, but
he wasn’t about to return a hard look for each one
he received, nor could he afford to get bent out of
shape every time some fool stepped to him wrong.
Attitude and anger came in shorter supply for him
these days so he chose his spots rather than exhaust
himself on every bit of drama. However righteous
his rage.