Finding Myself


Warning: Contains Adult Content

  Later in the fall of 1962, I made it into the world—a healthy baby boy. My father named me Michael Julian Valentine III. My father went to Vietnam in 1968, emotionally torn, and returned in 1971, physically in pieces. Father’s death destroyed our perfect family, and at the same time, it made the bond between my mother and me stronger. There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for my mother. 

  Tonight, we’re having a large dinner at our house. We're having roast, potatoes, and fresh greens. Pastor Kingsley must be coming over for dinner because roast is his favorite meal. Usually when roast is on the menu, pastor comes over for dinner. After we finish our dinner, I eat my dessert. I shower, put on my sleeping shorts, climb into my bed, and fall asleep staring at the clock.

  I wake up, realizing I’d fallen asleep on the job when Mother needs my help. After looking at the clock, I find it comforting to know that I’ve only been asleep for thirty minutes. I take the comforter off my body and place my feet in my slippers. I slowly open my door and walk through the hallway toward the living room as cunning as a burglar. I see mother left her gown on the couch. I notice the kitchen is clean and so were the plates from the dinning room table.

  I look out the window and notice pastor’s car is still in the driveway. I check the garage and find my mother’s car parked inside. I guess pastor must be counseling Mother. I walk toward my mother’s shut door and hear soft music playing. I’m worried because it’s the kind of music Mom and Dad listened to a lot. I slowly open Mom’s door until I can see through the small seam. Why is Mother on her knees? Why is the pastor not wearing any pants? My curiosity allows me to continue watching the scene in her bedroom.

  I look on as my mother tears off the pastor’s underwear like an animal in rage. I feel my stomach cringe as I watch her suck the pastor’s dick. The more the pastor moans, the harder mom sucks. They climb into bed together. He puts her legs over his shoulders, while his finger fucks her. He inserts his dick into my mom’s vagina as she faces the wall with her butt facing pastor. He grabs my mother’s hair while he bangs her doggy style hard and fast. She grabs the sheets and pleasurably screams out, “Oh god, this dick is good. Fuck me like you want it!” 

  He yells, “Oh god, Valona, I’m going to come!” For some reason, she gets back on her knees and puts his dick in her mouth. He holds the back of her head and screams out, “Oh yeah, get it all, bitch! Swallow all this nut. My god, you are a pro! This must be heaven sent!"

  I run back to my room in disbelief at what I just saw. Watching my mother and the pastor having sex is enough, but seeing her giving him head and swallowing his semen made me sick to my stomach. Up until this moment, I thought pastor was a God-fearing man, who respected being a Christian more than life itself. I thought he was helping my mother to cope with my father’s death. Tonight, I found out that he’s only around our house adding another notch to the belt.

  I stare out of my window, crying and promising myself not to tell Mom what I saw and to never look at pastor with the same respect again. I still have a strong belief in God, but I lost a lot of trust in the church, especially after seeing the married pastor having sex with my mother. I’m angry at Mother though I know she’s just feeling the aftermath of my father’s death. I feel so guilty knowing that Mother would’ve never been in the counseling that led to her getting fucked by pastor if I hadn’t told him about her drinking problem. She’s no longer a lonely alcoholic yearning for companionship. Now, she’s the pastor’s mistress and a victim of his manipulation.

  I fall asleep writing a long letter to his wife, explaining the situation between him and my mom. I wake up and notice the letter is gone and so is the Pastor’s car. I get myself dressed so I won’t miss the school bus. The hours of the school day pass with most of my thoughts focused on finding the letter. The end of the day comes before I know it. I walk out of the school and get on my bus and go home. Mom’s car isn’t in the driveway. This is unusual because she normally picks me up so I can help her at the store. I go to my bedroom to change clothes in a hurry knowing Mom will be beeping the horn for me to come outside any moment now.

  A knock on the door interrupts me from changing my clothes. I look through the peephole and see Pastor Kingsley’s face. I open the door, and act as if I never saw a thing last night. “Hi, it’s good to see you, sir.” With a curious stare, he mumbles, “You know it’s great to see you too. Is your mother at home?

