RIPPED & READY (S4/PART 2)
RIPPED & READY S4/II
Peewee Jones died in my arms earlier that evening. His shocking and untimely death seemed surreal, but I suppose the emptiness I felt was actually a natural emotion associated with the mourning process. Yes, regardless of what he had put me through over the months, there was still a sense of sadness hovering over my thoughts and it confused me. I thought for sure that I would be relieved knowing that I no longer had to look over my shoulder twice to make sure that I wasn’t being followed by him, but for some strange reason I wasn’t. Perhaps it was because, deep down inside, I really did have feelings for him, but not ones dripping with romantic love. No, it had more to do with me being sympathetic to his perilous journey from childhood to manhood.
You see, I realized that Peewee’s innocence was infected by corruption when he was too young to be able to make the right choices for himself. His path in life was pretty much altered because of what he had learned at such an early age by hardcore hustlers who just happened to be his parents and grandparents. They pummeled his impressionable mind with their street philosophies from the time he took his first breath until the day they died, so he really never had a chance to evolve into anything more than what he had became, a hoodlum. I’m not even sure if his obsession with me had anything to do with “love” itself; I believe it had more to do with an infatuation with control. I also believe that cocaine heightened his sexual prowess and he just flat out liked sex – it didn’t matter if it were with a man or a woman.
I remember him telling me that he had been “digging” me ever since I was a teenager so; perhaps, he really was a tormented homosexual, too afraid to be himself because of the judgments that might have affected his prominence in the heterosexual community he existed in. I’m sure that if the elder male Jones even suspected that his oldest son was into men, he would have tried to beat the homosexuality out of him with his bare hands. I know it might sound crazy, but a lot of people still believe that being gay is a life style choice and not a trait from birth. I suppose that’s why Collin and D’Andre guarded their homosexual desires the way that they did – it’s out of fear. Hell, I understand it because I hadn’t really come to terms with my own sexuality until after high school. I mean, I used to mess around with other dudes, but that was after dark when the lights were out, per say.
My late father and I had a horrible relationship. I believe that he never accepted the fact that he had a gay son, and that realization kept us divided and we were both too stubborn to tear down that invisible wall that kept us from connecting on that father and son level. I knew he loved me though, and I loved him, but we were just two totally different people. I often wonder how D’Andre’s dad would take the news about him, if he knew. His reaction would probably duplicate the reactions of most Fathers with sons, but then the ones that you least expect to embrace their children, are the ones who do. Collin’s dad had already passed away so that’s one bridge that Collin would never have to cross. I’m pretty sure that his pops died believing that his son was 100% heterosexual.
Ignorance is certainly bliss, now isn’t it?
Speaking of D’Andre; I am very concerned about my friend. He never verbally admitted that he was using cocaine, but his defensive reaction earlier assures me that he is indeed in trouble. It pains me to know that one of my closest friends is strung out on drugs, but instead of pretending like it’s not a happening, I am going to live in reality and be the dick that rides his ass until he gets this situation in check. Now that is one thing that will take me a long time to forgive Peewee for; turning out D’Andre. It amazes me that D, and not Collin, is the one who gets strung out on this shit. Hell, as much weed as Collin smokes I surely thought that he would have been the coke-head, but he claims that he has never touched the stuff before. Yeah, and I’ve never sucked a dick before either (Now if you believe that one you really haven’t been paying attention).
Sometimes I wish I could live as carefree as Collin does, but I know that’s not a progressive existence. I’m concerned about his well being too, because his hearty appetite for cannabis is destroying him. I bet he’d have to dry out for awhile to get all of that THC out of system to pass a drug test. What the hell does he expect to do with the rest of his life? Hang out with his “wanna-be-gangsta” posse, smoking and grinding weed twenty-four hours a day? I believe that Craig from “Friday” asked Smokey how he could sell weed and smoke weed at the same time. Now that question right there makes absolute sense to me. Collin and his crew couldn’t be making any money at all because they smoke weed like breathing air. It’s ridiculous too, and it seems as if his usage kicked it into overdrive shortly after the birth of his son, like he is trying to numb his thoughts.
