Nkosi Ife Bandele aka Easy Boheme

The Beast – Excerpt

Stabbing two steps at a time, a sexy young beat cop named Jensen scales the endless flights of a grimy housing project. After reaching the top of yet another flight, she glances back at her physically-challenged male partner, Mason, when he takes a breather at the bottom.

Caught, he shrugs and yells up at her, “I’m coming!” and then he mumbles under his breath.

“Cunt.”

***

Finally, arriving at the top of the steps, Jensen, still way ahead of Mason, peers up and spies a swarm of fellow police (more beat cops and detectives, all men) hovering in front of a closed apartment door.

When the self-appointed leader of the motley group, a wily old detective named Marino, notices her coming, he turns even more annoyed.

Shaking his head, he turns to his old partner Gates. “You believe this?”

Puzzled, Jensen looks at the other cops who appear restless and uncertain. She responds to her partner after he finally catches up.

“Pussy!”

 All the while, two shifty-looking detectives, Sherwood and Lika, appear anxious to make a move.

 Marino raps on the apartment door.

“Open up, Willie. It’s me, Marino.”

Silence. The cops look to each other for answers.

Sherwood and Lika edge closer.

 At the same time, Marino notices a beat cop twirling his baton.

“Hey, Willie, there’s like a hundred flatfoots out here all itching to do you doggy style!”

He shares a smile with Gates before banging hysterically on the door.

“Open the fuckin’ door!”

Still nothing.

After a moment, a loud cracking sound is heard emanating from inside, the sound of a door or window being slammed.

Suddenly, Lika, the more thick-headed and stockier of the partners, hurls himself into the door trying to break it down with a single thrust.

Marino offers Gates another incredulous look before taking on Lika.

“And what, pray-tell, do you suppose you’re doing?

Now Sherwood steps in front and backs off the other cops by pulling out his cannon-like gun.

He orders them to “Stand back” before firing through the locks with two violent blasts.

Marino shakes his head in dismay.

“Hey, Rambo, this guy’s a crack head. He’s probably in there pissing on himself.”

Sherwood blocks him with his gun and gestures to Lika to knock down the door.

After Lika barrels in, Sherwood immediately covers him with his big gun poised.

***

Amid the thick quiet inside, Marino steps in still shaking his head while frowning on the foolhardiness of the younger detectives.

“It’s a simple cat and mouse game, fellas.” He breaks out in song. “Willie, oh, Willie, come out, come out wherever you are!”

He smiles smugly afterwards.

A thick, now eerie silence inside.

Marino attempts to break the silence with another of his wise cracks, but before he can get out the words, Willie Davis explodes into the room toting a fierce-looking automatic weapon.

Sherwood and Lika fire and take cover.

Willie Davis, a whirlwind of fury and rage, unloads on Marino, caught standing there, and then sprays the entire room destroying everything in sight, keeping Sherwood and Lika at bay.

Gates rushes in and is blasted back in to the hallway, crashing into the cops following after him.

***

Willie Davis appears in the hallway a split second later still firing recklessly.

 A nervous cop fumbling with his gun is riddled with bullets.

 Another cop panics and shoots blindly. 

 Cops yell, scramble, and tumble all over.

 Willie Davis is the last man standing, his gun smoking.

A dozen or so injured and dying cops are left strewn throughout the hall.

Suddenly, Willie Davis notices Jensen who’s hurt badly but struggling admirably to re-load her gun.

He has a notion to shoot her dead but for some odd reason spares her instead.

Sherwood and Lika finally recover and give chase to Willie Davis.

When he starts blasting in the stairwell, they take cover again.

After the shooting spree ends, Sherwood and Lika continue their pursuit of Willie Davis and notice his trail of blood. They follow the drops out into the street where they disappear.

They pan the area and realize that Willie Davis has vanished as well.

Sherwood and Von Buren turn back to the building and spot Willie Davis’s young daughter, Aisha, under an oversized, floppy hat and standing alone on the fire escape outside of Willie Davis’s apartment window.

