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Novel Excerpt from Africa Speaks
Mark Goldblatt


Chapter 1


A salaam aleichem, in the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate, the one true God. Yo, yo, yo, I'd like to send a shout out to my people, to my kings and queens. You know what I'm saying? My kings and queens. Yo, and a special shout out to my soldiers, my niggas in arms, the One-Forty-Ninth Street Crew--vagina findas, no doubt. Crazy mad dawgs! I got nothing but love for you. Even you, Herc! It's all good. The name's Africa Ali, I'm just 23, and I'm about to drop the four-one-one. Just keeping it real, 'cause that's what I'm all about. Reality to the utmost. But first I got one last holler. To my brother Biggie. Notorious B.I.G. He kept it real.

Is that thing on?

Now don't go getting that look on your face. I ain't avoiding your question. I ain’t the type to bail neither just ‘cause I finished my fries. Did Tawana tell the truth? That's what you want to know, right? Well, it's deep. It's like the sixty-nine dollar question. So don't rush me. I'm working it around inside my brain. Now, then, I've got the answer. The answer to the sixty-nine dollar question. It's yes and no. That's it, that's the answer. Now let me break it down for you: I ain't saying Tawana told the truth. What I'm saying is she told a truth. You know what I'm saying? What I mean is black folks been fucked over and shit on by the white man the last five hundred years. So whether or not one particular white man, Pagano, or whatever his name was, whether Pagano fucked over and shit on one particular black girl, Tawana, what difference it makes? It's what's called a mood point. The truth depends on what kind of mood you're in.

Now, I see you smiling. You're not used to a black man speaking his mind, am I right? You see a black man, and you think, "There's goes a baller" or "There goes a banger." But you don't think, "There goes an intellectual." So I see you’re watching me, right now, out the corner of your eye, and I know you're wondering which is it going to be, the baller or the banger? Except now you're upset, you're smiling 'cause you don't know what else to do, you're like in turmoil, 'cause I don't fit into your stereotypes.

But that's the power of the black man. He can look you in the eye, and just like snap he can look right through you. Right down to your soul. It's an African thing; it's a connection to the spiritual side. It's like our ancestors, they're still alive inside us. Did you know the Nubians could levitate themselves? It's a well known fact. Just float on up into the sky and chill. But when I say chill, I mean like chill. No heartbeat. No breathing. Nothing. You know what I'm saying? It's like you'd get a dozen of 'em just hanging out, up a hundred feet in the air, just chilling, dead to the world. It was a glory to behold! The white man ever do that? Hell no! 'Cause the white man, he never had it. That connection to the spirit, to the sky.

The truth is, I feel kind of sorry for the white man. Really, I do. I'm not one of these brothers who rolls out of bed in the morning and thinks to himself, "Let's see . . . what can I do to scare whitey today?" You know the type. It's in the way they cross the street, like as if to say fuck you with how they're crossing against the red light. Nothing but fools if you ask me. Like stepping in front of a yellow cab is going to make up for five hundred years of living in chains. But yet I'll tell you what. It works. That cabbie, he ain't going to honk at no nigga. Not unless he's a towel and doesn't know no better. But even towels . . . what? Towels. You know, towelheads--Arabs. Towelheads. Even they learn. You can honk a chink, you can honk a Jew. You can even honk a spic if he's by himself. But a nigga, well, that's another story. You don't go honking no nigga! 'Cause he be crazy. You know what I'm saying? He might just haul you right out of that driver's seat, might just knock you on your towel-wearin' goat-bonin' ass.

Herc's like that. He's my blood, don't get me wrong, but it's like he just goes crazy insane if he gets disrespected. No use talking to him; he gets that look in his eyes and he's gone. Crazy insane motherfucker. That's Herc. It's not his real name. His real name is Khallid. I always kind of liked that name. It fits him. But then he started to work out. You know, pump. Wound up with mad pecs. Pure cock diesel. You know what I'm saying? So the homeboys, they started calling him Herc. Short for Hercules. He took to it too. That's how it became his street name.

So me and Herc, we walking home from court last week. You know, court--hoops is what I mean. We were walking up Sixth Avenue, probably between 22nd and 23rd Streets, and walking toward us is a suit. Little white guy, maybe five-foot-six, no hair, no chin. The thing is, he's so busy just gabbing away on his cell phone, he don't even notice us. He's just gabbing and gabbing. He's going to walk right into the two of us--me and Herc. Now me, I just step out of his way. I mean, what's the point? You know? But Herc, he knocks the guy right on his bony white ass. Just drops his shoulder, and then boom; next thing you know, the guy's sprawled out on the sidewalk. Cell phone's cracked wide open, batteries rolling down Sixth Avenue. Briefcase lying in the gutter, papers blowing every which way. Then Herc leans down and gets right in the guy's face, and then he screams, "Yo!"

