About Me

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** I think it's time for all creative souls to step forward. Make art,  teach art,  give art share your soul. see if that is what it will take to help stabilize what going on in the world today. November 2016


I’m a Humanist and a Buddhist and I meditate when I can, hey no one is perfect. I’m also a thinking man. I spend a lot of time in my head. I’m trying to grow into the man I would be the most proud of. I really like the guy I am but hey who can’t be better. Loving human kind for a sensitive man like me has proven to be more difficult than I could have thought. I have not given up, I just strengthen my mission.

I’m a good conversationalist and a better kisser. I'm a Photographer, Artist, Painter, Poet, short story writer, good cook and baker. So art and Music hold major place cards in my life.

I have a wonderful Partner who is supportive and inspiring. A nicer and sweeter man I could not have imagined. His name is Herschell

Buddha Quotes

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MONSTER K

It’s Wednesday, a week before Thanks Giving and I just called my cousin Mary and she said my parents are going out of town for Thanks Giving along with my Aunt’s Patty, Georgie, Kate and Lynn and the Uncles. They are all going to Vegas for a big fancy dinner and gambling. All the big kids are going to friends houses and the little kids are going to be at Cousin B’s Big house until Sunday evening. I guess I won’t be going home for a big meal and tons of left-over’s this year. Oh well, I’ll have to find a different place to hang. And I’ll damned if I’m going to some Nunnery or shelter to eat with the unwashed masses like last Easter. It was terrible. I couldn’t eat because the whole room smelled like ‘Fritos’, if you know what I mean. Even though I was with most of my people I could not handle it.

I ended up eating at a friend’s house the next morning. I was starving. I have never been a big holiday person anyway. Well that’s not entirely true. When I was a little kid and living with my Great Grandmother she made every holiday seem really special. But after that I learned from Ms. Kat {Mother} that holidays were all a hassle and you should wish them all to be over as soon as possible. I’m a good student even for those things I don’t want to learn.

After the phone call I was feeling very half and half. So I thought I would walk the around and see who I can find just chilling out. It has to be a drama free day. Someone set two fires in the school this weekend so we have the option of having the week off or going to Fairfax High for a week. Most are taking the week off rather than to go to another school. I’m down with that. It’s too early to work and my repeat call clients have been picking up lately. So less and less street work for me is great! I have been trying to get Colt, Darn-it and Kenny to get some kind of pager so they can get a call service but they say they don’t like to have to be on a leash like me. But I often have money and they don’t. I more and more don’t have to work the streets on cold nights if I don’t want to. The feeling of saying “nah I think I’m going to chill here for now” or not taking $30 when I want $50 to be with some dude that I wouldn’t touch if he wasn’t paying, is starting to feel good. But I can feel a little distance between me and the family. De-De made a face at my answer when she asked what we would all be like at 25. I never had the allusion that I would always be here on the street. I always believe that I will someday go back to living a regular life. I have not given up on it and unless something terrible happens I never will. They all believe this is where they belong. Rainbow confides in me sometimes that she wants to have an apartment in Hermosa Beach on a quiet street with a plum tree in the back yard. My girl loves her some plums. Everybody else can’t see beyond the street, tricking and the Fam. I love them like cooked food but I don’t want to grow old here. I do have the terrible feeling that I might die here from something stupid. Let’s not go down that street, I’m already feeling a little low.

Darn-it is hanging with the Stoners who are starting to sell weed more and more. Colt and De-De went to Pomona to De-De’s step-sister’s house to pick up some clothes and money from they’re Step-mother. De-De said the Stepmother is nice but her Boyfriends were the problem. They tried to get with her since she was 10. Rainbow went to visit Sahara in the Rehab center in SD. She is going to be there for two week. Sahara’s in for 10 months under a court order to clean up. If she doesn’t complete the treatment she will have to finish the rest in lock down + 6 months and they might tie her tubes, damn harsh! Tim is starting to skateboard which I think is a great thing. Dana is with a guy she met a little while ago. I hope it goes well, he was a trick. So everybody is busy. I forced all the ones that were here to go have coffee with me this morning when we woke up. It felt good to be a little family Momma bear Rainbow wasn’t there but everyone else was in attendance and they seemed to appreciate it.

So now I’m by Plummer Park and there are a few people I know here. Monster K a.k.a. Kyle Thurgood the son of Saint Anne is here. Anne is one of the legendary Saints of the Hollywood streets. Kyle is her real son and most cannot believe it. Because he is the opposite of her, except when you see them together. He is like a kitten with her. A friend once said he wished he could glue them together like Siamese twins to calm him down. I try and keep my distance from him because when we first met I was 13 and snuck up and kissed me twice on the mouth. I was freaked to say the least. He said he was not a fag but he liked my mouth so he wanted to cut off my lips and keep them in a jar, -huh!

Now, when people usually say something silly like that they are trying to tell you how much they like you and it’s not that creepy because you know they are just talking metaphorically. But he had his giant buck knife in hand, with his freakin’ crazy eyes. I wanted to hit him but Colt said he would handle it. Then Anne appeared out of nowhere and took him outside and across the street. So when he sees me it’s the same thing. “Hey you see Ted over? He has the prettiest lips in all of California. I’m going to have them in a jar someday.” So yes, keep an eye and distance from creepy Monster K. So I go across to sit a Burger Boy to see who comes by. As I walk up I see Ms. Tina Mac’s twin brother Gabby sitting at the first table with some blonde boys. I saw Hi but keep it movin’ Gabby is no friend and has proven to pull Drama right out of thin air. One of the blonde boys on the other side of the table says hey T as I step by. I pause in that “Who-What-Why” kind of way. He pulls his hood down and his long hair out of his face.

“Oh my Gawd, it’s Augustus!” I yelled.

[We met at the beach two summers ago. We had some good times. He introduced me to some really cool people. I didn’t know he was in the life. If he is with Gabby it’s either drug and or trade.]

I came over to hug him and he hugged me back.

[Everyone who knows me knows I have irrational issues with blondes. But I do make exceptions for really cool people. But I will cut loose a blonde guy or girl faster than if it was any other person. I know it’s wrong but I’m young, sensitive and somewhat crazy. I’m working on it.]

Ghirl this and Ghirl that. What are you doing here? we both said.

[As we plant ourselves at the opposite end of the table from where Gabby is sitting I can feel the daggers.]

