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Fathom part 10

Marcus woke up sheepishly on hearing the loud knock from the door. The incident of the previous night starred in his face. He quickly went to the kitchen and carried a knife. In his haste, he tramped Riley who lay on the floor. He was scared of going near her. She lay in the same posture, no stir.

The knock on the door came again, this time with more viciousness. The loudness of the knock, reminded Marcus of the thud with which Riley fell with her head slamming on the ground before the bright light enveloped Marcus in the dim of the night and the screaming of Nashua’s voice in that loud brittleness. He could remember being frozen, like a not fully formed human being and watch her in slow motion as she yanked to the floor. He tried to fight the thought of guilt which caught him on the throat to the point of unconsciousness. It broke him completely, the thought of Riley dying and he standing and frozen. It was only when he heard gasps of her breaths that he became conscious again.

The loud knock which came again broke him from his thoughts. He sprang up from the floor where he lay he tramped Riley. He took his knife and slowly headed for the floor. He thought of what to do when he opened the door. He would stab Nashua or whoever was at the door. He was still stewing in his thoughts when he looked behind him and noticed he was already at the door. He wanted to go back to the kitchen and walk at a slower pace when the knock came again.

” Shit! He knows that I’m here. ” he yelled.

He looked on to Riley who was still sleeping. His hands grabbed the knob of the door and before he could shift his gaze from Riley, the door opened and he was about yelling when his face caught Emma’s pale eyes.. He gave her a blank stare before pushing back and allowing her come in.

Emma walked absentmindedly into the room and sat on the couch. Her eyes floating in silent gaze round the living room yet, she could see or hear nothing. Her memory was clouded with Nashua’s images, at Caleb’s bloody image, at the Japanese men and women who starred occasionally at her at the hospital when she was carried by an ambulance on the road. She could recall how frightened she was when Nashua’s face popped out from the group of men who carried her as she lay on the stretcher. She recalled how something gave out in her when she slammed her head on the road. She recalled the Japanese man who was driving her before the incident, starring at her and looking back at the doctor and back at her.

” Hey! Hey!!. ” Marcus voice broke into her thoughts.

Emma turned and looked at him.

” Are you okay?. ” he asked, standing at a far end.

Emma shot a quick stare at Riley and asked;

” why’re you holding a knife?.”

” Something strange is happening. Riley’s becoming delusional. Don’t know what Dr. Lawrence did to her but looks like someone is hypnotizing her. Can’t really explain it but last night she was hypnotized. Someone bugged by cell phone and was screaming; give up Riley or… ” Marcus paused and noticed Emma smiling and laughing. Her gaze shot behind him. Marcus turned back and looked behind him but nothing was there. No one was standing behind him. No one had opened the door. Perhaps she saw a ghost. Perhaps her son’s ghost. A swirling feeling struck Marcus on the head. Had Nashua called her to tell her that Caleb was dead? has his death drove her insane?

Marcus broke off from his thoughts and went near her, cuddling her. He spoke softly in that tone used in pacifying insanity;

” Is okay. Caleb misses you too. Can’t believe he’s dead… ”

Emma suddenly screamed.

” Caleb’s dead! Caleb dead?. ”

She jerked him away and started screaming. Marcus dashed after her. Emma had ran into a Japanese woman who carried a basket filled with snakes. The woman cursed in Japanese. Marcus ran too and hit the woman who was about getting up. Emma ran into the last stairs of the building and wanted to jump off from such great height when Marcus came and pushed her back. She approached him and he punched her into unconsciousness.

****

Emma sat up in Marcus apartment. She was tied to the couch. Marcus duct taped her. She was still struggling to get free when Marcus walked in and she calmed down in a silent hate.

” Listen to me, Caleb’s not dead. I thought he was because I saw you talking to the air few minutes ago. I thought Nashua called you and told you that Caleb is dead. ”

” So Caleb’s not dead. This was just a bunch of speculation?.” Emma asked, adjusting herself on the couch.

” Yes!. ”

” I could kill you right now. ”

Marcus laughed.

” About Riley. What did you say happen to her?.”

” I can’t really say but all I do know is that someone’s messing with her head. Last night, a voice echoed through my phone and was shouting. The voice asked me if I wanted to see something hysterical and before I knew it, Riley came into the living room with a gun stuck to her head. I was screaming but she wasn’t there. She was hypnotized. She couldn’t see or hear me. She was some kind of puppet. It was crazy and thrilling too.” Marcus said.

” Same thing happened to me too. I was in a taxi and I saw Nashua in the car but then the cab driver who drove me said that nothing was in there. I was told that I slammed myself through the windshield screaming as though something was chasing me when in reality nothing was there but I really saw him there. And later that night, I saw someone walk into the room, injecting me with something. I can’t say what was it but I know that it’s bad. ” Emma said.

” God! By the way who were you talking to minutes ago?. ” Marcus asked

” My friend pep. ”

” whose pep?.”

” A dark skinny guy who appears to me. No one sees him but me. I had a long conversation with him on the way to your place this morning…. ”

Marcus exhaled in amazement;

Dear God! We really need to go see a doctor. “

Life of a prisoner

Metropolitan Correctional Centre,

150 park row

Manhattan,

New York .

20th September, 2018

Dear Mary Jane,

How you doing? Hope you’re taking good care of yourself and Leno? By the way how’s the little guy doing? I wish I could just see him. It’s what now, 17 years since I’ve been in jail. I’m serving sentence of 120 years without parole. You know that already. I’m just feeling sorry for myself and I need your condolences too. That’s all I ask from you. But please don’t tell Leno about me. He doesn’t have to know that his dad was a killer, a crook, a drug addict, a man who beat up his wife and still cheat on her. He doesn’t have to live in my past. He doesn’t have to grow up, having that memory of me.

I heard you’re now married to a lawyer whose based in texas… I heard he’s from Singapore.. I heard he’s got a frog like furrowed face.. Okay that’s not funny…. Guess I’ve run out of good jokes. Congratulations to you!

Am writing this letter cause there are lots of stories to tell. Life in prison is hell and cool at the same time. I know you don’t care anyways but I have to share it with you cause it’s all I can do. I can’t stay silenced in prison. Someone gotta hear me out.

I didn’t come to accept my fate for a long time. It was as though none of it were real. It was a dream. I told myself.. But here I am locked behind bars.

When I came here in 2001, after my arrest for the bank robbery and killing of an old guy who I thought was bringing out a gun, I was surprised that my inmate in prison, turned out to be the son of that guy. It was hell the first night we stayed together. I had no idea that he was his son. I was half asleep and then I felt a heavy weight on me. I looked up and I saw a gun hoisted in my direction. I had just rolled out from the bed when bullets were shot at the spot where I laid. The bullets were scattered all over the bed. The room was dark. He didn’t turn on the light so I don’t wake urup.

I lay on the floor trying to catch my breath when another round of shooting occurred. Someone was standing by the door in a sneaky position and he must have thought that it was me so he shot the person who turned out to be a cop. He must have frozen on seeing it. He shot the dead cop a couple more times before turning back, looking back in the direction of the bunker bed but soon the cops crowded our cell. The guy was shot on the legs and soon was transferred to solitary.

For the next few days after that event, I had fever and crouched with severe headaches.

I was transferred to another cell, this time with a bearded fat guy. He killed his dad, that was what got him to jail. His name’s Cretch. I heard him shouting aloud to himself that he didn’t mean to kill his dad. He had merely pushed his dad from the staircase and his dad was still struggling to get up. He came over to his father and held his neck to make his dad unconscious, instead, he snapped his dad’s neck and he died. He had broken into his dad’s house after his dad sent him away few months after his mum died. He was a drug addict and his dad didn’t want him into the house because of his way of leaving so he put him out for days and cretch, having no where else to go decided to come back and then it lead to everything He’s from L. A. He told me all of this after I asked him why he was talking to himself.

My daily routine in prison was the same as ever. We woke up at 6am and then clean up and have our morning exercise, and then we went out to work . We did jobs like raking the field. Everyone had a day scheduled for him to work outside. The period for working was also leisure for those who weren’t scheduled to work. Today’s my leisure day and that’s why I’m hunched in the common room, writing this letter to you.

Telephone calls were allowed for people who weren’t working. And the period for working lasted for thirty minutes.

Soon after this period, everyone goes to his cell where food is served. We have our breakfast in our cells… What a life?

Food here sucks but you learn to cope with it. It’s so bad that we usually eat tissue papers and toothpaste because the food wasn’t just ever enough. A guy in his sixities recently died in his cell because of the poor quality of food.

