****What most should have received via email. I will continue to send out short stories via email as the idea comes to me. If you have subscribed and still haven't received an email, its possible you either have this site blocked or it bounces back. idk.*** If it becomes too big of an issue, I won't do this anymore.
“Niggas is going crazy right now! The fuck is going on?!”
I look out the window, looking back at the long line waiting to turn into the gas station early Friday morning in Southwest Atlanta. I yanked my mask off my chin and hung it on the mirror as I rolled the rest of the windows down and relaxed in the seat, waiting.
“Gas shortage will continue as people all across Georgia and other southern states scramble to find gas. Prices continue to rise–––”
I reached to cut the radio off before sitting back, irritated until I felt a small hand grip the back of my head rest. I looked up through the mirror, seeing my daughter out of her chair with her fingers smelling like peanut butter from the sandwich she had this morning. Her hair was scattered all over the place, bright hazel eyes looking around wondering what was happening, while my son sat calmly in his seat looking just like Nay, down to the complexion and calmness of his personality. He clasped his hands together and stared at his sister who couldn’t seem to sit still.
“Mai sit back for me for you get me a ticket,” I retorted, despite not bothering to make sure she sat back. Wasn’t going no where. Line barely moved. I was about to say fuck it when I glanced over at the gas station. Cars stacked behind one another to get to the pump, there was one body in particular that caught my eye almost immediately, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. I couldn’t see her face but she sashayed back towards her car with her locs swinging and a skin tight black dress that cupped her thick thighs together. First thought was she looked like Nay. I couldn’t tell from the road until I saw her go to the red Optima and pop the trunk open.
It was her, and she was next in line to get gas!
“Shit,” I scrambled, rolling my passenger window down before fighting for my phone. I kept looking between the screen and Nevaeh as she leaned against the car talking to whatever man was holding her attention across the way until the phone started to ring. When she didn’t budge, I figured she must have the phone in the car so I anxiously looked ahead of me at the 15 plus cars lined up before sitting back.
“I’m gonna have to get ignorant,” I muttered, rolling my window all the way down.
“Daddy what are you doing?” Mai laughed, watching me groan and ache as I shoved half of my body out of the window, letting my locs free as I sat on the door and looked over the roof of my car at Nevaeh, clear as day in front of me. My wife.
“SCUZE ME?! MISS LADY!?” I hollered out, cupping my mouth with my right hand as I kept an eye out for the line. “SHAWTY IN THE BLACK DRESS!”
Everyone started to turn their heads as Nevaeh slowly looked around until her expressive eyes landed on me.
“SHAWTY GAH DAYUMN YOU KNOW YOU FINE! WHO YOU HERE WITH?!”
She slowly cracked a smile as I motioned her to step forward with my finger.
“YOU GOT A MAN?!”
She raised her hand to show off her ring as she slowly walked over towards the line of bushes, glistening forehead and lips looking extra moist, I felt myself falling all over again for this quiet girl that lived next door to me at one point.
“So wassup then?” I said, playing along as she whipped her locs back from her chest. “I see you got a ring on yo finger but that don’t mean nothing, you talking to other niggas–––”
“Do not start Junie,” she said softly, checking me all the same as I grinned. “I told you to get up early and get gas, did I not?”
“I know you said it but I ain’t think it would be like this...Look at this shit,” I complained as the line went on past the light while cars blocked every which way to get in and out of QT.
“Miss?!” someone hollered out, blowing the horn as she turned around. The car was attempting to leave the pump with Nay’s car being next.
“Save me some gas with yo fine ass!” I yelled out. She walked back with a wave of her hand as whistled after her. “All that ass! Girl who you got pulling on them locs at night?!”
When she flipped me the middle finger, I laughed before jumping back in the car, feeling better until I realized the line ain’t moved.
“That was mommy?” Mai asked.
“Mmm hmmm...See how smart she is, she got up early and handled business. Daddy wanted to sleep in and this is why I’m here and she’s there.”
