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Child of God – A Spiritual Story by Bridgett Nesbit

Foreword
Pastor had forgotten how long they’d known one another; Tamara had been with him when he failed to graduate because of a steroids scandal and she fell right along with the rest of the church society when he gave a charismatic plea for redemption.
His infidelity had always been looked at as just vicious rumors to push under the rug but this time it would be different, this time Tamara could not look away.
Pastor would not hear the knob turning.
The gospel music used to mask a time of worship had instead encouraged their wicked throws of passion; Pastor would have no time to cover this one up.
For Tamara Stevens, a beautiful 38 year old pastors wife in Atlanta Ga.
life would spiral into betrayal, deception, deliverance and redemption.
Running from her problems Tamara finds that even home has its own set of demons to battle.
When she meets Michelle Winters, 36, a stern county prosecutor in North Carolina, Tamara learns that the problems in her hometown are more important than her own.
The two find that success for them might not mean finding the right man to love but they both would find a greater purpose from their pain.
Though Michelle is more bitter it does not mean she is more broken and both own a common desire for personal peace.
They would understand that in their lives a power that could not be excused as simply half haps was working with them to save their small town.
Unfolding in a series of circumstances they uncover a four year old murder which has been swept under the rug by a crooked sheriff. With a posse of criminals he would master mind a billion dollar drug operation and turn a entire area of town into a experiment of crime and poverty. That would be until God used them to usher in a change.

The Good Shepherd
“Do unto to others as … ”
Chapter one
Tamara made her way down the hall, she knew he’d do it again, her high heels echoing a gate of sorrow.
Memories of her husbands infidelity seemed to evade her thoughts.
The first lady of Mt. Zion’s Peace Baptist Church sought solace in each movement, a uncommon peace in a pace of surrender.
How would she explain to her husband that she couldn’t love him or forgive him any more and why did she care.
How would she tell the ladies in the church that she no longer desired to be first lady.
Michael, or Pastor Stevens, had lied on so many levels; from the pulpit to the bedroom of almost every woman in the church/communities back door and he was delivering more than a good word.
This time it was more than she could stand, the good reverend had done something despicable, he slept with a new woman in the fold that Tamara had taken under her wing.
God had laid Trina on her heart, showed her that the stem of her pain came from confusion and repeated hurts.
She’d been left by two former husbands and was now needy and broken.
It was Tamara’s joy to lead her to the Rock of her Salvation, Jesus, not the lusty doctrine of a now wayward shepherd.
She hadn’t even thought of shielding Trina from her husband.
They’d shared spiritual conversations about her, spoke in faith toward her recovery and prayed for the 40 year old single mother on numerous occasions.
So Tamara just assumed the heart of God to deliver souls from personal torment was still in her husband and he could see beyond Trina’s thighs.
The sadness of this spiritual battle crept into Tamara’s soul, she had forgiven him a million times while kneeling beside their bed.
She had cupped his head at the altar as he swore he would not allow the Devil to destroy his marriage with the disease of infidelity.
That would be of course each time one of the ladies he was messing with took a stand against him and wanted Pastor to leave her for them.
Tamara could think of no other time he was brought to tears in public over her.
As tears slid down her oval cheeks she reflected on the one on one counseling sessions she shared with Trina, through those moments she had also began to heal.
But that would be overshadowed now by the image of Trina jumping up from her husbands lap with no clothes on in his office.
“Dumb bastard,” Tamara managed to mutter while wiping her face with a tear soaked sleeve.
The pastor had forgotten how long they’d known one another, she knew him all through high school and college. She’d been with him when he failed to graduate because of a steroids scandal and she fell right along with the rest of the church society when he gave a charismatic plea for redemption.
Well she fell then but not this time, this time when ‘Pastor’ ordered his secretary to change his locks Tamara took on the task and kept a spare of her own.
They didn’t hear the key connecting and giving ease to the knob, the gospel music used to mask a time of worship instead encouraged their wicked throws of passion; Pastor would have no time to cover this one up.
Instead of screaming and hollering in the house of God, Tamara just got one eyes full of the drama, took a picture on her cell phone and walked in a untouched stride to her car.
He wouldn’t chase after her, he hadn’t before, because he needed time to come up with some way to turn Trina into the new day Jezebel.
For Tamara it was the drive home that would be bothersome, not the glances in the church hall.
What hurt was pretending that it didn’t hurt, Tamara felt fooled and lost, crippled and discouraged but in sheer diva fashion kept her mind stayed on the enormous task of making it home.
“Being fake like this sucks God,” Tamara said under her breathe. “Please save me, help me, deliver me today Lord!”
She forced herself to remember how things got to this point, with a child who adored her father and people in the community who still allowed him to operate when he should have been sat down she had felt trapped.
Tamara now held no more in life than the stain of her last name, a vow to stand when she had fallen, a dread to stay and a burning desire to leave.
She hadn’t been the only one who had a habit of forgiving Pastor.
Before you could say good day the congregation had said he had a way with the people like David and no one bothered to check, per his self proclaiming passion for reciting the Word, to see if he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Back then it just seemed fitting that Tamara would play the role of first lady; she was the daughter of a prominent pastor herself, she remembered standing at the altar and being more than pleased to say I do.
Now her heart ached for the foresight to avoid this tragedy.
She was just like the other little girls who played with Barbie and Ken, heard how to be a good wife (in the kitchen and the bedroom) but no one had taught her how to fake it.
Though musing through her thoughts felt therapeutic the chime of her cell phone ended the session.
This time her caller id included her raggedy husband, other people from the church (noisy not concerned) and surprisingly Trina.
“What in hell does this woman want to talk about?,” Tamara belted out in a she betta be glad I’m saved mode.
“They must think I’m stupid, they can’t want to know what I saw in the house of God,” Tamara said.
.She collected herself in the bathroom, changing back to perfect and went into the kitchen.
There would be no need to call her parents because they could only understand forgiving Michael, citing the vision of the church beyond the trust of their union.
This would be more than just a time to throw things into the sea of forgetfulness, this time Tamara decided to give her husband a chance to free her.
And this time it was a way that would allow her to grow in God without his restrictions.
When her husband called she was ready to answer, “Yes, Michael” Tamara said talking ever so politely, “I think it is time for us to talk about some things.”
“I … want … to explain, I … don’t want to argue,” he answered back this time sounding like the adulteress husband he was instead of the confident preacher about to deliver a stirring message.
She agreed for him to come to the house so they could talk but had no intent of allowing him to stay.
Tamara knew exactly what she wanted from the reverend, it would be a chance to know God this time for herself and live pass the labels of religion.
She did not doubt for one second that God was good but knew this relationship was no longer any good for her faith, her soul or her heart.

Walking away
“Don’t take my meekness for weakness”
Chapter two
It would take more than flowers, more than words this time but Michael was unaware of that.
As the door opened at their lake front home on Thomas Drive, he was clueless to how things had shifted in the atmosphere.
Michael made his way to the living room looking for sharp items out of place.
Tamara chuckled to her self knowing his superstitions did not seem displayed.
“I’m passed arguing too Michael,” Tamara said to calm his fears, “I don’t think our relationship was meant to withstand all of the things I have had to forgive you for and I know the God I serve will not put anymore on me than I can bare.”
“I’ve heard people say that if you want to find out if your saved ask your family,” Tamara spoke purposely with intent of pricking him.
“You don’t want to ask me that question right now” … .”The only thing that you can do to save our marriage is walk away.”
Tamara pulled an envelope and assured Michael that copies had been mailed to her cousin in North Carolina along with pictures that a detective had taken of women he had been with over passed years.
The package also included recorded video and audio tapes that incriminated him in several bogus non-profits.
“I’m serious this time Michael and this time you will have to lose something to see that God loves more than just the preacher, he loves his sheep too!”
It took Tamara ten minutes to convince Michael that a divorce would be the best thing, a mutual agreement of release would be announced to the church and their daughter, Briana, would go back to her home town in North Carolina with her.
Michael agreed to liquidate all assets in a 80/20 portion. This time it was not his so called stellar character that persuaded the good reverend but the fact that his wife had him by the balls.
Every thing but the church would be sold; the blessed and beautiful temple would go to a budding fellowship church who had been believing the Lord for a home.
Now Tamara’s biggest concern was getting back home, though she constantly asked God for a sign for good, she had received none and hoped to find it there.
Had she the right in Biblical passage to force release from her marriage?
The South Side had been a concern of Tamara’s for many years, she had sent money to a few local churches but had not been back in almost two decades. When Tamara looked up her hometown she found out that the drug infestation and crime that had taken over the area (mainly impoverished African Americans), she felt led to return and now it would be a new beginning.
For the eager dreamer the only obstacle she would have to face was saying goodbye to the people that kept the current church lively; those that didn’t just come to church for a social escape and an extension of high school drama.
After talking with that elect her next personal battle would be the hardest, talking to the fake saints.
While debating the confrontation Tamara felt like their was a tug of war between her faith and her reality, “I’m I making the right decision though,” she whispered to herself.
One fact was sat for the pastor’s wife, she knew the majority of women would judge her for insisting the good reverend resign from the church and re-directing her membership.
They would definitely question her faithfulness to not only her husband but her Creator.
She made calls to all the busy bees in the congregation announcing she would be holding a tea party for the original members on Thursday.
This would be a time to explain that God was pulling her to a different place in her ministry.
Regardless of the outcome Tamara had no plans of looking back, for years she held back accusations against women she worked side by side with.
Now she planned to tell them if it got ugly that they could now have the skirt chasing pastor, they were so fond of, all to themselves.
In the meeting sister Deborah (the nosiest person in their town) stood up before Tamara could say a word, “Some say your leaving cause you caught Pastor again and some say you rekindled an old love back home!”
“Some say honey that you teaching forgiveness in your little classes but can’t give none to your man and that’s why he kept stepping out.”
This heifer, had the nerve to put her hand on her hip wearing a size five but needing a size ten, made new and even more ridiculous accusations against Tamara.
“I think the biggest problem in the church sister is what some say and not enough of what Jesus says,” Tamara retorted.
“Some say you and at least half of the women in the church have slept with my husband and I guess because I didn’t catch any of you with him that you didn’t sin.”
“I don’t care if you all bust hell wide open, you know the word and seem to think you have more time than the people you tell about Jesus in the streets.” “And then after you spread the gospel, you spread your lips to gossip and legs to baptize my husband … “As if you are perfect, as if you still don’t need to be delivered,” Tamara criticized.
“For me ladies when I die I want to hear, ‘Well done,” and not I never knew you so I’m going to a place where I can try to make a difference instead of being the first lady to a jackass.”
No one in the conference room dared make a sound as Tamara gathered her things and exited the room.
For Tamara it was a time of release, a “Go to Hell by yourselves,” moment and one she had been waiting to deliver for a long time.