  "No, sir. She’s at the store. Excuse me for just one moment, sir. I need to make sure I have my clothes on before Mom gets back to pick me up."

  I walk to my room slowly and close the door. Seeing Pastor Kingsley reminds me that I need to find the letter. I want to finish it so I can give it to his wife. I look for the letter in my room but have no success finding it. Pastor comes into my bedroom and shuts the door. He stands in my doorway holding the letter in his hand with a smug look on his face. “Son, could this be what you’re looking for?” 

  “Thanks. I’ve been looking for that all day."

  I reach for the letter, and pastor pulls it out of my grasp. “Not so fast, son! First, we need to get a couple things straight. I’m a good friend of your mother’s, and from time to time, I comfort her both physically and mentally. After reading your letter, it’s obvious you must have seen me giving her a little stress relief last night. I’m not asking you to understand, nor am I going to entertain your feelings of disappointment in me. I’ve been leading the church before you were even born. I’ve been married even longer."

  I’m hearing the false prophet speak, but I refuse to listen. Though I ignore him, he continues anyway, claiming, “When I was your age, I walked in on my mom fucking the milkman. I never felt so much betrayal in my life. I later understood that my mom was lonely and needed to have sex. That’s what I had to do for your mom.”

  “I told you my mother was drinking! You used that to get her into bed!” 

  “I never planned on you seeing me fucking your mom! That was supposed to be between me and her! We never planned on anyone else knowing! When I found the letter you wrote my wife, I must admit that at first I felt upset and betrayed. Then I realized, maybe I should explain the situation to you before I go off half-cocked.”

  I stare him and approach him as if I’m in my father’s body. In a deep voice, I utter, “Kingsley, I don’t owe you an explanation for the things I wrote. Every word in the letter is the truth as I saw it with my own eyes. You are nothing but a low life, twisting the word of God to get what you want. I believed in you and thought of you as a grandfather. I never saw you as my father or as a back-stabbing user. I promise I’ll personally make sure you pay for abusing your position to turn my mother into your personal freak.”

  He chuckles loudly as he finds my promise to be humorous. As I began to walk away, he takes a firm grasp of my shirt collar and then he jacks me up, pulling me close enough to his face to smell his breath and feel him spitting. “Get off me!” I screamed as I struggle, in the effort to get loose. 

  He tightens his grip as he whispers, “Look here, little man, I never forced my dick in your mother’s mouth, nor did I make her give me the pussy. At your request, I asked how she was doing. She told me she was lonely. I suggested she get out and date. She was drunk during one of our counseling sessions, and out of nowhere, she started sucking my dick. I didn’t force anything, I just accommodated her. Believe me, she was already doing her thing. You can’t teach old dog new tricks."

  "Fuck you, bitch! Don’t disrespect my mother!”

  “You need to learn to respect your elders and stay out of grown-up folks business. If you ever place that letter of yours in the mail, I swear to God, I’ll drop your body right beside your father’s. You don’t have to worry about me trying to take your father’s place. As pretty as your mother is, she’s nothing to me but a piece of ass.”

  Tears fill my eyes as I listen to this sucker disrespecting my mother, like she’s a tramp. I feel helpless, and as I struggle to get away, I shout, “Get your fucking hands off my neck, you son of a bitch!”

  He punches me in my jaw with his huge balled-up right fist. My jaw begins to swell almost instantly. I drop to the floor as the blood runs out my mouth and down my chin. I lie on the floor in a daze, feeling the blood running down my lips and seeing it saturate my shirt. I feel his knuckles pound my ribs along with the heels of his loafers beating the side of my head.

  All I can see is the bottom of his loafers crashing down on my face. My mother interrupts his assault on me with a frying pan to the back of his head. I can hear her hollering, “Take your hands off, my baby, you crazy ass fool! Where do you get off coming in here and acting like you’re somebody’s daddy? Michael Senior died for his country fighting against grown men. He was never abusive in this house. No jive-ass preacher is going to come in here laying hands on my child!”

  “Baby, let me explain.”

  “Nigga, just get the fuck out of my house! I guarantee you won’t get up from the next thing I hit you with.”