“Because mommy is smart.”
“That’s right,” I agreed, looking back at Kobi rubbing his nose with a yawn. “Lil man, you want another brother?”
“No, it's going to be a girl this time,” Mai said casually as I broke my neck to look at my daughter. She was sitting back in her seat with her doll in hand, attempting to do her hair when she looked up at me with a smile, “it's a girl.”
“It’s a girl? You think mommy, pregnant?”
“Mmm hmmm. I talk to her at night right here,” pointing at her stomach. I stared at my daughter for a moment before turning back around with a hard sigh.
“Seben,” Mai mumbled as I looked back, “seben…”
“Seven? Seven what? Babies?”
“Ahh,” I laughed with a shake of my head, “I’ll be damn if we make it to seven lil mama. That ain’t happening.”
“Yes huh...It is too daddy.”
“No it ain’t and hush all of that,” I fussed, looking back at her as she innocently cut her hazel eyes at me with a sneaky smile, “see? You get that from yo mama’s side. Keep playing with me if you want to,” lifting the divider up to check for my salt packets, “strap back into yo seat.”
I looked at her brother thinking he would be more like me but he might have scared me more so than my daughter.
The line started to move up again as I inched one step closer to turning into QT. I looked around for Nevaeh’s new car and realized she was no longer at the pump but parked on the side as she sat in her car. She must be waiting on me. I started to pull my phone out until she got out the car with a large fountain drink cupped close to her chest, a small black bag and a red gas container. I immediately got out the car, meeting her halfway as I took the gas from her hands.
“This is for you two to share,” she warned, handing Mai the drink who greedily accepted with Kobi sitting up in his seat, already reaching out for a sip. “Wait for daddy before you start drinking it okay?”
“Okay,” Mai said as she dug into the bag like it was a pot of gold.
“I’ll see you at the house?” I asked, falling in love with this girl all over again for the fifth time this morning.
“I’ll see you at home,” she said as we shared a quick kiss before parting ways.
I hopped back in the car, securing the gas can and getting the wipes ready to wipe my hands before pulling out Kobi’s little sippy cup. Since the line was still at a stand still, I managed to pour some of the drink into his cup, letting him watch me so he knows he’s getting the same as his sister. By the time they were settled in the seat with snacks and a drink, I watched Nay pull out onto the main road deciding to take the back way since she was riding with a full tank while I moved the car out of the line, opting for the highway to make it home. Along the way, I looked back at my kids sharing a small piece of honey bun together with Mai breaking off a piece to give to her brother, talking him through it while he responded back in his own language that she could understand, I smiled.
So I’ma have seven kids...that ain’t too bad. My mama had more than that. I’ll be alright. Guess we gotta get ready for baby number 3. Fuck it.
“Okay but I know you see me?!” I yelled, jerking the car open as Akil groaned.
“Lu? Lu?! Get in the damn car! We ain’t got time for all of that!”
“No?! Because this bitch must think I’m one of these scary girls out here! Baby! I’m not from around here! I don’t have to talk about it to be about it! I just scrap!” I clapped as I pulled my to one side to braid down, fingers twisting and twitching over the thick strands until I reached the end. The woman in question had the nerve to get out of her car wearing a rotten peach colored set with her stomach hanging out and blonde weave with the lace showing as she took her earrings off.
Everyone was going crazy over the gas and with the lines being the way they were, people were starting to get upset. This couple in front of us had the nerve to pull out multiple containers and bags to fill up after they finished filling up their car. Instead of doing the right thing by moving aside and leaving some for the rest of the people in line, this is what they chose to do.
“Aye bruh, control that bitch!” the boyfriend yelled as Akil calmly stuck his head out the window to wince at the man calling me out of my name.
“Nigga what? Control who? Nigga control yo bitch! Mine gone do what she gone do! You just make sure yours don’t get hurt fucking with mine–––”
“Briana?! Get back in the damn car!”
