Last night I overheard my dad and old man Nutty arguing over a poker game. I covered my head with my pillow hoping to drain out the back and forth yelling. My mom runs and shuts my room door. Then the sound of broken glass echoed like fireworks on the fourth of July. There was silence; I raised my head from my pillow as my dad hollers out to my mom “bring me the salt” he said. You couldn’t hear a pin drop for about two minutes.
My dad hated to lose at anything he did; sometimes he acts like a pit bull that hasn’t been fed when he gets angry. Everybody in our neighborhood respected this man, as if he was a gangster. He stood 6 feet 4 inches tall, about 240 pounds and in the streets he was known as “Spades”.
The next few years of my life felt like an initiation or my dad preparing me for a war. He would have me take brown paper bags wrapped in rubber bands into the corner store; the old man behind the counter would always give me a box with about 6 containers of salt in it. I was too afraid to ask my dad why do he buy salt every night, I mean the look in his eyes was so scary, plus they was red as a ball of fire. One thing my dad did not like was to be interrupted while he was on the phone talking business.
As I got older, my dad would take me out with him to pool halls, bars and even clubs. He would always call me Lil Salt, which was a nickname that has stuck with me since then. He wouldn’t allow me to be out in the open, but there was always a back room he would hide me in, and always had someone on his payroll checking on me. One particular night, he told me to put his pistol in my back pocket and hold it. I did with no questions asked. Then he shut the door. An hour or more had passed, I wasn’t hungry on this particular night, but he made sure the waitress would bring me whatever I wanted, but I had to pee this time. I left the room without his permission to go to the restroom, as I walk by the men’s bathroom, I heard two guys talking and you could hear them loading and turning the barrel of guns. One of the men said, “tonight we getting Spades ass”. If I was on the toilet I would have pissed on myself, scared straight. As soon as they left I ran out to find my daddy. One of the guys who was always with him, said he walked a friend outside. I ran to the front door, I could hear my dad’s voice getting louder, as if he was shouting at someone to stay off of this turf. As soon as my dad saw me, his demeanor changed, he grabbed me and pulled the pistol from my back pocket and shot backwards six times, hitting someone who I knew as fat daddy, my mom’s brother. Uncle fat daddy fell to the sidewalk; dad pushes me to the car and opens his trunk. All you could hear was a loud thud sound and the car moving from side to side. We pulled off and drove for about an hour down this dark road out in the country. I remember this area briefly because my daddy took me fishing here years ago. I was told to never ask question when daddy was conducting business. That night daddy backs his car up to the dock area and got out. Once again the car starts to move side to side and then the trunks shut softly as if he didn’t want to make any noise. Seconds later it sounded like someone throwing big rocks in the river and then there was a loud splash.
With no lights on until we made it out of the wooded area, daddy started to hum to the tune of some song “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”.
This was the night I found out what all the salt was for.
Yesterday we buried my dad; today the hustler’s torch has been passed to me to carry on his legacy. I still haven’t shed a single tear; a lot of it has to be from being angry as hell. I never imagine my dad would be murdered even though you reap what you sow, he still was my daddy. I still have a close relationship with my mother, but her and my dad divorced four years ago as soon after I finished college. She’s now re-married to a Police Chief and lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Her new husband doesn’t really care for me, and I feel the same about him. He feels I need to be doing more with my life instead of trying to carry on my dad’s street cred. At the funeral I didn’t recognize anyone there but my immediate family, I definitely couldn’t see anyone’s eyes, and the strange ones were hiding behind their dark shades looking like secret service men. I hear some worked for my daddy and others were criminal law enforcement officers looking for the right opportunity to use their billy sticks on a nigga.
I didn’t sit up front; I watched them lower my daddy’s casket in the ground as I stood in the background. I was told by my dad’s best friend Knuckles not to bring too much attention to myself or to be easily identified as blood. I knew I had to be strong; I was disappointed that my mom didn’t even show up to the funeral out of respect. But she rather show respect to her jealous husband than the man who busted his ass to provide a life that took his.
I notice an older dark-skinned gentleman that kept looking over at me, then he flashed a hand signal that only my daddy use to do to get his workers attention. I didn’t want to look around, so I dropped my head for a silent prayer, then I looked back over to the guy but he had vanished. My eyes navigated through the crowd of people but he was nowhere in sight. As the funeral came to an end, I exited early before everyone started to walk to their cars. The closer I got to my car the quieter my surroundings got as if I could only hear the crows crowing and the crispy breaks of the leafs with my every step. On the handle of my car door was a note. “Your daddy still owes me 100 grand, when can I expect my bread?” I put my hand on my gun tucked behind my suit coat, looking around to see if I’m being watched. Once I was in the car I placed my gun on my driver seat and started the ignition. I felt safe inside the car, since I had it bulletproof customized. I couldn’t imagine leaving the grave site without saying a prayer for pops. In the middle of prayer, the dark-skinned guy scared the shit out of me by knocking on my window. Always on guard, I cracked my window slightly, with my hand on my gun, he then slide a letter between the cracks and walked away. I pulled off still holding the letter but scared to open it. I watched the grave site get smaller and smaller in my review mirror, my eyes got watery for a moment then anger built-in.
I pulled up to a red light at the corner of Jersey Ave and Iris Lane a known drug infested area but a short cut to the freeway.