front cover.jpg

An excerpt from THE COST!


Abruptly, I catch a pair of booze-laden eyes attached to a tall, lanky brown skinned man with cornrows and a dark mark on his face. His whole aura is filled with inebriated poison. I can feel its overwhelming vibrations.

“Got a problem?” I demand as I continue to hold Orchid. I can feel her body tense up with fear.

“Yeah. Lookin’ at you faggots is my problem,” he spits out hatefully.

Though my good common sense tells me to keep my mouth shut and ignore this fool, my mother’s bold and careless disposition rose up in me. Fight him or I’ll kick your ass when you get home. My mother’s words echo from my childhood to this moment. If you let him get the best of you, you’re a goddamned punk. Foolishly, I say, “Take a look in the mirror, asshole.”

A dangerous look crosses his face as he approaches. “I know you ain’t talkin’ to me, motherfucka,” he says murderously.

“No, I’m talking to the picture behind you,” I say as I stand and move my body to shield Orchid from this stupid Neanderthal. “Only the picture has better looks and bigger brains.”

Suddenly, I feel a hard fist crash into my face. I reel back, stunned. But, quickly recovering with a move courtesy of my dad teaching me how to box, my left hook slams into his jaw, sending him to the floor.

“Hey, hey, hey!” A short, stoutly built lady with a bald head rushes from the back. She is carrying a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. “What the fuck is goin’ on in here?” She positions herself between us and him.

“This guy just stepped over here and started hassling us,” Orchid defends.

She turns slowly around to contemptuously glare at the bully. Giving him an “I’m tired of this shit” smile, she spits out, “Sonny Daniels, I know you are a stupid, simple motherfucka… but you can’t be that hard a’ hearing. I done told you twice not to come back here no more.”

“Don’t tell ME. Tell these faggots with their gay ass shit,” Sonny says as he scrambles to his feet.

“You must have forgot that you are talkin’ to a dyke right now. They ain’t done shit to you, so you need to move out that door before I call the cops.”

“Get out of my way, you ol’ cunt eating bitch!” Sonny makes a move toward me, but the lady flicks out a long switchblade and aims it at his throat, stopping him dead in his tracks.

“Which one do you want, the bat or the blade? This ol’ cunt eating bitch can lick pussy and kick yo’ trifling ass at the same goddamned time. Do you want me to prove it?” Sonny says nothing, but I can tell she’s still getting angrier by the second.

“If you don’t get off the premises, I’ll cut you so deep you won’t be able to piss or fuck no more. Now, get the fuck outta here.”

Sonny squares his shoulders, and backs slowly toward the door, pointing ominously at Orchid and me. He spits out, “Watch ya back, faggit motherfuckas!” When he exits, the lady goes to the door to make sure he’s gone. Then she approaches us, “Y’all a’ight?”

“Yeah, we’re good. Thanks, Miss,” Orchid says, still shaken up. “Thank God you were there.”

“Aw fuck, I ain’t done nothing. I know Sonny. He is just like his piss poor daddy. Ain’t got no mother wit. The dames AND the dudes say he’s a good fuck. But common decency ain’t made it to his head yet,” she says, looking out the glass door and shaking her head.

“That’s sad to hear,” I sigh.

“Yeah. Well, y’all better get on to where y’all gettin’ to. It’s closing time and good ol’ Katie gots to close up so I can get home to put my feet up.”

“Well, thanks again, Katie.”

“No problem.”

We pass through the door… Then we hear the words, “Bitch ass punks!” I see Sonny swing out from the restaurant’s side where he was obviously lurking. A fear grips me as I see a gun in Sonny’s hand. At that moment, I shove Orchid out of the path of fire.  A sharp, searing pain tears through my side before I hear a heavy metal object clank on the pavement.


Oh my God… I’ve been shot!


Lying on my back, I hear Orchid’s voice yelling hysterically for help. I hear Katie curse Sonny and bellow for someone to call 911, then I feel her press a wet towel on my wound as she cradles my head, saying, “Stay with us, baby! You ain’t going nowhere. Hold on. We gettin’ you help!”