“No because I’m sick of her talking shit! We paying for it so we can get as much as we want–––”
“And you know you got people in line waiting–––”
“SO YALL JUST GON HAVE TO WAIT!” she yelled.
“And you just gon have to get YO ASS BEAT!” I yelled back.
“Aye, sit yo ugly ass the fuck down bruh!” the man yelled as he walked around the car to side with his girlfriend. Akil hopped out just off pure instincts alone but I cut him a look just I came at the girl.
“FREE GASSSSSS!” Akil hollered out. I grabbed the girl who attempted to swing first and dragged her down by the air with my fist swinging up towards her face for a beating. Her boyfriend tried to split us apart while Akil was busy stealing the gas cans from ol boy with others rushing from other tanks running out to grab what they could grab.
“ROCK THAT BITCH SHIT, LU!”
“AYE?! AYE?!” the boyfriend hollered out as more people came at the man hogging the last working tank. The gas station owner came out screaming, threatening to call the police while cars tried to park up against the pump, hoping to get the last drop.
This was survival, this was pure survival at this point.
“Look at these savages,” Percy huffed as we drove past our third gas station that was packed full of people waiting for gas. I rubbed my growing belly as I turned the AC on a low cool, letting it blow against my face as Percy maneuvered around the traffic to get to my favorite smoothie place in Atlanta. The craving was almost obsessive at this point and I thought I was going to go crazy without it.
“You think we’ll be fine?” I asked, leaning over to look at the dashboard.
“We’ll be fine and if not, I can go out in the middle of the night and find gas with no problem. It’s not that serious,” he waved off. “People are acting like this is the end of the damn world. Look, look at that!” he laughed, pointing to the gas station where two white men were arguing in front of a pickup truck, “look at foolish people are behaving over gas, driving the prices up and making the shortage worse.”
“Still, I think we should stop at the store and get everything we need for the weekend,” I said. “So we don’t have to leave the house.”
“Hmmph...people are so stupid,” he muttered, pulling up to the red light, “where is this smoothie place?”
“Just down the street. There’s a nice breakfast restaurant across from it so you can get something to eat too,” I said excitedly with a smile.
“We can do that. That way I can eat and watch everyone act like a idiot over fuel.”
All in all, a peaceful morning.
“Yeah,” I replied, sitting in the driver seat of my car as I looked out at the open roads. “I’m out here man, signal going in and out. I’m waiting on Pia to get here but if you can find some gas, bring it on. I don’t really want her out here driving like this in this heat with the kids…”
“Nigga, how the fuck you run out of gas?” Michael blurted out with a laugh, “the one time I visit back home, you already on some...can you stop and find some gas for me, head ass. Nigga, the fuck...You lucky I don’t have Audrey with me this time. I’on know how I’ma find gas. I done drove by two stations already that’s out.”
“Pia said she found some but her driving out here is going to burn all the damn gas since I’m nowhere near home. Mama and daddy ain’t answering either so they probably still laying in the bed.”
I watched a car drive by, moving around me as he kept going before I stepped out of the car, wondering if I should push it or not. It wasn’t too hot just yet but the sun was coming.
“Just sit tight...I’ll be on the way,” Michael said. “Michael to the rescue as always. Tell Pia to go on home. Ain’t no telling how long it's gonna take loading up the kids in the car and riding around tryna find extra gas. Shit, if it ain’t one thing it's another.”
“You ain’t neva lied,” I said, leaning against the car door as another car drove by.
I sat up with a small sniffle as I rubbed my nose and opened my eyes. Jason was still snoring away. I didn’t hear any small chatter going on nor did I hear any lawn maintenance outside.
It was quiet. Maybe too quiet. I peeked over to make sure my husband was gone to the world before peeling the sheets back, careful not to stir him awake.
I never had a moment to myself like this anymore. Three kids, a husband and his mother who shows up whenever she felt like it, I was going to take advantage of this shit.
