AFRICAN AMERICAN ROMANCE: A Thug to Remember (Hood Alpha Male Pregnancy Romance) (African American Urban Contemporary Short Stories)


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A Thug to Remember

 

African American Romance

 

 

By: Lady Keisha

 

A Thug to Remember

I

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.  It’s a fairy tale of sorts but it’s what you might call a politically incorrect fairy tale.  And it goes like this…  Once upon a time, there was a fine classy woman named Thelma Grayson.  She was the classic overachiever.  This woman was raised by a senator for a father and a piano teacher for a mother.  From the moment she came into this world, she was destined to be a star.

Not just a movie star, even though the camera loved her.  More like a leader, God forbid, even a politician.  Thelma had class, you see.  She was the type of woman who spoke to every person she ever met eye to eye.  There were no secrets and no excuses for not doing her very best.  She graduated from college with a master’s degree in business administration and with top honors.  Wherever she was going she was destined for greatness.

And then lo and behold, one day she just happened to meet the wrong man.  That’s how it always starts, isn’t it?

It was a Monday when Thelma got the call from Stella.  Now Stella was, simply put, every underachiever you’ve ever met.  Last place in life and last place in college, barely earning an associate’s degree and instead shacking up with some fool who wanted an instant family.  Some women can smell money like a wolf smells a sheep.  So naturally when Stella proposed to Thelma an offer she couldn’t refuse, Thelma refused it.

“I just don’t see any benefit to going to an old school reunion,” Thelma said cautiously talking to Stella at brunch.  “I never really made friends in high school.” 

They were both beautiful black women in their late twenties but Stella had the legs and boobs—or at least she gave evidence of such.  Thelma dressed conservatively and not because it was moral or what she ought to do—but because she felt she deserved something special.  And, once the man that measured up to her exquisite tastes was chosen, he would receive something very special.  She also had those dark eyes and that long and TV-friendly smile that screamed anchorwoman, or maybe even future president of the United States.

“Come on, Thelma.  You are destined to be great, girl.  But don’t get all sassy when it comes to remembering the little people.  They’re the people who made you who you are, you know.”

“It’s not that.  Of course I have love for my people,” Thelma said with a squint.  But these silly reunions always seem to be the same thing.  Hooking up with old flames, or showing off to your old girlfriend.  It’s about revisiting those silly days of immaturity.”

“Oh Thelma,” laughed Stella.  “You don’t have to be on guard every second of the day.  When do you ever find the time to relax and have fun anyway?”

“Well…” she said in hesitance.  “I watch television sometimes.  Daytime TV.”

“No, no, I mean when do you have fun?  When do you go out and socialize with people that aren’t important to your career?”

“I…I don’t see the need to.”

“That right there is your problem.  Come on, sister.  We got to get you out and about.  To see how fun life can be before you decide to become a Supreme Court judge or a ‘serious issues’ talk show host.”

Thelma laughed.  “Okay, if you insist.  But please don’t leave me alone with any of the weirdos.  You know I get all tongue tied when I meet someone of questionable intelligence.”

“I know.  You’re just practicing for your new role as head of the NAACP.”

Thelma laughed.  “Who else is going to be there?”

“We all figured we’d go as a group.  Because remember, when I was there I had my own clique.  Brandye and Shakiska.  Gina and Shaniqua.  Well Shaniqua and Brandye are going for sure.  So we best ride with them because they’re a bunch of loud mouths that are going to keep the rude people away from us.”

“Our security team?” laughed Thelma.  “Oh but what do I do if someone…you know…”

“What?”

“Comes onto me?”

Stella giggled.  “Then you say, Uh uh.  What gives you the right, playa?  To hit on Thelma Grayson, future president and CEO.  Come on.  Nobody’s that nice.  What did you do in high school?”

“I kept myself occupied.  I was a good girl.  And as for now, well I do much appreciate the block button on Facebook.  It saves from having those awkward conversations.  But in person…”

“Yeah it’s a problem in person,” Stella laughed.  There is no block button in real life.”