What he means is, What you gonna do about it?

So the guy just slides backwards on his butt, like as if he’s a crab, sliding out of Herc's way, and then me and Herc just move on. We go another couple of blocks, not saying a word about what happened. Then I turn to Herc, and I'm like, "Why you go and do that for, Herc? What that little white man ever do to you?"

Then Herc says, "1555--that's how I'm living!"

That's when I knew he was right. Wrong in a way, but right in a bigger way. You know what I'm saying? That white man gabbing away on that cell phone--you go back a hundred years, and it ain't stocks and bonds he's buying and selling. No, it's niggas.

It's hard to explain that kind of shit to white folks. It's like a concept, yo, like no matter how much it's explained to them, they just don't get it. 'Cause they ain't never been in that situation. Like I said, I don't wake up in the morning looking to scare the white man. But I go down to the subway station, and I read that sign that says NO SPITTING, and I just want to spit. Even if I'm bone dry, even if I never would've thought of spitting, the second I see that sign NO SPITTING . . . it's like the one thing in the world I want to do. It's funny in a way, kind of; it's like the sign's saying to me, "Go on, nigga, I dare you!"

It's like a dis.

You know what dis means, don't you? Dis, like in disrespect. All right, I just thought I'd ask. I like to be comprehended--you know what I'm saying? Comprehension to the utmost. I talk to white people sometimes, and you'd think I was talking chink to them. They get this screwed up look on their faces like Huh? Or what's that white saying . . . Come again? Like I was a ho, and they just did me a favor going down on me.

That's another thing I've noticed about white people. Well, white women at least. Naturally, I can't say if it's true for white men. But white women--even when they go down on you, they don't go down. What I mean is, like, they're down there, they're getting busy, but it's like they're not down there. They're somewhere else. I waxed this one bitch called Nancy. Straight up boo-yaa. Nice titties, the kind that fill up your hands but don't spill out. Just out of high school. Maybe five-six, five seven. Blond too--and when I say blond, I mean curtains and carpet. So the two of us, we're out back of her folks' house, we're getting busy, we're rolling around on the grass, and then she's going down on me, and she's bobbin' and jobbin'. But then I suddenly realize, it ain't me. No, it's the Black Man. Like with capital letters. She was doing me, no doubt, but yet at the same time she was doing the idea of doing a black man.

So I grabbed her by the hair, and I dragged her up, and I said to her, "Who you doing, Nancy? Me or Malcolm?"

Then she's like, "Malcolm who?"

"Malcolm who?" I said.

Then she said, "I thought your friend's name was Jerome."

"I'm talking Malcolm X!"

"But he's dead," she said.

She didn't get it. She didn't comprehend. Didn’t under-dig. Dig? So I rolled on out of there. Well, first I let her finish me off. Right afterwards, though, I was like, See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

Nothing against Malcolm--he's my man. By any means necessary. I mean, damn, the brother could bring it! By any means necessary. Word! That says it all. Now Jesse, he's wack. It's like the one thing me and my old man ever agreed on . . . the fact that Jesse's wack. Him and his wack Rainbow Coalition. You ain't no rainbow, negro! You a black man. Be proud, nigga! Your ancestors were gods. Word up! The white man, he thinks he's all that 'cause he flies to the moon. But a thousand years ago, the black man was already flying across the damn universe. It would be like Wednesday, and he'd think, "Well, it's Wednesday--time to ride out to Alpha Uranus." Shit like that. But he didn't make no big deal about it. He just hopped into his rocket and took off. Back the next day too--

My old man?

He teaches history at Francis Lewis High School. We don't talk too much no more. But I remember he used to call Jessie the Fortune Cookie Man. Said that was what he sounded like--damn fortune cookie. Plus, now, whenever I hear Jesse on the news, he's like people-of-color this and people-of-color that. People of color? Yo, I got news for you, bitch! You one color! Greatest damn color in the world. You ain't no yellow chink. You ain't no beenie-wearin' Jew. You ain't no spic-talking spic.

Stop fronting, nigga!

