Excerpt from Jett (Work in Progress)

Jett collected her books and started her walk to class. As she walked away from her locker, alone as usual, the tall, muscular boy walked by her and bumped her, knocking her books from her hands as he went by, laughing and talking to the attractive young blond girl who was hanging on his every word. “Asshole,” muttered Jett as he walked by laughing at her.
The boy stopped, turned around, and said, “What did you just say you little bitch?”
“Asshole. I said Asshole, referring to you. Because you’re an asshole,” Jett said back. Her heart pounded in her chest and she took a deep breath as she waited for him to respond.
“Fuck off whore,” the boy said as he turned around to walk away.
“No. . .You fuck off. . .whore,” Jett said loudly to his back. It got quiet in the hallway as the other kids stopped to watched, shocked.
“What did you just say, bitch?” the boy said as he turned and walked back towards Jett.
“I’m sorry. . You’re deaf and stupid. My mistake. First I called you an asshole and then I told YOU to fuck off. And I called you a whore. Because it applies to you a lot more than to me, logically. Any questions?”
“I don’t think you know what you’re saying. I think you owe me an apology. Or maybe I just kick your ass. And I don’t care if you’re a girl. No one, especially a little bitch like you, talks to me like that. No one. Got it, half breed?” Half breed was what they often called her in an attempt to embarrass her. She preferred the term Biracial, but she wasn’t going to let it get to her today.
“I’m not scared of you,” Jett said, matter of factly.
“What?”
“I’m not scared of you. All these kids here, they’re scared of you. Me, I’m not. You don’t scare me. You’re stupid and weak.”
“I suppose you can back that up. Maybe you should be.”
“Why?”
“Because I’m gonnna kick your ass if you don’t shut up.”
“Kick my ass? You’ve never kicked an ass in your life. I heard about the game last weekend.”

“The game, what?”

              “The game.  You’re trying to start a fight with me, but didn’t you guys get your ass kicked enough at the game already?” She asked, smiling as she asked it.  She was feeling good now.  He was on the defensive.  She had him right where she wanted him.

              “Look babe,” another boy said, walking up beside her, “don’t start this.  He’ll fight you, and it’ll be bad for you if he does.  Just, back off.  Walk away and we’ll just call it even.”

              Jett ignored the interloper, looking directly at the first boy, “I’m not scared of you.  You stupid and weak.  You’re all talk.  You’re nothing to be scared of.”

              The other boy just stood there, confused.  First off, no kid talked to him like that; second, this was a girl talking to him like this.  He had to do something. 

              “Just. . shut the fuck up,” was all he could muster.

              “I’m not scared of you.  Or your friends.  And I’m tired of you messing with me.”

              “Shut up!” He said louder.

              “I’m not scared of you,” she said calmly, smiling now.

              “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

              “I’m not scared of you.”

              With that the boy walked towards her, chest out, face red and got in her space, doing his best to intimidate the girl.  “SHUT UP OR GET YOUR ASS KICKED!” he said.

              She calmly stared him down and said, quietly, “I’m not scared of you.”

              With that the boy put his hand on her chest and started to push her.  She stood her ground and leaned forward, with her legs set. “Get your hands off of me now.”

              “SHUT UP” the boy said.

              “If you don’t get your hands off of me by the time I count to three. . “

              “OR what?” the boy challenged her.

“One. .” and then the girl punched him hard in the mouth, putting all of her weight and momentum into it. Before he could react, she kicked him hard in the crotch. The boy lurched forward in pain. She grabbed his shirt and, with force, used his momentum to sling him to the ground. When he hit the ground the other boy jumped in, to defend his friend. She turned and punched him in the mouth too. He fell backwards more in shock than from the force of the punch and landed against the lockers. A random locker door swung open and hit him in the face as he stood there, stunned.
The girl then jumped on the boy on the ground, pinning him to the ground and hit him in the face and head over and over as all the other kids looked on in shock. , “Listen up fuckers,” she said to the friends of the boy that had gathered around, in shock, to see the small girl beat up their friend, “the next time one of you fuckers thinks about fucking with me, remember what I did to your little bitch friend’s face here. And that goes for fucking with any of the kids in this school that you’ve been fucking with fucking fuckers.”
She then calmly got up as school security arrived, shocked at what they were seeing. “Did you do this?” One of the guys said to her. “He started it,” Jett said back, as they escorted her to the principal’s office.