“I don’t know…I don’t get along well in groups.  I don’t do that well at parties.  Maybe I should skip this one…”

“No ma’am.  You owe me this, Thelma.  If you’re destined to become a powerful executive or congresswoman or whatever, you need to at least have one last rendezvous with your childhood friend.”

“I don’t know…”

“Come on!  Don’t make me drag you to the school, kicking and screaming.”

“Sort of like my entire first year of kindergarten,” replied Thelma.

“Think of it as a learning experience.  You’re going to have to meet all sorts of crazy fools where you’ll be going.  How are you going to deal with them?  Block button, Thelma.”

“All right,” she sighed in surrender.  “But if any shenanigans start, I’m holding you responsible.”

 

II

Shenanigans were few and far between, at least for the first hour of this most prestigious night.  The ten-year reunion, held at both the Lincoln Heights High School as well as the nearby Curtis Recreation Center, was as classy as Thelma would have it.  Mostly everybody who showed up wore suits and was very eager to discuss their advancement in society.  Thelma wasn’t even the most conservative personality there, considering that some old classmates she remembered went onto marry millionaires, while others became lawyers, and still others entrepreneurs who started their own company.

Truth be told, she almost felt outshined by some of her contemporaries.  She hadn’t “arrived” yet, even though she had promise.  If nothing else, it let the woman embrace her natural competitiveness.  Yes, Thelma liked to dream, and not one of those dreams seemed to involve settling down with a well to do young black man.  Sure, there were a few gawkers and suave types that gave her a formal introduction, but Thelma retained her strong social image and handled those conversations so well, so brilliantly, the men didn’t even realize they had been rejected.  Until, of course, they found themselves kicked out of line and heading to the other side of the room.

By the time hour two rolled around, Thelma started to relax, chatting up with her friends and sharing memories about old times.  It wasn’t until hour two and a half that destiny knocked on the door and changed Thelma’s life forever.  Chaos always has a way of destroying the unity, doesn’t it?

Anton Bridges walked through the door as if he were kicking his way into a saloon.  Surrounded by his posse of badass pirates, he nodded like he owned the place and was ready to fire the entire staff.  He wore baggy pants and a red hoodie, looking as if he just crawled out of the ghetto and was ready to go back in like a fish out of water.

Security was alarmed and guards came over to carefully watch his next move.

“Who’s that over there?”

“Oh my Lord,” Stella said, watching the scene in horror.  “They said he would never show his face…that’s Anton Bridges.”

“Did he go to this school?”

“He was a freshmen the year we graduated,” Stella whispered.  “But he was expelled.  Since then he’s been arrested as a political protester a half dozen times.  And you know what that means…”

“A protester?”

“A thug, Thelma.  It’s what white people call a black man who’s a no good fool, just to be polite.”

“And what does he protest?” she asked noticing Anton was already giving attitude to some of the security guards.

“I don’t know, the system, honkeys.  The fact that his stupid ass isn’t on TV hawking products.  He’s a gangster, plain and simple.”

Thelma made a sour face.  She was watching Anton like everybody else, hoping he wasn’t going to do anything crazy.  But, feeling all those eyes on him, white eyes and Uncle Tom eyes, only gave Anton more incentive to cause a scene.

“My fellow Americans,” he said with a smile as he invaded everyone’s personal space.  “I have never seen so many pretty people before.  So many beautiful white people.  So many beautiful niggas pretending to be white.  It feels good, doesn’t it, to fit in?”

The crowd murmured and security began tussling with his surrounding gang.

“No, no, no,” he said, looking at the commotion.  “We’re not here to fight.  I just came to deliver ya’ll a message.  I came from this school.  It’s my reunion too.  But I see that I was purposely left off the invitation list.  So what’s up with that?  Are you ashamed of me?”

