Ras Olugbenga

Life & Times In My Lifetime: Part I

Ras Olugbenga
Life & Times In My Lifetime: Part I

Along my quest to become a better writer I started writing a narrative to help me practice telling stories. People like stories (facts). So I started this “story” to help my writing but then as a way to keep it flowing, I decided to use instances from my personal life to provide the plot and characters. I used the following story to help me sort out my own demons from my adolescent years while analyzing those experiences and what they led me to do and become. But of course, since the story is somewhat dramatized (I needed it to be interesting) I’ve exaggerated points or included elements that as a teen I wished were part of my life. The story isn’t finished, and who knows if it will ever be finished but I’m breaking it into vignettes, here, for the people who actually read this stuff.

 

Part I

“Ayo Mal! Where you at niga? Cats is waiting”, shouted Lorenzo, impatiently pacing in the second-floor hallway of the Metropolitan housing units. Somewhat distracted by the new Kanye album blaring through his headphones, he barely noticed Malachi sliding out the door to the 1-bedroom apartment he shared with his mother, aunt, and 2 younger cousins. “Yea Ma, Auntie Key still her with them. I’m leaving with ‘Zo right now…yea the game is over at 8 but we heading to CiCi’s afterward … uh huh, yeah, I love you too. 1”

           After yanking the key from the door he momentarily thought about how much that WD-40 would make this ritual task much easier. But before he could get his phone into his pocket, Lorenzo’s barbs came quick. “Niga! Cici’s?! You got pizza money?!” said a bemused Lorenzo. He had scraped up $4 in dollar bills and had torn his room apart for the necessary booty of nickels & dimes he needed to cover the basketball game entrance fee. But he wouldn’t dare tell Mal of his financial woes, lest he heard another lecture inspired by “Paid In Full”.

“Damn, Bruh! All my shit! That’s why yo’ broke ass need business!” He let out a hearty laugh. “That was a double entendre, fool! I wasn’t talking bout CiCi’s pizza. I was talking ‘bout Ciara’s house. Yea shortie told me to come through afterward. You know ‘netflix & chill’” just as he began to thrust his hips forward and back with his elbows and forearms obstructing clear sight of his face like a boxer parrying jabs.

“A ha!” said Lorenzo. “Nice one playa, I see you’ve been reading my book”. Walking towards the bus stop, they were about 200 yards away when they noticed their transit ride was coming over the hill. In unison, both said “Fuck!” and laughed at their disbelief of habitual bad timing. 50 yards away but still running through the snow, the bus was at the stop long enough to unload a working gentleman who’s neon vest told of his construction vocation; 2 middle school aged girls who’s smiles revealed red teeth from presumably their 2nd bag of flaming hot Cheetos. And lastly, an elderly woman in a wheelchair who’s nephew arrived 2 minuted prior to escort her home. The mechanical lowering of the wheelchair was the 20 second delay they needed to traverse the remainng snow covered concrete to catch their ride.

Malachi stepped up first, using the bright yellow door handle to pull his 5’8 155 lbs. frame onto the bus. Reaching in his right pants pocket where he usually kept his  bus ticket he realized he left it on the desk in his room. Hastily, he’d retreated into the hallway before Auntie Key began frying bacon. Malachi loathed bacon. He hated it so much he did not know whether the smell or his own loathing regarding its presence were to blame for his stomach aches when it was near. His father, Malik Jones-Bey was a devout member of the city’s Moorish Science temple and would be damned if any bovine or swine flesh would enter the temples of his children’s bodies. Mal looked back at Zo with a coy grin, and knew he that his fictive brother/cousin had no bus fare. Zo reached in his pocket just as Mal began to to preface his blunder with “Bruh, you won’t believe….” Zo produced a bus ticket good for 1-ride. Relieved, Mal said “good look” with a giggle knowing this would’ve been all bad had his Ace not come through in a pinch. Zo swiped his card and followed Mal to the back of the bus.

Unbeknownst to them, Lorenzo’s older sister ‘s friend Carmen was already on the bus in her black pants, black coat and popeye’s visor. “Heeeey, Carmex! What you fittin a do??” said an enamored Zo. “Boy, bye!” She laughed. Carmen was 20, 3 years their senior and had acquired the nickname “Carmex” as a play on her original name and an allusion to her full and consistently glossy lips. Lorenzo had eavesdropped on his sister and Carmen’s conversations enough to deduce to that Carmen had been sexually active since she was a senior at their high school,  DuSable Technical. This knowledge emboldened him to “shoot game” at “Carmex” every chance he got. With an upward and reverent nod, Mal gave his salutation “what up, Carmie?” as he sat 2 rows in front of Carmen and Zo who by now made himself comfortable right next to his target.