Between The Bars Part 2: Wu-Tang

~When Joy returned home that morning after her night away from normal with Jason she was met by her aunt also returning from a night of future qualms. Joys aunt Judy was an attractive older woman who smoked too many cigarettes and generally didn’t care much for anyone but herself. After her sister died, Judy was put in charge of the estate. Joy never cared much for her aunt and knew that it wouldn’t be too long before she had an excuse to be gone and leave Joy and JP alone. “Late night huh?” Joy smirked as she opened the front door and walked inside. “That police officer and I went out for drinks after his shift, he couldn’t resist I guess” Judy boasted as she came inside picking up a piece of paper from off the ground, “What’s this?”. Joy took the paper from Judy and examined it. {Smith Restoration Contracting} “Looks like one of those deaf kids down the street are trying to sell something else, you’d think they would get the hint, I know sign language” Judy said gesturing with her middle finger as she walked up the stairs and closed the door of Joys parents room behind her. Joy shook her head in disgust. The area where they lived had a large amount of deaf people in the population, they were kind people for the most part but Judy had an ill-mannered way about her that showed disdain for anyone who wasn’t normal. Judy often acted like JP didn’t even exist because of his condition. Joy walked into the living room where JP was sleeping and sat down on the couch. Feeling bad for leaving him alone the night before she decided not to wake him, Joy pulled out her phone and began to go through the snapchats she took the night before with Jason. Out of nowhere joy heard the bass from a radio upstairs, it rattled the pictures on the wall and woke up JP. Joy immediately went upstairs and beat on the door of her parents bedroom and demanded that Judy turned the music off. Judy ignored her and the music played. Joy was too scared to go into her parents room because she missed them and felt that it would be wrong for some reason. Joy felt overwhelmed and reached into her pocket, pulled out a Xanax and took it. She kept one from the night before that Jason gave her, thinking that she would probably just forget about it. She didn’t. She went into her room locked the door and began to paint. after getting her easel prepped she heard a knock at her door. ~


Joy looked at the clock on the stove from her bedroom, 7:15PM, she didn’t know who would be around her and JP’s apartment at this time so she got up and looked through the peep hole. Outside she didn’t see anything, just the dumpster in the alley barely in view from the flickering street light. She decided to ignore it and get ready for work. Tonight, she had to work the bar at Bronsons, and she was not excited. There were too many of Jasons old friends that worked there and always either hit on her repulsively or acted like they had something in common with her. Without her working though, she could not pay rent and keep the lights on. So, she got ready and left, feeling eerie about the knocking at the door she decided to text Kareem and see if he would give JP a ride home when they were done hanging out.


“Your sister just texted me, said she wanted me to take you home because she thought someone was at yall house” Kareem said wrapping up his headphones and putting away the rest of his recording equipment, “She always trippin man” Kareem laughed. JP grinned, peaking over Kareem’s laptop, “She just worries about me sometimes, I guess she can’t help it”. JP was talented when it came to editing music, he aspired to be a producer. When Kareem decided to start recording seriously, he went to JP for advice and the two started working together on it, JP even chose the software and equipment. Kareem and JP had an odd friendship in many people’s eyes. JP didn’t have many friends because of his social skills, and Kareem was an aspiring rapper that dealt drugs on the side. JP was a very large white guy and Kareem was a short black guy. Opposites in every aspect, but enjoyed each other’s company. “You almost done with that track?” Kareem asked as he looked on his phone. “Saving it now, you don’t have to take me home you know, I have my bike.” JP said as he closed the laptop and gathered his things. “Just come on man, Joy will bitch at me if I don’t, you know that”, Kareem said, tossing some clothes in a bag, “Besides I gotta pick up my homeboy, E, on the way to the court, his car is broke down, he live by yall shack, ill drop you off on the way to hoop”. JP nodded and they walked out to Kareems car and pulled out of the driveway.  Kareem plugged in his phone and played a Kendrick Lamar song and JP scoffed. “You always bout that damn old school shit man, switch it up every once and a while my dude”, Kareem said as he texted on his phone. “Wu-Tang” JP muttered, and they both grinned.


