ARTICULATING INTELLECTUAL ADOLESCENCE

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“Well aren’t you just hubris and haughty?”

Sue said with her hands planted firmly on her narrow twelve year-old hips while leaning to one side.

“Houboorus? Hoppy? Girl whatcha’ talkin’ ‘bout? I can’t understand nothing you saying.”

The intellectually over matched Marcus stated curiously while scratching the top of his head covered with “peesey” or rarely combed hair. That became the boy’s nick name early in life, Peesey; he took to the name and never did comb his hair even as he approached adolescence and eventually into adulthood.

“I’ve got to get away from here, this town in filled with fools. I will starve intellectually if I stay in this community of dullards after my high school years.”
“Sue, why you always talikn’ like that?”
“Do you not care for the way in which I converse with you?”
“If you sayin’ what I think you sayin’ sometimes, yeah it’s cool, but I don’t like when you use those big words on me. Sometimes it’s like you tryin’ ta hurt me wit those words.”
“I would never do you harm with my speech but sometimes frustration does lead me to become somewhat antagonistic with my intellect but, I also want to educate. I hope that when I use a word when speaking to you, you retain that word and are able to utilize it later in the proper context.”
“Sue you must be the smartest girl in tha whole world. You twelve and you already in the 10th grade. Shoot I’m fourteen and I’m only in the 8th grade.”
“Don’t worry Peesey you need not show concern for the grade level in which you are placed; just aspire to excel mightily no matter what your level or challenge. You are in your correct grade anyway; you just have an early birthday. I on the other hand have been deprived my rightful junior year of high school and have had it postponed until next year. Their reasoning behind this was that socially, I would experience great challenges because everyone would be so much older than I. I explained to our obtuse administration that I wasn’t your average nerdy wiz kid twelve year-old. I am not only gifted intellectually but socially as well. I conduct myself very well in the presence of adults, more less a team of thick teens. My eloquent argument fell on death ears.”
“C’mon Peesey, bring the ball back, stop talking to nerd girl and finish the game.”

One of the other boys playing basketball with Peesey yelled over.

“Well Sue it’s been nice talking to you but I’ve got to get back to the game. I’ll talk to you or should I say listen to you later, bye.”

Sue waved bye to one of her few acquaintances and watched him score the game winning basket. Difficult was the young girl’s existence due to the gift she was blessed with taking on the form of a curse during this brief time in her life. In the very near future, Sue’s sharp wit and superior intelligence would pay off handsomely but on this bright afternoon at a local Pine Hills park she felt all alone in the world. Her mother forced her to go to the park so that she may interact with children her own age for awhile but therein lay the problem; Sue was nothing like any of the children her age or older. It was as if the girl was born an adult. She held no interest in children’s games or those who played them. Sue stuck her nose back in the book she was reading before the interruption of Peesey and the game winning basket. Sue once again lost herself in the words and the cerebral cultivation and comfort they provided her.

 

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ALONZO: ACHING FOR THE ACTION

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“Yo Alonzo, man you don’t need to go down there tryin’ ta stomp; It’s hot down there and they got jack boys everywhere.”

Patrick said to his young, restless homeboy in an attempt to dissuade him from making a big mistake.

“Yo Pat, man my brother used to stomp there and so I’m going down there and hold his corner down.”

“Yo man your brother used to hustle down there three years ago; things done changed homeboy. Plus, he used to stay down there with them fools and he had his own clique. You think you gonna just touch down there and start getting’ money and ain’t nobody gonna check yo’ ass?”

“You know I can handle mine.”

“Alonzo, you just fronted your first eight ball now you think you finna go shut somebody corner down? You a young fool but I wish you the best homie, I’m out.”

Alonzo stepped back from Pat’s candy painted’82 Caprice Classic on 22’s and Pat sped away with dual pipes sounding off. Later that night Alonzo was on the wrong side of town getting money; he was ambitious. Every car and fiend within reach was approached no matter who was watching or listening. Alonzo was close to selling out when heard a deep voice behind him followed by a click.

“Give it up fool all of it right now before I put two in you.”

Alonzo now terrified, quickly complied with his robber; he then was surround by two others who assisted him with giving up his belongs and firearm. The criminals were brazen; none of them wore masks. Alonzo saw their gold teeth gleaming under the street light as they laughed while beating him after the robbery. Alonzo now hurt and furious vowed revenge on the audacious trio of crooks. He knew where his good friend Pat kept his spare dirty gun at and how to get to it. He crept through the man’s backyard and into his shed to retrieve the fire arm. He quieted the pit bulls in the kennels around the backyard; the animals knew him well so they didn’t create a lot of fuss. Alonzo would never steal from his friend but he knew that Pat would object to him going over there to get revenge so he had to get the pistol without his knowledge. This had to be dealt with right away. As Soon as he arrived at the location of the crime committed against him, he spotted the offenders. Alonzo was at least two blocks from them so he began to creep towards the crowd of men. One other had joined the three and Alonzo had intentions of dealing with him too. He got within earshot and he could hear them joking about robbing him. His grip tightened on the handle of the pistol he held in his jacket pocket. He was almost close enough to exact retribution on his newest foes. Suddenly two police officers rolled down the street as he was about to cross. These two officers witnessed him making two sales earlier in the evening and were waiting for the opportunity to snatch him up. The police stopped their car in front of him before he had a chance to react. The robbers scattered at the sight of the police. The police retrieved the illegal firearm from Alonzo and took him into custody. After running the gun through ballistics, it was learned that it had been used in the commission of three serious crimes and Alonzo was charged with all of them. That was a little more than he bargained for. Alonzo’s aching for the action ultimately led to him ailing from his ambitions.

ALONZO: ACHING

FOR THE ACTION

Mourning Marital Mistakes

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Tanya and Walter Pride were young lovers in search of higher learning. Their young love they professed to be eternal so they married. Barely old enough to drink, they were now man and wife. Marriage doesn’t make you instantly more mature; wisdom comes with time and age. Walter was extremely studious leaving him very little time to experience “college life”. There were no keg parties, bon fires, pep rallies or pajama jammy jams for this young man. He was focused on becoming an engineer and great provider for his young family. Walter looked forward to having many children with Tanya his love and for them all to live together happily ever after.

Tanya loved her husband but thought him to be a bit of a bore from time to time. She respected his dedication to his goals but she just wished that he would loosen up a little bit. To her he acted more like a man in his late forties rather than his early twenties. Whenever she asked him to blow a class and go do something fun he rebuffed her. Walter was into doing extra, digging deeper not skipping mandatory classes. The young bride was in need of some excitement not the stable predictability that Walter offered day in and day out.

To scratch her itch she became more social on campus joining study groups and clubs. In one particular study group she met a friend with a bright future. He was a basketball player who had the potential to be drafted into the NBA. James was the team’s star shooting guard and business major like Tanya. James was dating a sophomore by the name of Betty Wright for the past year and a half or so and was very happy in his relationship. He was however very concerned for Betty because she had received some threatening letters on her car and even her door. The police investigated but could find no strong suspects. James vowed to protect the lady he loved and she trusted him to do so.

Friends and study buddies Tanya and James grew closer as the semester went on. They spent most of their time together in public places or groups. James resided with a religious man and his sister who was also heavily involved in the church. They took in the budding young superstar when he struggled finding lodging his second freshman semester. He was charged very little in rent to reside in the large home. They only asked that he attend church with them from time to time and obey the house rules.

Ronald, James’ landlord, was often called “Bishop” by the people in the community. He was very active in the church, organizing different activities and groups. Bishop was known to be a man strong in faith, always willing to help the needy. His sister Carol was a virtuous woman, a deaconess in the same church. It would seem that James could find no better people to surround himself with as he pursued his academic and athletic goals.

One day while studying, a spark flew between Tanya and James. That spark became a flame and then an inferno of passion. It erupted in an explosion of kissing and heavy petting. After two intense minutes, they both caught themselves and stopped. Feelings were discussed and then temptation given into. For the second time Tanya visited James’ home but this time she wasn’t just dropping him off. This time she stayed. Her long visit did not go unnoticed by Bishop. He inquired with James about the nature of the young woman’s visit. James was forthright and truthful. He divulged the nature of Tanya’s visit to Ronald’s dismay. He was none too please to know that James had physical relations with that young lady under his roof.

Tanya left James’ home a little distraught and stressed because their encounter left a prophylactic hidden within her body. Many worries raced through her mind, disease, pregnancy, Walter finding out. She decided to look for it more carefully in the privacy of her own bathroom. She and James exchanged calls of concern that night then he made his way to Betty’s place. James needed to be with her to help him pretend things were normal. He hadn’t just been adulterous with a married woman.

The next morning he was up early embracing the newness of the day. Betty drove him to class and James kissed her passionately before they parted. After a day of classes he made his way home to the scene of his moral crime. After being home for less than an hour he was visited by two detectives. They asked him when last he saw or spoke to Tanya. James was deceptive because of the new nature of their relationship. The officers asked him to join them down at the police station so that they could ask him a few more questions. They still hadn’t told him what this was all about but he agreed to go with them nonetheless. He knew that he didn’t commit a crime and if he could clear anything up with a conversation he would. Anything, just as long as Tanya’s husband didn’t find out about them.

