Fan’s Favorite Scene from “A Thug’s Redemption”

October 23, 2012 A Thug's RedemptionPhilly Support Philly  No comments

I was going through my emails when I came across this message from one of my readers. I’m not sure if I’m more moved because she said she was a fan (head rush…OMG I have fans!) or if it’s because one of the scenes that made her heart race is one that still makes my heart race as well (as if I didn’t write the book LOL). You know you have talent when you can look back on your work and read it as if you didn’t write it.

“Hello Yani
I read your book a Thug’s Redemption and it brought me back to when I was in high school- Benjamin Franklin Electron C/o ’97- growing up in North Philly and hanging with my friends. It was so funny and made me think of me and my girlfriends when we were teenagers. But the part that let me know it was about to get real was the scenes when everything came out about the gun with Shawn, Jamal and Samir. My eyes were glued to the pages and I swear I held my breath when the secrets started coming out! I think you’re very talented and I wish you a lot of success as a black woman and author. Your site and blog is great. Philly Support Philly!
From Aisha”

Thanks so much Aisha, it means a lot to me when I hear from my readers and I’m told how much they enjoy my work. For those who have not purchased the book yet, here are the scenes that Aisha was talking about:

Check out an Excerpt from my debut novel “A Thug’s Redemption”

Shawn was sitting in his room still pondering his situation. He knew if he did the favor, he would risk losing Chanda and could possibly go to jail. He also knew that if he didn’t do it, he could go to jail for murder or Samir was destined to do something stupid. He tossed his ball in the air trying to find a reasonable solution.
Jamal came in his doorway and looked down at him. “What’s wrong?” he asked Shawn.
“Nothing,” Shawn said flatly.
“I know that look. I see through your little ass like glass nigga. You’re worried about that gun situation, aren’t you?”
“Yeah man, this is some bullshit,” Shawn replied as he tossed his ball in the air repeatedly.
“Look, it’s only for a couple weeks. Once it’s over, we go off to college and move on with our lives,” Jamal told his younger brother.
“You really think Samir is just going to let this shit be over and done with? Now the cops are trying to muscle Samir and get more out of the deal by bringing in shit for the Columbians. This shit ain’t gonna stop after one shipment and you know it. They’re not going to let us slide. They’re going to keep hanging this over our heads so they can get us to do what they want us to do for them. This shit ain’t about helping us. This shit is about helping them and getting more paper,” Shawn shook his head and threw his ball at the wall angrily.
Jamal thought about what Shawn said. He knew his younger brother was right because it was a thought that crossed his mind quite a few times since this all hit the fan. He was beginning to understand what Samir’s motives were and how he damned himself the minute he asked for help with carrying out the hit on Khalil. Samir wanted him to be his soldier, not a part-time help. He wanted Jamal sucked into the game simply because Jamal was so ruthless when it came to certain matters. Jamal was trying to humble himself and move past all of that. Unfortunately, Samir wasn’t trying to let him go.
The damage that he had done by killing Khalil was becoming clear. Family or not, Samir was never going to let him go and that murder was his leverage to control him. The only problem was, now his brother was paying for his need for revenge though he had nothing to do with the situation. Anger took over him quickly.
“You know what? Fuck this shit. I lived that street life, not you. And I’m not about to let Samir keep thinking that he can control me behind some shit that happened three years ago, trying to make it seem like I owe him because I don’t owe him shit. When I talk to him, I’ma let him know to leave you out of this. I don’t want you or nobody else to pay for what I did. I pulled the trigger, not you. And if it comes down to it, I’ll take the fall. Don’t worry about it. I got this.”
“Alright,” Shawn replied, not really knowing what else to say.
Jamal left and went straight to Samir’s house. He knocked on his door and waited patiently for an answer knowing that he was home because it was collection day.
Samir opened his door and peaked out. “What’s up, Jamal? I ain’t know you were coming by.” He opened the door wider so Jamal could come in.
“I’m not going to stay long because I have a lot of stuff to do at home. I just wanted to say that y’all need to leave Shawn out of this, for real. He didn’t have nothing to do with Khalil getting killed, that was all me. Just leave him out of this and let me do this like I always do. He’s trying to go to college, just let him chill.”