Now that I thought about it, that’s exactly what he is probably trying do – block out the fact that his son may not be his son. When that baby opened up his eyes at that hospital and I saw those hazel peepers of his I knew that something didn’t smell right. I wish I could say that it was coincidental but, Tootchie isn’t the model girlfriend either – hell, it was her admission that saved Collin’s life that night that Peewee had a gun aimed at his head. Had Tootchie not disclosed the fact that she and Denise were held up in some motel room together, Collin’s life would have ended a couple of years ago. Both she and Collin are bisexuals – they can go either way, but I didn’t know that about Tootchie until that night.
You see what I’m talking about, my life and the lives of the people I call friends are a mixture of jaw dropping drama and love. We care a great deal about each other, but some of the questionable situations we wind up in would make good material for a damn soap opera. I cannot believe that for a couple of years I was being stalked by the leader of a gang, who I slept with on more than one occasion. I also find it hard to stomach that I slept with not one but two of my best friends and their girlfriends knew about it. We were all living fowl ass lives and I for one needed a change. The only one of us that seemed to be living a pretty normal life was Todd, but now his mind appears to be short circuiting from his stint over in Iraq. I really needed to find out exactly what is going on with his health. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is what they diagnosed him with, but come on, that butt naked dance in my mother’s living room is more than a PTSD behavior.
Now, I have a great deal of respect for doctors because I know that they truly worked hard for that title, but give me a fucking break. A tall, dark, handsome, mentally stable young man leaves home to fight overseas, he comes back the first time and he seems okay; the second time he comes back there are a few of his marbles missing. Todd Berry’s personality is different – I mean, there are moments when I do see the old Todd that we all know and love, but then he gets this weird expression on his face that lets you know he has shifted into post war Todd and it is eerie. If you are staring at him when the switch flips his entire character changes and there is a blankness that replaces his charming spark. It’s hard to describe, but you get where I’m coming from I’m sure.
After his aunt passed away, Todd seemed to drift over to blank-man a little more often than he did prior to her death. I believe that her passing added to his mental instability and it hurt my heart to see him like that. I was surprised to see him earlier because, in all honesty, he seems so out of touch with everything going on, but he and Collin showed up and joined D’Andre and I in the center of the street just as Peewee Jones was passing away in my arms. For as long as I could remember it had always been that way between the four of us – we always managed to be there for one another during times like those. That’s why I loved all three of them as much as I did, and I wished we could go back in time – when we were teenagers without a care in the world.
But that’s not how life goes.
When my mobile phone started scooting across the top of my night stand it caused me to jump a little. I was so preoccupied in thought lying back on the bed that I was mentally someplace else, so the sudden noise startled me. For a split second I thought it was Peewee Jones calling or sending me one of his cryptic messages, but then it dawned on me that it couldn’t be him, he’s dead. I leaned over without sitting up, grabbed the buzzing phone and looked at the display and saw a familiar number that I had not seen in awhile. I recalled the first time I ever saw that number flash across my phone’s screen, how the butterflies filled the corridors of my heart and warmed me.
He now worked as English teacher at the school that Rafael attended, and that day that I saw him standing there shoulder to shoulder with Euware Agbowo, the guy that I briefly dated after he and I broke up, I could’ve have melted right on the spot. It puzzled me now and I couldn’t imagine, for the life of me, why he would be calling me. My curiosity got the best of me and I answered before the call was sent to voice mail. When I said hello and he responded back, his deep voice caused a tingling sensation to run up and down my spine. I guess that he still did have a certain affect on me.
“I miss you, Marco…” He said, tenderly.
What the hell did I just hear?
Was I going crazy?
Was I dreaming this?
I thought that he and Euware were…
Did I imagine the two of them being…
But he was dancing around butt naked at that…
“Hello, are you there Marco?” He asked, snapping me out of my reflective stutter.
“Yeah… yeah… I’m here, Joseph…” were the only words I could manage to spit out.
I closed my eyes and remembered the first time he rested his head onto my shoulder. It was as we were ridding through the tunnel after our evening coaster ride in Santa Cruz. His cousin, Darren, a guy that I worked with had invited us (Collin, D’Andre, and I) up there for the weekend, but I had met him during an earlier visit. Back then his sandy colored-locks were longer, and he had on this see-through, aqua blue, sleeveless, net shirt that exposed his Ripped & Ready torso. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen before in my life, and when Darren told me that he thought I was cute, I didn’t believe him.
