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The Light That Shined Upon Darkness
By Michael Higgins
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2016 Michael Higgins
All rights reserved.
Jay, whose birth name was Jayson Hill, was born to Jerry and Debra White. His parents, who both migrated to Cleveland separately from different parts of the South, were still children themselves when they unintentionally conceived and birthed Jay into the world. Not really wanting the responsibilities of a child, his parents decided they'd pawn innocent Lil Jay off to Debra's mom. Debra knew that her mother would not object as she's loving and caring. Debra knew her mom couldn't say no.
For the first few years of young Jay's life, his parents would occasionally stop by his Big Ma's (the name he had given his grandmother as a child while pretending to play momma and daddy). They'd buy him little outfits here and there. They'd even give some of their food stamps to Big Ma, hoping that the stamps would recompense for all the food Big Ma needed to buy and feed their son. Occasionally, they'd find time to come and hang out with Lil Jay, at least until either he or they would become exhausted. Never once, though, did they ever attempt to take little Jay with them.
As time progressed, Jerry and Debra's simple efforts to support their child slacked off worse than America's search for Osama bin Laden. Big Ma hadn't heard a word from them. Word on the street was Jerry was mistreating Debra in nearly every way possible. To make matters worse, people were telling Big Ma that her daughter was using drugs and selling herself. Not wanting to believe the gossip, Big Ma just brushed off the negativity and continued to look after Lil Jay.
Eventually, Jerry wound up leaving Debra out in the cold and dangerous streets of Cleveland to fend for herself. Meanwhile, he became a well-known marijuana dealer, with a host of other kids. Debra just fell deeper into the clutches of the drug of her choice: heroin.
Jay's last time seeing his mother or father was around the age of eight. Strangely, he had grown accustomed to their permanent abandonment. Big Ma had done more for him than his parents could ever have. So as far as he was concerned, his Big Ma was his mother and his father. "Well, Big Ma, I'ma gone and get outta here. I gotta go pick up Candace from the house. We're supposed to be goin' out tonight." Candace was Jay's live-in girlfriend. They met while they were both in high school.
Big Ma lived in a canary-yellow two-family house off 140th and Kelso, next to a large building. She owned both the upstairs and downstairs of the home. The house was an older home that looked to be sinking. The front lawn was sloped and only about 10 feet long, the grass was worn and patchy, and the driveway was narrow but lengthy, stretching about thirty feet long. The front door of Big Ma's house led straight to the living room; it was off-limits. From both the side and the back doors, the upstairs and downstairs could be accessed through the hallway. The side door led directly to the old wooden kitchen door, and the back door led to a long flight of stairs, which took you up to a landing where a balcony, a bathroom, and a kitchen door were all located. On a whole, the old house was comprised of five bedrooms, two bathrooms, two living rooms and dining rooms, an attic, and a basement. The upstairs had two bedrooms, and the downstairs had three. "Ya'll plan on goin' somewhere special, huh?" Big Ma asked inquisitively while relaxing comfortably on the doodoo brown couch, which matched the rest of her antiquated furniture that she had since Jay lived there.
Visiting Big Ma was like a ritual for Jay. Ever since he'd moved out of her house and in with Candace, he made it his business to stop by every chance he got to check on her. Big Ma loved every single visit too. "Naw, not really," Jay said as he grabbed hold of his keys from off the wooden-looking kitchen counter. "We're just goin' to get a bite to eat. You need anything, Big Ma?" he inquired before walking over and kissing her on the forehead. "I'm okay, baby," Big Ma retorted. Jay immediately headed for the kitchen toward the door, but before he could exit, Big Ma turned toward him and asked the unthinkable. "Jay," she called out.
"Yes, Big Ma!"
"When are you gonna marry that girl?"
What did she just say? Jay asked himself silently. Was she serious?
"Why you say that, Big Ma?"
"Because I like that girl, Jay. She's a really good girl, and she truly loves you. Trust me, Jay, Big Ma knows. Now if I was you, I wouldn't let her slip away. She's the type of woman that you want to start a family with."
"Okay, okay, Big Ma, you're getting too deep now," Jay cried. After a momentary pause, Jay continued, "I don't know, Big Ma. Maybe you're right."
Jay then pushed open Big Ma's rotted wooden door, jumped his six-foot-something frame inside his banana-yellow '76 Monte Carlo, and headed for his house. "Candace," Jay spoke into his hands-free Bluetooth.
"I'm on my way. I'll be home in about fifteen minutes."
Before disconnecting, Jay whispered, "Candace!"
"Yes, Jay," she replied.
"I love you."
"I love you too, baby," Candace responded before saying bye and hanging up the phone.CHAPTER 2
Outside of Dave and Tracie's new three-bedroom ranch-style home on the west side of Cleveland, all was well. Children were outside playing in the open field; they rode their bikes inside the circle of the cul-de-sac and chased around the neighborhood hound. One of the women homeowners on the street was outside, watering her beautifully landscaped garden, while another was mowing her lawn. Everything seemed to be of the norm. Inside, though, things were just the opposite. "You know what, Tracie, you ain't right," Dave hollered disappointingly. "You actin' real selfish right now, and you know it. You know how much this mean to me. You need to quit being childish for once and come support me!"