When they got him into an interrogation room they shocked him with graphic photos and details of the crime committed. James was shocked! He couldn’t believe it; Tanya was dead and he was a suspect! She had been found in the early hours in a wooded area off of Interstate-4. Her car was recovered on the shoulder of the road a quarter of a mile from the body. She had been stabbed over fifty times and left for dead. It seemed to be a crime of passion and maybe a sex crime. There were no items stolen from the vehicle or her purse. The condom was found and tested forcing James to come clean about being with Tanya.

When pressed he admitted to being intimate with Mrs. Pride that evening before she was murder. But, he had an alibi, Betty. She vouched for his whereabouts and the detectives found her to be very credible. Walter was investigated but he was with his study group that evening returning home around 11:00pm. He had a conversation with a neighbor when he arrived home and the same neighbor informed the police that he never saw Tanya’s car return home that night. The two best suspects both had been cleared and the authorities were getting frustrated. Then new information came in that shifted the case in a totally different direction.

A highway patrol officer reported seeing Tanya’s car the night of her murder on the side of the road. There was another car parked on the side of the road near Mrs. Pride’s car. The officer ran the tags but was called away to the scene of a fatal accident. He remembered as he was driving away the call came back. The vehicle was registered to a Ronald Meeks. When the detective got this news their ears perked up. Ronald was James’ landlord; why would he be in the area of Tanya’s car the night she was murdered?

When questioned Bishop stated that he attended a church service that night and had no idea about why his car was in that area. His sister Carol was also questioned about her brother’s whereabouts. The police inquired about the church service and she stated that she was there but never saw her brother. Bishop was confronted with this information and said that she must be mistaken. As far as his car being in that area, he aloud James to drive his vehicle from time to time.

James was back in the crosshairs of the police until they found Ronald Meeks DNA inside of Tanya’s car. Arrested, prosecuted and put on trial was Ronald Meeks for the murder of Tanya Pride. Prosecutors needed to find a motive for the killing. Love ad jealousy were the culprits. James explained that Bishop asked him strange questions and even propositioned him somewhat. He asked if James had ever let a man perform oral sex on him and how it felt no different. He disguised his come on as a lesson he wanted to teach. Then one day he out right offered James free rent for intimacy. James always let the comments roll off of him. He needed a place to live so he didn’t make a big deal about it.

Investigators dug deeper and learned that Mr. Meeks was the one sending Betty threats as well. There they had their motive. Ronald Meeks was in love with James and he was trying to eliminate any woman who came near him. People of the religious community tried to stand behind the man until all of the details of the case came out. Still they prayed for his soul but they could no longer publicly support a murderer who used their religion as a cloak disguising who he really was and his ill intentions.

Ronald Meeks aka Bishop was sentenced to life in prison with out the possibility of parole. Betty was happy that no harm had come to her of James. She was upset at James for having an affair with a married woman but forgave him. Without much effort James charmed her and their relationship returned to normal. Betty was just happy to have him all to herself.

Walter Pride however was torn. He was devastated by the loss of the woman he loved. Thoughts of how her life was lost haunted him; he wished that he could save her from the pain. Then another side of him was angry. He did all that he could to prepare a beautiful future for them both. He was diligent and committed to his marriage and his wife betrayed him. He wanted to ask her why but he was robbed of that opportunity by Ronald Meeks. So here he was left with his world torn in two, still mourning his wife’s marital mistakes.

Luscious Little Latina

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Chapter 3

Rafael was energetic and enthusiastic as he prepared breakfast for his daughters.

“Wow Dad, you’re in a good mood today.”
Rafael smiled at his girls over his plate of bacon and eggs.

“Yes Sweetheart, I’m in a very good mood today. My family gives me great joy.”

The girls shared a look of concern; then Marta spoke up.

“Dad, are you and Mom going to get a divorce.”

Rafael’s face shown shock.

“No, No girls. Your mother and I are not going to get a divorce. I love her, we love each other.”

Maria had questions of her own.

“Well then why are you sleeping in the basement?”

He stood then walked around the table to where they were seated. He kneeled between them and put his hands on their shoulders.

“Look girls, sometimes married people go through problems and they make mistakes. Daddy made a mistake. But, I love you two and I love your mother so much. I would never leave. You’re mother is upset with me right now but I promise you that I’ll do everything within my power to make things right.”

He kissed them both on their foreheads and then gave them each a pat on the shoulder. He walked back around the table and took his seat.

“So that’s why I’m in such a good mood. I love you guys and I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful family.”

Just then Benita walked into the kitchen to find a smiling husband and daughters. Rafael had put his little girls at ease for the moment.

“Good morning Honey, have a seat, I’ll fix you a plate.”

Rafael pulled out his wife’s chair, pushed her under the table then rushed over to the stove to fix her plate. He placed her breakfast in front of her then poured her a cup of coffee. As he sat it down beside her plate he stole a kiss. Benita didn’t react negatively because her girls were watching. She could see the hope in their eyes and she didn’t want to squash that. Benita smiled over at her girls then cut her eye at her husband. After breakfast Rafael did the dishes before putting out the trash then heading to work. He continued this routine for the rest of the week. Benita was presently surprised on a Wednesday afternoon when a FTA driver showed up at her job with a huge bouquet of flowers for her. Her coworkers were very impressed at how romantic her husband was. Her best work girlfriend Juanita whom she confided in was a bit skeptical.

“Be careful girl, you know how men are. They’ll do anything to get back in your good graces.”

Benita took the words to the wise but was still optimistic about the change Rafael was showing.

“Only time will tell Juanita. But I got to admit girl it’s a good start.”
“Yeah girl, they are beautiful.”

Benita floated through the rest of the day. When Rafael returned home he received a big kiss and hug from his tentatively loving wife. The girls smiled on from the next room.

“Oh Rafael, that was so sweet. Thank you so much Honey.”
“No, thank you.”

Another hug and kiss was shared then Rafael unloaded the groceries from his truck. He cooked dinner, after cleaning the kitchen he returned to his dungeon. That night Benita lay and stared at the beautiful bouquet resting on top of her nightstand given to her by her once again wonderful husband. Her bed was feeling mighty lonely, one side cold and uninhabited. She thought about the man in the basement and effort he was making. Then his foolish acts rushed to the front her mind once again. She realized that she had to eventually forgive her husband. Benita prayed on it for the hundredth time before nodding off.

Rafael busied himself thinking of his lost love Christina. His thinking turned to obsessing. He hadn’t chatted with her for days and he needed her. Rafael figured he’d been good so he earned a taste of his guilty little pleasure that is Christina. Upstairs he crept to check on his wife and get a glass of water. Benita was sleep and the coast was clear. Rafael hurried down the stairs and turned on his lap top. He sat anxious, palms sweating, heart rate elevated. Seconds seemed like hours as he waited for the computer to turn on. Finally, it turned on and he logged on. There she was, Rafael became aroused and excited.

“How are you Christina?”

Seconds passed, again they seemed like hours. Rafael sent her another message.

“Hey Christina, I was just checking to see how you were doing. I hope all is well. Please message me back.”

Still no response. After a few minutes Rafael became incensed.

“What are you not answering me because you’re chatting with him?! You talkin’ to that snot nosed little punk!”

Rafael stood and pounded the side of his fist against the wall. Suddenly he heard a noise calming him down. She messaged him back!

“Look Antonio or Rafael or wht ever your name is. Who I chat with is none of your business. I was going to answer you when I got a chance.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you mad. I just wanted to talk to you, that’s all.”
“Well that was rude.”
“Again, I’m sorry but, you weren’t talking to him were you?”
“If you must know, yes I was.”
“Why, why are you talking to him?”
“Because he’s real.”
“What?”
“He is who he says he is and I like him. I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
“Meeting him?”
“Yes, we have a date Friday night.”
“Friday Night?”
“Yes, Friday Night. He’s coming to pick me up around nine.”

Rafael didn’t respond for some time. He was boiling over, hot tears rolled down his cheeks and he felt a sickness in his stomach. He couldn’t stand the thought of Christina being with Miguel. Raphael figured he’d try to warn her about Miguel’s promiscuous lifestyle.

“Are you ok?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m just concerned about you that’s all. You know Miguel has a lot of girlfriends. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I think I can handle myself.”
“You mean a lot to me and I wouldn’t ever want to see something bad happen to you.”

She found his comments to be a bit creepy so she ended their chat unceremoniously.

“Ok, well I’ve got to go now.”
“Really? Already?”
“I’ve got some studying to do.”

With that she logged off without giving Rafael the opportunity to say goodbye properly. He pounded the wall again shedding more angry tears. He mumbled to himself.

“That little son of a bitch thinks he’s gonna steal my girl. He’s wrong, it ain’t gonna be that easy! I’ll show him!”

