Book Excerpt – In My ‘Hood
Copyright © 2006 Melodrama Publishing/Endy No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.
The loud banging on the door startled Desiree “Rae-Rae” Johnson from her deep sleep. She sat up on the mattress that graced the dirty hardwood floor. Wiping the sleep from her eyes, she stood to go answer the door.
“Who the hell is it?“
“It’s Roc. Bilal in there?” he shouted back.
“Y“all kill me coming over here all times of the day and night,” she shouted as she opened the door.
“Rae-Rae, it’s one o“clock in the afternoon. Y“all still in the bed?”
“Whatchu think?“ Desiree said sarcastically, looking him up and down.
Roc stepped into the tiny one-bedroom apartment and looked around. There was paper, bottles, and cans lying on the floor. “When y“all gonna clean this shit up?“
“As much as your ass is up in here getting your head right, I don’t see you offering to help clean this shit up,” she spat.
“Whateva. Where’s Bilal?“ Roc waved her off.
Desiree stormed back into the bedroom and kicked Bilal’s foot, which was resting on the floor.
“Bunchy,” she shouted, calling him by his nickname. “Bunchy.” She once again kicked the bottom of his foot but harder this time. He grunted and tried to lift his head. He was resting comfortably on his stomach, and he rolled over onto his back.
“What, Rae-Rae?” he shouted, irritated by the interruption.
“Roc out there for you. Get up.”
He pulled his lean six-foot frame off the mattress at the speed of a turtle and stumbled dizzily as he walked out of the room with his hands shoved down the front of his dingy shorts. He had rounded shoulders and a hunched back, and his face was graced with a full, scruffy beard. He wore a tattered Afro“not by choice.
“Damn, y“all mafuckas are lazy “round here,” Roc said.
“Fuck you. Whatchu want?” Bilal asked as he plopped down onto the dirty, stained sofa laying his head back and closing his bloodshot eyes. He was sick. His legs and stomach were hurting. Before Bilal could even think about starting his day, he needed a bag to wake him up. Without his morning dose of dope, he was of no use to anyone, let alone himself.
Roc stood about six-two, weighed 240 pounds, and was solid as a rock, which was how he had gotten his name. He used to weight about 370 pounds before he ventured into the dark life of a dope fiend. Some called it P-Funk or Diesel. Back in the day he was a big baller who quickly fell victim to getting high on his own supply. HHe was a functioning heroin addict with no shame to his game. He enjoyed the high and the places heroin took him. Although he had chosen the life of an addict, he was still very respected by all on the streets.
Rumor had it that his hands were lethal weapons and had taken another’s life a time or two. He had also acquired the reputation for being the best thief man there was“he could steal anything that wasn’t cemented to the floor. With that being his now acquired hustle and heroin his drug of choice, he was feared by the streets even more.
“You want to make some money?” Roc asked, looking out of the window at the heavy activity down on the busy Fifteenth Avenue corners, one of the most drug-infested areas. Roc watched as the heroin and cocaine seekers purchased their packages then rushed off to use.
He looked over at Bilal. He knew he was sick and needed a hit to start his day. He, too, went through the same ritual every morning.
Bilal’s eyes lit up; chills went through his body. Just the mere mention of money brought on the possibility of him getting his eye-awakening fix.
“Hell yeah, man. What’s up?“ Bilal leaned forward on the sofa.
There was a knock at the door interrupting their conversation.
“Who is it?” Bilal yelled.
“It’s Tracey. Is Rae-Rae there?” the female voice asked from the other side of the door.
“Yeah, wait a minute.” Bilal got up off the sofa and walked into the bedroom.
Roc walked around the living room, stepping over garbage, looking for a clean space to stand. Not having any luck, he decided to stand back in the spot in front of the window, kicking cans and bottles to the side, clearing a space. Bilal returned from the room and walked over to the door.
“She said whatchu want?“ He opened the door.
Tracey was once an attractive woman. Her hair was cut short and gelled back close to her head. She wore a big green shirt, which was covered with dirty spots, and black leggings. Her eyes were hazel and her complexion light but blotchy, which came from no nutrition. Her collarbone stuck out from the lack of skin that covered her narrow body.
“Tell her I got a hit for her,” Tracey said, shifting from one leg to the other like she needed to use the bathroom.
“A“ight, come in,” Bilal instructed.
