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The Ampersand


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3 Reasons Why I Didn’t Start Playing The Lottery After My Uncle’s Winnings

I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to write this because I don’t want to be responsible for my uncle having 964 new cousins. But I have to write this. I have to write this to flush these annoying thoughts out of head in hopes of this shit sticking to the page. Thoughts like, “If I had that money I would buy this, I would buy that. I would do this, I would do that.” Why the hell am I counting and spending another man’s money?! I only did this probably twice in my life and the thoughts were in passing, but this time it’s been consistent ever since I was told. I know of millionaires and billionaires, but the key words are “know of.” I don’t truly know them. I never met them. I don’t know if they look like their pictures, if they’re shorter in person, if their breath stink. But this hit closer to home. A home I’ve been to countless times. A home I’ve spent the night at. A home I’ve spent holidays at. A home with a backyard I’m scared to go in because of a big ass black dog named Missy. Please, somebody tell me! What is this phenomenon called? Where something impactful (bad or good) happens to a relative and you think it happened to you too, like y’all share the same body, the same mind, the same lifestyle. It’s weird. And people, please take a harder look at your junk mail. I was cleaning up and shredding papers when I came across a check from a settlement payment. I was a Settlement Class Member in a class action lawsuit from the time I was employed at this warehouse. By the time I saw the check it was 3 weeks passed the 150 days I had to cash it. Only $13.07 but I needed that little money to go with some other little money to make some little big money, ya feel me? Sigh. Without further ado …

He deserved it.

He has a history of winning. In the mid 2000’s, he was rewarded $20,000 from a court settlement due to a job-related incident. Weeks after his recent lottery winnings of a half of million, he played again and won thousands. In the 90’s, he won over the heart of a woman who keeps my heart clogged up with lasagna and cheesecake: my aunt. Unfortunately, he also has a history of loss. In the early 2000’s, I lost my cousin, their first child together. 3 years ago, they were displaced after their apartment unit went up in flames.

I don’t believe in it.

The only time I ever used a coin, a key, a fingernail to scratch off a lottery ticket is when this car company sent me some mail that said if I get wam-wam-wam in a row I would win a truck. During this time I was naïve to marketing tactics companies use to get foot traffic in their store, so, of course, I got excited when I got wam-wam-wam in order. Know the first person I call? My favorite aunt. She took me to the dealership and I expected to leave off the lot in separate cars. The only thing I left with I didn’t come with was a sucker. No, seriously, they gave me some candy. I didn’t understand the symbolism behind that then, but as of writing, you better believe I do. Although, buying lottery tickets won’t break the bank it’s something I don’t want making my bank either. This has nothing to do with the horror stories you heard about past lotto winners. I’m an entrepreneur and I feel I have a better chance at selling a million scratch devices. Let me pitch you! What do you think of a newly designed coin used solely for scratching off the UV ink on lottery tickets? Instead of dead presidents and monuments no one really visits, how about on the front of the coin it’s a past lotto winner and on the back of the coin it’s a gas station? Insanely great, right? This will be your lucky coin, your lucky charm! 100 on 4 please!

It’s my way of pretending I never heard the news to begin with.

I’m not asking which convenience store he went to. I’m not asking which numbers he played. I’m not trying to act like I didn’t get mad that time he splashed water on me at the pool. I’m not trying to remind him of all the times he playfully asked me to borrow money when I was a kid. I’m not trying to sit around talking about basketball all day and how much I love LeBron James (I will confess my love for the King to any peasant). I’m not trying to educate my aunt on how dirt is more conspicuous on black cars and offer to wash her new Camaro, annnnnd ask to go for a spin in it. I’m not trying to babysit my cousin (their surviving child). My grandma never came over to my place that day and the first thing she said to me after not talking to me in 2 weeks was not “My favorite son-in-law just won $440,000 playing the lottery.” It’s none of my business! It’s none of my business! It’s none of YOUR business, woman!

Would you start playing the lottery after a family member won a significant amount of money? Why or why not?