Rafael slept very little that night, instead he sat up plotting. The next morning he awoke drained and listless after getting only three hours of sleep. He climbed the stairs to get showered and dressed, to his surprise Benita prepared him breakfast. She asked him to sit with a wide smile on her face. Then she placed a cup of coffee beside his plate and stole a kiss from him. He forced a smile and the girls giggled in their palms. Benita directed the girls to finish up and wait for her in the car. They gladly complied kissing their daddy on opposite cheeks at the same time. Benita wanted to have a few words with her husband in private.

“Rafael you know, I’ve been thinking… maybe it’s time you came back to our bedroom. I don’t want you sleeping in the basement anymore. I want you sleeping beside me again.”

Rafael was happy but not over the top with joy. Matters of Christina were still on his mind. Stopping Miguel dominated his thoughts. Nonetheless he mustered up a smile and rose to his feet to hug and kiss his wife.

“Oh thank you Baby, I’ve missed you so much. I love you.”
“I love you too Rafael. I’ve got to go now Honey. See you later… in the bedroom.”

Benita gave her husband a seductive look then exited the kitchen. Rafael’s smile instantly turned into a scow. He would show up to work an hour later and be called into his supervisor’s office. The fight got back to the boss.

“Rafael what the hell is going on around here? I hear you’re out here on the job fighting with some kid and from what I’ve been told you were the instigator too. All over some internet crap, come on Rafael guys our age don’t fool around with that stuff. You been with Orange County Parks and Recreation for over twenty years right?”
“Yes.”
“You do value your job right?”
“Yes.”
“Well then this won’t occur again will it?”
“No sir.”
“If it does this conversation will go a lot differently and I can’t promise you’ll have a job after it’s done, understand?”
“Yes.”
“Don’t you have a ton of vacation time saved up?”
“Yes.”
“Good, take the rest of the day and tomorrow off. We’ll see you back here fresh on Monday morning. We’ll have a new start for the new week. I’ll be addressing the rest of the guys later today. Have a good weekend Rafael.”

Rafael sat stunned for a moment then the sound of Mr. Carter’s voice brought him back to reality.

“I said have a good weekend Rafael.”
“Oh, have a good weekend.”

Both men stood, shook hands then Rafael exited the office. He resumed plotting on the drive home. When he reached home he went into the shed and sharpened tools. A welder’s mask covered his face as sparks flew into the humid summer air. Sweat poured from his brow as he grit his teeth and pressed harder. Two hours later his arsenal was complete and Benita pulled up with the girls. She greeted him with a kiss.

“You’re home early Babe.”
“Yea, I decided to take a little time off for myself.”
“Good, you need too. You never take off.”
“I was thinking, maybe your sister wouldn’t mind babysitting the girls this weekend. I think we need some mommy and daddy time.”
“Sounds good, I will most certainly arrange it sir.”
“Great.”

After homework, dinner and soccer practice Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez retired to their marital bed. They made sweet love for the first time in five months. Benita was relieved and revived by the release of tension. Her marriage seemed to be back on track. As she nodded off Rafael thought about the day of destiny that lay ahead of him. He couldn’t wait to put his plan in action.

The next morning Rafael woke early, started some laundry and cooked breakfast. He saw his family off with hugs, kisses and well wished. They all left home feeling loved. After eating his own breakfast Rafael went for a run and lifted some weights. He looked in the mirror, proud of what he’d created over the past two months. Christina was a huge reason for it. She was his muse and inspiration. He’d gotten himself in great shape, all for the love of her. Raphael knew that he would always love her and on this night he would show her just how much.

After work Benita picked the girls up from school and dropped them and their bags off at her sister’s house. She returned home to find a note from Rafael.

“Get dressed Sweetheart, we’re going out tonight, love you. xoxoxo.”

She giggled to herself then poured herself a glass of white wine before running a bubble bath for herself.

Rafael busied himself with other matters. Miguel got off work early just as Rafael thought. He went to the bank, deposited half his check and put the rest in his pocket. He got a haircut and bought a new outfit. Christina lived in Tallahassee some five hours away. Miguel needed to leave by four to make it in time. He rushed home to pack, shower and get dressed. Rafael watched on. Once Miguel was in the shower he strapped on his batting gloves then crept down the block undetected with a home made shank in his hand. Most of the neighbors were still at work and the kids weren’t home from school yet. He thrust the shank in all four tires then took his post in the brush. Twenty minutes later young Miguel rushed out of his place ready to enjoy a night of magic. To his dismay someone flattened all of his tires.

“Damn! Who in the hell would do this?!”

Just then Rafael stepped out of the bushes and walked towards Miguel.

“Rafael, you asshole did you do…”

Before Miguel could finish his sentence Rafael planted a sharpened bat into his the front of his skull. The large bat had been turned into a heavy axe of sorts in Rafael’s workshop. It stuck in the boy’s skull and he was dead before he hit the asphalt. Rafael just turned and trotted off to his truck. On the way home he tossed the shank the batting gloves and overalls he was wearing on the side of the road in different places.

Rafael pulled into his driveway all smiles with flowers in hand. Benita looked stunning when he walked though the door. He rushed to embrace her and kissed her more passionately than he had in years.

“More flowers?! What have I done to deserve all of this?”
“For being the most wonderful and beautiful wife ever, you’re a breath of fresh air. You really look gorgeous. I can’t wait to go out on the town with the loveliest lady around.”

Rafael rushed to shower and put on a suit he pressed before he went out stalking. Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez enjoyed a huge steak and lobster dinner and even shared desert. Benita thought their magical night might be over but Rafael had another surprise for her.

“Why are we pulling into this parking lot Rafael? I thought we were headed home”
“The night is still young.”
“Yea, but what are we going to do.”
“Get on the bus.”
“The bus?”

Rafael pointed to a charter bus parked in front of them. On the side of the bus read the name of a casino cruise company.

“Get on the bus?”
“Yes Benita, we’re going on a casino cruise.”
“Oh that sounds wonderful. But what about the car.”

Rafael laughed before answering.

“We’re going to park it right here. The bus will take us to the port then bring us back once we dock.”
“Oh that sounds wonderful Babe. Let’s get on that bus!”

She hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek. They got out of their vehicle locked the doors and boarded the bus together. Once out to sea they watched the sun set together beautiful hues of intertwining orange and red. Benita gambled a little and drank a few complimentary drinks. Rafael didn’t indulge in the gambling and alcohol but he did assist his wife from over her shoulder. She actually won forty dollars on the craps table and sixty dollars on a slot machine. The two enjoyed the complimentary buffet then they took the elevator to the top deck. Live bands playing steel drums filled the night with energy and flavor. They danced under the moon and shared another passionate kiss. Warm winds blew through the air lifting Benita’s brown locks letting off the most intoxicating fragrance. Rafael inhaled as much of it as he possibly could. They each had hearts in their eyes. Never a more magical might had they shared.

When they returned home they made passionate love. Benita was impressed by his stamina and the fever of his love making. Rafael could tell that the weights and running was really paying off. That night Benita fell asleep in her husbands arms for the first time in a long time.

The next morning Benita was treated to breakfast in bed and a morning love making session before they left to pick up the girls. She was on cloud nine floating above what was two days ago a mundane life of boring routine. The sun warmed her forehead and reflected off her shades. As the Hernandez pulled onto their street they could see marked and unmarked police cars around their house. Orange County Deputies, Orlando Police Officers and Detectives were positioned around the yard. They all parted as Rafael pulled into the driveway.

“What’s going on Rafael?!”
“What’s happening Daddy?!”

The officers surrounded the car with weapons drawn. They ushered the women and children from the vehicle and to safety. Rafael was snatched out of his vehicle to the ground and immediately cuffed. He was read his rights then quickly shoved into a patrol car. It was all over in less than three minutes. The media converged on the single family home as detectives questioned Benita and the girls. They quickly determined that Rafael had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime. Benita was left in shock after hearing what he was accused of doing. Thoughts of putting up the house as collateral to bond Rafael out of jail and get him an attorney quickly left her mind after she thought over what occurred.

Counselors talked with the girls to help them gain some understanding of the situation. It would take years before either of them could come to grips with their father’s destructive behavior. Benita would stand strong for her girls but not by her husband’s side. She would eventually forgive but never forget his foolishness.

Rafael was far from revealing when being questioned by the detectives. He sat with a smirk on his lips as if he were the smartest man in the room. The experienced lawmen were patient working in shifts to break Rafael down. Rafael refused the pubic defender he was offered; he knew that if they couldn’t place him at the scene they would have to release him eventually. Detective Ramon Rodriguez came across some information that he knew would be quite effective in breaking the case open. After following all of the internet leads and messages then traveling to Tallahassee the detective made a huge discovery.

“So Mr. Hernandez you love this Christina and she loves you right. That’s what it says here but you deceived Christina didn’t you? Yea, you were lying the whole time right? She thought she was talking to some stud baseball player and instead it was some pathetic old man. Deceiving her like that was cold and cruel. What if the shoe was on the other foot? How would you feel?”

