As he grows up, Jeremy gets in with the wrong Chicago crowd. Initially, he had hoped to join the air force, but his hopes of military glory soon dwindle due to a missing birth certificate. Disgruntled as he watches his best friend enter the service, Jeremy gets mixed up in drug-dealing through odious criminal John Adam. Soon, Jeremy is involved in cocaine, prostitution, and cash.
The criminal life might look glamorous in the movies, but Jeremy soon discovers his foray into Chicago's underbelly gives him nothing but trouble. As his parents' dreams slowly fade away, Jeremy must struggle to survive and find his path down a road full of potholes. Will he live to build a family of his own, or has his greed brought him nothing but permanent bad luck?
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By J. Tip Thomas
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 J. Tip Thomas
All right reserved.
Chapter OneEAST CHICAGO, INDIANA ... 1954 ... Jeff, Carrie, and Jeremy settles in East Chicago, Indiana an industrial city. Jeff gets a job as a laborer for a brick refinery. Carrie believes God has shown Jeff the way to a safe state and neighborhood, where Jeremy can go to school and become somebody important. Years later, Jeremy is a teenager attending Wallace High School. Jeff can afford his family the basic needs, food, shelter, and minimum clothing. Jeremy and many of the neighborhood teens wear blue jeans, fleece, and gym shoes. Jeremy's history book, Conceived In Liberty, is among his favorite, especially Abraham Lincoln's quote "A new nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equally, November 19, 1863" Jeremy's observation of Jeff's experiences has proven Lincoln's address doesn't apply ... in 1954. All men are equal; however, all men do not receive equal justice or have equal rights. A big foot rest on the backs of men in Calumet. Jeremy knows there are limited opportunities for him with or without an education in Calumet, which is a small neighborhood, surrounded by freight train tracks in East Chicago, Indiana. Everyone knows their neighbors and others living within the train tracks. Jeremy wants to leave Calumet, but can't until he has a plan that will help support his parents. He left for school, late, this morning disappointed with his life possessions. Half a block from the school, Jeremy hears the final bell rings, warning all students to sit in their seats. He will use this time to open one or two student's locker that have a nice aroma of food. In the hallway, Jeremy sees Eddie sniffing the vents on lockers. He rushes to where Eddie has his nose near a locker
"Hey, hound-dog boy, it's against this school rule to steal a student's lunch?"
Eddie looks to see if anyone heard Jeremy or is looking in their direction. "Hey asshole, mind your business. In fact, you should be in your classroom. Why are you talking to me? You piece of shit. Get away from me and mind your business before I punch you in your mouth."
"I am looking and talking to you, hound dog boy, to report your ass to the principal for stealing lunches. I don't want too many thieves involved in my business. Do you understand, hound dog?"
"I've heard enough. I'm not a hound dog. You don't know who you're messing with." Eddie takes a step toward Jeremy to get close enough to punch him.
The hall monitor see them arguing and rush to settle the argument before they disturb the classrooms. "Hey!" The female monitor says, "You boys are supposed to be in your classroom. If you do not leave this hallway, immediately, and go to your assigned room, you must come with me to the principal's office."
Jeremy says, "Wait a minute. I am sorry. I'll go to my classroom." He looks at the nametag attached to the woman's sweater. "Rose M. Scott" He says, "Ms. Scott, I promise, I'll never talk with this slim half human again. In fact, I don't know his name."
"That's fine. Go to your classroom. The bell rang several minutes ago."
Eddie frowns and waits for Ms. Scott to leave. He looks at Jeremy and says, "I'll be damn, you're a true ass kisser. Listen boy, from now on, you work on the opposite side of the hallway, when you see me."
"Good idea Slim, I'm glad you've decided to do the right thing."
"Hey listen darkie, my name is Eddie and don't you forget my name."
"And my name is Jeremy, so what?"
"Listen smart-ass from now on we'll not respond until we're address by our proper name do you understand me?"
"Yeah, I understand you. So what do you want me to do? I'm not going to change."
"Ah, you're hopeless."
On the second floor, Jeremy sniffs lockers on the right, and Eddie sniffs lockers on the left side of the hallway. They met at the end of the hallway and decided to leave the building and eat the stolen lunches on the football field. Eddie says, as he chews a sandwich, "What do you say, Jeremy, do you think we can be friends?"
"Sure, why not. We're common thieves with the desire and passion for a better life. If we're going to be friends, we must promise not to tell ... on the other ..., if you're called into the principal's office."
Eddie extends this hand little finger for Jeremy to clutch, "Okay, it's a promise. Where do you live, Jeremy?"
"Where do you think Calumet of course? There is no other neighborhood for poor folks to have fun and forget about their unpleasant surrounding. Calumet population isn't that great. I don't know why we haven't met on the main avenue."
"Well, my Momma said, 'There's a time and place for everything' "so I guess it wasn't time for you and me to meet. However, I'm sure you and I know many of the same people living in Calumet."