  "Okay. I hear you. Remember that when you yearn for this dick. Unlike you, I’ve got someone to go home to tonight!”

  "Get out my house, you damn devil!”

  He leaves the house with an arrogant grin on his swollen, bloody face. Mother begins sobbing as she looks at me on the floor beat up and gasping for air. She shakes my upper torso and compassionately shouts, “Michael! Are you okay! I can’t believe I let this motherfucker come in here and put his hands on my child.”

  “Don’t cry, Momma. Everything is going to be alright. Please don’t cry. I’m not going to let him hurt us anymore. I’m going to protect our house the way Daddy would have wanted me to”

  She hugs me and assures, “You don’t have to be sorry about anything, Michael. I owe you an apology. I’m the one who allowed him to manipulate me. I should’ve known he was only after sex. He never bought over his wife or suggested I speak to her. All our counseling sessions were one on one. What kind of pastor would suggest I gradually get off the alcohol? The first time we were intimate came after I finally stopped drinking. He celebrates with me by serving me several drinks of wine.”  

  “So he took advantage of you?”

  “I’m not going to blame it all on him. I put myself in that position. When you’re drunk, you allow yourself to do things you desire but are scared to do when sober. I’ll be honest. Deep inside, I was attracted to him. It was more of a mental attraction than a physical one.”

  “What do you mean mental”

  “I was into the way he treated me, and the way he seemed to care. He told me our bond was sent from God. Son, I’m just sorry I allowed this to come in between us.”  

  “I will never allow anything to come between us.”

  She cries out, “Sorry you had to go through this. He told me you saw us the other night. I feel so embarrassed and dirty. No one’s son should watch his mother having sex with anyone not to mention a married man and pastor of the church.”

  "No devil-filled preacher will ever change the way I feel about you. We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. I love you, Mom”

  Mother looks surprised as she hugs me tight. She continues to cry and rub her belly as I stroke her beautiful dark hair. As she lies in my arms, she confesses, “Michael, I closed the store early today in order to make a doctor’s appointment. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been tired lately and sick in the mornings. Today, I found out I’m pregnant. I was hoping I wasn't, especially since the father is a married man. How can I be so dumb? Damn it!”

  I remain silent and just continue to be a shoulder for my mother to cry on. The entire night’s events are unforgettable. I’ve never seen my mother cry this much since my father died. I console her for the rest of the night.

  The rest of the week passes by fast, and before I know it, it’s Saturday. I’m anxious to get to Pooch’s party. I can’t wait to see all the girls from school, at least the ones I like and want to get next to. My clothes are fresh and so are the shoes on my feet. Hopefully, I can get with Rina before the night is over.

  I arrive at the beautiful fenced-in suburban Maryland mansion. I approach Pooch and give him a five. “Happy birthday, Nigga!”

  “What’s up, Mike? I’m glad you got out to have some fun. You’ve been spending all that time at the store, you need some time to yourself. Your girl Rina’s been asking about you all day."

  “I’m not going to fake like I don’t like her. Between working and studying, I just hadn’t had time for girls or any type of social life. I’ve been trying to make sure I get into a good college for the last two years."

  “Man, are you a virgin?"



  “This is a nice ass crib."

  “This is my Uncle Donny’s house.”

  “I met him at the store. He told me he was friends with my father."

  “Don knows everybody.” 

  Rina approaches me with a hungering stare and seductively whispers, “Hey, Mike.”

  “What’s up, Rina? You’re looking good as always.” I responded trying not to smile.

  “You don’t look bad yourself. How’s bout me and you hit that dance floor?”

  “As soon as something slower comes on, I got you baby girl. I’ve been waiting to dance with you for a minute, and I want to take it slow.”

  She blushes and reveals her attraction to me through her beautiful hazel eyes. As Rina walks away, I see Donny surrounded by bodyguards. He approaches Pooch and hugs him. “Happy birthday, Nephew." Donny gives Pooch a handful of hundred dollar bills and embraces him. Donny notices me standing beside Pooch. “Michael, it’s good to see you again”  

  "It’s nice to see you again too, sir”

  “Don’t be such a tight-ass. Call me Donny. All my family calls me that. Your father did a lot for me. I considered your father family. Since you’re his son, you too are family. Besides, anyone that’s a good friend of my nephew’s is a good person to know.”

