Excerpt From Book 3

I am currently working on book three from the Ghetto Bastard Series. I will be posting excerpts from my writing from time to time here. I welcome feedback and comments. Click excerpt to be taken to the facebook post to enable comments. 
Written on 12/10/2017
Written on 12/20/2017

I finally understood why a lot of situations happened in the church that was not worth mentioning except one.  About two weeks after I got out of the hospital, after Sunday Service, Denise’s disciple partner, Tricia, told Denise that her and a few of the Sisters wanted to speak with her.

Denise followed Tricia to a section of the church and I watched as they walked away to a group of about six women.  Denise sat down among the women.  They circled her and sat all around her.  Denise was about eight months pregnant at this time.  As I watched, something in my gut started twisting.  The first thing that came to mind was where were these women when I was sick in the hospital to comfort her? Where were the phone calls, the prayers, the concerns? What the hell could they possibly have to say to her? 

I started to circle around to where they were so that I could hear the conversation.  From what I picked up, they were verbally admonishing her for not coming to all of the mid-week services and a couple of the Sunday Services as well.  I knew the women were jealous of her and her marriage.  They were jealous of how I treated her like a lady and they’re husbands were neglectful towards them.

As I listened to them, I became furious.  I walked into the middle of the women and said to Denise in a calm voice “We need to go.” Tricia said to me “Oh, we’ll be done in a few minutes.” Denise waived me off as if to say it was ok.

I continued to hover around and became more enraged.  I felt that they were attacking my pregnant wife.  I walked into the middle of the women again and stepped next to Denise and said in a not so calm, but still not yelling voice “We gotta go.” Again, Tricia interjected and said “In a minute, in a minute.” 

Then I put my hand on Denise’s arm and firmly said “We gotta go now!!!” and helped her up. My voice may have been slightly elevated because when I spoke all the women scattered like cockroaches.  Denise, Ashley and I went home laughing about the incident.

Later that night the phone calls began. “Hey brother, I heard you snatched your wife up today in the church.  You know, you can’t be physically mistreating your wife like that.” I said “What the hell are you talking about?  I helped my wife up.  I don’t abuse my wife.  You’re wives were causing her emotional distress and I came to her defense.  Denise is right here if you want to ask her.”  All of the conversations ended with “You need to mind your business.”

This was Central Pennsylvania where the closest highway was twenty miles away. The tallest building, as far as the eye could see, was a senior building that was ten stories tall. The Hotel Edison was the next tallest, at about six stories, set in the middle of town, right across the street from the bank. It looked like it was grand in its heyday, but now it was rundown and neglected. The bank was a large, old time looking bank from the movies. It had a large vault for everyone to see and a high grand ceiling with attractive hanging lights.

It’s not that I haven’t seen one like this before, but what really stuck out was that there was no bulletproof glass up to the ceiling. You could walk right into the mayor’s office and the courthouse was one block down from that. These buildings were all located on the main street, no bigger than a two lane highway, 2 traffic lights; the whole town maybe had six. Market Street had a lot of vacant store fronts, a couple of mom and pop shops, and a small Weis supermarket.

It sat right on the Susquehanna River. It was considered a city. It was in a weird location. The closest universities were Bucknell and Bloomsburg Universities about 30 miles away heading north. In between were a few bullshit towns. There was a modern mall, Lowes, a Chinese restaurant and other commercial stores across the river about five miles away and about two miles in the other direction it was straight up country as far as the eyes can see. There were mountains outnumbering the houses. The slaughterhouse was in that direction.

Now I know why the guy told me about this place, because there wasn’t another black person for miles. It was like you stepped into a time machine. I got the feeling this wasn’t the type of area a black person wanted to be around after dark and you definitely didn’t want your car breaking down around here. The white people referred to themselves as coal crackers (their words not mine) and their knowledge of black people consisted of what they saw on T.V.-- to the extreme.