We are catching up when I see a guy run across the street from the park and go behind the Burger Boy. In about a minute Monster K runs through traffic on Santa Monica, almost getting hit and follows the guy behind the burger stand. I always try and keep an eye on my surroundings even while I’m talking or in this case listening. We heard yelling and we all stood up then the guy runs past Augustus [who is going by A.D. now] and he jumps. He grabs his side and he is dripping what looks like blood. We see a little knife on the ground next to his foot. I grab A.D. and we move closer to the counter. I thought we were out of the way but Monster runs past us chasing this guy and pulling his big knife out. He catches up to dude because he stupidly stopped to avoid getting hit by a car! He fell backwards and knocked into a women walking down the street unaware of the madness all around her. Monster caught him by the arm and swung him right into his knife. Amazingly that did not stop dude. He was crawly over the poor frightened woman. I checked A.D’s side and he had no cut but a lot of blood. It must be from dude who ran by us. I looked over and someone was pulling the woman away from the middle fight. It was Rocky from school. What the….? OK I’m a little confused but there is no time for that now. I jumped up without thinking to help Rocky and as I did Monster was swinging his blade. He sees me, stops, smiles, then stabs dude in the leg, cuts open his pocket and takes the bills he finds.

“I told you, you owe me money and I was going to collect”, Monster says.

[The dude screamed from the pain but did not try and stop Monster K]

I have Rocky by his big arms and he has the slightly frightened woman. It looks like her arm got cut but that’s all. For a split second Rocky’s and my eyes meet. We are transported away from our sitch for that second and then back as Monster K yells to no one in particular but to everyone in ear-shot, “If I loan you money you better pay me on time or something like this will happen to you”.

[As if anyone with the sense God gave a turnip would barrow money from a guy like him]

[I guess I stand corrected because two people walk over to Monster K and handed him money.] Humans surprise me all the time. Was I one of the few who thought anything more than an occasional hello to this psycho was dangerous territory?

The woman we were helping made a noise to get our attention. It seems both Rocky and I were holding her against the wall for her safety, but longer than what was necessary. She wanted up. NOW!

Rocky pulled away embarrassed and I offered my hand to help her up. I fished a clean white bandana from my bag and tied it around the woman’s still bleeding arm. Rocky asked if she wanted to go to the Hospital. We both looked at him like he was suddenly speaking an alien tongue.

“No I think I’ll be fine. I’ll clean it when I get home.” said the Lady.

“That’s a good idea who knows who else he’s cut with that thing.” I said without thinking

[Then she looked at me with a sudden shocked expression]

{Rocky smiled and nodded}

She looked around for safety’s sake and slid along the wall and down the street with a quick stride.

I looked back just in time to see Monster K stalking back across Santa Monica Blvd. toward the park, not bothering to look at traffic, just counting his newly returned monies.

Rocky’s face showed that this was not his normal evening.

“Man, Ted is your evening’s like this a lot?” asked Rocky.

“Sometimes I guess.” [but more than I was willing to admit].

“I just stopped to get some fries and a couple of burgers for me and Nicole.” said Rocky

So we checked to see if his order was ready and it was. The guys behind the counter were un-bothered and never pressed.

I walked Rocky to his ‘Fire engine red’ Carmon Gia. One of my favorite cars, I was impressed. He gave me an unexpected long and full body pressing hug.

There we go again with the extras from young Mr. Tortuga. [I made a mental note to ask the universe what was this about.][I was doing this a lot lately, it felt a little odd but less than I thought it should.]

I walked back to the Burger Boy to find A. D. and finish catching up with him. He was a little freaked about the blood until I loaned him a Blonde t-shirt I had in my bag.

One day my Spirits may not be able to protect me like that forever. I have this constant feeling that I may die before my 26th birthday. I am so weird sometimes.

GUTTED LIKE A FISH Part #2

We got off the bus at the stop I thought would be a little away from the address. I have to say that the bus ride did me good. I am calmer than when we started this thing. The stop we got off on was right in front of a liquor store. The area around the store was full of people like I had hoped. We could just blend in without standing out to much.

Lil’ Jay followed my lead as walked around to the side street and behind store.

I stopped in the back to give Lil’ Jay an update.

“So if either one of us feels the ‘sitch’ is off they will say, “Ain’t this about nothin’?” you got that? Then we both get the heck outta there and meet inside this store. How does that sound?” I asked.

Lil’ Jay nodded his head yes.

“No, say the phrase so I know that you know” I said.

“Ain’t that about nothin’!” Lil’ Jay said all serious

Naw, dig it, “Ain’t this about nothin’?” I said trying not to sound frustrated in the least.

He tried again, “Ain’t this about nothin’” and we meet inside this store.

“Righteous!!” I said and slapped him five.

So we are on our way to the pickup address, I had it memorized. Since Lil’ Jay said he had never been here, I start to talk about the area. I told him that if all went well we could walk back down the main strip so he could get an idea why I thought this place was cool. He smiled but I knew he was nervous. Truth be told I was to.

Down this street,

Through this alley,

Across this way

And there is the address across the street. I took one last look at Lil’ Jay and started across the street. The house looked like all the others. No broken windows or fancy cars out front. I don’t know what I thought it was going to look like. Through the gate and there were a few little kids toys on the porch. For a second I wanted to re-check the address and then I thought NO I am sure enough, this is it. I knocked on the door casual like and both of us stepped to each side of the door and then smiled and each other. To many cop shows I guess.

The door opened slowly and it was a girl who looked like she was about my age. Two brown braids, braces, freckles and a little girl’s pink and green shirt and shorts. She squinted like she usually wore glasses.

“Hey I’m Ted can speak to a Mr. Marcus Claiborne?” I asked calmly.

She squinted again and then turned to yell “Daddy, SOMEONE LITTLE KIDS AT THE DOOR FOR YOU!” Then turned and walked away.

I knew Lil’ Jay took offence at being called a little kid even though he was. I bumped his shoulder to calm him. He was about to step into the door but I grabbed his arm and shook my head no.

Just then I looked up and there was a dirty surfer type guy in front of us with a small smile perched on his face. I immediately got a bad feeling in my stomach about him. I get those and sometimes I follow them.

“What can I do for you two young men?” He said

“Mr. Cheetah sent us to pick up something for him,” I said.

[I was trying to look strong, sure and 3 years older than I was.]

“Oh is that right? What did Mr. Cheetah send you to pick up?” He said, same little smile, still perched.

“He didn’t tell us, we are just here to pick it up and be on our way,” I said.

[I often wonder why some people like to play games they don’t need to. This guy was trying to be funny.]

[I was sure that both Lil’ Jay and I had our hands in our pockets on our knives for all the good that would do.]

“Did Mr. Cheetah give you something for me?” He said looking from me to Lil’ Jay

“Are you Mr. Marcus Claiborne?” I asked directly

“Yes that is me and you must be Teddy. Dave said you were a smart one.”

[I hate it when people call me Teddy] I bristled a little and so did Lil’ Jay on my behalf, I guess.

[I am also smart enough to know that he might be smarter than he looks. So I made a note of that.]

“It’s Ted, if you please Sir. I go by Ted.” I said calmly still.

“Solid Dude, Ted it is.”

[As Marcus Claiborne turned and waved us in, he said,

“Dave said he was sending two of his best men.”

