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Protecting My Own
By M.G. Mosby
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 M.G. Mosby
All right reserved.
Chapter One"For today's top story, there was another murder on the south side of town last night."
The voice of the terribly animated newscaster with the "look at me" personality exploded from the too loud television speakers. It was 5:30 AM, and Al had thirty five more minutes to go before the alarm went off and the day began. He lay there listening to the weather, traffic, and news, trying hard to ignore the intensifying call of nature.
"Just give me 15 more minutes," he pleaded with his body. Try as he might, Al lost this battle. He crawled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom.
After doing his thing, and washing his hands, Al turned on the shower and then proceeded to brush his teeth while the shower got hot. It was this same routine every morning. He turned on his radio to the station that airs the morning talk radio show. He's a little early this morning, so he listened to the last couple of songs from the night shift disc jockey, and then the commercials.
He was just entering the shower when the drum beat for the jingle started. Al couldn't help but to sing along, just like everybody else listening, he bet. He showered and he sang, and he laughed at the routines on the radio. They certainly knew how to put you in a good mood to go to work.
By the time Al got dressed, it was 6:30 and time to get the kid up for school.
The kid wasn't actually a kid. She was his seventeen year old daughter Dee, also known as the Warden. That's what Al calls her, along with more than a couple of his lady friends. Dee takes great pride in the fact that she is the woman of the house, as she has been since she was 11 years old, and she was in no hurry to relinquish her crown, especially to one of these gold diggin' hoochies, as she calls every woman that calls there.
Al called from the bottom of the stairs. "Dee! It's time to get up sweetheart!"
He heard a moan from what he hoped was human, but it could have been just about anything.
He called again, "Dee, come on baby, get up and turn on the light!"
He heard another moan, and then heavy footsteps stumping across the floor to the light switch.
Al saw the light come on and yelled upstairs, "Good morning baby."
Then a deep groan called back down to him, "Morning Daddy."
"Okay, let's get a move on. I'm getting ready to go. Don't be late for school on the last day! I love you!" Al yelled up as he was getting ready to walk out the door, but the rumble of Dee running down the steps to give him a kiss stopped him.
"Be good. Have fun. Learn everything," he told her.
"It's too late for that," she said as she planted a kiss on his cheek.
He heard her lock the door behind him as he strode off the porch.
* * *
It was a 20-minute drive to work, including the stop at the newsstand to get the morning newspaper. Al goes to work with a smile on his face every day. He knows that he has a blessed life. He has a job that he loves doing. He has two loving daughters, and two grandsons. He has a nice lifestyle. He's not rich, but he is comfortable. He is in a position to do just about anything he wants and can help his oldest daughter Tanya out whenever she needs it. She is a single mother and is determined to make it on her own. He is proud of her, holding down a full time job while also going to school.
Al gets to work and walks into his office. He usually gets in before everyone else so he can have a cup of coffee, read the paper, check out his e-mails, and listen to the radio before the rest of the people get in. He works with a small group. There are only fourteen people in the entire department and he is the only person of color to ever work with them. Ever since he came to work with these guys, they have treated him as if he was always one of them, even as he moved up the ranks to be the team's leader, and that was almost10 years ago. At its peak, there were thirty seven people in the department, but due to retirements and downsizing, there were only fourteen of them left to carry the load. No one else in the company of over 3,000 does what they do, so he is very proud of that fact.
Today is Friday, the day that the department goes out to lunch. It is a weekly ritual. It does not really matter where they go, just as long as the restaurant has good food and cold beer. Al remembers the first Friday he joined them for lunch. He ordered his food first and had a soda to go with it. He noticed most of the others ordered beer with their lunch. Then the next Friday, again Al ordered first and had soda with his order. Sure enough, just about everybody else ordered beer with their meals. The next Friday, Al ordered his food last and had a beer with everyone else, and the rest is history.
His workday never has a regular routine, which suits him just fine. His job is not dull. In fact there is a lot of pressure. He gives his bosses what they ask for, plus a little extra, just to keep them happy. It keeps the pressure at a steady rate. He does not mind doing the extra work, because the benefits are so rewarding. Every so often when the workload is especially light, they will take Friday afternoon off to play a round of golf at one of the local courses.
His company is contracted by the government to test new technologies and inventions, before they are put into the field. His department gets the real high tech spy ware that the C.I.A., F.B.I., and D.O.D. use. In fact, Al gets it before they do. He just says that he's a guinea pig for Uncle Sam. A lot of times he has to take his work home for long-term evaluations. He still gets amazed at the rate that today's technology is moving.