Food Menus here were Tacos, burger or pizza which was rotated every few weeks.

New prisoners, like, Bret, a dude from Lambertville, who was thrown into prison, a year ago, was seen continually eating toothpaste. He could get along with the spoilt, sour, small meals that was served in prison. Not really even that. Truth be told, he hardly ever ate a good meal due to the fights that was always occurred whenever food was served.

15 minutes is allocated for answering telephone calls in the morning.

This just reminded me of our midnight chat when we were still courting, mostly when we got married. I really enjoyed it when we got married, how we stayed at different sections of the small apartment in Madison. You would sometimes sleep in the living room and yell as though you saw a mice, and I will run to get you, only for you to scare the living crap out of me when you put on a scary face and say in that monster voice :

” picka boo.”

And I would yell and run into the kitchen, clutching a knife, savaging in fear and you will laugh so hard when you decide to stop it and I will feign anger, but it was more of relief, a relief that the monster wasn’t real.

I miss our long conversation on phone in the night when we pass out in different sections of the small apartment. Now I get to call you for just 5 minutes, at most and I hate it when you tell me to cut it sly. I hate how brief and pertinent you sound on the phone as though we never shared anything.

Forget to mention about the morning roll calls every morning.

There’s this dude in cell 16, a huge dude who had tattoos all over his body even to his head. He was a bully, a big bully. Prisoners were often scared of him. He was brought into prison for numerous knife stabbings, possession of drugs and arm robbery. He got a life sentence, like me.

Remember, Bret, the new kid I told you about. Not too long ago Bret was close to killing the dude. This was how it happened. This dude sprang up on Bret and cut out the telephone wire when Bret was communicating with his mom, whereupon, Bret hit him hard on his face and the dude passed out. Everyone, including Bret was taken by fear. It was later we found out that the dude had cancer that was seriously eating him up and what he did to Bret and what he has being doing to us was suicidal. He wanted to use us to get himself killed.

I can still remember how we all started in amazement when we saw this dude hurled to the floor after just a punch. Everyone was at the common room, watching TV when it happened. Everyone gathered around, shouting,

” fight! Fight!!. ”

Bret spirit seemed to be filed by the chanting and he bent low, waiting for the dude to get up so he’d punch him again but the dude didn’t. It wasn’t until we saw medics coming in before we knew that the dude had passed out.

lunch time always snuck up on me. I was often going for an anger management program. I didn’t go to school because I ‘m gonna be stuck in prison till I die so what’s the point of going to read a course when I probably will never get to use it? As usual there was another roll call before lunch and lunch was as bad as breakfast with few brunches.

After lunch, each prisoner would go back to his assigned location where he’s either working in the kitchen or working in the garden or he’s in his program or school. In summary, we all go back to whatever the hell we were doing before we came for lunch.

Evenings is usually the best time in prison as we get to decide what to do with it. No white cop sending you out in the field. No cop looking at you though telling you that he got his eyes on you or reminding you that you were in prison.

The evenings were filled with music which came from other cells and loud voices as well. I couldn’t talk with my inmate cause he’s a psycho so I spend the evening in the common room and there I watch T. V. Or play cards with other dudes.

There is much talking and chatting in the common room. Men telling stories of how they shot their bitch wives or girlfriend in the head for cheating on them. Or how they killed guys in the name of revenge over the death or rape of a loved one, or how they sold drugs, or how they mastrubate in sandwiches and give others to eat. I felt grossed whenever I saw them do this in the common room. Sometimes they could put it in someone’s mouth when he’s sleeping and joke about it being a prank.

A guy, Fred, got the highest number of people who gathered round his table. He still sold drugs for inmates. Secretly of course. If the police found out, he will be in big trouble. He was very rich and had eyes in prison even in the police. I was told that he kills people outside prison.

I love whenever T. v. Was turned on in the common room. The arguments that burst out was fun especially during football matches. Comedy shows was watched with laughter. The cops never allowed us watch action movies because they were scared of us implementing some actions that will make us escape prison.

Not too long ago, 4 guys escaped prison. Am still stunned by how they made their way pass security. The prison was on lock down for days and everyone was locked in their cell. My inmate who never left his cell was banging at the door of the prison and shouting that someone is chasing him with a knife. No one took him seriously, not even me. It never occurred t to me that he could be dangerous but he wasn’t.

The prisoners who escaped never made it back. They were being pursued by the police who found them in Florida, months later and in their moment of escape, they crashed into a building and the car engulfed in flames and they all died. We watched it on T.v. it was after then that the police started to monitor our conversation on phone and in the common room and even in our cells.

Dinner are served in cells. I had brownies with chips for dinner.

The evenings is the time that I spend writing letters that I never finish, letters that I fold into crumbs and throw them in the trash. Believe me M. J. am changed. I know my changing or not changing doesn’t concern you but I just wanted to let that out. For me. I now go to church in prison and there’s this guy who comes every time to preach. I love his preaching. At first I was angry at his preaching about God’s love and hope.

If God loved me, why hasn’t he gotting me out of jail? I would ask before but later I came to understand and I hope you too would.

That’s all I can write for now. it’s almost 9pm and the cops are calling for lights out in the prison and am damn tired. Gotta go. How’s Charles my best friend in college? He hasn’t given me a call since I got into prison? How’s your brother, Evan. I could still remember the night I beat him up after he came to fight me after I beat you..

Hope you’re done with your P. H. D. Program? And please tell Leno not to do anything that would bring him here. I really wanna have the chance of talking to him in person. He has anger just like me. Tell him to walk away whenever he’s angry and not fight back. It might seem cowardly but it’s usually the right thing. Tell never to join gangs or franternities. Tell him never to hit a lady, to be a gentleman. Raise him to be a man who is compassionate..

Now I have to share with you on everything that happened on the night of my arrest. You know am a drug dealer

That’s all for now… would love to hear and if it’s possible, see you come visit me in jail. No one has ever visited me in prison. It’s as though I don’t have a family. I know I was bad back then but you don’t leave family to rot and die. Everyone, no matter how bad they are derserves love

Bye for now.. kisses and hugs to you and Leno….

love,

John

Pissed!!

Barry drove alongside his son Andrew who stared occasionally at him. Barry tried not to look too often at his son. After a long strain of silence, Andrew spoke up;

” Dad why did you put me off the police force.”

Barry didn’t respond. He kept on driving forward.

” Fuckin Answer me dad!.” He said slamming his fist hard on the dashboard.

Still no answer.

They drove in silence.

” Stop the car.” Andrew said.

Barry didn’t answer.

” I said stop the fuckin car.” Andrew said, tilting forward, struggling with the steering wheel with his dad.

Andrew heard his dad mumble ‘get off me’ but he couldn’t tell if he really said that. He didn’t want to believe it came from his dad’s mouth.

Barry often like pissing people off but never wanted to let what another person did get to him. His ego wouldn’t have it.

Andrew remembered how his mum tried often to piss him off. His mum and dad divorced 6 years ago when he turned 21. She went ahead to marry Philip, a business dealer, 3 months later after the divorce but that didn’t get to Barry. She spilt his money in half but that also didn’t get to him either. She put him out of the house too but that didn’t get to him too. Andrew knew his mum often wanted to see his dad broken, defeated. Andrew remembered how his mum slept with the chief of police in his dad’s work place and blackmailed him 2 weeks later him to get his dad fired unless she would tell his wife about her pregnancy and that she would release a statement on press he tried to rape her. Andrew remembered that night when his dad walked through the door of his mum’s house. Andrew remembered how triumphant his mum’s voice was as his dad walked into the house. Philip kissed her.

” Wow great news! Glad to hear your black ass got fired.” Andrew’s mum said.

” just when i was about getting promoted! Scoffs. Shit happens right?. And am sure you had a hand in it?.” Barry said.

” off course i did. I slept with your boss in other to get him to fire you, threatening to tell his wife about my made up pregnancy and telling the world that he tried to rape me. You should have seen the look on his face. He was stricken. The same look I longed to see on your face and by God you’re gonna get it.” Andrew’s mum said.

” Didn’t you learn anything from Kevin’s death?.” Barry asked.

Andrew looked up and saw Kevin picture hung on a frame. He could remember Kevin, his big old brother. Kevin worked with his dad as a cop. He died in an accident, at least that was what Andrew was told by his dad and mum.

