The Last American N!gga – Short Story By: Eric Blair (@HeavyAsHeaven84)
“So, what ever happened to Alex?”
How long did it take for you to ask me that?
“What are you talkin’ ‘bout? It just popped into my mind, ya know?”
You see this blank stare? Stop lying to me, please. Wait, real quick, I hate the saying “ya know.” What the hell does it even mean? Are you asking me a question or telling me something? That phrase is too confusing for me. I don’t like it.
“Are you done wit’ your mini rant?”
Wait…Now I am done.
“Honestly, I have heard rumors ‘bout your brother livin’ inFloridaor bein’ Kobe Bryant.”
What?!Kobe? Why him? That guy is a fucking tool! I met him like twice, whole douche bag including the douche solution. Ha, that’s funny that my brother has rumors about him.
Well, in my tenth year of schooling…
“You couldn’t just say tenth grade?”
Okay! When I was in tenth grade Alex and I hung out heavily. By now he had his own place in theGermantownsection ofPhiladelphiaand commuted to South Philly. He still helped me with my homework even after the fallout between him and our mother. He still left money for our mother daily. She never spent it because she felt it was dirty instead she put it in the bank. One particular Friday night, Alex dropped me off after we hung out at Dave and Busters…
“What’s Dave and Busters?”
A restaurant/game house, it’s an awesome place. Next time we visit my mom in Philly I am taking you and the guys. By the way, Rose, stop interrupting me! Alex dropped me off right in front of the door of my mother’s house. He would pull off once I opened the door. As soon as I stepped one foot into the house a loud crashing of metal and glass roared. Less than a few seconds later loud shots rang out. I stood in place for a few seconds, not fully in the house but not fully outside. My heart turned completely cold, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and my hands begun to shake uncontrollably. I stepped back outside to find my brother’s black Lexus crashed into a light pole, pumped full of holes, and still smoking. I ran to the corner as fast as I could. I could actually smell the stench of gunpowder, leaking gasoline, and blood. I slowly approached Alex’s car on the driver’s side, the glass was shattered and the doors were covered in holes. I finally approached the driver’s door to find Alex slouched down in his seat. Smoke was venting from the bullet holes in his chest, and his jaw, and through his chin and above his eye. Blood gushed from his face. He slowly turned his head toward me; his voice was cold, deep, dark, and I could tell he was trying to hide the fact his voice was about to crack from the death shock. He uttered,
He just stared at me with his eyes wide open as the life seeped from his body. Then his head just rolled, following the slumping of his body. I stood there quivering with chills through my body. Out of the silent death of the night I heard a loud scream a few feet from me calling out,
My mother rushed to the still smoking car to open the door so she could get Alex out. She opened the door and Alex’s body fell out of the car, my mother caught his body before it hit the ground. She sat on the ground crying holding Alex’s lifeless, bloody body until the police came. I just stood in the same place looking on in horror and shock.
“Wow, I am so sorry to hear that.”
It’s cool, the days after Alexander’s death were rough. My mother called our father to tell him that Alex was murdered. I could hear her screaming from my bedroom where I just sat and studied, quietly. She was screaming at my father on the phone. All I could understand and piece together was her saying,
“What the fuck do you mean that’s not your problem, James?
“I-I didn’t do this alone, I know you’re not worth much but I really need your support! I can’t do this alone!”
“This is not my fault! I tried! I tried to keep him outta the streets! What did you do?!”
“Of course make excuses, you walked out on your boys for some fuckin’ young tail! Now you’re such a perfect father with your new family! We were your family first!”
“I don’t ask for support for C.J., the least you could do is be a shoulder for me! I need you, C.J. needs you!”
“What the fuck is your problem?! You son just was murdered!”
“What?! What?! Fuck you and your family!”
I entered the kitchen to watch my mother slam the phone down on the hook with frustration, anger, and grief. She dropped to the kitchen floor in a rage of tears and screams. I rushed over to console her with a big, loving hug. I whispered in her ear,
“Don’t worry mommy, I am here. I will never let anyone or anything hurt you again. I will take care of you…”
“Are you okay, C.J.?”
Yeah, I am fine, I haven’t thought about these memories in a really long time. A few days later was Alex’s funeral, it was on a Saturday, it was rainy, cold, and gloomy. Pieces of that day have been expunged from my memory. There are bits and pieces of Alex’s funeral I remember. Like the fact that my father actually showed up, or my mother screaming and jumping on the coffin because the funeral was a closed casket ceremony. At some point my mother screamed at my father who was standing in the back of the funeral home.
“This is your fault! You should have been here for your boys! You should have been here, you selfish bastard!”
I was there to witness his death, I didn’t cry. I was there to see my mother breakdown, I didn’t cry. I ran my hand across the cold coffin, nope, not one tear. The moment I had to give Alex’s eulogy I stepped up to the podium to face a packed funeral home. I cleared my throat, closed my eyes, and begun to speak,
“My brother Alexander David Johnson was…was…wwwww—”
That was it, I broke down in front of hundreds of people who came to pay their respects to my brother. At that moment I realized he really was gone, no more fun rides, no more help with homework, and no more looking up to Alex. He was gone and never coming back, it hit me like a speeding train. I released a roar of screams and cries, at that moment the thought of my brother being gone from my life drove me insane. My cousins and aunts helped to escort me off the stage back to my seat. Once I got to my seat I buried my face into my mother’s arms. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I didn’t want to see or hear anyone. When it was time to carry Alex’s coffin to the hearse my uncle Andrew asked my father if he wanted to help, when he said,
“Naw, I’m good; that’s not really my place, Andrew.”
My uncle almost punched my father in his face but his brother/my uncle Mike restrained Andrew, I yelled out,
“I will help! I will help to carry Alex.”
Everyone looked over at me. My uncle Richie asked me,
“Ya sure, little man? We can get some else to help out.”
I replied with my voice cracking,
My father strolled over toward me as I stood next to the coffin; he was cool, smooth, charming, and laid back. He looked down at me and said to me,
“I’m proud of ya, boy. Alexander would be proud of ya too.”
He handed me a fifty dollar bill and smiled
“That’s fo’ you, big man, fo’ bein’ brave and steppin’ up when the fam needed ya ta be there.”
He patted me on my back and then strolled down the isle of the empty funeral home, out onto the crowded street. I watched him drive off from inside of the funeral home; I watched through the doors as my father drove away in my time of need. At that moment I learned hatred; I’d never wanted to kill a man until I watched him drive off. I didn’t cry, but I’ve always remembered, I took it in stride and it’s fueled my ambition. I focused on carrying Alex’s coffin and putting it into the hearse. My three uncles and two cousins helped me to carry the coffin. The moment we lifted the coffin my knees knocked together, I don’t know if it was from grief or nervousness but I do know that coffin was heavy. I thought my arm was going to rip out of my shoulder blade from the first lift. When we extended it over our shoulders my legs buckled from the weight. I thought the isle was never going to end, the street felt so far away. Once we exited the funeral home there were three times more people than there were at the service. I don’t know if the neighborhood loved Alex, feared him, or a combination of both. At that moment, Rose, all I could do is be proud that Alex was my brother and that this many people came to pay their respects. He was a great man. He was a great brother. I will always love him, until my last breath.
“Did the police ever find his killer?”
Do you remember the story I told you about Cheese? Well, the streets talk and they knew he either killed or set my brother up, but the police could never pin him for the crime. I heard karma caught up to Cheese and someone killed him execution style. I guess it happened about a year ago, one bullet to the back of his head at the tip of his spine on the corner of seventeenth and Johnson.
“Do you know who killed him?”
No. I wouldn’t have the slightest clue…