“What the fuck does that have to do with me? Now I know that your little brother is trying to do his thing with his basketball and everything. But that shit he pulled taking that gun just brought on more problems than I was trying to have to fucking deal with. I got fucking heat on me now ‘Mal! The muthafucking pigs is looking for a reason to pinch me and because of that shit I got to do business with these spick ass Columbians, bring their shit in on my turf and on top of that shit, divvy out more of a cut to keep muthafuckas quiet. Shawn doesn’t know what fucking trouble he’s causing right now behind that shit he pulled last year. So I don’t give a fuck what he’s trying to do. He can either man up on this shit or…” Samir trailed off.
“Or what?” Jamal asked, having an idea of what Samir was thinking.
“Let me just say if y’all had been any other niggas on the street, I would’ve saved myself the aggravation and killed both of y’all,” Samir said with a straight face.
Jamal looked at Samir as if he were crazy. “You’re really going to come out of your mouth and say some shit like that? We’re supposed to be family.”
“Fuck that family shit, Jamal. This is business. Everybody is expendable.”
Jamal became furious. “It’s the fuck like that? How about we do the shit like this? I’ma turn myself in and tell the cops I killed Khalil, fuck it. And when they ask how, I’m telling everything. Fuck that family shit you say? Since it’s fuck me nigga, now it’s fuck you, too.”
Samir snatched Jamal up by his neck and pushed him into the wall. They struggled with each other in a grip pushing back and forth until Samir managed to pin Jamal down on his dining room table. “You’re a snitch now, nigga? Huh?! Is that what the fuck you just said, pussy? IS IT!?” He pulled a gun out and turned Jamal over so he could face him and pushed the gun into his face. “I’ll blow your muthafucking scalp off right here, nigga! After everything I did for you, you’re whipping your dick out and telling me to suck it by trying to snitch?”
Jamal looked Samir dead in the eye and said calmly. “I ain’t scared of you, Sa. You’re just another motherfucker off the street.”
Samir cocked his gun. “You ain’t scared nigga? Yeah, just like your fucking pop. That nigga was fearless, too. Ready to ride at the drop of a hat and had niggas shook around here. But unlike you, the nigga was reckless and sloppy until I shut his shit down.”
Jamal looked at Samir wide eyed making sure he understood what Samir had just said to him. He just admitted to killing his father. A man he vaguely remembered. A man that he thought had just upped and left his mother struggling to take care of him and his brother. The room swam as Jamal tried to process what Samir just said.
“That’s right. I got him the fuck out of here so what makes you think I won’t get you and Shawn the fuck out of here too? Y’all niggas ain’t shit to me,” Samir said in a low and threatening tone. Jamal trembled with anger. “Now dig this shit and dig it good, muthafucka. I cleaned up after your punk ass too many times for you to come in my face talking about some snitching shit. Talking about that shit alone is enough to body your bitch ass right now. I’ma leave Shawn out of this. But you nigga, I own your muthafucking ass like I’m your daddy, nigga. I’ma even be nice and let you wait until the end of the school year. Because the more I clean up after you, the more your bitch-ass is going to owe me.” He took the gun away from Jamal’s head and smacked Jamal on the cheek slightly as he smiled. “So we’re cool now? We have an understanding?”
Jamal looked at Samir angrily. “Yeah.”
“Good,” Samir said as he put his gun away. Jamal started walking to the door. “You know, Tamera is too gorgeous to be caught up in something like this. It would be a shame for something to happen to her. After all, danger isn’t for pretty little girls.” He looked at Jamal with a sly grin on his face when he turned to face him. “I’m just saying.”
“You better leave her the fuck out of this. You got a problem with me. Leave the shit with me.” Jamal said through clenched teeth. He swore if he was carrying he would have blown Samir away right then and there.
Samir smiled but then his expression became very serious. “You heard what the fuck I said. If you even try some slick snitching shit, I’ma kill you, Shawn and your fucking wifey.”
They stared daggers at each other for a moment and then Jamal left. He was beginning to think that he had just made matters a lot worse.
Maurice stopped off at Shawn and Jamal’s house to hang out so he didn’t have to be at home when his mother returned.
“Hi Maurice,” Ms. Keyona said when she opened the door for him. “Are you here for Jamal?”
“Yeah, how are you, Ms. Keyona?” Maurice spoke.
“I’m hanging in there. Jamal’s not here. Do you want to see Shawn instead?”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” Maurice replied.
