The Old Man at the Beach

Hey y’all, sorry that it’s been a minute since I posted on the Warfield Zone. I found myself needing to take a little break and focus on my senior year of college, my relationship with God and other things as well. Anyways, I’m back, and I’m ready to share some of my stories with you all. A story that comes to mind and kind of connects with another story that I will be sharing this week as well is “The Old Man at the Beach.”

This summer, my family and I took a trip to Virginia Beach. It was the end of June, and it was exciting for me because I had never been to Virginia Beach. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I was gonna have a great time with my family. Also, I made sure to bring my camera with me as well because I knew that I could get a lot of great pictures for my photography shop Eyes Haven’t Seen. For me, it was gonna be a very productive vacation.

My family and I would be in Virginia Beach for a couple of days, and it consisted of us making a lot of great memories with each other. However, one day spent at the beach is where I would meet an interesting, old man.

It was a hot, summer day at Virginia Beach. My family and I were excited to go to the beach and enjoy the sand, the sun and the ocean. The weather was a perfect 90 degrees. I remember the wind blowing perfectly and the ocean looking so pretty. Luckily, my family and I found a great spot on the beach to claim, chill and relax. I had my Canon E0S Rebel T6 with me, so I knew that I was gonna take some amazing pictures. I had on a T-shirt, swim trunks and sandals. I decided to take my shirt off and go take some pictures. I told my mom that I was just gonna roam around the beach and take some pictures. My mom said alright, and I went to take some pictures.

As I was walking around the beach taking photos, I realized that I had left my phone with my family. At first, I was thinking about going back to get it, but then I thought that it wasn’t necessary because I wasn’t going to be gone too long. Sadly, I was wrong.

I was taking pictures, and I saw that I was kind of far away from my family. I was thinking about being done taking photographs and heading back to my family, but I thought that I could use a hundred more photographs in my camera.

Anyways, I’m taking more pics in an area that has a few people in it. There’s a guy sitting down on a bench and another guy is just standing and looking at the ocean view. While I’m still taking pictures, I’m approached by this old, black man. He was wearing some shades, a hat, a nice watch, pink shorts and some sandals. He had a fat belly and a little white beard. Anyways, he came over to me and asked if I wanted to take some pictures of him. I told him that I was fine, but then he got a little closer to me. He asked again if I was sure, and I told him again that I was fine. He was uncomfortably close to me, and I kind of felt trapped. Then, he said, “Can I just say that you are a very handsome, young man? Also, very strong. Do you work out a lot?”

Before I could answer, he ended up touching my arms and shoulders. He even patted my stomach a little and said, “Oh yeah, you definitely work out a lot.”

He ended up laughing, and I laughed a little and said, “No, just a little. I just work out like two or three times a week.”

He started laughing, but I kind of just gave a chuckle. I was really nervous and uncomfortable with him, and I just really wanted him to give me some space and to stop touching me. I tried to walk away, but then he said, “Hey, do you wanna smoke some weed with me? It’s back at my car, and it’s some good stuff.”

I replied, “Oh no thank you, I don’t smoke weed.”

I chuckled, but he walked up on me all serious and said, “Don’t you lie to me. I know you smoke weed. I can see it in your eyes. Why don’t you wanna smoke with me?”

I took a step back because he was really close to me, and I said, “Again, sir, I don’t smoke weed.”

“Why are you lying to me? I know you like weed. There’s no way that you don’t smoke weed. I don’t believe it,” he said.

He was still looking serious, and I was still a little scared. He just seemed very insulted that I didn’t want to smoke with him, so I said, “Yeah sir, I don’t smoke weed. Also, I’m vacationing with my family and—

“Oh, I know. I saw you with your family. You’re family is quite lovely. When I saw you walking away from them with your camera, I was hoping to bump into you,” the old man interrupted.

That was kind of a little creepy and stalker-ish to me. I just wanted to get away from him, but I couldn’t. We ended up talking another ten minutes just about each other, and I just really wished that I had my phone with me. I would’ve used it to call my mom or something. Anyways, we ended up talking about music and the instruments we played. I told him how I played the drums, and he explained that he played seven different instruments. Then, he pointed in the opposite direction and explained that his house wasn’t too far from here. He said, “If you want, we can go back to my place, have a little jam session cause I have a lot of instruments with me and maybe smoke some weed.”

He was so adamant about smoking weed with me, and it just made me uncomfortable. I really just wanted to get away from him. Then, he abruptly asked me if I was seeing someone. I quickly responded, “Yes sir, I am seeing someone. An amazing girl that I’m just so in love with right now.”

Then, he said, “Aww that’s sweet, what’s her name and what’s she like?”

Now, there wasn’t a girl that I was deeply in love with at all in my life. I was just saying that because it was more convenient to stretch the truth in this situation that I was in with this old man. So, I said, “Yeah, her name is Denise and she’s just the most special girl in my life right now. I couldn’t imagine life without her.”

“Aww that’s sweet, is it new and fresh,” the old man asked.

I said, “Well, kind of. We’ve been together for six months, but I can tell that she’s the one that I’m gonna marry. I’m actually planning on proposing to her soon. I just don’t want to wait any longer with her, and I’m ready to commit to her. I love her with all my heart. Also, she’s kind of my weed partner in crime.”

We both laughed, and he said, “Aww, so that’s why you don’t wanna smoke with me. Do you have any pictures of her?”

I replied, “Yeah, I have lots of pictures of her and us together, but I don’t have my phone with me. Otherwise, I would show you all the pictures.”

We ended up talking a little more with each other, but he eventually had to leave. I was relieved, and I ended up rushing back to my family. I told my mom what happened, and she was happy to know that I was safe and away from the old man.

This is the end of “The Old Man at the Beach.”

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “The Girl with the Pills.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Too Greedy

A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Lorain, Ohio to visit my Grandma Mollie. We went to her house on a Friday, and we had planned to be there till Sunday. On Friday, we pretty much enjoyed each other’s company, had some pizza and watched a movie. Luckily, my grandma didn’t have to work on Saturday, so that meant tomorrow would be a day of fun with her.

On Saturday, my Grandma Mollie had gotten up early to make everybody breakfast. My grandma loves baking cookies and making breakfast. It’s literally her bread and butter. It’s like her happy place, the same way writing is for me. She has this passion for baking that I’ve always admired and respected with her. One time, I remember my grandma was making dozens of cookies late at night to sell at a church convention. She’s truly dedicated to one of her many crafts and seeing her dedication was always an inspiration to me. My grandma illustrated to me the importance of constantly working on your craft by her always wanting to bake cookies and make breakfast.

Anyways, my grandma typically makes breakfast for 30-40 people because she always invites uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends to her house to eat breakfast. My grandma really enjoys the company of other people, especially family and friends. Breakfast at Grandma Mollie’s ended up lasting till 2:00, and a lot of my family would leave and thank my grandma for the food. After people leave, my family and I begin the next phase of our day with Grandma Mollie. Games.

Just like movies, playing games is always something that I value with my Grandma Mollie. We played Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Phase 10, Heads Up and many other games. Then, the real game came along when my Grandma Mollie suggested playing Greedy. A game that would lead to betrayal, heartache, disappointment, humiliation and greed.

For those who don’t know, Greedy is a 20-dice game. You can play with as many people as you want, and the goal is to get to 50,000 points before anyone else. You roll 20 dice in your hand, and a certain amount of dice get you a certain amount of points.

 

Three dice of 1’s=1,000

Three dice of 6’s=600

Three dice of 5’s=500

Three dice of 4’s=400

Three dice of 3’s=300

Three dice of 2’s=200

One die of 1=100

One die of 5=50

 

The numbers up above are the only way you can get points. For example, a die of 6 will not get you any points because you need a set (three dice of 6’s) to get points. Only a die of one or five can get you added points. Also, you have to roll down to three dice. Once you roll down to three dice, you can have your score be written down on the paper and it will be the next person’s turn.