Kevin’s death still shocked Andrew. It was something that wasn’t meant to happen. Kevin, the guy with all the big awards, the guy who got scholarship to 6 different universities and had the option of making a choice, the guy who was so good in sports. He was the fastest runner, the strongest guy in school, the greatest soccer player as well as football player. He was generally loved and stalked by the ladies. Guys were envious and secretly stalked him.

” Don’t you dear bring up Kevin. You didn’t shed a tear when he died. You didn’t Shed any at his funeral.” Andrew’s mum said.

Barry wanted to say something but he held himself. He never wanted to get emotional. He locked up himself like a code to crack open.

” Good night.” He said after much silence.

” Ass hoe! You deserve all the bad coming your way. You think you can just go one sleeping with those whores?.”

Barry got up and said;

” Looks like I got all the statement I need. Thanks for your corporation” he said holding a recorder and dashed out.

Andrew could see the hatred on his mum’s face.

” So the bastard won again.” He heard his mum say. ” Those whores.”

***

Barry screeched his car into a halt as Andrew yelled at him the second time. He parked by the side of the road, gasping and angry..

” Why? Why dad? Why do you love pissing everyone off? You think it’s a game? You pissed mum so much that she literally cries herself to sleep every night because of you. Now you’re destroying all my chances of me becoming a cop. You stupid ego always have to come first place.” Andrew said, opening the door when Barry yanked him down.

” You wanna talk? Okay let’s talk! How about you ask your mum why she divorced me and kicked me out of the house, and married Philip in less than 3 months after we got our divorce, sending me photographs of the both of them. She even went as far as sleeping with and blackmailing my boss to get me fired. She tries pissing me off and i do all i can to get back at her.”

” Dad, she did all this because she wants you to apologize to her. She longed to hear you say ‘am sorry!’ She’s tired of being the one who is always forgiven. She wants to be the one to forgive you.. Dad mum loves you so much. But your ego won’t let you see it.”

” Shut up!” Barry said, knocking on the engine.

” Dad, what happened to Kevin.?”

It took a second for it to click in Barry’s head who Andrew was referring to.

” I and your mum have told you thousands of time, he died in an accident.” Barry said as he buckled his seatbelt.

” well I don’t believe that..” Andrew said.

” Then go to hell.” Barry said, hitting the road.

” But dad so those ladies photos that you sent to mum after she kicked you out of the house were just to piss her off? You never did anything with them?.”

No answer.

Barry drove his son to a bar. He sat down on a seat at the bartender stand. Andrew followed suit, sitting on a seat, next to his dad.

” Give me a red wine please with 2 glass cups.” Barry said.

” No specifics?.” Bartender asked.

It took a second for Barry to understand what he was saying.

” Nah… No specifics.”

” Get me a shot of vodka.” A voice behind asked.

Barry turned around almost immediately.

” Hey Grieg.” Barry said.

” it’s detective Grieg.” He said in a serious chuckle that wanted Barry wanted to call his name by the name of detective. Barry did thus, and both men shook hands firmly, their shoulders knocking each other.

” So how’s my buddy doing?.” Grieg asked, pulling a chair close to Barry.

” Not bad. I’m hoping to become a bartender.” He said in a loud voice, as the bartender came back with the vodka.

The bartender didn’t smile, neither did he respond. He’d think that Barry was mocking him. Neither Barry nor Grieg noticed his outer appeal.

Barry watched Grieg gulp in the vodka in the tinted glass cup.

” great.” He said after dropping the glass cup. He wanted to ask for another shot of vodka but the bartender was standing at a far end.

” By the way, this is by son Andrew. Andrew , detective Grieg.” Barry said, shoving himself so Grieg could see Andrew.

” wow! He’s all grown up. So is he your new do-do partner like your other son, Kevin.?” Grieg said. It was a joke, but it erupted something bad in Barry. It was the demons of his past. Even Grieg realized this and hushed his voice too.

Barry sat in silence when someone kicked the door down. The guy had a gun too. He shot it in the air.

” Get down on the floor.” He roared, kicking men and women to the ground. Everyone stooped down expect from Barry. He got up looking at the guy.

” Get on your knees.” Roared the guy but Barry didn’t. He couldn’t not after what the man did to him the last time. He had to be brave.

” Get on the fuckin floor.” The guy said again. But Barry didn’t and so he kicked him to the floor.

” Dad! ” Yelled Andrew.

There was rumbling of voices in despair.

” Shut up!.” The guy said. And there was a great silence.

Then a phone rang. The guy turned around to see whose phone rang when Barry sprang up in attack. He jumped on the guy, not minding the gun pointed in his direction.

The guy who was trying to throw off Barry, mistakenly shot the gun. He throw Barry off on shooting the gun.

Andrew grabbed the gun that was flunged in his direction. He pointed it at the guy who looked back at him, smiling. He saw how Andrew shook with the gun in his hand.

” just like the last one.” The guy said, walking closer to Andrew’s direction.

” shoot him.” Barry voice came up in the air. His voice was full of grief.

“This was exactly how your former partner died.” The guy said, laughing and smacking his hands.

“Dad, what’s he talking about.?”

No answer.

“Answer me.” Andrew’s voice rumbled like thunder.

Andrew didn’t need to be told. Everything clicked. Kev. Was his dad’s partner. A new sadness dawned on him at what his guts were revealing. He couldn’t believe this yet he knew it was true. He looked over at his dad who looked up. His dad was broken. He never saw his dad this broken.

” Dad was Kevin your partner?” He asked, although he knew.

Kelvin always talked to him about how his dad and he would beat up some drug motherfuckers, or how his dad threatened teenagers who smoked on the street, and he would seize their weed and smoke it in their presence. Kevin also told him how dad insists in each mission they go for, that he wears the bullet proof. Kevin also showed him his police badge.

Andrew remembered how Kevin said that fear always gripped him whenever he went with dad on a mission. Andrew never believed him because Kevin was like his dad who never got scared looks, neither was he ever pissed outside, yet he harboured so much on the inside.

Andrew could remember Kevin telling him about an arm robbery case in a bank. He could remember Kevin telling him how he gripped in fear as he heard the arm robbers voice;

” we got hostages in the building, back off or we shoot them all.”

Kevin tells Andrew that soon after a cop replied with a megaphone;

” We ain’t backing off. That’s not an option. And no deal will be made for you sons of bitches. You have 2 rounds, you either release those hostages and do some time in jail or you die and rot in hell.”

” No way are we doing time in prison.” The voice replied, and immediately, javelins, bombs and bullets were shot at the cops.

Voices of ‘ incoming!” Rented the sky and in that sick moment, Barry who stood near his son, pushed him and himself under the patrol car. Kevin closed his whole being to what was going on as he hid with his dad.

Kevin tells Andrew about the huge fire that resulted via the shooting, bombing and blasting. Many Cops died. Police cars were engulfed in flames. Some of the dead Cops were covered in flames. In fact it was only Barry’s car that didn’t explode though it was engulfed in flames.

The bank building too had gone up in flames. It exploded too. The robbers who didn’t want to go to jail had exploded the building, killing themselves and hundreds of hostages in the building.

It was after this event that Kevin wasn’t allowed again go on a operation for a year or so.

***

Andrew looked with rage at his dad. He couldn’t believe that his dad lied about how Kevin died for all those years

Then a thought struck him: His mum too might have been an accomplice to his dad’s lies

A gunshot bang in the air accompanied by a kick on Andrew’s head sent both Barry and Andrew down on the floor.

****

Barry sat up and looked at the gunman as he pointed his new gun which he tucked out from his pocket at Andrew’s face. Everyone had lay on the floor lifeless. There was no sound, neither was their movement. Then Barry heard a gunshot. It stunned him. He didn’t want to look up at his son who was a few metres away from him. He heard Grieg voice for the first time since the gun drama started;

” Andrew’s not dead. He didn’t shoot him. It’s another guy whose phone beeped. That guy he shot was a Cop. It’s Tremaine, that dutch bag. He must have tried alerting the cops and was Caught.”

But Barry was listening to any of what Grieg was saying. The gunshot brought him back to memory lane of Kevin’s death. He could remember coming to the bar with Kevin. He could remember Kevin laughing and saying that he loved being a cop. He said this because of the way streets gongs scrambled in fear whenever he showed up with Barry on his police uniform. It was mainly teenagers in hoods who ran off in fear. Kevin felt like a superhero though he never showed it. He felt good because those teenagers were often molesting other teenagers who didn’t grow up in the streets like them.

The grown men never ran off. They often looked at Barry and Kevin with angry stares, holding a stick. Kevin enjoyed moving up to one of the grown men and yank his lit Cigarette from his lips, smoke it and puff the smoke on his face and laugh with derision as he watched the guy’s face lit in fury, the kind of fury that could make him wanna put a bullet in Kevin’s brain.