After work, Al threw in an old Bobby Womack CD for the ride home. When he got there, the house was empty, which was not unusual. Dee was probably at her girlfriend's house doing each other's hair. He knows how the divas have to look good. He looked into the freezer to see what he wanted for dinner, but decided to just wing it tonight. Dee would more than likely want pizza or some other fast food. He scanned through the mail that he retrieved on the way in and tossed it aside after seeing that it was mostly junk mail and a bill or two. There was nothing pressing.
He sat on the sofa to flip through the channels on the television when the phone rang. It was Tanya.
"Hey sweetheart, how are you, and how are my two grandsons?" he asked.
"Oh we're fine. They said hello."
"So, what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"
"I was just wondering if Dee was in. She's supposed to do my hair for me, and I wanted to ask her if she'll watch the boys while I go out tonight."
"Well, baby, she's not here, and I don't know if you'll have any luck with her watching them on a Friday night. You know she has a better social life than I do."
Tanya laughed, and then said, "Yeah I know. Hers is better than both of ours put together. I guess I'll just have to do something else. Could you tell her to call me please?"
"Sure thing Baby. I love you. Smack the boys in the head for me and tell them I love them too."
"Okay Daddy, I love you too. Bye"
They hung up the phone and Al went back to channel surfing.
After about 5 minutes, the phone rang again.
"Yo Al, hey man how you doin' brother?" said the voice on the other end.
"Yo Six Pack, how you doing man. I'm cool, just chillin after a hard day at work."
"Yeah, right. I've seen where you work my brother, and I just wish I could have a job like yours. Anyway man, Pitt is gonna come over to get some money out of the safe. He needs to get a little more stuff for tonight."
"Sure man, send him over. I'll be here."
"Okay. You gonna be there tonight?"
"Man, you know I'm always there. See you tonight, and be on time man."
"Okay my brother, I'll be there, and I promise to be on time this time."
"Yeah right", Al said as he hung up the phone.
If Six Pack showed up tonight it was a given that he would be late. However, that's okay; the rest of the brothers would be there.
About 15 minutes later, Pitt knocked on the door. They went to the safe and took out $300. Al joked with Pitt about spending too much money, and that he must be pocketing most of it. This always got Pitt cussing, but they both knew it was all in fun. Everyone knew that Pitt always kept track of every dollar spent. No one minded when he would take a little extra for gas, or something to eat. It was never much, and Al would always give Pitt a little extra to put in his pocket. No one ever objected, and if they did, he would ask them if they wanted to do Pitt's job. That would surely shut them up.
Not finding anything on the tube, Al went outside to cut the grass, then he would wash his car, and motorcycle. Then it would most definitely be naptime. He wanted to be fresh for the night.
Al was just finishing the front yard when Dee and her girlfriends came walking down the street. All four of them were tall, beautiful, giggly teenage young women. All of them had their hair braided tight and wearing jeans even tighter.
They all called out in unison, "Hey Dad", and kissed him on the cheek as they went into the house.
A car came down the street behind them with what looked to be grown men staring at them as they went in. Al stared them down as they drove past, like a lion protecting his most prized possessions. Indeed, he was and they were his, all of them.
Al finished with his chores and went into the house. The divas were upstairs in Dee's room. He called up to them.
"What are you girls doing for dinner?"
"We already ordered a pizza Dad. It'll be here in a few, and we don't have any money."
"It figures," he called up. "The money is on the table by the door. I'm gonna take a nap. Try not to be too loud. Oh, and Dee, call your sister."
"Okay Dad. Thank you."
Al removed two twenties from his wallet and put it on the table. He knew Dee was going to ask him for some money later on anyway, so he might as well get it over with, so she wouldn't wake him from his nap.
Chapter TwoAl awoke from his nap a little after nine. The house was dark, but he could hear the divas upstairs talking and giggling the way 17 year olds have a tendency to do. He got out of bed and walked upstairs to Dee's room.
"Knock, knock", he said when he reached the top of the stairs.
"Come on in Dad."
"What are you ladies still doing here? I thought you would be gone by now."
"We were getting ready to. Do you think you could take us to the club and pick us up? We're ready now, and we promise to be outside waiting for you at 11:45."
"Okay, but you know I have my thing to do tonight and don't you all make me late like you did the last time."
"You know we could avoid all this if you'd let us use your car", Dee said slyly.
"You know that is not gonna happen Baby," Al answered, "but we'll figure something out later on."
They all agreed. Al didn't mind being the chauffer for the divas. This way, he knew where they were, and what time they would be back. It was not that he did not trust Dee, he was just more comfortable knowing where his daughter was. He trusted her. He did not trust the other people with his baby.