  “Thank you for the advice you gave me in the store. I definitely know what’s up now.”

  “Remember this as if it were a jewel handed to you from a king. Never acknowledge the person who gives you information—a simple thanks is enough. It is custom for a man in my business to only pass information along to close business constituents and family members. Your father was a good man. I’d do anything for the son of a man who lived his life, carrying so much respect for my family. If there’s anything you ever need, whether it’s a job or whatever, you come and see me personally.” 

  “Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Nice house.”

  “Thanks, young blood.” 

  I can't help remembering mother grasping my collar warning me to stay away from Donny. Explaining to me how Donny Hicks used our business as a means of transporting heroin and other narcotics all over the country. My father was under investigation for assisting Donny in trafficking drugs. He lost his life in Vietnam before going to trial. Mother found out about the investigation and other business dealings when she reopened the store after father’s funeral. Still I walk away from Donny, feeling good. He reminds me of my father, being the breadwinner for his family.

   Before the night is over, I have my dance with Rina, and I enjoy every second of it. I say my good-byes and head for home. I hope the cab gets me home fast because I’m way past my curfew. When I get home, I notice that Pastor Kingsley’s car is parked in the driveway. My heart races as I walk into the house. I yell, “Mom, Mom!”

  Pastor sees me as he walks out of my mother’s room. “Hey, little man. Oh, you can’t speak to pastor no more? That’s cool. It’s not like I’m going to lose any sleep. Look, why don’t you stop with all this cold-shouldering. You say you're the man of this house, well, let’s handle this like men. Men have to stick together. Why don’t we just let bygones be bygones? You asked me to help your mother and that’s what I did. Yeah, it might not be the way you thought it was going down, but put yourself in my position. I know what I did may not seem Christian like, but I am human.”

 I turn around and stare at this fool as if I am staring in the face of the man who took my father’s life. I walk over to him, ready to buck a fight. “Maybe you should’ve fought temptation. I guess it’s easier for you to preach it than practice it, you hypocrite.” 

  “Oh, I’m a hypocrite now! I thought we were cool, like grandfather and grandson.”

  "You trippin! Me and you ain’t shit! You hear me! Nothing! Fuck you and fuck your church! You’re my enemy!" 

  “You know what, boy? I’ve been putting up with your shit from day one being nice to your bastard ass! I’ve been fucking your mother for quite some time, and you just couldn’t take it! Now you’ve been trying your best to break our good thing up.”

  “Fuck you mean? I messed up your good thing?”

  "When you get older, you’ll understand how it feels to lose some good, tight, wet pussy. Believe me. It’s a lot worse than losing a dog” 

  “Man, I never had no dog. Save your analogies for church.” 

  “Little brother Valentine, I've been there for you and your mother since the day y’all found out your father bit the bullet. Now, I don’t know what kind of relationship you had with your old man, and as a matter of fact, I really don’t give a fuck. But I swear, if your bitch ass ever parts your lips to disrespect me or my church again, I’ll make sure I rearrange your mouth, making it a little harder for you to run it.”

  I look at the pastor with a devilish grin, hawk spit into his face, and walk into my bedroom, shaking my head from side to side. He burst through my bedroom door and hollers, “You nasty bastard!”

  I laugh as I look at the saliva running down his face. He gets even more pissed and screams, “Oh, so you think I’m a joke!”  Before I had a chance to speak, he grabs hold of my throat and bangs my head against the wall and yells, “Don’t you ever in your life spit at me! I’ll cut your fucking tongue out, you little punk! Try that shit again! Walk away from me again while I’m talking to you. I’ll put you in your place like your mother!”

  I struggle as my legs dangle in the air until he turns me loose. He walks toward my door with an audacious swagger. I quickly run out of the room to check on my mother. I open her bedroom door to see her badly battered face lying on the floor in a puddle of blood. Her body hangs from the bed, as she painfully moans and whimpers silently. As I look at her scared beautiful face, I hear the front door of my house slam shut. I shake her body and after getting no response I yell, “Momma, what did he do to you? Momma, what the hell is going on?”