Rafael just shrugged and added in a condescending grunt with his smirk. Ramon smiled back at him.

“You think you’re a real smart guy huh?”

Rafael’s smirk turned into a slight smile as he nodded his head in agreement. Detective Rodriguez matched his smile and even chuckled prompting Rafael to let out a little laughter. Louder they laughed together as if they were old amigos. Once the laughter reached it’s peak, Ramon snatched a photo from a file and slammed it down on the desk in front of Rafael. Rafael stopped laughing and looked down at it. He was puzzled.

“What is this?”

It was a picture of a young man dressed in drag blowing a kiss. The wheels in Rafael’s head started turning. Ramon smiled at him, realization rolling over Rafael’s mind brought him joy. Ramon smiled wider and nodded his head up and down. It was time to let the cat out of the bag.

“There she is! Your Luscious Little Latina. This is Christina Rafael, isn’t she beautiful? Was she worth throwing your life away for? Was she worth you killing poor Miguel? Does this make you gay? You killed a man because of your love for another man, don’t worry Rafael, where you’re going there’ll be a lot of that, men killing men over men.”

Rafael exploded all at once, eyes wild, face red and hands trembling. He slapped the picture off of the table and everything else he could find. Four officers rushed into the room to restrain him. They held him down and cuffed him to the table Ramon instructed them all to leave once Rafael calmed down a bit. He felt like he was now close to getting a confession so he didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

“So now that you know who Christine really is how do you feel?”

Rafael wept with his head down. All of the shame, misery and fear hit him at once.

“How do you feel Rafael… about what you did?”
“Horrible. Oh Miguel, Miguel.”
“Why did you kill him?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I just couldn’t bare the thought of him being with her… or him, it, whatever.”

Behind the glass the Lieutenant and other detectives gave high fives all around. They got the confession they were looking for. Their tight lipped suspect was finally spilling the beans.

“Did you think about what you would do after Miguel was dead?”
“No, I just wanted to stop him from being with her. She was only to be with me.”
“So you thought killing him would force her to only be with you?”
“I guess it all sounds crazy now but I just had to have her for myself.
I just had to have her and to find out she wasn’t real…. Oh my God what have I done?”

Rafael cried uncontrollably.

“Benita, Benita I need you Baby. I don’t want to be here no more… I don’t want to be here no more.”

Ramon stood and patted Rafael on the shoulder before walking towards the door. Suddenly Rafael stopped crying and yelled out to Ramon as he turned the door knob.

“Who was the girl in the picture?!?”

Ramon shook head then answered blandly before exiting the room quietly leaving the man to his misery.

“It was his niece.”

Benita filed for divorce the same day of Rafael’s sentencing hearing. Marta and Maris grew distant from their father as the years dragged on. Visiting him in prison only reminded them of why he was there. The shame of it they could no longer bare as they grew into adulthood and started families of their own. Benita remarried, her husband was a strong Christian man who understood her plight and respected her love. Rafael would die in prison twenty-two years later alone on a concrete slab. No one came to claim the body. Eddie Cruz A.K.A. “Christina” A.K.A. “Luscious Little Latina” never faced any charges in the case of Miguel’s murder but he was later stalked and murdered by an inmate he was communicating with online, again posing as someone he wasn’t. The inmate was also being deceptive, posing as a thirty-five year old business man from Macon, Georgia. Eddie became the biggest loser in his own internet games and like Rafael… no one came to claim the body.

Luscious Little Latina

lucious-little-latina-2

Chapter 2

Three hours later he took a deep breath and spoke quietly to himself before logging on.

“Here we go. I hope she’s already on line.”

As soon as he entered the chat room he saw her avatar. She wasted no time in messaging him.

“Hello handsome. I’ve been waiting to talk to you. How are you this evening?”

Rafael’s heart began to melt.

“I’m doing great now that I’m here with you.”

In return she sent him smiley face and heart icons. The two chatted the night away as they both dove into their love fantasy. Christina promised to send him a care package with her person affects. Rafael couldn’t wait to see what she’d send him but when she asked for his mailing address he paused and tried to think of a way to get it without his wife finding out.

“Oh, why don’t you send it to my aunt and uncle in Florida, they can forward it to me in a week. We’ll only be here in Albuquerque for another day and then we’re back on the road. I’ll get their address and give it to you tomorrow night.”

“Okay, that sounds great. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed when you see what I send you.”

“I can’t wait.”

“I love you Antonio.”

“I love you too Christina.”

The next morning Rafael scoured his neighborhood for an empty house. He found one right around the corner. Rafael took down the address, folded it and slid it into the coin pocket of his jeans. He drove back home cooked dinner and did homework with the girls. After dinner he took a run with the dog then returned to his garage to lift weights. Benita joined him after his third set.

“Well look at you Ralphy. You’ve been spending a lot of time out here and I can see the difference. Good job Honey, maybe I need to join you some time.”

“Thank you Dear. I need to get in better shape. I’m not getting any younger ya know. I’m starting to really enjoy it too. It reminds me of my ball playing days.”

“Well you’re looking good there stud.”

Benita draped a towel over her husband’s shoulders and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“Keep up the good work buddy.”

Benita made her way back into the house and Rafael continued his workout. Working out helped him to be patient. He needed something to occupy his heart and mind while he was away from his Luscious Little Latina. He ached to be with her. Nightfall seemed like years away. Rafael thought the working out to be a way of earning his time with her. Mercifully night fell and he made his way to the basement, palms sweaty, heart fluttering.

“Hey Baby, how ya doing this evening?”

“Oh, I’m doing better now that I with you Antonio.”

Rafael laughed.

“That’s my line.”

“Well it’s our line now Mister.”

They bantered on for hours, never chatting about pool.

“Rafael do you know what time it is?”

Rafael was snatched from his fantasy by the sound of his wife’s voice. Quickly he minimized the chat icon.

“Oh Honey, I didn’t know you were there.”

“It’s getting late, don’t you think it’s time you came to bed?”

“Yes Benita, I just lost track of time.”

“You seem to be doing that a lot lately.”

With that being said she turned around and walked back up the stairs.

“I’m sorry Baby. I’ve got to go now.

“Oh, I’m going to miss you Baby. I’ll get your package mailed off right away.”

“Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see it.”

“Xo.”

“Xoxo.”

Rafael closed his lap top and rushed up the stairs to bed. His loving wife was somewhat distant and cold when he finally got to bed. She was tired of dragging him to their marital bed every night. Rafael barely noticed; his thoughts were preoccupied with Christina. He dreamt of her as well.

In the morning he awoke refreshed and full of energy. Benita thought he’d be tired from staying up so late every night but he wasn’t. He was raring and ready to go. She was curious as to what her husband was doing on that computer all night. She figured he may be watching porn or something but she never knew him to look at smut. Something wasn’t right and she knew it.

At work Rafael was jovial and up beat.

“Hey Carlos, I hope you’ve been working on your bank shot. Taking your money is like taking candy from a baby.”

“You’ve been lucky lately but we’ll see what happens this week chump. I’m taking everybody’s money this time around.”

Carlos gave Rafael the middle finger with a smile as they drove off in opposite directions on their all terrain vehicles. Miguel sat at Rafael’s side.

“Rafael, you still chatting online with that Luscious Little Latina?”

Rafael gave his young friend a skeptical look.

“Yea, yea we still chat.”

“She’s cool; me and the guys talk to her sometimes.”

Rafael’s look hardened somewhat.

“What do you guys talk about anyway?”

“You know, pool, school and stuff.”

“That’s it!”

“Yea. What you mad bro?”

Rafael softened his face, he realized the anger he was wearing.

“No, I was just wondering.”

Miguel was skeptical.

“It’s just that you were coming off a little jealous.”

Rafael laughed it off.

“No, no you guys can talk about whatever you want.”

Miguel wasn’t convince but he let it go and changed the subject.

“Well anyway, you working overtime this weekend?”

“Yea, I’ll be in bright and early Saturday morning.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be in or not. It depends on what I get into Friday night.”

The two continued their normal work day and as soon as it concluded Rafael raced to his vehicle so that he could meet the mailman. Down the block he sat from the house where his package of love was being delivered. Christina shipped it next day priority so he knew that he could expect it on that day. Rafael put down a welcome mat and nailed a “happy home” sign on the door so that the postman would believe someone lived there. He would simply leave a note on the door and leave the package. Rafael watched as the package was dropped off. His palms sweat and butterflies swarmed in his belly as he waited for the mail carrier to finish his route. Rafael pulled in front of the house, got out and walked up to the front door as if he lived there. He calmly collected his package and put it in the cab of his truck. Rafael drove to a secluded area then hurriedly tore the box open. Inside he found the sweetest letter holding the loveliest scent; it smelled like teen spirit. There was a stuffed animal, a good luck bracelet for him to wear during games and most importantly PICTURES! Rafael was ecstatic, he thumbed through them quickly, then again… and again. Finally he slowed down and focused mainly on the most revealing photos with the most provocative poses.

“Oh, you’re so tender, so sweet.”

