Roy Glenn

All About The Money


Jada West

For me, it was all about the money. It always has been. I think it’s in my blood. I come from a family of hustlers. My moms and my daddy were both hustlers. That’s all my mother and father ever talked about. Money, money, money, and how to get it.

They’d known each other all their lives. Moms was born six months and one day before daddy. They lived next to each other and my grandmothers were best friends. Both my mother and father used to say they don’t remember a time when they weren’t together. Even though they never got married and we didn’t always live together, we were always a family.

My daddy was a gambler; that was his hustle. That’s how he put food on our table. He played poker and blackjack, shot craps, played C-low, but his thing was pool. In his day, my daddy could shoot pool with the best of them. He used to always say that when he was truly on his game: “Ain’t another man standing can touch me with a stick in my hand.”

When I was a kid, he would take me with him sometimes when moms had something goin’. It used to make him madder than hell and he would rant and rave and say, “Swear ’for God, this the last time I let her do this to me. She know damn well I got shit to do, ’cuse my French; and if I ever hear you talk like that I’ll beat your little ass. But she knows what I gotta do tonight. But if she was to come home and I ain’t got no money, what would happen?”

“She would lose her mind.” I would always say ’cause she would go off over the slightest little thing. It became kind of a runnin’ joke-us trippin’ on moms trippin’.

“You damn right she would. I can hear her now. ‘What you mean you ain’t got no money? Well, I’ll just go on down to the rent office and tell ’em I ain’t got the rent ’cause my man couldn’t find no baby sitter’,” he went on and on. But the second he got in that pool room, my daddy was a rock. Makin’ shots and takin’ money.

My moms used to boost from the mall and commit identity theft with checks and credit cards. She would do whatever it took to make money. “Honey, when you got a man’s back, I mean truly got his back, a woman gotta step up. Sometimes a woman gotta use what she got to get what she gotta get to take care of her family.” The fact that moms would give it up for money if she felt she needed to, used to piss my father off. But when he had a woman on the hook that he was getting money from, moms wouldn’t say shit. For them, it was always about the money. ’Cause no matter who or where they were gettin’ money from, it was always for us. We were always a family.

But money turned out to be their downfall. When I was seventeen, my daddy had a woman who was givin’ him money. My father would bring the money home and was givin’ it to my moms. That’s just how they did it. But one night the woman followed him to our apartment and she waited for daddy to come out. I was watching from the window and saw her walk up on him, put the gun to his head, and kill him.

“Daddy, no!” I screamed at the top of my lungs and kept screaming, as the woman looked up at me and ran to her car. I wanted to run out there, but I couldn’t move. My moms came to see what I was screaming about, but I couldn’t talk. All I could do was point out the window at my father’s body.

“Oh God! God, no!” she yelled and ran out. It felt like all the life had been drained from my body. He and I were so close. And I loved my daddy so much that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It felt like part me was dying out there.

It still does.

After that, moms had to go for herself. She went out and got herself a job and worked it for two weeks, before she accidentally slipped in the ladies room. She sued them and got a little settlement, but her plan was to do what she called “washin’ the check.” That’s when they use some kind of chemicals to erase the amount on the check, and then they put in a new amount. She got a fake ID and setup an account to run the checks through, and went for it. Good plan and it worked, except for the fact that the insurance company knew who they’d sent that check number to. So, it was easy for them to match her work ID with the bank’s surveillance video. Now moms is doin’ fed time in Illinois. If daddy were alive, he would have never let her make a mistake like that.

I had just celebrated my eighteenth birthday when they took my moms away. With only a court appointed lawyer at her side, the judge gave her ten years. Now I was alone and broke. All they left me was a seventy-seven Monte Carlo. That bitch was beat down, but it ran like a champ. I had to get somethin’ goin’ and quick. Since I had barely graduated from high school, I knew college wasn’t in my future. I was determined not to turn out the way my people did, but I had absolutely no clue about how I was gonna do it. I had to learn from what they did and from their mistakes.

I remembered what my moms told me about what a woman gotta do, but all the lyin’ and fakin’ you gotta do just wasn’t for me. See, when you gettin’ money from men like that, they think they own you. That’s the mistake daddy made. That woman was givin’ him her money for that dick, and that made him hers. No, no-not a life for me.

For the first couple of months after they took moms away, I wrote to her once a week. You know, keepin’ her up on what was goin’ on with me. I remember writing her and sayin’ how I stayed in our old apartment for three months before they finally put me out. I had moved in with a friend of mine from high school named Love. She worked at a tattoo parlor. She let me sleep on her floor until I got myself together. I survived those days on whatever money daddy’s old friends gave me. I wrote her that I had to stop getting money from them, because some of them wanted something in return for their money and I wasn’t prepared to do that. I never got an answer to any of my letters, until one day I got a letter from her that simply said that I should stop writing her. She said that reading my letters was too painful for her. She told me that I shouldn’t even think about comin’ to see her ’cause she didn’t want me to see her like that. I was heartbroken ’cause now I felt like I was truly alone.

With few other options on the horizon, I took a job at a market research company. My job was to call people and ask them survey questions about their buying habits, and direct them to Web sites where they could buy stuff. It didn’t pay much, but it allowed me to move off Love’s floor and pay rent for my hole-in-the-wall apartment. Well, at least it paid the rent most of the time, but this month wasn’t one of those months and I was late on my rent, again. For the last couple of days, I’d been dodging my landlord-a pervert named Chuck.

A few months earlier, I caught Pervert Chuck, the rent collector/building super/loan shark all rolled into one, sifting through my underwear drawer. At the time, I was three hundred dollars short on the rent. I was able to convince him to forget about the money, in exchange for a pair of my worn Victoria’s Secret thongs, but he’s been riding my ass, trying to take it to the next level ever since.

When the first knock sounded at the door I jumped, startled by the noise, then froze and stood completely still. It wasn’t like my super could actually see through the door, but I still tried to stop breathin’, and stayed as quite as humanly possible.

I looked up my reflection in the mirror, which hung above the sofa. “This is really sad,” I said under my breath. I swear I could hear him leaning against my door. I knew he wouldn’t hear any music or the TV, since the power was off, so I stood still and I tried to remain quiet.

“Shit! Missed that bitch again,” I heard him grumble. My heart was racing as I stood waiting for sounds of his footsteps walking away. Nothing. I was trembling, praying to God Chuck wouldn’t use his key to let himself in, and find me standing there pretending not to be home.

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