Tuesday, December 13, 2016
copyright K. Omodele 2016
* (This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual people or situations is purely coincidental.)
It was Doc birthnight we had come to celebrate but every last one of us was tight and frost because, for the second week in a row, the club owner- Mackie, that battyhole, had some new security enforcing people from bringing gun inside The Turntable. So that night me marched into the little match-box dance hall club hard and fast like the Dirty Dozen and posted up in front we wall.
Now when I say "our wall", I mean everybody and they mother know that every, single club night, that space up under the DJ booth balcony, from the edge of that larger-than-life Bob Marley mural over to the women's restroom -all that space is our own. It bought and paid for with sheer testosterone and gun sulfur. Whensoever we popped in, people just slide over to the side and relinquish we space. Regulars knew that; next week, a baby going born in England and he going know that. No long story; no long talk; no big fucking deal.
So, we had we backs to the wall, women's restroom 'pon we right-hand side, dance floor straight ahead. Was me, my cousin Bull, the two brothers Shortman and Doc, Brixton, Dapper, English, Bim, Mammal, Buddy-Bye, Star Boy and Trigger. Buddy-Bye bored through the crowd headed for the bar.
Bull turned 'round grinning and shouted in my ear over the music. "Wha' the fuck do Mackie? A few little shooting and now the damn Secret Service manning the door."
I didn't share the laugh. "I feel naked, no fuck." I looked around the club.
Bull did the same. "Yo, Chicken. Culture and Joe not coming?"
I shrugged. "Ever since Lyla get killed, Joe been acting certain way, like if he is the only man in the whole world raising a youth without a babymother."
"It's only couple weeks now. I feel for him; that man have some real big man responsibilities now."
I thought about it. But what about Culture and Ray-Ray and the rest of them? They don't never miss no party.
I turned to Doc. "Blessed earthday, Bredren."
Buddy-Bye resurfaced with a waitress and two wash basins full a Moet bottles on ice, plus two cases of Heineken and hot Guinness. Soon as he set them on the floor, hands plunged in and rummaged through the basin and boxes of beer. I came up with two Moet, for me and Shortman, who started crushing weed in his hand, preparing to build a spliff.
The whole crew was hyped. The spot down in Southeast was bubbling over thirty grand a day, more than triple the amount we made the first day we set up shop, which was a month before. Not bad for a set of teens - we was definitely flexing, smelling weself.
So, now we're guzzling bottles. The music was pounding, the place ram-packed with tension and swagger. The air, hot and hypnotic from ganja smoke and spilled-liquor fumes and too many black people cramped in too small a space. Girls were winding up they waistlines, riding the booming baseline with perfect timing. Knowing full-well a man's eyes would only linger on any one of them for a couple seconds, the winding competition between them girls was fierce; you hear?
But as man, we couldn't afford to turn fool over pum-pum; so real road niggas' eyes kept shiftin from predator to girl prey, like young lions scouting the savannah for enemies and food. That possie over there watching that one over there. Man under a constant state of alert.
Shortman reached across me and handed Doc the new-built, big-head spliff, then started building a next one. English roped in some girls, waving them in from off the dance floor. The music slowed to a crawl...then stopped.
Crowd movement settled.
Grammatica The Selector's voice rang out through the speakers.
"Hold tight, all massive and crew. Here comes a chune by the one-and-only Junior Reid, a brand new thing mashing up Jamdung* and Foreign. Turntable LISTEN!"
Junior Reid sing-jayed the intro:
"Moder vamp-ires of the ci-ty/ haunted blood, blo-od/ You coulda come from Rema, you coulda come from Jungle/ coulda come from Firehouse or you come from Tower Hill/ One blood, one blood, one blood..."
When the baseline dropped in, the whole dancehall nearly tear down. It was bare bedlam. Lighters flicked on, aerosol-can torches spewing flames out like some ole, spit-fire dragons. Sirens sounded, a bomb warning wailed. Now, even the lions were prancing, bouncing with gun fingers in the air, busting blanks.
