One day my friend DL ask me to take a road trip with him to Toledo, OH. Apparently DL a while back met a girl and had been linking with for the past few months who lived down there. I was age 19 and It was a boring summer day, I had no job like Tommy plus DL promised that there would be some extra girls for me to meet. The drive from Detroit was only about two hours long to the Buckeye state, however, I slept the entire time only to wake up and recognize that we arrived in the center of a type of neighborhood that Spider-Man himself wouldn’t be caught dead in. I looked around and could see the Good Times like buildings on the outside as we were parked in the inner bottom circle that had only one exit surrounded by black and white houses that were connected to each other. I realized that this wasn’t no ordinary block or hood but we were smack in the middle of the Projects.

Although the block I grew up on was no paradise valley, this was a different type of hood. The area was dark with a street light at the end of the circle that had a light which flickered as if it had a nervous twitch. Underneath that same light pole were about 9 to 10 men all wearing black jeans and white tank tops surrounding a car with its hood up. Two dudes in the group appeared to be working on the car,  three were on their knees playing a dice game while the rest stood around and watched. “A fool, you throw that six again with dem loaded ass dice and I’m gonna smack yo ass!!!” one of the gentlemen yelled as he seemed concerned that the man across from him was cheating. To the right of the car, I could see a Master Splinter size rat(whom I sure was wearing Tims) digging in the dumpster for its evening meal. Also, on the concrete next to the dumpster was a drawing of a nice yellow chalk outline image of a man sleeping with 3 red spots in the center. In the car, DL noticed my uneasy facial expression and politely ask:

“A dawg you scared?!!”

 Me “Nigga, what the hell we in the projects for?!!”

 DL “This where the chick live?!!

Me “Why didn’t you tell me?!!

DL(with a slight smile) “Dawg, we good, trust me and stop acting like a bitch…”

I rolled my eyes and we got out the car and instantly could feel the stares from various eyes of folks sitting on their porches as if two strangers from a foreign land had entered their village. “Forgot about Dre” was playing from someone’s car as DL walked up the steps to the house with a high confidence. DL looked at me one more time with his infamous smirk and then knocked on the door in commanding fashion as if he was Santa Claus come to drop off gifts.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

The curtain from the side window moved as if someone was peeking to see who was on their steps. The door open slowly and standing there was a slender brown skin woman who looked mid-30s wearing daisy duke jean shorts, a white short t-shirt that had “Hot Momma” written on the front showing off her belly button stomach that had experienced its fair share of 40ozs. Her hair was in a Poetic Justice-style as she held a cordless house phone in one hand and a small infant baby in the other. The locked screen door stood between us as she glared at DL for a second before she reached and flicked the lock off the handle. As we walked in I saw standing by the window was a small light skin curly haired DeBarge looking boy with greyish eyes who looked about 3yrs old. The little boy loudly sucked his pacifier while scratching his diaper staring at us as we walked in. “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey baaaaaaaaaaby!!!!”  said a younger light skin girl with a Toni Braxton haircut hopping off the couch and leaping onto DL’s arms crossing her legs around his waist tongue kissing each other sloppy like low budget porn stars. “Ok, ok damn we see you missed the nigga, now can you please hold your child?!!,” said Hot Momma. Lil Toni Braxton got down from DL and was immediately handed the baby from Hot Momma as it was a loaf of bread.  DL wiped his mouth of love spit and placed his hand on my shoulder to introduce me.

DL “A babe, this is my man Will, and Will this is Tina and baby Crystal. Over there is her son Lil Donnie.”

 Hot Momma smacked DL upside the back of his head and said: “Oh so, I’m a stranger now?!!”

DL said a cuss word under his breath, rubbed his head and turned to me and grumbled:

“…..and this her mom Brenda”

 The “mom” thing was a slight shock considering they both looked like sisters until Ms. Brenda grabbed a bottle of Colt 45 out the fridge and took it to the head like only an experienced veteran could do. I waved and said hello to everyone before sitting on the edge of the couch. DL walked straight toward the kitchen and open the fridge door glaring as if he was looking for something specific.

DL “Damn babe, you ain’t got nothing to eat? Me and my mans been on the road all day and we hungry!!!”

Tina hopped up instantly as if DL had spoken a code word out loud that meant ‘Get yo ass up!!!” I could see Brenda roll her eyes from the other side of the couch puffing on a cigarette. “It’s ok, I’m not really hungry,” I said, lying through my teeth. I was starving throughout the entire trip however my hunger was chanced away by the Heavy D and the Boyz roaches that seemed to also be residents of the house as they popped in and out of corners unafraid of us mere humans who seemed to be visitors in THEIR house. “No, no you are my baby’s guest so I got you,” Tina said. I started to resist again but DL gave me the “Nigga just take the food look!!!” Lil Donnie walked over and handed me a video game controller as his way of asking to play with him. DL then took his hoodie off and headed toward the steps and said. “I’ll be upstairs, just bring me the food up there when you’re done.” I instantly got up, placed a fake smile on Tina and walked over to DL with my smiling grinding teeth and whispered:

“Yo, you leaving me down here by myself? Thought you said she had girls?!!!”