"No doubt and It's my wish to know better people and live a better life, someday."
Jeremy and Eddie didn't return to the school building. They decided to walk to Calumet. After crossing the train tracks, they see, Adam, a cocaine pusher. Calumet is his territory. He has workers selling his product on different avenues. The cops arrest his workers and release them the next day, but they haven't put Adam in jail. Adam is sitting on the back seat of a Cadillac limousine with the tint window halfway down. His chauffeur body guard, Lu Wing, park in front of Gloria's house. Jeremy and Eddie know Gloria is a prostitute and she doesn't deny her profession. Adam gets out of the Cadillac and extends his hand for Gloria to grasp after he realizes he's standing on soft dirt. An unexpected gust of wind blows Adam's blond hair and his white shirt opens revealing the gold chain around his neck. He pushes his hair behind his ear and changes his position to block the wind from Gloria's face. Lu Wing looks out of the limousine's windows for anyone who may attempt to cause a problem for Adam.
Jeremy and Eddie are watching Adam from a distance whereas they are safe and not considered a threat. Jeremy says, "Now, that's a cool Dude. He has respect for women regardless of their lifestyle or profession. Man, I wish I could earn the same amount of cash as Adam without selling drugs. Look at him. I know he's doing all right, especially, when he can afford one of the best whores in this neighborhood. Gloria ain't cheap."
"Yeah, he's doing all right. Adam is a drug dealer who will make the Daily Calumet News headline after someone kills him or he goes to jail for life. I've heard he's bold and doesn't fear the police. Now I see he really doesn't hide his intention. By the way, yesterday I saw Albert Sims, for the first time in a long time. I was wondering why he hasn't been in school."
"Albert Sims, he's in one of my classes," Jeremy says and is disappointed. "Albert never studies for a test and received good grades, I always envied his ability. Where did you see him and what is he doing?"
"He's one of Adam's street workers," Eddie has no respect for addicts "so you know what he's doing and why."
"Well, I'll be damn. I would've bet my last dollar, Albert, wouldn't use drugs."
"Yeah, I know. I didn't want to believe my eyes, when I saw him selling drugs. He was standing on the corner of Melville Avenue looking and smelling bad. I stood with enough space between us to let the wind blow the stink away from my face. It's too damn bad he has fallen in the pit-of-hell. Whatever money he's paid, he's buying shit and putting it into his nose or arms. Man, he looks and smells bad."
"Well, his interest in education is over, in fact, his life as a healthy man is over. He's a forgotten citizen. It's just a matter of time. Using or selling drugs is the only thing you and I should never do. I want you to remember that Eddie. And maybe we should stop stealing lunches from lockers. What do you think?"
"Well, stealing lunches ain't a real bad crime. The kids with the good lunches usually have extra money to buy junk food. Whereas, you and I do not have either "Now back to the drugs. I'll remember what you said about using and selling drugs ... and I want you to remember your words. Because if you're arrested don't expect me to come to the prison to see you"
"That's not a problem Eddie. I can assure you, I'll never go to jail without you. Tell me what Albert said before you walked away."
"Come-on Jeremy, you're not that dumb. You know what junkies do, after they're hooked. You can't believe anything they say."
"Yeah, I know. Tell me anyway. I really like the guy."
"Okay well, Albert grin and I saw his nicotine stain teeth. He had the nerve to put his hand in his nappy hair. I tell you, drug addicts are humans without a purpose, and they're helpless when that shit enters their blood. He says to me, 'What's happening Eddie? Can I sell you a hit of good shit?' "I was shocked. Why would a friend offer a friend shit that will ruin their life? I wanted to punch him in his mouth, but the energy to fight a dead man does not make sense. I took leave from the sonofabitch without saying goodbye."
"Listen Eddie, Albert made the decision to try drugs, and now he must live with the consequence. Most addicts die trying to recover."
"You're right, but I still hope Adam and all drug dealers, are arrested, and put in jail until their death. If I had the power, I would call the police, now, and have his ass arrested."
"You have the power, Eddie."
"Yeah, I know but I don't have the money or nerve to call the police. You know what happens to people who call the cops on drug dealers."
"Sure I've heard and read what happens. Drugs are an enormous business that generates billions of dollars and that money goes into many different people pockets."
"Now you're talking. Give me the money, Baby," Eddie says.
"If it's your desire to have a lot of money, we must concentrate on our education. Without a proper education, we'll not manage our money and shucks I don't want to kill someone because of my stupidity."
"Jeremy, if I acquire a lot of money I'll hire someone to manage my cash, and if they cheat me, then I'll kill them." Eddie replies.