The Umbrella

Based on a true story. . .

I walked out of my office, umbrella and satchel in hand as she walked by. I set the satchel back down and I held the umbrella out in front of her as if it were a baton in a relay race at a track meet.
“What’s this?” She asked, as she stopped in front of my office (she always stops in front of my office on the way out).
“Uhh. . .an umbrella?” I said sarcastically.
“I know that, why are you handing it to me?”
“It’s raining really hard, you’re about to go outside, and you don’t have one.”
“yea.. Thanks! Great observation but don’t you need it?”
“Not today, I’m good. I’ll be here a while getting some paper work done.”
“How many umbrella’s have I lost, broke or accidentally given away that were yours?”
“Too many to count. Now take the umbrella so you don’t get wet. I’m not using it so you might as well. Maybe you’ll remember to bring it back this time.”
She laughed, a laugh mixed with a sigh, and took the umbrella. “Alright. Thanks! You’re so sweet, always looking out for me. I’ll bring this one back, I promise.”
“Sure you will,” I said as I pretended to roll my eyes, “be careful out there, that weather is nasty.” I knew she would bring it back this time. She keeps her promises.
“Thanks. .I will. You sure you don’t need this?” she said, holding the umbrella out.
“Nah, the rain shouldn’t last long. It will pass by the time I’m finished. Take it and be careful in this weather.”
“Okay. .thanks! See you tomorrow,” she said as she left.
I waited a few minutes for her to leave and then checked the window to see that her car was out of the parking lot. I grabbed the satchel, locked my office door behind me, went outside, and sprinted through the rain to my car. Drenched, I used my key to open the door and threw myself inside, closing the door behind me. I caught my breath, started the car and turned on the heat. It didn’t bother me to get wet from the rain, because that’s how it is sometimes.

Sometimes in life, you’re just gonna get wet…
On the radio was this song from a band called The Police. It was called “Everything She Does is Magic.”

“I have to tell a story of a thousand rainy days since we first met. . .It’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet. . .” – The Police (Everything She Does is Magic).

 

Allen and the Single Mom

“ Hey. . .I thought I would call and ask a qu. . yea I know you’re busy but its about your kids. . . No.. . they’re fine. . really, they’re fine. . Well, the little one had an allergic reaction last night and we had to go to the ER. . .no, I’m not asking you to pay. . . I haven’t even gotten the bill. . . would you listen. . . I can’t call tonight. . We have dance at 6:00pm, then one of the boys has a ga. . I’m not ASKING you to come to the damn game. . .I know you’re busy. . . ok. . ok. . . I covered that. . . It was hard but I made it happen. . . I always make it happen you know that. Btw. . nice motorcycle. . . when did you get that? The credit union? Wow. . I’m surprised they gave you a loan. . .No I’m not being a bi.. . But you ARE behind on child support. Yes Allen. . I know you work hard. We all do. . So do. . . I know. . .I know. . I know. . Ok. . I’m very busy can I get to why I called? Anyway, I have a question. . . Whe. . Yes Allen, your son plays football. I told you this. He plays free safety. . He was third string last year but he worked out hard all summer with the weights and the running. His favorite team is the Cowboys and Byron Jones is his hero. Not just because of football but because he was also an academic all American. Your son makes straight A’s Allen. He’s smart and determined. You’re surprised? Why are you surprised. .You should be proud, not surprised. . .I’m telling you this because you DON’T KNOW YOUR KIDS! Your daughter wants to be a dancer. She’s clumsy but she tries so hard. You should come see her perform. I’m not PRESSURING you Allen, I’m just telling you. You should also come to your son’s game. It would mean so much to him if you were there for once. . yes . .yes. .ok. .I’m sorry for the for once but you should co. . .I know you’re busy. New wife, step kids, promotion. . I get it Allen. Yes. . you’ve moved on and we are all so fucking proud of how you’ve moved on.. .Maybe I should do the same? Are you fucking kidding me? I’m raising our kids Allen. While you were out partying and getting laid I was going to Little League and Dance and helping them with homework and talking to teachers. .and NO. .you will not interrupt me again Allen. I’ve been crying with them and encouraging them. I’ve been punishing them when they deserve it and rewarding them when they achieve. I’m the one who worries all night about whether or not I’m a good enough parent. I’m the one who tries to teach them to have values. I’m the one at every game cheering them on while trying not to take over. I’m the one letting them make their own mistakes and feeling the heartbreak every time I can’t just fix everything. I’m the one who is shaping the lives and minds and hearts and souls of these little people that we created while you are getting on with your life. THIS IS MY LIFE ALLEN!!! This is what I do. Sure, you show up about once every two months, you know. . when you have time, and go do something fun. They get all excited to see you. They are happy for any scrap of attention you can give them while I’m over here doing the work. But that’s ok. . I’ll give you a break on the visitation. . I’ll even give you a break on the child support (even though you bought a fucking motorcycle). . . Just come to freaking game for once and give your son some encouragement, watch your daughter dance in the recital. . . and let me tell you about them so you will know what they are talking about when you see them. Now. . I have a question.
Can I ask my fucking question now?
What’s your mom’s phone number? They want to see their grandmother this weekend. They are really great kids.. .
Ok. .thanks. . sorry for the rant.
Oh. .and Allen. . .Pay your fucking child support.