Just as quickly as I flashed back to that first moment when we met, was as fast as I shifted back to a later time in our lives, when we lived together in a two bedroom apartment at “The Woods” complex in San Jose. Images of he and the late Lance Livingston standing there, wearing tiny-swimming trunks, dripping wet, giggling in unison shot through my mind and then when I caught up to the sobering one that reminded me of why I broke it off with him, I came to my senses. I had “played that muthafucka to the end” and when I did I remembered looking at the TV screen speechless, watching him and D’Andre shaking their butt naked asses in front of a camera that Peewee was using to record the sorted activities taking place at the Brothaman Club.
Then there was the shocking revelation about his son…
I wanted to slew a string of curse words at him until his ear drums burst…
Hurt raced through my core like snake venom ravaging my bloodstream.
In an instant I was bitter.
“Joseph Wade, long time no talk to,” I said, in an even unexcited tone.
“Marco, before you shoot me down, please hear me out,” He said, obviously choosing his words carefully.
I scoffed in disgust.
He ignored it.
“Marco Thompson, contrary to what you might believe, I have never stopped loving you,” he said, warmly.
His confession had me tripping over my thoughts.
Instead of meeting his confession with a response, I stayed silent, shocked by what I was hearing. I loved him too, but I had my father’s stubbornness in me and it would not let me move past the memory that played over and over in my head. He and Darrius, Peewee’s brother, were all hugged up and rubbing up against one another in that video. I couldn’t not erase the fact that the man I loved was at some nasty ass freak session with a bunch of hoodlums doing any and everything. I couldn’t get passed that visual.
The anger was building up inside of me like bubbling magma in a volcano.
I was about ready to erupt.
How could anyone say that they loved someone doing some underhanded shit like that?
You would think that my silence would have let him know that I wasn’t feeling the conversation whatsoever, but do you think he picked up on it?
Hell to the fuck no.
“I know that I hurt you, and I wish I could take back everything, but I made a mistake. When Lance invited me to that party I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and then once I was there, and after about three or four drinks, I got a little loose, but I swear to you, Marco, I never did anything with anybody at that party,” He said, with an inflection of a tear in his voice.
No he did not…
Did he just say that…
I could not believe what I was hearing…
I wanted to reach through that phone and slap his lying lips off…
I couldn’t believe how I angry I had gotten, and I wasn’t prepared for the conversation between him and I to go in the direction it was going. What in the fuck did he want from me? Did he expect me to lower my guards and allow him back into my life? I know “got-dayum” well he did not think that this sorry ass attempt to rekindle our dissolved relationship could resurrect the love that I had for him. This apology was hitting me like a bad afterthought. Besides, where was Euware at? Had he dumped him already and now he was looking for another place to stick his dick?
“Joseph, it has been a rough day today for me, and I cannot even conceptualize what I’m hearing, so I really need to hang up now and digest what you’re saying,” I told him, bothered but interested at the same time.
I wasn’t going to lie to myself.
I missed him too.
“Okay, Marco, but please promise me that we’ll talk, okay,” He asked, with relief in his voice.
I’m sure he thought that he was making some headway with me, but what he didn’t know is that I was just buying myself some time until I figured out how I wanted to proceed. If he believed for one second that he could slap a band-aide over my wounded heart and make it miraculously heal, then he evidently needed a stone cold reality check. It took everything within me not to open up a barrel of whip ass on this pathetic begger, but I hadn’t quite decided if I wanted to put that last nail into the rim of the coffin yet. I thought that our relationship was dead and buried, but he had disturbed some emotions inside of me that had me questioning if it were truly dead.
Instead of exploding like I wanted to, I held back and said…
“I don’t know about all of that, Joseph.”
And I didn’t. I really didn’t.
“Well, at least you didn’t say no, Markoos,” he said, imitating the way little Joe Joe says my name.
No he didn’t.
“Joseph, I need to go,” I said, abruptly.
“I understand,” he said, weakly.
Damn it, why in the hell do they always crawl out of the woodwork?
You think I would be done with this shit by now.
Marco Thompson, this is your life…
Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 November