Over the photo he ran his finger, drooling, fantasizing. Rafael fantasized not only about Christina but also himself as a virile young man. He saw them together, naked, embracing, interlocked. Rafael could smell her, taste her and especially feel her. His vision became that much clearer, vivid. In feeling her, he felt himself. No shame was felt by Rafael for lusting for a teenage girl. Her young hard body was in his mind and his manhood in his hands. His sex dream was short lived, six minutes and thirty three seconds to be exact. Afterwards he panted, light headed and winded, brow covered in sweat. Rafael thought their first time together to be magical. He quickly cleaned himself up and slowly wiped his glasses before heading home. He broke down the box on the way to the house and disposed of it in a dumpster behind a convenience store. Everything else he stashed in different places inside his truck. Rafael sat that night at the dinner table with his family in a daze. His body was there but his mind wasn’t. He couldn’t get his Luscious Little Latina off his mind. Benita notice him being so distant but she didn’t say anything. Rafael let out a deep sigh as dinner came to an end.

“I think I’m going to go down and clean the basement. I really need to organize things down there.”

Benita answered blandly as she continued washing dishes.

“Ok, be careful down there.”

Rafael cleaned the basement two days earlier but he knew that she never went down there except to do laundry. He was just buying himself more time to spend with his new love now that they had consummated their relationship. Rafael rushed down the stairs and to his lap top. He turned it on and then started banging around to give the illusion of him straightening things up. Within minutes he was chatting up the girl of his dreams.

“So did you like your care package?”

“It was wonderful you are so beautiful.

“Thank you so much Baby.”

“I can’t wait to be alone with you. I want to touch your sexy body and kiss your pretty lips.”

“Ooh Baby, you’re getting me hot just thinking about it.”

They continued their sexy conversation for another hour before Rafael got the courage to once again pleasure himself. He was so far gone and loved every moment of it. The thought that he may never be with her never entered his sick mind. Separated and detached from his family was Rafael when he was with his sweet Christina. Christina had to get off line early that night; she was having dinner out with her family. Rafael was left wanting. After she logged off he trudged up the stairs to join his family. Benita again could sense his displeasure in being with them. That night Rafael went for a run deep in the woods all alone. In his pocket he carried pictures of his Luscious Little Latina. Behind a large tree just past a clearing he sat fantasizing about their torrid love affair. Young fit Rafael held his bride to be in his arms kissing her passionately. Their love was a love for the ages, the greatest of loves. They would grow old, happily together, here ad in Heaven. Sick fantasy consumed Rafael’s mind, euphoric in nature. While he was gone on his long run of romance Benita did some investigating.

She rushed down to the garage as soon as she saw Rafael turn the corner. In front of his laptop she sat trying to figure out his password. It didn’t take long for her to crack the code. She knew everything about her husband… or so she thought. Benita, far more computer savvy than her husband quickly logged onto RiskyRack.com under his login. The password was the same as it was for his computer. Benita navigated her way around the site for a quick moment then checked Rafael’s chat log. She literally and figuratively turned red. She couldn’t believe that her husband of all these years was carrying on an online affair with a girl in high school. The girl couldn’t be more than a few years older than their own daughter. She couldn’t believe what she was reading. Benita thought about her daughters and how she would feel if some grown man was coming on to them like this. She pushed back from the computer mouth wide open. Her husband had taken on a false identity, masquerading as a man half his age playing minor league baseball around the county. She was disgusted; her world came crashing in on her. Poor Benita wept quietly wondering why her love wasn’t enough. She’d given her all to her family, especially her husband. Benita didn’t waddle in a pool of pity for very long. She knew that Rafael would soon be back. So she quickly wrote a letter to this Luscious Little Latina.

Young lady,

My name is Benita Hernandez I am the forty-three year old wife of your friend Rafael Hernandez. You may know him better as Antonio the Ace. I am sorry that you have been deceived into thinking you were chatting with someone closer to your age. You should be more careful in the future, people aren’t always as they seem. I would appreciate it if you would stop chatting with him and I’ll make sure that he doesn’t contact you again. I wish you the best of luck the remainder of your senior year in high school and good luck in college. Again be careful who you communicate with on line. There are a lot of dangerous people out there.

Sincerely,

Benita Hernandez

Benita cleaned herself up and made her way back upstairs. She tended to her girls and acted as if everything was normal. She wouldn’t discuss this matter with Rafael until the girls were deep in slumber. At ten thirty she checked in on her girls to find them fast asleep. Slowly she closed the door then turned her attention to the betrayer down the hall. Raphael went to bed earlier than normal not being able to chat with Christina that night. Benita logged into RiskyRack and pulled Raphael’s chat history. She left the lap top open so that it would be the first thing Rafael saw when he descended down the stairs.

“Ralphy, you sleep honey?”

A groggy Raphael answered slowly in a low voice.

“Yes Babe, what’s going on?”

“I need you to come down in the basement to check something out.”

“What is it?”

“I heard a noise, a strange noise. Please go down and check it out.”

“Okay, Alright. I’m getting up.”

He threw the comforter off, eased out of bed and felt around for his slippers with his feet. He slid them on, put on his glasses then walked out of the bedroom trailed by his wife. Rafael slowly descended down the stairs slightly irritated at being awakened from a solid sleep. As soon as he reached the bottom he was met with the shock of his life.

“Raphael what the hell is that?!”

Raphael tried to play cool.

“What is what? I don’t hear anything yet. Where was the noise coming from?”

Benita almost exploded.

“Are you serious?! You know what the hell I’m talking about!”

She walked over to the lap top and pointed at the screen. Raphael knew it was time to face the music.

“It’s just talking, talking. I never…”

She interrupted him abruptly.

“Shut up! Just shut the hell up!”

Benita ran her hands through her hair and sucked back tears.

“I can’t believe you’ve been online cheating on me with a little girl in high school. That’s someone’s daughter and not much older than ours. You’re a forty-seven year old man Rafael. It’s disgusting.”

Raphael tried to calm his wife by professing his devotion to her.

“You know that I would never leave you for anyone.”

His statement infuriated her.

“You wouldn’t leave me for anyone! You idiot you’re chatting with a little girl posing as some baseball stud. What do you think she’ going to say when she sees a forty-seven year old man standing in front of her. Oh and by the way buddy if anybody is the catch in this relationship it’s me! You’re lucky we have the girls or I’d put your ass out right now.”

Raphael tried to talk fast.

“Please Baby, I love you. We can’t throw away all that we’ve built over these years. What about the girls? We have a family to raise. I love you.”

“Shut up!”

Benita composed herself again before speaking.

“Rafael, I need some time to think about all of this. As for now you’ll be sleeping down here in the basement. You’re blankets are over there in the corner. I can’t be around you right now. Oh and by the way. I talked to your little friend and exposed your nonsense Antonio the Ace.”

She turned to walk away.

“Goodnight Rafael.”

He reached out and touched the back over her shoulder; she paused. Then answered sternly.

“I said goodnight Rafael!”

Benita stormed off up the stairs and Rafael’s heart sank. He had quite possibly ruined his marriage and his love Christina was probably mad at him too. The thought of his relationship with Christina being ruined cut at him deeper than the thought of Benita leaving him. His mind was possessed with the sickest of infatuations. Noting

else mattered as much as his love for his Luscious Little Latina. Benita cried herself to sleep that night as Raphael toss and turned, debating whether or not to go online and explain himself to Christina. He didn’t want to get caught by Benita but he was obsessed he just had to chat with Christina. He had to see if she would still have him. He toss and he turned a little more until he could no longer take it. Rafael turned on his computer then climbed the stairs to get a glass of water. He needed to assess the situation. From what he could tell Benita was asleep in their bedroom. So crept back down to the basement and closed the door behind him. He logged on hoping to find her. She was there, he was both ecstatic to see her and fearful of what she might say.

“Hello.”

“WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“IS ANYTHING YOU SAID TRUE?”

“When I spoke about my feelings for you, every word I wrote was true.”

“YOU’RE INSANE, WHO DOES THAT?!”

“Does what?”

“Lie about who they are, their age, what they do; you’re forty-seven?”

“Yes.”

“Your poor wife. Your poor family.”

“I know what I did wasn’t right but it doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.”

“Friends? Are you serious?”

“Yes, I just want to talk to you from time to time.”

“Your wife asked me not to chat with you anymore.”

“I would just like to speak to you every now and then. That’s all I’m asking.”

She paused to think things over. Christina didn’t want to be bothered but she also didn’t want to upset Rafael. She didn’t know if he was crazy or not. Benita asking her not to chat with her husband also loomed in the back of her mind.

“Well, I don’t know.”

“I really value your friendship. I just want us to be there for each other when the other needs it.”

“You know, I was fully committed to you. I haven’t even been dating. I’ve never been told a lie that big before.”

“That’s the past; let’s focus on here and now. I just want to be there for you.”

She grew tired of his begging.

“Alright, fine but I’ve got to go now.”

“Okay, well, talk to ya later.”