It Happens in Your Sleep

“It happens in your sleep, Steven” – What I was dismissively told when I first became curious about love and sex.
This will never work out. We’re not compatible.
We’re too different:
If I hold her she will sleep.
But if I don’t hold her, I will sleep.
She can’t go to sleep unless I am holding her.
I can’t sleep when I am touching another person.
She suggested I hold her until she falls asleep.
Then let her go, so I can sleep. Once she is asleep, she will not know I am not holding her she says.
She’s a very practical woman. A problem solver.
But she has nightmares. I hear her. Her breathing speeds up.
She startles. She tries to cry out. But she has no memory of these in the morning.
So I held her one night when she was having the nightmares and the nightmares stopped.
The nightmares she doesn’t remember.
If I don’t sleep, I’ll be okay. I’ll know that she didn’t have the nightmares. This will sustain me.
So I start holding her and I don’t let go.
Late at night, when I’m awake holding her, her hands grasp my hands and our fingers are interlocked.
Her legs are intertwined with mine. She holds my legs tight with hers.
We wake like this, but she has no recollection of how it happened. I dismissively told her that
It happened in our sleep, “who knows? it’s just one of those things,” I said .
“Hmmm. . .” she said, and then she gets up and takes a shower.
At night, when she subconsciously grasps my hand. When our fingers are interlocked
And our legs are wrapped around each other
It’s like her soul is breaking through her subconscious mind.. begging me. .saying
“Don’t let go baby. . .never let go.”
And my soul answers, saying
“Baby. . I won’t let go. I will never let go.”
Now, something strange has happened. When I hold her and don’t let go
I sleep. . .. . . .. . . . .
Sometimes it does happen in your sleep.

 

The Fuse

 

black and white

So there I was,at this joint on the south side of town.  It was a hot, sticky night and all I wanted was a break from the heat… and to be left alone.  The bartender just looked at me, so I said, “Give me a whiskey and coke, hold the coke, make it a double and keep em coming.”  I had a lot of thinking to do and this wasn’t the time to do it.  The bartender grunted, turned around, and poured some whiskey into a glass and set it in front of me.  There is an art to ordering a drink and if I don’t get anything else right in this life, at least I got that.

That’s when she walked in.  Dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin, with long legs and nails.  To be honest, she was beautiful.  I was hooked and there was no turning back.  But I didn’t let on.  I kept my hands and eyes on my drink.  I held my breath even though her sweet, sultry scent filled my nostrils and swirled around my brain.

The bar was empty but she took the seat right next to mine.  She fumbled around in her purse, clumsily pulled out a cigarette and put it between her lips.  She leaned over and touched my arm.  Electricity pulsed through my body and lit a fire in my gut.  I turned to find her staring into my eyes, “What’s a girl gotta do to get a light in this place,” she asked. Without taking my eyes off of her, I pulled out my lighter and flicked it alive. But I hesitated. . .  Because sometimes you’re lighting a cigarette, and sometimes you’re lighting a fuse.