I grabbed my robe to throw on before slipping in between the cracked door. If my daughters even got a hint that I was awake, this would all be for nothing.
“Shit,” I muttered, looking at the distance from the bedroom to the stairs. I took that moment to peek inside the girls room and smiled when I realized they were all peacefully sleeping in their own individual beds with toys in their hands. Silk bonnets slid to the side, revealing the red madness underneath and the morning sun only left a few freckles for the middle child and her legs.
If I could just have one morning to myself. One morning where I didn’t have to hear mommy or honey or babe or crying...I needed this. I don’t even remember who I was before this but as I brushed my teeth in the guest bathroom downstairs, and swiped the keys off the counter, I was out the house in no time.
“FUCK THESE NIGGGASSSS!” I screamed in the black Benz with my shades on, shielding me from the morning sun. “Fuck these gah damn kids! Fuck my husband! Fuck all that shit bruh!”
I rolled the windows down, and pushed my shades up against my face as I sipped on my coffee.
“Hmmm,” I hummed, eyeing my nails. “I need an appointment set up soon.”
I was still wearing my robe with nothing underneath as I pulled into the drive-thru of Chick-Fil-La, and just ordered up the breakfast menu. Out of habit, I ended up getting everyone something and just setting it aside for when I get back but for now, fuck em.
“I’m finna show my mothafucking asssss! FUCK THESE KIDS!” I hollered, tapping the horn with a scream before clearing my throat as I smiled. The young teen stared at me with a nervous smile as she held my change in her hand.
“Ma’am, y-your change?”
“Keep that shit,” I popped coolly before speeding off into the main road without looking. “WOOOOOOOOO! BAD ASS BITCH ON THE MOVE! Let me see what they got on the radio.”
“Good morning Atlanta, rise and shine on this Saturday morning! Let’s get it!” the DJ let out just as they played some old school shit my daddy would have banged too. I snatched it off and plugged in my own phone, blasting crime mob knuck if you buck. That’s the type of energy I was on. I was energetic, hype, and looking for action. Even with no place to go.
I ended up driving on the interstate with nowhere to go, just enjoying the lanes and full tank of gas but somehow found myself turning off at a familiar exit. I slipped my wedding ring off, letting my finger breathe and just imagined for a moment, what if I never met Jason again. What if I didn’t have three daughters...Where the hell would I be?
I turned the music down, and rolled the windows up, not wanting to cause too much attention as I pulled up to the light. Just ahead of me was the gas station I would stop at all the time for a drink and a place to sit so I wouldn’t be bothered. The BP was still up but I wondered if the crates were still back there.
I pulled off on the green before deciding to turn at the last minute towards the infamous industrial strip. Hotel valley is what I jokingly called it, full of lot lizards and niggas taking advantage. I took my shades off and just sat at the next red light, watching a few girls cross together in flats with shorts and a bra on. Weave was halfway down their back as they clung together, hand in hand. No smiles, no laughter, nothing. They were just getting off work or getting ready to start. I looked to my right seeing the Buffet still packed as ever with addicts sitting out, waiting for the scraps.
In between Frank Turner, this is where my family had us girls. We are the bread and butter of the Carter family and this is one of the spots we were known to walk and work.
I kept moving before opting to turn down a secluded street that led to more hidden hotels and apartments. No one was out. Everyone was probably just getting inside but I did see one girl standing by the bus stop in a t-shirt dress, looking dazed and too young to be out here alone. Her eyes spotted my car and immediately perked up at the potential customer but instead I reached inside the divider for my wallet to grab a twenty. I rolled the passenger window down, pulling up right next to her as she walked up.
“This is a nice car,” she said, anxiously eyeing the interior. So many things ran through my mind. Do I kidnap her myself and take her to her people, and if she didn’t have people, would I be putting my own family in danger? Did she even want to be saved? How old was she? Who was responsible for her, and who collects the money? Did she even want to be saved?