“He’s upstairs. He hasn’t come down almost all day. I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy. I don’t know where Jamal is either. He shot outta here like a bat outta hell earlier without saying one word to me. I swear these boys think they can just come and go as they please and don’t say a word to me. They swear they can handle their problems on their own. That’s why their asses stay in so much trouble. Come on in.”
Maurice came into the house and stood in the living room. Ms. Keyona went to the stairs and called up to Shawn. “Maurice is down here to see you!” She went into the kitchen to finish cooking her dinner. “So how’s school coming along, Maurice?”
“It’s alright.” Maurice replied.
“Have you started applying to colleges yet?”
“Not yet. I’m still looking for one that has my name on it,” he told her.
Shawn came downstairs and gave Maurice a handshake. “What’s up, Mar?” he then whispered. “Is my mom in there?”
“Yeah,” Maurice replied. Shawn motioned for him to come up to his room.
“Shawn, do you know where Jamal went?” Ms. Keyona asked as she came out of the kitchen.
Shawn hesitated. “No, he just said he would be right back. He probably ran to the store or went to see Tamera real quick.” He looked at Maurice and they made a grand exit up to his bedroom. Shawn closed the door behind them once they were inside.
“What’s up with you?” Maurice asked as he sat in the chair at his desk.
Shawn leaned into the wall and told Maurice the entire story about the gun, Samir and the cops that he had on the take and the kind of trouble they were in. “Now Jamal is at Samir’s house trying to see if he can get us out of this shit.”
“Y’all stay in more shit than a little bit. I thought you just told your mom you ain’t know where Jamal was?” Maurice replied.
“If I would’ve told her he was with Samir, she would’ve started bitching and I don’t feel like hearing her shit.”
“I feel you. That’s why I left my house.” They heard the door close downstairs and listened. Jamal exchanged a few brief words with his mother and then came upstairs. He knocked on Shawn’s door and then came in.
“What’s up, Maurice?” Jamal spoke. Maurice nodded his head at him and Jamal closed the door.
“What did he say?” Shawn asked.
Jamal was quiet before he said anything. He was still trying to get over the shock of finding out that his cousin, whom he had trusted all of these years, had murdered his father. “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. And I got some shit that you won’t fucking believe. What I say in this room doesn’t leave this fucking room.” He looked at Maurice and Shawn both so they could see how serious he was. “Shawn, you don’t have anything to worry about. I got this. But that nigga put a gun to my head and told me he doesn’t give a fuck if we’re family or not. He straight said he would kill me, you, -and get this- Tamera, all because I told him I would take the fall for Khalil’s murder, rather than see you go to jail for some shit you didn’t do, or have him keep thinking he can jerk me the fuck around like he’s been doing these last three years.”
Shawn’s mouth was partially open in disbelief. Maurice shook his head. “That’s some fucked up shit yo,” Maurice commented.
“Yeah, he’s on our ass now. So it’s two things we gotta do: stay outta the way and get you and Tamera the fuck outta here after graduation. Or our asses are gonna be dead before we see college.”
Shawn buried his face in his hands. “This shit ain’t cool, man.”
Jamal looked at his brother for a moment debating on whether or not he should tell Shawn that their father was murdered by Samir. He cleared his throat. “Shawn, it’s something else.”
Shawn looked up at his brother. “Does it get any worse than this?”
Jamal looked at his brother as his eyes watered. He shook his head and then blinked his tears away. “Samir killed our father…”
The silence in the room was loud and painful as Shawn and Maurice looked at Jamal in disbelief. Neither could believe the words that came out of his mouth.
“How do you know? What the fuck do you mean Samir killed our father? That nigga told you that shit!?” Shawn said loud and angrily.
“Shawn, calm down. I don’t know the details. But when he put that gun to my head, he basically told me it wouldn’t faze him if he killed us just like it didn’t faze him when he killed our dad.” Jamal shook his head.
“You can’t be fucking serious, Jamal. Y’all cousin killed your fucking dad? Does your mom know?” Maurice asked.
“That’s a good question,” Jamal replied as he thought about how much their mother hated Samir. It was beginning to become clear.
“We need to go fucking ask her then,” Shawn said as he moved towards the door.
Jamal stopped him, “No. Let me talk to her first. Something is going on with this family. It’s a bunch of secrets and shit going on that’s about to hit the fan and blow around. If Mommy knew all this time that Daddy got killed and Samir did it but she didn’t say anything…” Jamal trailed off unable to finish his thought. Too much was going on in his mind. “I’ma talk to her Shawn, alright? But you need to calm down and chill.”
Shawn was fuming but he took heed to his brother’s warning.