"Support what, Dave? You make it seem like the club ain't been open for damn near a year already. I don't understand why you making such a big deal out of it. It's just anotha day."
Dave rushed toward the foot of the oak-framed bed, where he had his light-gray-and-white pinstriped suit matching his gray-and-white pants, lying perfectly flat. He slipped into the Sean John suit and then nudged his tie a bit to make sure it was centered perfectly.
"What the fuck you mean it's just anotha day? Tracie, it's my grand reopening," Dave emphasized as he worked his feet into a flawless pair of light-gray gators he'd not too long ago purchased. "I'm gone have a few of my people there that'll be looking forward to meeting you When they ask me, 'Where's my wife?' what am I supposed to say?"
"Say, it ain't none of their damn business where I'm at! Dave, I'm not finna be up there with you while all them skank-ass hoes are strippin'. Now, maybe if you changed it to anotha day, then I might reconsider." Tracie made a few final adjustments to her eyeliner in the bathroom mirror. She then found her way to the guest bedroom, where she had laid out a red bra and panty set. Bitch, you look gooooood, Tracie reassured herself as she stood in front of her full-length closet mirror, checking the profile of her curvaceous figure. Her breasts sat up perfectly perky, her ass stuck out like a hill in a plain field, her waistline was almost as small as that of a Victoria's Secret model. As Tracie listened closer, she could hear Dave power walking, back and forth, through the hallway. Dave would've been pissed to see her sporting the hell out of the red thong and translucent bra top she had on. Before he could even think about easing his way into the guestroom, Tracie slipped into her sundress. She again checked her profile before pushing up on her breasts as if they weren't sitting just right already. Next she slid her feet into a pair of mustard- yellow Jimmy Choos, which highlighted the likewise flower pattern inside her dress. She threw her Rafe bag over her shoulder, then glanced at the clock sitting on the dresser. It read six o'clock. "Dave, you betta hurry up. It's already six o'clock," Tracie informed him as if trying to be considerate. "Don't choo gotta be there at seven?" Despite her nonchalant attitude, Tracie knew how much this grand reopening meant to Dave. Why was she acting so stubborn? To add insult to injury, she had the nerve to be going out. When the two of them crossed paths in the hallway, the enticing smell of Tracie's Allure perfume danced around Dave's simply nose. Dave sniffed a few times. "Damn, Tracie, who you smellin' all good fo' if I may ask?"
Unfortunately, for Dave, her sense of smell was pretty keen too. Dave had all but drenched himself in Unforgivable, a new fragrance by Sean John. She wasted little time sarcastically exposing him. "I should be asking you the same question. Hell, I smelt yo' unforgivable ass before I even hit the door. That's a shame," she said, using reverse psychology. "Them heffas even got choo smellin' good fo'em too, huh?"
The Reason, a bar and an exotic strip club that Dave had opened only a year ago to the date, was located on Cleveland's southeast side. The building was a completely red-brick one that sat on the corner of two intersecting streets. Around its perimeters was a ten-foot universal fence to deter thieves. The pavement of the parking lot was rigid and rough and looked to have needed some work. To the left of the club was a street named Matilda, and to its front was 116th. To the right was a two-family house owned by an older couple; the couple lived upstairs, and they ran a mom-and-pop store by day downstairs. On a whole, the building that the Reason sat on was ideal.
Dave unlocked the doors to the Reason at 7:00 p.m., looking like the business executive that he'd worked so hard to become. He stood next to the steel-gray door that read Entrance on it, ready to greet any and every newcomer. Where was Tracie, though? Where was his better half? She was supposed to be alongside him, waiting to greet those folks too! This was supposed to be their night. They were supposed to reopen this place together.
With a somewhat fictitious smile on his face, Dave scanned around the inside of the club and nodded his head in agreement. His club's new look was magnificent. The contractors he'd hired had totally remodeled the place. They lengthened the bar to the left so that it wrapped around the front. They rebuilt the stage in the back with ceramic tiles and two copper poles to double the pleasure. Dave's office, which was next to the girls' dressing room in the back to the right, was also enlarged. An upstairs room that wasn't in use before was remodeled and transformed into a VIP room. The contractors even slapped a couple of fresh coats of glossy gray paint upon the walls. Along with security, the bartenders, and the waitresses, Dave had helped to spit shine the place from top to bottom. Collectively, they had the place spotless. For him and his staff, this was truly an accomplishment beyond measure. That's why that Grand Reopening banner, with the Reason's name upon it, on the brick wall outside the establishment meant so much to him. Now the Reason was already known even before the grand reopening for being one of the nicer, more popular clubs in the city, especially when it comes to just hanging out, having a few drinks, and maybe hitting the dance floor or something. It's true success and notoriety, though, rested solely on the shoulders of the dancers. Dave hated to admit the fact, but he knew that those strippers, both male and female, made his place the hot commodity. He had a group of male dancers called BDS (Big Dick Slangers) that performed on Wednesdays. Every week they'd shut the place down. Then he also had arguably eight of the finest female dancers on this side of the Mississippi River. All the women were extremely thick. They all too wore scantily clad outfits that usually covered next to nothing. Their signature dance moves and lap dances kept men rushing from everywhere to see these professional pole dancers hard at work.