However, you can be greedy and keep rolling till you have no dice. For example, if I have two dice in my hand, then one or both of those dice have to end up being a one or a five because that’s the only way I can get points. So, if I roll a five and a four, the five gets counted and it would get added to my score. Then, I would have one die left. If I choose to be greedy, my last die would have to be a one or a five. If I roll a one or a five, then I would have those points added to my score, and I would get to roll all 20 dice again and add more to my score. However, if I don’t roll a one or a five, then I would lose all my points that I gained in my roll, and it would be the next person’s turn. The term I would be for losing all of my points is set.

In addition, you can be set if you roll your dice off the table and stack your dice three times.

Now that you hopefully have an understanding of the rules, let’s get back to the story.

So, my family and I gathered at my Grandma Mollie’s big table to play the 20-dice game known as Greedy. It was me, my Grandma Mollie, my Aunt Rachael, my Aunt Bev, my mom and dad, my cousin Alvin and my brother Isaac. I ended up getting to roll first. I had all 20 dice in my hand, and I rolled it all on my grandma’s slippery table.

The person to the left of you counts the dice for you, and that person ended up being my Grandma Mollie. I ended up getting 2 sets of one’s (2,000), a set of six (600), a set of five (500) one die of five (50) and two dice of one’s (200). I ended up being left with five dice in my hand. On your first roll, it doesn’t matter how many dice you have in your hands, you just have to have at least 2,500 points on your first roll. My first roll total was 3,350, so I elected to not be greedy. It was a pretty good roll for me, and it would be just the beginning of me flourishing in this game of Greedy.

Now, I’ll admit that I’m a very competitive person. I love winning, no matter what. I’ll also admit that back in the day that I was not a humble winner either. I liked to talk a lot after I won something, and I was just not a gracious winner. Thankfully, I’ve improved myself a lot and started becoming a somewhat more humble winner. I still trash talk here there, but I’m more kind and sweet to others when I win. Unfortunately, I was just a unnecessary, greedy, competitive person when I was playing Greedy at my Grandma Mollie’s house.

Anyways, I was rolling in Greedy. No pun intended. I had a commanding start and lead to Greedy, while everyone else was struggling. I was literally cooking and dominating, and I was naturally talking smack. I was talking about how I’m the greatest, the legend and the myth in Greedy, and nobody could touch me. My Aunt Bev has this catchphrase in Greedy when she got what she wanted. She would say “Haaaaambuuuurger.” So, I thought to myself, “Since I’m murdering my family in Greedy, it’s only natural that I have a catchphrase of my own. I’m so great in Greedy like my idol Muhammad Ali is in boxing that I had to have a signature, clever catchphrase. A catchphrase that would fit me and who I was.”

All of a sudden, it came to me. My Grandma Mollie ended up getting set, so I looked at my grandma, smiled and enthusiastically said, “There ya go.”

My grandma didn’t understand. Then, I started doing it to everyone else when they rolled the dice off the table or got set, I smiled at them and enthusiastically said, “There ya go.”

My Grandma Mollie and others were annoyed with my catchphrase, but they couldn’t help but laugh at it because it was so good. The way I said and my consistency to say it was hilarious to my grandma, mom and Aunt Bev. My grandma was talking about how I was about to lose this game of Greedy because I was being too cocky. Also, she said, “Oh, I can’t wait to say ‘there ya go’ to you when you start losing your luck in this game.”

I thought my grandma was being foolish because I was just too hot. I wasn’t slowing down at all, and I was having a historic game of Greedy. I was like the 73-9 Warriors team. I was just dominating and rolling lights out all game long. Now, I say the 73-9 Warriors team because I ended up choking and blowing a great lead that I had in Greedy.

I had 47,500 points and all I needed was 2,500 points to win. It was my roll, and I ended up talking about how it was great game that we played. I talked about how they were all worthy opponents, but they just couldn’t stop the legend that I am in Greedy. Isaac yelled, “Will you be quiet and roll?”

I was laughing, and I ended up rolling two of the dice off the table. I was in shock. Then, everyone started laughing. I was muttering wait, but everyone was laughing. My Aunt Bev said, “Nope, it’s your grandma’s turn now. You messed up, Isaiah. Haaaambuuurger.”

Then, my grandma asked me to look at her, and I did. Then, she said, “There ya go.”

Everyone was laughing, and I was just shaking my head at how naïve they were being. I said, “It’s fine, I’m just trying to give y’all a chance, honestly. I’m so far ahead, I’m cool and thriving.”

Eventually, it was my turn again, and my brother Isaac was the closest person to stopping me. He was only 5,300 points away from getting 50,000. Naturally, I’m not nervous because he needs at least two rolls to get to 50,000. Anyways, I roll the 20 dice and I end up getting 2,350 points. I had five dice in my hand, so I still had to roll. I rolled and I ended up getting two five’s in that roll. I was at 2,450 points. Now, I could’ve decided to be done because I was done to three dice now, however I decided that I wanted to be Greedy. The reason is because I only needed 50 points to win the game. Surely, I could easily roll a one or five in these three dice I thought to myself. There was no way that I was going to be set, I thought to myself. I told my family that I’m about to win this game now because there comes a time where one must be greedy, and this is one of those times. I said, “Y’all played good, but y’all are just no match for the greatness that I am. Please, remember this moment. Please, remember that I am the legend, the myth, the great and the greatest known as Isaiah Warfield.”

I did a little bit more talking, and I eventually rolled the three dice that I had. All I needed was a one or a five. To my disappointment, I ended up rolling a two, a three and a four. I was devastated. Everyone at the table was laughing at me. They were so mean. What did I do to deserve getting made fun of? I looked to my Grandma Mollie for some support for her first-born grandson, but I got the exact opposite. She looked at me, smiled and enthusiastically said, “There ya go.”

Then, I said to everyone at the table, “Hey, I’m still ahead. I just another roll, and I’ll be good. I’m still about to win this game.”

Sadly, I was mistaken. It was my brother’s turn, and he ended up rolling and getting 2,800 points. He was left with four dice. I was thinking to myself, “Alright, he’ll probably get his points, but I’ll have the opportunity to get my points.”

To my surprise, Isaac ended up rolling a set of six (three 6’s) and a one. Isaac yelled, “Let’s go!!!”

It made his total 3,500 points. With no more dice to roll, he ended up getting a chance to roll again and add to his total. I was stunned. He was now 1,800 points away from beating me.

Everyone, except me, was cheering him on. They were telling him that he could do it. My Grandma Mollie, “Come on, Isaac, you can do it. I’ll take you winning over this joker that’s been talking too much all game.”

I couldn’t believe my grandma wanted Isaac to win more than me. The betrayal was real to me. Anyways, my brother ended up rolling all 20 dice and getting 2,400 points. My brother had enough points to beat me, however he had four dice in his hands. He had to roll again. I was praying to God that Isaac wouldn’t get a one, a five or a set, but God sadly disappointed me. Isaac rolled all four dice, and he ended up rolling a six, a three, a two and a one. My brother’s total ended up being 6,000 points, and his total score was 50,700 points. My brother had won the game of Greedy that I was meant to win.

My whole family at the table congratulated my brother Isaac, then they started mocking me with my own catchphrase and other things. Ashamed and humiliated, I ran away from the table in defeat. I wasn’t a winner, I was a loser. I wasn’t a legend, I was a phony. I wasn’t the greatest, I was the worst. I wasn’t the truth, I was the lie. I didn’t live up to the hype. I choked like the 73-9 Warriors team did against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. I blew a lead that I had like the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead. I hate the Warriors, and I’m ashamed that I was just like them in this game of Greedy.

This game of Greedy really taught me the importance of sitting down and being humble. I look back at this moment, and I just can’t help but laugh about it, especially with my Grandma Mollie. In the end, I’m grateful for the memory of that heart-breaking game of Greedy that I had with my Grandma Mollie.

This is the end of “Getting Too Greedy.”