The longer she stared at me, the more uncomfortable she became as she anxiously looked back, and that’s when I noticed the car parked further down in the apartment complex.
“That’s yo boyfriend waiting down there?” I asked, trying to play it cool.
“Yeah, and if you try some funny shit, he will–––”
“Girl ain’t nobody worried or scared of him. I’ve been there, done that, seen it all and know how to handle myself. You got family?”
“He’s my family...He’s taking care of me.”
“Did you eat breakfast this morning?” I asked. She shook her head as I grabbed the Chick Fil La bag and drink. “Get in. I’ll pay you to eat.”
Her eyes widen before she gladly opened the car and sat inside, putting her bags down on the floor as I pulled off. Just far enough where her boyfriend could keep an eye on us but not too far to where he would get suspicious and walk up on us.
I didn’t bother to ask any questions and she didn’t bother to ask me. She just sat there and ate her food, squeezing jelly on the biscuit and attempting to use her finger to rub it in before I gave her a knife.
“Ain’t no Chick Fil La out here,” she said with a mouth full of biscuit.
“Nah, it's one further up,” I nodded towards the windshield, “how much you supposed to bring back?”
“He changes it every day,” she muttered, sipping the drink. “You a cop?”
“No,” I laughed. “Boi, if I was a cop, I would have been shot this shit up and had everyone arrested but cops be out here fucking too.”
“I know it,” she smiled with a sniff, “so why you out here? You just going around feeding girls? I know my homegirl,” rubbing her nose with a sniff, “her nigga be beating on her, she’s gonna be so pissed when she finds out I ate like this…”
“Nah I used to be out here when I was younger,” I admitted. “I had family as they like to call themselves, on every corner watching our every move so I know what it's like…”
“How did you get out?”
“I married a rich nigga,” I said, showing off my wedding ring as her eyes grew wide.
“My age, fine, and got a bomb dick,” I said as we both laughed.
“What’s your name?” she asked as I chucked my chin.
“Bitch I’m friendly but I ain’t dumb. I didn’t ask yours, don’t ask mine. You want more or you good?” I asked, reaching in the back to grab the rest of the Chick Fil La bags that were meant for my daughters. Her eyes looked like she died and went to heaven as she nodded for more.
By the time she was finished, I sent her on her way with pocket change to keep for herself, and enough to keep her boyfriend from being suspicious. I slipped my wedding ring back on and pulled out in silence, trying to keep myself contained. Keeping it together by listening to music and pushing the nagging thought out of my head but by the time I pulled into the driveway and walked into the door, all it took was seeing my husband...my bestfriend, my lover, my savior sitting at the table with our three identical creations all eating breakfast on their own. Jason turned to me with a crusty smile that stretched from one pointy ear to another.
“You see I made breakfast all by myself and got the girls ready,” he boasted as the three girls looked beyond raggedy with their hair in scattered ponytails, wrinkled clothes and sleep still in their eyes, but they smiled.
“Daddy did a good job mommy,” the first one lied. She would lie to the moon and back for Jason.
“I don’t like him brushing my hair,” another grouched with a frown. She hated most things in general but she was the fighter of the three.
“I did it with no help!” the third shouted. Forever independent and wanting no help from anyone.
“See?” Jason laughed as my eyes began to swell with tears, “wh...what’s wrong? What happened?”
I dropped down to my knees and burst into tears with my body violently trembling to the point where I couldn’t control it.
Besides the screams my daughter let out in fear and Jason pulling my body in close, my Saturday morning that was meant to be liberating turned into just being grateful for my family, for what I have in my life. All I could manage to tell Jason was thank you and that I loved him while falling apart in his arms. He sat on the floor, cradling me like a child as he smiled.
“Happy wife, happy life,” he said as my daughters brushed my hair back from my face, trying to make me pretty again since I was a crying mess.