Inbred: A Family LegacybyBlackSnake©
Emma Johnston or Ms Emma, as the young people in the neighborhood called her, stretched her neck to hear what Gloria and Janice were talking about in the driveway next door. Emma had already saturated the ground with water from the hose, but she was dying to hear some fresh gossip.
"Wait a minute," Gloria said interrupting Janice. "Ms Noisy-butt is trying to break her neck to hear what going on over here."
Janice looked beyond the hedge bushes and waved at the older woman. "Hi yah doin' today Ms Emma?" she asked.
"Just fine," Emma called back from the edge of her front yard. "How's that boy of yours? I saw him last night over by the shopping center near that liquor store with some other young boys. He's going to be such a fine young man. I'm praying Rodney get out of jail soon. A young woman like you shouldn't have to raise a boy all by yourself. A young man needs his father."
"Thank you Ms Emma," Gloria interjected before Janice could respond. "Noisy bitch," Gloria said low enough that Emma couldn't hear her. She knew that Ms Emma was prone to make up a good story if she couldn't find one, and the last thing she needed at the moment was more rumors floating around about her. "Have a good day Ms Emma," Gloria said ushering Janice into her house.
"Hmm! Hmm! Hmm!" Mr Herbert exclaimed as he stopped on the sidewalk in front of Gloria's house to watch the two women enter. He licked his chapped lips and shook his head as the ladies butt-cheeks rose and fell under their knit shorts.
"Get on way from here! You old goat!" Ms Emma shouted at the friendly old drunk and sprayed water at him.
"Why don't you mind your own business, you old bitty!" Mr Herbert said stumbling against the trash cans to avoid the water from Ms Emma's water hose. He made it to the sidewalk on the other side of the street and gave a jester with his middle finger at Ms Emma.
Gloria and Janice laughed at the two old people from the living room window, but were careful not to let Ms Emma notice that they were snooping.
"Hard to believe that they are married," Janice laughed.
"A man has to be drunk to be married to that old witch," Gloria added leading the way to the kitchen.
"I sent Ronald to the store to get me something to drink," Janice said.
"Honey, don't pay any attention to that old bitch," Gloria said.
"After Rodney's sister called, then his mother called to give me a piece of her mind," Janice said. "That crazy old bitch called at the wrong time, and I gave her both barrels."
Gloria retrieved a bottle of rum from the cupboard and poured them both a drink of the liquor over a couple of cubs of ice.
"This is exactly what I needed after letting that bitch have it," Janice said. "Here I am spending every dime I can get my hands on to try and keep her dumass son from spending the rest of his life in jail, and she has the nerve to tell me what I should have done!" She knocked back half the contents of the glass before sitting it back down on the kitchen table.
Gloria knew that Janice needed to get a lot off her chest and was that type of friend. She refilled Janice's glass and waited as Janice gathered her thoughts.
"I should have let his sorry ass family pay the attorney fees, then they might have some room to talk," Janice continued. "And that stupid motherfucker stood in front of the judge with an attitude. He deserves to be in jail. I don't know what I saw in his sorry ass in the first place."
"Janice, c'mon," Gloria said raising one eyebrow. "You know what you saw in him."
"Well, I'll tell you this," Janice said. "A lot of good its doing me with him on lock down. Besides, he's not the only one who can take care of this."
"Shut your mouth girl!" Gloria laughed.
"Aint no need of me celibate and shit just because his dumass got put on lock down," Janice said finishing her drink. "Hell, I've been getting it pretty good on the side while he's been out, calling himself pimpin'."
Gloria laughed eager to know who the guy was that she has been keeping secret. "My girl," she said. "You aint told me who he is yet. I thought we were best friends."
Janice laughed. "Girl, you'd think I'm completely out of my mind," she said wiggling her glass.
Denise, Gloria's daughter and her daughter's two friends, Kelly and Amber, Janice's daughter burst through the front door in boisterous thunder, laughing and talking loud with their shopping bags.
Gloria and Janice stood interrupted as the young women entered.
"Mom?" Denise began. "You'll never guess what your son have gone and done, now. He done picked up him a white girl and brought her home."
