FTDC: SAT Day
“My nigga, can you hurry the fuck up? You act like we going to prom or some shit. This is the fucking SAT’s. Shit. I don’t even know why the fuck I’m taking these shits. I’m not going to nobody damn college! But you T.O., you talked me into this shit. Only you, my nigga. Now hurry up so we can meet Steez and get this pre-SAT ciph jumping, please? We gotta get to school by eight. It’s damn near 7:30.”
“Being that you said please, and only because you said please, I’ll hurry up. But understand something Montoyae: perfection takes time. Now, how ‘bout you make yourself useful and twist that fucking Dutch my nigga? Please? Respectfully.” T.O. replied as he continued to stand in front of his dresser mirror and brush his shoulder length hair to the back, finally putting it into a long ponytail.
“Fuck you.” Monty would literally have stabbed damn near anyone other than his mother or the rest of FTDC (maybe) for talking to him like that.
“Yup. The Dutch is on the dresser. It’s not gon roll itself,” T.O. reasoned, absolutely unbothered by Monty’s harsh rebuke.
An outside ear would swear that a conflict, skirmish, or misunderstanding were eminent, but they wouldn’t have been more mistaken. In fact, this was the language of the closest of friends, brothers in essence. It was the language of Gen Z.
As soon as Monty grabbed the Dutchie off of T.O.’s dresser his phone rang. It was Steez, right on cue.
“Yo…I know nigga, I know. We coming right now. Bat cave? Aight, bet.”
“Steez, I presume?” T.O. asked Monty, still in front of the mirror being the Adonis he was.
“Affirmative. He’s already posted in 210. Let’s go, Pretty Hardaway.” Monty swiftly split the Dutch and dumped the guts into a black bodega bag T.O. had on his door handle as his makeshift trash can. He already had a sack on him. He could dump it and twirl the L in no time.
“Aight, bet. We out.” T.O. made moves toward his room door and waited for Monty to exit first. “You got pencils my nigga?”
“I got you, nigga. I already knew you was gon be lacking. I know exactly how my son move,” Monty replied with a rare grin.
“Whatever nigga,” T.O. uttered as they made their way toward the apartment door. “I usually get a pencil from one of my bitches,” he continued. Hearing his voice, his grandmother came from the kitchen to greet him before he left.
“Buena suerte mi amor. Me amo. Here, here!” Nana insisted as she passed Tory a hot Jimmy Dean sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich to take along with him.
Tory thanked his nana as he received the sandwich. He leaned over to hug and kiss his nana, who was easily a foot shorter than her only grandson. “Espérame!” Nana exclaimed as she scurried back into the kitchen. She returned with the other breakfast sandwich she’d prepared for herself. “Monty! Cómelo!” she insisted as she motioned for Monty to take it.
“Oh, no thank you abuelita. That’s yours,” Monty meekly replied. He damn sure was hungry, but he didn’t want to deprive nana of the breakfast sandwich he figured she’d prepared for herself.
“Ya!” she replied, forcing the paper towel protected sandwich she’d prepared into Monty’s hands. It almost crushed the Dutch leaf he’d hidden in the palm of his right hand. She motioned for a hug and kissed Monty on his forehead. “Adios mis niños. Buena suerte!”
Monty couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear as he quickly attacked his unexpected meal, almost half finished by the time the elevator arrived. He was certainly hungry as fuck, but his true happiness came from the love nana showed. It was the love she’d always shown him since he and T.O. were shorties. She knew that Monty was her grandson’s closest friend and of the genuine love T.O. had for his pal. She also knew of all that Monty faced in his own home on a daily basis. In turn, Monty knew that her love, although completely genuine, almost bordered pity, for Nana knew that this type of love was missing from Monty’s everyday life. He didn’t mind. He cherished the love that came from 6B.
“Damn my nigga! Don’t choke on that shit!” T.O. barked at Monty jokingly.
