Segment Four: Write In the Middle of It

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Brett walked the seven blocks in no time. He stopped at the older white house on the corner with the broken awning and pushed the heavy door open. As he was climbing the steps, you could hear a baby crying from behind a wooden door, a couple arguing, glass breaking, but by the time he got to the top of the steps that led to his room, they were a muffled choir of noises below him. He sighed, unlocked the door then let it slam behind him as he walked in. He pulled a cord, which turned on a light over the sink which enabled him to see the small dingy room.

In the room was a bed, a nightstand, a round table with a chair, and the sink. Sitting on the table was a rotary phone and a TV that did not work. There was a lump in the bed. Brett sighed and rolled his eyes as he shook the lump. A disheveled head rose up from it. She groaned slightly and pulled the thin cover up to her neck to hide her obviously naked body.

“What chu waking me up for?” the female said wiping her chin

“Why aren’t you at work?” he spat back.

“I’m sick,” she said pulling the cover around her neck.

“You’re always sick.” Brett growled as he sat on the opposite side of the bed to undo his shoes. Sadiah let the covers fall, slithered her naked body behind Brett and began kissing him on his neck. Brett didn’t exchange Sadiah’s affection but continued to take off his shoes. Sadiah would have been a pretty girl if she weren’t so worn out looking. She had a light cinnamon complexion with wide sleepy eyes and full pouty lips. All her mussed hair needed was some oil sheen and a comb, and it would have framed her round head perfectly. Her wiry body housed breasts that were too round and perfect to be real.

Sadiah pressed them up against Brett’s back as she began to lick and suck his neck.

“Will you stop?” Brett snapped as he shrugged her off of him.

Sadiah sighed as she put her chin on his shoulder, “What, you didn’t miss me?”

“How can I miss you, you are always here!” Brett barked.

Sadiah scooted off of the bed initially in anger but then knelt down in front of him. Brett winced in disgust as his gaze traced over her skinny body.

“Here, this will make you feel better,” she said as she lowered herself to her knees rubbing his hand. Brett sighed slightly as she put his index finger into her mouth and sucked on it seductively. It was at that point she noticed the ink on his hand. “What the fuck is this?!?” Sadiah growled as she threw Brett’s hand back into his lap. Brett smiled a sinister smile.

“Oh that’s Mekayla!” he said matter of fact.

Sadiah jumped up and slapped him in the chest. “I’m home from work sick and you are out fuckin around.”

In one swoop Brett got up, grabbed Sadiah by her throat and threw her into the wall. “Like hell you’re sick!!!” He shouted. “Your ass is fiendin!”

Sadiah moaned slightly but Brett didn’t notice she was semi-conscious because he was still shouting at her lifeless body.

“How many times do I have to tell you if you would just take your ass to work and make some money so we can get out of this shithole, I wouldn’t have to act like this!!!”

Brett was pacing around the small room like a caged animal.

“Look what you made me do! Look at you now! Now your trick ass ain’t going to be able to work for another couple days.” He stopped suddenly and stood over her. At that point Brett watched Sadiah’s eyes flutter shut as blood started trickling out of the corner of her mouth.

“Shit,” he said under his breath as he scooped her up and uncaringly plopped her onto the bed. He looked at her non-existent ass and shook his head.

I shoulda went straight to the strip club.

The ironic thing was Brett never actually stepped foot in the club that night. He was going to but for some unknown reason he stopped at the 7-eleven to buy condoms just in case he met a willing ho.

Sadiah was standing by the coffee machine getting a cappuccino. Maybe it was the fluorescent lights but she was the purest, prettiest little thing Brett had laid his eyes on. Even with no makeup, she glowed. Unlike the heavily made up whores he usually brought home.

He walked over to her and spit his best game, but she didn’t seem at all interested, paid for her coffee and left. Brett ran out of the store after her. After hours of small talk and giggles, he found her even sweeter, and wound up bringing her home. Brett thought she was so different, he never did buy the condoms.

What he didn’t find out until after he wore the pussy out, that Sadiah actually was a dancer at the club he forgot to go to, and the reason she was so small is because she was a sixteen year old run away from Nebraska with a nasty heroin habit. He often wondered if Sadiah was her real name. Because Sadiah didn’t have a place to stay and Brett did like the sex, he let her stay there. He figured in a few weeks she could make enough money to get a bigger place and then he would go back to hustlin so the girl could at least go to school.