Their conversation went a lot better than Rafael expected. He was back on cloud nine. He would at least be able to talk to her from time to time. Raphael knew that he could eventually wear her down. Meanwhile later Christina would be back online making new friends.

She and young Miguel got closer and even made plans to meet the next month. Rafael suspected they might be communicating so he brought it up casually with Miguel on duty in the park one day. Miguel knew far more about Rafael, his lies, obsession and perverted nature than Rafael would like to think. Christina divulged all to her new true love. Miguel was what he said he was; there was nothing false about him. Rafael was an old man posing as a young one. A man who was putting his marriage in danger over a young lady he had never even set eyes on before.

“So Miguel, you still chatting with that ah Luscious Little Latina?”

Miguel cracked a small knowing smile before answering. He had lost much respect for his older friend for what he was putting his family through and betraying Benita.

“Yea, we talk.”

“So what are you guys talking about?”

“You know, this and that.”

“Things getting serious?”

“You know me, I’m not trying to get serious with anyone right now.”

Rafael grit his teeth and flexed his jaw muscles.

“Well you just better not hurt her!”

“What? What do you have to do with it?”

“We’re friends and I look out for her.”

“You look out for her. You were looking out for yourself. Trying to come on to a high school girl…”

Miguel didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence before Rafael tackled him to the ground. Miguel quickly turned Rafael over and pinned him to the ground. The boy was far too strong for him. Miguel held Rafael down and cut at him deep with truths about who he really was.

“You’re pitiful Rafael. You’ve got a great wife and a wonderful family and your running around chasing some high school girl online that you’ve never even seen. You’re lying saying you’re half your age and now your wife might leave you. What were you going to do if you met her anyway. Do you think she would really want a forty-seven year old man? You really need to get a grip.”

Just then Rafael slipped Miguel’s grip, got an arm free and took a swing at Miguel. Miguel dodged it then slapped Rafael three times really fast across his face. Again he was no match for the boy. On Rafael’s chest he sat scolding him further.

“I’m gonna go out with Christine and there’s nothing you can do about it. Why don’t you focus on your family loser.”

Rafael tried to struggle and received a punch in the chest for his trouble.

“Look man don’t make me kick your ass.”

Just then Carlos and Raul pulled up on their ATV and pulled Miguel off of Rafael.

“Hey man, break it up. What you guys fighting about?”

Miguel snatched away from Carlos.

“Why don’t you ask him!”

Rafael looked down and mumbled.

“Nothing.”

Carlos really didn’t care he just wanted them to stop before they got everyone jammed up.

“Alright fine. Miguel you work with me the rest of the shift and Rafael you go with Raul.”

Everyone complied and went on with their work day as if nothing happened. Rafael was left with a shiner under his left eye and a bloody nose as a result of the scuffle. His daughters would later notice and ask their dad what happened. He just brushed them off saying he walked into some brush at work. Later Benita would meet him in the basement with more questions.

“Rafael, what happened to you?”

“Huh?”

“The girls told me you had a black eye and your face was bruised. They said you said you walked into some bushes or something. Looking at you face I can tell it was a lot more than that. What happened.”

He sat with his head down, ashamed, ego bruised. He didn’t want to relive his humbling beating.

“Nothing happened Babe, nothing.”

“Okay, if you don’t want to talk about it I won’t force you.”

Benita had her suspicions on what may have happened to her husband but for once she didn’t care enough to pry. She climbed the stairs and closed the door behind her. Rafael wept quietly. He was ashamed at what his life had become… but still he couldn’t get her off his mind. Rafael would not emerge from the basement until the next morning. That night he tossed and turned. Rafael could only imagine what Miguel told Christine. He knew that he had to focus on trying to make things right with his family. Rafael vowed to work hard at making Benita happy with him again. In the morning he would awake a new man.

Luscious Little Latina

lucious-little-latina-1

Chapter 1

Rafael Hernandez, forty-seven year old married father of two was a twenty- year employee of the Orange County Parks and Recreation Department who loved to get together with his co-workers for a little pool once a month. He was the consummate family man, coach of his daughters’ soccer teams, deacon in his home church and faithful husband. Rafael’s wife Benita was most proud of the loving home and family she and Rafael grew and maintained over the past eighteen years. Their daughters Maria fourteen and Marta, nine were loving little girls who excelled academically and athletically as well. Rafael spent all of his time with his family or at work except for that one night a month that he played pool with the fellas. Miguel, a younger coworker whom Rafael had grown fond of shared a meal with Rafael’s family on this particular night before they left to play pool. Miguel needed a designated driver; he had intentions of tying one on that night. Rafael was a non-drinker so he really didn’t mind driving his young friend. In actuality he liked the young man’s company; being in his presence helped Rafael recapture his youth somewhat. Over dinner they enjoyed light conversation filled with laughter and smiles.

“So Miguel, you still thinking about studying abroad?”

Benita asked all smiles, beaming with pride for the young man and the bright future he had ahead of him. She viewed Miguel as somewhat of a surrogate son, the boy she never had.

“Yes, they have a program in Barcelona that seems very interesting. After I get my bachelor’s degree I’ll be on my way.”

Rafael chimed in.

“I thought you were going to play second base for the Rays or the Marlins. You’ve got a great glove, pull that batting average up a little bit and you never know what can happen.”

“I appreciate that Rafael but I’ve got a long ways to go to make it into the big leagues. That’s just a pipe dream at this point. I think I would be better served furthering my education rather than counting on my limited athletic ability to provide me with fame and riches.”

Miguel finished his statement with a light chuckle and Benita patted him on his shoulder supportively. Miguel continued on.

“I do intend to finish the season strong though and win the division title.”

Rafael encouraged his young fiend further.

“That a boy. Well, what ever you decide to do with your future I know you will be successful.”

Miguel turned his attention to young Maria and Marta.

“So I hear both you girls are the leading goal scorers for your teams and both of your teams are first place.”

The girls answered in unison.

“Yup!”

They both giggled at their synchronicity. Rafael looked on proudly at his two budding little superstars.

“Yea the girls are really playing their hearts out this season.”

He looked down at his watch then rushed Miguel along.

“C’mon Miguel finish up so we won’t be late. I’m playing Carlos in the first game and I can’t wait to kick his butt.”

Benita tried to no avail to slow her husband down and extend their lovely meal.

“Give him time to finish his meal Rafael, he’s still a growing boy.”

They all shared a laugh as Miguel stuffed the last of his third helping into his mouth, stood, patted the two little girls on the head and thanked Mrs. Hernandez for the wonderful meal. Both men climbed into Rafael’s truck and they were in their way.

“So Miguel, you go out last night?”

“Yea, I met a new chica last week named Juanita. We were together last night but we don’t really go out much if you know what I mean.”

Rafael chuckled along with his young buddy before responding.

“Oh what I wouldn’t do to be nineteen or twenty again.”

“When you played college ball I’m sure you had all the girls.”

“Well… I had a few but I was never quite what you would call a ladies man and I certainly wasn’t a gigolo like you.”

“I’m not a gigolo, I accept a few gifts here and there but I don’t give it up just to get money. I can’t be bought, no old broads and no fat chicks.”

They shared another laugh as Rafael pulled into the pool hall. They could see Carlos, Raul and Raymond through the window sitting at the bar waiting on them. Rafael and Miguel entered the establishment to joyful greetings and genuine smiles from their coworkers.

“Hola Rafael, Miguel. How you ladies doing tonight? You ready for your pool lesson?”

Carlos started in with his normal playful teasing as he shook each man’s hand and ushered them to the bar. The friends played a round robin tournament with Rafael emerging as the victor. He won twenty bucks from each guy and all the Sprite he could drink. The rest of the guys threw back pitcher after pitcher while sharing stories about their conquests of the past. Miguel was the only one with current relationships to boast about. Many of Carlos’ were fictional. Rafael knew this to be true but never called him on it. Unfortunately for Rafael he had only been with two women other than his wife in his entire life. Young Miguel was no fool either but he played along humoring his older friend.

“Really Carlos you had the mother in the basement and the daughter in the bedroom at the same time?!”

Raul and Raymond rolled their eyes at one another in disbelief as Carlos continued on with his Latin “Mrs. Robinson” story. Later the conversation drifted to back to pool and a website the guys all visited where pool enthusiast congregated to talk about their favorite hobby. They shared tips, old pool stories and information on up coming tournaments in the area. In addition to the postings and comment area members could also chat privately with one another. Raul, Raymond, Carlos and Miguel were already members so they encouraged Rafael, or “The Shark” as they called him, to join as well.

“Yea Shark you should join, it’s only twelve bucks a month. It’s called RiskyRack.com.”

Rafael scratched his chin and pondered if he should do it or not.

“I don’t know guys, you know I’m not real good with computers and I don’t know if Benita would like it.”

Carlos couldn’t pass up the chance to make jokes at his buddy’s expense.

“Oh don’t tell me Rafael can’t go on the computer without Mama’s permission. I thought you were The Shark, your acting more like a blow fish; because that blows. You have to be the king of your castle Papi. Do you wear the crown or the apron?”