This weekend, I will be posting two poems on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movies With My Grandma

Last year, my Grandma Mollie came from Lorain, Ohio, to visit me and my family in Pittsburgh. I remember we were all sitting in the living room laughing and talking, while I had the remote in my hand. As I was flipping through all of the channels, I quickly noticed that there was a certain movie on AMC that I love with a passion. That movie was The Matrix. 

The Matrix is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s just a known fact that it’s the greatest movie of all time. That’s right, a fact. It’s got everything you need in a movie from the story, the symbolism, the suspense, the action, the horror, the mystery, the sci-fi, the characters (Trinity, Neo, Cypher, Morpheus, Agent Smith, the Oracle), the romance, the philosophy, the faith, the deliverance, the free will and so much more. I ask you to name another movie that has all of that and more? Can you name another iconic movie? No, you can’t. And do you know why, you can’t name another movie? Because there’s only one, and that movie is The Matrix, the greatest movie of all time.

Anyways, I’m so excited to see my movie on TV, so I naturally put it on AMC. My little brother Isaac looks up to see what I put on, and he starts to groan. He yells, “Oh God, can we not have it on this god-awful movie.”

Naturally, I was appalled by Isaac’s disrespectful words to this work of art. Before I could say anything, my dad said, “Yeah, I agree. I’m not trying see some terrible acting by Keanu Reeves.”

In my mind, I’m saying to myself, “Oh no they didn’t. I know they didn’t just dog my movie like that. Why do they do this to me? Why do they always have to disrespect my movie when it’s on TV? Why do they force to defend the greatness that is ThMatrix?” 

Naturally, I went off on them. First, I went at Isaac talking about how he had no right to be saying The Matrix was awful when he had never even seen it before, but that didn’t stop him from talking. Then, I told my dad that Keanu’s acting was perfect and just the right amount for the movie. “Isaiah, he barely showed any emotion. His acting was poor with his blank stares.Will Smith would’ve done so much better as Neo, my dad added.”

I responded, “No, Keanu was being realistic. I probably would’ve acted the same way too if I found out I was in a computer simulation for all my life. I sure wouldn’t be dramatic like Will Smith and yell, ‘No, no, no,’ at some mannequin like he did in I Am Legend. Just being way too dramatic. No, The Matrix is a realistic movie with everything and a hint of drama, it’s not a full-on drama.”

My brother, dad and I continued to argue for ten more minutes. My mom ended up betraying me and saying The Matrix wasn’t the greatest movie of all time. My sisters just kept laughing, while my Grandma Mollie was silent. Eventually, we stopped arguing, and I was able to watch a little bit of my movie and recite some of the lines. While I was watching this masterpiece, my brother interrupted my moment of bliss and said, “This movie is trash, and it’s kind of sad that you know every single line in this movie.”

Before I could say anything, my Grandma Mollie came to the rescue. She said, “Now, y’all leave my baby alone. He’s been loving this movie since he was three years old. Let my baby watch his movie in peace, please.”

It’s true, I have loved The Matrix since I was three years old. I remember my grandma introduced the movie to me when I was three years old. She told me how I really loved the movie, and it just always held a special place in my heart. I loved Neo. I would always imitate him, and it used to annoy my mom. My grandma told me that there was this one time where my mom had whooped me hard for doing something bad. I don’t remember what I did, but it was brutal whooping. After my mom was done whooping me, I had gotten up and said “Momma.” My mom turned around, I looked into her eyes and said, “How did you beat me?”

My mom had this confused look on her face, but my grandma was rolling. Then, I extended my right arm and motioned with my right hand to come on and bring it. My mom said, “What in the world is my baby doing?”

My grandma was still laughing like crazy, and she explained, “Well, we’ve been watching the Matrix, and he’s imitating scenes from the movie. Morpheus asking Neo how he beat him in the training simulation, and Neo telling Agent Smith to bring it in the Subway fight. Those two scenes.”

My grandma continued laughing, but my mom was still annoyed. I think she gave me another whooping because I asked for it, but I’m not sure entirely. However, The Matrix would be the beginning of my grandma and I watching movies together.

Since I was three years old, my grandma and I watched hundreds of movies together. There was always just something sacred about watching movies with my grandma. It was just special, quality time with her. I remember we watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy together, and I was just so confused with the story. I had no idea what was going on. I was really young when I saw it, but my grandma made the trilogy special for me. She would take the time to talk to me about what was going on in the movie, and she really helped me understand the plot of everything. My Grandma Mollie did so good with me that I started imitating Gollum to the delight of my grandma.

I remember my grandma and I used to watch Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore a lot. It was our movie for some reason. Just like The Matrix, Never Been Kissed was just a classic for me and my grandma. My grandma was just a huge Drew Barrymore fan, and I ended up becoming one as well thanks to her. Every time we watched Never Been Kissed, it just blew our minds that Drew’s character had never been in a relationship or never been kissed. It was mind-boggling to us.

There’s just so many memories of my grandma and I just watching movies together with her homemade cookies, sweets, candy, junk food and other unhealthy substitutes. Never vegetables thank God. I’m always going to cherish those movies that we watched together because it just shows how much she truly cares about me. She devoted time and energy to be one of the most fun-loving, kind and supportive people in my life. She always puts a smile on my face, makes me laugh with her jokes and just knows how to make me feel special and wanted. Not a lot of people have that effect on me, and I’m just so grateful that I have someone like my Grandma Mollie to do that for me. She’s done so much for me that she doesn’t know about, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her. I love my grandma so much, and I’m so grateful that I can continue to watch movies with my grandma.

This is the end of “Movies with My Grandma.”

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing “Getting Greedy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interesting Day at PetSmart

A couple of years ago, I was working part time at PetSmart. I was an early morning stocker and cashier. My shifts varied during that job from 5am-10am (early morning stocking), 2pm-7pm (cashier) and 3pm-9pm (cashier). In the month of July, my managers decided to just have me working 5am-10am because they needed me more as an early morning stocker. They asked me if that was an issue, but I told them that it was fine. I didn’t mind just working in the mornings. In fact, I was excited to just work as just an early morning stocker.

In the early morning shift, I just worked with two people. I worked with my manager Jim and my coworker Chris. Jim would work by himself with manager stuff, while Chris and I worked together on getting everything stocked from cat litter, cat food, dog food, toys, crates, treats and other things. We had about four hours to stock everything we needed (5am-9am), then we had a 30-minute lunch and 30 minutes to clean up. It varied if we got everything stocked or not in time. It just depended on how much we had to stock. Also, Chris and I talked and joked around a lot, and this also effected if we got everything stocked in time. However, my first day starting as primarily an early morning stocker was a day like no other.

It was a Monday morning, and I was at PetSmart at 4:55 am. A few minutes later, Chris had arrived. Chris and I had to wait for Jim to arrive because the store was locked, and he had the keys to the store. We’re both in our cars and on our phones just waiting for Jim to come. Ten minutes pass, and Jim’s not at PetSmart. Twenty minutes pass, and he’s still not here. Thirty minutes pass, and Chris and I are wondering what’s going on. We get out of our cars, and I asked him what’s going on. Chris said, “I don’t know, but Jim’s late, man.”

We were both hoping nothing bad happened to him, and Chris wondered if another manager was supposed to be working with us. I showed him the schedule on my phone to show that Jim was scheduled to work with us. Chris started rubbing his eyes and said, “Alright, I’ll just shoot him text and see what’s going on.”

He texted Jim, “Yo where u at?”

A few minutes later, he laughed and texted, “U up lol?”

He started giggling, and I couldn’t help but shake my head and giggle with him. Ten minutes passed, and there was still no response. I looked at and Chris said, “Well, let’s try calling him.”

We tried calling him, but there was no answer. It was 6:00 am now, and we were contemplating if we were able to leave or not. Five minutes later, Chris gets a text from our manager Jim. It read, “Hey fellas, I forgot to set my alarm and my phone was on silent. Whoopsies! I’ll be there in 30 mins.”