~“Joy, are you in there?” JP said, tapping on her bedroom door still half asleep. Joy opened the door, looking rough from the all-nighter before. “Are you going to school today?” JP asked. Joy couldn’t bear the thought of going after all that had happened. she had already received a few condolences and it wasn’t even 8:00AM yet. “No, I don’t think so” she said sitting back down at her easel and continuing to paint. “Well I was supposed to go to this expo thing at the community center, its being put on by the Sound Shop” JP said. He got paid by the owner of the Sound Shop, a car audio store that sold local mixtapes, to clean the garage part of the store twice a week. “Are you asking me to take you?” Joy pressed, it wasn’t often that JP asked for things, let alone actually want to go out in public and be around other people. Joy felt like she at least owed him this since she left him the night before. “Go get ready and ill drop you off” Joy said as she sat back down at her easel. JP left the room with a smile, getting all his favorite mixtapes, he made together. Wearing his Wu-Tang Clan shirt, headphones around his neck and a handful of CD’s JP climbed into Joys car, struggling to get comfortable as usual. Joy laughed and said, “What is this place I’m taking you to anyways?” JP didn’t really know how to explain it, so he just said, “Rap battle”. Joy rolled her eyes and took him to the community center. JP climbed out of Joys car and waved goodbye. Walking around the community center looking at all the booths of people’s assorted graphic designs for album art, mixtapes for sale, and home-made music videos, JP was hypnotized. JP was so busy looking around and taking everything in that he accidentally bumped into a table and knocked over a bunch of CD’s. Immediately bending down to pick them up and profusely apologizing under his breath JP felt so embarrassed. “It’s okay bro, that’s all these garbage ass mixtapes were gonna move today anyways, besides, I was probably about to leave.” Said the owner of the CD’s JP knocked over, “I’m Kareem by the way”. JP looked up and shook his hand, swapping each others rightful CD’s. “What, you rap too? a big ole white boy like you got some rhymes?” Said Kareem looking at JP’s CD’s, “Not really.” JP stammered. He just liked making playlists that he felt went together and put them on CD’s. “Who you like man? Drake? Lil Uzi? Eminem? oh you’re a Post Malone guy aint you? WHiiiite Iversooon” Kareem joked, JP didn’t like any of those artists, but felt he had to reply, so he pointed to his shirt, and said, quite loudly, “WU-TANG…”, A Couple of people nearby looked at JP like he was crazy, as he realized that he was being a little loud he finished, “…Clan, I like the Wu-Tang Clan”. Kareem grinned and said, “I like you white boy, lets kick it here, lemme check out what you got….” Kareem laughed, “…Wu-Tang….”. Kareem and JP spent the rest of the expo talking about rap music and sharing each other’s mixtapes with the other people at the expo. Back at their house, Joy was finishing up her painting, high on pills that she picked up from Jason on the way back from dropping JP off. Joy was rinsing out her brushes in the bathroom upstairs and heard her aunt in the hallway, “Don’t quit your day job honey” Judy said as she passed Joys room obviously talking about her painting. Joy finished cleaning up and went into her room and looked at what she created. She felt empty, impossible to even critique her own work despite what her aunt said. She took the painting and threw it out the window, she couldn’t look at it anymore. Joy went to lay down and her phone went off, it was a text from JP that read: “DONT NEED RIDE HOME, HAVE A NEW FRIEND THAT WILL DROP ME OFF -JP”. She smiled and a tear fell down her cheek, she was happy that JP was being social, but felt she needed a friend right now… ~

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“Man, you still got that shirt, don’t you?” Kareem said pulling into a driveway and honking the horn. JP looked at Kareem and smiled, “Yeah… I do, it doesn’t fit me anymore though”. “That makes sense, you grow like every day bro… Here he go, slow ass” Kareem said as he gestured to the guy walking to the car, “Ole light skin ass”. JP looked and saw him, he was lighter in tone than Kareem, as already stated, spinning a basketball on his finger, and walking to the back driver side door and getting in the car. “What up E, this my dude JP, we droppin him off on the way to shoot ball” Kareem said as he backed out of the driveway. “I’m Elliot, Elliot Smith.” He said. JP nodded at the guy, and went back to fidgeting with his things. Kareem pulled up to the alley where JP and Joy lived, “It look like the coast is clear homie, no monsters or murderers” Kareem joked as he handed JP a CD, “Lemme know what you think about it, it’s my homeboy from across the river, we may collab”. JP nodded, shut the door, and walked down the alley to his apartment door. “That dude don’t talk much does he?” Elliot said as they pulled off, Kareem replied, “Man he cool, he got like Aspergers disease or somethin’, like he aint retarded, but he is a little. He is the best editor I know though for real, we been tight for a while, he used to live down by all those deaf people in that neighborhood your pops company just finished up”. Elliot had a puzzled look on his face, he recognized JP but couldn’t pin down where he had seen him.

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