“Listen sir,” Monty began in a voice mimicking Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol, or perhaps one of his cousins, “the cupboards are bare. Mommy hasn’t made groceries yet. When Nana passed that sammich to you I was on my OD stalker shit. I’m surprised y’all ain’t see me damn near slobbering. I’m so hungry I’m left-handed. Nana came through though, all jokes aside. Clutch city. I was trying to be courteous, but I was really like ‘good looking out abuelita.’ I was on my Cockroach shit that episode of The Cosby Show when Theo played the gump when there was only one spot on the dance show. I wasn’t declining twice. Sheeitt. So fuck you, Ricky Retardo.”
The two PALZ laughed way too loud in the project hallway at 7:35 am on a Saturday as they entered the elevator. T.O. broke off half of his breakfast sandwich and gave it to his brother. T.O. wasn’t much of a breakfast person, but he was definitely an A-1 pal. In addition to Monty explaining that there wasn’t any food in his crib, he knew Monty hadn’t had time to hit the bodega for a breakfast sandwich before coming to his apartment. He would better appreciate the extra half.
T.O. and Monty exited building #2241 to a beautiful early May Saturday morning in Spanish Harlem. The sun was brighter every marquee and billboard in Times Square shining together, high on sour diesel, casually blowing large puffy clouds throughout the satin blue sky. A slight breeze swept through the project plaza as the two began to walk toward building #210. It was already 72° in the barrio.
T.O. and Monty both simultaneously glanced to their right to see who let out the project call (think Bat light or Bat phone). It was none other than the homie Mambo, strolling out the B-Stairs exit of building #230 with the patented Mambo bop. He was smiling from ear to ear. Yup, he’d no doubt just bust a stop. Judging from his exuberance, he might have just sold a damn half a brick of heroin (five bundles, ten glycine baggies to a bundle). Or he may have been leaving one of his slides’ apartments. Or maybe both. Regardless, it was Mambo all day, every day, and twice on Sunday.
“Tory! Monty! Que pasa locos! Light that she (shit)!” Mambo exclaimed as he approached, dapping both of his young niggas.
“What up my nigga,” T.O. quickly replied. “That’s what’s up though. We on the exact same time. We bouta head to 210 right now. Steez there right the fuck now waiting on us. We gon ciph real quick before we go take the SAT and shit. Perfect. I need to see you anyway, ya heard? Just a lil bundle and shit. Quick flip. It’s a security nigga at Manhattan Center who fuck with it. Nigga already hit my line. I’m a tax that nigga, word.”
“Bet. I hear you Frank Matthews Jr. I got you when we hit the building. I’m holding,” Mambo replied. “I needed to see Steez anyway. Bet. I can kill three birds with one stone!”
“Three, my nigga?” Monty quickly asked, wondering how he got to three. It was usually kill two birds with one stone, so he figured.
“I can see Steez for smoke. Needed a few of those husky dubs to start this Saturday off official anyway. Then two, we gon catch this ciph, so my L turns into 4 L’s. And I just so happen to have a Owl on me. I’m a be wild blunted before breakfast. Then three, I can hit my nigga T.O. off with some work and put more money in my pocket. You know how we do. It’s all about that next flip. There you go. Three birds, one stone. Easy. Eastside, ya heard?” The project griot had spoken.
“Nigga you still smoking Owls? This nigga dangerous, T.O.” Monty immediately disregarded Mambo’s explanation after he heard mention of a White Owl cigar.
“I bet you smoke that shit when I stuff a whole dub in that shit and pass it around, sí or no?” Mambo bluntly (pun intended) asked Monty.
“Fucking straight,” Monty replied as he nodded and dapped the big homie up.
“Aight. Aight then, so bet,” Mambo began as he glanced at his black Timex Ironman watch. “I took those [SAT] shits too. I remember the format, feel me? They want you there by 8, but they give niggas until like 8:15, 8:20 to find their class, especially if that’s not their building. Cool. Vamanos.”
TO BE CONTINUED