  I ask my mom question after question, but she doesn’t seem to comprehend. I call 911. While the medics help my mother, the cops question me about the events that took place. No matter how many times I explain to them that my mom’s condition is the pastor’s doing, they don’t seem to believe me. Pastor Kingsley is like a saint around the neighborhood. Hell, they don’t believe he uses profanity. So just imagine trying to convince these pigs that he’s a womanizer who doesn’t know how to keep his hands to himself. Hell, he’s been fucking their wives for years.

  I ride in the ambulance accompanying my mother to the hospital. During the ride, all I can think about is getting revenge on pastor for putting his hands on my mother. It’s hard looking at mother lying on the stretcher helpless. It’s even harder, knowing that the person responsible is walking around untouched. As soon as we arrive at the hospital, they take my mother to intensive care.

  After sitting in the waiting room for around two hours, a doctor approaches me. “Your mother has suffered severe head trauma, therefore she’s having problems talking. To be honest with you, things don’t look good right now. Only time can tell when or if she’ll be able to ever talk again.”

  “What the hell do you mean ever talk again?”

  “The blows she received to her head caused some severe bleeding on the brain and a miscarriage.”  

  I’m not sure what the police are investigating. All I know is I’m not going to take this lying down. I leave and go to Donny’s house. When I arrive at the house, I’m greeted by a tall, muscular bodyguard who places his arms in front of me to prevent me from knocking on the large double oak doors. I address the bodyguard in a calm voice, stating, “Look, I’m not trying to start any trouble. I’m just trying to see Donny.”

  “You got no appointment! Nigga, you better split before I have to kick your ass”

  “Cat daddy, I’m going nowhere till I see Donny!” The guard grabs my wrist and begins twisting my arms. “Stop! Man, you going to break my shit!”

  “I tried to tell you to split! You want to buck, do you! Since you won’t go willingly, I guess I’ll have to force you!”

  Just as the bodyguard is preparing to body slam me, I hear Donny yell through the intercom system,“It’s OK, Vladee, let him through. That’s Black Mike’s boy.”

“Damn, you're lucky! I was just getting into it! Go ahead, little Nigga!” 

  Vladee escorts me to a room in the back of the house where I see Pastor Kingsley gagged and bound to a chair. He looks at me and tries to speak, in a muffled voice, begging, “Michael, please, help . . .” 

 Vladee sticks a grilling fork through pastor’s tongue, saturating the gag in blood. He tells pastor, “That should keep you quiet for a minute. You just don’t know when to keep your mouth shut.” 

  As Donny sits in a chair smoking a cigar, I approach him and announce, “Donny, I came over to talk to Pooch to see if he could do me a favor.”

  "I already knew what was up. The streets have been talking for quite sometime now. Your father was a good man who had high morals. This fake-ass preacher would’ve never got the opportunity to come in your home and disrespect your mother if your father was around. I only allowed Kingsley to exist out of respect for your mother and her household. Now he’s crossed the line. I don’t get involved with who’s fucking who. Soon as my pig connect told me he beat your mom, I had him picked up. I won’t allow him to lay hands on the wife of a good friend of mine and terrorize his son.”

  My confidence grows, listening to this powerful man going to bat for me and my mom. I listen as he continues, “Your father did me so many favors and was a part of the family. That makes you family. Family watches out for each other. I will allow you this opportunity, to decide what happens to this piece of shit and how it will be done. The family will do you this favor, and some day, I’m sure you’ll be able to do something for us.”

  I stare at pastor and shout, “Look at you, the big bad pastor! The same Nigga laying dick in my mom’s, and at the same time, keeping up an image like you was all righteous. You’ve been fucking us for the past seven years since my pops was gone. I thought you were worthless when I saw you fucking my mother. Now I know, you ain’t shit, smacking her around like you some pimp. I guess that’s what you call spreading the word. There’s no excuse for what you did to her. You made her have a miscarriage. My friend, this time you have crossed the line. I know you had to be a religious man at some time in your life. So I suggest you pray to God and ask him to forgive your pitiful ass.”