When he turned I saw that he had a huge Bowie knife on the belt of his jeans. DAMN!

As we walked in I saw another guy sitting on the couch, surf shorts, no shirt, no shoes and dirty feet.

I was aware of the tension and was sure that Lil’ Jay was to.

“So what did Mr. Cheetah give you for me?” Marcus said

I fished the envelope out of my pants and I saw Lil’ Jay’s eyes widen. He must not have seen Mr. Cheetah slip me the sealed envelope that I guessed was full of cash. I handed it to Mr. Claiborne and he handed it to his man. Mr. Dirty-feet cut into the envelope with an identical knife to the one Mr. Claiborne had and started counting the money. Mr. Claiborne picked up the phone and Lil’ Jay and I both looked at each other.

“It’s cool dudes, I don’t keep the stuff here. I have to make a call and it will be here in two clicks,” said Mr. Claiborne.

“That’s cool,” I said.

Mr. Dirty-feet finished counting and smiled that it was all there.

“Solid!” said Mr. Claiborne

And I relaxed a little.

Mr. Claiborne made his phone call.

“Yes –

“The whole thing-

“Right now-

“OK see you later- click

And we waited……

“So you guys are new, have you been working for Mr. Cheetah very long?” said Mr. Claiborne

“A little while,” I said before Lil’ Jay could jump in.

“Hey Dude, Why do they call him Mr. Cheetah, anyways?” said Mr. Dirty-feet.

I looked at Lil’ Jay with no smile for the answer.

“I don’t know we just work for him,” said Lil’ Jay.

[Good one Jay I thought.]

“Dude have you ever seen his teeth? There’re filed all jagged and scary like he’s going to eat the shit out of you,” Mr. Claiborne said.

“No Shit!” Mr. Dirty-feet said.

They looked our way for conformation and we just stared back at them.

Mr. Claiborne was just about to ask us to confirm his truth when there was a coded knock at the door.

-3 knocks, 2 knocks and then wait and 1 knock-

We both jumped out of our skin.

They both laughed.

Mr. Claiborne told Mr. Dirty-feet to get the door and he did.

Two young guys came in looking sad and dejected. In my birth family we call these kinds of kids PWT (Poor White Trash). Not something that I tend to say but looking at these kids I can see why the phrase was invented.

They said nothing and handed a backpack to Mr. Claiborne and he handed it to Mr. Dirty-feet, who opened the backpack and pulled out a large white package and threw it on a scale I hadn’t noticed on a side table. He suddenly frowned and made some finger signs at Mr. Claiborne.

Who then glared at the two kids? They looked even more crumpled than I thought a person could look.

Mr. Claiborne grabbed one of the guys closest to him and I pushed Lil’ Jay against the back of the couch and we both pulled out our knives.

Mr. Claiborne yelled at the kid hanging from his fist-

“Where is the rest of my shit Jessie?!?”

“Uhhh this is what Caz gave us Mr. Claiborne, I’m sorry,” said Jack, the littlest one in the room.

Mr. Claiborne tossed him towards a chair and grabbed the other kid who looked like he was heading for the front door.

“Where the Hell do you think you’re going Jessie!” said Mr. Claiborne.

“No-No- No-where Mr. Claiborne,” Jessie stuttered.

“Jessie where is the rest of my Shit!” Mr. Claiborne screamed.

“I-I-I don’t know I ‘m just delivering it for Caz,” Jessie managed to get out.

Mr. Claiborne looked over his shoulder and Mr. Dirty-feet was already on the phone.

We were both wide eyed and ready.

Mr. Claiborne looked at us and apologized for the mix up and it had nothing to do with us and it would be worked out very soon.

I just nodded and we each put our little knives away. I was still eyeing Mr. Claiborne’s Bowie knife on his belt.

Mr. Dirty-feet hung up the phone and spoke quietly with Mr. Claiborne.

Mr. Claiborne turned to Jack the younger one and said, “Tell Caz and Manny they Fuckin’ owe me.”

-Now get the Hell out of here!”

They both cut for the door.

Where the hell do you think you’re going Jessie? Mr. Claiborne snapped.

Jessie looked like a deer caught in the headlight.

Jessie looked at Mr. Claiborne with pleading eyes but he was dead to that.

He told Jack to go and deliver his message.

Jack left but we could see he didn’t want to leave Jesse there.

When the door closed we all stared at Mr. Claiborne.

“So Jessie where is my shit?”

“I don’t know Mr. Claiborne, that’s all we were given. We didn’t stop anyweres.” Jesse squeak

“Cliff just talked to Manny who said he watched Caz weigh it before they gave it to you and Jack and now it only weighs 8 lbs. Where are the other two pounds? Mr. Claiborne snapped

Jessie started to cry and Mr. Claiborne back-handed him like a pimp with a lazy hooker.

Cliff (aka Mr. Dirty-feet) went through Jessie’s pockets. The normal kids stuff; a pocket knife, a bus transfer, some coins and sand. No Coke, No money.

If they sold two pounds of coke, why would they still show up? Maybe Jack had the money or they stashed it already. But really how stupid would you have to be to steal on a delivery. I bet it’s these guys Manny and Caz shorted Mr. Claiborne and are blaming it on the kids. I started to say something but thought better of it.

Just then Mr. Claiborne yelled in Jessie’s face so loud, so close it made his tears and hair blow back.

I was pretty scared and I could tell that Lil’ Jay was because his eye looked like Alfalfa from the Our Gang re-runs. All he needed was and little curly Q and a scared sound effect.

We both pulled our legs up on the sofa we were sitting on.

Mr. Claiborne walked over to Cliff and snatched the phone out of his hand. Cliff looked shocked but if he couldn’t tell that Mr. Claiborne was mad he was blind.

From our end of the phone all we heard was: Uh-huh, Uh-huh, really? Are you sure? You checked it right? I have no choice. And the finally – OK then Fuck it… I have to do what I have to do. Come on over now and bring plastic.

We three kids were transfixed on Mr. Claiborne right now. [Plastic!!! Ah man this about to get real.]

Then I thought like I did when my cousins got into trouble in front of me. THAT’S THEM, NOT ME, WHY AM I SCARED?

I took a deep breath and looked at Jessie, he looked like he was trying to melt into the floor.

Mr. Claiborne hung up the phone and looked surprisingly calm when he walked over to us.

I felt my real age of 13 at this time; I hope I wasn’t showing it to.

“I’m really sorry guys, this is not the way I do business usually” [He shot daggers at Jessie who was sitting on the floor].

“These things happen,” I said with a weak smile.

“Not to me, well not more than once,” Mr. Claiborne said.

Cliff had rewrapped the coke and put it back in the pack and was handing it to us with the envelope.