Chris and I started laughing because we saw the word “Whoopsies.” We kept joking around and saying that now he can’t be mad at us if we were 10-15 minutes late to work. Also, we were joking about how we could just use this against him.

It was 6:45 when Jim arrived at work. When Jim got out of his car, Chris yelled, “Hey sleeping beauty, did you get enough sleep?”

Everyone laughed, and Chris explained that he didn’t know what happened. His wife ended up waking him up. We all laughed as we all walked inside PetSmart, clocked in and headed to the back room. Chris assured us that he would make sure that we get our two other hours for coming in on time, and we thanked him. When we made it to the backroom, we saw that there was a lot to stock. Also, we only had two hours to stock everything. Jim looked at us and said, “Alright look, I’m not expecting yinz to get all this stocked in two hours. Just get as much as you can done, and we’ll just have to figure this all out later.”

After Jim said all of this, he left the backroom and went to his office. Chris and I looked at each other, and we were so excited because we pretty much had a free day. We didn’t have to feel rushed or anything, and it was gonna be a fun day at work. We only had to work for two hours and thirty minutes.

Chris and I started working, and we were just two happy campers. We’re smiling, talking and having a great time together. Chris was talking about his iFunny page with me, and some interesting memes. It was all sunshine and rainbows, until Chris came at me with a thunderstorm.

It’s around 8:00, and we were stocking dog food. All of sudden, he remembered something. He told me that he forgot to mention something interesting to me. I asked him what, and he explained that last week a cute girl was asking about me on Friday. I was excited and wanted to hear more. Chris said, “Yeah man, she was fine. Her body was popping, her booty was looking right. Everything was just on point, my man. She was such a cutie.”

Chris was really hyping her up for me, and I just wanted to know more. Chris continued, “Yeah man, she was talking about how sweet and cute you were, and she just wanted you to have her number.”

After he said that, we both got excited and started clapping our hands and jumping up an down. It was a great moment we shared together, and all I needed was the number to solidify this moment. So, I said, “Alright bro, let me get them digits.”

Suddenly, Chris stopped jumping, made a face and said, “Yeah, about that. I actually didn’t get the number.”

I stopped jumping and clapping, and I asked him what did he mean. He replied, “Well, I just didn’t get the number. It just never came up in our conversation.”

“Conversation? How long were y’all talking together?” I asked.

“Like a good five minutes,” he said.

“Wow, so you were talking to this goddess that wants me for five minutes, and you somehow don’t have the necessary information I need to pursue this girl,” I said.

I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing, Chris yelled, “Now, wait a minute! In that time, I was hyping you up. I told her all these great things about you, and I got her really excited about you. I mean really excited about you. And I did get some information. I found out that she works around here.”

I said okay, and I asked him where does she work. He gave me a scared look and started looking away from me. Then, I said, “Chris, please tell me you know where she works. Surely, you would at least get that information for me.”

Chris turned to me, gave a weird face and said, “I wasn’t able to find out—

“Oh my gosh, Chris! You didn’t get any information for me! I thought you were my boy, how could not give me anything to work with?” I interrupted.

“Jan was around, Isaiah. You know how strict she can be. I didn’t want her thinking that I was just talking to a customer,” he said.

“But you were talking to a customer! For five minutes! You could’ve gotten some information for me. It’s not that hard to ask people where they work. Also, you have my number. You could’ve just given it to her in less than ten seconds. I just can’t believe this betrayal by you. I thought we were brothers,” I said.

I started to fake cry, and Chris started laughing and asking why did I have to be so dramatic. I responded, “Because this is a serious moment. If the situation was reversed and you were the one she wanted, I would’ve gotten her number, her place of employment, her Facebook, her Snapchat, her Instagram, her address, her driver’s license number, her social security card, her birth certificate, and so much more in under five minutes for you. I would do that for you. Give you everything and anything you needed to be with this goddess you described to me. I just can’t believe that you didn’t give me anything. I thought we were brothers, but that was clearly a lie. I just can’t believe this betrayal.”

I continued my fake crying, when Chris came to me and embraced me. He started fake crying and said, “I’m sorry, Isaiah. I’m ashamed of myself. I let you down, and I didn’t get you your goddess. Please, forgive me, my brother.”

I responded, “Your betrayal is unforgivable. The damage has been done, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. That goddess you described was probably the love of my life that I’ll never see again.”

We fake cried some more and then we let go of each other. Then, we started laughing. I told him that I was still low-key mad that he didn’t get anything from me. He said, “I know, but I also found out that she comes in the afternoons at PetSmart. I told her that she’ll probably eventually see you again in the afternoon.”

I sighed, looked at him and said, “Nah bro, I only work the mornings now. So, I’m probably never gonna see her again.”

“Oh. Whoopsies,” Chris said.

We both started laughing, Chris looked at his watch and said, “Well, it’s 9:00 right now, so it’s break time. Do you want to go and get some Chick-Fil-A?”

“Yeah sure, I could use some Chick-Fil-A right now.”

So, Chris and I headed to Chick-Fil-A, ate and talked for thirty minutes, came back to PetSmart to clean up our mess for thirty minutes and went home afterwards. It was truly an interesting day at PetSmart filled with bliss, laughter, fun and betrayal.

This is the end of “An Interesting Day at PetSmart.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

This weekend, I will be posting and sharing poetry.

 

 

 

Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman

Now, I was gonna share a different story today, but I found myself compelled to share this story. I don’t know why, but I really felt like I needed to share this story. It’s a sad but necessary story about honestly being at the wrong place at the wrong time. At the same time, this is a story about being at the right place at the right time. This is “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

Last week, I was working my usual 6am-2pm shift on Friday. I was extremely tired because I had about two hours of sleep. I was up till midnight writing a story, and I ended up watching Pulp Fiction after I was done writing. Now, I usually watch The Twilight Zone or some horror movie before going to bed, but I wanted to watch Pulp Fiction that night. I’ve seen it a lot, and it’s one of my favorite movies behind The Matrix, my all-time favorite. However, I really wanted to see Pulp Fiction again because I had just watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in theatres and wanted to get my “Quentin Tarantino” on. It was necessary, and sleeping isn’t that important, right?

Anyways, I was struggling to stay awake. Even with coffee in my system, I was a literal zombie. My coworker Marie is used to me being all sleepy and tired, but she said, “I can’t believe you do this to yourself. How are you functioning? You need to get at least five hours of sleep. Minimum.”

I laughed and said, “Marie, you know me. I can’t help that I’m a late-night writer, and I enjoy a good scary movie before going to bed. I’m only human, Marie.”

We both start laughing, and Marie just calls me silly. It’s around 7 am, and my manager, Michael, sends out a new person to me and Marie to train. Her name is Jenn, and she was really nice and cool to work with. Marie explained to Jenn that me and her were extremely tired, but we promised to perk up at around 9 or 10 am. An hour passes, and I’m slowly but surely starting to wake up. Plus, Marie and I are training Jenn, but for the most part she was doing pretty good on her own. Also, it was kind of slow in the store. Everything was alright. Then, everything changes when I’m stocking cigarettes, and I hear, “Excuse me, sir.”

I turn around and see a black woman in front of my register. She’s pretty, and she’s about few years older than me. However, I could tell that she was a little scared. Not knowing what’s going on, I said, “Yes mam.”

“Can I talk to you really quick?,” she asked.

She was a little quiet asking me, so I leaned in and whispered, “Yeah that’s fine.”

Then, she asked me if we could actually talk in private. I told her that it was perfectly fine and suggested that we talk in the dining room. She started walking to the dining room, while I followed after her. Luckily, we weren’t busy, and Marie had Jenn helping her up front. So, it was fine for me to talk to this black woman.