Later that night after Maurice went home and Shawn had gone to bed, Jamal knocked on his mother’s door.
“Yes?” she answered, sounding tired.
“Mom, I need to talk to you,” Jamal replied through the door.
“Come on in Jamal,” Ms. Keyona told him.
Jamal opened the door and came into her room. He closed the door behind him and then leaned onto her dresser. He stared at her for a long time.
“What’s wrong, honey?” Ms. Keyona asked him. She could tell that something was deeply troubling her son.
“Tell me about my father?” Jamal asked in a low flat tone.
Ms. Keyona looked him in his face and then looked away. “What do you want to know?”
“Just tell me about him. I want to know who he is. I want to know his name. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find him,” Jamal studied her facial expressions to see how she would react.
“There’s nothing to tell. His name was Andre Williams. When Shawn was about two years old, he left and never came back.”
Jamal stared at her quietly before he said anything. “You know what? It’s a damn shame that I’m 18 years old, Shawn is 17 and you still won’t tell us the truth. You still won’t tell us the whole story about our father.”
“Watch your mouth!” Ms. Keyona replied.
“Where’s my father?” Jamal asked again.
“I don’t know,” Ms. Keyona replied.
“You don’t know?” Jamal took a couple steps towards her. “Tell me why you never liked Samir, mom?”
“I never said I don’t like Samir. I just know what he’s into and I don’t want him in my house,” Ms. Keyona answered. She was becoming nervous.
“Mom, all these years you let me and Shawn believe our father left you. You let us believe that our dad was this no good bum who walked out and didn’t give a fuck about us. But you knew all along that he was dead.” Jamal’s voice cracked as he continued to talk. “You knew Samir killed my father and you never said anything.”
Ms. Keyona looked at her son wide eyed. “Who told you that, Jamal?”
“How come you never said anything, mom?” Jamal asked. The pain could be heard in his voice.
Ms. Keyona put her hands to her face and started sobbing. “Jamal, I couldn’t say anything,” she sobbed unable to say another word.
“Mom, what happened to my father?” Jamal asked again.
Ms. Keyona wiped her face. She waited a moment before she began speaking. “Your father was out there in the streets hustling. He worked for a man named Smitty but he was like his right hand man. I never really nagged him about his business because he told me from the door that as long as I took care of home, he would take care of us. So I stayed in my place and played my part as you kids would say today. He was respected because he didn’t take any shit. Just like you, Jamal. I swear, the two of you are so much alike, it frightens me.” Ms. Keyona cleared her throat and continued.
“Samir was trying to come up in the streets under Smitty’s rival, Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty got locked up one night so your father started taking care of business for him. There was a rumor that someone snitched and that was how Smitty got knocked. A lot of people said Samir snitched to the cops to take the heat off of him and Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty was killed in his cell. Knifed in his sleep if I remember correctly. I think they figured if he was dead, that would give them the opportunity to take his territory. But your father maintained things. Samir wanted your father to work for him and Kristoff. Your father turned him down and things got heated. There was supposed to be a truce. One night, Samir came by the house. I remember I had just put Shawn to bed and you were sleep. You were about 4 and Shawn had just turned 3. I remember they were getting loud and normally I would stay upstairs when he was conducting business but I never trusted Samir and had a feeling he was going to do something dirty. I never would’ve thought that he would kill your father, I mean at the time he was only sixteen at best.
“I heard your father say something that alarmed me and I came downstairs. I saw Samir pull the gun. I screamed out something and before I knew it, he shot your father in the chest. He killed your father right in front of me. Kristoff was there too. They told me if I wanted to see both you and Shawn grow up, I’d better keep my mouth closed about what I saw.” Ms. Keyona became silent for a moment. “And so I did.”
“Your father was everything to me. And Jamal I swear you are the splitting image of that man. Seeing you in the streets like this scares the hell out of me because I don’t want the same thing that happened to your father to happen to you. I hate Samir for what he did. God knows I do. And I wish something could have been done but he has too many cops in this city at his back.”
Jamal looked at his mother with mixed emotions. A part of him was angry that she had kept that kind of secret from him and his brother. Another part of him was furious that all of this time Samir had been playing him, using him. The man he trusted and admired for so long was really a back stabbing fraud that murdered his father right in front of his mother and had her living in fear and living a lie for so long.
Jamal walked over to his mother and gave her a hug without saying anything. He kissed her on her forehead and said, “Everything will be fine, mom. Don’t worry.” He went back to his bedroom and sat down. He didn’t want to do anything rash that would cause his brother and girlfriend to be killed. But one thing was for certain and two things were for sure, Samir was going to pay for what he put his family through.

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