The group chuckled and even Rafael had to crack a smile.

“Relax fellas, I’m the captain of my ship. I just like to talk things over with my wife that’s all and I am still The Shark. I just kicked all of your butts didn’t I?”

Rafael had a laugh of his own then snatched the beverage napkin from Carlos’ hand that he’d written the name of the website on. The guys hung out around the bar for another hour or so before heading home. Rafael dropped Miguel off at his place then made the short drive to his home. His dog Pedro met him at the door, tail wagging. Rafael offered his pet a treat then looked in on his daughters. Both girls were fast asleep so he made his way to the master bedroom where his wife lay a awake reading a novel under the soft glow of her nightlight.

“Did you have a goodtime Ralphy?”

“Yes Sweetheart, a goodtime was had by all.”

“Did you win?”

“Yup, every game, like taking candy from a baby.”

“Well good Baby, I’m glad you had fun, now come to bed.”

“Sure Sweetheart. Oh the guys told me about a pool website they go on, it costs twelve dollars a month. I’d like to join too. Is that okay?”

“Sure Honey, you deserve to have some outlets. You work so hard.”

“Thank you Benita, thank you.”

She rubbed her husbands back then turned and put her book mark in between the pages she was reading. Benita turned off her night light as he turned on his.

“Now come to bed Ralphy.”

“Yes Sweetheart.”

With that being said Rafael kicked his shoes off, stripped down to his underclothes, turned off the light and slid under the covers.

The next morning Benita woke early, prepared breakfast and helped the girls get ready for school before kissing Rafael goodbye and heading off to the law firm where she was a paralegal. Rafael left shortly afterwards driving Maria and Marta to their schools then heading to Barnett Park to start his shift. He was in high spirits looking forward to his daughters’ soccer games later that evening. Raphael visualized both his girls earning scholarships to play in college if they continued on the paths they were on. The father/coach couldn’t be more proud. After work Rafael picked his girls up from school, walked the dog with them, then cooked dinner for the family. When Benita arrived home from work the family sat down to dinner together, said their grace then dug in. Two hours later the girls were on the field dominating once again. Rafael ran up and down the sideline giving instruction while beaming ear to ear. Both Maria and Marta won their games by two goals and each girl had a goal and an assist. The family celebrated at Twisty Treat the girls favorite ice cream parlor after the game. When they arrived home the girls showered and went to bed while Benita and Rafael settled in for a little “mommy and daddy time”. They climbed into their marital bed and tried to rekindle their romance. It wasn’t meant to be. Rafael couldn’t quite perform leaving him feeling slightly inadequate. Benita, the ever supportive wife, wouldn’t allow her husband to feel low about his lack of sexual prowess.

“It’s ok honey, it happens to everybody. We’ve been together a long time and sometimes we need to do things to spice it up a little bit. I love you Baby and I know you love me, tonight’s just not our night.”

She gave a faint smile and Rafael sat up in bed. Benita rubbed him on his back, Rafael turned around and put his feet on the floor. He slid his slippers on before speaking.

“I think I’m going to go read a book or something Babe. You go ahead and get some sleep.”

Benita could hear the somberness in his voice. She really had no rebuttal for him that would restore his confidence. So she simply responded.

“Ok Honey, just don’t stay up too late.”

“I won’t.”

With that being said he walked slowly down the hall with his tail between his legs. Rafael turned on the hood light over the stove once he reached the kitchen. He grabbed a book off the counter and cracked it open. As he looked down into it he saw the beverage napkin with the pool website written on it out of the corner of his eye. He placed the book down and picked the napkin up.

“What the hell.”

He thought to himself as he sat down at the desk in his living room and pushed the button to turn on his tower. Next Rafael reached forward and turned on the monitor. After typing in his password he logged onto the internet.

“RiskyRack.com uh.”

Rafael mumbled to himself as he typed in the web address. As soon as his membership was completed he logged into his friend Carlos’ group. There he saw all of his friends’ avatars playing virtual games of pool against one another. They recognized him as soon as he arrived. Carlos was as loud and boisterous online as he was in person with his quick humor and easy insults. Rafael’s member name was “Antonio The Ace”. He wanted to relive a bit of his youth reminiscing on times when he was the ace of his high school’s pitching staff and a top prospect in the state of Florida. The guys joked and talked pool while enjoying ads for different pool halls in the southeastern states of America. Eventually they were joined by others including a young girl who called herself “Luscious Little Latina”. She and Rafael hit it off right away. They had so much in common, or so the luscious little Latina thought. She had no idea that she was chatting online with a man who was old enough to be her father. Rafael had taken on the identity of his profile name. He explained himself to be Antonio Vargas, twenty-two year old minor league pitcher and lover of poetry. He posted a picture of himself as an eighteen year old senior in high school in his baseball uniform.

“So you play minor league baseball? That’s so cool! Do you think you’ll make it to the major leagues?”

“Well I think I’m on my way but it’s tough to make it to the big leagues.”

“You seem like you’re dedicated so I’m sure you’ll make it one day.”

“So, you’re a senior in high school?”

“Yea, I’m hoping to go to UCF after I get my associates degree from Valencia Community College.”

“That’s smart to go to community college first to get yourself ready for a four year university.”

“So, Antonio Vargas do you have a girlfriend?”

“No, I was dating someone but we broke up before I went on the road with the team.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, I’m sure it’s her loss.”

Rafael got the name Antonio Vargas from a program of a single A Baseball team. He was the ace of the staff just as Rafael was as a youth. Rafael figured that the girl wouldn’t know enough about Baseball to find him out. The two chatted that night for hours getting to know one another better until he was interrupted by his loving wife. When she entered the room he was quick to minimize the chat icon and answer her.

“Rafael, you coming to bed Baby? It’s getting late and you’ve got to work early in the morning.”

“Yes Babe, I’m about to log off now. I’ll be there in about five minutes.”

“Ok, Sweetheart.”

She kissed him on the cheek, exited the living room and went back to bed. Rafael ended his chat with his Luscious Little Latina by saying that he had curfew and his coach would be doing his rounds soon to be sure that all the players were in bed. She respectfully wished him a goodnight and they both promised to talk to one another the following night.

The next day seemed to drag on for Rafael as he daydreamed about his Luscious Little Latina. After work he came home walked the dog, cooked dinner for his daughters then attended their soccer practices. Rafael was just going through the motions, biding his time until he could chat with his new friend later that evening. His wife noticed that Rafael seemed to be a little distant on the drive home after the practices.

“Honey, you ok? Rafael?!”

He was caught daydreaming.

“Oh, I’m sorry Baby were you saying something?”

“I was just asking if you were alright, are you?”

“Yes, I’m fine. I was just thinking about work tomorrow.”

“Is everything going well at work?”

“Yea, yea sure; I just need to get some things together for the Frisbee Golf tournament next week.”

Benita reached over and ran her fingers through her husband’s hair. Then she patted him on his shoulder before responding to Rafael’s plight.

“Baby don’t let that job stress you out, you guys take great care of that park. I’m proud of the job you do.”

Benita always knew just what to say to make her man feel whole again when he was down. She understood Rafael’s frustration in being in what he felt was essentially a dead end job. He had been faithful to that job for over two decades and faithful to his family as well, until now. His daydreams were of a young girl just a few years older than his own daughters. He responded blandly to his wife’s encouragement.

“Oh, don’t worry we’ll get it done in time.”

Twenty minuets later they pulled into their driveway, once inside Rafael hurried the girls to shower and get to bed. Benita was on the family computer finishing up some work from the firm. Rafael got antsy as he waited for her to get done. He watched a little Sports Center and took out the trash. Benita was still hard at work. Rafael watched parts of a Professional Pool Tournament as well before growing a little impatient.

“Honey you going to be on the computer much longer?”

“No, I just have a few more things to do. Why, you want to use it?”

“Ah, yea I wanted to log on to the pool site. I told the guys I would be on tonight.”

“Don’t you guys get enough of each other at work? When did you become such a fan of the computer anyway? You used to never use it.”

“It’s just a little harmless outlet for me, that’s all.”

“Well ok Mr. I’ll be off in about ten minutes.”

“Thank you Honey.”

He walked into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of orange juice then plopped back down in front of the television. Rafael stared blankly at the television while fantasizing about chatting with his Luscious Little Latina. Ten minutes seemed like ten hours to him as he pretended to wait patiently for Benita to finish her work. Finally to his delight she walked over and told him she was done.

“Ok Pool Guy the computer is all yours.”

Rafael tried to play coy as if he were so engulfed in the sports report that he hadn’t noticed she’d finished.

“Oh Honey, you’re done?”

“Yea the computer is all yours.”

“Oh, thank you. Let me see what the guys are up to tonight.”

“Well have fun Baby, I’m going to shower and get to bed.”

She walked over kissed him on his forehead and trotted away as they said goodnight simultaneously. Rafael waited for her to enter the bedroom then bedroom bathroom and close the door behind her before he got up and walked over to the computer. His palms got sweaty and his heartbeat quickened as he logged on. Slightly erect he became as soon as he saw her avatar.