She walked briskly over to the sofa, stopping in her tracks when she saw Roc standing by the window.
“He’s cool. Sit down. I“ll get Rae-Rae for you,“ Bilal stated.
The woman lowered her head and sat on the sofa as she rocked back and forth looking around nervously. The anticipation for a hit was overwhelming.
“Roc man, you ain’t got nothing on you now, do you?“ Bilal whispered to him.
“Yeah, I got a bag that I can split with you, but it’s gonna cost you a shape-up first,” Roc replied.
“A“ight, hold up a minute. Let me get my clippers and tell Rae-Rae that Tracey is here for her.” He disappeared into the bedroom.
Seconds later Bilal and Desiree both exited from the bedroom. Desiree motioned for Tracey to come into the kitchenette.
Bilal drug a chair over to the window where Roc stood. Roc reached into his cigarette pack and turned it upside down, shaking it. A small paper baggie fell from the box into the palm of his baseball mitt“size hands. Bilal looked at the baggie and swallowed hard. Roc began to unfold the baggie and exposed the small pile of heroin. He skillfully scooped a portion of the substance onto the pinky nail of his right finger and snorted it into his nostril. He did the same with the other nostril before passing the remaining contents to Bilal who did the same and commenced to lick the remaining residue from the baggie.
While Bilal gave Roc a haircut, Roc briefly explained to him about his plans to rob the local bowling alley. He wanted Bilal to meet the owner and show him how his plan would work.
“Hey, gurl,” Tracey said as she practically ran into the kitchenette. She sat down and rocked back and forth. Desiree watched Tracey’s hands shake while she retrieved the packages from her pocket.
“What’s up? Whatchu got?” Desiree asked, looking desperate. Her stomach was doing flip-flops, and she felt like she had to shit.
Most free-basers felt this type of adrenaline anticipating the drug entry, causing them to get the runs, almost getting high before they actually took the hit. Once the drug entered the body, all feeling of bowel movement went away. It is said that’s why a crack addict loses so much weight in a short period. The drug suppresses any desire to eat, therefore no food is entering into the body for sometimes days, but wastes leave because of the urge of the drugs’ entry.
“I got two dimes,” Tracey said.
She poured the contents of the two capsules onto the table. Meantime Desiree reached into the kitchen drawer, and two roaches scurried out, fleeing the light. She pulled out a rolled-up paper towel. She sat down and unraveled the paper towel, exposing two glass tubes also known as pipes or stems.
Desiree handed Tracey a stem as she passed Desiree a rock from her small pile of crack cocaine. Almost instantly the women dropped the rock at the end of the stem that contained the screens. Both women put the stem to their lips as they tilted their heads back almost at the same time. Tracey flicked her lighter as Desiree lit two matches. They touched the end of the stem containing the rock cocaine with the fire. The sizzles were heard simultaneously. The smoke bellowed its way down the stem and into their mouths, passing down into their lungs. After they took their hits, Desiree sat shaking her leg, enjoying the feeling she had from the first hit of the day as she blew the smoke from her lungs.
Tracey jumped to her feet and ran to the kitchen window while smoke escaped through her nose. She peered out of the window ducking, bobbing, and weaving as if searching for someone.
“Tray, sit yo” crazy ass down.”
“Come here. Come here,” Tracey yelled, waving frantically.
“What? I ain’t comin” over there. Ain’t nothing out there. Sit yo” ass down.”
“No, for real, Rae-Rae, come here,” she pleaded.
Desiree got up from her chair and walked over to the window. “What, Tray?” Desiree stood over her.
“See over there by that garbage can. Ain’t that the police squattin” down over there?“ Tracey said, ducking down as if not to be spotted by whomever she was hiding from.
Desiree looked by the garbage can only to see nothing but garbage.
“You know what, you a stupid bitch? You need to leave this shit alone,” she yelled, walking away from the window. “See, that’s why I don’t be wantin” to get high wit” yo” silly ass. Every time you come over here, you pull dat same shit.” She rolled her eyes.
Desiree looked over at Tracey squatting down on the floor, peeping over the top of the windowsill ledge. Desiree reached over and scooped up two more rocks, slipping one into her mouth and the other in her pipe to smoke.
Bilal went into the bedroom to change his clothes. Swatting at flies, Roc walked into the kitchenette where the women sat.