But Sadiah shot up the money before she made it and was in mad debt to every dealer on the block. The first time he put her out she wound up knocking on his door at four-o clock in the morning, so swollen and bloody he could barely recognize her. He cleaned her up and carried her over his shoulder the twenty blocks to the rehab. She stuck to it for twenty-two out of the twenty-eight days and then showed up under the broken awning as if nothing happened

Brett was dependent on drugs in another way. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was on a number of pills to keep him sane. He collected a small disability check and was able to keep that box of a room and even held a little job until Sadiah started selling his medication. If he doesn’t take his meds correctly, Brett can become vehemently violent. And because Sadiah seemed to be the cause of his problems, she became the recipient of his rage. He never realized he was doing it because he wasn’t himself, but once his medication was regulated he looked at the bruises he inflicted on her, Brett became overwhelmed with guilt.

Hence, Sadiah was still there.

Brett sat in the chair and watched Sadiah sleep to make sure she was still breathing. He took a broken pencil that lying next to an expired TV Guide and scribbled Mekayla’s number onto a page, ripped it out and put it in his shoe.

I have got to get that woman. She is the woman I thought Sadiah was.

He got up and walked over to the sink and swallowed a variety of medications then stuck his head under the faucet to wash those pills down.As long as he stayed regular, he could get Mekayla. Shit he was good looking, intelligent, and he could put the thing down. He never had a problem pulling women. He just has a problem keeping them. It seemed that once women found out he didn’t work, and had a disability they stopped messing with him. That’s why with Mekayla he had to do it differently.

Meet her after work hours and on weekends. He would never go home with her and he damn sure ain’t going to take her back to this room. If he could hide the money from Sadiah he’ll send Mekayla flowers once a month and do cheap romantic things like, picnics and museums and walks in the park. So what if she had a man. He ain’t here. And once he starts planting those insecure seeds in her mind, then he’d put the thing down on her.

Then she’d be his. And he would just leave Sadiah.

What else could he do?

He tried to do right by the girl but she’s a junkie and she’s wearing him down. Brett continued to watch her sleep, sometimes wishing the breathing would just stop.

***

Fear came over Mekayla and the warm water she was in seemed to instantly get cold. Her high was gone completely now and she began to tremble. She looked around her loft as she rose out of the tub slowly, this time grabbing a body towel from a basket to cover herself. For what seemed like several moments she held the phone to her ear silent as she stepped out of the tub.

“Kevin, stop playin,” she said trying not to sound scared.

“I told you” the voice said slowly, “I am not Kevin.”

Now Mekayla was pissed and she snatched the towel around her to completely cover herself. She stomped over to the back door in her bedroom and rechecked the locks. “Who the fuck is this!?” she shouted into the phone.

“Whoa lil Meek, calm down!” The voice chuckled. “This should make you feel better, you beat me by four points.”

Mekayla hung her head and sighed as she recognized Erik’s voice, “Dammit E, you scared the shit outta me.” She trudged into the living room and shut off the music abruptly.

“What did you think I was a stalker?” Erik continued to laugh.

“Funny you should say that but yeah.” Mekayla walked back behind the Asian screen and pulled the plug out of the tub dropping it into a basket. She fell across her king size four-post bed and looked up at the sheer crème material overhead. She let the towel fall open and reached under her big fluffy pillow for the baby oil and began rubbing it over her body.

“You talkin about the clean cut cat with the earring?” he said

“Yeah,” she said slightly frowning, “How did you know?”

“He’s been checking you out for a couple weeks now Meek. I would have pointed him out to you but you have Kevin and all.”

“Yeah well, he followed me into the alley tonight,” she said now sitting up so she could rub the oil on her legs.

“Are you serious? He didn’t hurt you did he?” Erik said with a concerned tone.

“Nah, nah, he was cool. I gave him my number.”

“You did what?!” Erik’s loud tone made Mekayla think he was angry

“What?! Is that wrong?” she said defensively

“Hell yeah! What the fuck is wrong with you? What about Kevin?”

Mekayla took the phone from her ear and looked at it quizzically. “I’m not doing anything wrong. Brett just wants to be friends. Besides, you don’t even like Kevin”

“I never said that,” snapped Erik

“Yes you did, you said he’s playing me.” she shot back.

“I’ma stop you from smoking for real. That’s not what I said. I said he might be playing you. But that’s beside the point, you love him right?”

“Yeah.” Mekayla said sitting naked on her bed twisting her hair so it could dry that way.

“So why give another man your number?”

Mekayla sighed, “Look I’ma big girl I can handle it. If Brett gets outta line, I can nip it in the bud.”

“And what if you can’t?” Erik blurted. “How are you going to explain to Kevin, who comes up whenever he feels like it without calling mind you, that you have a black eye or a split lip. Or better yet, how am I going to explain to him why you are dead.”

Mekayla burst out in laughter, “You are taking this too far don’t you think E?”

Erik’s tone didn’t change, “Maybe, but you didn’t hear how scared you sounded on the other end of the phone.”

Mekayla hung her head in defeat and quickly changed the subject, “So I won huh?”

Erik sighed and said unenthusiastically, “Yeah you did.”