Now the chinks, they love Jesse. They're always out there, right up front, at his marches, and they're like: "Yes, we people of color! We chinky yellow! Yellow color! We just like you!" But I'm like: Yo, when was your children ever sold down the river? I hear chinks saying that, people of color, I just want to wet their chinky asses. They're just looking to piggyback the situation of black folks. Chink bitches especially. Of course, it don't surprise me--being that chink men got yellow pencil dicks. And when I say pencil dicks, I don't mean no straight up number twos neither. I mean the kind that's sharpened down till it's almost not there. Jew boys ain't much bigger. Then the rab comes along, and he snips off another inch. Word! Who says Jews so smart? That rab, he shows up, and he's like snip. What does he do? Collect 'em in jars?

I waxed a chink once--I mean, you got to do one. Now, let me explain what it's like. Waxing a chink is like wearing butter underwear. Ain't nothing on God's green earth smoother than chink pussy. I think that's what heaven must be like, you know, smooth and snug. The best thing is, you don't even have to work the bitch. After she's twatted so many pencil dicks, it's like suddenly she's got hold of a damn black nightstick. So here's how you fuck a chink. You just lie on your back and let her do the fucking. Maybe you can catch a little tube, or maybe call out for pizza; it don't matter to her 'cause she's got a man inside her. You know what I'm saying? I spell M-A-N!

Straight up, I boned about every kind of bitch there is. Black, white, yellow, what have you. 'Ricans too. Lots of 'Ricans. Hola boriqua--represent! Young. Old. Hundreds of 'em--I lost count around ninety. I ain’t even counting chickenheads. Blow-jobs, I mean. Number one playa from the Himalaya. But I'd say most of the females I been with were black. For one thing, they give it up quickest. They got to ‘cause it's the one thing they got over white bitches. Ain't no black female as fine as a fine white bitch--I ain't afraid to say it neither. Yo, that's the reason, check it out, you didn't never see no white dancer in a Salt 'N Pepa video. It’s ‘cause the director, he knew if you put a white dancer in the shot, ain't no one going to pay no attention to Salt 'N Pepa. That's the first thing dead presidents get you--Caucasian pussy. That's just the way it is. It ain't fair. I ain't proud of it. I wish our females were as fine as white bitches. But they ain't. So they got to give it up.

Like I was saying, I been with every kind of bitch there is. I got one kid in 201 I know about for sure, and I got a ho in 718 telling me I got another kid in the oven. I doubt it though 'cause she's a hoodrat. Been dug out more often than the damn Panama Canal. So who knows--

What? You don't think I'm a good father?

How can I be a father when the skank ho won't let me near the brat? Look, I was there when he got born; I wanted to call him Africa Jr., but then the bitch went and called him DeWayne. DeWayne! What kind of negro name is that? I'd rather name the kid Two--you know, short for 201.

You ever seen a baby get born?

Yo, that shit is nasty! Once you see that motherfucker come squirting out, word, you never want to go down there again. You know what I'm saying? It's like, one second you got a ho cake, the next second you got like a garbage chute! But I rode the rail out to Jersey City just to be there, just to watch the brat get born. So Tanya's got her feet up in the metal things, and I'm right there next to her, and she's puffing and puffing, and I'm whispering, "Just breathe, Tanya. That's it, baby. You're doing real good."

Then suddenly she's like, "Tell me you love me, Kevin."

That's my slave name--Kevin.

So, anyway, she’s like, "Tell me you love me."

I kind of duck the question and say, "It's all good, Tanya."

But she's still saying, "Tell me you love me, Kevin."

Now I ain't going to lie to the bitch. So I kind of change the subject, and I say to her,

"Just breathe, baby."

But she won't let it go. "Tell me you love me, Kevin. Say the words."

"What difference it makes if I say the words, Tee?"

"Just say them."

"It's just words."

Then for no reason she's like, "Get out! Get out! Get out!" She's cussing at me, calling me a motherfucker. After I got on the train and rode to fucking Jersey! I was about to roll on out too, but then it happened. The brat came sliding out of her, and the doc--he cleaned him off and handed him to me. And I'm like damn! You know what I'm talking about? Damn!

That was the last time Tanya ever let me hold him. Soon as I handed him over to the bitch, she told me to take a hike.

Yo, I didn't let the door hit me on the way out neither!