Momma’s Boy: A Poem for My Mother

Famous Last Words: October 21, 2006

 

Betty **** did not save the best for last

My mom made her mother a grandma first

My mom made her sisters want to have kids

So my cousins should thank me for their life

My mom and my dad should have got married

So the name Strong compliments what she is

Damn I wish I was born on Mother’s Day

Cuz there is no gift like the gift of life

My son will be named after me, his pop

My daughter will be named after my mom

Mom did not raise me but I will raise her

I will die for you mom, you gave me life

Harold … I’m the work of art Betty ****

Pen running out of ink, mom I love you …- Artist of the Year

Happy Birthday Ma!!!

 

 

A Thousand Kisses: A Poem For My Grandma

More Than A Grand: October 18, 2006

 

There are some people who live up to their name

Names like Jamie, Tracy, and Terry/Terri pass as bisexual names

Now there is a new name that will pass as a bisexual name

A name can tell a lot about a person’s character

Darnell **** is the grandparent who I live with

Darnell **** has 3 daughters, no sons, well until now

I feel like my mother and my auntees are my sisters

I don’t think I’ma son to my mother, I don’t think I’ma nephew to my auntees, I’m more of a uncle to my brothers, sisters, and my cousins, brother to my mother and auntees

And our mother is more like a sister to us

Darnell **** brings home the bacon like a man and cooks it like a woman

Darnell **** makes the money like a man and spends it like a woman

Darnell **** can dirty like a man and can clean like a woman

Darnell **** raised a son like a man and raised daughters like a woman

My grandma lives up to her name – Double D’s

HAPPY BIRTHDAY G’MA!!!

Daily Writing Prompt: The Milkman.

Son – Dad, where you going?

Dad – Uhh … going to get some milk. We’re all out.

Son – Can I come?

Dad – Not this time.

Son – Why? You always let me go.

Dad – Just not this time, okay. I’m going to a different store and they don’t allow kids in this late.

Son – What store is that?

Dad – Look, I gotta go, okay?

Son – But you don’t have to go. We don’t need milk. I don’t like cereal or chocolate milk anymore. So you can stay now. Here, take your jacket off and sit down.

Dad – Your mom needs the milk to put in her cornbread.

Son – Well let her go to the store and you stay. You stay here. Close the door and sit down. I wanna show you something upstairs. Let’s go!

Dad – I’ll see it when I get back.

Son – Can I go … pleassssseeeee?

Dad – … well you can’t go looking like that. Go upstairs and put your evening clothes on.

Son – Yay! runs halfway upstairs Dad, dad, can … can you come upstairs with me and help me put my clothes on?

Dad – Your mother is up there. She’ll help you.

Son – Mom … can you tie my shoes?

Mom – Where you going?

Son – With dad to go get some milk for your cornbread.

Mom – I’m not cooking cornbread.

Son – runs to bedroom window and sees dad truck leaving driveway He tricked me.

Mom – He got me too.

Son – Why daddy don’t want us no more?

Daily Writing Prompt: Write yourself into a corner. Impossible situations. No way out. 

Mama – Lil’ Demarcus, what’s this?

Son – That’s my journal. What are you doing with it?

Mama – I was cleaning your room and it fell off your desk and landed on this page. What’s all this nasty stuff in here?

Son- I didn’t write that. 

Mama – It’s only me and you in the house. Did your imaginary friend write it?

Son – I mean, I wrote it, but that’s Bankroll Fresh don’t. He’s a rapper. I was trying to learn the lyrics. 

Mama – I don’t want you listening to mess like this. I’m about to google these words to see if you telling the truth, and if you not, you getting a whooping. I’m going to investigate this diary further. You in timeout until I get back. 

Son – It’s a journal, mom. 

Mama – Get your ass in the corner!

39 minutes later …

Mama – Demarcus … 

Son – Mama, mama, please don’t hit me with that hammer, I’m sorry! 

Mama – Get out the corner. 

Son – Mama, please!

Mama – I said get out the corner. 

Son – Okay, please don’t hit me.

Mama – (hits wall repeatedly with hammer)

Son – Mama …

Mama – You wrote this for me?

Son – Yeah, I was gone give it to you for your birthday. I wasn’t done with it. I need to add some more parts to it. I just needed a break ‘cause I spent 2 days on it. 

Mama – (hits wall with hammer) I will never put you in the corner again. 

Son – That’s nice and all, but mama you didn’t have to be so dramatic. You know we Sims right? You could have just told our God to use the camera view with no walls.