Enemies prowled the streets like jaguars hungry for your blood, plotting and manipulating to watch you fall. They pray for your demise, like Jesus they all break bread with me and drank my wine with the to attempt to betray me. Dudes that speak loyalty while praying for your down fall. Females seeking to be a Boss wife but don’t understand the definition of what it takes to represent a King. Envious ones will take what you have if your not careful. I come from a generation of drug dealers,Hustler’s, and notorious gangsters. Crime is embedded in my blood line and it’s all I know. The concrete, the projects, Topanga and the life of a criminal and hustler.
She is my best friend, future wife, and mother of my children. The rose that grew through concrete. She ain’t thinking of giving me the time of day, but like Steve Urkel did to Laura Winslow, “I’m wearing her down.”
When asked what the definition of love and loyalty Topanga’s name comes to mind. A young woman who’s dedicated her life to taking care of her sick and drug addicted parents. She ain’t about the streets, or laying up with some no good dude. Topanga’s motto, “Education is going to take me away from the hood.” Always been smart as hell since kindergarten. Life is weighing her down and my biggest fear is it will kill her soul. I want to ensure it doesn’t and it’s why I am always around.
She don’t have the hottest clothes or shoes but she is respectful. She is beauty with slanted eyes, rich mocha complexion, a small frame, and a angelic smile. I am sitting waiting for her to get off the bus because old pervs and these ratchet ass chicks tried to jump her over thinking we was fucking because of Tonya. My presence speaks volumes and if anything happen to Topanga it will be murder beef.
Robbie, a fiend comes up to me,scratching his skin, lips cracked and burned. I point to the blue rock Trell comes from behind and money is exchanged, and he runs to get the small baggy. Robbie used to clean the subways, and was one of the dudes I respected because he lived by the code of God, family, and the rest will follow.
He hobbled to the dark alleyway, and I yelled,
“Yo, Robbie walk with me and chat it up.”
He scratched and fidgeted with the baggy.
“I…I…paid my debt.” Robbie stuttered.
“If it was about my money there’d be no conversation just me breaking your jaw. Now follow me.”
I could smell and taste his bad ass body odor. A man who once walked with head high now couldn’t look a person in the face. The small gold cross looked Brown, tarnished, and it was the only item he didn’t sell. It was given to him by his mother.
“How you fall off my dude? You had a good ass job with the MTA, a car, making mad money, and you blow it all on a glass pipe and a rock. Help me understand?”
He stopped and looked me in the eye. A small tear escaped. He took his hand and wiped it away.
“Life happened. If you never want to be just another nigga fallen or knock off your A game stay humbled, give back to others and don’t expect shit in return.
“I had it all but when you think you too big in your britches life will crumble you.”
“You also was rolling with snakes ass dudes?”
“Yep and you too, Ameen watch the snake ass niggers in your Tribe, while they smiling they are hissing, waiting for the right moment to take you down. Watch them, Ameen with the eye of a hawk, listen to them talk, and how they makes moves. Every move you make be quiet about it because if a man can calculate your steps he can plan your death.”
“What are you saying a friend got you high?”
“I’m saying if a enemy knows your weakness he’ll use them against you. He’ll play on it and destroy you. My weakness was crack, pretty women, and a need to forget about the pain of my mother being murdered over the gold chain I brought her.”
I reached in my pocket and pulled off three twenties. I put it in his hand.
“Stay up and use that money for food. Peace.”
He balled up the money and scurried off. Topanga sexy ass stepped off the bus, ear buds in her ear, and walked into King’s Fish Market. I followed her and held the door open. She rolled her eyes and sucked her teeth.
“Hey, pretty lady.”
She put on the plastic gloves picked out four whiting fish, two porgies, and two handfuls of shrimp.
“Yo, Kim hook me up a fish and shrimp dinner. Whateva Topanga has I’ll pay for it.”
“Nah, I’m good. I can pay for my stuff.”
She handed them the EBT card and he handed back. He swiped it and she entered her pin.
“Bad card. No good.”
She blinked twice and looked around the store. A few chicks from PJ’s chuckled.
“Yo, Kim give it to her put it on me.”
“What did I say, Ameen? I don’t need your damn money, okay.”
“Obviously you do because your Mama sold her Snap benefits and you just gave me your last money to pay your father’s debt.”
“I don’t need to be in debt to you over no damn fish. Another thing don’t be putting my parent’s business in the street.”
“Why you always gunning for me when I’m being nice to your ass?”
She unfolded her arms, ran her fingers through her twists and looked away from me.
“I’m having a bad day and a lot is on my mind. Sorry.”
She wiped the corner of eyes and sat in the seat. Topanga was the authentic good girl. The type of chick a dude could either make or break because she needed love. Always about her books, school and just making it in this cruel ass world. Another pretty girl with a broken spirit and the wrong dude will ruin her with his venom. I protect Topanga it is the job I hired myself to do. I’ve loved her since kindergarten.Topanga has never given me the time or day but in her cute way has protected me too.
“I want to make sure you eat. I know you ain’t got shit in your fridge.”
“What to do you want from me, Ameen?”
“You can’t have my heart.”
“Can I keep it a hundred without your goon ass bitches running up on me?”