The men could do nothing but watch. They can’t put their hands on a cop otherwise they would be glad to give Cops like Kevin a good beating.

Barry thought what Kevin did funny although he knew he was taking it too far but after all Kevin was taking after him; he loved pissing people off and he wasn’t goddam sorry about it.

Barry could remember how he and his son, Kevin were drinking wine at the bar. Barry remembered his phone ringing and he going outside to make a call. He was almost done with the call when he heard a bang of gunshot. He turned off his phone just in time to see a guy in blonde running away with a bag hung across his shoulder.

” Stop that guy! Stop that guy!.” Yelled a Cop. But Barry didn’t. He wanted to piss the Cop. He loved seeing his scowling face and wanted him to yell;

” You let that guy escape! Asshole!.”

Then he would have let out a mocking face just to infiltrate him the more. But before all that could happen, he heard a loud gunshot near his patrol Car. He watched the guy jump into his car and drove off, having hit the wires.

As the car screeched off into the road, the cops shooting the car in vain to stop his escape, there lay Kevin near the Car with a bullet stuck to his forehead. He was dead. Barry knew before he came any closer that it was his son’s Corpse. Something broke inside him ever since that day. It was more of a rupture. That’s why he didn’t cry at Kevin’s funeral. He gave another scene of Kevin’s death to his wife. He didn’t do that because he was afraid of her, he did that to pacify his conscience. She had gone well with his lies that he was knocked down by a car, even though nothing like that made sense, at least not to Barry, perhaps it was because it was his own cooked up lie.

Barry hatted his wife for buying the lies, for letting him stay up in that house. He didn’t want to stay in that house again because everything in the house reminded him of Kevin. He couldn’t sleep at night as the scene of that day kept hunting him. That’s why he cheated on his wife and made a good laugh at it when she caught him naked with two ladies on the couch in the living room, calling her names. He wanted her to divorce him and put him away from that house that was presumed by him to be hunted with Kevin’s ghost. And he didn’t want her to know so his conscience doesn’t get to crucify him.

****

Barry watched as the guy with guns stacked up cash into his bag. The guy had signaled a black dude into the bar. The black dude too had guns. He shot it in the air and everyone on the floor gasped in fear.

The guy strapped the bag across his shoulder and was walking towards the door. He hoisted the gun upward and shot 2 bullets into the ceiling.

Barry suddenly sprang up in fury and jumped on the guy. There was no way he was letting him escape this time. He struggled the gun with the guy and pressed the trigger, killing the black dude who had in turn shot the guy twice in an attempt to shoot Barry. Barry got up and looked at the guy to make sure he was dead. There was no way he was letting the guy walk out of the bar alive…

Fathom part 9

Emma heard the beeping of machines. She couldn’t tell if she was dreaming or if it was real. She gasped, and immediately blurred images of people were starling in her face. She got up, raising herself in a sitting position. Everyone around her starred at her like she was a failed experiment. They starred as though they expected her to die or explode, something like that. Finally they stopped starring and everyone went about his duties, as though she never existed. Minutes ago, she was a big deal and seconds later, it was as if this big deal wasn’t a big deal after all.

Emma watched as everyone in the ward room worked and talked. None of them looked in her direction as though she had a contagious infection. Finally, a lady nurse walked up to her. The lady nurse was old, yet she had a smallish body. Her Japanese language swooped softly in the air. It was like the buzzing of bees.

The nurse held a liquid to Emma’s face, with swift Japanese language flowing from her. She spoke as though performing magic incantations, holding Emma’s face with her tiny hands.

Emma looked up above her and saw a guy walk in. He looked in her direction and frowned on seeing the nurse. He was Japanese too. He looked like a Monk. Most Japanese do look like Monks.

” Get away from her Shya, she doesn’t speak Japanese.” The guy said as he yanked the liquid from her.

Shya looked disappointed at Emma for not being Japanese. She liked her and wanted her as a friend but she couldn’t cause Emma was an American, not Japanese.

” Hey.” The guy said.

” God you speak English. You speak it so well. Am so thrilled. Thought you’re Japanese…

” Yeah! Sure.. My name’s Alvid. Am Japanese but i was born here, in little Tokyo. I grew up here and I’ve leaved here all my life expect when i was in college. I did my college in Florida that’s why my English is hot.. By the way, am the patient care technician.. By the way, our boss told us about you. He’s sickly in love with you.. It’s crazy. He told these nurses to make sure you get back conscious.. Are you his girlfriend or something.?” Alvid asked.

No answer.

” Here, Emma drink this.. It’s gonna make you a whole lot better.” He said giving her the liquid that Shya, the nurse was holding.

Emma took the small glass cup and looked at the slimy colour of the liquid before taking one gulp.

” You welcome. Our boss said to give it to you.” Alvd said on hearing Emma’s belch.

**

Emma got out of the clinic. She was carried on a wheel chair by Alvd even though she could walk perfectly. The bright lights that flickered in the building made her blink on serval occasion.

Emma saw many sickly old people in the hospital, she saw many with amputated leg or bandaged hands on stretchers. Sickly cries of infants rose up like wailings and horror.

The telephone dispatcher frowned on seeing Emma. Emma could remember the frowning. She recalled the day before when she came to see Dr. Lawrence.

Emma strolled out the building and waved at a security guard who waved back.

” Thanks.” Emma said getting out of the wheel chair.

” No probs. So catch you later. By the way, that liquid you were given, you must take a mouthful quantity. Don’t take a full gulp. ” Alvd said, flagging down a cab.

” Drop her off.” He said to the cab driver.

” Sure, get in.” The cab driver said.

” Bye.” Alvd said, walking back to the hospital.

Emma entered into the Cab.

” So where are we heading.” The cab driver asked in Japanese accent.

Emma looked at the cab driver. He was a sickly old man.

” S. San Pedro street.”

The cab driver looked at her, clenching his jaw like he had some evil intentions. His mouth was moving too. He turned on the car and screeched into the road.

Emma looked behind her and saw the magnificent temple medical centre building. The street was glowing yellow, dark yellow. Old Japanese men and little boys were playing on Accordions and Concertinas, singing in Japanese language. The old men sat in yoga style.

Emma saw men walking with sickly looking dogs. Emma noticed that most Japanese men were bald. Old buildings with cracks were seen in different areas.

Emma suddenly started feeling dizzy again. She closed her eyes and opened it and soon she saw Nashua in the front seat laughing. He was dressed up like the cab driver. He turned back and winked at her.

” Hey Emma, caught you..” He said laughing.

Emma could hear Caleb’s voice, screaming from a far end, calling onto her. Emma saw him through the wind screen of the car. He was screaming her name in desperation but someone had tied up his mouth. Nashua came over where he was and pointed a gun on his head, laughing. Emma dived ahead, breaking the wind screen and landed on the road, rolling twice.

The cab driver who had lost control of the brakes due to her screaming suddenly halts in front of her.

The cab driver left the engine running and came to check on her. He was speaking Japanese, jerking her.

Emma was moaning in pain. She turned leftward and saw Nashua starling at her with an evil sinister smile.

” Now I’ve caught you.” He roared.

Emma screamed and punched him. Suddenly she was jerked twice. She looked up and saw the cab driver and some other Japanese people starring at her. Ambulance and siren noise would fill her ears. She would see some men lifting her into a stretcher. Suddenly she would see Nashua among the men lifting her. She would point in his direction, trying to scream but can’t. Then she would hear him yell;

” you’re mine, all mine.” She would scream loudly, jerking off the stretcher and falling on the road and in the process gets unconscious.

***

Marcus sat up in the living room of his apartment, tapping his feet to the rhythm of worry. He was worried about Emma’s whereabouts. At first he was angry. He couldn’t but get over with the thought that Emma was fucking Dr. Lawrence. The thought of them together nauseated him. At first, he was like;

” what in the hell was wrong with Emma? How could she leave her sick daughter in the hands of a stranger and go about fucking a guy?.”

Marcus wanted to feign ” the good guy, the responsible guy.” But he knew beneath all that anger was jealousy. He was jealous that Emma was sleeping with a guy who wasn’t him. He tried using morality to defend his anger and jealousy.

Marcus finally got up that night and looked out the window. This was the 80th time he did that. Emma won’t be there, he knew. But he wanted to feel good about trying. This was his way of trying to look for her. He’d stay up all night, starring at the window, hearing swift Japanese language floating in the air. He even made noddle soup to stay awake. It’s been 18 hrs since Emma went dark.