I took both and handed the coke and the backpack to Lil’ Jay who held it soft like a baby. I looked into the envelope and saw a lot of money. I looked at Mr. Claiborne like, what am I supposed to do with this?

“I was thinking that you could give the cash for the two pounds back to Da- Uh Mr. Cheetah and tell him they’re on the house for the mix up. Also I’ll have the rest of it over to him before midnight,” said Mr. Claiborne.

Mr. Claiborne and Cliff looked at us all apologetically.

I just wanted to get Lil’ Jay and myself outta there. I could feel something about to go down.

“OK I’ll tell him,” I said.

We started to get up.

Mr. Claiborne said, “Hey Ted and – He looked at little Lil’ Jay.

I pushed him behind me and said YES.

“You guys have been so good about this I want to give you guys a little something.”

“It’s cool Mr. Cheetah takes care of us.” I said quickly.

“But maybe a note to Mr. Cheetah so he will understand and not think of us like um…

“Oh sure, hey Cliff could you write an IOU for the two pounds?” Mr. Claiborne said so easily.

Cliff jotted a note and I read the IOU. Good enough.

We were on our way past Jessie towards the door.

“Hey dude really!” said Mr. Claiborne

I turned and he jammed some bills in my hand.

I didn’t want anything from this crazy fool. Well maybe if he asked I would take Jessie with us.

As Lil’ Jay opened the door and Mr. Claiborne ushered us out. I could see Jessie jump up and race for the door. Mr. Claiborne caught him with an elbow to the face. He fell back and bounced on the floor and then back to his feet. He decided to try again, this time Mr. Claiborne whipped out his Bowie knife and stuck it in Jessie’s stomach.

Damn!!! It looked like Jessie just deflated like a balloon.

I felt someone gripping my left arm and I turn saw Lil’ Jay looking pale as a ghost.

Then Mr. Claiborne pulled up and Jessie just opened up like and paper bag full of guts and stuff. They started to spill out.

“Hey now Jessie don’t fall apart on me so fast,” said Mr. Claiborne.

We were shocked beyond words. I had seen a dead body or two but nothing like this craziness. He just gutted that poor little kid like a fish. No thought just gutted.

Mr. Claiborne turned to us all bloody hands-

“OK guys later days, I have to take care of this. Don’t forget to tell Mr. Cheetah I’ll get the stuff to him by midnight.”

Mr. Claiborne closed the door.

I looked at Lil’ Jay and we took off running.

I made a right then and left and a right and a left and was at the Boardwalk.

I stopped and tried to recover but Lil’ Jay kept running and jumped up on the brick wall and called earl…then fell over same wall on to the sand.

I ran over there to see if he was OK and if he fell in his own vomit. That would be messed up.

As I look over the wall Lil’ Jay was laying on the sand about 6 inches from the contents of his little stomach. I climbed the wall and jumped down on the side away from the nastiness. When I landed I looked at Lil’ Jay and we started laughing so hard we both had tears on our faces…

Finally Lil’ Jay said, “This is a cool place” which of course made us laugh all over again.

So I finally pulled myself together and asked Lil’ Jay if he was OK he said he was cool.

“What about the coke?” I asked “Did you fall on the bag, do we have to reclose it?”

“I don’t think so. Check it out.” He handed me the backpack.

I looked around and saw no one, looked to the wall to make double sure. I opened the pack and turned over the contents and saw no leak. I put the money in with it and zipped it up and cinched it tight.

“Do you want to carry it or you want me to?” I asked my partner.

“You can unless you don’t want to.”

“Yeah I can take it, I’m cool.” But hey what did that psycho Claiborne give us?

I reached in my pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. My Cheetah money was in my sock already. I counted it and it was four hundred and twenty dollars, cool. I split it with Lil’ Jay, half and half. He took a fifty dollar bill and handed back to me.

“What is this for Jay?” I asked.

“You have kept me from makin’ mistakes all day. I appreciate it,” he said.

I was touched. I took the money (no fool).

I got to my feet and told him we should get something to drink and head back.

Needless to say Mr. Cheetah was pissed when we showed and told him. I was hopping Mr. Claiborne was going to call so Mr. Cheetah would know most of it already, but no. I also gave him the IOU. I looked pained. I was a little scared so I even told him that Mr. Claiborne gave us money to get out. When we told Mr. Cheetah about Jessie he actually looked shocked. We passed the backpack with the money and coke to Mr. Cheetah’s man Python. (that is what he is called) Python handed us each a bill folded in half. I thought it was like two fifties but when Lil’ Jay eyes widened I looked and it was a two one hundred dollar bills. I cocked my head to one side like a confused dog.

“But Mr. Cheetah you already paid us one hundred before, why the extra?”

“This is for your trouble. It’s your first job and it was supposed to be easy and this son of a bitch surfer punk kills a kid right in front of you. That was not part of the bargain. See I can be fair.” [and he looks right at me and smiles. Oh my God they are filed.] This is not how I do business either. We’ll take care of the rest. That is a thank you for your trouble. Take it easy fellas and Mr. Cheetah slaps us bath five then Python bumps us both of the shoulder and ask us both are we OK we nod our heads and they jump in Mr. Cheetah’s big Mercedes and they are off. I tell Lil’ Jay that I’ll catch him later I’m going to put my cash away, it’s makin’ me nervous.

“OK takes again”…and he hugs me and slaps me five and runs down the street toward his apartment.

I can’t keep doing this I’d rather turn tricks than watch a kid die and make five hundred and sixty dollars…

This life is weird…

Hey what’s that in the gutter? A rolled twenty coolness, it’s raining money. Maybe this is a bad omen.

Yes life is real weird.

GUTTED LIKE A FISH Part #1

So it was 6pm and I was hangin’ with Lil’ Jay and we decided to chill at Dinky dog. Everyone came through there and it was almost always a good (entertaining) time. We had only been there for like a half when Dave Cheetah asked if we wanted to make a few dollars. I said, “Why”, because I was often cautious when someone like Mr. Cheetah offered anything. First name: Dave. Last name: unknown to anyone I knew. He went by Cheetah and it fit him perfectly, slim, tall, quick easy movements with big eyes and sharp looking teeth. He gave me a look that said you ask too many questions.

Lil’ Jay was like, “Hey what do you need us to do and how much we talkin’ about?”

To myself I was like, “Maybe, maybe not”.

Mr. Cheetah said he needed something delivered and something brought back, that’s all.

I said “No” because I still had $40.00 in my pocket from a trick last night, so I wasn’t as hungry as Lil’ Jay.

Lil’ Jay said, “I will do it no doubt”.

Mr. Cheetah said, “If Ted isn’t in then I will find someone else”.

I know Mr. Cheetah likes the way I try to be cautious and never just walk into a ‘sitch without thinking it through.

“Ted is a thinker it will keep him alive longer than the other hard head kids around here”.

“Ted, can I talk to you over here a second?” said Lil’ Jay.