“Damn y“all be fiendin” sucking on that glass dick,” he said, laughing.
“Shut up, Roc,” Desiree shouted.
Tracey was still sitting underneath the windowsill on the floor and did not respond to Roc’s insulting comment. She had retrieved the last rock from the table and was smoking it as she sat there paranoid and unaware that Desiree had pulled a fiend move on her. Desiree then slipped the rock from her mouth and put it into the stem and smoked it.
“Damn! Look at this bitch. Looking like a skeleton on crack.“ Roc continued to laugh at his own humor, pointing at Tracey crawling on the floor.
Tracey never acknowledged his presence. After taking her blast, she crawled on her hands and knees, picking up anything that resembled the crack cocaine and putting it to her tongue, tasting it.
“Tray! Get up off the floor. You ain’t drop shit down there. This bitch blows my high every time,” Desiree told Roc, shaking her head. “You better get up before you put some of that rat poison in your mouth that the landlord put down yesterday.“
But Tracey was tweaking and wanted more crack. Her mind was playing tricks on her telling her that she dropped some.
“What the fu““ Desiree and Roc said at the same time. Bilal ran from the room with his shirt open, jeans on, and one sneaker in his hand.
“What the hell is going on?” he announced.
Again went the sound of something very heavy hitting against the front door. Everyone jumped. Tracey was now alert and aware of what was going on, and she stood.
“See, I told you, it’s the cops,” Tracey said as she twisted her lips back and forth.
"Shh! Shut up. Yo" ass is skeeted," Roc whispered.
Bilal and Roc looked at each other and approached the door together cautiously. Just as they were close to the door, it flew off its hinges, knocking Bilal to the floor. Four men ran into the apartment. The first man hit Roc with the butt end of the double-barrel shotgun he was carrying. Blood squirted everywhere, decorating the already filthy walls, adding red streaks. Roc fell to the floor like a ten-pound bag of potatoes.
Tracey began to scream.
"Shut up you, dirty bitch," another one of the gunmen yelled, aiming his Glock at her.
They all wore black hooded pullover sweatshirts with black ski masks, and all sported gloves as well.
Desiree ran to Bilal’s side to try to remove the door that had fallen on top of him. Another masked gunman grabbed her by the back of her neck, squeezing hard and pulling her to her feet. Tracey continued to scream, and the rifle-toting gunman opened fire on her and blew off her right arm and half her face.
"Now if you don’t want none of that, then you need to keep your anorexic ass quiet. You feel me?" the gunman said into Desiree’s ear while still squeezing the back of her neck.
He appeared to be the leader, giving instructions to the others. His breath was warm and smelled of fresh violets. He threw Desiree onto the couch. Two of the gunmen lifted the door and placed it shut in the doorway. Bilal rolled over onto his side, balling into the fetal position. Desiree got down on the floor with him and held his head in her arms. The head gunman with the violet breath grabbed Roc and tried to turn him on his back.
"Damn! This mafucka is heavy as hell. Come turn his big ass over," he instructed.
The double-barrel shotgun holder stood watch over Desiree and Bilal, while the other two gunmen turned over Roc.
"Wake his ass up," the head gunman instructed.
One of the gunmen unzipped his jeans, pulled out his tool, and pissed on Roc’s face.
A few seconds went by, and Roc regained his consciousness, and he began to cough. With his back turned to Bilal and Desiree, the head gunman pulled his ski mask up, exposing his face. Once Roc got a look at him, his eyes grew as big as saucers. The head gunman smiled and pulled the ski mask back over his face, and Roc began to struggle to get up. Because of Roc’s size, the head gunman instructed two members to hold him down. One grabbed Roc’s arms while the other held both his feet. But Roc wasn’t giving up so easily, and the men struggled to hold him steady.
He pulled out a .45 that was shoved down the front of his jeans and aimed it at his forehead.
"Don’t move," the head gunman grilled Roc.
Roc looked down the barrel of the big gun and laid still. The two men holding him stood, satisfied that Roc wouldn’t dare try to move. Sweat poured from Roc’s forehead like a leaky faucet. You could hear the whimpers from Desiree and the grunting from a hurt Bilal.
The head gunman cocked the gun and tightened his grip, but before pulling the trigger, he said. "You done robbed the wrong mafucka. See you in hell, baby."
The only thing that Desiree remembered was the loud pop and the burning smell before she blacked out.