Marcus heard his phone ringing. He heard the sigh of relief at the thought of Emma calling even though he knew she never called whenever she stayed out late. The number calling was visible on his phone. Marcus heart went to his chest as he starred at his phone. Had something happened to Emma? Was she dead?

The way the caller kept calling was confirming Marcus fears. Marcus finally picked up his phone;

” Hello.” He said.

” Give up Riley or die… Give up Riley or die..” The voice sounded like a telephone machine.

” Hello? Hello?.” Marcus kept saying.

” Give up Riley! Give up Riley!.”

Marcus quickly put the phone down. He was panting with a grave desperation.

” Give up Riley or die! Give up Riley or die.” The voice rang again. This time Marcus didn’t know if the voice was coming from his phone or it was just his imagination. He quickly smashed the phone on the wall.

” Give up Riley! Give up Riley..” The voice was coming closer.

Marcus turned back and saw Riley holding a gun, pointing it at his direction.

” Riley! Riley!!.” Marcus called out.

Riley starred helplessly at him. She was unconscious. He knew.

” Wanna see something hysterical?.” Nashua’s voice rang out in a chuckle.

And before Marcus could say anything, he saw Riley pointing the gun at the left side of her head.

” No! No!!.” Marcus yelled out

Marcus could hear Nashua’s roaring laughter. It was hideous.

” Die!.” Nashua yelled out. It echoed all over the place.

Marcus closed his eyes and also his ear in the process. The earsplitting sound that rang all over the room left him deaf. A shadow beclouded him and he couldn’t see. Everything was white and so he shut his eyes and ears for few seconds before opening them.

Marcus looked around. Everything was back to normal. He shook as his body touched his phone. Riley was unconscious on the floor. He feared that she was dead. He wanted her to show a sign that she wasn’t but she didn’t stir. He was petrified.

Later, he sprang up to where she lay and shook her. When he did that, he heard her breathing. He held a sigh of relief on hearing her deep breaths, on seeing her stir, on hearing the sounds of her deep snores as she was caught up in a deep sleep…

Shit still happens…

You climbed the lumpy couch, stretching further to where Curt was. You both sat on the long couch. He sat at the left end while you sat at the right end. You could tell something was wrong. Sure you and he were gonna share a drink, sure he kept himself distant apart like he always does before you both had sex, he always told you that distancing oneself helped to build up the emotions and energy and passion required for the sex. You never believed this until he slid into you. He felt heavy on you. Passion and virility starling up as he kissed you and shoved you and you moan and groan at increased tempo.

Curt got up after kissing you for the first time that evening. He was going to get a champagne. It was a tradition that you guys shared whenever it was new years eve

Curt always says;

let’s drink to that.”

And you guys never shared drinks in Curt’s apartment. It was always in a mall.

You remember when you guys had drinks in Santa’s pizza 3 years ago durning a new year eve in 2012. And then he told you that he’d been enrolled into college. He was smiling and you too were smiling and you both pressed your forehead against each other, and you both nudge the ridges of your nose and you both kissed just about the time fireworks were lit in the sky and shrewd screaming of;

Happy new year.”

And you both looked up and saw it boldly written in the sky as the fireworks rent the sky. It was amazing, you loved it even though it wasn’t your first time of seeing fireworks. You even shot one years back but stopped because Christmas was never a joyful time for you. You hatted Christmas cause it always brought bad luck.

Your hate for Christmas started in 2006 when your dad had stroke on Christmas morning and your brother, Neil drove you and your mother to the hospital. You sat in the front watching your mum rubbing your dad’s next slightly and shouting like she was holding something hot or perhaps, she’d have something hot in her mouth. She was screaming;

” Baby please wake up.” In that seductive manner that reminded you of sex. But your mum was crying literally.

Your dad was admitted into the hospital and everything went down drain. Holiday planes were cancelled, the big thanksgiving dinner that your family had with cousins, uncles and aunts and friends too were canceled. You didn’t get to see your high school sweetheart Jake, who lived in northern Carolina. You never told him that dinner was canceled, neither did you tell him about your dad cause you felt that as long as he didn’t know, miracle could happen and your dad could get healed and everything could turn back to normal but your mum told his mum that morning and 2 days later, your dad died. You were in the living room starring at the big decorated Christmas tree in your living room when the doctor came to your house to tell you all. You saw the stunned look on your mum’s face then you saw her tearing down the Christmas tree. You were angered by her. If only she hadn’t called Jake’s mum.

Neil came over and grabbed your mum while she cried on him and almost immediately you saw Jake standing by the door and you get mad. He comes towards you smiling, wanting to kiss you but you kick him on the gut and you slam your fist hard on his face many times as you kept breathing in the fury of his anger and Neil comes in and pulls you away from him and he walks out. He never called to break off from the relationship after that but you never saw him again. But you knew he moved on and so you did too.

The next Christmas, Neil got arrested. He was caught with cocaine. He had gone out in the morning to get the Christmas tree and lights while your mum and cousin, Paula prepared breakfast.

When Neil didn’t come back in the next 30 minutes, your mum starred with worry but you thought she should have known better, Neil could have stopped at a friends house or gone to buy something at a store.

Your cousin, Paula jokes about Neil being kidnapped, and you become infiltrated and walk slowly as though to get a pitcher from the kitchen as breakfast was ready and You all were setting the plates and cutleries in the dinning.

Breakfast was America fried rice with chicken bog and steaks with milk. Glass cups were arranged serially and bottles of milk were placed on the table.

2 hours, there was a knock on the door. It wasn’t the Neil’s kind of knock, yet you couldn’t resist believing that he was at the door. You opened it and saw the cops and when he asked for your mum and you asked what was the trouble, he eyed you and looked inside as he called out your mum and when she came out, he quickly broke the news to her of Neil’s arrest. You see the starling look in your mum’s eyes. Paula came over, holding your mum on the shoulder and looked at the cop as though flirting with him. The cop too, smiled at her.

You were mad at her when she exchanged number with the cop. She was supposed to hate him.

Christmas was ruined again and everyone ate breakfast in silence. You were stunned at how causal you and your mum and cousin were. The death of your father had taught you all to grief. It brought you and your mum to that state of hopelessness. Your brother called it strength; the ability not to show emotion when something bad happens. But you knew it was self deceit. You welded so much memory inside that if someone could dig deeper, he would see how vulnerable you are, that was your greatest fear so you let it stay there while being brave.

Christmas always brought bad luck to your family, more tragedy; your mum sold your family house so you people had to move over to leave with Jakes parent’s house in north Carolina. Paula lived there too. You refused to go over to leave with them so you moved out of the house and came to arrow highway in Los Angeles. Your mum didn’t try to stop you when you said you were leaving and you hate her for it. It was then you realized how little your presence meant to her. Or may it was because she wasn’t in her right spirit. Maybe it was because she was overcome by grief and she didn’t want you to hurt her by your leaving. Anyways you didn’t care.

****

When you came down from the cab that took you to Arrow highway, it was then the reality of what you did starred up in your face. It was then you realized that you were nothing but an eighteen year old kid who was too lazy to take care of herself. You were always told by your dad that the outside world is cruel, and that we only feel this cruelty when we face life alone. You didn’t get it when he said cause you had your dad providing, your mum providing and you needed to do nothing but be an obedient girl who does her chores but that too, you found hard.

Neil had dropped out from college to start rapping and dancing in the streets. He’d perform mostly in black neighborhood. You often watched him on T.V. feeling proud scared. You were proud of him winning the dance competition but you were scared that he would die. That some black negros will come after his car and shoot him. It was how most blacks died but Neil always rung the doorbell of your house.

Your dad and Neil stopped speaking to each other when he dropped out of college. Not until he died did Neil miss him. You know your dad is regretting too in the grave. Now you walk in the streets of arrow highway with tears in your eyes at your brother being jailed. Neil should have been smarter. He’s been doing drugs since he joined that dance crew and he wasn’t caught. Maybe someone rattled him out.

You keeping walking trying to dodge the unsteady people who crashed into you and muttered “sorry.” You remember how you lost your phone, perhaps in the cab or at home or it fell off on the road. You wanted to call your mum to come get you but when you felt your back pocket, the phone was gone, so was the cab when you turned around, so was the cash you managed to smuggle on your way…

” Great.!!!” You yelled.

You walked with your bag trailing behind. You walked a great mile and you were so exhausted that you crashed on your bag.

