SHAD3 by Dexter Alvaro
(Chapter 1) “And-One”
I’m staring deep into my girlfriend’s hazel eyes. And even if she doesn’t say anything, she’s keeping something from me. Can’t blame her actually, I’ve got a secret I don’t want to tell her.
But right now, this moment, it’s perfect. It’s just the two of us. I don’t have to rush; I can take my sweet time because Amna’s parents are away on vacation. I can’t believe what she sees in me.
I love staring at her symmetrical face. Perfectly manicured eyebrows, pointed nose, dimples, high cheekbone. It’s a shame she refers to herself as a “mutt.” She shouldn’t be ashamed of her African-American, Jewish, East-Indian mixture. Damn. I know girls at our school envy her Victoria’s Secret Model shade and shape.
The only thing I have going for me is that I’m a baller. A shooter. Six-foot-three shooting guard for Saint Francis Academy. Let me rephrase that, “Starting Shooting Guard” for San Fran’s most prestigious prep school.
Sure our basketball team gets creamed by Nob Hill High every year, but the kids that go to our school are legit ballers. Not in the sports sense, but more like being entrenched in old and new money.
Just like Amna Goldson. Shoot! My boo came from old money probably as old as San Francisco’s Gold Rush days.
That’s why I don’t understand why her room doesn’t even appear she’s a rich girl. It’s too basic. I mean, the only thing that gives it away is the high-end tech gadgets and when you open her closet and check out the labels on her threads.
And she smells good all time like there’s a particular smell that pours out her luscious organically tanned skin. It’s not her expensive French perfumes I tell you. It’s something else. It sounds weird, but it’s similar to the new car smell.
While me, I probably have this pungent smell of burnt deep fried tofu. I mean, shoot, I live in San Fran’s Chinatown projects. My neighbors cook twenty-four seven, and not because they have a cooking show or whatnot, it’s pure economics. You have to respect the hustle, you know.
Amna goes on top of me and starts kissing my face, neck, chest, and if I get lucky, a trip down south will make my day. She’s kissing my inner thigh. Damn, my girl is such a tease. She stops kissing. What the hell?!
“How’d the Bay Area Dragons do this time?” she asks.
I’m dumbfounded and disappointed, but I don’t want to ruin this moment, so I say, “Our AAU team sucked, as usual. But me, I was lit. I’m a shooter. So, I shoot.” If that statement wasn’t revealing enough and direct to the point, I don’t know what else to say. Perhaps I should drop some Drake verses to get her in the mood.
Amna removes the blanket that protects our privacy. She puts on her clothes. I freakin’ knew it; I should’ve been cunning with my lingo and could’ve got some. Instead, I’m going to think of ways how to get my disappointed deep fried spring roll to behave appropriately.
I don’t want to go back to what happened last night but thinking about it will probably do the trick.
“It’s gonna work. I know it,” I say to myself.
A dead-end street, a perfect place to commit a crime. Dumpsters against the wall of an abandoned, dilapidated brick building: broken mirrors, graffiti, the smell of bladder juice and excrements.
The Bay Area Dragons’ Coach, a portly, bald man in his 50s leans on the wall and reaches for the sky. Coach Spoon is petrified.
The full moon illuminates the sky. However, much like the night represents rest or sleep, the fate of Coach Spoon hangs in the balance.
With his voice quivering he begs, “Please. Kevin. Son. Don’t shoot.”
Just like my coach, my body is shaking. I’m still wearing my AAU jersey. It’s a blue jersey with yellow trimmings, you know, like the Golden State Warriors’ uniform.
I’m gripping a 9mm handgun firmly with my right hand, my shooting hand.
A slight lisp and a high-pitched voice like Mike Tyson, “Spoon ain’t yo pops, Kev. Shoot him! Pop a cap at his big mouth.”
I swallow hard. My right-hand shakes as I tightly grip the device that holds the metal sleeping pill to Coach Spoon’s ill-advised deathbed. I keep the gun steady with my left hand. Then, suddenly I hear a loud BANG!
My eyes are about to pop out its sockets. I drop the gun.
I walk toward Coach Spoon to see if he’s okay. Blood oozes out his neck. Coach spoon grabs his throat to stop the bleeding.