"What?" Gloria exclaimed moving barefoot across the floor to the front window. She looked to her neighbor's house next door and saw Ms Emma's curtains moving. She snatched opened the front door, and spoke with all the politeness that she could muster. "Darren, honey, why don't you and your friend come inside," she said knowing that Ms Emma might already have the rumor mill rolling.
"Mom," Darren began giving his mother a kiss on the cheek "this is Elizabeth. I met her in the mall."
"Com'on," Gloria said hurrying her son and the young white girl inside. "It's nice to meet you Elizabeth. Would you like something to drink?" She shook the ice in the half empty liquor glass.
"Mom?" Darren said with disapproval.
Elizabeth put her hand on Darren's arm and stepped in front of him. "I would love one," she said to Gloria.
Gloria raised her eyebrows and smiled at Darren, who shook his head at his mother's obvious ploy.
"That's a cute skirt," Janice said about the odd multi-earth toned flower patterned gypsy-styled long skirt that Elizabeth wore right at her pelvic bone.
"Thank you," Elizabeth replied honestly. "I bought it last year for earth day."
"What's that, a day where a bunch of white folks run around in the woods naked?" Kelly joked to Denise and Amber's amusement.
Darren was clearly not amused.
"Something like that," Elizabeth said, "but there are a lot of people from different nationalities and from all over the world that come together and celebrate the gift of life given by god."
The giggling stopped.
Elizabeth noticed a print hanging on the wall in a wooden carved frame. "This is nice," she said walking towards the picture on the wall.
"Yeah, that's what white people like to see," Kelly said "black men on a chain gang."
"I guess you're right about that," Elizabeth replied turning to look back over her shoulder at Kelly. "The name of this painting is Chain Gang, it was painted by a black man named William H. Johnson, and white folk among others liked it so much that the original is hanging in the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. William Johnson came from Florence South Carolina to Harlem New York in the early 1900's and studied at the Academy of Design, and then settled in Paris where he produced most of his works including his Self-Portrait in 1929."
"Whoa!" Amber laughed with the others. "You better step off that white girl. Her butt is bigger than yours too."
Kelly rolled her eyes.
"Where did you learn so much about African-American art?" Gloria asked.
"My stepfather brought home a print of William Johnson's Mahlinda and my mother realized that he had a real thing for black women," Elizabeth said. "He tried to explain to my mother the value of the art, but all my mother saw was a picture of a black woman lying on a sofa."
"I bet she did," Gloria laughed.
"Yeah, well my step-dad has a love for black women that my mother never understood," Elizabeth continued. "He taught me a few things about African-American art that I might never have known, like the other two you have there." Elizabeth pointed at two other prints in frames on the wall. "The Mount Calvary and Lamentation are expressions that show that god is not just for white people. Johnson's folk-style of paintings influenced many other artists both black and white."
When Elizabeth finished everyone in the room turned towards Kelly at once, awaiting her response. After a few seconds of silence, everyone laughed. Kelly rolled her eyes.
"So, what other African American artists do you know about?" Darren asked liking Elizabeth's display of knowledge.
"There is Robert S. Duncanson," Elizabeth said. "Some of his work is displayed in the Cleveland Museum of Art. He did a really nice landscape called The Calm that I have in my bedroom. It has the sun coming through the clouds over a lake next to a valley. It cheers me up when I'm depressed."
"See, white folks have all this time to go to museums and shit, while us black folks have to struggle just to get by," Kelly said.
"Shut up, Kelly," Denise said.
"Kelly, I don't know if you are just looking for a fight, but you should be ashamed of yourself," Elizabeth said.
Again, the room got quiet.
"Black people, including those I've had the privilege to meet have suffered, so that you can have the opportunity to do and to be what ever you want to," Elizabeth said. "I don't know if it's just me or all white people that you hate, but you don't show any appreciation for those brave black men and women that came before any of us were thought of. I, for one, would never stand in your way of achieving whatever you want. Peace?" Elizabeth went over to Kelly and extended her hand.
Everyone stood to see Kelly's reaction. The air stood still and silence as the young white woman and the young black woman faced off. Kelly's breathing was hard and her lips were curled. Elizabeth stood her ground without any sign of fear.
Denise put her hand in the small of Kelly's back and pushed her foreword. Elizabeth quickly took Kelly's hand and then pulled her into a tight hug.
"I think she's too much for you Darren," Amber laughed.
