Dead Beat, Anonymous

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The last thing I remember of my dad living with us was when he caught me and my little brother a frog and brought it home for us to play with. The next day the frog was gone and so was he.

My dad has been gone since I was five. I’ve seen him around – like I was on the school bus ‘cause I used to get picked up from my granny’s house and then he was just standing there in some door. It might have been my sister’s house – I can’t remember where she used to live. Another time, he picked us up and got us some ice cream. Then the ice cream got on my shirt. He got mad and said he was going to kill the ice cream man.

My dad is like Casper – a ghost. He is brown-skinned, with cold, hard eyes. I have a picture of him on my phone wearing a lame, button-down t-shirt with red and white checks. He’s wearing a black skullcap. He’s holding his marriage license to Little Sally, a thin white woman drug addict. She looks like a geek. She is a geek. A real-life geek. My dad has five or six kids with Sally.

I was in class at Ding Ding Academy. They called and said my daddy was in the office. And I was in class. I just started crying, because I hadn’t seen him in about five or six years. I hadn’t even had a conversation with him. The last time my sister talked to him, it was two years ago, he said, “Ain’t none of ya all my kids.” He called my sister a bitch. He said, “F— all of you in Saint Louis.” I thought, I’ll wup his a— as soon as he gets back.

I remember one time before he moved out we went somewhere. He used to take us to all hood block parties and stuff before he left. He didn’t take us around his family and stuff, he took us to his “hood family,” if that’s what you want to call it. He was driving through the alley behind my grandma’s house. He did like 180 through the alley. I’m like, this man has lost his mind. He was doing a dance through the alley. He scraped not one trash can, scraped not one pole.

My dad got married when I was in seventh grade. I can’t remember what I said, but I was mad. What he used to tell us was prejudiced. He said, “Don’t ever mess with the white devil.” That’s what he always used to say when we were little. And then he went and got married to a white woman. And then they had a baby. And then they had another baby, and another baby, and another baby, and they about to have another one. Her daddy is a lawyer, so she got him out of child support for all of us – me, my little brother, Isaiah, my other little brother, Devin, and my two big sisters, Domenyque and Ghiovanna. Isaiah is the only one with my mom, Mimi. The rest are with several other women.

My dad used to take us to my great Granny’s house. My dad’s granny. We called her Gigi. Her real name is Carol Jenkins. We used to go over there a lot. Even when he was gone. She lived in a townhouse with several floors. She lived on the first floor. She had a whole lot of stuff, a whole lot of pictures, and elephants. She had an old-fashioned pearl and gold phone that looked real expensive. She had a big grandfather clock that was real wood, I think. The pendulum was real gold. She had a big rocking chair, too. Her living room had two white couches and a glass table. One time we went over there with my dad, slept all day, left, and went to a block party.

We never met my dad’s momma. When I was first born, somebody showed her a picture of me and she started trying to get in touch with my mamma and my dad smacked his mom and called her the b word. He told her to stay away from us because when he was young, she went to college so she could get a good job to take care of him. When she came back from college, my grandpa married somebody else. My grandpa used to tell my daddy that his mom just left my daddy, that she didn’t want him. They wouldn’t let her see him when she came back either. I got a picture of her. She got light colored skin, and my color eyes: green, with a blue ring around them. Her eyes are a bluish green color. The picture I have, she has curly hair and her face looks smooth. She worked at a hospital, but every time we went there, they couldn’t find her. When my grandpa was on dialysis for his diabetes, my grandma was his nurse. My grandpa had to get one of his toes cut off.

My parents broke up because my momma gave my dad a choice: he either clean himself up and take care of his kids, or stay on drugs. And he chose to be a drug addict. My mom’s not allowed to have boyfriends – that’s what I say. The last one she had, Steve, I pulled a gun out on him. Me and my brother, Isaiah, we had a rifle, a sword, a knife, another sword, and two machetes. He knocked on the door, smiling and stuff. I was just playing with him, and he started laughing. He went to prom with my mom. I had the picture in my hand. “Is this you?” I asked. We was just laughing the whole time. That was a year or two ago. He stayed around for a little minute, until he started bull-crappin’, actin like a little kid. Then my mom told him something — I don’t remember what she told him – but they broke up.