I said, “Sure enough.”

I knew what this meant; he would try and talk me into to it. We walked to the side of Dinky dogs out of Mr. Cheetah’s legendary hearing range. Jay was the first to speak. [His eyes were serious and begging at the same time.]

“Hey man why are you trying to block my fetia?” said Lil’ Jay.

I looked at him a long time judging how real I could be at this given time. Jay is a friend but he is not really in my family.

So I chose my words carefully;

“Why do you want this so bad? Mr. Cheetah is known for being the real deal and looking out for himself and his own. I don’t care how smooth he puts it, we are not really part his own. He has nothing against us, well that I know of. Talk to me dude. Like what’s the burn here?” I asked.

“My sister Jasmine might be PG, but she’s not sure, so don’t tell anyone, for sure not Darn-it. She says it’s Darn-it’s baby if she is? [Lil’ Jay’s sister was not in the Hoe game, so she could be surer than the other girls we knew.]

Lil’ Jay sounded like it was all on him.

Just then Mr. Cheetah cleared his throat. He was two feet away. Both Jay and I jumped and turned around. I let Mr. Cheetah know I would be down but only if we played it smart. People who needed something acted differently than people who just wanted it. Lil’ Jay said cool and looked a little more relieved, but only a little. Mr. Dave Cheetah was known for using young guys to do his leg work, Colt said it kept his hands cleaner and most young guys had no record so they got off with just probation or a stern warning. I am always leery of doing a spur of the moment job for anyone. Mr. Dave Cheetah often said good things to other people about me, so it was probably cool.

“Mr. Cheetah how much are you paying?” asked Lil’ Jay.

He was begging like broke down hooker. OK, so his family needed money but dang, taking just any job might get him hung out if he’s not careful. So I said in my most respectful tone;

“Mr. Cheetah, I need to inquire to what is the deal that you would like me and my man Lil’ Jay to handle for you?” I said trying to sound confident.

He got a big smile on his face.

“I should watch you more closely, if you keep that up, this whole area would be yours to control” said the dangerous Mr. Cheetah.

I said, “That’s just the thing Mr. Dave Cheetah, I don’t want to control these streets. I just want my part of the world and before we lose sight of tonight’s mission, how much will we be receiving for this delivery of yours?”

Being my Mother’s son, at least I would know how to speak.

His smile widened and helped us remember why his nickname fit him so well. That smile made you think of bits of your organs stuck in his teeth. Lil’ Jay said later he got a chill right then and almost changed his mind about the whole thing. I agreed.

“How does two Hun and half total smell ($250.00)?” Smiled Mr. Cheetah

I said, “Two Huns each smells better to me ($400.00).”

He laughed and reached for his wallet and pulled two crisp Huns from the imported leather and handed one to each of us.

“You better stick with this man he will keep food on your table and shoes on your feet” said the predatory cat.

Jay said, “I plan to.”

[I thought to myself really now?!? Since when did I become a team with Lil’ Jay?]

Before I would let Lil’ Jay take the money from the ever more notorious street monster, I still wanted to know what the job entailed.

I put up my hand between us and the money.

“Thank you, Mr. Cheetah but what exactly do you need from us? Please put it down sharply, Sir.”

That freakin’ smile again- shiver

As requested he laid out a simple “run, drop and scoop (you’ll see).

As we booked towards the predetermined address in Venice, I said to Lil’ Jay;

“You know I got your back dude. I just wanted to make sure Mr. Cheetah wasn’t sending us into some mess,” I said seriously.

“I got yours to dude” said Lil’ Jay with a serious look right back.

“Righteous!!” I said trying to lighten the mood.

We slapped five.

“But we will not be doing this all the time. This is not what I’m all about” I said looking down the street.

[Lil’ Jay looked hurt for a second, then recovered]

“Well you already made me $75.00 more than I was going to get Dude. So anytime you want to partner up I’m down.”

Lil’ Jay was happy again.

It wasn’t really a question if I and Jay would watch out for each other on this little job. We tried to be cool like that. But ‘for reals though’ I didn’t want to become one of Mr. Cheetah’s runners. That could complicate my life and end me for sure. We’ll just get through this one and deal with the rest later.

We were on our way to a place that I am more than a little unsure about.

Here is the first part of the plan: Catch the Wilton bus to Pico, the Pico bus to the Venice area. The Pico bully bus was the best way to go and it ran frequently and all the way to Venice Beach.

Lil’ Jay was cool with that.

We walked over to the corner of Santa Monica and Wilton to wait for our bus. As we stood against the wall trying to look cool as 13 and 12 year olds could, I went over what we had to do in my head before I talked Lil’ Jay’s ear off about it. It was a well known fact that I talked a lot and more when I was unsure or nervous about something. I haven’t learned how to cover all my feeling like a lot of the kids out here had. Some of them are only a little older than me and they seem cold inside most of the time.

Our first bus came and we got on and went to the back. I am still working on becoming cool under pressure. It’s a quality that I really liked in others. It is hard to do, but being 13, I feel I have time to work it out. Lil’ Jay was quiet and alert like people could tell we were up to something. I knew they couldn’t. I knew that most people didn’t look around that much and they wanted to be left alone. Most ‘Normies’ didn’t want to know the person next to them had a knife or a gun unless they were going to do them harm. I see the butt-ends of guns and the tops of knives on people or in their bags all the time but I’m different than most, I want to know what’s going on and who is doing what, just in case. I’ve always been that way even when there was nothing to fear. Someone rang for our stop and we got off the bus with the rest of the riders. I gestured across the street to the stop going towards the beach on Pico. I’ve ridden that bus a bunch of times to Venice beach.

We were lucky the #42 express to Venice arrived as soon as we stepped up to the bench. We boarded and went to the back corner.

“Lil’ Jay have you ever been to Venice to chill?” I asked.

“No what’s it like, all Surfer’s and Muscle-heads?? He said.

“Those dudes are there but it’s cool. On the weekend it’s full of all kinds of people from all over. When it’s hot there are all kinds of chicks in bikinis just walking around.” I said thinking he probably liked that kind of thing.

“Maybe we can go there sometime?” said Lil’ Jay.

Lil’ Jay smiled for a quick second and then back to his mask.

“Maybe but you know I won’t be checkin’ out no females, I’ll leave that to you.”

[We both laugh to release the nervous energy]

We have a long ride a head of us, so I sat back and tried to think about all the possible outcomes that could come our way. From the best to the worst, I can’t lie I am a little worried, but I’m almost always a little worried. So I can handle it.

To be continued

Change is good, Change is Permanent

[KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK]

I hope this is the right door. I haven’t been here in a while.

Change is good, Change is Permanent

If it’s not the right one I know it’s got to be close by. I remember that store across the street.

[KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK]

Was the door like this or was it a gate.