“Hello stranger.”

“Hello.”

“I’ve missed you, how was practice today?”

“Same as usual, I need to get more movement on my breaking ball. Coach is trying to help me with that. How was school today?”

“The usual, I can’t wait to graduate.”

As the Luscious Little Latina rambled on about high school life it suddenly dawned on Rafael that he didn’t even know her name. He may not have known her name but he knew he couldn’t do without her; she gave him his youth back.

“Well, when are you going to ask me?”

“When am I going to ask you what?

“You know; my name?”

It was as if she was reading his mind.

“I feel like I know so well already but yes, I was wondering what your real name was.”

“Christina, Christina Gomez.”

“That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”

“Oh that reminds me I want to send you something to your email.”

“What are you going to send me?”

“Just give me your email silly, you’ll see.”

Rafael reluctantly gave her his email and two minutes later she asked him to check it. What he found was a pleasant surprise. She attached six photos of herself in a bathing suite to the email. With a note attached saying that there were more to come. Christina was lovely, 5’2”, long brown hair, ample hips, buttocks and bosom with the softest hazel eyes he had ever seen. It was false love at first sight for Rafael.

“I love your photos, you’re even more beautiful than I imagined.”

“Oh thank you, you’re too sweet.”

“Are there really more to come :-0 ?”

“If you like.”

“Oh, I like.”

“LOL, you’re so crazy.”

The two love birds chatted for another hour before Rafael parted her cyber company on the false pretence of once again trying to make curfew. Rafael hadn’t been this excited in years; this girl gave him a new lease on life; without knowing, she motivated him to get in better shape. He now desired to feel and look young so Rafael started running and working out everyday after work. The pounds started to melt off as he became more dedicated to his physical fitness. There was one issuer though… Benita. Benita was working a lot more from home so she needed to use the family computer more frequently and for longer periods of time. Rafael thought of a solution to his problem. He came home with his solution the day after he had to wait for thirty minutes to use the computer for the third day in a way.

“What ya got there mister?”

“Oh I decided to get a lap top so that we could both be online at the same time.”

“Really, you went out and bought a lap top and didn’t even consult me about it? Aren’t you the one who is always concerned about us sticking to a budget?”

“Honey, I never do anything for myself and this is just something that I really wanted and I got a good deal on it. The girls can use it too; they can do their homework on it.”

“I know that you don’t spend much on yourself, I just wish you would’ve talked to me about it first.”

Rafael knew just how to play his wife after being with her for so many years so he offered to take it back.

“If you want me to I’ll take it back to the store. I don’t want you to be upset with me Benita.”

“No, that’s not necessary. You’ve already got it so you may as well keep it and as much as you’re on the computer nowadays maybe it is a good idea for you to have your own.”

He rushed over, embraced her and planted a firm peck on her lips.

“Thank you for being so understanding Sweetheart. I really appreciate it.”

“Anything to make you happy Rafael, enjoy.”

Before she finished her sentence he had already picked up his new lap top and made his way to the basement to charge it. He just couldn’t wait to talk to Christina his Lovely Little Latina.

Zoomin’ On Zena

bad-boy-2

“Girl don’t you let those boys be zoomin’ on you. I know you remember how that nasty little Troy did you.”

Zena frowned her face up at her mother.

“Mama, you always bringin’ up old stuff. I dated Troy in the tenth grade. I ain’t seen that boy in years.”

Lena smirked before responding to her disobedient and sometimes disrespectful daughter.

“Yea Zena that might have been the tenth grade but you’re still making the same mistakes today. Every boy you take up with is some kind of hustler or jailbird. None of them treat you right and all of them you catch cheating on you. Now, who’s zoomin’ who?”

Zena knew what her mother was saying to be true so she tried to change the subject as quickly as possible.

“Zoomin’? What does that mean anyway? Mama I swear you’re stuck in the ‘70’s or ‘80’s or somthin’.”

Her mother walked over to her old record player and thumbed through her old albums on the side. She found the one she was looking for then put it on. Soon the timeless majestic voice of Aretha Franklin poured out of the old speakers.

“Who’s Zoomin’ Who.”

Once the song was playing she took the time to explain to her daughter for what seemed to be the hundredth time what the song meant.

“You know what this song means girl. I’ve told you this since you first started dating. It means who’s getting over on or taking advantage of who? With you it’s always the boy who’s getting over. I tried to set a good example for you by getting rid of your father and his sorry ways and raising you with a respectable honorable man like Robert.”

Zena rolled her eyes at the mention of her step father, the savior. Lena was so grateful for the man’s presence in her life the past twenty years and for the way he selflessly helped her to raise her daughter. The man loved his wife with all his heart and would do anything in the world for her. Robert was raised in an upper middleclass African American Family, well educated and spiritually grounded.

Zena never quite took to the man even though he had always been more of a father to her than her own father who popped in once or twice a year every year. Jerome only came around to claim his rights as a father and cause stress in the lives of his ex and her husband. The sorry excuse for a dad always reminded Zena that he was her real father and she came from him. Everything that she was and is was because of his genes. Robert was never combative towards the man, only loving toward his wife and step daughter. He respected Jerome’s right to visit but remained secure in his marriage and place in this new family.

“Well Mama not every woman wants a man like Robert. He’s such a square and a lame. I don’t know how you can stand to be with him everyday with his corny self.”

Lena was angered somewhat by her daughter’s comments about the man she loved who had been so benevolent and forgiving in raising the girl since she was five years old.

“You know Zena, it’s a damn shame you don’t call that man dad when he had been the only dad you have ever had. He has done so much to raise you up right, loving and supporting you and you have never returned the love. I’m lucky he never got frustrated through the years and left me behind your nonsense. Believe me honey we have had many discussions about you and your behavior over the years. You don’t want a man like Robert; I guess you want a man like that sorry ass Jerome huh?”

Zena stood defiantly with her arms crossed and her head cocked to the side. Then she lashed out.

“That’s right. My man has to know what time it is and be able to handle his self. I need a strong man with a cute face and fine body.”

Lena interjected.

“In other words you want somebody who won’t work, disrespects you in public and will put his hands on you because he feels small about himself. You want a man with no faith or morals that will even steel from your mama just so he can get high. Your man is actually a boy who is in his late twenties still sleeping on his mother’s couch but got four kids out in the streets by four different women that he ain’t taking care of. Robert raised another man’s ungrateful child while these bums you run around with won’t even go to work to put food on the table for the children they bring into this world. You know what Zena, you’re right! You will never have a God fearing good man like Robert because you don’t deserve him. You’ll always be shacked up with some loser in his mama’s basement but you want to be treated like a hood rat, chicken head, dirty foot instead of a lady.”

Zena was shocked. She had never heard her mother speak to her like that. Her words cut the girl deep with jagged truths and barbed reality. Zena refused to listen to anymore of her mother’s badgering.

“Look Mama; I ain’t got to stand here and listen to this. I’m finna go out so you can save all of that talkin’ for your precious Robert.”

Zena turned and stormed off. Her mother had a few last words for her as she hit the door.

“Zena you better be safe out there girl messin’ with the wrong people. No matter what we are always gonna love you but you better not bring no more of that trash past my door again!”

Outside, Zena’s companion for the night was laying on his horn in an attempt to get her to hurry up. Profanity laced, base heavy rap music poured from the windows of his SUV. Lena looked through the window to see her daughter pull off for the last time. Zena had been in and out of Lena and Robert’s home over the past five years since she dropped out of college. Now twenty-six her mother could no longer control her, she was a grown woman. Lena could only offer words of wisdom and sometimes tough love but Zena would make her own decisions in life. Her decision making wasn’t sound and would soon Zena her life.

That evening in a cheap motel room she would argue with JT; a man she who she only knew by his street name. That night after asking him for money they fought briefly.

“What you mean you can’t give me a few dollars to help me out? You are a sorry excuse for a man. Talkin’ ;bout you be hustlin’ and you broker than the junkies you serve. You ain’t got a pot to piss in or a window to through it out of, got me staying in this raggedy ass motel. Now I know why your baby mama hooked up with Tony; she wanted a real man not a little boy with a little thang. Look broke boy just take me home so I…”

Zena never got the opportunity to finish her sentence. When she turned to gather her things JT swung the hotel iron at her and hit her in the temple. She died a short time later on the dingy floor of that motel room. JT couldn’t take her nasty truthful words anymore; in a fit of rage, he did the unspeakable. After sitting in a panic for an hour or two JT decided that there was no way he was going to get away with it. He didn’t bother disposing of the body, instead he simply left the motel and got high.

Lena would morn the death of her daughter for years to come but she would be granted peace I he spirit from her Lord and Savior. She felt secure in the knowledge that she did all she could to raise her daughter right. Lena also shared her daughter’s story with other young ladies in an effort to help them make wiser decisions when choosing a mate. JT spent the rest of his life in prison and he was mourned and prayed for as well. Fortunately for him after decades of incarceration he would give his life to Christ saving his eternal soul.