  He stares at me with the sad puppy dog eyes and remains quiet. Now, I’m the one talking, and the pastor is quiet and scared. Tears form in my eyes as I continue, “I remember you preached about being born into sin. You read a scripture that told us, the wages paid for sin is death. Hopefully, you’ll realize the wages for your sins in the final hell you’ve placed yourself in. You preached to the church about when God destroyed the evildoers, making sure every man, woman, and child who were evil was included. I could spare your life, but I have no mercy for you. I feel no sympathy for a lying, woman-beating and self-righteous preacher like you. Don’t get me wrong, this is not justice—this is revenge. You not only fucked me and my mother, worst of all, you fucked my father, a man who would’ve had your ass for even laying eyes on his family the wrong way.”

  Donny interrupts,“Alright, Mike. I think you’ve said enough. Why don’t you leave, and let me and the boys take out the trash?” 

  I leave the room, standing just outside the door, peeping through the crack. I watch them punch and beat him repeatedly with baseball bats. I enjoy it as if I’m doing it myself. I hear the men screaming at the pastor as they continually beat on him. I see blood splattering and hear the sounds of his bones cracking. Vladee grabs a lead piece of plumbing pipe and strikes him on the side of his head. He must have struck a vein because dark blood begins flowing heavily from his head. “Try and get yourself out of this, you hypocrite motherfucka, you!” Vladee shouted as he swings the pipe over and over again.

  I see Donny hand Vladee a black revolver. I rush into the room and take the revolver. Vladee tries to take the revolver back, but Donny stops him and commands, “No, let the kid go.”

  I aim the gun at pastor’s knees and fire a shot in each of them. He cries out as the blood flows heavily out his wounded knees. “Now let’s see how many mothers you fuck now” I shouted as the tears roll down my face.  

  I shoot him in his balls, and as his blood flows, I kick the chair to the floor and stand over him, yelling, “How the fuck can you kill your own child, fucking animal!”

  I turn the revolver to his head and shoot until the gun is empty. His blood is squirting out of his head as his body shakes. Looking at the pool of blood on the floor gives me an unbelievable rush. I’m not nervous or scared. The more he shakes, the more powerful I feel. He struggles to breathe, gurgling in his own blood. I didn’t know it was this easy to take a life until he stops breathing. It was just like chopping a tree down. I started from the bottom and worked my way to the top—firing two shots to his knees, two to the balls, and two hits to the dome without remorse, and it makes me feel like I belong in this room of bona fide gangsters.

  “Kid, kid, are you alright?” Vladee asked.

  I hand him the pistol,“I’m cool.”

  He looks over at Donny, “I thought this kid was supposed to be a churchgoing mother’s boy. He’s got big balls!”

  Donny insists, “Enough of this shit! Give the little man some space to breathe. For Christ sakes, he just killed one of his enemies single handedly. You know what? As a matter of fact, all of you leave the room and give me some time alone with young blood.”

  Donny looks down at the pastor’s lifeless body, and orders, “Vladee, be useful and get that trash off my floor. There’s some lime, shovels, and acid in the back of my shed. Make sure there isn’t a hair left over. When you’re finished, come back and take up the floor.”

  As soon as they take the body out and the room clears, Donny speaks directly to me.“I’m not going to bullshit you. You surprised me tonight. I never expected you to take such drastic measures. I knew you had the capability of becoming a real Nigga the first time I laid eyes on you. Your father was a real Nigga, so it’s in your blood. Look, I’m going to do something for you that I’ve never done for anyone else. I’m going to allow you to walk out of that door and never come back here again. Forget about tonight, and most important, forget you even knew me. I don’t offer you this because I don’t respect you. I offer you this as a favor to your father. I don’t want you to feel forced into living a life, looking over your shoulders.”