“You have my word.”
“You could ruin me and my life plan. Brooklyn, these projects, and living at rock bottom isn’t a life goal. A drug dealer’s boo who’s idea of making it is being a thousandaire, popping bottles at the club, a hot car, and fucking every thot with a big ass. You don’t qualify to be my man because your destination doing what your doing is either dead or jail. Sorry, I rather pass. Ameen Leviticus Johnson you are so much more than a thousandaire. A man like you could be a King but you settle for so much less. I can’t even wrap my head around being your girlfriend because you don’t see your worth.”
Another immature dude would have smack the shit out of her but I knew she was right. Brooklyn was a jungle and every one slinging them thangs ending was basically the same either you do time or die. We both sat at twenty five of our friend’s funeral since we we’re fifteen. Being murdered young, or slinging drugs, or watching the good fall off wasnt apart of life.
Yet, Brooklyn developed Kings and Queens of survival. A mother who carried her tribe on her back, while doing kitchen weaves, selling chicken dinners, and going to college. Brooklyn streets and avenues bred some of the best people like my father.
He Caught a murder charge over a silly broad. I make many trips upstate visiting my father who has life in a correction Facility. Looking for guidance and a way the belly of the best fed me. I was birthed to be a king pen from the day I was born. Ameen Leviticus Notorious Johnson was gifted a crown, a stack of money, and the Hustler’s rules.
“I qualify but you only see the stereotype not the real man. Be easy, Topanga!”
I turn around and adjust my cap.
“Thank you. Tonight stay in and just stay low. Word is the jungle has predators. I want you safe. I never steered you wrong.”
“I know and that’s why I’ve been down for you since kindergarten. One day, Topanga you’re going to be mine. Bet that on everything.”
“Neva and Tonya is your ride or die. Let’s we forget your attached. Here read this book by Eric Thomas and let me know what you think.”
“Can I chill and we read the book together like back in the day?”
Tonya pushed the door interrupting our conversation. Her long nails, hair by a Indian, and lips with too lip gloss.
“Um, really you talking to this raggedy ass girl?”
Topanga walked out and Tonya cold stare let her know.
“Cut all the staring out I don’t want your man. He’s all yours just two people buying fish.” Topanga said.
“Bae, you know how I get.”
“Grow the fuck up.”
“I always be thinking she gone steal you. Basically,I can’t have a bitch who parents got AIDS, and on crack all up in your face. She probably got that shit too. Stay away from her, ugh.”
She squeezed my face and I grabbed her arm.
“Don’t you ever put your hands on my face.”
“Why you tripping, and shit.”
“Don’t put your hands in my face.”
“We hanging at the Oak Room, tonight.”
“Nah, I’m making a trip out of the city.”
“Can I come?”
“You act mad shady after you talk to Topanga bum ass. I be knowing she put dirt on my name.”
“You jealous of her?”
“Ova a Payless wearing run over sneakers, three pants, and one sweatshirt chick. Fuck outta here.”
“Topanga don’t talk shit about you. She actually respects the fact we kicking it. I knew her since kindergarten and …”
“You always wanted to be with her and I be knowing, Ameen. Ugh, you can see him on YouTube. Why you need to be reading?”
“Reading is fundamental and your broken English speaking ass need to pick up a book.”
“Fuck a book, I’m pretty, thick , and you know my pussy is served up delicious. A nigger will always need me by their side. Act like you know.” Tonya snapped her fingers and popped her gum.
“Is that all you think of yourself?”
She ran her hand over her hips and nodded her head yes. In the wilderness of Brooklyn you find the weak chicks, the wannabe boss chick, the baby mama, and the gold ass digging broad. Tonya was pretty, but with a fifth grade education. She was so stuck on her looks she forgot to pick up a book. She had no children thank God for his blessings. She damn near thirty and aspires for nothing. She works out, eats right, dresses nice but broad has life twisted.In my eyes she is just good to have sex with nothing more.
Robbie walked past and Ameen handed him the food.
“Keep an eye for shady shit in my tribe..I will bless you just watch okay. ”
“Trell, was talking to the fed guy who calls himself Quan. Told him a lot of stuff.”
“How you know?”
“Cause he was downtown by Navy dock s and I know the feds cause he my ex cousin.”
“Good looking out.Here five hundred dollars for you. Give this envelope to Topanga and dude word on my dead seed if you lying I’ll torture you until you beg me to take your life. This conversation and me giving you the envelope better not leave your lips. Topanga will let me know if she received it or not.”
“Tonya, I got to go. Do me a favor and drive my car to Jamaica, Queens.”
“Do what the fuck I say and never question me.”
I call for an Uber, and for a minute I have to lay low, get out the game and elevate my mind. Topanga’s words rang through my ears. Dead or jail. Your worth so much more and she was right. This mini vacation and down time is to build a life plan and find out if Trell shady.
The text came through with a happy face from Topanga and a quote from Eric Thomas,
“If you’re not where you are, if you’re not where you want to be, if you don’t have what you want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.” – Eric Thomas
I text back
I want to be your husband.
I want you alive and free. Free from crime and selling drugs. Be safe, read and grow. This time from jungle I hope enlightens you.
One day Topanga will be my wife.
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