As I think about the past and what it took to get me to this place I call home; this comfortable shelter where I can refine my vision and my purpose, I think about all the faces and all of the places where I made that connection. I was so focused that I probably missed some of the jewels, some of the rich experiences that faced to me, but then who's to say what destiny has in store? I just feel I've been so blessed to know so many people from so many walks of life and I Mabel to bring them together underneath the umbrella of my stories, my characters and the landscapes where they take place. There was this one time when I was in New York City working late night on a weekend, with hordes of people milling through the streets, trying to find footing along that hard cement underneath those sensational images on the screens of times Square… hustles to the left and hustles to the right, nobody realizing how dangerous this all was and that people are out to do harm in large crowds... and yet here I was with my hustle, selling my books and to hand mouth to ear vision to reality. There was this one woman approaching in the thick movement of skin and bone and wonder... I had The Last Kingpin in hand/pitching it relentlessly to every and anyone with an earshot. And this White woman says "great book!" as she passes me. My reflex was an instant response "thank you!"
If you could've seen this woman's face how she twisted it with disbelief, cocking back her head at the same time and all I heard in that gesture was "who the fuck do you think you are?" But just as some may see that as a rude way to be it was just as much a rude awakening for me, realizing that my content not only reaches the most unpredictable reader, but also that my work is such a disconnect from who I am and the journey I must realize.
An excerpt from "The Last Kingpin"
Slim just got pulled over by the local police. The local police called the DEA...
“Okay, Slim. I want you to be honest with me, because this answer will decide your fate. You’re an independent contractor. You deal directly with the buyer and the seller. I have an idea that your buyer and your seller of the corn are unsavory fellas. Not your average farmer. Not your average grocerier. I want to know what was going through your mind when you met these people. Where you met them? How much they offered you? And, if the amount of money was also unusual, didn’t you get suspicious? Why did you go along with this... this shipment? Was it the money?”
“Listen, Miss. I’m a truck driver. If you need something delivered — anything but a baby — I’ll deliver it for you. Yes, I’m guilty.”
Pam changed her expression to “oh really?”
“...I hauled garbage right before I hauled produce, but I ain’t crazy. I wouldn’t carry no drugs on my truck. And, if I knew about it, I... well... ain’t no way for me to know, simple as that. But, as far as money... ain’t enough money in the world to keep me from my wife Jewel and our little Slim Junior. No money!” Pam let some silence pass between them as she continued to look into Slim’s eyes. If he looked away, if he digressed, she’d turn him back over to the dogs and leave him there to handle his own problem. Instead, she’s go check on the corn hustlers. A fed case wouldn’t stick on Slim on account of the illegal search. The pretrial motion would find the case tossed out the door before opening arguments... even before a jury was selected. A waste of time and taxpayer’s money. But, on the other hand, if Slim kept his poise, if he could maintain eye contact and that sincere expression, with no fidgeting, no unnecessary sips from that empty soda can, then Pam knew he’d be telling the truth. She would wield her raw power to have Slim set free. She’d be his godsend. His relief from a long night. But then, of course, she’d need his help with one minor task.
“Tell you what, Slim. I want you to give me the details of your contacts on this shipment. Show me how your manifesto corresponds with your hours logged, and how your bills of lading match with your contacts. I want every detail down to the mustard seed. I’m gonna see that you walk out of here within the hour, on my magic carpet.”
“What about my tractor?”
“You can have everything but the...” Pam looked at Carson. Carson looked at Masters. Masters looked back at Pam. “Hey Slim. I have an idea. Are you still in shape to drive?”
“Sure am. I might need another one of those Coke a’ Colas, but I think I can manage.”
“Great,” Pam replied, with a note of conspiracy in her voice that the other Agents immediately understood.
Before leaving Bell Glade that morning, Pam threatened the locals, informing them of certain legal repercussions for the illegal search and the subsequent assault. Furthermore, there’d be a publicity nightmare relating to racism, a backward police procedure and the
questions about so much coke along with speculation about other such shipments. Pam only cared to keep the incident a secret so that she could catch herself a whale.
And so from time to time I will drop my stories on my timeline or in my blog for all to see and decipher and learn from and enjoy.
the King of urban lit