A long way till home
“Don’t look back girl, don’t look back”
Chapter three
At six Briana didn’t understand why they had to move from their beautiful home in Georgia to North Carolina. The anxious child asked questions the whole way up the rode and Tamara had all the right answers. “You’ll be able to play with your cousins and get to see some of the places were Mommy grew up at baby girl,” she told her daughter
She and Briana played rode games almost all the way up the road. The scenery had changed in her home town, things that seemed like landmarks had through time been torn down for bigger buildings.
While trying to point places out her intelligent child remarked, “Mommy you must be old, nothing is where you say it was anymore.”
As they came into the city Tamara was anxious to see her grandmother’s house but had no real idea what she was getting herself into or that God was in the process of answering a prayer.
He’d produced the strong pull in her heart to come back home put the drama of the events that would unfold were masked in the underlining seams of everyday.
When she began riding through the old neighborhood nothing looked the same there either.
Abandoned and boarded up houses scattered the streets. Fields of liter decorated the fronts of most homes and street corners.
In broad day light pods of people did drugs with no police presence.
Young boys hung out at many of the corners, young girls with scarcely any clothes on propositioned cars going by and Tamara saw a small child playing dangerously close to a busy street.
Now she didn’t want her daughter to see what it had become; the journalist who laid down her pen felt a quaking in her soul to investigate.
She’d written for her hometown newspaper but stopped to help her husband further his ministry.
Now she understood why God sent her back; the source of her joy in all levels had been destroyed by her husband but now Tamara’s mind was on something else, she felt purposed to reach back.
Should would dedicate her pen now to making a difference and showing the shame that officials must have held secret, the drug infestation with no balanced programs for community that match the money and drugs seized in the county for over 20 years. It looked like a cover up to her.
Tamara browsed through the limited FBI and SBI seizure reports she could access on her Blackberry and found crime reports that stunned her, “Young children dying senselessly in these streets,” Tamara thought aloud. “I was worried about a man who I thought needed me to fix a man and the whole time I was worried about the wrong thing.”
As she gazed at the sadness of poverty running rampant through its streets Tamara thought of when she played freely throughout the community.
Then Tamara turned onto an oh too familiar corner, she saw her grandmother’s house with weeds grown up over the entire property.
The for sale sign seemed to barely peek through its madness.
When she spoke with her grandmothers friend and old neighbor, Mrs. Speaks, she learned that her cousin, Pete had some how gotten the house from her aunt and then got on crack.
He lost the house years go and it had been rented out but they kept it from her.
Tamara leaned on her car in tears, she never knew and because her husband wanted her to stay in Georgia as a first mother on holidays and weekends she spent most of her time either attending or planning church functions.
Tamara picked up her cell phone and called the realtors number on the sign, “Thank you for calling Allied Realty, this is Karen,” a voice answered promptly.
“Yes, My name is Tamara Stevens and I’m interested in purchasing the home on 629 Monroe Street.”
Karen said the house was selling for $23,000, that depreciation came because of the crime, but that didn’t dissuade Tamara.
She wanted to know what was the price of the adjacent lot on the corned for expansion purposes.
The real estate agent assured Tamara she would get back with her before the close of the day with the a asking price.
She’d left the key with Mrs. Speaks so Tamara would have a chance to look through the home.
The stroll up the walkway took her back, “The long lazy porch used to have a swinging chair with lots of plants,” Tamara said to her daughter as if she were giving a tour of a castle.
The house had character but needed work and the determined child within her made her grandmother’s house come alive again in her mind.
So humbled by just the beauty of the memories, words said in laughter or wisdom through pain that reached into her heart like it was yesterday, a tear fell down Tamara’s face.
After a silent prayer, the courageous bidder checked her bank account, Michael had shifted some assets and their was now a generous balance.
It was her hope the total for the house and land did not exceed her current budget.
Tamara would then be able to live and expand the only two bedroom making it eventually not only upstairs and downstairs but over five bedrooms in all.
To totally revitalize it was her goal.
“God if this is coming home, if you want to use me to focus on this place please give me a sign for good in Jesus name,” Tamara said aloud in her grandmothers kitchen.
Her great grandparents had paid for the house in the 80’s and even ran a small cafĂ© across the street for years but now it was a run down house that had been shot up by drive bys .
Tamara’s phone rang and it was Karen, she answered before she thought and said, “Give me good news.”
“Is 42,000 a stretch,” Karen politely asked.
She explained they’d been trying to get rid of the two adjacent lots for a long time with no bidders because it was only zoned for industrial. The good news was that last year the new highway required rezoning and they changed the ordnance so it could be built up again as a community.
This meant she was receiving a solid lead on the property and a good offer.
“Great, since its only noon you can get the funds verified so I can take possession of the house,” Tamara added.
She explained she wanted to get the lights and gas transferred to her name as a renter and move into the home while the paperwork for the sell was drawn up.
“It’s only because now that I’m here I don’t want to leave,” she told Karen.
Since that had been approved she would need to shop and settle in.
Tamara also needed to get in touch with Gilroy, an old handy man to do the repairs for the home and then she would treat her daughter to a day of shopping for the new house.
After the celebration Tamara knew she would need to get in touch with this Michelle Winters, aka Lady Killer because they said she would be a valuable source for information. As the district attorney Tamara was determined to find out as much as she could from her about the drug game.