"I hope that she is," he said going over to stand toe to toe with Elizabeth. "When I spotted her, it was her long straight hair, dimples at the small of her back, and the way her butt and hips stuck out so perfectly. But when she turned around and looked me directly in the eyes with that perfect smile, I felt my heart melt. I know this is too much information way too soon, but I wouldn't forgive myself if I let you pass me by without giving it my best shot."
Elizabeth felt herself rocking back and forth as he drew nearer. Her eyes switched from his eyes to his full brown lips. Her heart beat quickened and her breathing stammered. She inhaled and closed her eyes as his lips touched hers gently.
Darren raised his hands to the small of her back and pulled her tight against his young firm body. Elizabeth raised her arms over his shoulders and dropped her hands on his head as she parted her lips to take his tongue in her mouth. Darren's hands slid lower and massaged her flesh into the movement of his body. Elizabeth pressed tighter against him, offering the feeling of her curves. Their bodies moved in united passion.
Gloria felt the heat rise from her loins as she watched her son locked in the passionate embrace. "Okay, okay," she said pulling them apart, "enough of that."
"Woohoo!" Amber exclaimed.
"You go girl!" Denise said.
Elizabeth giggled slightly embarrassed as she wiped her lipstick from Darren's lips. "I didn't expect that," she said.
"I didn't expect to meet you," Darren said holding her close. "I want to keep you in my arms forever."
"Love at first sight," Janice said. "How cute..."
Gloria thought how many girls Darren had dated in the past few years. In all that time, she had never seen him express his feelings so openly and freely. She visualized what the rest of her family and friends might think about her son marrying a white girl. Undoubtedly, her sisters would talk behind her back, and the men would marvel at Elizabeth's good looks. She knew that she would stand behind her son no matter what choices he made. Darren was her first born, and had always done her proud.
"Oh shit...get up!" Denise exclaimed pushing Julius Austin off her as she heard keys unlocking the front door.
Julius struggled to get his pants up from around his ankles.
Gloria dropped the two bags of groceries on the floor seeing her daughter trying to close her blouse and her neighbor's husband pulling up his pants.
Julius didn't say a word as he rushed out of the small ranch house. Denise stopped trying to fix her clothes and stood in still silence as her mother closed front door and picked up the groceries.
"I know what you're going to say, mom," Denise started, "but..."
"You have no idea what I'm going to say!" Gloria shouted slamming the groceries on the table. "Where in the hell do you want me to start? How about with the fact that he's about my age, or his two little kids, his pregnant wife? Just tell me where Denise!" She got a glass from the cupboard and made herself a drink.
Denise leaned back shocked at the tone her mother took.
"Just what in the hell are you thinking? I know you don't think that he's going to leave his wife for you," Gloria said tasting her drink and tilting her hip where she rested her hand. "He's just going to treat you like the whore you're acting like."
"Whore!" Denise shouted back. "You are calling me a whore?" She laughed loudly. "I can't believe you even have the never to call me a whore...how many people in this neighborhood have you slept with?"
"Who I sleep with is none of your goddamned business," Gloria snapped back.
"But it's okay for you to call me a whore," Denise answered. "Is that right mom? How many married men have you slept with? Oh, and didn't you sleep with Julius?" She smirked. "Are you jealous that he wants me now?"
"Me, jealous of my own daughter?" Gloria laughed. "I'm the one who takes care of your ass. Look at you. Everything you have on, I bought."
Denise looked down at the barely closed blouse. She unbuttoned the two buttons that she had fastened, pulled it from her shoulders and tossed it at her mother as tears rolled down her cheeks. "Take it! I don't need anything from you!" Denise hissed curling her lips, removing her skirt, and tossing it too at her mother. She picked up the keys to her car and headed out the front door in only a purple thong.
"Denise! Get back in here!" Gloria shouted from the front door as her daughter started the car. "Denise!"
Denise pulled her little red Honda out of the driveway and sped down the quiet street.
"Is everything alright, dear?" Ms Emma asked from her front yard.
"God! Do you ever mind your own damn business?" Gloria hissed as she went back in her home.
Denise laid her head against the steering wheel at a stop sign a couple of blocks from her home.
"Hey, are you okay?" a young man said coming up to the passenger side window.