You woke up 3 hours and screamed as though it were a bad dream but it was real, everything was real so was the death of your father. You were kept on a chair, your bag was placed on a chair nearby. You knew you were in a restaurant. Immediately you got up, a man approached you. He was the owner of the restaurant. He was a short man with pot belly.

” Welcome to bell’s restaurant, my name’s Richard.” He said extending his hands.

You starred at him; at his oily stained apron, at his uncombed hair, at his untended bears. He looked like someone that got drunk too often, one of those who got frustrated with life, one of those who wanted to die but didn’t have the balls to carry it out so that he had no option but to live. You suddenly feel a strong connection and so you say;

” Am Jessie.”

He starred at you, wondering what was going on in your mind, wondering whether you knew him somehow and praying you did.

“Um… I saw you down the road. You were unconscious so i took you in. Hope you don’t mind.”

You didn’t respond.

” Anyways you’re a lucky girl. I know you’re Paula’s cousin. I lived near you in Anaheim street before i moved over here. So tell me something, you’ve finally moved out of your parents house. You’re now an adult right? Anyways i came here to offer you a job and also a place in the kitchen where you can stay after work. I could rent you an apartment but i need my eyes to be on you…”

When he says that with that smile on his face as though he had mastery over you, you shook inward. What will he ask you to do for him ? You thought. He could ask you to sleep with him and so you become his sex toy and his then he would be beating you and fucking you and you can do nothing about it. You wanted to ask him for a phone to call your mum but you’re scared of how she would feel about you so you didn’t.

You worked in his restaurant for 2 years as a waitress. You wondered if your boss fucked his other waitresses and scrambled 5 dollars in their hands in addition to their salary. Their were so excited about the job but you weren’t.

One of the waitress, Asha, caught your attention. She was striking ugly with zits all over face. Her fairness was tainted with a certain kind of blackness. She looked like someone darkened by soot.

Asha was the first person you knew, and perhaps every waitress knew because of her mumble smile. That kind of smile that showed feelings that was never uttered. You always had the feeling that she smiled so often because she was looking desperately for a husband. You noticed this because even though she smiled to everyone she met, you could tell the difference between a smile born out of courtesy and a smile born out of desperation. The courtesy like smile was her gesture smile which was radiated to women and some guys she thought too ugly, fat, broke and guys who were married. While the desperation smile was for men Asha thought hot and sexy and rich. No one gave in to her smile, at least not yet.

The first time you met Curt was at your work place. He had come to eat and thank goodness you were working shifts that day.

You can’t describe your liking Curt as love at first sight. In fact you hatted him when you first sighted him as Asha kept pointing at him in exhilaration.

” He gave me his number and collected mine.” She said excitedly.

You wanted to say something sarcastic, to mar him in front of her but you didn’t.

You moved over to where he sat, pretending not to be the strong one but in reality you knew you liked him. His demeanor appealed to you. You loved his standing ego. You loved the scent around him. He smelt of earth and you loved the smell of earth. And what you loved most about him was how clean shaven, well dressed he was with his complete strong white teeth. You saw him gulp in water and you wished you were the water going ripple down his throat.

what are you doing Jessie? He’s not your type. He got it all, you don’t.” Your mind screaming in ears.

“Sir what are your orders.?” You ask.

” Finally!.” He gasps.” That other waitress needs some talking to or get fired. She needs to know the difference between work and personal life. She shouldn’t carry her issues from her personal life into her business. It’s totally unprofessional. I could call her boss and get her sacked but…”

You feign anger at him.

” Sorry for talking like that. I need French fries and hamburger; 2 hamburger.” He says as you turn back to get it.

Later when you come back with his orders, he tells you;

” For next time please whenever you’re given an order, learn to ask how many of it they want to avoid having to go back again.”

You wanted to scream fuck you! But you didn’t.

” Girl, I like you. Hope your Asha friend won’t beat you up to it. She’s very desperate. Looks like some shit happened to her. You needed to see how much she pressed me to give her my phone number which i finally did…Smiles. I gave her my dad’s number. He would understand and wave her off. I like her. Girls like her will be loyal as a pet. But they will be so insecure that if they should hear or discover that their bf cheated, they are ready to hack both the guy and lady. Their emotions are way off the line. Their love burns, so does their hate and anger.

Anyways here’s my number.” He handed you a small paper containing his number.

” I don’t have a phone. Mine got stolen.” You said.

” Then find a way. Use a phone booth… Whatever. But just make sure you call me.. Right?.”

You nodded, smiling, watching him leave.

As you walk back to the counter, you saw Asha angry stare and if it were to be subtitled, it read;

” leave my man alone.”

You are terrified as you watch her. You know she had the guts to fight you in the restaurant and not feel shame cause she didn’t have one. You wonder if you should still call Curt but off course you did later after your shift.

When he didn’t pick the first 2 times, you panicked as you knew that when you call someone twice and they didn’t pick, it meant 2 things;

They didn’t see your call or they didn’t want to pick your call. The thought of the later scared her.

Curt didn’t call you back the whole day and so you gave up. The next day when he stopped by at the restaurant and walked up to you, he felt uneasy, you noticed.

” Hey, bastard! ” You said angrily.

He didn’t respond. He just turned and walked towards Asha who slapped him twice, hard thuds. She was enraged, you could tell.

Curt smiled at her.

” I was considering asking you out but…” Curt made eye contact with you as he lifted his face from Asha.

You saw the regret on Asha’s face. You knew then that Asha was very apologetic and you knew how much she hatted herself for being one. Yet every time she has a feud with someone, 98% percent of the time she was at fault.

Curt came by after work and picked you. His car smelt of him. It was the first time you would go to his apartment and also it was the first time you didn’t have to sleep in the kitchen of your restaurant with all those mice and cockroaches snooping around.

In the car, he introduced himself as Curt. No surnames. You told him your name is Jessie.

“It’s a lovely neighbourhood.” You said as he entered 660 w arrow highway.

You watched him nod slightly disapprovingly and you knew he just pinned you in your lies.

You crashed on the couch immediately you came into his apartment. You didn’t notice the disco light that gave out many colours. You will love it as it always fascinates you especially when you go to a ball.

You got so tired that you slept off on the couch. You didn’t remove your outing dress nor did you pull off your high heels.

You were awoken by the noise of crickets and also by the bright light in Curt’s room. The disco lights were turned off and a bright light was turn on.

” Hello sleepy head.” Curt says holding 2 white cereal bowls.

” Hey turn off the light, am trying to catch some sleep.” You said covering yourself with throw pillows. Before you looked at the wall clock and yelled in despair

” oh come on it’s still midnight.”

” Come on jess, you’ve slept for 6 fuckin hours already. Come on, try some mid night snack.” Curt says as he placed a cereal bowl before you. You got up.

” Yummy!” You said as you tasted icy frozen ice cream.

” it’s my tradition. I do mid night snack most often especially when i stay up late. I woke you up earlier to try my potato salad with marsh melons but you were damn too tired so i ate it all. No good wasting all that protein.”

” You’re a freak.” You said in a mimicked voice before adding;

” well, I love your mid night snacking so long i don’t get sick or woozy at work.”

Curt stared at you like he’d seen a ghost. Was it what you said? Didn’t he know how to take a joke?

Finally you smiled apologetically. He smiled too and said surprisingly;

” quit trying to make everything right. Some things are meant to be the way they are.”

You both spent the night getting to know each other. Curt tells you that he was born in Santa Montana but that both his mum and dad ran away from there after his dad was labeled wanted by the cops after hacking into the computer system of a bank and stealing money from the bank account, and sending them to an untraceable account of his which he created with the name of a person who never existed. Curt tells you that his parent moved over to North Carolina to start life anew but that his father’s sin hunted him like hell. He tells you how many times men in black often came to the house and break things in the house and sometimes shoot his mum on the leg in order to make his dad pay up what he owed yet he didn’t. He couldn’t part with his hard stolen money and he knew they wouldn’t kill her and he tells them that he has no money and shows them his real account and it was empty. He would never show them the anonymous account which is staked with millions and billions of dollars.

Curt further tells you about his parents divorce after they moved to los Angeles and finally were able to have normal lives without being pursued by the cops or by bad guys. He tells you that his mum divorced his dad after she found out about the anonymous account his dad had. He tells you that she wiped the account clean and ran off before she, through her lawyer , went to court asking for divorce. Curt tells you that his mum didn’t appear in court. It was only her lawyer who did. Curt tells you too that when his dad came to the court, he was recognized by the cops. Curt tells you with a spark of pride on his face how his dad took down the cops and was about run off when his mum shoots him on the leg and shoulder. Curt tells you how he watched in shock as his dad was taken away for life and he watched his mum leaving and he never saw neither of his parents again. Curt finally tells you how his dad secretly stashed 5 million dollars in his ( Curt’s) apartment. Curt adds too that he and his dad were leaving in this apartment after his mum ran away.

