a piece of cake-cupcake brown

“excuse me miss, can i check your bag-oh, cupcake brown’s huh, that’s a good book, i read it when it came out…EXCUSE ME SIR, i need to see your receipt, but that’s a great book…”

harold washington library is to me what bryant park was/is- the jumpoff to my trips to a city. the fact that this library is about reading as much as i can, and the staff noticing and interacting with me is further proof of purpose. bigups to all the participants of the book binding contest in tribute to the banned books-your work moved me to write a verbose and emotionally grammatical page in the guestbook. i started and finished this book during the 32 hours that i’ve been in the chi so far, bookended at football games-who knew. i’m leaving it behind  in the spirit that it was given to me-with a stranger that i talked a bit with, and it’s really the kind of story that needs to be witnessed. who is cupcake brown? you should really find the fuck out. the title is the most apt double entendre i’ve encountered in a long while. i am currently questioning my ability to discern when anyone is under the influence of narcotics, as i clearly have no idea. i’m kind of impressed at how high the functioning levels have become, and a leetle bit scared, too.

“Friends are like buses,” I uncaringly replied as I took a hit off the joint, “if you miss one, sooner or later, another will come. The names of the routes change, but the destination don’t. It will always cost you something to ride-nobody rides for free. And, they’ll leave your ass if you don’t get with the schedule.” (262)


3 thoughts on “a piece of cake-cupcake brown

  1. children raising children:

    “Bangers were some of the most intelligent people I’d ever met. Some of them read regularly; others had a natural talent with numbers and thus were exceptional at math; others still liked art, were good with their hands, etc. Because Yokey liked to read, as I did, we exchanged books and had deep discussions about those we’d read.” (126)

    “I was indifferent to the news about Larry. Of course I hoped Larry was okay, but I’d long since stopped allowing myself to get attached to anyone. I really didn’t care if we never saw each other again.” (150)

    “I talked and listened to Kelly, with some bewilderment. I mean, I thought I knew why /I/ drank, used drugs, and banged. But I didn’t understand why she did. I mean, she had everything I /used/ to have before my mom died: her own room, more clothes than a child could ever need, a loving mother and daddy, and a loving, caring home. She’d never been raped or beaten, had never gone hungry, was constantly given emotional, physical, and psychological support and encouragement. Hell, she didn’t even know what a trick was!” (153)

    “Now there were three hos in the house. They all slept with Daddy in his room, and I had my own room. But Daddy wasn’t their pimp. It was a ‘business arrangement’. They never turned tricks in our house and never gave Daddy money from it. They paid their share of the rent and utilities, and contributed for food-when they ate it. Slim and Wanda both slammed, so really most all their money went to ‘horse’. Although Sam didn’t slam, she used a variety of other drugs, which ate up all of her earnings. So it really was a business arrangement-Daddy provided them with a safe place to live and get high; in return they worked their jobs and kept all the money they earned, except what they paid in rent, utilities, etc. They always said that the real bonus was for them was that they were never beaten, mistreated, or abused like other hos who had pimps. The real bonus for Daddy, was, of course, that the pussy was free.” (168-9)

    “They were never physically abused, though. I wouldn’t have stood for that. One thing I wouldn’t tolerate was beating a kid. /Spanking/ them was alright. (I’d gotten spanked many times by my mother. I’d been beaten many times by Diane. I knew the difference.) As far as I was concerned, drugs, alcohol, and partying around kids was okay-long as no one was beatin’ ’em.” (226)

    “The following month, we moved. Two weeks later, Daddy moved in with us. Daddy’s moving in didn’t require us to change our lifestyle at all. I never felt like I had to hide my drinking and using. I was grown and in my own home. /Nobody/ told me what to do in my own home. Besides, it wasn’t as though Daddy didn’t know my lifestyle. Anyway, he wasn’t worried about us. He was dating hos again.” (268-9)

  2. everyday she’s hustlin’:

    “I didn’t really have a steady boyfriend. I went through men like water. I’d meet them and fall instantly in love. But for some reason, after a couple of months, we wouldn’t be able to stand each other. I didn’t know that love and healthy relationships take time. All I knew was what I’d been taught. So I’d meet a guy one day, fuck him the same day, move him in the next, and put him out the following week. I just went through one sick, unhealthy relationship after another, all the while thinking I was a ‘playa’.” (160)