Change is good, Change is Permanent

[KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK]

Someone peaks out of the window on the left.

Is that my cousin Rich? I can’t tell.

Change is good, Change is Permanent

Where did I get that phrase? I think it’s something Uncle Benji says.

The door opens and some white guys asks, “What can I do for you?”

“Um I’m looking for my cousin Rich, um Richard Day, is he here?”

“Just a second,” the guy said.

After about two minutes the familiar face of my big cousin is at the door.

“What are you doing here?” said Rich [looking up and down the street]

“I… um … needed to get away. Can I come in?” I ask.

“Of course you can, get in here,” he said flinging the door open wide.

As soon as I walked in I could see he was not alone. Maybe this was a mistake?

I felt Rich’s hand on my shoulder and I turned into the warm hug of family. People in my family didn’t always hug, especially two guys. From the time I was little I always hugged the people I liked.

I told myself I wasn’t going to cry as soon as I got there like the little kid I was trying not to be. But I couldn’t hold it back. The tears came down like a Mid-Western rain storm, torrential and big. I’m sure Rich was not ready for that but he played his part.

I heard someone say “Take him in the bedroom.” I felt my legs move but I was not controlling them.

Then there was a cool wet towel on my face. I tried to breathe regular but it was still hard.

“So King Ted what is so terrible that you had to come here like this?” asked Rich.

“Um… Do you promise not to get mad when I tell you?” I asked shyly.

“OK Just tell me. You know you can tell me anything. We’re family.”

A Deep breath and….

“Well I was hanging at my friend Jackson’s house and his father started staring at me and stuff and I was like what is your Dad’s deal? Why is he staring at me? And Jackson said, I don’t know. Dad’s why are you looking at Ted? And he was all like, “You look familiar and junk. And I was like yes Sir I come over here all the time. I was thinking he was having some kind of old person’s moment like Grand Ma Mary-Anne. But then he was all like, “You look like someone I know.” “What is your mother’s name?” I looked at Jackson like, Dude…..what’s going on here? He just shrugged. I told De Mott, that’s Jackson’s fathers’ name, that my mother’s name is Katherine Day. His eye’s got all big and junk and I got a little nervous.

Another big breath and

He was like bam and jumps up and ran into his bedroom and we heard him rummaging and then he comes running out with a picture of my mother and him. No biggie, you know my Mom models so I guess lots of guys have pictures like that. So I didn’t trip. He says like, “Is this your mother and stuff” and I’m like, Yes it is and he’s like looking at me real hard like he was looking for something. And then he says like straight out. “When were you born?” I looked around and everyone was like staring at me. Jackson said, “I think he was born a year and a day before me.” De Mott and Jean both stepped back. I didn’t know what was going on.

Another big breath and

My friends Dad looked at his wife and then at me and said, “I think I could be your father!?!

Rich said, “What the fuck! Get outta here with that! Hold up”.

He jumped up and ran out of the room and I heard water running then he came back with two glasses of water. He handed one to me and I took and big gulp and I suddenly knew how dry my throat was. I was talking so fast I didn’t notice.

“I couldn’t believe it either but he had a picture and he said he knew my mother from back in the day.” “He said my mother was his girlfriend.” “I was and am freaked.” I told Rich.

“So what did Aunt Kat say?” ask Rich.

“She said she always meant to tell me but wanted to wait until I was older.”

“You’re almost 12 years old, when was she going to tell you”, asked Rich.

“She seemed upset but so was I. We both started yelling and I just grabbed some stuff and ran away from there. I had to get outta there. I didn’t know where to go.” I was starting to breathe heavy again. “I was wondering if I could-”

And Rich cut in, “Look don’t even say it. You know you can stay here as long as you want.” “But won’t Uncle Max and Aunt Kat come looking for you?”

“I don’t know, but even if they do I’m not going back there until I’m ready.” I said trying to sound strong.

Rich gave me a reassuring smile.

Truth be told, I was scared to death. I was a good kid in a family that gave me a lot of leeway for getting good grades and only causing a minimal of kid style trouble. My mother was always gone so she was always happy to know that I was busy with school and my silly projects. I think she didn’t want to think about the fact that she had a kid. She once told me every time she looks at me she felt older than she felt the moment before. Onetime on my birthday she told me to say I was two years younger than I was. I went along with it but felt everyone at the restaurant knew the truth and why I was saying it.

Rich told me to lie down and rest and he would come back and later. I grabbed my two backpacks and stuffed them under the bed. I was really tired, but just remembered something. I yelled for Rich and ten seconds later his head popped inside the slightly opened bedroom door.

“Yea, what’s happening King Ted?”

“Please don’t call my Mother or tell your family I’m here. I’ll call them later.” I asked him

“OK I’ll leave that up to you, anything else?”

“Yes, thank you.” I said sleepily

“No prob. Fam.”

I smiled and tried to close my eyes. But as I did so many things where running through my mind. Was my Stepfather, Uncles, Aunts, Big cousins going to kill me for making my mother cry? Usually when I made her cry it was for a good thing like winning a $2000.00 scholarship for Art or a couple a times on Mother’s day. I always thought those were fake tear. But I just called her a liar and that I could not believe anything she said and was she even my mother? That was harsh, I know.

I guess I finally fell asleep because it was dark in the room and Rich was shaking me and calling my name. I jumped and he jumped back.

“Hey King Ted, it’s time to wake up kid.”

“Hey Rich, what time is it?” I said as I looked for my watch.

“It is 7 o’clock and we were thinking of getting something to eat do you want something?”

“Yes”, I said and reached inside my jack and pulled out some bills.

“Naw, naw put your money back I got this.” said Rich with a warm smile.

It made me smile even though I wasn’t that awake yet.

“What are you smiling about King Ted?”

“The wonderful people I’m related to and the fact that after all these years you still call me King Ted.”

“Pull yourself together and come out to the living room and meet my friends.” Rich said smiling big.

I nodded yes and got up and headed to where I thought the bathroom might be.

I washed face and combing my long hair back into a low ponytail. I changed my changed my shirt to something I thought made me look a little older. Why I didn’t know. When I went out to the living room there were about six people including Cousin Rich.

The first guy was a strong looking white dude. Rich said his name was Ben and everyone said COLT all together. So I smile it must be Colt.

Then a girl who I couldn’t tell if she was a Latina or not but she had so many colors in her hair when she said her name was Rainbow I almost thought she was joking. But I have good home training so I shook her outstretched hand.

Then another girl across from her said her name was Sahara. I said “Like the desert.” She smiled bright and said, “Yes, exactly I like him”.

There was a really tall, really thin guy named Ricardo with no trace of an accent and a little curly afro. Not Rick or Ricky or Rico. OK….

The last person to meet in the group I thought was a young, blonde, white girl but when they spoke it was a young, blonde, white boy, I think, maybe about 17. His/ her name was Robyn. Not wanting to show my age I said, “Like the bird”, but I thought as in Batman and…..