Curt tells you that his dad called from prison and told him about the cash and that’s how he’d been living on.

You looked at Curt , mouth opened.

” So shit does happen to you too.” You said before adding;

” Your dad must have been so bad a crook?.”

Curt laughs heartily on hearing you say that as though he expected that from you. He laughed like an adult who was amused by the stupidity of a kid.

” Nah… My dad was a very good man. He really wanted to make a difference and that he did.”

You wanted to ask;

” what good does a crook do apart from hurting others?.”But you didn’t. Instead you listened to Curt telling you how many kids your dad took off the street. Curt tells you that his dad didn’t believe in college but he supported some of the kids who wanted to go to college and then he organized the street dance and clubs for those who didn’t want to go.

Curt tells you also how his dad got millions of innocent people out of prison. Curt tells you how his dad did all those good things in his lawyer name so that he won’t be traced.

When later Curt calls his mum a bitch, you wanted to tell him that his dad was an asshole who would keep an account secret from his mum and would rather refuse giving up the money than keeping his mum alive.

You felt a chill run through your body as Curt calls his mum a bitch again adding also that his mum knew about his dad’s secret account. Curt even told you that his dad told him too about the account. Curt added too that when those men started attacking his family, that his dad opted to give out the money, it was his bitch mother who advised against it, adding that all those years of hard work would go futile. Curt angrily says that he didn’t know his bitch mother played on his dad.

You were so shocked that you slept off immediately he stopped talking. You got up an hour later and dressed up and went to work.

****

Life with Curt was like a roller coaster ride. It was blissful and you loved every moment spent with him. You stayed permanently in his apartment and enjoyed his ritual of mid night snack. You no longer slept in the restaurant where you work and your boss felt threatened. He kept asking you if you had found a place, and you would always say no that you were squatting with a friend which was indeed true but it felt more true to say you have found a place, to call Curt’s place your house.

You knew your boss felt he had an obligation to you. He didn’t just want to be your boss at the restaurant, he wanted to be your life boss. He wanted to own you. He wanted you to depend on him.

The day he called you to ask you who was curt and why you were crashing at a man’s place, whether you didn’t know that he can rape or even kill you, you got so mad that you almost wanted to curse him out but you didn’t because he was your boss.

****

One thing you liked about Curt was the way he stuck to tradition, his traditions and you loved it. One of such traditions was mid night snacking, the other was sharing a wine at new year eve. The other was going to see a movie every Saturday;he usually carry a guy along whenever he goes out to see a movie. Another was eating ham and egg and biscuits every easter and turkey with mashed potatoes and vegetables every thanksgiving dinner which he had alone with you.

You love mid night snacking ritual and the wine ritual and thanksgiving dinner ritual because durning those moments, he was all yours. Nobody shared him with you.

*****

Curt comes back with the wine glass and bottle. His hand quivered as he pours the wine into the glass. Something’s definitely wrong. You thought. It was easy for you to detect because you and he had dated for 2 years and he never distant himself like this whenever you were around. After pouring the wine with half of it spilling on the floor, he tells you there that he needed to break up with you. No explanation, no reason. You were scared as many thoughts rattled in your mind;

He never loved me. !

He used me!

He’s seeing someone!

Later when you asked him tearfully if he was seeing someone and he says no, you boil in anger.

” Then why?.” You asked shouting.

You looked at him. You couldn’t pinpoint when you both had a fight. It was only mild arguments that ended up in laughter. Maybe you might have said something or done something. Maybe it was Asha. You shook your head at the thought of Asha. She wasn’t a bad person. She was just naive.

Curt kissed you after gulping all his wine and lay on the couch, sleeping immediately.

You look at him , wondering why he slept so soundly near you after breaking your heart. He could have at least, slept in his room, locking the door like he always do on a normal day. Perhaps he knew you were weak. You didn’t have the balls to do it. You got mad at that thought

Finally you got drowsy and slept off and by the time you got up, curt was gone.

You checked the bathroom and the apartment to see if it was some dumb prank but it ain’t. Curt had packed his bags and clothes and shoes and walked out the front door. You called his line but the auto machine kept saying that the line doesn’t exist. You couldn’t help but know that this was real.. Well if it was some prank it was a damn good one but it wasn’t as weeks and months passed and Curt didn’t show up. He was indeed gone. You were furious. How could a man come and wreck a lady’s life ? Didn’t the moments you both shared together mean anything? Weren’t men capable of loving genuinely?

Things got worse for you, your boss laid you off because you didn’t let him play the big brother in your life. So here you are in Curt’s apartment, wounded and hopeless. It wasn’t losing your job that made you hopeless; Curt had more than enough cash for you to live on. It was Curt’s absence, leaving you with all that there is.

Your phone rings. It’s Paula. You both haven’t spoken in ages, yet she didn’t ask of your well being or your whereabouts. Her voice wasn’t melodious either. She just start relaying the news;

” Your mum’s battling with cancer, she’s been at the hospital for months. Your brother was just released from prison. A dude named curt got him out with other inmates.” She paused as though saving the worst for the last. She continued after taking a deep breath;

” And that good guy, Curt, whose dad was a crook, is dead. Suicide. He has sickle cell anemia. His dad too is dead after rotting in jail for all those years. They will both be buried in North Carolina.” She said hanging up. You know she hang up on you on purpose knowing you wanted to say something. She didn’t need your concern or sympathy. To her, you’re not family. You were never family since the day you left home.

You starred into nothingness after Paula broke the news of Curt’s death. You cried like a baby. You cried for hours till you fell asleep, and you woke up, greeting the world with your angry cry. You could hear angry shouts and knocks on your door by neighbors but you didn’t stop. You cried because of your harsh criticism. You judge him of sleeping with other ladies.

You cry, remembering how selfish you were. You wanted the relationship to revolve around you and thus it did. When Curt left you, the only reason you cried was because of the benefits you were gonna miss because of his absence; the comfort, the sex, the comedy, his apartment and money. You missed him, not because you loved him but because you needed him. And that’s why you didn’t cry for your mum who was battling with cancer because you always believed that she had nothing to offer.

****

2 weeks later, you travelled to North Carolina for the funeral. You had called Paula, using a husky voice to ask for the name and address of the place where the funeral was taking place. When you ask her if it is holding in a church, she replied angrily but politely;

” what do you think.” And then she hung up. She didn’t want the conversation. You looked at your phone screen, noticing that the call lasted for 10 seconds and 5 out of the 10 seconds was just grave silence.

You got to the church. The pews were covered with ageing and young people covered with black, only the priest wore white. You sat on one of the long seats. The priest had finished talking and Curt’s brother took the podium. He was nothing like Curt. No striking resemblance that connected him as Curt’s brother. He did have similar features in bits. He looked more like his father. His name was Dan. He said this as he emerged. He looked like someone who had crammed too much line and he just wanted to lay it all out.

Dan took off by talking about how good his dad was, the foundation his dad built, the kids he took off the street, his dad’s funny jokes and what not.

You sat still stunned. Curt never told you that he had a brother and you were still confused until Dan mentioned the pregnancy of his mum when she was 17yrs by Curt’s dad.

” This bastard got my mum pregnant and dumped her for years!.”” He suddenly flares up. ” This crook! This lying bastard! I can’t believe am doing this. I’m out.” Dan said slamming the mic before leaving, stunned faces starring at him.

You saw an old man in his late sixties come up to take the mic. He was Curt’s uncle. Before he started, he asked the people if they still have any other evil deed of his brother. There was grave silence before a guy got up;

” He’s a Big time crook” 1st guy said.

” But it’s the crook that sent your gooddam ass to college.” Curt’s uncle said, silencing him.

” I know me and my mum have enjoyed his benevolence but man, that doesn’t make him a saint… Gotta agree with the first dude. Giving doesn’t justify crime. Let’s learn to call bad what it is…”

2nd guy was interrupted by Curt’s uncle sudden shout;

” Shut up! Bastard! Ungrateful piece of shit! The guy you’re talking ill off paid for your mum’s cancer treatment. I pray she never makes it out from the hospital. He helped get your ass out of prison. It was his stolen money that freed your ungrateful ass.”

The second guy turned back and immediately there was tumult by the crowd. You look above the taunting crowd and you saw the guy, you knew the guy. It was your brother, Neil.

