JACKBOOT 1 & 2
I walked into that room, expecting to see him probably breathing through a tube. His eyes were shut and he looked peaceful, i walked over to his bed and sat down next to him.
I said to him. “Moe, you gotta help your baby cousin, tell me… who hurt you. Moe, they want to say it was me who did it. You were lying on the ground when i walked in”
He wasn’t speaking. I shook him to wake him up thinking he was asleep. He slouched over the bed, not bothering to pick himself up.
“Moe… Moe answer me. I’m in serious trouble”, I exclaimed.
He didn’t answer me. I shook him for a reaction. “Moe!”
Out of the corner of my left eye. I saw black footprints that went from his bed to the window.
I put a hand over his chest, an ear near his mouth. Silence… not even a breeze.
“Jayati Jones! Put your hands up”, said a deep male voice with a Bronx accent like mine.
My body swished around in fear. It was when i turned around did i see the black footprints leading to me. I thought i stepped in paint and left a mark.
“Jayati, step away from the body”
I didn’t do it
I didn’t do it
Being hauled out once again in handcuffs was starting to get scary. I’ve done wrong most my life, followed in my uncle’s shoes, as a miniature boss like him. He warned me, I wasn’t listening.
I was given a trial and my uncle being the wealthy gang leader he was… made it easy for me on certain conditions. I don’t think jail was hard, maybe cause i was raised to be a hard ass. I could almost say I enjoyed myself.
It didn’t feel long with my uncle’s help. Probably wasn’t long at all in all honesty.
I opened my arms for a hug as I came off the bus. “It’s so good to be home Sally”
I let her go and held her arms as I looked at her. Messy brunette hair and dark circles around her eyes. “Rehab?”, I asked.
“Yeah…”, She replied shyly with a modest grin. “I figured I’d go while you were away”
“That’s good. You still wearing those rags?”
“Well… there’s this lady helping me”, she stated. We walked together with her tucked under my arm.
“You got somewhere to stay?”
“Yeah… i need a telephone to call my uncle”
“Your uncle?”, she gave me a face of worry. “Doesn’t he run like a big empire. Are you safe? You could get in trouble again”
I smirked as I walked over to a telephone on the streets. She followed right behind me. “I’ll be fine Sal”, I assured her. “He did pay to have my sentence shorten”
She gasped and put her long arms over her mouth. “He bribed for your sentence”, she whispered. “Probably even more than that”, I dialed his number, hoping that at least Enzo would pick up if he wasn’t there. The phone went on ringing until it finally said “we’re sorry the current phone number has been disconnected”
I silently cursed under my breath. “Not there?”
“Number doesn’t work”, I grumbled. “I guess I’m sticking around with you Sally”
“Yay, sleep over!”
“Just don’t give me that crack bed”, I said.
“I wouldn’t dare… and there is nothing wrong with my crack bed”
My uncle’s house was far off. On foot, I wouldn’t get there until dark. The City of Urmil was large, uptown was a reasonably bright and colorful area the painted walls of singers, celebrities, and the important. Downtown was simply a broken up puzzle piece filled with people that were struggling or just making it by a hair.
Once we got to Sally’s place I placed my things in her room on the non lumpy bed. “Where’s your mom?”, I asked.
“In Kirklean with my father”
I pulled out a long t-shirt to wear for the night. I heard a noise behind me, I assumed it was Sally doing something.
“Can i use your shower?”
“Sure!”, she said. “The handles are a little funny. The hot water knob turns funny. Oh! Let me make sure it’s clean for you. I had some clothes in there”
“Clothes in the shower?”
“The washer is broke”, she shrugged.
Sally took a while to actually get out of the bathroom. I walked around the house for a bit looking at the varies pictures. I smiled at one photo of me and her sitting on the fireplace. It was from graduation, we both had our pom-poms and diplomas.
Next to it was a picture of her and my cousin, now deceased, in embrace. My smile faded a little, all i remembered is how blood stained his face.
They said he was beaten with his baseball bat. That wasn’t what linked me to the crime. It was my boots. My heavy boots that came to the knee. They claimed they were all over the house and I was apparently so stupid to come back to the crime.
All i did was walk in the house.
“Jayati! YOU CAN USE THE SHOWER NOW!”, she called.
“Alright… hey um Sally… when’s the funeral?”
“Probably tomorrow, your uncle had it postponed until you got out of jail. He knew how much you would have wanted to go”
I smiled at how my uncle was so considerate. “That’s nice”
Being out behind bars, I’m not sure how to act. I’m free…
After I took a bath, we mostly just relaxed and talked.
“Oh! You gonna go see Mickey?”, she asked.