Anyways, I’m in the dining room with the black woman, and I asked her if everything was alright. She started crying a little and explained that she was drunk and far from home. She lived at North Side, and she somehow ended up in Jefferson Hills. She apologized to me for smelling drunk, and I assured that she was fine. Then, she continued, “Yeah, I ended up going to a party I shouldn’t have gone to. I was drinking too much. I don’t remember much of what happened, but I know these white guys…they…you…know did things to me.”

She was having a hard time breathing, and I just told her to just sit down and take a deep breathe. She quickly sat down and tried to catch her breathe. I sat down as well, and I was assuring her that it was alright. Then, she added, “I’m so scared because my kids are home alone, and I just can’t believe that I was so irresponsible and go to that stupid party.”

She was really beating herself up, so I looked at her and said, “Look, you’re fine now. You did the responsible thing by coming here and seeking some help. It’s better that you’re in here than out there. You’re being responsible now.”

She thanked me for my encouragement and explained that she didn’t have any money. Also, her phone was dying, and she was having a hard time reaching a friend. So, she had no way of getting home. Then, I asked her if she maybe wanted to call the police about the incident. She responded, “No, no, no cops. I just want to forget about last night and go home to my kids.”

I understood that she just wanted to go home, but I still wished that she reported what happened to her to the authorities. Even though I don’t know all the details about her assault, her trembling and crying illustrated to me that she had been through some serious trauma. I wish that she wanted justice for herself, but I understood that she was drunk, tired and ready to forget and be home with her kids. She saw the whole situation as her fault for getting drunk, and she just wanted to forget the mistake she made. Yes, she was drunk, but that doesn’t give men the right to do whatever they wanted to her. Her behavior and drunkenness is not a free pass for men to do with her as they please. She kept saying to me that she should’ve known better, but in reality it’s the white men that hurt her that should’ve known better. They’re the ones that hurt her . They’re the ones that assaulted her. They’re the ones that took advantage of her. How could she not see that? How could she place more blame on herself than on the white men that hurt her? Then, I remembered that it’s the society that we live in. It’s a toxic society that has infected both men and women. It’s a society that places more blame on women for their “mistakes” rather than help them seek justice from the tyranny of evil men.

Anyways, I told her that I understood that she didn’t want the cops involved and asked if she wanted something to drink like coffee or water. She said that water would be fine, so I went and got her a cup of water. When I came back with the water, I was still trying to figure out how she could get home. I was suggesting to maybe take the bus, but she didn’t want to take the bus. Then, I said, “Well, I’m not sure what we can do. I can maybe talk to my manager and see if he has a solution.”

“Wait, is your manager white?”

I told her that he was, and I could tell that made her uneasy. So, I assured her that my manager Michael was nice, and he would do his best to help her. I added that she could trust me, and he wasn’t going to call the cops. She said okay, and I went to my manager’s office.

I told Michael everything that was going on with the black woman, and he handled everything with compassion and respect. Michael talked to her a little, gave her a sausage burrito and a breakfast sandwich and assured that everything was going to be alright. He pulled me to the side and explained how he offered to give her money for the bus, but she didn’t want to do that. Also, he could tell that something serious had happened to her, but she didn’t want to tell him. I explained to Michael that she talked to me about it, and he was relieved with that. Then, he told me to just do inside trash, but also to keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn’t fall asleep and just check on her and make sure she’s doing alright.

I was thankful and glad that Michael was there as the manager that day. He’s one of the most compassionate managers I ever worked for, and I just couldn’t imagine another Sheetz manager dealing with the scared, black woman as Michael did. He kept it quiet, and he showed her so much kindness and respect to her. Michael was honestly the right manager at the right time.

Anyways, I was checking on the woman like Michael instructed. Making sure that she was doing alright. She told me that Michael was nice to her, and someone was coming to pick her up. They ended up coming at around 9 am to pick her up and taking her home to her kids.

Despite being at the wrong place at the wrong time at the party, I was so glad that the woman ended up being at the right place at the right time at Sheetz.

This is the end of “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Tipping

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling on Facebook, and I came across a post by a waitress. She posted a $184.14 bill for a table that she waited, and she got tipped $15.86. So, the grand total of the bill was $200. Also, the customer put a note on the bill that read, “Thank you for a wonderful experience, Erica.” Then, the caption from the waitress stated that the 8% tip wasn’t enough, and a compliment wasn’t going to help her pay her tuition. After that, I went to the comments.

There were like 15,000 comments, and I got a little excited. I just love going through comments in social media and seeing different perspectives on a post/video that I watched as well. Anyways, I saw that a majority of people were siding against the waitress, while a few were on her side. I found it interesting because my mom taught me that it was important to tip at least 15-25%, depending on the service. I thought this was a universal rule, but the comments showed that this wasn’t a universal rule. I didn’t see any mention of the customary 15% tip, and it was interesting to me. As I was reading through the comments, I recalled a time where I was with some people that didn’t want to tip.

Last year, I was eating at Eat n’ Park with my friends Kevin, Mark and Anthony. They all really wanted to go to Eat n’ Park for one reason and one reason only. To get a free cookie. Those Eat n’ Park cookies were extremely important to them, and they wanted a free cookie. Now, despite having a sweet tooth, it wasn’t that important for me to get a free cookie from the restaurant. Yeah they were good, but they weren’t all that. Plus, I would rather have some really good food than mediocre food and a free cookie. I really don’t like Eat n’ Park. Their food is okay to me, but there are way more better options than Eat n’ Park. I low-key feel like the restaurant knows that their food is somewhat okay, and they pretty much reward people for eating and paying for it with a cookie. Eat n’ Park is like, “Thank you so much for eating our food, we know it’s not the best. It’s just okay. Have a cookie” Why are so many people blinded by a cookie? I wonder.

Anyways, they all wanted to go to Eat n’ Park, and I reluctantly agreed to have some okay food. We came in, and it was packed. It took a few minutes, but we ended up getting a booth. We sat down at our booth, and our waitress was this girl named Denise. She was around the same age as us, and it was actually her first time being a waitress. She told us that this was her first day being a waitress, and how it’s been interesting, crazy day for her. We shared a few laughs with her, and we assured that she was gonna be alright. For the most part, she did well. She was really nice, sweet and helpful to us throughout our dinner. Denise seemed like she knew what she was doing as a waitress.

After we were all done with our somewhat decent food, Denise gave us our bills. I looked at my bill, and I was in pain because I had spent $15 on some mediocre food. I just shook my head and said in my head, “Alright, I’ll take the cookie to ease the pain.”

As I was in agony, my friends were asking about the cookies to Denise. She informed them that the cookies were only for children. My mouth dropped, and they were stunned. I was thinking to myself, “You mean to tell me that we had some mediocre food for nothing. That cookie was supposed to ease the pain I’m feeling right now.”

I ended up shaking my head and laughing that we weren’t getting any cookies. However, my friends were begging for them. I was confused because she had just told us that the cookies were for just kids, but they were still persistent on the cookies. I was laughing and saying, “Denise, they’re fine. They honestly don’t need any cookies.”

Anthony quickly said, “Nah, we need them cookies. We ain’t joking.”

They continued to pester Denise about the cookies, when she finally gave up and said that she might be able to get them one cookie. They were satisfied with that, and Denise proceeded to get them a cookie. Then, I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Y’all are really trying to get a cookie like that?”

Anthony responded, “Yeah man, I want a cookie. That’s the only reason we came here.”

Mark added, “True that.”

Kevin said, “I don’t know anymore.”

We started laughing, and Denise ended up coming back to us with one cookie. Anthony was asking where are the other cookies, and she said all she could get was one cookie. Anthony was still telling her that he still wanted a cookie for himself. Kevin decided to be an adult, and he said that Anthony and Mark could split the cookie amongst themselves. Anthony and Mark were still arguing with Denise about having another cookie, and I looked at them and said, “Children, just split the cookie. I am so sorry about them, Denise. You don’t have to get us another cookie.”