The seasons of woos and woes
“To every thing there is a season.”
Chapter four
“I wanted to call you and tell you I was pregnant just to have a reason to make you talk to me but I knew that would sound ridiculous,” Karl jokingly told his girlfriend, Michelle.
She didn’t believe him for one minute and love to that date was something the 36 year old district attorney hadn’t been able to win with her wit or good looks.
She’d caught Karl a thousand times in compromising positions but hadn’t managed to build a case strong enough to attest an over 20 year attraction.
She made him sleep on the couch at night while lying to her family and friends that they were doing fine.
To Michelle it sounded like more of a hopeful truth because she had invested years in her childhood and the greatest portion of her adulthood loving a man that loved his self too much to treat anyone else right.
Karl was a taker and everything would be going good until he’d get a whiff of some short skirt, then he’d start senseless arguments to get out of the house.
But she loved him, led a separate life just to love him, working as a stern and powerful attorney against some of the top defense lawyer in their city and gaining the nickname: Lady Killer because she lobbied so much against you that your time was brutal enough to draw blood.
Inmates shuffled in the courtroom disappointed when the Lady Killer was ready to role.
Drug dealers, CEO, politicians and anyone else in a high place with a criminal mind advised that standing on the bridge of justice with her meant you that you were educated on your rights as you watch them be given up and marched into prison.
Michelle had loved him so long that not loving made no sense.
She took up for him, lied for him, sent herself gifts with his name to brag on to family about.
“Hell you can tell I came from a dysfunctional background,” Michelle said to herself.
“That’s probably why I like prosecuting men, sorry bastards, because I never knew my Daddy.”
Her wounds tore from within, the rigid facade masked a need to be loved but a still a steady weakness held the fantasy of her relationship with Karl together.
That was Michelle’s passion to think that some man could love her even if her Daddy didn’t, thus the compulsive need to forgive Karl for not being shit either.
The call was not just to attest his love and that would be like always, “Babe, I need to use your other car today, got to put mine in the shop,” Karl said.
“What, no I don’t have a case today, I promised my sister I’d do her a favor today and after that I’ll just give you a ride,” Michelle responded.
For some reason she still conceded in the end to letting her long time boy friend get the Lexus jeep.
Michelle’s secretary had been informed to take messages on her office and business cell phone. Her favor was to take her sister Tiffany’s turn in taking their Aunt Sarah to the doctor.
She’d been ill for a number of years and had began to lose her memory for long periods of time.
Rarely on point in any conversation, while Michelle was helping her put her sweater on she said: “A closed eye ain’t always sleeping baby, ha ha ha ha!”
“What’s that suppose to mean Aunt Sarah?,” she asked.
Michelle’s aunty loved to sit by the window and she went on to tell her that Mrs. Anderson’s granddaughter across the street had been going with Karl for a while.
“He thinks I’m crazy cause I’m old, be waving to me when he see me like I ain’t got the good sense of a cow’s ass but a fool I’m not,” her aunt hollered out and laughed.
The sad thing about the news was that meant this dumb bastard was scheduled to come to pick up his girlfriend in her face that day.
Michelle called her brother, Steve, and let him in on Karl’s scheme.
She pulled her car in the back of her aunt’s house, her brother positioned around the corner with their cousin Big V (a big dude down for whatever).
When Karl pulled up at Mrs. Anderson’s his young girlfriend could hardly contain herself.
With denim panties and a half shirt, each barely keeping the bulge of her breast and other dimensions from bouncing about, the heifer just hopped into Michelle’s jeep like she was the ghetto princess and gave their man a kiss.
Michelle’s posses pulled in front of them and she pressed close from the back with her bumper.
Karl looked as if he had seen a ghost, then Big V snatched him out of the car while her brother opened the door for Mrs. Thing encouraging her to get out.
Michelle was only concerned with her target, the man who she had favored for so many years that she forgot she deserved better.
“You ain’t shit … Your not even worth addressing,” she said calmly as if addressing a jury.
“Everything that you owned at my house I paid for and I’m sure my brother can make better use of so if you do come back for anything it will only be for a bullet.”
Big V pulled off first and Michelle followed while Steve stayed behind to re-enforce her threat.
Michelle called her aunties doctor to re-schedule for the next day and took her something to eat for the postponement.
She’d have to pay someone to take her to doctor tomorrow but it was not a serious threat to her health so Michelle decided to just check into work after the locksmith left.

Meeting of minds
Two sisters from two sides going the same place
Chapter 5
When Michelle called into the office her secretary gave her equally alarming news, not only had Tyrone Jones, a notorious drug kingpin who trafficked millions of dollars into the city agreed to finally talk but some nosy reporter was calling in asking for the most current stats for drug confiscations dating back twenty years.
“Who did she say she was again?” Michelle asked.
“She didn’t, just that she wanted to speak with you and to have that information before your meeting,” Pam said.
From the case information her secretary said that the word is T.J. had a score to settle with a old rival who was now dating his girlfriend.
“So he had no sense of remorse for the families he has destroyed just a vendetta because of a girl,” Michelle said. “Niggers just ain’t shit and this is a Black woman saying it.”
Too much drama Michelle thought, more than she expected in one day.
The district attorney looked forward to re-examining T.J. who in her eyes was apart of the breakdown in the African American community.
She had not always been so strict against drug dealers, it was hard to grow up in a neighborhood where the only trade a Black man could learn was illegal.
There were not enough jobs but in her eyes they knew the consequences. The excuse that they did not drop the drugs off in the ghetto was tired and old and just a mere procrastition to their laziness.
If it was the white man then why hadn’t T.J. and the rest of the thugs gave them up when they are facing 20 years to life.
Why did the myth mean she should be empathic to their plight and why hadn’t one Black man in the game not turned around to educate the others.
“If he can give me something to work with I’ll work with him but I want more than Pookie and them,” Michelle said.
“I want to know who is doing what so we can shut this drug trade down.”
Michelle’s secretary told her she would need to go to the federal holding cell downtown to meet the infamous kingpin.
She would need to be stern, shallow so that the rough neck understood his field trip would include more than a chance to sight see. T.J. had been locked up for over four years now, it had to be more to the story than some good lay.
During his trail family members and best friends announced their love and allegiance as only a prelude to completely detailing his more than 20 year operation.
His posse had trafficked cocaine and heroin in dead bodies with a funeral home and smuggled it up and down the east coast in horses.
Under the radar millions and millions of dollars was pushed through Iredell County producing fleets (second and third generation) addicts and drug dealers. Instead of talking about the little people he had beat with this time T.J. would have to also give up key upper men, there had been a rumor that lawyers were responsible for bringing the large cartels affiliated with the people and the area.
It could go all the way to the top, Michelle thought.
As she pulled into the parking lot of the federal building there seemed to be a woman waiting for her. The ladies onward stare as she walked to the car made Michelle weary so she strapped her badge and gun on before exiting the car.
The woman seemed to be five feet four, 140 pounds with a motherly presence and good eye for fashion, Michelle thought she must be a good church going Mom who’s son I put away.
“Excuse me!,” the mysterious woman blared out making her way with each step recording the stride of her three inch heels.
“My name is Tamara Stevens, an independent journalist, and I would like to ask you a few questions about the immense drug infestation in South Side.”
Who does this bitch think she is, Michelle thought.
“Mrs. Stevens I’m currently on my way to an interview with one of the largest drug dealers from that area, I would love to talk to you after you make an appointment with my secretary,” Michelle replied not even breaking her
stride.
Michelle’s purpose was as certain as her words, Tamara seemed to stand down with resolve. Both women knew they would meet again but either had any idea how much they would need one another in the next few days.

Menace to Society
Masters in street pharmacy
Chapter six
Jails are kept dark, dank and hopeless. It was never the place to be but T.J. (short for Tyrell James) was happy to be home. The tough guy never factored that claiming to be the hardest negro in his small town streets was bragging rights in federal penitentiary.
Those guys thought killing a few people was apart of the lil man initiation.
Michelle had pushed for 48 years and labeled T.J. a menace to society so she had no idea why he would demand to talk to her.
He was bigger, his muscle seemed to refine his prison uniform making it fashionable to rock hot orange.
“Hello Ms. Winters, I’m sure your wondering why I insisted on coming down here and talking to you,” T.J. said.
His calm demeanor overwhelmed the tense prosecutor, “I’m not a good person and my only hope is to right some of my wrongs” … .” They always brag about how hard you are and I agree, you made my knees tremble as a grown man when you presented your case against me,” he said.
There still seemed to be some missing threads, though it was obvious that T.J. had utilized the prison library and began formulating a plan on how to live his life behind bars Michelle still heard no confession.
“I need hard evidence,” Michelle interrupted. “I mean I’m glad to know you gained some level of remorse and sanity while behind bars but the dialogue is not necessary, I’m here for hard facts.”
The once docile sex symbol seemed to raise from his chair without moving.
“Listen, you want the truth … (he chuckled beyond the weight of her words) but when it is given to you will you be blind,” T.J. responded with a intense stare.
“Now look there was a girl named Monique Richardson that was murdered in 2005, I want you to look into that murder.”
“So you call me down here on my day off to tell me to look into some woman’s unsolved murder, You’ve got to be kidding me,” Michelle yelled.
“Look lady I am trying to be nice and save my own life at the same time, Monique was a crack head and she is the reason that I’m here with you.”
“I was wrong because I handed her a pipe but these big people you say you want to know about, this drug trade you swear you want all way to the suppliers killed her,” T.J. confessed.
“Like I said I am wrong, I have Monique’s voice recorded when we were young and a child by her that reminds me that my prison is not just around me; I’m incarcerated in my mind.”
Michelle gathered from his information that the a lawyer by the name of Jackson Harris worked with another man who’s name even he was afraid to say.
Two others who went unnamed made sure plenty of dope ran in the county for profit.
He insisted the operation included doctors, cops and other high officials so T.J. put the word out that he was telling on a small time nigger in the streets to throw off any suspicion that he would give up the drug trade on that level.
“Oh yeah the chicken head I’m giving up is Scooter, lil nigger gives credit to folk at the rehab house so he deserves to go down,” T.J. said.
They made arrangements to meet again before Michelle pushed the buzzer for the bailiff.
“I hope I can thank you for this visit Tyrell; its good to see you understand the error of your ways,” Michelle spouted.
“Let’s keep it real little mama, you fine, you got it together but you know these streets so don’t blame it all on me like I don’t have a story.”
“What happened to me, my mom died when I was 3 and my Daddy was a numbers man”…”I’m good with numbers and I followed the family trade; got a scholarship in the streets and mastered many things before yawl locked me up,” T.J. said glaring at Michelle as if he saw straight through her.
“Be mad at the streets baby girl, get mad at the people feeding it to yours first then look at me.”