The crowd stood deadly silent. 

“Get out of here,” a security guard said.  “Or we’ll call the police.”

“Oh, you calling the police?  Why?   Because you don’t like the way I dress?  Because I’m not like the beautiful people.  You couldn’t be referring to my criminal record.  Because I’ll bet a half dozen of you niggas been busted for pot, for DUI or maybe even taking a bribe.  But that’s not the kind of shit you hear on the news, now is it?”

“You’re making a scene and that’s why you’re being asked to leave.”

“Oh I see, dog.  I see how it is.  A black man’s expected to come in here and say nice things.  Speak eloquently.  With respect for all the great things white people have done.”

His face suddenly went cold.  “Well fuck that shit.  The truth is, nobody here cares about black lives.  All you rich motherfuckers are sellouts.  And you middle class black men that are helping to spread these lies?  Shame on you.”

“All right let’s go,” security said.

But Thelma was beside herself.  Never before had she been exposed to anyone from the hood.  The way he spoke, he seemed like an ignorant man.  The kind of man society left behind and never nurtured into an adult.  She had to say something.

“Excuse me?”

Anton eyed her in curiosity.

“What’s your name?”

“What’s my name?” Anton laughed, looking back at his posse and grinning.  “You don’t know who I am?”

“No, I don’t, young man,” she said boldly, standing up and walking up to his face.  “I don’t pay attention to any gossip.  I only know what a man shows me.  Now if you were a member of this school, why didn’t you come in and take a seat?  We could have discussed this like civilized people.  Instead you have to cause a scene.”

The posse looked angry as hell and the security guards were ready to jump to make a save.  But all Anton did was laugh generously. 

“My name is Anton Bridges.  I’m a felon.  I’m a bad seed.  Born under a bad sign, you feel me?”

“And whose fault is that?”

“Lady you don’t what you’re talking about.  What college did you go to?”

“Berkeley.”

Anton chuckled.  “Your daddy pays your tuition, you fuck one white boyfriend and then you make it into politics with your C+ grades.  And you think you know shit about life in the hood.”

“You call me by my name, Anton,” she said firmly.  The crowd hushed and the onlookers were mumbling nonsense.  All that was missing was the popcorn for this black on black battle.

“My name is Thelma Grayson.  I am an alumni here and we are having a civilized party.  I have a master’s degree in business and my aim is to provide consistent employment to our neglected poor black communities.  What the hell are you doing for our people, Anton?  Besides interrupting parties like you’re Kanye West.”

Anton laughed again, though this time he wiped the smile from his face quickly.  He looked her in the eyes and nodded.

“Miss Thelma Grayson.  It is my pleasure to meet a woman of class.”

He paused and blinked.  “But with all due respect, you still don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

“Okay, let’s go!” the security team insisted, trying to push and pull Anton’s posse and disperse the crowd.

“We’re going,” Anton said loudly.  “No need to make this into another Ferguson. 
Whitey
.”

Anton motioned to his bodyguards that they were going to live.  “The truth is people,” he said to the room,  “some of the best memories of my life happened in this school.  Though you can try to cut my name from the records, I know what I’ve lived.”

He looked around at a few of the more irate white folks who were already looked like they were in mid-stroke.  “And just because I chose to stay in the ghetto and help my people from the inside, doesn’t make you people any better than me.  You chose the comfortable life.  I stayed and I suffered.  So take those fancy mocha lattes and shove them up your asses.”

“All right, last warning.”

“Come on,” he ordered, as he and the boys walked out of the school in bruised pride. 

“I cannot believe that,” Stella said, patting her heart.  “Some niggas just got to do crazy shit like they got to breathe.  I’m sorry you had to see that.  It figures the only time you come out for a night on the town and you run into Anton Bridges of all people.”

“Do you know who he is?”

“Know who he is?  Thelma, do you realize what you just did?” Stella said, shaking her head in disbelief.

“What?”

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