They eventually decided to split the cookie, but the damage had already been done. Denise was over this foolishness and walked away from us in anger. I understood her anger all too well, and I was sorry that my friends were being difficult with her.

As we were preparing to pay for our foods, I hear that Anthony and Mark are not giving Denise a tip. I went a little off on them. I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Are y’all really not about to give her a tip? Oh my gosh, I’m feeling some type of way.  I can’t believe y’all.”

Then, I looked at Kevin and said, “Kevin, please tell me you’re giving her a tip? You better be giving her a tip.”

Kevin was looking a little scared, but he laughed and said that he was going to tip. We all laughed that I was feeling some type of way, but I was still mad. I ended up giving Denise a $6 tip, and I believe Kevin gave her a 20% tip.

Then, we ended up driving to see a movie, and I was still talking about how mad I was that Anthony and Mark didn’t tip. They were laughing because they couldn’t believe how mad I was. I said, “Y’all are something else. She literally went to hell and back to get y’all a cookie, and y’all don’t tip her? That’s just messed up.”

Anthony said, “She didn’t get us the cookies. Plus, she was rude and stormed off on us. No tip for you.”

Then, I said, “Yeah, cause y’all were acting like children for no reason.”

They all started laughing, and I couldn’t help but laugh with them. Needless to say, I haven’t gone to dinner with them since that day.

In the end, I think tipping is important because I view it as a form of respect and compassion. I understand why some people feel like they’re not obligated to tip, but I think it’s kind of rude. I tip because I was taught to tip by my parents, and I understand that waiters/waitresses/servers rely heavily on tips. In Pennsylvania, there are servers that get paid $2.83/hour. Tax takes some of that as well, so their main source of income literally comes from tips. Sadly, servers are in an industry that is essentially stacked against them. A change definitely needs to happen in the food industry and more people have to understand the importance of tipping.

This is the end of “The Importance of Tipping.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

This weekend, I will be sharing and posting some poetry.

 

 

 

 

A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut

It was Valentine’s Day, and I had just finished writing and posting “A Love Story at Walmart: Part Two.” I was in the library at my school, Point Park University, and I was just happy that I had got it done at around 8:00 because the bus to my house would be coming at 8:07. If I missed the bus that time, then I would have to go on an 8:30 bus. So, I rushed out of the library and waited for my bus to come my way. It came in right on time, and I was able to take my seat on the bus.

While I was on the bus, I found myself reading this book called Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. A friend of mine from work had recommended this book to me, and she had a copy that she could lend to me. Anyways, I was reading Mistborn on the bus, and I ended up being interrupted by a text message from my friend Rosa. It read, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I replied, “Aww thanks, happy Valentine’s Day to you too.”

Then, she asked me if I had any special plans for Valentine’s Day. I texted, “Nah, I’m just probably gonna chill by my lonesome self haha. What about you?”

Rosa ended up telling me that she was actually going on a date, and I was excited for her. I ended up putting my book away and calling her on the phone. I said, “Tell me everything, girl.”

She laughed and explained how they had a class together, and he was just real smooth with her. They had been talking for a week or two, and he ended up asking her out on a date on Valentine’s Day. I was being extra talking about how he was “the one,” and I just couldn’t believe that she found her soulmate. She was laughing and telling me to be quiet, but I just kept going and going with my extra comments about the two lovebirds destined to be together forever and ever. We ended up talking for a few more minutes, and Rosa ended up asking me about this one girl that I was talking to at the time. I was telling Rosa that I wasn’t sure about her, and I was leaning on us just being friends. Rosa understood and told me that she had to go and get ready for her date. I said goodbye to her and told her to let me know how it goes.

Anyways, I looked outside and saw that I was ten minutes away from the Century III Mall, where my car is parked. It’s 8:30, and I realize that I’m kind of hungry. I hadn’t eaten since 10:00 am, so I knew that I had to seriously eat something. I was thinking about stopping at McDonald’s, maybe Chipotle, but then I remembered that I was due for a free pizza at Pizza Hut. So, I went on my Pizza Hut app and saw that I had enough points to redeem and get a free pizza. I ordered my free pizza and saw that I only had to pay $1.07 for it. The thought of a free pizza had me salivating.

When I was a few minutes away from my car, I was trying to decide what horror movie I was going to watch when I got home. You honestly have to watch horror movies on Valentine’s Day, there are clearly no other movies to watch. I was considering a demon-possession type movie, but I low-key wanted to see people getting stabbed and killed. The movies I was considering were Saw, Scream, Friday the 13th, Hush and Halloween. There were a couple other movies I was considering on Netflix, but I wasn’t sure.

My bus made it to the bus stop at Century III Mall at 8:45. I got off the bus and went to my car. I started it, and I drove it to Pizza Hut. It was literally two minutes away from the mall, and it wasn’t hassle to get to the store. So, I parked my car, turned it off and went inside Pizza Hut. When I went inside, I saw that they were extremely busy making orders, and I looked to the side and saw my order would be ready in five minutes. So, I went back to my car and waited seven minutes before going back inside. I got back inside and saw that the status of my free pizza was set to “ready.” There were two people in front of me, and I just patiently waited till my turn. When it was my turn, I saw that the cashier was a 40-year-old white man. Anyways, I tell him that my name is Isaiah, and I’m here to pick up my pizza order. He grabs my pizza and tells me that it’s a $1.07. I say alright and pull out my debit card. Before I can put my card in the card reader, the cashier stops me and says, “Oh, I can’t accept that.”

I was confused and asked, “Oh, are you guys no longer accepting cards or something?”

He responded, “We are, but I’m just not trying to use our card reader for $1.07. I need cash from you.”

I was confused because I had always been able to use my debit card for $1.07 or even less at the Pizza Hut store that I was at. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to use cash all of a sudden. So, I asked, “So wait, are you not allowed to use cards for small transactions, then?”

He replied, “We can, but I just don’t want to right now.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this guy. What do you mean you don’t want to right now? That makes no sense to me. I looked over at the crew and even they were confused with the cashier. I wondered if they were going to do anything, but they just were working and acting like they didn’t hear anything. In my mind, I was just telling myself to calm down and take a deep breathe. Then, I said, “Ok, so I don’t have any cash in my wallet. All I have is my card. So, am I not able to pay for my pizza, then?”

He sighed and said, “Again, I’m not trying to use the card reader because I just don’t want to use it for a dollar transaction. There’s no reason for that.”

I asked him if there was something wrong with the machine, and he tells me that the machine is fine and works really well. Then, I said, “So, you’re telling me that even though you can use your card reader for a $1.07 transaction, you just won’t because you don’t want to?”

He looked at me and said, “Again, I just don’t want to use the card reader for a $1.07 transaction. You have to pay with cash, otherwise you’re not getting your pizza.”

I was furious, and I was so close to really saying some interesting things to this 40-year-old cashier that was being difficult with me. However, I contained myself and said, “Ok, let me check my car real quick and see if I have any money in there.”

I went to my car, got inside and started screaming. I couldn’t believe this man was trying to really push my buttons. I was just letting out all my frustrations and punching the air like crazy. After that, I calmed down and went in my backpack hoping that I had enough money. I rejoiced as I found five quarters in my backpack. Before I went back inside, and I stopped myself. I was saying to myself that there was no reason to give this man what he easily wanted. Make it harder and difficult on him.

I ended up putting a dollar’s worth of pennies and nickels in a plastic bag. I was so glad that I had plenty to be petty back to the cashier. So, I had my bag full of change and carried it into the Pizza Hut store. Then, I poured all the change on the counter and told him $1.07 in change.

He asked me if I was serious, and I said I was very serious. He sighed and started counting them. I looked over him and saw that they were crazy busy in their kitchen, and it sounded like they needed his help. He hurried up and counted all the pennies and nickels I had, put them in his register and handed me my pizza. I thanked him and showed him my quarters. I said, “Yeah, I did have quarters, but I just didn’t want to use them. I much rather pay with pennies and nickels.”

