What's up, Brother?

What's up, Brother?

by Teresa Reed, Pocket

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What's up, Brother? by Teresa Reed, Pocket

Moesha's family is hosting an exchange student from South Africa. Mo can't wait to discuss politics and literature with her very own African prince. But when Angaza arrives, he just wants to have fun--American style. And Mo's girl Kim is leading the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671025922
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 09/25/1998
Series: Moesha Series , #5
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.74(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

First Chapter

Chapter 1

Dear Diary,

I just discovered a new writer. Her name is Iyanla Vanzant and she writes motivating messages about day-to-day life. Sort of the way I use my diary. Except that up to now, I've been the one trying to keep myself motivated. Ever since I began reading the great Iyanla, I've been thinking in a whole new way. I mean the sister is bad. She believes that all people, no matter who they are, can do whatever they set out to do. That is, once they make up their minds to do it.

Giving it some more thought, I decided what I like best about her writing is the way she relates my America to the Motherland. Reading her work helps me relive my visit to Africa, which I was lucky enough to do last summer -- although I only got to see a small section of West Africa. It was amazing to meet such friendly, outgoing people. I felt welcomed everywhere I went. Sometimes I wish I lived in a small village where everyone knows they belong. I mean, Leimert Park in Crenshaw, in L.A., is nice and all that. And I know if I lived in Africa I probably wouldn't have some of the luxuries I take for granted in America. But I would gladly give up my gear just to know I could walk down the same road my direct ancestors did -- it would be wondrous!

You see, I belong to a book club where eight of us agree to read a new book every month. And when Ms. Vanzant's book was assigned, I got so caught up in it that I read it straight through to the end. I couldn't wait to see what each day's motivational saying would be. Already I have a favorite quote:

If you can find someone you can really talk to, it can help you grow in so many ways.

Actually Ms.before my dad remarried, I used to make breakfast for the family. If I woke up early, I didn't really get time to myself, it just made it easier for me to get breakfast done and all of us out the door on time. These days my stepmother, Dee, has breakfast all wrapped up. I don't mind though, because I get more time for myself, like this morning.

I closed my diary and locked it in the drawer of my night table. Then I slid the key into a tiny envelope taped to the bottom of my phone, and hopped out of bed. I know it seems like a lot to go through just to keep a diary safe -- but I'm in a fight for survival with my pesky little brother, Myles, who will go to any lengths to snoop into my life.

My favorite thing to do in the morning is to roll up my blinds, pull back my curtains, and check out what kind of day it's going to be. I'm definitely one of those people who love sunny days. Today didn't seem like it was going to let me down. The sun was just beginning to rise and I could see tiny drops of dew falling from the rose bush in my best friend Hakeem's backyard. Faint wisps of early morning fog drifted along the ground. I tried to imagine that the fog was snow. I've never seen actual snow, but I know it drifts.

I glanced up and saw that there were no clouds in the sky. That was usually a sign that the day was going to be bright and sunny.

I stepped to the closet to jam together a def outfit. One of the few things that made Bridgewood bearable was the fact that we didn't have to wear uniforms. From my dad and stepmother's very first mention of Bridgewood I was afraid I'd have to walk around in one of those private-school straitjackets. Wearing a uniform would have been bad enough, because they're not exactly honeybait. But I would have absolutely tripped if I couldn't have walked out of the house in my own flavor. I mean, people should be able to wear what they want, right? Otherwise we should all just move to some small country run by a dictator.

When I opened the closet it was packed with clothes, but there was nothing that fit my mood that morning. Luckily, I work at this bomb store in the mall called Class Act. Just this past weekend I had bought an outfit that was exactly what I was in the mood to wear. I decided that now was as good a time as any to break it in. I slipped the garment bag off the silky, pale blue, textured oxford shirt and matching skirt. After a couple more seconds of admiring my good taste, I carefully laid the outfit on my bed and headed for the shower.

Almost half an hour later, I was just wrapping a matching silk scrunchie around my braids when Dee called upstairs, "Moesha! Breakfast is ready."

"I'll be right down," I called out, opening the door to the smell of pancakes wafting past my nose. I'd been up since before dawn and I was starving.

As I walked into the kitchen I heard, "Here she is, Miss Ugly America," sung by my gnatlike brother, Myles.

"Shut-up, Satellite Head," I chirped as I took a plate down from the cabinet. I knew that Myles was a little sensitive about the size of his head and especially his ears. I usually save my head insults for when he's getting on my last nerve, but this morning he obviously needed to be reminded of who was boss. I knew that I had just shut him up for the rest of breakfast, or at least for the next few minutes.

"Good morning, pumpkin," my dad said as he pecked me on the check.