"Listen Eddie, all of God's children has an option regarding drugs and the way they live their life. In our opinion, Adam is doing a bad thing that's against the law, but as we know, laws aren't justifiably enforced. This is what I know about the United States Constitution and the working of Congress. Many citizens have no idea that Congress members can retire with the same pay after only one term. Congress members do not pay into Social Security, and they specifically exempt themselves from many of the laws they pass. They're exempt from any prosecution for sexual harassment, while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The Government shouldn't have elites that are above the law. The self-serving hasn't stopped and Adam is a member of the group with the heart and soul of a snake. He has a special place in hell waiting for him."
"Damn Jeremy, that's some heavy shit you're telling me. Our folks and many citizens are tricks used to support the Government and people with big bucks. Are you sure the President knows what you're talking about?"
"Sure. What I have told you is public information for anyone interested in the working of Congress."
"Listen Jeremy, too much information isn't good for me," Eddie replies, "what am I suppose to do with your information?"
"Eddie, we're too young to vote; however political information is important and we should remember our rights and vote. You should remember the Bill or Rights. The first ten amendments of the Constitution guarantee certain rights of the citizen. It may be difficult for you and me, but our dream can come true. We must know and use the laws to guide our decisions. As of now, the only thing I want out of this life is a steady income, nice clothes, a nice car, and plenty women. I'm sure you want the same."
"After listening to you, I don't like the Government or Adam."
"It's not a crime to dislike our Government or another person," Jeremy says; however, you must respect the rights of people."
"Respect Adam's rights as an American citizen, shit this guy is a drug dealer."
"Yes, and until he's arrested and proven guilty of selling drugs, he's Mr. Adam."
"I've had it. I've had it. That's enough of politics and the American way."
"Eddie, you must learn the rules of the game before you're able to play and become a winner."
"Jeremy, cut the shit. Stop telling me the laws and important shit. I'm not ready for higher learning. Adam and Gloria are the main attraction, at the moment, and I want to see what's going to happen between them," Eddie replies. "I want to see if she acts different with a rich man. I know all men aren't the same. A little freaky here and a little freaky there will make it feel better. Someone told me that I don't remember the freak. Anyway, this Dude is rich and can afford any woman he wants, so you know he's freaky. Come-on lets go."
"Take it easy Eddie. What's the rush? Adam is satisfying his sexual lust, which is not going to benefit you or me."
"Listen Jeremy, looking at this dude having sex with Gloria, a good looking prostitute, is exciting. And I am going to peek this action."
Chapter TwoTHE AFFAIR ... Gloria stands near the limo, pushes her hair extensions from her face, and laughs loud for anyone in the vicinity can hear. She stumbles when her spike heels sinks into the dirt, where grass will not grow. Adam grabs her arm and pulls her into an embrace. Her classic black dress clings to her well shape body. The hem stops six inches above her knees. She's vibrant, glamorous, and worthy. Adam follows her up the stairs to the front door of her home and waits. She opens the door turns and takes a final glance across the street. She knows the neighbors peek from behind curtains and shades whenever she comes home. She closes the door and turns the double lock. Adam's intention was to leave, but he recalls her passion and the sensation he received ... so he remains.
Eddie says with excitement in his voice, "Jeremy, let's go to the back of the house, and look in Gloria's bedroom window. Adam's driver will not be able to see us in the passageway. "
"Have you peeked in Gloria's bedroom window, before today?"
"Okay great idea and remember be quiet," Jeremy's says, "you know I wasn't in a hurry to peek at Gloria's action; however, I don't want to disturb Adam's enjoyment."
"Come-on Jeremy, I don't think any man can be quiet, when Gloria is in control. One day, we'll have our chance to live with the memory of Gloria's love. Maybe you won't but I definitely hope to get in her bed as soon as possible."
They ran to the back of the house, and walk slowly through the passageway to the bedroom window. Eddie says, "I want to see Adam's reaction from the beginning to the end. I hope Gloria hasn't pulled down the shade in the bedroom. That will be the biggest disappointment of the day."
"Don't worry; I am sure she hasn't," Jeremy replies, "Gloria isn't bashful. Her body and good looks is her moneymaking attributes. Look at us; if we had the money, heck, we would pay for her service more than once a week. Not only is she beautiful Gloria knows how to treat a man. I'm not speaking about my prior experience with Gloria."
They grin, when they're able to see Adam and Gloria. They stare through the glass window with their face sandwiched between their hands. Gloria is removing her clothes and she smile as Adam gaze at her body, again, as if it's the first time. Eddie whispers, "Man, be quiet and don't laugh. There's nothing funny about this woman. Look at that body."
Jeremy replies with a quiver in his voice, "You're right, what I see certainly isn't funny. Oh my goodness, looking at Gloria makes my heart beat faster and I want to gently hold her tits." Jeremy removes his face from his hands and uses one to wipes the window to get a better view. He whispers again, "Eddie, move your head a little to the left so I can see what's going on. Yow! Look at Adam. I have never seen one that big. Have you Eddie?"
Excerpted from Jeremy by J. Tip Thomas Copyright © 2011 by J. Tip Thomas. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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