Monday, June 30, 2008
EXCERPT: Even Sinners Have Souls
Even Sinners Have Souls
by Noire, Chunichi, KaShamba Williams, B.L.U.N.T.
Each gritty tale is told in a raw and real voice, luring the readers in by the poignant storylines, themes, and the genuine talents of each of these prolific authors. The characters face the same struggles and tragedies that any other person growing up in the hood might endure, but what makes these stories phenomenal is that although these characters might be living a dangerous, immoral and unacceptable lifestyle according to society’s standards, they are not so far gone that they can’t acknowledge the power of a higher being and a life changing moment that could alter their lives forever.
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Trust No Man
"Whatever!" Tatiana put her hand all up in Tike's
face as she walked by him with her signature strut; legs
stretched strong, behind tooted out.
"Dang, loose booty," Tike replied, uncut by Tatiana's
razor sharp tongue. "I got a G stack on dat, Goldie.
Tike was just some young hood who, for someone his
age that banked lots of money, still lived at home with
mama. But one couldn't tell he had paper by his appearance,
though. He pretty much wore the same dingy
white tee with worn baggy jeans. Unlike some of the
other young hustlers on the block, Tike liked to stack
his loot. He claimed that while all the other young cats
were being stupid by spending all their money on brand
names that made Sean, Jay and Russell millionaires,
instead he would save up his money until he became
The rude group of guys that were hanging out on the
block with Tike paused their dice game long enough to
watch the word "Juicy", printed on the backside of
Tatiana's sweat pants, bounce up and down as she
passed by. With bow legs, light eyes, curly, shoulder
length hair and a coke bottle frame that barely hit five
feet, she had the attention of all the fellas in the hood.
They yelled one comment after another as she made her
way into the corner store.
With one hand on the store's door, and the other
hand on her hip, she paused, "It ain't nothing a dude
can do for me but break bread. If you ain't breaking no
bread, this convo is dead," Tatiana spat, as she rolled
her eyes and then stepped into the store.
Tatiana picked up a pack of backwoods, a bottle of
water and a lighter. She was fiendin' for a smoke so bad
that she could practically taste the weed on her tongue
as she headed to the register and placed her items on
"That will be five dollars and ninety-seven cents," the
clerk said after ringing up Tatiana's things.
Tatiana went into her purse and pulled out the
"I got that for you, Ma," a male voice said as he
grabbed her hand to prevent her from paying the clerk.
"Wow, thanks. A whole six bucks, and all for little ole
me," Tatiana said sarcastically, as she turned around
and faced the smiling, thugged out looking dude that
stood behind her.
He was a perfect six feet tall. He was rocking cornrows,
Tru Religion jeans and a fresh white tee; looking
like the average thug. All he needed was a blinged out
"Don't get it twisted, lil mama. I woulda done the
same for you if you were an old lady, lil kid, or junkie on
the street. Dat's just me, baby girl."
Tatiana eyeballed the Good Samaritan up and down
as she placed her money back in her purse. The way
this dude talked had really caught her attention. His
tone wasn't smart-alecky, but had enough spice to let
Tatiana know that his act of kindness towards her
didn't make her special.
"Oh, so it's like that? You all generous and things to
just any ol' body, huh?" She asked her first test question.
"I guess. If that's how you want to put it." The guy
grabbed the bag of items that the clerk had packaged up
and then handed them to Tatiana, who just stood there
looking at him. "You gonna say thanks?" he asked as
she accepted the bag.
"Dang! Give me a chance." She rolled her eyes and
then paused for a second before saying, "Thank you."
Tatiana emphasized the words while rolling her neck.
"Anything for you, sweetie." He winked, letting
Tatiana know that he wasn't all hardcore; that he had a
soft side buried somewhere within as well. "Can I do
more?" He proceeded to pay for the soda and bag of
chips that he was purchasing for himself while he waited
on her reply.
Little did he know, that was just what Tatiana
wanted to hear. Like she'd told many men before, there
was nothing a man could do for her but buy her things.
Other than that, no man was any use to her. So when
this gentleman offered to do more, the answer was not
just "yes," it was "Hayellll, yes," with a capitol H.