DL smiled and whispered back through his teeth “Yea, she laying right there, but you acting funny.”

Confused I turned and saw only Brenda who was sitting with her legs crossed deep into watching TV and smoking her cigarette.

Me “Dawg, that’s who you brought me here for?!!”

DL smiled, patted me on my shoulder and said “Yea, champ, enjoy!!!” before running upstairs.

30 mins in and I was ready to head back home. If DL hadn’t taken the keys with him upstairs I might have left him there. I sat on the couch as my radar was on full alert because various people kept walking through their front door saying “hi” while exiting the back door by the steps. It seemed as if everyone from the neighborhood used their house to get to the next house. Once Tina was done with the food she made me a plate of burgers and fries and ask if I needed anything else before she ran upstairs. Her mom, Brenda was passed out on the couch with her mouth open snoring with one hand on her stomach and the other on the cradle handle where the baby was still sleeping. About 15mins passed of Lil Donnie kicking my butt in Mortal Kombat before a shadow figure knocked on the screen door loud. Brenda woke up wiping her mouth, squinted and then stood straight up like a drill sergeant. “Don’t you say shit,” she said looking me directly in the eye. Lil Donnie who was standing in between my legs holding the player controller stopped sucking his pacifier and walked toward the door following behind Brenda. The screen door open and two dudes walked in; one pale white boy with blue eyes and short hair followed by a 6’4 black guy who looked like an NFL lineman reject. The white dude walked passed and rubbed Lil Donnie on the head before both of them sat across the other side of the couch. The three of us sat in silence for a second not knowing who was going to be the first to introduce themselves. Brenda walked in, stood next to me and said “Hey ya’ll, this Will, he with me,” at that moment they both relaxed. The black dude reached across first and said:

“Whats up man, I’m Monty, and this is Donald”

I gave them both dap and said: “What up Doe?.”

 White Boy Donald then stared at me with his eyebrows turned down. His man Monty noticed the tension and quickly tried to break the mood up.

Monty “Hey Brenda, where yo girl at?”

Brenda “Do I look like that hoe’s keeper?!!”

Brenda then tossed them both two beer cans from the fridge. Lil Donnie walked back over to my lap and grab the controller. The baby who had been sleeping the entire time began to cry out loud.

Waaaaaaaah!!!! Waaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

Brenda went to the crib and smelled that the baby needed to be changed. The white boy took out a pack of cigarettes and started patting the bottom glaring at me. I wasn’t sure what Marshall Mathers issue was so I reached for the player controller from Lil Donnie and that’s when he(Donald) sat up instantly and asked: “A you from Detroit?” I noticed at that moment that my left sleeve was rolled up revealing my “Old English D” tattoo. Before I could answer a loud  “OOOOOOOOOOOOOH BAAAAAAAAAAAAY-BE!!!!!” from Tina was heard from upstairs. Donald looked at Brenda who while holding the baby said: “Now Donnie, don’t go fuckin up my house!!!” My left eyebrow raised up as I thought to myself “Donnie” and looked down to notice that Lil Donnie who was staring straight at me looked just like White Boy Donald. Brenda immediately placed the baby back in her crib and walked to stand in front of White Boy Donald holding her hands up signaling for him to stay seated on the couch as he kept trying to get up but was being held down by Monty.

White Boy Donald “Naw, fuck that!!! Let me go!!! Where that bitch at?!!! I’m gonna get my gun”

 Seeing that everyone was busy I took the opportunity to run upstairs and get DL because White Boy Donald was turning red and I don’t remember “Getting shot by a low budget Eminem as being a part of the plan.” I got to the top of the steps and realized that neither of them cared about having the door open as I could see DL naked on top of Tina with her legs pointing straight up toward the ceiling.

Tina “Yes, baby, yes!!!!!”

 After I slightly threw up in my mouth I yelled for DL but between the noise downstairs and the noise he was creating upstairs it took me to throw his Rockport boot I grabbed off the floor and threw at him to get their attention.

Yo what the fuck Dawg?!!” DL yelled rubbing the back of his head while still on top of Tina.

 Me “Yo we gotta split, her crazy ass white baby father is downstairs about to blow a gasket!!!”

 “Donald is downstairs?” Tina said as she was finally lowering her legs.