You immediately got up and left. You were angry, not at the crowd but at yourself. They were judgmental like you. They looked for faults like you. They were unthankful like you. It was as though your pessimistic spirit rubbed up on everybody. Perhaps if you hadn’t been there, none of this would have happened.

You struggle hard to fight the tears that welded in your eyes, not minding the eyes that starred at you as you walked out through the door.

The passerby

“Hey Shawn am almost at your place.”

” Really, man you came pretty late am at a grocery store.”

” No probs..”

Shawn looked at the window with his cell phone stuck in his ear. A guy walked out from the grocery store where he was about to enter. He wore a cap and had his head covered in hood. He was like any passerby standing on the pavement, waiting to flag down a cab yet Shawn stilled his car, watching him make phone calls, flagging down cars and talking to the guys in the car and then the car would ride off and he giving a ” fuck you sign.” as the car stirred ahead.

This went on for about 15 minutes, till a cab dropped by. The guy peered into the cab, longer than 5 minutes, but when he pulled his head upward, he got into the cab and it drove off.

***

Leave a message…. Hi darling, your friend Andrew dropped by to see you. I’ve been calling you but seems like you’re pretty busy. Andrew said he called you and you both were talking and suddenly you just stopped talking. He thought it was the line, but the call was still on and he was calling you and you weren’t responding so he hung up….”

Shawn turned off the phone.

” Damn phone.” He muttered.

The cab rode long distance. He made serval turns. Shawn followed the cab at a respectable distance. At first the cab drove on the street, heading to the road. Shawn saw white kids and buildings and people. This was where he belonged. But the cab was making a turn into an unfamiliar road. It wasn’t unfamiliar per se. Shawn knew this place. It was a place he dreaded all his life. It was the black neighborhood. At first he wanted to turn back but curiosity got the better hold of him.

Shawn saw the black neighborhood. It was often described as a junkyard. Piles of tyres were seen at one end of the road. Rock and row music were heard from a building. Black kids looked sinister as they roamed the streets in their skateboard or wearing hoods and flagging cars down to talk and after few minutes, the car would zoom off and the black kid would yell;

Yo! Asshole!!.”

” Tough love.” Shawn muttered as he drove on.

The cab kept moving and Shawn was terrified. He was scared of being killed. He was scared of what he would discover about these men. He was no cop. He had to turn backward yet he didn’t. They kept moving. Shawn did see a wary building, written on the building was;

Stop shooting us ” in a dense red colour.

He gasped on seeing that sign. The air around Shawn became stuffy. He could smell barbeque from a far end. The stale smell of cigarate mixed with dust and the smell of bullets churned him. He couldn’t breathe. He turned on the A.C. in his car and closed the windows.

Shawn knew that black neighborhood also had nice buildings and decent streets but blacks were characterised with drugs and violence. Shawn prayed that there wouldn’t be any shootout or knife stabbing.

Shawn watched the cab halt in an uncompleted building. The building was old. It was where black niggas did dance competition against each other. Thugs often came to the building.

Shawn watched as men on hoods came out of the cab. The lights on the car were still turn on.

The men were talking. Shawn wanted to make out what they were saying but he couldn’t as the voices were in low tunes. Even with the tranquility and serenity of the building, Shawn didn’t still hear a thing.

Shawn sat still. He had turned off the engine of his car but didn’t turn down the glass of his car for fear of being caught. The men were talking. Shawn saw the aggressive looks on their faces. He was damn wrong to have followed here. He called his wife but she didn’t pick. He called again and she answered.

” Hey, darling you’re running late again. Where the heck are you? I tried calling your office but they said you weren’t there. Even Andrew is worried sick about you…. ”

” Hello.. Hello!!.” His wife said on noticing the grave silence.

” Are you there honey?.”

Shawn sat still in shock. He was shocked about what was going to happen next. The reality of death left him traumatised.

” I love you honey..” Shawn said after hours of grave silence.

Shawn noticed his wife wasn’t responding. She finally understood. Shawn thought.

” Hey…” Shawn called out but then he noticed a guy from the cab approaching, accompanied by his movement were bangs of bullets on the tyres of the car.

” You goddam piece of shit!.” A guy shouted as he approached the car. ” What’re you doing? Spying on us?.”

” Oh hell no.” Shawn blurts out.

The guy approached Shawn’s car. The car Shawn saw earlier at the grocery store followed suit.

” Get the fuck off the car.” The guy who approached him said, pulling off his shady glasses and lo it was Tom, Shawn’s buddy from high school.

” Tom! Tom!!.” Shawn screamed in despair.

” You know this guy?.” The other guy said.

” Yeah Ed. Shawn’s my friend from high school.”

” So like you know this dude?.”

” Yeah asshole..”

” Don’t call me that shit face.”

Shawn was still on the floor.

” Guys look, i know you think i brought him here but i swear to God i didn’t. He’s always been the coolest son of a bitch in high school, always coming first places in class while scooping every other person. Everyone always called me his bitch in high school and now am gonna make him pay.” Tom said, rubbing his hands together.

” You’re not gonna shoot him are you?.” Another guy asked.

” Nah… But he got beautiful bitches at home; his wife and daughter. ”

” We’ve got some ladies to slick guys.” Ed said.

Shawn saw the men giving high five. He grabbed tom pocket and wanted to grab his gun but he was overpowered by the men and knocked out.

****

Shawn woke up in the trunk of a car. The car did halt immediately he became conscious. He was weak and faintly. The guys pulled him out of the trunk; legs tied and hands tied as they entered his house.

Shawn’s wife, June opened the door on hearing the doorbell and was shoved to the floor, gun pointing in her direction.

” Mum!!.” Jane ran out screaming.

” Stand back.” Ed said as he held her tightly while she struggled to break free.

” Shawn!!.” June screamed as she was literally dragged on the floor.

” No!!.” Shawn screamed as he watched the men going closer to his wife and kid. He scrambled on the floor moving closer to where his wife and kid were only to be shoved back by a gun which tom held.

Shawn closed his eyes. He couldn’t watch what was gonna happen next. He kept hearing screams all over the room.

” open your eyes! Open your fuckin eyes or am gonna kill you all.”

Shawn heard his wife and daughter screams yet he didn’t open his eyes. His eyes were shut tightly until he passed out.

***

Shawn was woken up by moaning and whispers. He was fully awake. He heard a voice;

” The dude’s finally awake.”

He didn’t want to open his eyes but on hearing his daughter’s voice, he opened it. He got up looking like someone waking up from a bad dream

” Hey!.” Tom said

Shawn sprang up to punch him when his wife and kid emerged from behind him, blocking him.

Shawn starred quietly at them. He was frozen. And a delirious chants of;

” Surprise!! Whoooo!! Happy birthday Shane.” Voiced out by a small crowd of friends and neighbours left him disenchanted.

Shane was stunned and confused. Their voices froze him the more.

” Happy birthday honey..” June said kissing him.

” Happy birthday dad.. We’re okay! None of what you saw earlier was real we just wanted to prank you.. ” jane said smiling

” That’s my line .” june said laughing.

Shawn starred in despair at ed and his men. Jane noticing this laughed.

” Not to worry dad, this all, apart from tom are my college friends.” She said.

They all took off their shady glasses and Shawn saw their real faces, smiling, stretching out their hands in friendship but Shane didn’t take it. He only starred at ed and tom.

Shawn was too stunned to understand. A birthday cake emerged by a neighbor and a bottle of champagne.

” Lol can’t believe you fell for all that.” Tom said.

Shawn felt angered. He realised finally as tom smiled that none of what he saw earlier was real.. He’d be pranked and in a slight rush of memory, he punched tom on the nose.

” Fuck!” Tom said, holding his nose and accompanied by it was a gentle roar of laughter..

Happy birthday Barack Obama

I cannot begin to say how much you’ve imparted my life. You’re a real hero, not just the world hero but my hero. I love you so much!! I still miss you at the white white. I look out for you whenever i turn on my T.v. I could still remember your recent visit to Kenya.. It was truly amazing.. Thanks for coming back to Africa and your sister is very lovely.. I do believe today because of you..
I could still remember your quote in 2009;
“Yes we can.” You said..
Happy birthday again sir. Ever young but still amazing. Your stand for love and unity and faith thrills me a lot. I could still remember your words when you said;
“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…”
Thank you so much for helping me find myself again. Thank you for teaching me hope and love. Mostly thanks for helping me find you..
#Happybirthday
Barack Obama
Cheers!!