Settling
“Sweep around your own back door”
Chapter Seven

Tamara was overloaded with information too, when she was a budding reporter there were senseless deaths but crack had produced more pains than simple self destruction. It reaches into the hopes and dreams of loves ones; it takes there television or savings accounts for wasteful rehab and still says no more than hell and the grave: “Give me more!”
She didn’t like Mrs. Winters; even the most saved part of her wanted to cuss her out.
There were countless seizures but the area looked like it had been drenched in poverty and crime for decades.
“God how can she look around and feel like she is making a difference, she should be ashamed of herself,” Tamara said aloud.
“Well if she thinks for one second that she has heard the last of me then she’s crazy.”
Trying to focus on settling in too, and getting Briana used to her new surroundings was going smoothly. But she still needed to catch up with some family and meet with the contractors for the expansion.
As she poured over her plans Tamara put Briana to bed; peering in on her princess she turned off the lights and made her way up the hall.
Right before she sat down the door bell rang.
“Stranger,” Tamara screamed while pulling her visitor in; it was her favorite cousin Sissy.
“Girl when I heard you were back I had to come see you, its like God sent you here for a reason,” Sissy said.
Those words danced in Tamara’s spirit while she listened to her big cousins dilemma.
“Well you know they got my nephew T.J. a few years ago, Sheila and my brother Ralph’s son.”
“He just was too much like his Daddy; hard headed and he ended up getting close to 48 years for selling drugs here,” Sissy said.
She told Tamara that he was in town to testify against some one, she had gotten word from a church member that worked at the jail.
“He won’t talk to me though” … “I don’t know why he could be here other than to see his daughter.,” Sissy said puzzled.
Tyrell’s four year old daughters name was Destiny and from the proud aunties pictures she was a wise, spry and a beautiful child.
“Her mother was killed right after she was born and I’ve had her since she was a month old,” Sissy said.
She told Tamara that Monique had been brutally murdered and thrown on the side of the rode like a piece of garbage. She had been raped and sodomized with broken glass bottles and broom handles before being shot between the eyes military style and stabbed in the back with some large object.
“O my God and no one was ever arrested or questioned in her murder,” the keen reporter asked.
“No and Tyrell swears this crooked town has something to do with it,” Sissy said.
Tamara promised her cousin that she would try and find out why Tyrell was in town and why he hadn’t contacted her to see his little girl.
She also wanted to know what the drug game had to do with Monique’s death.

No she didn’t
“First impressions don’t have to be lasting impressions”
Chapter Eight
Her appointment to meet with the prosecutor was at 3 p.m. and Tamara was not detoured by Mrs. Winters hard facade; she was more determined to walk away with some solid leads.
When she walked in and gave her name the secretary looked in disappointment, it was okay if they had discussed her prior to this visit and alright if they didn’t like her; Tamara knew the truth considers no allies.
She sat quietly pouring over her fact sheets; her confidence constantly rehearsed in disgust.
Tamara didn’t believe Mrs. Winters would keep the appointment, the secretary stepped into her office instead of informing her by phone that she was there.
But whether she cancelled today or not Michelle would still be seeing a lot of Tamara until she got some answers.
On both sides each woman was preparing to lock horns, Michelle told her secretary to interrupt after 15 minutes.
“Mrs. Stevens, Ms. Winters will see you now,” the secretary said while motioning for her to go in.
Tamara collected herself as she prepared to face the monster, “Makes sense she’s not married” … “She’s just slurry all the way through,” she thought to herself.
Michelle stood to address her, this time she didn’t seem as bullish, “Maybe she was just having a bad day,” Tamara thought.
“Mrs. Stevens I think we got off on the wrong foot the other day, I will be more than glad to disclose the requested information but I would not be doing my job if I didn’t ask why you wanted them in such a demanding tone,”
Michelle said.
“Oh I apologize for being so forward, I am truly disappointed as a native to see how bad the community has become and I am told by residences that there have been no measures to fix their problems of poverty and crime other than their sons and daughters being locked up for life,” Tamara chided.
“I doubt we will agree on certain issues and I respect your duty of maintaining the law but as a former pastors wife I need to see some healing.”
By the time Michelle’s secretary buzzed in with an important call the two were enthralled in laughter.
Both attended the same high school, it seemed Michelle’s life was much harder in their childhood stomping grounds.
Tamara saw the attorneys intense demeanor was more of a mask of her pain, there was an anger that came from an absent father.
Failed relationships and broken promises would follow in her pursuits for love.
Drug dealers were her way of getting back at all men.
Though Tamara noticed those things she dared not express them, “She’d be like no this heifer didn’t,” she thought.
She also confided her past; that she broke from a wayward pastor that was choking the life out of her.
“You know it’s funny, I was looking at you like this woman must not know I got street in me but your like a breathe of fresh air,” Michelle laughed while reaching her new found friend a bowl of candy.
She instructed her secretary to retrieve all of the information that Tamara had requested. She also told her that she was aware of the fact that there was corruption in the town on a high scale.
“I was told off the record that an unsolved murder that could turn some things up,” Michelle added.
“It wouldn’t be Monique Richardson would it,?” the sly reported pried.
The two locked eyes and a meeting that was suppose to last 15 minutes took the most of the day.
It seemed Monique had been messing with a white boy who was pushing a lot of dope through the county. This white boy was also the son of the counties 23 year sheriff Ben Reid.
Tyrell was a lover, the biggest dope dealer in the town and as the lure of fast women and money grew so did Monique’s addiction.
When this white boy came along she (still had the hour glass figure) had enough game to get high for free.
It seems she saw more than she should have of the big scale cartel and threatened to turn them in if they did not give her 30,000. After that her voice was silent and the records of her death lost.
As a reporter Tamara volunteered to pull all the information she could on Reid’s son and to get as many tips as she could off of the streets.
Both knew their roles would need to be kept quiet in a sea of possible cohorts. After seeing a picture of Destiny, a child born from confusion, and Michelle insisted upon meeting her; something on the inside told her they would soon be friends.
Tamara agreed to sat up a play date with her daughter so that she could meet Destiny and handed Michelle a poem she said the Lord had given her about the areas need change.

Black girl why do you glide
“As if there is no pain inside”
Chapter nine
The poem was titled “Opposition to poverty,”
If I could stand in the middle of poverty and usher out her plaques
As daughters dance on the brim of her hat
And brothers stand on the block of her finger then
Maybe when folks that aren’t from here ride by they
Could see the images of hope
If I could decrease the volume of bad thoughts and measure the width of insanity
Slinging him from the pillar of his kingdom
Then more wild flowers would bloom from cracks in concrete
where broken glass once littered their glory
‘a stream of painted stars on land’
And the children would not take the character
of the bitter pains of adulthood
That consume sometimes the starving belly or the stagnate mind
Michelle now understood that Tamara enthusiasm came from the thought that she alone would be used to bring about a change in their community. Her position was a humble passion to obtain her healing while encouraging the same for others.
She gave her secretary strict instructions on pulling Sheriff Reid’s sons name and finding out as much as she could below the wire. They needed a description on his where abouts.
The days were seeming to be so unpredictable and the stallion of litigating was ready to fight this battle while she too bore a misery of her own.
None of them knew her pain, none of them knew that her family still thought that she and Carl were together.
She’d paid off her ghetto cousins with a 40 ounce a piece and a cartoon of cigarettes.
Michelle couldn’t let go of the idea that she wasn’t meant to be alone. She too wanted to believe that God would fix all her personal fragilities.
Her long hair and fresh wardrobe added to the mask that she had it all together but pretty and pain sometimes look alike.
She had been raped by an uncle that used to baby sit her while her aunt ran the liquor house. There in a smoky back room he’d stolen the nine year olds innocence and warped her womb. Michelle would never have children naturally and that’s why she long to, it was why Carl made so much sense. He chose her in school, so what he loved other ladies as much as he loved her.
He was a good lover and could clean the hell out of a house. She’d helped with his child support and made sure he didn’t get locked up since he was always in between jobs.
She bought him clothes like he was her child and spoiled him for so long that it seemed impossible that he wouldn’t evolve into the man she needed him to be and see the sacrifices she’d made for him.
The accomplished attorney had planned her way through school working two jobs. In law school she worked in the library and the local coffee house throwing in tutoring sessions to make ends meet.
She’d shouldered Carl too much for his mutiny, Michelle had been the proud owner of a paid boyfriend.
With such a cold disposition and grudge against men she thought it would be impossible to meet another man and train him to act how she wanted. Michelle just felt like God owed her for the loves she’d never known and her pain seemed to be a fuel in her profession.
The pain of being alone in her childhood made her want to protect any child she encountered.
Destiny didn’t deserve the life she was given, Michelle empathized with Tamara but her core thought was that God acted too much like men.
She’d never admit it, she believed but she also understood that God’s favoritism let some people have happy lives and some live hell on earth.
Michelle thought life was a warpath in itself and she knew cocaine was a disease crafted from the Devil’s hands. She wanted to rid the community of it and she didn’t care if the man bringing it here was purple, he needed to go down for Destiny and all the other children’s who’s lives he ruined by destroying their families.