Dave worked the doors for over an hour and then went to hibernate behind the walls of his office. Thoughts of his wife immediately sprang up like a bad leak.
What could she be doing that is so important? he asked himself while lying back in his black leather chair, with his eyes closed. Maybe she'll surprise me and show up.
Dave's thoughts were then interrupted by a knock on the door. The knock was so gentle he could barely hear it. "Come in," he cried.
It was his waitress with a strange-looking smirk upon her face. "Dave, there's a lady outside that says she wants to audition tonight." The waitress's voice came off soft like. Her body language reeked of intimidation.
"Tell her I said come up here Monday and I'll see what I can do." "But, Dave, she's standing right behind me."
Before Dave could respond, the lady boldly stuck her beautiful face in between the waitress and Dave's office door. Normally, Dave would've had a fit about someone invading his space like that, but for some reason, tonight was different. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that Tracie's absence had him feeling sort of devalued. Or perhaps that caramel-complexioned medium-sized head on the lady was just too cute to turn away. Whatever the case was, Dave surprisingly said to the waitress, "Go ahead. Let her in." After shutting the door behind her, the woman waltzed right in, stood in front of Dave, and looked directly into his eyes. Dave tried doing the same, but her sensual eyes and her voluptuous body caught his full attention. This woman had a beautiful round face and some piercing ebony eyes. Her heavenly built body was so blessed that it looked like it dropped straight out of the sky — oh, so perfect. The low-cut body shirt she sported was causing a major cleavage spill.
"Hi! What's your name, sweetie?" Dave politely asked after finally making eye contact.
"My name is Chanel, but my stage name is Caramel." By the time she opened her mouth to speak, Dave was already captivated. Those inviting eyes, succulent lips, and pretty white teeth had Dave's mind wandering to places that it shouldn't have been. Her soft and seductive voice came off so subtle and sweet. Before Dave could even articulate exactly what he wanted to say, "You're hired" rushed past out of his mouth. Something was telling him, though, that the words he'd just let fall out his mouth would eventually come back to haunt him.
"Man, Teddy, can you believe Dave tried to get me to go to the grand reopening of his so-called club tonight? This idiot has the nerve to be having a grand reopening for a club that has been open for a year," Tracie mocked, chuckling, as she's lying on the hotel bed, with her head in between Teddy's exposed thighs. Now Teddy was a short stumpy guy with a slight beer gut that clearly protruded over the waistline of his pants when standing. His complexion was of a high-yellow tone, and he had a sea of jet-black waves spinning across his scalp. His eyes were light brown, and he was a very fashion-forward kind of guy.
"What's so wrong with that, Tracie?" Teddy asked as he sat in just his boxers with his back up against the wooden headboard. Teddy gently rubbed Tracie's beautiful face.
"Stop it, Teddy," Tracie pleaded as he slid his hands from her ears down to her breasts. Teddy didn't stop; he kept caressing them until Tracie let out this soft moan, then answered his question, "I don't know. I guess nothing's wrong with it. Maybe I'm just upset about the whole stripper thing."
"And I can totally understand how you feel, baby," Teddy interjected. "Maybe you should just tell him how you feel." Teddy then eased from underneath Tracie and then gently mounted her. He began planting soft kisses upon her lips and continued down until he reached her navel.
"Teddy, STOP IT NOW!" Tracie tried to reject Teddy's sexual advances and finish the conversation, but they were just too much. He began nibbling around paradise, and that was all she wrote.
Teddy and Tracie had met about three months prior to the date at The Mirage on the Water, a club in the flats. Teddy spotted Tracie chatting up a storm at the bar with some of her girlfriends. The minute he'd saw her, he instantly knew that Tracie was the finest thing he had ever laid eyes on. She had this mocha complexion that shone in the light. Her jet-black hair hung loosely down her back. From what he could see, she looked to be about five foot four inches and 140 pounds of pure thickness. Without hesitation, Teddy informed his homies of his next pursuit, then jumped out his chair, and eagerly approached Tracie. Tracie, oblivious to everything, didn't even notice Teddy paying any attention to her. So when Teddy lightly tapped her on the shoulder, it startled her. Even more startling to Teddy was when he looked over Tracie's shoulder, he noticed a massive wedding ring. To his surprise, that didn't stop them from discussing their obvious age difference and natural attraction to each other; Tracie was a ripe twenty-six years old, and Teddy was only nineteen. The two of them laughed and drank the night away before eventually fucking each other's brains out. From that day on, they crept around together every chance they got.
Excerpted from The Light That Shined Upon Darkness by Michael Higgins. Copyright © 2016 Michael Higgins. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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