He/she said, “Yes but with a Y not an I”. I didn’t know if I was ever going to have to write his/her name but I file it away.

“And I’m Rich’s cousin Ted Kingston; it’s really nice to meet you all.”

Rainbow laughed and said, “Isn’t he polite!”

“Hey King Ted can I tell them what you did at the family reunion last month?” asked Rich already embarrassing me.

“Yes if you stop calling me King Ted in public?” I said smiling.

So we have a giant family reunion here in LA every other year. I’ve told you guys about them before. Well we always go around and say one thing we’re thankful for since we last came together. The kids always say something like I’m glad for my bike or glad for my mom or my grandmother or something like that. But this little Fucker stands up in front of all the three or four hundred people and says what? [he shoots a look at me to do my speech again] [I sink down more even though I’m sitting on the floor] Everyone erupts, “come on King Ted tell us”. If I could blush I would have. I would bet good money that I was.

OK OK

When it was my turn I looked at my Great Grand Mother and no one else and I said I was thankful that I liked boys instead of girls. Then my cousin Tina, his sister punched me in the arm and said I don’t like you either and everyone laughed.

My Uncle Robbie said I’m sure you like some girls and later you’ll like a lot of other girls and everyone laughs again. Then I said still looking at my Great Grand Mother, No I don’t think so and every slowly stopped laughing.

-The group in my cousin’s living room was buzzing. OH My God you just came out like that? I would have died, what did they do? What did they say?

Rich said, “Hold on he’s not finished, tell what else you said”.

I took a deep breath and said, “Hey I’m not the only one. What about Cousin Tyrone and his friend at work and Cousin Yvette and her friend on the softball team? What about Uncle George’s friend Larry, you guys call him Ms. Larry and my mother’s friend Mr. David? See I’m not the only one.” I ran over to my Great Grand Mother buried my face in her shoulder. I heard her say that that was OK. Being different is good and that I was one of her babies and if anyone said anything to me they would have to deal with her.

Rich said, she gave us all, ‘the eye’. I’ve never seen our Great Grand Mother even raise her voice before. We all knew that this was law.

The room was so lively I didn’t know people would even care this much.

I guess I was in the right place tonight. My big cousin Rich was beaming at me.

I beamed back

Bridges: burn them or build them?

It was about two weeks past my Mom’s birthday and I spent those two weeks back in the hood. After a while I could barely stand it. Going to the neighborhood high school and dealing with all the questions and lowlands attitude. Kids that wished I never came back casting a Sherwood Forest worth of shade and wishing I cared. I knew I was there too long when I started hitting on my old drama teacher. He reminded me of some of my clients. It was wrong and I knew it as soon as I started. After a couple of minutes I gave him an out. There was no one but us around and he could have let it drop or acted offended. But no he wasn’t offended he was interested and terrified. I didn’t mean to freak his freak but sometimes I can’t control my flirt.

“Ted could you hand me that wrench” he asked.

“Sure Mr. Greenwood, do you want the one for the big nuts or the small nuts?” I asked with a smile.

“The wrench on the table in front of you, please.” He said avoiding the dangerous territory.

“I just wanted to give you the right one for the job that’s all” I said still flirting.

[Did I just see him adjust his stance on the ladder?]

“So Mr. Greenwood did you miss me?”

“Yes I did Ted you always bring so much to the class when your here.”

“Wow Mr. Greenwood I didn’t know you cared.”

[Mr. Daryl Greenwood blushed like a school girl and that’s when I should’ve stopped, but of course I didn’t.]

“Mr. Greenwood you’re so cute when you blush like that.” [and with that the light red went to deep crimson and he wavered on the ladder.]

“Ted you shouldn’t say things like that to me, what if someone hears you?” He said looking around as he came down the ladder.

“Don’t care what these lowland neophytes* think about me. One day they’ll grow up and find out there is a whole world out there that doesn’t care one bit about high school and what they think.” I said a little smugly.

*I just learned this word about a month ago and I have been trying to slip it in wherever I can.

“‘Lowland Neophytes’ good one! But unfortunately I have to care what they think. Let’s go down to the audience and see if the lights are right.”

“OK, but all that still doesn’t mean you’re not cute to me.” I leaned in close and said.

He bent over to pick up the lighting layout and showed me his big butt. Let me say for the record again Mr. Daryl Greenwood was not the man of my dreams or in the top 25. He was one of about three gay adult men that I could clock at this dreary school. So flirting with him is supposed to go nowhere at all. But that was what I thought.

He hops off the edge of the stage and I follow him to row H seats 10 and 11.

“I thought you said never jump off the front of the stage?”

“I did, but maybe you bring out the rule breaker in me.” Mr. Greenwood said with a rye smile.

“Is that all I bring out in you?” I said and looked down at his crotch.

“What are you doing Ted Kingston? I’m thrice your age and your teacher.”

“Like that matters to me” and put my hand on his left leg.

He jumped like I shot him through with electricity.

“Ted please don’t do that, I might take it the wrong way” he said sweating between his bushy eye brows.

“and what is the right way, tiger?”

I really should stop here.

“That maybe you think you want to have sex with an old man like me.” He said in such a small voice I barely heard him.

I thought for a second and then I said in an equally small voice.

“Maybe I do”

And then I saw the jump and a small wet stain. Unfortunately he was wearing his traditional light khaki pants and showed like he had spilt syrup in his lap.

“I guess you do to.” I said looking down at the growing stain.

I handed him the hanky I always keep in my back pocket. He was completely shocked and took the hanky and dabbed at the stain.

“Pull your shirt tails out and it will look like your working hard until it dries.”

“I, I’m really sorry I don’t know what came over me. This has never happened before.” Mr. Greenwood stammered and handed me back my hanky.

I re-folded it and wiped his sweaty forehead and them smelled the hanky and smiled. He jumped again and knew it was spot number two.

“The lights look great. Think about it and maybe the idea will grow on you. I know other things have.” and looked down at his crotch and handed back the hanky. “I’ll get that back from you later” and I stood up and walked down row H.

Daryl Greenwood just sat there looking shocked as I left the small auditorium.