“Klan wearing new masks”
“White girl aka cocaine aka white mans candy”
Tamara had some inside connections at the local police department. Gabriel, a beat cop for the pd when she was just starting out at the local paper was now the chief of police. She knew he didn’t like that sheriff and she could at least bend his ear on the matter.
Tamara had asked Gab to meet her at her home for lunch. “Hush your mouth and talk out of another one,” she heard through the screen door. “I’m for certain I see an angel.”
It was Gab, he had some weight on him and looked good to be a white boy.
“You still look like Opie, a sexy Opie,” she said while waving him in.
“Oh Lord,” the sheriff exclaimed while hugging Tamara. “You are still beautiful, what a spread.”
She scolded the fast mouth sheriff with a dish rag. “O no I mean this lunch you have spread out, pulled out all the stops didn’t ya,” Gab asked.
There amid fried chicken, baked macaroni, collard greens, yams, homemade biscuit’s and cream cheese pound cake was a agenda.
“You’ve got me,” Gab replied while scanning the feast. “With a doggy bag I’ll give up all my dirty secrets.”
When Tamara told her friend about her grape vine information she watched his face seemed to light up.
“Your talking about Ben Reid Jr aka Junior,” he informed her while shoveling in a mouthful of greens and chicken.
“He … mmh … got some blood disease from shooting up with any bodies needles and is taken care of by Hospice in his father’s home.”
He told Tamara that the good sheriff had used his son to testify against all his possible rivals and wasn’t taking care of him because he cared for him but because he needed to make sure a lot of things went with him to the grave.
“That little boy is his fathers son, got in trouble so much that he berates my officers saying lock me up but I’ll be out in an hour,” Gab said.
He promised to get her pictures of Junior and all the people ever arrested with him before the end of the day.
“Keep in mind there will not be any convictions on his sheet, it never went to court,” Ben told her.
He said he remembered hearing something about Monique’s murder but since she was found in the county he wasn’t involved in the investigation.
With Monique being an addict the two knew she more than likely had arrests in his district.
After he left Tamara began pouring through the mountain of evidence against the sheriff and his son.
Just last year more than 33.9 million dollars had been confiscated from the county in drugs and property with the sheriff citing it was only 1/3 of what is expected to come through the county.
A 20.6 acre lot in (the core of South Statesville) had been used as a dumping ground for recycled drugs in a county with a population of over 40,000. Less than five thousand people lived in a Haiti sort of community to allow the pump of injustice to flow.
The pearl of the agriculture good ole boy town had always been its southern white pride attitude and the fact that it possess a clover intersection which pumped all kinds of trade up and down the east coast.
They were bolt enough pay thousands of dollars for a mural of a snake like woman god on the county square.
Poverty had been deemed profitable and a horde of people had been programmed to lived some sort of modernized slavery, forced to co- exist with depression and addiction.
It seemed the sheriff used his sons addictions to secure a market of dealers in the community and then used him to testify against them when he needed to get the heat off of him.
She knew it would be hard to get an audience with him.
That’s where Michelle would have to pick up. When she called her they arranged to meet at her house at 7p.m., Tamara let her know that she’d be picking Destiny up before she went home.

Pretty in purpose
‘And then she smiled’
Chapter Ten
“Heard there was some hard chick floating around here that didn’t mind telling a Black man to go to hell,” a whisper sputtered from a blind spot in the hall of Michelle’s office.
“Excuse me,” the diva echoed back to the mystery voice. She had her pepper spray, a stun gun and her hand on her service pistol.
The mystery however became a pleasant surprise, a familiar face appeared from around the corner, it was David.
“You look good ole friend,” she said preparing now for an embrace.
“No you,” David said speeding up his steps to greet her.
He smelled like heaven, some form of chocolate had to be a base in the formula because a she had a strong urge to at least lick him.
“Heard Karl got kicked to the curb baby girl for good,” David jumped in almost anxious to put his bid in for a date.
“Ha ha, where in the world did you get that information from,” the career litigator asked.
“Well your not the only one who understands the value of a 40 ounce and some spending money in the hood.”
Karl and David had been friends for years and she and he had been like brothers and sisters. They weathered the storms of Karl’s outrageous behavior until Stephen could no longer cover for his running partner.
He decided he loved Michelle too much to participate in the lies and David came to her like a true gentleman to deliver the information.
“Michelle you are one of a kind, an angel in your own right … .Your spicy and independent but your weakest area is love,” he told his running mate.
“I don’t think he will ever slow down enough to realize who you are and I’m only angry that I didn’t see you first.”
That was nearly ten years ago, now he was a successful real estate mogul in Charlotte. David said telling Michelle all the things he knew about Karl meant to him that he had to leave. “I couldn’t face you because I knew you wouldn’t leave him and I loved you too much to watch,” he said.
“So you come now after hearing we are over, what’s the catch,” Michelle had to know.
“No, I came back because my grandmother died and when Big V came by to by his respect I could tell it was something he was itching to tell,” David answered.
It seemed in the shadows of Michelle’s thirst for Karl’s love a shier David simply watched and pondered a forbidden love.
He’d dealt with Karl still over the years until he stole money from his job and used that to get a double up. When he got arrested for selling drugs on the corner he gave David’s information. After that he had nothing to do with him. Of course Michelle never knew about the identity theft, at the time her name wore so much weight that the deputies processed him and released on that charge then let it fall through the cracks.
Stephen would not be able to stomach that betrayal, the owed money, the assistance in a senseless fight, or the needs for the rides at any time of the wee morning had already done wear and tear on their bond.
All Michelle could think about was how much David had matured, definitely started lifting weights she thought.
His lips seemed to draw her, his words quaking a inner desire to find out if he could be the man of her dreams.
Michelle wasn’t rigid in belief, it would have to be God that would send the man she prayed for in the package of a man that had sat under her radar all her life.
Now the question was if David was that blessing or something she knew to well, a lust that lost it’s luster.

