Contentment: “That’s Just the Way It Is”

“Nigga please! Lebron James couldn’t touch Jordan if Jordan had the flu, a broken pinkie toe, and arthritis in both hands!”

“Nigga don’t talk about the king like that, you’ve seen what this negro is capable of, he would make Jordan look like Steve Kerr!”

Just a normal exchange of opinions between two friends who often argue in a way that would make the average person think they were enemies. But not these two, these two guys have known each other since way back when. You see the Micheal Jordan enthusiast is Kirk, born and raised right here in Greenville, Mississippi. Like most of us, Kirk lived in a single parent household, him and his mother along with two little sisters who got on his last nerves more than I can remember. The Lebron fanatic is Frankie, Frankie is from the Windy-City, that’s right Chi-town, and don’t you forget it either. It’s not like you could, because every opportunity Frankie gets he reminds us where he is from and how we “don’t know nothin bout that”! He too lives in a single parent household with his father and older brother. Apparently ever since they’ve moved to Greenville, the only thing Frankie’s dad does is work, drink, and remind them how much he hates them due to there resemblance of his dead wife. I know…tough shit, but we all have our story, our struggle, and dysfunctional attributes. I know I do, I too was born and raised right here in lovely, beautiful, dirty ol’ Greenville. Ever since my Pops left its been my moms, my brother, and my 5 year old sister. We seem to get along pretty well and we all try to contribute what we can to make things as normal as possible. We don’t get to see my mom a lot because she works two minimum wage jobs, so usually its me and my siblings. My brother is known in our neighborhood as “that nigga”. If you don’t know what I mean by “that nigga”, its a term we use to describe someone who is living there life in somewhat of an ideal state due to the status they have achieved in their profession. His profession happens to be dope dealing, everything from cocaine to ecstasy, him and his roll dog Bo have it. Trust me my brother makes a lot of dough, I’m talking like $1000 a week! Everybody respects him and likes him, or at least they pretend to. People expect me to follow in his footsteps but I got dreams. I know what you’re thinking, typical nigga from the ghetto dream right? You probably are thinking I want to be a professional athlete, rapper, or some bullshit like that right, but not me, I want to be a best selling author. You know someone who tells stories to portray a message and opens peoples eyes to a reality they may not be familiar with. I don’t talk about it much with anyone because nobody around here would understand, why? Because my granddaddy always said ” In Greenville, niggas got 3 options, work for a white man, sell dope, or die.” Not necessarily sound advice but its a tainted perspective after all the years of injustice, racism, and extremely impoverished living conditions. It’s almost as if we consider dysfunctional normal and normal dysfunctional.

“Al, who do you think is the better, Lebron or Jordan?” Now I don’t know why in the hell these niggas ask me this dumb question, its not like my choice will change either one of their opinions or effect our lives in any way, but I’m not a pessimist so, “Jordan has 6 rings dog, end of the conversation! I love Lebron, but that nigga got a lot more work to do before he is on Jordan level.” As the last few words were coming out of my mouth I saw a combative response stirring in Frankie’s soul.

“Nigga are you serious, Al you don’t know shit about shit if you believe that! But just wait and see, by the time Lebron is through, he gone have more rings than fingers to put em on, bet that.”

“Whatever man, light that blunt nigga and stop talking that bullshit!” Kirk said to Frankie. You see we smoked everyday after school, I would get the hook up from my brother and it was up to Frankie and Kirk to get a swisher sweet. We all felt like getting high was the only way to have some fun in dull ass Greenville. Between police harassing us, money always being tight at home, and not to mention things like the hell hole Frankie existed in with an abusive father, weed was like a relief from the rigorous reality of the our existence.

“Nigga its puff puff pass, not puff puff puff puff puff puff, talk some shit, puff then pass!” Kirk was always getting on Frankie and he had every right to, because every time we started smoking Frankie became a professional babysitter and shit.

“How you gone babysit some weed you ain’t even buy? Just an ungrateful negro.” I didn’t really care that much but we loved talking shit to each other and we always seem to get a good laugh out of messing with Frankie.

“Man where the hell are we going to eat today?”  I asked and they knew exactly what I meant. We had a ritual, after school we would smoke a blunt and then “go out to eat”. Even though most people don’t consider Arby’s, McDonalds, or Subway, going out to eat, it was to us and it would be to you if you had been eating, spam, bologna, and ramen noodles all the damn time.

“Man my mouth is watering for some tacos!” Kirk said this and me and Frankie looked at that nigga like he had lost his mind.

“Fool you  know damn well the only taco spot is on the westside of town, and I don’t feel like running from nobody today.” It was like Frankie had to remind this nigga where we where and who he was. You see the westside was all white folks, and I ain’t talking Beverly hills white folks, I’m talking nigga hanging, PBR drinking, dirty ass wife beater and a rusty old Dodge truck white folks. And it was a known fact that we were not supposed to be caught on the westside or we would be running for our lives. But for some reason today tacos did sound good so we said “Fuck it, I could go for some tacos.”

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