  I remain silent and just continue to listen to Donny.“Michael, I want you to take a good long look at that pool of blood on the floor. Ask yourself if you really want this type of life. Once you’re enslaved, you have no way out except for a cell or hell. You see that Maserati in the driveway, the dining room table, hell even this Armani suit—all these things can be replaced or taken back. The day I decide I don’t want them, they can all be returned to the store and purchased again if I change my mind. Once you relieve someone of their life, there’s no taking it back. There’s no being sorry for murder and no forgiveness. Almost anything is refundable, but life is not one of those things.”

  Taking a stand I assure, “I’m not going to leave. Show me the shovel, lime, and the spot, so I can bury this sack of shit. This is personal. It’s not his disrespect for me personally, but the disrespect he showed to my mother. It fuels my hate for him. Well, I guess I should say fueled the hate I had for him.”

  “Michael, there’s something I need for you to understand right here today. Never allow your personal feelings to influence your judgment or become a motivational driving force to murder. Emotions get people killed. A good businessman keeps personal shit separate from business. Just know the decisions you make now are the blueprints to your life.”

  I follow him out to the terrace, continuing to listen. He explains, “Most people refer to family as their blood relatives. I too have family that is my blood. When you hear me speak about the family, I’m talking about relatives bonded in business. Some of them are in my family tree but the majority is just part of my crew. I laid the foundation for my family a long time ago. Weed, boat, heroin, and loan sharking are all moneymakers. Cocaine is our cash crop. All of Hollywood loves sniffing white lines. Nothing is more profitable than snow. Back in the days when it was hard to get shit in the country, your father helped me import and export. His transportation helped me become one of the most powerful bosses in the country. During the drought seasons, I supplied somebody in every state on the East Coast and the majority of the Midwest.”

  Donny walks back inside and pours himself a glass of Hennessy. After taking a couple swallows, he adds, “I can’t supply everyone in America, but I’ll take the 58 percent I have. If I’m not running a block in the city, you best believe I got a Nigga leasing it. Just like big business, you have employees and associates that have to be terminated. When I give the order to terminate, I make sure nobody collects unemployment. There are Niggas in the family who take out the garbage, but I need a private contractor who can take care of things under the radar.”

  “With all due respects, I understand and accept all the responsibilities for everything I’ve seen and done here tonight. I accept all that this lifestyle has to offer. I’m more than ready to step up to the plate and be a man. Some things you ask for and others are your destiny.”

  “Oh, so you are a man now?” he asked sarcastically.

  I nod my head, “Yes, sir.”

  “Look, I’m going to tell you something. I’m only going to tell you once and only once. At times, being able to kill takes some thought, but eventually your thoughts will turn to instinct. Enjoy being young. Don’t be in a rush to gain wisdom. That doesn’t come overnight. Anyone can become a killer, but few of us ever truly become a man. Go home and check on your mom. As a matter of fact, I’m going to have my brother Rossco drive you home. Sleep, rest well, give it some time, and if you’re ready to make the next step, give me a call, and we will talk.”

  Since my father’s passing, my first priority has been taking care of my mother. How can I do that if I don’t have any type of business for myself? Maybe now, I will have a purpose and a way to make money all in the same stroke. I fight insomnia for several months, spending an entire year reliving the ordeal in my dreams. Dreams that are more like nightmares. I wake up in cold sweat, looking through the mirror and seeing myself standing over the pastor as he lies in a pool of blood.

  The tears flow out my eyes as the blood pours out of his ball sack and chest as hate fills my heart. The rage in my face is transparent, and the anger weighs my trigger finger as I fire until he’s dead. I’m not remorseful, I’m relieved. Donny takes me out of the room so we can talk. When we go back into the room, I see Vladee and some of the other hired muscle chopping up the pastor’s remains. The closer I get to his corpse, the colder I feel. I take one more look at his face, and then I begin to shake as I see what remains of my father.

  How can this be? I was sure it was Pastor Kingsley’s blood on my hands. “How could you kill your own father!” mother cried out before I can even have a chance to mourn.

  I stand around speechless as she grasps my shoulders from behind and shakes me up as she screams, “Why? Why? How could you take your own flesh and blood?” I look at my hands and can’t believe what I’ve done. As I turn to my mother to try and explain, she begins beating me like someone in the streets. She backs me in a corner and begins stabbing me over and over again

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