A prayer will take away your pain
“Feeling loved means loving what you can not see”
Chapter eleven
Tamar rambled through her diary to find a friends number she’d written down. The caramel toned woman seemed to turn pale when she reached March 15. The words she read seemed to echo through her spirit because of the pain that existed in her pen when she wrote it. It was a wayward woman who had floated in and out of the church, the swarm of shark like saints were always ready to detour her.
Like the woman at the well when Jesus visited her he had also seen fit the two to cross paths. When she went into the nursery hall to get water from the water foundation Patricia came bobbing pass.
“Excuse me mame … I’m in need of prayer,” she confessed.
It turned out that she was so broken that the men served as a band aid. Her father was a alcoholic that sexually molested her and her siblings.
“I’m confused and afraid … I think he’s going to kill me,” she confided to the sister pastor of the church.
Patricia had no idea who Tamar was and she did care at the time, the very principle of the church had been presented, she was in need of pray.
Tamar allowed Patricia to take her entire day, she helped her get a bus ticket and secured housing for her and her children back to her home town.
The last she heard of her Patricia was a prophet and doing very well for herself.
That day had compelled Tamar to write this poem for her sister in Christ.
Dear Diary:
“She sat against the sunset, the wind against her hair. She knew though he would search for her he’d never find her there. For just one moment she wanted to be buried from her life.
His fist had breed the consequence of womanhood. She wanted to be yearned for and loved for so long … invested so much of herself to find that love alone.”
What a difference a year makes Tamar thought. She could have stayed and kept up a plush life while managing to touch some souls with the love of Christ but the sea of Judas like worship tightened like a rope around her neck.
She hoped her story would turn out like Patricia who was now married and doing very well. She began a women’s shelter to help others. Patricia was a walking sermon, a modern seeker of God’s refuge.
“God I hope you continue to use me,” Tamara said looking toward the sky.
“I hope you save me and make me whole in this … That you shine a light in this place of my life O Lord God.”
Michelle would be coming soon so Tamara ended her prayer and began preparing dinner. She was determined to make a difference in her small town and uncovering the puppet master of the drug problems would be the first one to go down.
When Michelle arrived at Tamara’s home she saw two beautiful little girls playing with Barbie dolls on the front porch.
She wasn’t sure which one was Destiny but her curiosity would be satisfied as soon as she got out of the car.
“Hello, you must be Michelle,” a little girl with long puffy ponytails said while greeting her at the top step.
She extended her little hand to assist her.
“I’m Briana and this is my little cousin Destiny,” she said while fluttering around in a childlike game.
“I see you met my babies,” Michelle heard Tamara holler from inside, “Come right on in.”
She was impressed, Tamara’s home was a mixture of the old and the new even though it was under construction.
“You have a lovely home,” she told her host.
The two went back and forth on pleasantries until Tamara saw a envelope peeking out from Michelle’s briefcase.
“Got any good news about the case,” Tamara asked.
Their efforts had yielded a lot of information, Junior was well known in the hood and the rumor was that even though he was in the throws of death he was still a heavy addict.
There was a Black man by the name of Kilo from the South Side that still went to hang out with Junior in Mountain Valley (a large area in the country practically owned by the sheriff).
It would be essential to gain Kilo’s trust and make a proposition that would yield info on the night Monique was killed.
“Junior and his daddy have had their hand in every piece of shady business in the county, they even own four convenience stores in the South Side,” Michelle said while handing Tamara handfuls of paper trails and alias’s for property.
She said she’d just left an informant. Michelle dictated everyone word on her lap top and then asked him to sign it.
The evidence was tremendous, so far the sheriff had been able to hold the town hostage because he owned so much of the property.
Not even Michelle questioned his integrity, as he went about throwing his foreknowledge and accomplishments before everyone’s eyes.
His friend Jack Harris, an infamous attorney in the area, had been waist deep in the drugs and prostitution scandal.
Delores Lackey, another mover and shaker in the town worked as a criminal defense lawyer, Michelle suspected her for years, she was also handling a large part of the cocaine that made it into the young men hands that stood on the street.
“Many of the clerks are actually family members to these major players so they know everything that is going on in the town,” Michelle said.
“I’ve worked in this office for more than five years and never knew that in laws were planted in the system to keep those bastards one step ahead of me.”
Her informant had not been close enough to the inside of the operation to merit a full scale operation and both ladies knew the federal government would need to get involved.
“We still need to talk to Kilo, gotta find out his role in the operation because right now what he knows is priceless,” Tamara told her friend.
Arresting him would be too obvious, it would alarm too many people so Tamara would have to take that part.
The two seemed interlocked in thought as they poured over ways to get close to Kilo.

We wear the mask
“A woman only needs to have love in her eyes”
Chapter twelve
Tamara found out that Kilo hung out at a pool hall downtown, she heard he was a quiet man maybe 6’3 with a scar on the side of his face.
Turns out the nick name had nothing to do with drugs, in school Kevin Otis aka Kilo had been a model student.
His favorite subject was math, especially breaking down measurements and doing large mathematical problems in his head faster than others could do with a calculator.
He’d gotten a full scholarship to Duke University with the goal of becoming a chemist.
Things were going great until his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
When Kilo came back home to help take care of his five younger siblings he ran into an old classmate, Junior who promised he could make his financial burdens disappear.
Junior had done just that, he created a monster.
Now Kilo was equipped with his own personal lab and his only job would be making X pills and cooking up the heroin and cocaine for an entire county.
A mug shot of him looked more meek than thuggish, Tamara could actually image Kilo creating medicine that could cure some of the worlds diseases but he had chosen the street.
“There’s something about being a pastors wife God,” she said to herself. “I always want to believe you for the breakthrough and I can see this young man doing so much for the body of Christ.”
She’d mended ties with her parents over the break up and sent Briana with them on their cruise .
The trip was only mentioned after being scolded for leaving but Tamara felt safe that her daughter was out of harms way.
Tamara put on her sexiest outfit, it had taken forever to push past the mountains of church clothes to find something that looked loose.
“Fish net stockings, and I can turn this shirt into a dress,” Tamara said throwing things around her room.
Her array of high heels made her laugh, “Saints and sinners alike love some high heel shoes,” she said.
After teasing her hair, which she copied off a picture of Little Kim she got online, Tamara made her way to the pool hall.
She checked her makeup for the last time, the neon lights of the bar seemed to glare in her face. As a church girl she’d dabbled in partying and sex out of wedlock but her father always told her that you run the streets for your time and then the streets run you.
Her hands were sweating, her bravery almost fleeting.
“Pull yourself together, you are here for such a time as this and you will fight,” she told her self while looking in her rear view mirror.
Tamara grabbed her purse and gave her big booty walk into the bar.
The fog of smoke and dim lights made her feel as if she stepped into another realm.
This was the place they preached about, the dens of sin and she could see the spiritual brokenness in those full of libations. Twisted or propped upon the bar women dressed much like her looked for more men to buy them more drinks.
The men full of moral abandon looked on lustfully, their mouths intent on broken promises.
It wouldn’t take long for her to see Kilo, it wouldn’t take long for Kilo to see her.
Though Tamara felt out of place some of the old school music along with the glass wine helped her to understand the atmosphere.
There it didn’t matter if who you were and everyone was free to fill up on their twisted pleasure without worrying about who saw them at the bar.
Recklessness was in the mist of the pastors wife and she felt her self balancing the competition for righteous in the religious circle or resigning with a personal walk while allowing her life to effect who they would consider heathens.
God mattered most of among those he advised in his word, “Do not be overly wicked nor righteous.”
It was a fine line for Tamara, the veil of spiritual tradition and dedication could also result in a drastic fall.
“Can I buy the pretty woman a drink?” a strong radio like voice breathed across Tamara’s shoulder.
When she turned around she saw her bait, she didn’t even have to wave or wink.

Reflection or refraction
“Come too far to turn back now”
Chapter thirteen
Kilo smelled like a million bucks, he looked like a million bucks too Tamara thought.
His seductive eyes were attached to flowing eyelashes that would make it easy to play this con, almost sinful though for the soon to be divorcee to be trying that get close to a sexy man.
He prettied up his profession, by day he worked as a pharmacy salesman and at night he admitted to playing pool and places a couple of bets.
The scariest thing to Tamara was if she did not already know so much about this smooth talker she would have been envy enough to believe.
A couple glasses of wine and a few lies was what made the bar a den of sin Tamara contemplated while pretending as if she was falling head over hills in love with Kilos game. She couldn’t help but think that someone should be lobbying for men to present criminal background checks and two personal relationship references before being allowed to step to a diva.
“What do you do honey dip?” he asked while letting his lashes dance in a alluring manner.
She’d already told Kilo her name was Andrea and she moved back to live and take care of my ailing aunt.
Tamara (aka Andrea) also told this supposedly 9 to 5 worker that her brother was killed in a liquor house many years ago in another small town like this.
He wanted to run with the boys and sell a little weed, drink and get a new woman every night but he didn’t understand that sometimes a man is require to defend his words.
“Every since then I have worked as a counselor for at risk teens.
“What an admirable profession,” Kilo said. “So let me ask you then pretty church girl; what brought you here tonight.
“Isn’t this one of the places you warn the teen about,” he teased. “And you might of thought to make sure I didn’t know who you were before you jumped up with a false name.”
“Excuse me,” Tamara interrupted.
“Nah you straight pretty mama, I used to read your stories in the newspaper all of the times and would recognize that face in any crowd,” he said while looking her dead in her eyes.”
“I thought you went to live in Georgia with your life time soul mate and was doing real well for yourself,” Kilo asked
The conversation had now switched placing the her in the hot seat.
“I guess the bigger question Tamara is what do you want from me?” Kilo asked in an almost threatening way.
Her first instinct was to gather her things and get out as fast as she could out.
“I’m not going to hurt you, you don’t have to go … See you’ve aroused my curiosity,” he said to calm her fears.
Tamara could see she’d under estimated Kilo’s intelligence, misread his thug life for mis-education.
“I’m trying to find out about my cousins murder and I heard you might know someone who knows something about it,” she said glaring right back at him with a passionate truth.”
Monique and T.J. had lived together for years so in her eyes Monique was a common law cousin.
“I knew Monique baby girl and I hate that happened but you know that drill right or should I just plead the fifth to make it more plain.” he responded quickly.
She explained that as a reporter what ever he told her as a source was confidential so if Kilo knew something he could still tell her off the record.
“Off the record baby girl your grown I know but your too little to dance in my head cause there is a lot of darkness on this side, Kilo said.
Tamara immediately stood up clutching her purse and jacket nodded before exiting the bar.
When she got to her car she saw Kilo running toward her. With the distance between them she had time to get in and at least locked the door but for some reason Tamara knew that this was God’s journey and no harm would come to her.
“Okay look I thought about it and it might be best I answer your questions than you running around alerting people who would have no problem hurting you or your aunt,” Kilo said as he got more than five steps away.
“Besides I’ve always loved talking to a pretty woman, always been certain it would be a pretty woman that won my soul to Christ.”
“By any means necessary, right my brother,” Tamara answered back with a smile.
The two sat in her car for hours; her hands began to cramp but the information from this man, who was now in too deep, fueled her to write down Kilo’s every word. It turned out that his confession came from the fact that his life style had also lost him countless loves ones to addiction.
Kilo admitted the substances that he handled and inhaled had saturated his system.
“I watched my little brother die too” … .”He had an overdose on some Ecstasy pills I made, stole a batch I messed up,” Kilo told Tamara as if he felt a need
to acknowledge he was not a hard shell.
“Its just your dealing with some heavy players and what you now know about Monique’s murder is enough to get you killed.”