He looked at me all mad and walked back into the kitchen. I yelled, “Have a good day, and also happy Valentine’s Day!”

I had my free pizza in my hands, and I headed back to my car. Thankfully, it was still extremely hot. I went home, and I ended up watching Saw 2 on Valentine’s Day. Ever since that day, I have refused to eat or order Pizza Hut thanks to the petty-ish moment that I had at Pizza Hut on Valentine’s Day.

This is the end of “A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “The Importance of Tipping.”

 

 

 

Preferences

A couple of years ago, I was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I had just finished my last class for the day. As I was walking home, I get a text from my friend Howard asking if I wanted to meet up with him and his friend Tasha at Crimson Cafe. I was thinking about declining because I was tired and just wanted to lay in bed in my room, but then I remember it was Wing Night at Crimson Café. Wings are my weakness, so I naturally texted Howard that I would meet up with them. Then, I saw that it was 7:00 and knew that it was gonna be packed. Also, I saw that I was kind of far away from Crimson Café, and I was contemplating if I really wanted to make the journey to the wings. My room and bed were within grasp, but I decided to walk to Crimson Café to get some wings because I was hungry. The last thing I needed to be was hungry and tired, so I might as well not be hungry. I had to mentally prepare myself for a long, grueling five-minute walk, and I hope that I had the will to make it to Crimson Café.

I miraculously made it to Crimson Café. I walked inside and saw Burger Studio completely empty. Then, I immediately saw a long line into Fire Place, where they serve the wings. I rolled my eyes and went to the back of the line. As I waiting, I looked to my left and saw Howard sitting with this pretty, black girl. I waved at them, and they saw me and waved back. After a few minutes, I eventually got some hot wings and a fountain drink. Then, I made my way to Howard and Tasha.

I sat down with them, and Howard made sure to introduce me to Tasha. We started eating our wings, talking and joking around. While we were talking, I noticed something interesting with Tasha. She was laughing hard at Howard’s jokes, giving him googly eyes and touching him a lot. I was asking myself, “Does she like him or something?”

It was around 8:00, and I was ready to leave and go back to my room. My room was at Suites at Maple East. As I was getting ready to leave, Howard got up and said that he would join me as well. He had lived at Stephenson Hall, so he was relatively close to my hall. Tasha lived at Wallwork, it was further away from Suites on Maple East and Stephenson Hall. Since it was kind of dark and late, I asked Tasha if she needed one of us to walk her home. She kind of looked at Howard, but he was looking at his phone. Tasha said that she would be fine and thanked me for offering to walk her home. Howard and I walked together, and Tasha walked home alone.

As I was walking with Howard, I found myself thinking about Tasha. It seemed like she wanted something more with Howard, but he wasn’t feeling her like that. I needed to know why. So, I said, “You know, Tasha seems nice.”

Howard responded, “Yeah, she’s cool, man.”

“You ever think about dating her or something,” I asked.

Howard replied, “Nah, man, she’s just the homie. I don’t like her like that. Also, I only date white girls.”

Howard’s reply took me by surprise. Howard and I had been friends for a couple of weeks, so we really didn’t know that much about each other. However, it quickly all made sense to me. He always talked about how beautiful white girls were to him, and I never heard him talk about black girls. I just couldn’t believe he only preferred to date white girls. How could he not see the attraction and beauty of not only black girls, but other races as well?

I asked him, “How come?”

He said, “Well, they’re just more attractive to me than black girls, man. I like what I like.”

I could tell that he thought that I was judging him, so I quickly said, “Hey man, I’m not judging you or anything, I just find it interesting and just a little curious.”

“Yeah, and I don’t hate black girls, man. I don’t want you thinking that at all. I just prefer to be with a white girl,” he said.

I told him that I didn’t think that of him, but I wasn’t sure. I still found myself confused with my friend’s preference for just white girls. Maybe Howard was just going through a phase. We were both young, and maybe Howard would see the beauty in all women in a few years.

A few years passed, and I found myself talking to my friend Howard last year on the phone. We talked for a little bit, and he told me that he was talking to this white girl. He talked about how she was really cute, and he had a date with her that he was really excited about. He said, “I think this could be the one, Isaiah. I’m finally about to have my white girl.”

I joked, “Man, if you weren’t obsessed with her being white, you’d probably would’ve been having someone right now.”

We both laughed, and he asked me what my excuse was for being alone. I just shrugged and said, “I’m trying to be single. I don’t have time to be with anybody right now. I only have time for God.”

We started laughing again, and we talked for a few more minutes. Then, he had to hang up and prepare for his date. I still found myself confused with Howard, and I needed some answers. I ended up talking to my mom about Howard, and she said something interesting to me. My mom told me that Howard’s preference for white girls wasn’t wrong, but it was limiting. He had a right to prefer white girls, but it puts a limitation on him to potentially find someone that’s perfect for him.

Then, I asked her if it was wrong to have preferences, but she quickly said not necessarily. Certain preferences are necessary to make sure that you find the right person for you. If you don’t have preferences, then you’ll end up with anybody, not that special somebody.

In the end, I learned that everyone has a right to their own preferences. If you want to base your preferences on how somebody looks, then it’s perfectly fine but limiting. For me, my preferences are not about somebody’s look, race or ethnicity. My preferences for somebody is based on what’s in their heart, mind and spirit. My preferences will not limit me in finding the one for me.

This is the end of “Preferences.”

 

 

The Green Mask: Part Four

Just to recap, Goldie wants to make a trade with Matthew that will ultimately change Matthew’s life. Goldie offers the green mask to Matthew, in exchange for Matthew’s red aviator sunglasses. Goldie explains the power the green mask holds to Matthew, and how it’s the key to his happiness. Then, Gold tells Matthew that all he has to do is face the mirror, lose himself in his reflection, see his soul and put the green mask on his soul. Then, Matthew questions why Goldie’s mask is not hidden. Also, why does he wear a yellow, tiger mask. Goldie responds that he has a reason that he cannot share, and it hides what it needs to hide. After that, Goldie faces the mirror and asks Matthew if he will give up his red sunglasses. Matthew is reluctant, but Goldie begs Matthew to give up the sunglasses to gain something better. The green mask will give Matthew hope, and it will give him something that was lost and forgotten.

What will Matthew decide? Will he keep the red sunglasses that have showed him a whole, new world? Or will he change the boy in the mirror?

Let’s find out in “The Green Mask: Part Four.”

Matthew starts to tear up and cries that he can’t give up his sunglasses. “They’re mine, and I don’t want to let them go,” Matthew says.

Matthew apologizes to Goldie and wishes that he could give them up. He does want to wear the green mask, but Matthew’s too scared to commit to it. He’s too scared of letting go. Goldie tilts his head to right and says, “Well, why don’t you want to let them go, bro?”

Matthew sniffs and replies, “I just don’t want to let them go. Can’t you understand that?”

“I wish I could, but you have to explain yourself,” Goldie pleads.

Matthew turns away from the mirror and just finds himself looking at all the masks in the treehouse. Matthew sighs and responds, “These glasses are mine and only mine to bear. I can’t just forget why I have these in the first place.”

Goldie tilts his head to the left and says, “Oh, I see. So you’re just punishing yourself with those glasses.”

Goldie chuckles and walks over to Matthew. Matthew takes off his glasses and tries to quickly wipe off his tears before Goldie gets close to him. He doesn’t want Goldie to see his tears. They have to be hidden. Once Goldie reaches him, Matthew puts on his sunglasses and explains that he’s not punishing himself. Goldie stands in front of Matthew, looks him straight in the eyes and says, “You are punishing yourself. Bryan was a monster to you, and you took it upon yourself to become a monster as well. You unknowingly condemned Bryan to a terrible fate by getting him suspended and abused by his father. Then, you found his sunglasses and thought to yourself that you were no better than Bryan. So, you wear them to remind yourself that you’re a monster.”

