By Demetrius McCray
He just got back from university.
The neighborhood doesn’t really give a warm welcoming for him because they think of him as stuck up little brat since he’s getting a higher education.
Blasting music in his headphones, he finally gets to his door on the 6th floor of the project building he lives in. His mom, shocked to see him back so early, gives him a long hug and exclaims
“How are you?!”
He smiles “I’m good.”
He puts down his bags and ask where everyone else is.
“Your father is at work, your brother is at his job, your younger brother is at school and the baby is sleeping.”
Nodding he goes to the bathroom to peer into the mirror; Long rides can stifle your vision. The naps are growing back on his head, to his brothers they’re the coolest feature on the head of any black kid. To his mom, they’re just another reminder of why he’ll struggle to get a job when he grows up.
Either way- they’re going to get a change up of some kind. After looking into the glass for a while it’s time to head to the barbershop, he tells his mom he’ll be back and leaves out quickly.
The hallway is now filled with the putrid stench of weed and cheap liquor, it’s paradise. The elevator button is pressed repeatedly and after about six minutes the sliding door moves right and he pushes the door on the hinge to get in.
There are wraps and buds everywhere.
He gets off at the lobby and gets approached by an older woman, she seems to be on edge about something.
“Do you think you can give me a dollar?” She ask politely, showing her glossy and carious teeth.
He knew what it was for already.
“No” he replied. “I don’t have any money on me.”
She just stares at him and after about a good minute, she stops smiling and just says “okay” and continues on in a defeated manner.
The barbershop is a few blocks from the bodega where he gets his Arizona and skittles from. On his way over, he hears a woman screaming and mourning the lost of her son.
“Why did you do this to him?! He didn’t do anything to deserve this! Lord please! I told him not to-”
He puts his headphones back on.
After about a seven minute walk the barbershop is right there. He walks through the door and gets stared down by the guys cutting hair- they’re all minorities.
A man steps up to him “You need a hair cut?”
He just nods and tells him that he wants the sides cut but not the top.
The barber replied “Yeah I get it, you want it natural BUT neat, right?”
“Just sit in that chair and I’ll be back, I just need to get my jacket from the other shop down the block.” He takes a small sip of his drink and steps out.
There’s loud music bumping throughout the whole shop, he could feel the bass hitting his chair with each and every drop of the beat. It’s so loud that he can barely hear the man right next to him.
After about five minutes the barber comes back and he starts to cut his hair.
Once he actually gets in the “zone.” Two guys walk in. One is a older man that is tailing behind the other while trying to jump in front of him to get his attention
“C’mon man you know I’m good for it, c’mon! I got you man! I got you!”
The other guy stared him in the eye and said “Nah nigga, you always lying about your pockets. Fuck outta here.”
“But I’m getting some money soon, my girl is selling 50 cent on the dollar from her card man. C’mon! I got this! I got th-”
He shoves him back with a cynical smile, he knows he is in power “get the fuck out of my face nigga, get back to me when you got the funds.”
The older man sucks his teeth and leaves out.
The barber gets back to cutting the boys hair.
“You talking to any girls right now lil’ nigga?”
He shakes his head- that’s not how he is.
The barber laughs “I know you be getting some good pussy, the quiet ones always get the good ones.”
He smirks and let’s the barber continue on. At this point words would provoke conversation and he didn’t want that.
Another man walks in and the barber cutting his hair yells “Yo what you got for me today man?!”
The man says “hookahs…the pen shits.” He pulls one out of his pocket and smokes it.
The barber tells him that his pen is broken.
“What the fuck you mean? They was like this when I stole them from the store!” The man retorts.
“The wax stick ain’t in there so your shit is gonna splash” the barber replies.
“How you gon’ tell me I don’t know how to smoke my own shit” replied the man. “I know what I’m doing”
A skinnier guy walks up and at this point they’re crowding around him while he’s still waiting for his barber to continue cutting his hair.
“Let me try that.”
He takes some pulls but the barber starts to want more and reaches for it.
He gets a little too aggressive and slaps it out of his hand by accident and along with the pen hitting the ground, a dime bag of weed falls too.
“Damn nigga, you could’ve just asked.”
He turns to the other guy and cleans the pen, “I know what you been doing with you’re mouth”
“Nah, the only girl I ate out this week was the one you was with last night.” He begins to laugh.
The skinnier guy lifts his fist but just laughs.
The barber gets back to cutting his hair.
“My fault, I know you about your business, I’m gon’ get you out of here quick, niggas got-”
“Damn she got a fat ass! You see that?!” The boy nods and smirks again. He really doesn’t want to talk.
The barber makes a sexual gesture with his mouth and proceeds to finish cutting his hair.
The boy preps for the burning alcohol swipe that’s coming. After that it’s over. He gets up and the barber says “That’ll be 15 dollars.”
He hands him a twenty and tells him to keep the change.
He shakes the barbers hand and leaves out.
On his way back home he gets approached by a man who seems to be spaced out.
“You think you know? You don’t know. You’re an action figure! You’re fake!”
He looks at him and just puts his headphones on.
The man continues to speak but he can’t hear anything.
He gets back to his door and an eviction notice is slid underneath the frame.
He brings up to his mom and she shrugs it off, “They got the wrong door.”
He smiles and says “probably.”
Copyright Demetrius McCray