When the ($#!%) hit’s the fan
“”Scratch a lie find a thief”
Chapter thirteen

Tamara learned that Kilo’s loyalty was not foundational, what he did for Junior was keeping the operation going. His relationship to the sheriff even tainted, it seemed his butter scotch skin came from a mixture of his mothers love and the sheriffs seed.
“Yeah, nobody knows because my mother asked me to keep it to myself.”
It seemed the sheriff as a young boy was no law abiding citizen, instead he helped run his father moon shining business.
He sat gins up all over the Appalachian Mountains and played errand boy for his father by delivering the white lightning to the South Side.
“That’s when he met my mother and she was forced to accept his advancements,” Kilo said.
He and some friends grabbed up the man his mother was in love with and carried him in the woods Kilo said.
“He was never the same again when he came out those woods,” he muttered shaking his head as if there was a distaste in revisiting the memory..
“See I know how it happened but he doesn’t know that.”
Kilo said as he grew up his father as sheriff garnished that same control over any man that looked at his mother.
“She got to the point where she knew it was best to just keep to her self,” Kilo told the spry reporter as if her knack for asking questions might also produce answers to his deepest contemplations.
“So all of your siblings are by the sheriff,” Tamara asked almost whimpering away from the very question she asked.
Kilo said there were four including him and yes they all had the same father but he was the only one who knew about the circumstances that brought them to be.
It was too much for Tamara, her pen stopped dead silent and she understood that mans estimations of another man can be different from how God sees us.
Pain seemed to seep from his words searching for validation. Was he wrong for selling and manufacturing drugs, yes.
And he felt he had no other choice so he disassociated himself from the effects of an infectious drugs that had done to his community.
Who was she to judge this man; that’s why she admired Michelle but Tamara could not see past learning the testimony of each villain, searching for the opportunity for another Damascus moment.
No one would have ever thought of Paul as a passionate apostle of Christ, before as Saul he praised and participated in the stoning of Christians.
Simon the rowdy fisherman certainly pulled his weight and protected his own yet he would become meek to his Master as Peter and the rock upon which Christ chose to build his church.
Tamara had taught Bible study every since she was nine years old, somewhat a buff of scripture but only for the purpose of sharing and not judging because hers was a quest to understand each character.
She knew they had been chosen out of the millions of people in that time to show the revelations of man and the deliverance of Christ.
It seemed more to her that Kilo was tired, tired of being in the game but he knew that drug dealers don’t retire.
Instead they take up space in a penitentiary for 20 years or give up their lives to pasture in the cemetery’s across the world in the ‘bad ass’ sections.
Maybe Kilo’s testimony was all she would need, Junior was too risky and it would be safe to talk to the secret son.
There had been several deals where dear ole Dad got over on Kilo and he was scorned.
But would Michelle grant him immunity, could he walk from behind a veil of darkness or had the exposure been too damning to his soul.
He agreed to meet with Michelle out of town and give up the entire operation if she agreed to his conditions of absolution.
When Tamara called Michelle promised Kilo that he could walk away with intense probation for five years and he approved.
For both women their journey seemed self fulfilling, somewhere in between the frustration of things they could not fix God was showing them a lit path.

Game on
“You wanna be a baller, shot caller”
Chapter fourteen
“The picturious sky turned dark almost like it was mourning the lost of a love one,” those were his exact words Tamar relayed to Michelle. “It was the night that Monique was murdered he was describing.”
They found out that she was lured to a closed gas station the sheriff owned to give her the hush money.
When she got there Kilo said it was apparent she was in need of a fix. She stumbled in not even noticing the unusual set up of the garage. “If she would’ve thought of her threats and disposition she would known
to run but like a mouse intent on getting some cheese she couldn’t
pass up free money.”
Kilo said his stepbrother was bragging about binding her arms and legs
while his faithful friends, D.T Merch and Sam Thomas, hoisted her up in the air by sticking a hook in her back.
The three danced around at one of the sat up houses and said they dumped her like the trash she was.
From what Kilo could gather both Junior and Monique shared an intense drug addiction so their relationship at first was a match made in heaven.
But when Michelle caught him cheating on her revenge would be to go back to her first love T.J.; he had women too but she still felt special to him.
The sat up with Junior was too sweet to care if T.J. would take her back, with an addicts mind she did it all in spite.
Monique had no idea that her plan would back fire and result in Destiny.
When she was born it would be apparent that she was not Junior’s.
She hadn’t entertained the fact that when he found out who Destiny’s father was that Junior would rat him out to his father.
That’s why she tried to bribe him into giving her enough money to get away and into promising her that he would leave her baby daddy alone.
What she did not know killed her but what she did know scared her; in her mind the entire law enforcement would be on Juniors side.
A beautiful woman had become tattered and torn from a hard life, her knuckles darkened and hands rough because of the pipe. It seemed her confidence was comprised even before she faced the giants.
A lesson that yielded only the cruelty of those that feed upon the poverty and the misfortune of others.
For Michelle even though it would be a federal trail the district attorney knew exactly how she would present the case against the sheriff and his modern day
Posse.
This ladies and gentlemen is ghettoization, segregation, a form of separation, or apartheid in its highest form.
We have an elite social class who have worked for over twenty years producing, manufacturing and delivering the very drugs they were sworn to defend and protect the community from into their laps.
The drug infestation in such a long term effect had turned into an
experiment which delivered stagnate minds and broken dreams and fields of needles that the sheriff and his clan felt obliged to not only to give
their tortured pleasures to but also deemed illegal for arrest.
The mental pictures of each ounce pushed past South Side’s playgrounds, the kilos sent from liquor houses to street corners to be sold in slide of hand by second and sometimes third generation drug dealers is a crime that can not be ignored.
To the good sheriff they were potential felons to be lured into his stiff hand
but to me and many others who coddled and hoped and dreamed for them they were strong men detoured from strong visions.
Regardless of who got to argue for the fate of more than 200 people in the case Michelle and Tamara would be glad to see it go to trail.
The duo detectives had handed a mastermind operation into the hands of the feds.
The next mourning Michelle heard a horning bonking in her front yard like it was a car alarming going off.
It was Tamara and she was in her night clothes. “Turn on your television right now, she commanded Michelle, “And let me in!”
There they both stood in their bathrobes watching the Mountain Valley operation unfold before their eyes.
They had did it, the sheriff held a coat over his face, Junior was pushed out in his wheel chair and everything from the sheriff’s office to the corner stores and liquor houses he owned on the South side were shut down.
Michelle understood her friends horn would be the only alert to the biggest thing in her life and it was something she just stumbled into.
Neither felt compelled to jump and holler because at that point they felt humbled in the moment.
For Tamara her inner desire to rid herself of a wayward husband felt like
God nudging her into a change.
That fire burning in her veins to see something done in the name of her Creators was most precious moment in her life.
It would take at least twenty minutes before their dialogue began.