It’s silent as Goldie and Matthew just stare into each other’s eyes. Matthew can’t deny what Goldie was saying because it was the truth. He felt like he was a monster for what he did to Bryan, and he’s ashamed of himself. After a few minutes, Matthew says, “I don’t deserve the green mask, Goldie. I just don’t.”

“And you don’t deserve those red sunglasses, either. You’re a good kid, Matthew. You were bullied and exposed to a world that you never should have seen in the first place. Stop looking at this dark world and remember the beauty that exists in your world,” Goldie says.

Matthew shakes his head and cries, “I can’t. That good kid is gone, and I have to live with who I am now.”

“No, you don’t, bro. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance, and the green mask is your second chance. Please, wear it,” Goldie says.

Matthew sighs and explains that he’s made up his mind. He is keeping his red sunglasses. “There’s nothing you can say or do to change my mind,” Matthew says.

Goldie starts to clench his fists, looks down and starts muttering words under his breathe. Matthew tries to hear some his words, but they’re unclear. Then, he looks up at Matthew and whispers, “Let me just show you one last thing before I let you go.”

Matthew says okay, and he sees Goldie starts to slowly take off his mask and reveals his face. Matthew can’t believe who he’s looking at. It’s not possible, he says to himself. The boy he was facing was Bryan. Matthew asks how this is possible, Bryan chuckles and says that it’s a little complicated. Matthew laughs a little, and Bryan says, “Look, I’m sorry for bullying you the way I did, bro. You didn’t deserve that. Can you please forgive me?”

Matthew is still in shock that he’s facing Bryan, but he quickly gathers himself and responds, “Yeah, I forgive you. And I’m sorry for what I did to you, and got you in trouble with your dad. Can you forgive me for that?”

“Absolutely, but one last thing,” Bryan says.

Matthew asks what is it, and Bryan replies, “Can you please forgive yourself?”

Matthew starts to tear up, and he tells Bryan that he’ll try. Bryan smiles and says, “Well, I know how you can try.”

Bryan presents the green mask to him and points at the red sunglasses. Matthew can’t help but smile. He takes off the red sunglasses and hands them to Bryan with ease. Bryan takes them and hands Matthew the green mask. Matthew walks over to the mirror, faces it, loses himself in his reflection and puts on the green mask. After the mask is on, it fades away and is no longer visible to the eye. Matthew turns to Bryan and thanks Bryan for saving him. Bryan says you’re welcome, and Matthew proceeds out of the treehouse. Matthew walks back into his life. He is happy and fulfilled with the green mask.

After Matthew is gone, Bryan faces the mirror and transforms into a man in a red suit. He chuckles, puts on the red sunglasses, walks over to the white mask and picks it up. He looks at it and says, “Now that I have these precious red sunglasses, the fun can really begin now.”

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part Four.”

In October, I will be posting the six-part, horror story “The White Mask” on the Warfield Zone.

This weekend, I will be posting and sharing poetry.

 

 

The Green Mask: Part Three

Just to recap, Matthew is surprised to see himself confronted by a boy his age named Goldie. They talk for a little bit, and Matthew quickly notices that Goldie is a more enthusiastic, positive kid than him. In addition, Matthew learns that Goldie knows about Bryan and his troubled time at his new school. Goldie assures Matthew that he’s only trying to help him, and Matthew finds himself trusting and believing in Goldie. He can’t explain why he trusts Goldie, but there was just this calming, comfortable feeling that Matthew had with Goldie. Anyways, Goldie leads Matthew to this treehouse filled with masks and a large mirror. Matthew sees a white mask with evil eyes, sharp teeth and a sinister smile. He tries to touch it, but Goldie quickly stops him and tells him to not touch it. Matthew asks why and Goldie explains that it’s for someone else with sinister intentions. Instead, Goldie presents Matthew with a green mask with a face and a big smile on it. Then, Goldie says, “This is the green mask, Matthew. This mask will help you in unimaginable ways, bro. All you have to do is give me your red sunglasses, for this green mask.”

Now, it’s time to get into “The Green Mask: Part Three.”

Matthew touches his red sunglasses and asks Goldie why he wants his sunglasses. Goldie responds, “Because they look so cool and amazing. I could rock those sunglasses with some of my masks.”

Matthew shakes his head, but Goldie continues, “I also know that those sunglasses come with a lot baggage and hurt. Those sunglasses are a curse to you, bro. Am I right?”

The sunglasses were a curse to Matthew, but he didn’t want to admit that Goldie. He just shrugs his shoulder and makes Goldie chuckle. Goldie adds, “I’ll admit that this green mask is a little bit of a curse, but it’s mostly a gift.”

“How can something be a gift and a curse?” Matthew asks.

Goldie laughs and says, “Wow, I forget how young you are, bro. My bad. But this mask is a gift for you. This mask was designed especially for you to help you, but it all depends on you if this mask is a curse.”

Matthew is confused with the “young” part because they were practically the same age. He looks at Goldie and asks him who he is. Goldie replies, “I’m just someone that just wants to help you, bro. I guess I just like helping people in a way.”

Matthew asks what Goldie means, and he replies, “Well, it depends on people really. I give people the opportunity to save or doom themselves depending on their choices with me.”

“Why not just save them?” Matthew asks.

Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “Because some people don’t want to be saved, they just want to survive. What do you want, Matthew?”

“I’m not sure what I want really. I guess I just want to be happy,” Matthew says.

Goldie tilts his head to the left and replies, “Of course, you want to be happy. I can honestly help you with that, if you just hear me out, bro.”

Matthew wants to leave the treehouse because he’s getting a weird feeling with Goldie, but he reluctantly agrees to hear Goldie out.

Goldie is happy to hear this and says, “Great, so let me tell you about this green mask.”

Goldie goes on to explain how the green mask will provide Matthew with peace and tranquility. It’s a mask that will help Matthew be comfortable being alone, but never lonely. He will smile and laugh with ease thanks to the green mask. It will help him forget his worries and welcome a new, fulfilling perspective of life. It will mask his true feelings and create the illusion of positive feelings. The green mask will ultimately help Matthew find his happiness. It all sounded good to Matthew, but he didn’t like the idea of wearing a mask. It felt wrong and deceitful to hide his emotions. Goldie quickly says, “It’s not deceitful or wrong in any way. Everyone wears a mask, I promise you. It’s just that some don’t have the right mask, bro.”

Matthew still wasn’t sure about having to wear a mask on his face. Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “Oh, it’s not gonna be visible at all in the public eye. You’re simply putting it on your soul.”

Matthew wonders how that’s possible, and Goldie tilts his head to the left and turns it to the mirror. He walks up in front of the mirror and looks at it. Then, he says, “All you have to do is look into the mirror. Look into it and allow yourself to be lost in your reflection. Then, you will see your soul in the mirror, and that is when you will put the green mask on.”

Matthew looks at Goldie and asks him why does he wear the yellow, tiger mask. Goldie straightens up and walks over to Matthew. He looks Matthew in the eyes, and he touches his mask. Goldie thinks about taking his mask off but he doesn’t. Instead, he laughs and says, “Like I said, everyone wears a mask. I wear this mask for a reason that I cannot explain to you. It hides what it needs to hide.”

Matthew understands, but he longs to know who the kid in the yellow tiger mask really is. Is Goldie truly trying to save him?

Goldie moves away from Matthew and faces the mirror. He says, “So, will you give me your red sunglasses for this green mask that will help you achieve happiness?”

“Why do I have to give up my glasses for the green mask? I thought you were trying to save me,” Matthew says.

“I am trying to save you. You have to give up something in order to gain something, you know. In order to be better, you have to change. There’s no middle ground, bro. You can either keep the red sunglasses or give them up for something better. Something that will change your life. Something that will give you hope. The green mask will do that for you. It will give you back what you have lost and forgotten. Please, take the green mask and let go of the red aviator sunglasses,” Goldie begs.

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part Three.”

I will be posting the fourth and final part of “The Green Mask” on Thursday.