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“So when can I see you again?” Campbell asked.

Hmph, it never ended!

“See me again?” I asked incredulously. “How about never?”

I walked toward the street.

“Never?” Campbell hissed back at me. He grabbed my elbow and swung me around. “After what we just shared?”

“We shared a fuck. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

“Damn, you’re cold-blooded.”

“Aw, is that supposed to hurt my feelings?” I yanked my arm free. “I said thank you. What else do you want?”

“I want to see you again. I think you’re fine and you’re definitely sexy. I’d like to see what you could do if we had an all-day fuckathon. So how about it?”

“I can’t. I don’t want to,” I said nastily. He was getting on my nerves. They always did afterward. It was so much easier when I wouldn’t let them say anything at all. I might have to rethink my strategy and revert to my old ways.

“Why not?” Campbell wanted to know.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you.” I laughed in his face and started for my car. “I felt like doing it, you looked enticing at the moment, you served your purpose, and now it’s over. Get a life!”

Campbell stopped in his tracks and yelled out, “Bitch!”

I turned and leered at him. “I’m not your bitch. If I were you, I’d just walk away before you make me angry. Trust me. You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

He must have taken my threat to heart because he started speed-walking in the opposite direction. Good for him because I was serious as shit about it. I took no drama from anyone. Not even Jon, and if she really started tripping, she would have to find that out the hard way.


It happened again. I woke up the next morning on my sofa with my black suit on. My hair was curled and I didn’t have on a bra. Plus, I was hurting down there. I was terrified. Was I insane?

I ran into the bathroom. The curling iron was on the vanity and the pajamas I’d put on the night before were cut into shreds and stuffed into the wastebasket. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

I jumped into the shower and noticed a foreign smell on my body. Someone else’s scent. A man’s scent. A different man’s scent from the last time and the time before that and the time before that.

I wanted to make the eight o’clock service at church but barely got there before the sermon at the eleven o’clock one. Reverend Townsend preached from his soul. I was always moved by his words. The newest member of the deacon board kept staring at me, making me nervous. He was attractive and appeared to be in his early thirties. I couldn’t have handled it if he’d actually said something to me. I didn’t want to take the chance that he might approach me after the service, so I stayed long enough to tithe and then left before the recessional.


October 1985

Second Grade

Pembroke Pines, Florida

Jonquinette sat on the playground, wishing she was anyplace else but there. Every day her mother dropped her off at school, she dreaded walking up the front steps and through the large metal doors. She loved her teachers and desired to gain knowledge but the way the children bullied her was depressing to a seven-year-old girl.

The teasing never stopped, nor did the names. Retard. Fatty. Ugmo. Jonquinette’s self-esteem was nonexistent, having long been destroyed by many students; one in particular. Her name was Brenda Morrison and all the kids adored her or at least pretended to adore her. There was nothing really special about her. She just carried herself and talked about herself like she was unique to the point where all the students started to believe her.

This particular day, Jonquinette was sitting on a bench while all the other second graders enjoyed their recess time after lunch. She was staring at the sky and daydreaming, hoping that a bird would come whisk her away and drop her in a better place. She hated the outfit she had on: a pair of pink capris and a top that had way too many colors in the pattern. She preferred darker colors to match her mood: depressed.

Her mother had spent hours the night before cornrowing her hair for the school week ahead. On Mondays, everyone was always overactive after spending the weekend at parks and playing sports. Jonquinette always kept to herself on weekends. She didn’t know how to make friends and since no one ever invited her anywhere, she would just sit on the front porch and watch cars drive by at rare intervals.

Jonquinette couldn’t wait until the school day was over. Just three more hours and she could escape. She was lost in her own little world when Brenda marched up to her with three other little girls in tow.

“What are you doing, Fatty?” Brenda hissed at her. “Where’s my money?”

Jonquinette shrugged. Every single day Brenda would demand that she give her a quarter. Most days she would manage to sneak into her parents’ bedroom and grab a quarter off her father’s valet tray. However, it had been an impossible task that morning.

Brenda leaned down and punched her on the arm. “You heard me, Retard. Where’s my quarter?”

Jonquinette lowered her eyes to the ground. “I don’t have it.”

“Excuse me?” Brenda asked angrily. “Did you just say you don’t have my money?”

One of the other little girls, Francine, said, “That’s what she said, Brenda. You gonna beat her up?”

Brenda glanced around the playground to make sure all the teachers were occupied, trying to make sure no one was falling off equipment or butting in line at the slide. She turned back to Jonquinette and glared down at her. “No, I’m not gonna beat her up. Not today. I’m just gonna slap her.”

Before Jonquinette could block it, Brenda’s hand smashed against her left cheek, causing an incredible pain to shoot through her entire body.

All the little girls started laughing and doubling over to hold their stomachs. All except Brenda, who issued a warning. “Tomorrow you better have my money. Two quarters instead of one or I’m gonna beat you up for real.”

Jonquinette broke out in tears. How could someone be so cruel? She never bothered any of them and yet they continued to torment her day after day. She turned her eyes back up to the sky, waiting on that magical bird to come swoop her up.

Two minutes later, the tears were gone and anger replaced the sad expression on Jonquinette’s face. Jude had had enough.

Brenda and two of her groupies were in the little girls’ room cheesing in the mirrors and talking about going to the county carnival that weekend. They didn’t even glance at the door when Jude came in. Their mistake.

Jude slipped into a stall and closed the door, not bothering to lock it. She wouldn’t be in there but a few seconds. When she came back out, she had the ceramic toilet top in her hands, clutching it like a paddle. By the time they saw Jude bring it up over her head, it was too late. She was already swinging. She nailed Francine right across the stomach first. She screamed and fell down on her knees. Then she went for Rhonda, another student who constantly had Brenda’s back. Rhonda tried to duck but Jude stepped on her foot, causing her to stand back up partially to lift her foot and grab her toes. That’s when Jude got her across the right shoulder. Rhonda fell to the tile floor but was in too much pain to even voice a scream.

Brenda just stood there at first, wondering if she could make it to the door safely without getting a major beatdown. It was obvious that she couldn’t so she resorted to intimidation. “Fatty, you know you’re not gonna touch me with that. That would mean I’d have to beat you up every day for the rest of the school year.”