Dee flashed me a bright smile and said, "Mornin', Mo." She hurried around the kitchen straightening up things as she moved. Cleanup was usually my responsibility in the mornings because Dee leaves earlier than I do. She's the vice-principal at my old school, Crenshaw High. Then I noticed that Dee was dressed in a new suit.

"Hey, Dee, that suit's da bomb," I said before taking a big bite out of my pancakes -- In the beginning Dee and I just didn't click, but now we're cool with each other.

"Dee's going to be on TV today," my dad announced. He had that pride thing in his voice just like when he talks to his friends about me or Myles.

"Word, Dee," I said between bites. "What's the gig?"

"I'm actually not going to be on TV today," Dee said as she gave my dad's shoulder a squeeze. "I'm taping a Sunday morning talk show for cable. I'm going to be speaking on 'The Condition of our High Schools in Los Angeles.'"

"Wow, Dee, you can talk forever about that!" Leave it to Myles to burst out with something corny. He's telling the truth though. Dee spends a lot of time and energy trying to improve not only Crenshaw High, but other high schools in our area.

I stopped chewing and gave Dee a big smile. "Dee, you're going to be great!"

"Thank you, Mo. But I am a little nervous about it. I've never been on TV before."

"Oh, baby, with your looks, it doesn't matter what you say. Believe me, everyone will be paying attention to you!"

Dee gave me a wink as she kissed my dad on the top of his head. I knew what she meant by the wink. My dad loves to flirt with Dee. It is kinda cute -- cause he's just so bad at flirting.

A few minutes later Dee called good-bye and hurried out the door. The rest of us ate in silence for a while. Suddenly M yles stood up from the table and said, "Something's missing."

I stopped chewing and looked up. Then Myles walked to the kitchen door and looked out. My dad lowered his newspaper and looked around the room. "Hakeem!" we all shouted at the same time.

You see, my best friend and next door neighbor, Hakeem, usually joins us for breakfast (not to mention lunch and dinner on the weekends). I can't remember the last time Hakeem didn't show up for a meal.

"Mo, he must be sick," my daddy said, forgetting that he usually acts annoyed when Hakeem shows up.

"Don't trip, Dad," I said consolingly. "Hakeem probably just overslept."

"Now, Mo," my dad said with a slow smile coming to his face. "I'm not worried about Hakeem."

I could tell just by the way my dad smiled that if he wasn't exactly worried, he definitely wanted me to check things out next door. "I'll go right over there after breakfast and have a look," I said, rising from the table and walking over to the sink.

Just as I was about to whisk Myles's plate away, the school bus honked and in a shot he was out the door.

At the same moment my dad stood up, walked over to the sink, gave me another peck on the cheek and strode out the door. What am I? Betty Crocker? Now, how come neither one of them could bother to walk over to the sink and hand me his plate? Oh well, nothing was going to spoil my day. And after all, both Dad and Myles have been spoiled by me and Dee, I thought as I finished the last of the cleanup and hurried out the door.

Now what's up with bro-man, I asked myself while knocking loudly on Hakeem's back door. I noticed right away that the driveway was empty, and I wondered where Hakeem's mom could be at such an earl y hour. His mom worked nights at the Magic Johnson Movie Theatres, so her car was usually in the driveway when I left for school in the morning. Then I vaguely remembered Hakeem mentioning that his mom had to go out of town for a few days to see a sick relative. I knew Hakeem hadn't gone with her, because he had grumbled about how much he needed a road trip and his mom wouldn't take him.

"Hakeem!" I yelled up to his second floor bedroom window. Nothing. Now, that was strange. Even when he's sick, he usually manages to open the window and tell me he's not going to school. I gave it one more try by going around to the front door, which his family hardly uses, and knocked as loud as I could. Again, nothing.

At this point, there was a little bit of worry tearing at me. Hakeem and I go to different schools, but he still manages to cop a ride with me most mornings. Even when he doesn't, I always know where he is or basically what he's doing...hmmm.

I glanced at my watch and gasped. I had only a half hour before the first bell and I hated to be late. I could only hope I didn't run into a lot of traffic. I ran around back and called out to Hakeem one more time. Then I opened the gate that connected the walkway between his house and mine, and got into my car.

Now, girlfriend, my wheels are another story. They're basically as old as Methuselah, but they get me where I have to go. My dad is beside himself -- oh, not with worry. See, he owns a Saturn dealership and practically every day he begs me to trade in my car for a brand-spanking-new Saturn. I don't have the heart to tell him how uncool they are, so I just smile and tell him that I'm just attached to my car, that's all.

Sometimes I wish I could take him up on the offer. Especially those mornings when my car won't start -- but I have an image to uphold, ya know? Anyway, this wasn't one of those mornings and my car started like a dream. I backed out of the driveway, giving one final glance to Hakeem's place and wondered where in the world he could be at seven-thirty in the morning.

Copyright © 1998 by Big Ticket Television Inc.

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