Whatever will be will be
“”It’s not over till the fat lady sings”
Chapter fifteen
All seemed secure, restoration to match the devastation and more peace to battle the poverty.
Southside would finally have an opportunity to see seeds sown in their backyards instead of sins and this time they could peak through their windows and watch them grow.
Little girls could skip about and the boys find some intense game in the field to play while the seasoned elders watched on in rocking chairs on their porch.
Tamara could really think of nothing better to show her daughter.
Revitalization in her eyes was Jesus, He in her mind had used her sorrow and separation to spark the desire to come back home.
Almost like the chapter of Haggai in the Bible Tamara knew that when God called for restoration it was through the people. His words to the prophet described every bit of their disparities. God told them that they had wine to drink but not enough to get drunk, clothing but not enough to get warm and a working man could not earn enough to live on. Then he was charging the people to rebuild his temple.
Tamara thought even then in such a time appointed that God had required change in an area that comprised his most loved, the least of thee, and united two women in saving a city just like Deborah in the Bible.
She knew it was an honor to be in the mist of God’s will and not care who you pleased but him.
Her skin tingled at the thought of the journey she had taken and while sitting in the dark with only her robe on the former pastors wife enjoyed reflecting on God’s goodness.
But there is something about when everything is going good that something really bad happens, the phone rang and it was the hospital.
Sissy had had a massive heart attack at the grocery store.
“O my God,” Tamara yelled into the phone. She scrambled in a joyless stroll grabbing garments without turning the lights on.
When she got into her Volvo Tamara looked like a mixture of church and the streets.
The sexy bar shirt/dress she wore when she met Kilo was accentuated by a pair of dazzling lime green Nike shoes and with purple socks.
Tamara’s mind was racing too much to notice; it wouldn’t be until a nurse looked at her as if she was there for care that she realized.
“I’m looking for Sissy Holland’s room mame,” she told the lady at the front desk.
But her name was not listed, “Maybe she’s in ICU,” Tamara told her.
“No mame,” the clerk said. “All we have for that name is a DOA from a grocery store and there is a little girl in the lobby waiting with a social worker for a family member to come.”
Destiny sat almost in a fetal position in the corner; the poor child had seen so much pain in her life with out knowing it but this she saw with her very eyes.
Sissy was a great person and Michelle did not doubt that Destiny was loved beyond measure but now the woman that she thought was her mother had died in front of her.
Tamara scooped the child up cuddling and cradling her as she introduced herself to the social worker.
Destiny would be going home with her.
As soon as she got home she slid Destiny in Briana’s bed, the two would enjoy one another when Briana got back.
She called Michelle the next day and asked how she might go about getting adoption papers in order.
For Michelle the news was heart breaking, she heard the stillness in Tamara’s voice and although praise and confusion seemed strange bed fellows they still slid through each of her words.
She promised to handle all the details for the adoption, it would entail getting T.J. to relinquish his rights and filing the proper paperwork.
It would take a couple days to process a transfer for T.J. and Michelle was certain she could convince him that the adoption was for the best.

Wanted: a good man
“She doesn’t know her beauty”
Chapter sixteen
What Tamara considered God Michelle simply considered justice but since the lady was blind she had to lean towards faith.
Michelle still could not figure how to balance her own life.
Her grandmother had shielded her and when she lost her Michelle felt alone in the world, she was 22 but Destiny was still a baby.
She was so excited when the sheriff and his clan of law offenders were arrested but Sissy’s death and Destiny’s fate let a lot of air out of that moment.
Here Tamara, a single mom finally adjusting to taking the reigns of her life back would have to shoulder another child.
That’s when Michelle thought how much joy the little girl could bring to her life.
She and David had become telephone buddies, calling each other at least two times a day and that felt like she had a man.
But Destiny was not just a temporary relationship, instead she was a child in need of the very love she would be willing to give.
A man leaves but a child matures to continue loving you Michelle thought, a child is the most blessed investment you can make in life.
Her mind was suppose to be on her date not a child; Michelle knew her hopes were not a reality.
As she went through her closet continually fantasized about having a child of her own she decided to sit down and write what she wanted from a man.
Karl was a thing of the past and if she was even going to entertain the thought of dating it would have to be on her terms.
1. Commitment would be the first requirement, a man who understood that he was to treat a woman the same way he wanted to be treated.
2. Next would be to know what baffled Agar, a wise man in the Bible, who said there were four things too mysterious to understand with one being the way a man and a woman fall in love.
Michelle didn’t want any more than that and she wasn’t a scholar of scripture like Tamara.
She had grabbed a hold to some scriptures when she went to church.
In her eyes a man noted enough to be in the Bible and considered wise, an expert in the ways of man, the fact that he was humbled by the witness of lovers falling in front of his eyes meant to Michelle that it would be one of the greatest loves she could experience. After all the prosecutor reasoned that man was made because of our Creators desire to be loved and appreciated.
“He is love and the rays he allows us to feel of himself are to share with others,” she said to herself.
Although Michelle knew that love needs and feeds on others her quest seemed stifled. It was as if she and God had fell out and there was a distant relationship.
She agreed there was a God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) but anything beyond that she had problems with.
Michelle had stumbled in the church years ago when she was battling with her self.
She’d began to hear voices, scriptures whispered into her ears and a mighty wind flowing through her home without the central air on.
At that time Michelle thought she had a demon so instead of checking into a crazy house she reasoned that working none stop and cramming for law exams had made her a little frazzled.
When she told her grandmother she made her go to church.
The good old pastor seemed to eye her out of the crowd and at altar call as Michelle made her way like the woman with the issue of blood pastor William T. Franklin also made his way to her.
He instructed the elders and ushers to come near with sheets, oil was placed upon her forehead, chest and hands as he began speaking in tongues.
Michelle breathed in and out wondering if she had made the right decision, she no clue what she was suppose to be doing while they handled her.
Then all of a sudden she felt something like lightning in her spirit and heard these words, “Go with me.”
After that Michelle didn’t miss a event at church, she traveled to revivals, sang in the choir and read her Bible as if it were food.
But she and God had fell out when he took her grandmother, her rock.
It wasn’t anything personal Michelle thought in her belief, he had failed her just like all the other men in her life. She didn’t understand that even she had a allotted time to leave earth. Michelle existed in a world of her own with the pain of her past preventing her from seeing God’s true purpose. The list had turned into a time of reflection but Michelle still had to get ready for her date with David.
The night would go so smooth, full of reminiscing and laughter. So much so that Michelle confided to her old friend that she wanted to adopt a little girl who had been caught up in the huge scandal she’d been apart of.
“That’s a great idea,” David told her. Turns out he had no problem with the fact that she could not have children and thought adoption would be a great solution to adding to her family. All of it was just banter, a hopeful dream until she found a way to ask Tamara and Tyrell.
Matter of time
“Life is a word best used while living”
Chapter seventeen
Tamara received word that T.J (Tyrell) would be able to attend the funeral. She had no idea how she would tell Destiny; the adjustment had been a little rocky because her daughter Briana had not arrived home.
Destiny had began acting up at daycare and when Tamara went to see about her the child told her she was Briana’s mother and not hers.
“I want my own Mommy,” Destiny ranted and raved as she rushed her to the car.
Michelle might be able to give some quiet time for the two to be introduced and Tamara could also discuss with him who he wanted to be the guardian.
When Tamara called her to ask the austere prosecutor broke down in tears.
Michelle explained that she would love the opportunity to try and raise Destiny, “She’s so innocent and I know you’re a great person but I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind since I can’t have children of my own.”
“I mean that’s what I feel like I’m missing and what I’ve prayed for,” Michelle said
Tamara told her that she thought it was a great idea, she knew God was using the adoption in completing their blessings.
The two agreed to attend a meeting with Destiny’s father and plead for him to hand over custody.
After she ended the call Tamara went into her closet to pray.
“God a new sheriff has been appointed and the South side looks like it did when I was a kid, before cocaine took residence to pimp the people.”
“I thank you,” she said in a humility that seemed to flow from her eyes.
Amid darkness the former pastors wife understood that life was not about titles or social standing but a personal resume in Christ.
She knew what would her to heaven like her grandmother said because that should be everyone’s greatest concern.
But in the mist of living Tamara saw how easy it was to misunderstand each moment.
She could have given up, or in but each day had been the making of her breakthrough.
Every Sunday morning she had given the stirring prayer (the role of the pastors wife in there old church) ushering the Holy Spirit into their worship but hadn’t figured out how to keep that feeling going through the week.
Now she understood that it was the accumulation of prayers and action that allowed her to move with God in his will.
She learned drastic change could be God’s will.
Judgment a task best left to him; a mortal man incapable of figuring out another persons worth meant weighing them on their present without considering their grace and their past.
Tamara saw that God called some at an early age, others he searches for when they are seasoned like the thief on the cross with Jesus (doesn’t mention which side he was hanging out with him on).
God knows that our purpose is not bound in titles, our treasury no matter how massive is still no more than a pile of rubbish in his sights Tamara thought.
She’d watched him move effortlessly through her pain and leave her standing to see his glory flowing through desolate streets.
She knew South side residence had sent up many prayers and God had allowed such a time as she lived in to answer it.
Tamara knew T.J. would have no problem with Michelle adopting Destiny because in his eyes she solved Monique’s murder for him.
Even Kilo admitted at a South Side altar that he too had had a hand in Monique’s murder; trembling they said from the fear the young man learned if he could give his life and sins to God he could be forgiven.
With his immunity solid from the case his pastor had taken the young man under his wings and said his redemption was tied up in giving back.
Kilo was now preaching on the corners that he supplied dope to.
They had all weathered the storm, received a touch from the masters hand when the Devil had reeked so much havoc for so long.
“Oooh Jesus,” Tamara belted out.
“You always do it, always make a way out of no way, make the impossible possible.”
Briana would be home soon and there would be so much catching up to do as they stepped into their new beginning.
“I’ve been called everything but a child of God,” Tamara said while she exited the closet.
“After all I’ve been through and seen that is exactly what I am, what I’m proud to be … cause man ain’t got no heaven or hell
to put me in.”

This spiritual story was written by Bridgett Nesbit.

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