 

(2)

 

A triumphant trumpet sound!

 Distinguished leader of an all-star black music trio, called “The History,” Teacher holds his horn high above the animated black dance crowd who strut their stuff, in effect tooting their own horns.

 Along with Teacher on stage are The History members Big Pappy Blues currently on the guitar, and Lil Jazz boppin’ on congas. (The musicians play various instruments in their respective fields—wind, string, percussion—to reflect upon the history of black music from blues to rap)

After killing the crowd with one final blast of his horn, Teacher steps smoothly to the side and stands in the back next to Big Pappy Blues who has likewise stepped back to let Lil Jazz bust her rap while beatin’ her drum.

Big Pappy Blues knows that Teacher is in trouble at home.

“Y’all still arguin’?”

“Umm-hmm.”

Big Pappy Blues looks at Teacher suspiciously.

“We still hittin’ that after hour’s gangsta spot later, right?

“Yup.”

Big Pappy Blues now shoots Teacher a knowing look.

“Got yours?”

Teacher shows him his gun stuck in his waist.

Big Pappy Blues smiles approvingly.

“Got mine, too!”

 

(3)

 

Teacher arrives at home at daybreak. His surly old neighbor, Mr. Dave, is already on the steps reading his sports page.

“Clocking in early, Mr. Dave?”

Mr. Dave never looks away from his paper.

“You late!”

 ***

 Inside his apartment building, Teacher tries his key and discovers his apartment door chain-locked from the inside.

“LaChaCha!”

His girlfriend, LaChaCha, pokes her face through the small opening and gives him some serious attitude, looking him up and down.

They face off before he yells at her.

“Damn, stop playing!”

LaChaCha gives in and finally opens the door, but her suspicious eyes stay glued. As she forces Teacher to squeeze by, he intends to give her a ‘mean mug’ once over, but after he peeps that thick butt of hers in silk panties, he just shakes his head. Damn, she gets me every time!

***

Their apartment is an eclectic mix of music (exotic instruments, classic albums, tapes and CD’s) and art (drawings, paintings, and sculpture) reflecting the interests and tastes of Teacher and LaChaCha as well as their daughter, La Muneca.

(The kid’s toys and books are strewn all over, too.)

Teacher tosses a thick wad of cash on the coffee table in the living room as he collapses into his favorite lounge chair.

He falls back and peers up at LaChaCha.

“All right?”

She snatches up the money and shrewdly counts it.

Meanwhile, he discovers a newspaper underneath him in the chair.

“What’s this?”

Leafing through the paper, he finds an article with his name on it.

LaChaCha responds bitterly as he continues reading. “Make sure you get your money this time!”

Clearly annoyed, he goes mean mug again before snapping.

“Money, money, money!”

Right after he turns concerned.

“How’s La Muneca?”

“Sick!” LaChaCha snaps back.

“Still?”

LaChaCha stares him down.

“It’s asthma. It just doesn’t go away like that.”

“I’ll take her to see Specs, okay?”

He pauses to see if it’s okay with LaChaCha who’s ‘too through’ with him.

“She needs to see a real doctor.”

“And I need a real job!”

LaChaCha gives him another of her looks but decides not to go there. Instead, she squeezes into her black pants and then forcefully tucks in her white shirt (to complete her waiter uniform) and then stamps off towards the door to go to work.

Trying to focus on his article, Teacher can’t resist another forlorn gaze before she leaves.

“What, no kiss?”

She glares at him before slamming the door behind, causing him to scream after her.

“I’m still reviewing your application!”

Teacher eventually tosses aside the paper and heads for La Muneca’s bedroom still complaining about LaChaCha.

“I’m gonna find me somebody better than you!”

He smiles knowingly afterwards aware that fine ass La ChaCha would be hard to top.

***

Teacher can hear La Muneca’s loud wheezing as he approaches her bedroom door.