    “We never worked the same strore within the same month and of the twenty-five or thirty times we did it, we were never caught (of course /we/ weren’t doing anything but being ourselves). Nor was Dot ever caught when she worked with me. This scam worked /every time/. In fact, we would probably have continued it much longer than the few months we did except Dot got greedy-and cocky. She didn’t believe us when we told her that the only reason she was able to get away with stealing like she did was because /we/ were the diversion. Dot actually thought she was good at stealing and figured that, without us, she could keep all of the loot money herself. So one day she tried to run the scam solo. She went to a leather store and /thought/ she was leaving with several pairs of leather pants, a leather jacket, purse, and gloves. She was busted before she even hit the door.” (178)

    “Sharon, a fellow partier, gave me a resume book she’d stolen while she was robbing house. Why she’d taken the resume book, I have no idea; nor did I ask. Personally, I didn’t care /why/ she’d taken it; I was just glad she had.” (210)

    “Luckily, Sharon had stolen a typewriter from the same house she’d stolen the resume book. She gladly let me use her typewriter to type the resume. I hadn’t used a typewriter since ‘graduating’ from vocational school, though I still remember the basic finger placements. Because I was high on uppers, was able to type quite fast, though not accurately. It took me a few hours and an entire bottle of liquid White-Out to type the resume. When I was done, it looked horrible. I had inserted the paper into the typewriter crookedly, so all the words slanted to the left. There were huge clumps of White-Out all over the paper, which I hadn’t waited to dry before retyping. Not realizing I’d had the ‘Caps Lock’ on, some words were type in all capital letters. Some words were misspelled; others had letters missing; and still others had two letters on top of each other as a result of my forgetting to hit the space bar.” (211)

    “They loved learning the meanings of the slang words, and I appreciated the extra help with practicing the regular use of proper words. It became a game that made the verbal transformation that was transpiring in my life much more pleasurable.” (219)

    “Then my laughter turned to innovation as I began to wonder if there was a way I could somehow save the ‘coke sweat’ and smoke it later.” (306)

    “Shortly after we moved into the new apartment, I left Tommy. Not because of the violence, but because he was in my way. What’d I need him for? Not for protection. I mean, hell, he sent /me/ out alone in the wee hours of the morning to re-up. And definitely not for his money. The paychecks he brought in were next to /nothing/, since he was also missing tons of work and had no sick leave. No, I left him because he was smoking too much dope. I figured I could get higher by myself. The requirements for my minimum daily consumption of drugs and alcohol had increased drastically. Tommy’s using was dipping into that minimum, so, like anything else that interfered with my using, he had to go.” (318)

    “I was still speechless. Besides, what do you say when someone you’ve taken advantage of, lied to, and totally played turns around and, instead of being angry-which he had every right to be-says he’s going to try and help you? I was at a loss so I sat there silently.” (335)

  3. blinded eyes (the complicity):

    “During Momma’s God search, we tried a few other religions. I never really did care one way or the other. I never really seriously thought about God because, no matter what the religion, they all wanted you to be perfect. And I knew I was far from perfect. So I figured God wouldn’t wanna mess with me. I don’t know which religion Momma finally decided on. Maybe she realized she didn’t need a particular religion to know and love God or for God to know and love her. Whatever she decided, she also decided that she wasn’t going to choose for me. She wanted to wait until I was old enough and then let me decide my religion.” (15)

    “During our ‘practices’, I would often marvel at how inattentive people can be. I asked myself if anyone else wondered about the yellow van that was frequently parked in the Kmart lot; if anyone noticed that no one ever got out of it and no one ever got into it. But the people continued milling around and about the parked van, going about their shopping tasks. No one ever wondered about the big yellow van.” (63)

    “Second, he said that although freebasing could be very addictive, it was completely acceptable and harmless if I had a job. He also said that working, was the way to go because no one would notice the drug use if I had a job.
    I thought about this for a moment. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this theory. I knew several drug users who weren’t considered dope fiends because they got up and went to work every day. In fact, most of our ‘real’ dope fiend buddies didn’t consider those who had jobs to be real friends. Maybe Tommy was onto something.” (207)
    “Before my relapse, V suggested that I not get into a relationship during my first year of recovery. After my relapse, the suggestion was repeated. At first I was willing-until I met Brett. I felt that Brett was just too good to pass up. I’d been through so many (and I mean /many/) unhealthy relationships. I believed it was time for someone to treat me like a queen, which Brett always did. So he just had to be sent especially for me.” (396)

    “When I told her that I didn’t understand what she meant, she explained that people with addictive behaviors, especially women, have a tendency to put a man before their own well-being, so much so that they stop taking care of themselves. If they exercised regularly, they’d stop once a man came along. If they had friends, they forgot about them once a man appeared. If a woman was self-sufficient and self-assured, she’d get a man and suddenly become insecure and needy.” (396)

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