“So am I gonna get my money tomorrow?”

“You’re braiding my hair right?” he asked half-assumptive.

“Of course” she said smiling.

“Aiight I’ll come over around three.” Erik finally was easing up.

“Cool and we can restart the book.”

“What do you mean restart?” Erik asked quizzically

Mekayla hopped off the bed and went into the bathroom to get some small black rubber bands out of the vanity. She shook the plastic container and realized it was almost empty. “Yo bring some rubber bands tomorrow, I’m almost out.”

“Aiight, but what do you mean restart the book?”

Mekayla was looking in the mirror re-twisting and adding rubber bands to her

hair. “I deleted it.”

Erik sighed, “Damn Meek, I didn’t mean for you to delete it, just tweak it a little.”

“Well you were right. Besides I think Kevin was getting a little pissed at the parallels.”

“Yeah,” Erik said “and now that you met your ‘Amir’.”

Mekayla stopped twisting and glared at the phone again “What are you talking about?”

“Brett” Erik said in almost a whine. “Ugh I don’t even like the fucker’s name.”

“Aw c’mon he’s harmless.” Mekayla said bringing the rubber bands over to the bed. She reached under the pillow this time for a pack of Newports, lighter, and then slid an ashtray out from under her bed. She sat and listened to Erik chatter his warnings of strangers to her but tuned him out. She only responded with the occasional mhmmm as she lit her cigarette and inhaled deeply.

What Erik thought about Mekayla and what he knew were two different things. Mekayla by nature loved drama and tended to surround herself in it. It also seemed to make her a better writer. That’s why maybe Transportation Conversations wasn’t as good as it needed to be. It lacked the real drama. By putting herself in a similar situation she could feel all of the emotions her characters were feeling.

That’s why she hasn’t written a good poem since her and Kevin got together. She’s too happy and love poems are so overdone.

Not that she disliked being in love. Mekayla swam in it. Kevin did things for her emotionally that no other man ever did. He was her best friend, her lover, her confidant, and her protector. But he was also miles away. She never cheated on Kevin even though she did get lonely. She couldn’t jeopardize her relationship for some quick and possibly unsatisfying dick. That’s why it was hard to understand the butterflies Mekayla got from hugging Brett. Okay he was attractive, seemed to be built nice, and he smelled so good. Maybe she liked Brett because he represented the drama she was lacking. Maybe she just missed the touch of a man.

Mekayla realized that it was getting late and she still needed to call Kevin. And she didn’t like the fact she was thinking about Brett so much. Erik was still chattering about her safety, so she had to cut him off.

“I feel you E, but I hate to cut this short,” she said.

“You gonna call Kevin.” Erik said.

“Yeah, even though he is a night owl, I better get to him before I get too sleepy,”she said putting out her cigarette.

“Are you gonna tell him about stalker dude?” he questioned.

Just then Mekayla’s other line beeped rescuing her from answering Erik’s question. “Shit E, this is him.”

“Aiight, but Meek, if you ain’t hiding anything you should tell him.”

“See you tomorrow, E.” Mekayla clicked over without waiting for Erik to say goodbye.

“Hello?” Mekayla answered as if she wasn’t on the phone.

“You on the phone?” Kevin asked. Kevin was sitting at his computer where he spent most of his time. His long, thick legs were cramped under his desk. He always said that he was going to get a new one but never had the time. Kevin was a big man. He stood about six foot and weighed a good two forty easily. He had a perfect caramel complexion that encased a smile that made Brett’s look like a dull star in the galaxy. His eyes, although shut at the moment, were a chocolate brown. His hair donned meticulous braids, which were still a little short for Mekayla’s taste, but shit they will grow and she’ll have a lot of fun playin in that thick hair of his.

“Yeah, you know with E.” she replied knowing she couldn’t and didn’t want to

keep anything from her baby.

“Oh aiight, tell him I said what’s up.”

“I will.”

“Did you win tonight?” Kevin was always interested in her poetry.

“Yeah but I had to leave early, I wasn’t feelin well. Erik is gonna bring by the money tomorrow.”

“Oh ok, what’s wrong with you?” Kevin eyes popped open with concern.

Mekayla didn’t want to answer him. Kevin hated the fact that she still “indulged”.

He thought that shit was childish not to mention bad for her. So she said what she thought he wanted to hear, “Nah, I think I may be getting the flu.”

Kevin nodded and re-closed his eyes, “You drink your tea?”

Mekayla just then remembered that she left the water for the tea in the kitchen,

“Shit I was about to but…”

“You got in the tub,” Kevin chuckled his reply.

“You know me too well, “Mekayla chuckled back.”Listen I have something to

tell you.”

“Is it serious?” he replied eyes popping open again.

“It may be.” Mekayla winced and sighed.

to be continued…

Photo Credit: © Hassan Davis

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