I was thinking, Mackie fucking lucky he stopped we from bringing guns in here tonight, f'real. Or we woulda turn his ceiling into swiss chesses, the amount of gunshots that woulda burst for One Blood.
With the drum and bass and the Moet talking to me, plus the smell of sticky girls and sexy ganja, I was sailing higher than a frigging kite. And right about that time, Bull turned around and said to me:
"Wrangla them over there by the Galaga." He was gesturing behind him.
Soon as he said it, that ole, dutty, stinking crow cawed. Sobered me straight, right and fast. I had to rise up on my Bally boot toes to catch a glimpse over Bull shoulder but I spotted them in the corner by the video game in the back of the club. They were definitely watching us. And when our eyes locked, the four of them fanned out onto the dance floor, skanking like wasn't nothing wrong.
And that was all wrong!
They spread out, bouncing around with some random girls, but we could see them lurking - Wrangla and Glass to the left, Mongrel and Boo on the right. I'm thinking: four of them; twelve of we. Ever since Lyla get lick down right outside the club, Mackie was not skinning or grinning with security, nobody couldn't even slip by the metal detector with piece of cigarette foil paper under their clothes. So, what they could try? We had the numbers.
But then, Glass dallied through the crowd, rushing over to our wall. Off pure reflex and instinct, my gun hand dug down into my pants waist, knowing better, but still hoping to God for a miracle.
Shit! Heard that crow caw again. I definitely wasn't high no more.
Let me tell you, Bull solid like a pillar or post, so it was hard to see over and around his shoulder. Next thing I know, though, Glass was standing with his hands buried in his jacket pockets, ranting and railing off, nearly chest to chest with Bull. I couldn't hear a word for sake of the thumping music; but he was running off his mouth non-stop and I knew it was gun talk, wicked talk, cause he was screwing up his mouth like he sucking a green mango or something so. His hands were poking around in his pockets emphasizing whatever foolishness was coming out his mouth.
On my left, Doc and English inched wide. Shortman, on my right, ain't notice nothing yet and his short rass definitely couldn't see over Bull or the crowd, so he was still picking stems out the weed, preparing to roll.
And then, Mongrel and Boo squeezed through the crowded floor and drew up beside Glass, who on cue, backed a Glock .40 out his coat pocket and carried on chatting even more fuckery, going on like a real, big-pussy gyal, now that he had representation beside him.
I gripped the Moet bottle neck. Doc and English did the same.
Bull inched up, closing the gap between him and yappy-yappy mouth Glass. Which in, caught Glass in a place somewhere between disbelief and feeling disrespected. His eyes bulged with confusion.
Mongrel looked at Glass with sour disgust, spit some cuss words at him and snatched the tool right out his confederate's hand. At the same time, Boo backed out a nine millimeter. In one fluid, in-sync motion, the two of them raised the machines and aimed.
My Publishing Journey
by Kaya Omodele @TheAbeng #TheAbeng
My book The Abeng and My Conscious Pen: Cries of Redemption is now in the hands of my editor.
The challenges getting a book published while behind a prison fence are many; obstacles jump up outta darkness like duppies/jumbies in the night. A problem will inevitably roll up like some old higue wanting to suck out all your energy and joy, threatening to transform your process into a nightmare.
But don't worry! Problems are mere opportunities to find creative solutions; so, fret not thyself. The ancient Egyptians found ways to time and harness the disastrous overflowing of the Nile; they converted destructive annual flooding into irrigation from which sprang one of the world's earliest and greatest civilizations. In other words, they made sugar outta ssshhhh (shingles ;-) )
So, right about now, I'm saying "Big up!" to my very own team of ancient Egyptians:
- My editor Tynisha from Dasheen Magazine and Camelitta Ink & Co...
- My publisher Sabrina from Beneath The Surface, Publishing...
- My production manager/marketing and sales specialist Rene...
- And Midnight Express Books for helping me maintain The Abeng and My Conscious Pen platform, not to mention my sanity.
I give nuff thanks and honor, Ladies.
It takes a village, people.
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