I didn’t realize I was in a deep trance. I snapped out of it when I realized that Amna’s kissing my neck. She says, “Kev. We need to talk.”
I wanted so bad to shake off that moment that is probably going to haunt me for the rest of my life. So I go down on my knees and start kissing Amna’s legs and working my way to half-court.
“Stop it Kev,” she utters authoritatively.
“Chill, babe. I got ya. Y’all folks ain’t coming back from they vacay anyway,” I say in my poor man’s Drake voice.
She crosses her arms and rolls her eyes, “Why must you talk like that?”
Say What?! I didn’t appreciate Amna’s shade. I get up and stare at her and clear my throat. “Like what? Bish. Ya ain’t never gonna get it,” a proper shade for a Pacific Heights princess.
“Don’t you disrespect me, Kevin Lai.”
I am horny as hell, and I don’t want to fight, so I start tickling her. She playfully slaps my hand.
The chorus to Drake’s “Nice For What” rap song starts to play on my phone. I look at her, and she smiles. Damn, my girl changed my ringtone. Probably the part-Jewish in her that really digs Drake.
I pick up my phone, and the caller ID says “SFPD.”
A forty-year-old Caucasian man wears his San Francisco Police Department issued uniform as he sits on the driver seat of his cop car.
The police officer is Liam O’Day.
PHONE CONVERSATION (KEVIN & LIAM)
Liam’s phone is on a windshield mobile phone holder. The call is on speaker. Liam opens his glove compartment and grabs a 100 ml liquor glass bottle.
I pace back and forth. I am clearly distressed, but Amna is all smiles as she fiddles with her phone.
Yeah. Who this?
Liam pours liquor into his disposable coffee cup.
Sue Lai. She’s your mother, right?
I breathe in and out as I rub my forehead with my palm. Amna rubs my shoulder. I smile at her, and I mutter, “My mom’s in trouble.”
Why? She okay?
Liam chugs his morning fix with liquid courage.
Just pick her up at Richmond station.
Liam hangs up.
I pocket my phone.
“Who was that?” Amna inquires.
I don’t want to keep too many secrets from her, and since she changed my ringtone, I’m sure she knows my passcode and will find out the truth anyway.
So without mincing my words I respond, “My mom’s in jail. Probably got picked up drinking in public again.”
My mind is racing. I don’t know what to think. I wish I am chill like Klay Thompson. But more fun and aggressive like China Klay. On the account that I’m half-Caucasian and half-Chinese.
Amna barks, “Public intoxication again? Third time this month.”
I shoot her a Kobe death stare. She returns my serve and stares right back at me. She idolizes Serena Williams and plays tennis. Sometimes I fear that she might go full-Serena and marry a Jewish guy, too.
I don’t want to say something stupid, so I walk towards the door. Retreat and surrender. I know it’s the coward thing to do. But it’s my best chess move.
“Don’t go, Kev. We still haven’t discussed.”
I couldn’t hold my emotions, so I spill my guts, “Discuss what, Amna? That you’re pregnant. I ain’t stupid, you know?” Amna doesn’t know that I saw her buy a pregnancy test kit two days ago.
“Then quit being a pussy,” she yells.
I’m a competitive guy. I don’t walk away from competition. If a yelling match she wants, a yelling match she gets. I yell, “I’m a freakin’ bleached chow fun bastard from Chinatown. What can a broke-ass Wink possibly offer you?”
She opens the door. Without even looking into my eyes she says, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Are you a daddy or a baby? Man up, Kev.”
That was a knockout punch. How do you counter that? You can’t. Hand down, man down. She hits me with a powerful right hook. What else can I do?
I pick my knocked-out imaginary self up. Amna walks back toward the bed. I want to tell her, “Sorry.” But it’s not right for fighters who get knocked out to apologize for their broken jaw.
She fiddles with her phone. My phone rings. I pick it up immediately. It’s the same “SFPD” caller ID. I ignore the call and pocket my cell phone.
What am I going to do? I’m only seventeen years old. How could I fulfill my dream of playing for the Association? Who’s going to support my alcoholic mother and get her out of our hellish predicament?
Heck, I don’t even know what’s going to happen to Coach Spoon. What if he dies? That’s on me.
I don’t want my kid to be a bastard like me.
I can’t just do me.
I’ve got to do the right thing.