He approaches her cautiously.

“You all right, baby?”

Likewise fed up with her dad, La Muneca flings back the covers and juts upright as Teacher sits down on her bed.

“Isn’t it obvious?”

After smiling at her charming haughtiness (just like her mom), Teacher lifts her up out of the bed and carries her to the door.

“Let’s go, then.”

She buries her face in his neck and they head out.

(4)

 

At the Department for Social Services, department head Ernestine Robinson stands guard at her office door as Sherwood and Lika press her for information concerning Willie Davis’ daughter Aisha.

Ms. Robinson looks Sherwood directly in the eye to offer her final word.

“For the last time, officer, her information has been classified as confidential.”

Sherwood’s done with her too.

“That son of a bitch killed five New York City officers!”

Ms. Robinson folds her arms to continue standing her ground.

Sherwood turns away from her and smiles at Lika.

He gives the nod and they leave with Sherwood whistling “Dixie” as they disappear down the hall.

After they’re completely gone, Ms. Robinson takes a deep breath and then enters her office.

After carefully closing the door behind her, she looks compassionately at Aisha who sits in the fetal position at the farthest corner of the room, her recognizable floppy hat pulled low to cover her face.

 

(5)

 

Paper in hand, and determined to collect on his article, Teacher arrives at the office of the “The Renaissance News,” an African American weekly newspaper.

He steps off the elevator and starts slowly down a narrow and deserted hallway.

At the end of the hall, the pane of the office’s glass door displays the faded logo of the paper.

He knocks at first, but when no one answers, he twists the door handle open.

***

Once inside, Teacher looks around the small office and notices all the paper-making materials including an antique printing press, a layout desk with pictures hanging above it, and a half-completed news page atop of it.

He sees a closed door to the right and approaches it.

The door’s logo reads:

PATRICK C. OSBORNE

PUBLISHER, EDITOR, AND CHIEF

Before Teacher can knock on that door, Mr. Osborne enters the office carrying his lunch in a crumpled bag. Judging from his nonchalant demeanor, the older black man could just as well be the janitor.

He clears his throat somewhat obnoxiously before speaking to Teacher.

“What can I do for you?”

Teacher checks the logo.

“Mr. Osborne?”

Blatantly ignoring Teacher, Mr. Osborne sits casually at the secretary’s desk in the front where he prepares his lunch, a sardines and pork&beans sandwich on a thick slice of Cuban bread.

He takes a big “chomp” out of the sandwich while Teacher waits anxiously for an answer.

Fed-up, Teacher drops the paper in front of Mr. Osborne and points to his article.

Mr. Osborne takes a quick look but continues munching. After a moment, he starts for his checkbook with his free hand.

“A check’s all right?”

“If it’s all right.”

Mr. Osborne finds Teacher’s snappy response amusing.

“My money’s good, friend.”

After Mr. Osborne hands him the check, Teacher reads the signature to confirm what he already knows.

“Mr. Osborne—?”

“You can’t be too sure these day, friend.”

Teacher admires the old man’s style and agrees.

“True.”

With a nod of thanks, Teacher starts for the door.

“So what about that brother who shot up all those cracker cops?”

“What about it?”

“I’d like something on that.”

Teacher smiles ironically.  He’s not trying to get caught up in that crazy mess.

 “Music’s my thing, Mr. Osborne. I write about it sometimes, that’s all.”

“That’s a big story.” He reflects. “Here I am the biggest black newspaper in the city, and I don’t have a word on it.”

Mr. Osborne stands slightly and offers his strong hand to Teacher.

“My friends call me ‘Os.’ You know, like the wizard.”

Teacher sizes up Mr. Osborne before responding.

“Medical included?”

A moment later, the actual secretary, Ms. Grant, enters the office and is surprised to find the boss sitting at her desk.

“Ms. Grant, I’d like you to speak with our friend here about our benefits package.”

Ms. Grant has clearly never heard of such a package.

“Right!”