Before that, my momma had my little brother Rashad, with another man named George. George was bald-headed, ugly, fat, sloppy, and soft. No, I did not like him. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to be good to my momma. And I was right. He was messin’ with other women. We had jumped him one time, me and Isaiah. And he bit my brother. Then I tackled him. And we started punching him, kicking him, then we ran into the house. He chased us in there, and tried some sneaky stuff while I was sitting down on the couch. He tried to use his weight on me because he was fat and sloppy. Then my brother came and put him in a headlock. He tried to sneak me in the kitchen one time too. He tried to body slam me in the kitchen ‘cause he thought I was weak ‘cause I was little. This was about two years ago.

Yeah, I like Rashad. He looks like me a little bit, but cuter. His hair is kinda messed up because my grandfather’s wife be puttin’ all kind of stuff in his hair. I taught him how to fight before he learned how to walk. So now he just be beatin’ people up. He was fighting people when we was downtown the other day. He didn’t even know them people. He seen them boxing and stuff, so he just got to swinging on people. He punched this girl in the face. He just be fighting people. I shouldn’t never have taught him how to fight. That young, you know. I think he was like six or seven months and I was just playing with him, swinging my arms and stuff, and he started laughing. And then when he learned how to walk, it was over with. He swings fast and hits hard, and he’s only like two. I think he’s heavy-handed. People be trying to get all in his face and stuff, and he just smacking. He be fightin’ my granny. He also like dogs a lot. A whole lot. But he be scared of ‘em at the same time. We had this one little Chihuahua, and he don’t know how to play with him, so he be grabbin’ him by the tail. He like animals. He like cats too.

But back to the subject at hand — my father is like a ghost. You can’t see ‘em but you know he’s there. He says he doesn’t care about us. I honestly believe it. If someone ever acts like they could care less about you, then believe ‘em. Nobody deserves the pain of not being able to see both of their parents everyday, but aye, there’s people that don’t have their parents at all. It’s sad that we have to grow up like that. I’ve never had anyone to look up to but one person and he was around the same age as me. He was like a big brother to me. He always had my back — we used to get in a lot of trouble together.

I remember we jumped this kid in the fourth grade because he called me a midget. I punched him — then he ran at me and tried to put me in a headlock. His name is Tim. Tim rushed him and hit him like three or four times — then he let me go — then I started hitting him. I hit em’ like 10 times, then he fell and we started stomping him and I threw a book at his stomach. After that they sent us and a handful of other students on a field trip to the juvenile detention center on Enright which is pretty close to my school.

We had fun in the cell. They put us in — we banged on the cell door singing prison songs for the small time they sat us in there. There was a single bed in the room made of metal. The room’s walls were white and there was writing on the walls — whoever they had in the cell before that must have drawn and wrote in the wall. The bed was cold, and there was a single small window on the back wall and a bigger window on the door which was pretty dirty. I never told my mama about the field trip; she didn’t know about a lot of times when I would get in trouble at school because she was always at work and didn’t have a phone.

Me and Tim alone couldn’t be messed with and when we got together we got in a lot of trouble. Even when we got into middle school, he died in 2014. He was killed — shot over thirty times. When I heard that, I was hurt and in denial. I couldn’t cry. It still hurts till this day. His mama died two months after him from a broken heart. He was her only son, and she couldn’t take the pain of losing him. People disrespect him now that he’s gone but when he was here he had em’ scared.

Ever since my dad left I’ve been unhappy. More and more things happened after he left that added onto the pain I was already feeling inside. I’ve lost a lot of people, and my heart turned cold over my years of living. I don’t care about a lot of things only a few, but that’s life…

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