"It depends on what you are trying to do," Tatiana snapped
back, sure not to seem too eager.
"I'll let you call it, Lil Miss Attitude," the young man
calmly responded, acknowledging Tatiana's feistiness.
"And it's Goldie; Miss Goldie to you." Tatiana licked
her lips. "Miss Goldie can be reached at 328…" She gave
him her nickname and then read off her phone number.
He took out his cell phone and entered and saved it
into his electronic phonebook.
"Aight, Miss Goldie. I'll holla at you. And since you
asked," he said before telling the clerk to keep the
change, his words laced with a dose of his own sarcasm,
"the name is Jo," he winked and then headed out the
door. Jo nearly ran into Tike, who stood right outside
the exit, staring in.
Tatiana exited the store soon after. She hadn't even
gotten out of the store good before the comments from
the boys in the hood began again.
"Oh, a G stack wasn't good enough, huh?" Tike said
after witnessing Tatiana giving up the digits to Jo. "You
be playing games." Tatiana ignored him and kept on
walking. "Forget you. You'd probably rather bump monkeys
with your home girl, Kandi, anyway; homo trick,"
Tike yelled to Tatiana, knowing of one of her best
friends, Kandi's, bisexual orientation. "So what dude
offering? A spot on his trick block picking up where yo'
mommy left off?" Tike said, entertaining all the dudes on
the block like he was the hood comedian.
To Tatiana's ears, his audience's laughter was like the sound
of a microphone nearing a speaker getting too much feedback.
That comment Tike made set it off for Tatiana. She
stopped in her tracks and turned around. She looked up
at the dirty little boy that she stood toe to toe with and
said nothing. Her eyes alone said it all. Her mouth moistened
as all sorts of thoughts ran through her mind. Her
mouth filled with fluid as she prepared to empty her
wetness in Tike's face. She took a deep breath and
cleared her throat to bring up every ounce of sinus
phlegm she had in her body until her mouth was full to
the point she wanted to throw up.
Tatiana heard a voice then felt a shove as Jo
forced his way between her and Tike.
"Chill out, lil man, fo' you be off dis block," Jo said as he
stood between Tatiana and the nothing little peon that had disrespected
her. His towering body was like a shadow over Tike's
five foot, six inch, thin frame.
"It's all good, homie," Tike said, raising his arms in
surrender. "We was just playing around with Miss Lady,
here. It ain't nothin'." It was obvious that Tike didn't
want no drama with Jo. He was all talk and no action.
"Just make sure nothin' never turns into somethin'
and we good." Jo held his hand out to Tike, who hesitantly
shook it and then made his way over to the game
of dice like a wounded pup.
"You alright, baby girl?" Jo asked, sincerely concerned
as he turned his attention to Tatiana.
Tatiana stood silently, trying to calm herself back
down. She then spat on the ground and looked up at Jo.
"I'm good. I can handle my own, though. I don't need a
big brother," Tatiana snapped, as she headed toward
the truck that just that afternoon she had convinced
some naive boat boy to let her hold while he was out to
"Dis you?" Jo asked, following behind her, surprised
to see her driving a 08 Cadillac Escalade.
"Nope. Another dude's whip. That's all y'all good for
anyway; just to use and abuse. All y'all the same; disrespectful,
dead beats, womanizers, and woman beaters. But I know one thing,
you can bet cha last stack this chick here will never fall victim."
Tatiana, got in the truck, shut the door, and then sped off, leaving Jo
Once on the road, and out of sight from anyone on
the block, Tatiana's eyes filled with water. She didn't
know why she had let Tike's words get to her. She
thought she had mastered the art of tuning men out
after breaking it off with Touch, the last dude she had
called herself playing the part of wifey with. All Touch
did was belittle her with his tongue; putting her down in
an attempt to build himself up. That was something
Tatiana took note of that men often did as a twisted way
of making themselves feel like a man.
Tatiana hated all men. Even when she tried to give a
guy a chance, he would always end up being just like
the others. She knew she was bitter when it came to
men, but that's all she'd ever seen or known. Not one
man had ever done anything to even make her think
twice about the way she felt about them. And for that
fact, she always said that if God was a man, then she
hated him too.