Al took the divas to their club and went to his clubhouse to make sure everything was in order for tonight. He went inside and saw that the beer was in the cooler on ice, the liquor was in the cabinet, waiting. The bathrooms were clean, especially the ladies' room. The fish and chicken were in the fridge, thawing. Yes, everything was in place. This was going to be a good night. There was a birthday party at one of the bars downtown and when it let out, there would surely be a parade coming down the hill to the clubhouse. Al poured himself a shot of liquor and got a beer from the cooler. It only took a few minutes to finish them, and then he locked the clubhouse back up and went back home to shower and get dressed for the night's festivities.
After showering, Al put on his freshly pressed black jeans and black t-shirt. He put on his black boots and black leather vest. It was going to be a nice night, so he didn't need to put his jacket on. He would take it with him, just in case he needed it later on.
By the time he finished getting dressed, it was 11:30 and time to pick up the divas. He got over to the club just as it was letting out. He saw them standing on the sidewalk and they came over to the car as soon as they saw him. They hopped into the car, talking fast and loud, still pumped up from the partying. He could see that they had a good time. He asked where everybody was going, and they all said back to his house, which made him happy. He didn't want to drive them all over town taking each one home. He told them okay, as long as they brought him breakfast in the morning. The deal was made and he drove them home.
They all got out of the car when he pulled into the driveway, and went into the house. Al retrieved his jacket and kissed Dee goodnight. He then went to the garage to get his motorcycle. He put his jacket into the trunk of his Harley and decided to ride downtown to check out one of the birthday parties. Seeing that it was after midnight, and his bike was a little on the loud side, Al took it easy going up his street, so as not to disturb the neighbors too much.
He arrived on the strip to see quite a few of his club brothers sitting on their bikes in the parking lot across the street from the front of the club. He parked his bike and strode over to the rest of the men standing around talking, laughing, and eyeing the women that walked by.
One by one, he greeted each man with a hug. There was Boss Hogg, Joe 5, Mr. Woo, Pitt, and a few others.
"Yo Prez, how you doin man? It's good to see you." Boss Hogg asked Al.
"I'm doin good brother, and it's good to be seen." Al answered, "By the looks of all these cars down here, it looks like they have a helluva party going on."
"Yeah man, you should see all the women up in there. Your woman is in there too. She just pulled up."
"Okay cool, thanks Hogg. I'm gonna go ahead on in and check things out. We're gonna have a big night tonight it seems."
"Yeah and you know they gonna be acting a fool. We're gonna have to be on it tonight," Hogg said.
"Yeah, I know. Make sure everybody else does too." Al said as he started walking across the street.
There were people milling about on the sidewalk in front of the strip of bars. Al spoke to numerous people as he walked toward The Lion's Den Night Club. There was a line outside of people waiting to go in. The doorman was taking his time picking and choosing who would go in and who was going to be unlucky tonight. Al walked up to the door.
"Yo, Dave, how you doin' brother."
"Hey, Big Al. Everythang is everythang. Go right on in brother."
"Thanks man. When you gonna put this patch on your back? You know we got one reserved for your big ass." Al told him.
"One of these days man, but I'll be down there tonight." Dave said as he held the door open for Al to enter.
Al walked into the club and past the line to pay to come in. Al spoke to Lisa behind the window.
"Hey sweetheart, I know you're coming down the way tonight."
"You know I am. That's where everybody is talking about going already, and the night's still young. I hope you don't run dry."
"Hell, I hope we do," Al shot back, and walked on into the club. He walked around the edge of the dance floor, on his way to the DJ booth. Along the way, he dapped quite a few of the brothers and gave a few women a hug. He had to squeeze his way through the crowd of dancers, excusing himself as he went along.
He reached the DJ booth and went inside where he was greeted by Nate Logan, but during times like this, he was known as Night Hawk.
He grabbed Al by the hand and pulled him into a tight bear hug.
"My brother, Al. How are you doin'?"
"Yo, Night Hawk, I'm great brother. How the hell you doin man? Man you got 'em hoppin up in here. Damn, don't hurt 'em until you get 'em down at our spot. We want every single one of their asses down the hill. I know you been pumpin us up haven't you bruh?"
"Shit, you know I have. They gonna be ready too. Good and hungry, thirsty too. Especially thirsty."
"Damn it, you do what you do best man. I'll see you down the way."
"No doubt Al. No doubt. Yo man, I just saw your woman go upstairs."
"Thanks man, good lookin out," replied Al as he walked out of the DJ booth.
Al made his way past the mass of bodies, to the staircase. He walked up the steps to the second floor, where there was a three piece jazz band playing. This was a more intimate setting with an older, more sophisticated crowd. He walked over to the bar, nodding at the bass player as he went by. The bass player winked and gave an extra two-finger thump as an acknowledgement.
Excerpted from Protecting My Own by M.G. Mosby Copyright © 2011 by M.G. Mosby. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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