That's what you white boys don't seem to comprehend: Women ain't men. You deal with a woman like you're dealing with a man, you turn her into a dyke. They got it in them anyway--the taste for pussy. So it just takes a little nudge, you know, and they're diving for tuna. You got to treat a bitch like she's a bitch. Now I see white boys like yourself, they're out walking with their bitches, talking to 'em, listening to 'em like they got something to say. Fronting is what I'm saying. But here's what I'm about: If you got to front, it ain't worth it. Pussy is pussy. It's out there, miles of it, from sea to shining sea. If you miss a piece, so be it. You catch the next one.

So white boys ask me, "Hey, Africa, how come you catch so much pussy?"

Now here comes the answer: 'Cause I don't front for it!

It's just business with me--pussy, I mean. It’s like a commodity. Not just pussy though. I’m talking everything is a commodity. Face is a commodity. Pussy. What have you. It’s all commodities. The thing is, black women don’t got the face, so they got to come across with pussy.

Why front about it?

So here I come, I cruise on into town, and I whip out my bank, and I'm like: Yo, either take it or leave it. Don't mean nothing to me, either way. The bitches, they know the routine. They choose the restaurant. They choose they flick . . . hey, I'll sit through fucking Waiting to Exhale for the fucking twelfth time if that's what closes the deal.

Then, it's my time.

You know what's sad? Funny and sad at the same time, I mean? White boys on Saturday night. White boys get slipped a half minute of tongue on a stoop, then come down the steps all smiling--makes me want to go upside their heads! Yo, Biff, you just shelled out a bill on the bitch for a half minute of tongue, and now you're all smiling? What's up with that?

It's like they got no pride, white boys.

I'll tell you another thing about females--I know it ain't what you asked, you can turn off the tape if you want, but it's like a public service thing. The only way a bitch is ever sure you care about her is if you slap her around. I don't mean like pimp-slapping, you know, where you wail on her. It's a wrist thing. It's got to be quick, too, up from the hip in one move, like pop. End of story. Then you got to hug her real tight, got to kiss her where hurts. No harm to feel her up either 'cause it gets her blood going--which keeps down the swelling.

The reason bitches go for the rough stuff, no matter what they say, is 'cause it tells 'em they got to you. It's a power thing. I mean, you wouldn't put up with their shit if you didn't care about 'em. You'd just walk away. You know what I'm saying? It's like Nintendo--and for that second, when you're all hugging and sorry, it feels like they've got the stick.

Now I see you're perking up. Now I got your attention, am I right? It’s like you might think the black man's nothing but an ignorant animal, but when he's talking pussy, even you got to give him his props--mad props, I'm talking, when it comes to pussy. It ain't a dick thing either. I mean, yeah, it is a dick thing. But also it's a state of mind. That's what I'm talking about. It's a mentality. The black man's got a mind for pussy. I'll go you one better. The black man, he invented pussy. White folks--with them, well, it's like intercourse. Sound like a damn ramp on a highway! It's like, "Oh, Biff, let's climb in the Volvo and have intercourse." Then Biff, he's like, "Just a second, Muffy. Let me find my map."

So then the black man comes along, and it’s like out of the goodness of his heart, he schooled white boys on how to get nasty. Schooled 'em on how to rock and roll. You know what I'm saying? How to groove, how to work that thang. They still ain't got the hang of it, yo, but at least now they're moving in the right direction.

It's the same way with ball. I know a couple of white boys, they got mad hops. You know what I'm saying? Crazy mad hops. That flick, White Boys Can't Jump--it ain't the truth. White boys can jump. Lots of 'em even got game. It's just that they got game in a white boy kind of way. But they accept it. That's the key. They accept the fact that they ain't never going to be like the black man; they got game but not game. Flava is what I'm talking about. The worst thing in the world for white boys is when they try to compete with niggas. It hurts their self-esteem. Be it hoops. Be it pussy. If you a white boy, how you going to compete with the black man? The black man, he's God's own anointed. I know it's hurtful for white folks to hear that. But God himself, he anointed the black man, made him in his own image. Made him God on earth. Who do you think made the pyramids? The white man ever make a pyramid? When the white man was still using his own shit to draw dinosaurs on cave walls, the black man, he was building cities. Cities. That's what I'm talking about! Cities that make New York and Detroit look like shit stains. The black man, he invented words and language, he invented numbers and calculus. Smart shit like that. Then the white man, he came along and he stole it. Then again, he only stole it 'cause the black man let him steal it. He figured white folks wouldn't survive without it. That's how the black man is, generous with God's gifts. That's how he got himself anointed in the first place. You know what I'm saying?

Next week?

Long as lunch is on you.

Like the saying goes, You got the dime, I got the time.


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