"I look way too good to be innocent." Her phone
interrupted her thoughts as it played the lyrics of
Conceited by Remy Ma. The number that showed up on
the caller ID was unfamiliar. "Hola?" Tatiana said with a
fake Spanish accent, disguising her voice just in case
she had to play stupid to the person on the other end of
"Miss Goldie?" a male asked from the other end.
Tatiana knew it could be only one person calling her
Miss Goldie, besides, the sound of his voice was still
fresh in her head.
"Yes, I am." Tatiana's tone was as if she was more so
aggravated by his concerns rather than flattered.
"Yo, ma, why you so mean? You got me confused, on
the real. I ain't been nothing but chill since I met you
and you ain't gave me nothing but grief. Why you even
give me your number if it's all like that?" Jo asked, trying
to figure out what was up with Tatiana and all her
"For the dough." Tatiana kept it real. "Like I said,
that's all men are good for."
Jo chuckled at this girl's directness before replying,
"Okay. I'll take that risk. I'm still gonna holla at you
even with dat said. In the end, I'm sure you'll realize you
got a good man on your hands," Jo said confidently.
He could tell by the hurt look in Tatiana's eyes when Tike
was clowning on her, that she had some issues. But he
knew just who could resolve them. Tatiana's hard attitude
didn't scare him off, nor was it a threat. It was a
challenge; one that Jo was willing to take.
"Don't be so sure, boo. I don't know what a good man
looks like, acts like, talks like or walks like. I ain't never
seen one. To keep it real, I ain't know they even existed.
If you're a good man, you better breed fast, 'cause I
think you the only one left on the face of this earth."
"Just give me a chance. That's all I ask."
"You want a chance, Mister Jo? Cool, I'll give you
that. Because guess what? It's real easy to keep me
around." Tatiana began to break it down like it was part
of the Ten Commandments. "Keep the money coming
and you'll keep me. And it goes the same when it comes
to losing me. Money gone; I'm gone. They don't call me
Goldie for nothing! Got it?" Tatiana said with no shame.
This chick is really trying to play me like a sucker, Jo
thought to himself. It seemed as though Tatiana was
becoming more brazen by the minute. Maybe her wall
was too strong to be broken down. Jo contemplated on
whether or not he should just hang up and erase her
number, but he decided to play this thing out. He was
in it to win it.
"Why do they call you Goldie anyway?" he
asked in an attempt to make her believe that he was
ignoring all of her other statements.
"For a few reasons." Tatiana prepared to break it
down. "One, because the opportunity to holla at a chick
like me is golden. Two, I'm straight gold digging and I
don't keep it a secret. And three, the chances of a dude
hitting this is like the chances of him finding a leprechaun
carrying a pot of gold. Now, like I said before,
The thought of hanging up on Tatiana popped into
Jo's head again, but something just wouldn't let him do
it. "Yeah, aight." Jo chose to swallow his pride and listen
to the angel whispering in his ear on the right rather
than follow the constant whisper of the devil on his left
telling him that this chick was unsavable; that he could
never get her to change her mind about men. "But just
one thing." Jo paused. "What's your government name?"
She hesitated, preferring that he call her Goldie like
all the other dudes, but then her real name just came
"Aight, Tatiana. You got my number; it showed up on
your phone, I'm sure. Just give me a shout when you
ready to get with a real man-the man." Jo ended the call
by hanging up in her ear without saying so much as
"later," giving himself a little self esteem boost.
"Whatever!" Tatiana said to herself after Jo hung up
in her ear.
She thought to herself as she continued her route
home that Jo probably had plenty of game; but not
enough to change the thoughts of Tatiana Turner. The
way she felt about guys was set in stone and there was
nothing that anyone could do, or say, to change that.
One thing that Tatiana had promised herself was
that she would never be a man's punching bag, baby
mother, ex-wife or mistress. And the world could give
thanks to her sperm donor, Silk, and that no good
mother of hers, Jan, for blessing her with the foundation
for those thoughts, and for losers like Touch that
she let into her life for confirming it. They had ruined it
for every man that crossed her path and got burned
with the golden torch.
But little did Tatiana know, if Jo was to have his
way, he just might have the water to put out that flame
of the golden torch.
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