 “Girl, you told me you were done with that clown!!!,” DL said as he jumped up revealing too much of himself for my visual taste grabbing for his jeans. They both began to argue at that moment and before I could tell them both to “Shut up” I was pushed to the side from behind by White Boy Donald who wasted no time charging toward DL who only had his underwear on and one leg inside the jeans. The two clashed falling back onto the dresser behind them knocking over a lamp. Tina wrapping herself in the white sheets started yelling for both of them to stop. My hesitation to separate the both of them came from the fact that while struggling with each other back and forth DL’s manhood was flopping outside of his boxers and I personally wanted no parts of that. “Do something!!!” Tina yelled as she ran out the room. Seconds later Monty came from behind me and stood there looking at White Boy Donald getting tangled up with an overexposed DL. Monty and I both looked at each other hoping that one of us would go first to break them up. Brenda then came in between pushing both of us to the side with a broomstick and started hitting both DL and White Boy Donald repeatedly until they separated themselves from each other. DL started picking up his clothes while White Boy Donald stood in the corner being held at broomstick distance by Brenda.

“I’ve done told you before bout my house Donnie!!!” she screamed.

A now clothed Tina ran into the bedroom and starting yelling at White Boy Donald also waving her finger in his face.

We ain’t together Donnie, so what the fuck?!!!” she said

Still red, White Boy Donald was rubbing his head not really paying any attention to neither Brenda nor Tina. His eyes were focused on a now dressed DL who had a smirk on his face that annoyed even me. White Boy Donald saw the smirk as a disrespect and his eyes pierced with more bloodshot anger. While pointing at DL, he starting yelling at Tina and pounding his chest:

Bitch, you a hoe, you gonna fuck this nigga upstairs while my kids are downstairs!!!

Tina “Hoe?!!”

 DL and Me “Nigga?!!

 DL then Olympic leaped across the bed and punched White Boy Donald in the face causing him to fold like a chair. At that moment Monty began to walk toward DL but I leaped on his back to try to lock my arm around his windpipe to discover that he had no neck. I hung on to Monty from behind with my feet dangling in the air as he began to walk back into the hallway and swing me around in a 360 circle as if I was a bookbag.  I began to feel dizzy like a ride at the amusement park knowing that I would either let go soon or throw up. Before my body could make a decision DL came out the room with a small lamp vase in his hand and bashed Monty in the face causing us both to fall forward in slow motion. Monty wasn’t out cold but he was holding his face while DL helped me to my feet I could see that Tina was rubbing White Boy Donald’s jaw and he was shaking his head coming out a state of confusion. He(White Boy Donald) looked at both DL and I standing over Monty in the hallway and quickly regain his Super Saiyan anger and started yelling:

White Boy Donald “Oh so ya’ll jumped my boy now?!! Bitch, go get my gun!!!”

 At that moment Brenda lit up another cigarette while Tina rushed toward the dresser and started going through each drawer as if she was looking for something. It only took DL and me to glance at each other for a split second to realize that we overstayed our welcome as we both dashed down the stairs running back toward the front door and leaped frog off the steps in what seemed like a slow motion scene at the end of an action flick. DL did a Dukes of Hazzard jump inside the driver side of the car since the window was down and I open the passenger side with the strength of the mighty Thor. The noise interrupted the neighborhood gentlemen’s dice game as they all stood up quickly gripping their waist side in confusion watching two idiots leave their parking circle in reverse creating a tire smoke trail.

We were about 45mins into the drive before DL and I began to relax. DL exhaled out loud as if he had been holding his breath for 30mins, reached for a blunt in the glove dept., and started to smile.

DL “Yo, that shit was crazy right?!!”

I turned and stared with my right eyebrow raised as to say “Ya think?!!”

DL took a hit of his blunt, breathe it in carefully and started to laugh out loud. “Yo, was that bitch really about to get that clown’s gun?!!” he asked

Me: “I don’t know man. How in the fuck did you start messing with this chick in the first place? And what would make you think that I would want her Moms anyways?!!”

 DL blew smoke out his nostrils, open his eyes wide and said:

“Shit, why not nigga?!! I did. I used to fuck with her Moms first before I knew she had a badass daughter. But she(Tina) was also at the time pregnant by that corny ass white boy. So I just waited until she gave birth before I asked her what was up. She claimed he was a deadbeat dad and wasn’t fuckin wit him no more.”

 My jaw dropped slightly with an old Ice Cube grill confused expression. DL then turned the local radio station on which the DJ was playing an old school mix that featured the song “The Pharcyde- Passin Me By” and he(DL) started going crazy with excitement.

DL “Oh shit Dawg, remember this?!! We used to play this shit all the time!!!”

I recline the chair as far back as possible and right before I closed my eyes saw a highway sign that read “Detroit City Limits 40miles ahead,” and said:

“Yea, I remember…”

J.Hall

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