“Man, I ain’t seen Micky, since high school. I really don’t want to either”, I frowned.
“He asked about you”, she said lowly. “Things didn’t go to well with BB”. I scoffed. “Really? So he wants to know if I’m still available! I don’t want that cheat back. Besides don’t he got a child?”
“Ricky…”, she shyed her eyes away. “His name is Ricky…”
I sighed and only shrugged it off. “Ricky…”, I scoffed. “Ya know, imma go to sleep. Night Sally”
I put on a necklace that my cousin gave me for my birthday. The funeral was depressing as most funerals are. His mother was leaned over the casket crying her heart out, me and Sally were in the front row with our heads down. Her husband pulled her aside and tried to calm her down.
They had to throw a close casket because his face was too badly beaten.
“He died to soon…”, said Sally. “I always believed he’d die from a gun shot from messin’ with the Grotto”
I look down at the ground. It infuriated me, frustrated me. If he did get jumped by another gang, I need to find out who had a death wish.
After the funeral, It was mostly just me and my kin. My uncle Barbosa showed up late and earned a slap from my mother.
I walked over to them bickering and gave him a hug. “Jayati…”, he squeezed me. “I’m sorry i couldn’t pick up the phone when you came home. I was, uh…. busy”
My uncle Barbosa was a dark skin man with fine features, bright brown eyes and a small scar on his lip. I came up to his shoulders when i stood next to him.
“You got someplace to stay?”, he asked.
“I’m staying with Sally”
His face twisted. “The crack fiend?”
“She went to rehab”
He just shook his head and laughed. “No she didn’t”
“She’s been getting all high up since Moe died. I didn’t realize she had some cocaine stashed in the house…”
That statement had me silent. I turned my attention to Sally who was acrossed the church with Moe’s mother Georgia. Knowing those two, they could start a fight any moment. It wasn’t the fact her son was dating a white woman, it was the fact the white girl was a drug addict. Georgia always made snide comments about Sally when she wasn’t in ear shot.
My uncle and I were both eyeing them from afar. He put a hand on my back and a kiss on the forehead as he walked over to them.
I felt a knock on my shoulder, and swished around to see a face i never wanted to see. “Hey…”
“Mickey… what you want?!”
“Damn girl, my home boy just died, i can’t see him?”
“I don’t care what you do. Just keep away from me”
He chuckled softly. “Fear you’ll fall for me again?”
“Bullshit”, I sneered.
I was going distance myself away from him when he took hold of my arm. “I don’t think you did it…”, he stated.
I snatched my arm away. “I didn’t!”
“Why you come up to me all worried and crap, then. Why are you even near me?”
“Damn, okay, I don’t wanna mess with yo ass anyway”
That boy just rattles my nerves. I went to sit next to my mama and we talked for a bit. “I was so worried about you baby girl”, she said with her hands clasped in mine. “I’m so happy your alright and home safe, I said all my prayers while you were gone”
“Aw, mama, you know ain’t nothing every gon’ happen to me”
She put her hand on her hip. “Girl you take after yo uncle, same Bronx accent and all, and you running gangs too. Please don’t tell me not to worry”
I smiled and snickered a bit. “How have you been?”
“I got good news and bad”
I hissed. “Bad first”
“I have kidney failure”
“The cancer is gone though”, I gasped and hugged her tight. “Mama, that’s good!”
“Yeah… but you know what’s never ever coming back?”
She sighed deeply as she said, “my hair”
“I’ll buy you hair”, I said.
“The Grotto been losing money baby. Y’all don’t even have half the hood no more”
“Who got it?”
She patted my back and both our eyes shot towards Sally and Georgia trying to rip each other’s hair out. Georgia was swinging her bag at her furiously shouting “junkie”. Uncle Barbosa was trying to keep them distant but Georgia was a big woman and fought to get to Sally.
I got up with my mother and we marched over to the crowd.
“I’ll kill ‘er, i swear to God–”
“For a Christian your not very loving!”, shouted Sally.
“STOP!”, Barbosa pushed my aunt away. “I think we can all go home now”, he fixed his black suit and ran a hand through his wavy hair.
“I loved him”, said Sally.
“Then where were you!”, yelled Georgia. “He said you were loyal, y’all talked about dying together and you no where to be found!”
“Georgia enough”, said Barbosa. “Keith, take your wife home. Acting a damn fool at her son’s funeral, what the hell is wrong with you woman”
“My son was taken from me, she knows!”, her husband who was a large brown skinned man grabbed his wife and started to head for the car. “SHE KNOWS!”, she shouted one last time.
I put my hands on Sally’s shoulders. “What happened?”
“Nothing…”, she said while avoiding eye contact. “She just crazy”