I knew this when a truck driver for the Slaughterhouse asked me the most bizarre question. It was my first day making easy money. I got to Victors parents house, which was on the property of the slaughterhouse. The drive took me about a half hour. Victors mother told this truck driver to show me were the bank was in the nearest town, Shamokin, because I would also be making deposits for her besides taking care of her husband. I got into the small truck with the driver. He was a man about forty, scruffy beard and he was chewing tobacco and had rotten teeth (if that didn’t say it all right there).
As we started to drive to our destination, the car was silent except for the country music playing on the radio. Then the driver started to speak. The conversation went just like this: “Hey, you from up there in the big city New York right?
“You mind if I ask you something”
“Is it true that all black people live in Harlem? I’ve drove through New York driving truck, but I never stopped. I heard they all live in Harlem. Is it true?”
I looked around as if I had a secret.
“You want to know the truth? “THEY’RE ALL OVER THE PLACE!”
“NO! For real?”
“For real! Everywhere you turn those muthafuckers are popping up. They think they can live anywhere. The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and even Long Island. I don’t know about Staten Island but there are probable some out there too.”
The driver had a dumbfounded look on his face and said, “I’ll be damned! Wait till I tell my wife about this shit!”
Written on 1/30/18

Denise and I were lying in the bed one afternoon with the baby in between us and the phone rang. It was Mr. Johnson, Vivian’s counselor from Promesa. I forgot that I gave this muthafucker my phone.

“Mr. Russell this is Mr. Johnson from Promesa, Vivian would like to speak to you.”

I took the phone and after the bullshit small talk I just got to the point.

“What are you calling me for?”

“I’m calling to talk to Ashley and I want to make arrangements for Ashley to come live with me when I graduate from the program.”

I said, “and when’s that suppose to be?”

Her reply was “About three or four months.”

I forgot that it had been over a year. Most programs were a year to 18 months. It was about that time. I held the phone next to my ear and didn’t say anything.

“Hello you there?”

“Yeah I’m here”.

“Did you hear what I said?”


“Well what’s the problem? I fucked up, I got help and now I want my daughter back. What’s the problem?”

The question ignited my fuse. With everything that had happened with Vivian, I never went off on her about putting Ashley in danger the way she did. I didn’t believe in kicking a person when they were down. I drove her around to find her help when she was strung out on crack. When this Mr. Johnson called from Promesa the first time I let Vivian meet with Ashley without any problems, even though in my heart I still held bitter resentment for what happened.

I never spoke bad to Ashley about her mother, even though I knew if the shoe were on the other foot Vivian would have told Ashley what kind of crack head asshole I was. With all of the shit that went on within the last two years, this bitch had the audacity to ask “What the problem was?”The Ghetto Bastard was banging on his locked door. I had to let him out for this. I said in only the language this ghetto rat would understand. I said, “I’ll tell you the problem; you must be fucking crazy if you think I’m going to let you take my daughter to live with you. You can see her but you’ll never have a chance in this world to ever hurt her again bitch. You got to prove yourself bitch! Get a job, get an apartment. You ain’t even out of rehab yet. You might run out the first chance you get and have a relapse. If Ashley gets to live with you again it will be over my dead body!!!” Vivian’s reply was “We’ll see muthafucker.”

Vivian handed the phone back over to her counselor. Mr. Johnson let off a deep sigh.

“Well Mr. Russell, I guess there are some things to we need to work out.”

Now I had to check this muthafucker, Mr. Johnson next. I said, “Look here muthafucker, stop talking to me like we cool and shit, you ain’t my friend. Your interest is in helping her not me. Now, if you’re her counselor and you know what has happened, supposedly your helping her work out her shit, you must not be good at your job because if this bitch thinks everything is going to go back to the way things use to be with her using my daughter to get an apartment and meal ticket, you’re just as bat shit crazy as she is. Furthermore, don’t call my house no fucking more!!” Then I hung up on him.

I knew court action would follow soon. People in those programs had resources, time and assistance to have my ass in court talking about her parental rights and shit. The court would probably give her some rights. Either way it was going to get ugly. I knew one thing, Ashley was never going to leave my sight when she was with Vivian. She could see her but never unsupervised because I thought she might try to kidnap her. I needed to strike first. I put the Ghetto Bastard back in the room but when I tried to lock him in he put his foot in the door.