Denise turned her head seeing the young man through her teary eyes.
"Here put this own before you get arrested," the young man said taking off his shirt and tossing it into the car.
"Thanks," Denise said putting the car in park at the stop sign as she pulled the shirt over her head.
"My house is right across the street there," the young man said pointing. "You can pull in the driveway and no one will mess with you there, if you like."
Denise hated taking advantage of nice guys, but they always seemed to be around when she needed something. She nodded her head at him and pulled her car from the intersection into the narrow driveway. She parked the car and tried to get herself together. The young man went inside the house and returned a few minutes later with a pair of basketball shorts.
"Here, these are clean," he said and went back in the house without another word.
Denise was surprised that the young man hadn't tried to sneak a peek at her. Even nice guys took the opportunities that were handed to them, but this guy was calm and seemed genuinely nice. He wasn't stylishly dressed, but his designer sneakers were not dated. He wore a pair of dress pants, and the golf shirt that he gave her matched his pants. Denise figured that maybe he had come home from work and changed his shoes.
Denise sat in the car for twenty minutes before she got herself together and went to the front door of the young man's home. She felt that he posed no danger to her, but didn't want to take advantage of his kindness. "I'm sorry to bother you like this," she said once she got him to come to the door, "but could I use your phone?"
"Sure," the young man said with a polite smile, and then stood aside to allow Denise to enter his home.
Denise blinked as she took in the fine furnishings of the young man's home. Black, black, and blacker from the leather sofa, lacquered tables and picture frames, to marble statues. It was clearly a bachelor's pad. Prints of famous nude black women hung behind glass. Marbles status of black women posed in compromising positions stood on black stone columns. Even the glass in the center of the coffee table was shaped in the form of a nude woman. Denise looked back at the young man and he directed her to the telephone, and then left her alone while he went to the kitchen.
The aroma of garlic seasoned fried chicken quickly filled the air as Denise tried to remember her brother's cellular phone number. She had the number stored in her on cell phone, but she left it in her haste to get away from her mother. Collard green and corn on the cob added to the succulent smell in the small house.
The young man lifted the lids from the pots and fanned the scents in the air to spread it around.
Denise put her hand over her stomach as it began to grumble. She finally gave up trying to remember her brother's number aided by her curiosity to find out what was cooking in the kitchen. "Thank you for letting me use your phone," she said leaning in the doorway to the kitchen. She could tell that he was making more than enough food for a couple of people. "I'll return your clothes back to you."
"Would you like to have dinner with me?" he said. "I think I've made too much, and I hate throwing out good food."
"Well, we couldn't have that, could we?" Denise managed a smile. She began to feel under dressed. "You must think that I some kind of tramp, riding around without any clothes on?"
"Not at all," the young man said. "Shit happens to everybody." He reached out his hand to her. "My name is Don, by the way."
Denise giggled. "I'm sorry," she said. "Here I am in your house, wearing your clothes, and about to eat your food and I haven't even told you my name. It's Denise, Denise Watson." She noticed how soft his hands felt as he held hers gently. "My mother's house is just a couple of blocks away. We sort of got into it."
"You don't have to explain anything to me," Don said. "I don't wish bad things on anyone, but I'm glad you're here to help me eat some of this food."
Denise began to notice more subtle things about Don that she had missed at first glance. The single diamond earring was the size of a real diamond, his gold face watch was a U.S. mint coin, and all the dishes in the cupboard rack matched. He even showed style in the way he poured the wine in the wine glasses. Usually, when a guy offered her wine it was out of the bottle or in a paper cup. His body looked trim, strong, and solid. "So, what do you do to be able to afford all of this?" she asked.
"I'm a pimp," he said with a smile as he sat a plate of food on the table in front of her.
"Nancy, come away from that door and leave them alone," Richard said to his wife from the kitchen table.
"She is still our daughter," Nancy complained.
"She's a grown woman and is able to make her own decisions," Richard replied. "Dear, Elizabeth is smart enough to take care of herself. She has done nothing but made us proud."
"It's not her that I'm worried about, it's him," Nancy said. "And don't give me that look. It's not because he's black. Why has she been keeping him a secret? How long as she been seeing him? And why is his cell phone ringing so much? Why don't he just answer it?"