Maybe I went too far and maybe and maybe not. I walked over to the gym for my next class. I hate gym…. Once you say openly that you’re gay they should give you the choice to skip it or not. The str8 administration doesn’t know that it’s the one place that most sissies have their worst trouble. Good thing I can fake it when I need to. The locker rooms are even different here than at Hollywood. All the lockers are rusty, small and too close together. They are all this tired high school blue color and the wooden benches seem like their purpose in life are to give you splinters. The guys are even less interesting and I didn’t think that was possible. Well most of them, there are one or two that I could peak at for a minute or two. The Jackson twins are in the corner. [They have to take gym again since they got dropped from the football team for the terrible grades.] They are built like men but have the faces and minds of 15 year olds. Wow they even have identical hairy butt cracks! There is Gilbert Davis. I think he has the biggest dick in our school. You know us Mo’s talk. He just flops that monster out when he changes. Either his girlfriend La Tonya is happy or petrified. But my favorite kid in this class is Roger Johnson, RJ to everyone who knows him. He hates organized sports and loves journalism. I tell him he should try and go to a different school but he thinks he can’t. Sometime between the 9th and 10th grade summer his body had a totally major growth explosion. He is now hairy and muscular in a way he was not before. I noticed a while ago and strengthened our friendship more since. RJ is half Italian (mother) and half Black (father) and all 5’4” of FžIžNžE. But he is still too young for me to press, so for now it’s just fantasies and friendship. At least he’s smart enough to talk to.

“Hey RJ what’s it be like Yo?”

He turns around just as he is dropping his briefs. Timing is everything.

“Hey Ted everything’s, everything”

“You ready to use our brains to get out of another day of gym?” I said trying not to stare.

“You know it. What’s it going to be today bad ankle, pulled back…

“….. Maybe Teddy can say he’s on his period” said Ronald Jackson and almost everyone laughed. [I noticed Donald Jackson didn’t laugh, hmm]

“Wow Ronny* Gina was right you obsessed with eating red pie. Remind me not to drink after you, that’s nasty!” [Everyone said Ohhh.

“You just think it’s nasty because you don’t like girls.”

“Nah I…..

“He thinks it’s nasty because it is, get dressed and leave him alone” said Donald proving that he was the twin in charge again.

Everyone went back to dressing for gym class and I slipped out of my clothes quickly and dressed. Since I wore just regular male clothes here it was a quick change.

When we got out to the field I told Coach Raymond I had asthma and RJ said he pulled a muscle in his neck and we volunteered to walk laps. Coach said OK with his usual look that said “What ever you slackers.”

And RJ and I started our slow stroll around the track as the other separated for a flag football game.

Whew I dodged that bullet… I’ve got to get back to Hollywood soon this school could lead to only single syllable words. FAB-U-LOUS, FAB-U-LOUSI said to myself as we walk around the track. Whew still got it.

Can I Have A Good Day

While I was in the hall I heard Mr. Michael Chuy tell Mr. Mark Rockingham that he had a contest this weekend in Venice and did he want tickets. He didn't ask me I certainly wanted tickets. All day I thought about Mr. Chuy in his skin tight Lycia, doing jumps and stretches. Oh my god, he would be like totally hot. I would be a bit embarrassed to ask him about it since he didn't mention it in front of me. I don’t even have a class with him anymore that I go to the Los Angeles Performing Arts Academy (LAPAA). How will I find out the deal, I thought on my way to another boring Math class with Mr. Johnson. Well he’s not boring at all he’s pretty cool. As always it’s the other kids that drive me nuts. It’s supposed to be an advanced geometry class but a few of the parents pulled some strings to get their slow little darlings in there to make them look better for college. The rest of us have to wait for them every day because nice Mr. Johnson always asks after every lesson; did everyone understand what we did today or do you want me to go over it again; and there is always someone who wants him to go over it again. I can see if you have a question or you need some clarification. But there are a few kids that need the whole lesson explained more than once, even more than twice. Me being me, I couldn't take it a few times and I stood up in class and explained the lesson in my own words and then said to the kids in question; maybe you could ask your parents for a tutor so the rest of us can finish this math book before the end of days!?! Half the class loved it and the few acted as if I wasn't talking to them.

I know not everyone can be good in every subject. Heck, I have to have a dictionary with me whenever I write for creative writing class. I am a terrible speller. Mr. Johnson is just like his wife Mrs. Johnson who also teaches math here at Hollywood High. They both are patient and have a good outlook on life. They don’t have any kids. I wonder why?

Lunch was pretty cool; we had a concert by the Motels and one of our school bands Alabaster Night. We have like 9 bands that all the members go to this school. That chick from the Motels, as my aunt Gina would say, ‘that girl can sang!’ I stayed in the back. I didn’t feel like being crushed by all the band groupies. So I sat on the low wall facing the stage with a few of my school friends. None of my Street-Fam is in school anymore and they don’t want to talk about it, so we move on and let it fall.

We were just hangin’ back and enjoying the music and kee-keeing like we do when Rocky Tortuga walks up and says hey. I’ve known him since he and his sister Nicole came to our school in the 9th grade. I always thought he was cute but I rarely press boys my own age. But he is a Stunner and he has a manly body with a deep sexy voice.

“Hey what’s happening people?” Rocky says just over the music.

“Nothing much just enjoying the sounds,” said my girl Beige

“So Ted I was wondering if I could hang with you?” and he made a hand movement to include the group.

“It’s cool with me, if it’s cool with everyone else.” (Trying to be my coolest self)

He looked around and the gathering and they all nodded in agreement. So he squeezed up next to me. Now I had heard from his sister that he was going to try and make some moves to ask me out or something. I told her that I don’t usually press with boys like, my own age but I like, liked him and would be open to a friendly hang with an option on some lips. She asked if she could use that line. I said sure I’ve got a million of ‘em. So when he walked up I knew the score before the game had even started.

The bands were cool but my favorite part is when the take a break and the D.J’s take over. That’s when I get to do my thing. I’m a dancer and that is where my soul lives. I know all the D.J’s that play at our school and they know me and the other dancers. We like it funky, who care what the other kids like. I feel like I’ve gotten so much bolder living on the street these last 4 years, I guess I had no choice. I look at Rocky and he already is reaching to hold my bag.

“May I hold your bag while you show them how it’s done?”

“Well usually I ask one of my girls but if you want to…”

“I would be honored, besides I love watching you do your thing.”

I will not blush, I will not blush!! “Hey I just do what I like.”

“Yes and you do it better than anyone else.”

He is making me embarrassed so I turn around and the “Beat-Kids” are already starting to throw some hair.

“OK, Rocky if you really don’t mind I would like to work out some new stuff.”

He smiles and bows deep and dramatic.

I’m just wearing cut up jean shorts, knee tights and a sleeveless t-shirt. I reach in my bag and grab a knee length black nylon trench-coat just to jazz up my out-fit. Rocky looked surprised but interested. On the way through the crowd I saw Nicole and kissed her on the cheek and pointed her towards her brother.

The kids were already starting to turn it. I own nothing so I never just run in, but as soon as Le Ron sees me I can tell that he wants to do one of the routines from class. I’d never do that if someone else didn’t start it. I like to do my own stuff. But what the heck it’s a good way to get loose.

We cut it up like we were made of the wind. I can see both Rocky and Nicole smiling in my direction. I guess today is a day and I give a triple turn to everyone else’s single and double.

Now I know it’s a good day.