Damn, Bliss! How Could You?
When Attitude came back to town, on the night Bliss committed suicide, and started talking about how someone killed her, I didn’t want to hear it. Too many reasons existed why he shouldn’t breathe such a thought. The foremost one lied on the fact that life was not a linear exercise. We learned things in year twenty we should have experienced in year three. We also faced things in year three that we didn’t get to apply until year twenty.
I wish I knew that back then - in October 1991.
Bliss was a newly formed puddle of rainwater. No matter how much rain had fallen, she existed as an unfilled until we declared war.
As MAX boys, though we declare war, we have the option to make love and leave gun play and death out of it. For pragmatists like Girard, when anyone asked why Bliss had to die; why she killed herself – he always answered even to me, “Ernest, she got caught in the crossfire between us and society.”
Who knew what Bliss represented? She always stood apart even when standing solidly in a large group. She looked fairly much the same my last day seeing her as she did when Girard first pointed her out. Bliss maintained the same five-five, medium build, never gaining the freshmen fifteen; never doing a drastic cut to her near shoulder length hair. She rarely smiled without following it up with many words or a loud giggle. I could never say she laughed, as a laugh could oft-times be impure, hold a hidden message or strike a severe blow; Bliss giggled.
How could I have known her plans? How could any of us, especially since we do not know anything, not even our own role in the greater scheme of life. Even then, our strings are being pulled.
The first pull took place October 1991. I sat in a rental – 1991 Lincoln Towncar, white with leather interior – bopping my head to hardcore beats. Girard, kid I knew since the end of the sixth grade, a good ten years held the wheel, doing about sixty, switching lanes on the FDR Drive. G remained that kind of dude, that no matter his clothes or occasion, he looked as if he wore a polo shirt with a pair of denims. A b-boy forever, he worshiped material and upheld a code based on love while giving the impression that he admired recklessness. He maneuvered the road while his head and shoulders expressed the music’s essence. The ride reminded me of a bumper car ride at the amusement park, better yet Go-Cart, since G never got into an accident.
A peaceful afternoon with temperatures approaching sixty degrees. The car windows cracked enough so our sound blasted and announced our advancement. The chill in the air emboldened our kool posture. We packed jackets because upstate New York would be in the high thirties later that night. No rain in the forecast for either locale and the sky lay flat, translucent blue with few streaks of white clouds. We headed to Semline, a school that neighbored our alma mater, for the charter ceremony for our fraternity. Though our frat had been in the region for seventy years, Semline never held a charter because no one from there ever pledged. So this past year, the other two neighboring schools agreed to pledge under Semline’s rules to help obtain a charter on the campus. That became Bliss’s entry point into my life.
Before then I knew her on the hi-and-bye tip, as she once dated Semline’s star basketball player, a dude I played against since freshman year in high school. He and I weren’t friends at that time, nor were we ever enemies, only on-court rivals. At Semline and the region in general, Bliss had name recognition, mainly as everyone’s little sister, a good girl with brains, body and bliss.
Bliss lived up to her name much the way I matched mine: Ernest, earnest. She brought joy whenever she popped up on a scene. She took over and dominated even without trying. Her bubbly personality and calculating mind brought her doubters, not enemies. Her cold stare when challenged made her one of us.
MAX boys as we are simultaneously, affectionately and derogatorily called; we loved Bliss, even I who really did not know her, at the time of the Semline Charter ceremony.
Devon organized the weekend with a little coordinating help from other brothers. The only MAX boy still taking classes at any of the three schools, and the only Semline pledge to be initiated. The rest of us attended either TGI or Barrington. Though we became fast friends our freshmen year, while attending different schools, our pledge period put Devon on top of my list when it came to a rolling partner.
Out of respect, even alumni of rival fraternities and sororities made time in their schedule to attend the ceremony.
Since neither of us took the day off from work, chances were G and I would be the last Fly MAX Beta brothers to arrive. Phone calls from the campus and two surrounding schools poured into New York city since yesterday afternoon.
The ceremony was a big deal for all of us, so G had the video camera and I had the flash photography. “Oh, yo! G, son, don’t kill me but I forgot my camera.”
“So it’s forgotten!”
“Nah, you know I need to take my own pictures. My artistic eye calls for that.” G shot me a quick glance as if to say Negro, please! I knew he would make the Ueee back to Brooklyn ‘cause I never did mindless stuff. Forgetful or irresponsible could never describe me though I came nowhere near as organized, some say as anal, as G.
We got off the highway and circled back down, not too far from the United Nations, to re-enter the FDR.
With most folks he would have been sour at having to combat traffic down the highway. The rush hour traffic on the Friday before Columbus day staggered all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge. Traffic had been thick heading north on the FDR. Now we had to cross the bridge back to Brooklyn and drive deep into East Flatbush. The dashboard clock showed 6:58 p.m. By the time we got to Semline’s campus, it would easily be after 11 p.m.
Four months ago, after graduation, I thought of moving into a less crowded block but something about this block appealed to me. It being sandwiched between two major thoroughfares, Flatbush and Nostrand clinched it. I grew up about a mile southeast. This new neighborhood also fascinated my lady of nearly a year. The block, with its four floor walk-ups, reminded her of when she lived near the Polo Grounds. The familiarity helped her decision to make a major step in life and move in with me. We met a little over four years, right before freshman year, during my visit to the three neighboring schools, same day I first saw Bliss.
Diane and I kicked it a little over the years; you know sticky fingers, ice cream and an occasional tryst but we never coupled. Our college, Barrington Graphics & Art Institute suited the quick hit and undercover liaisons, not open courtships and monogamy. Students before us cultivated an environment and culture too political and cut-throat. One week, one month, rarely would a couple last a semester. So for us, neophytes of our respective organizations, to deal symbolized a major step.
As a SUM woman, Diane had restrictions she could not tell me. I had orders I planned to follow: A MAX boy never openly dated a SUM woman unless it’s for keeps.
No one frowned on friendships or clandestine affairs but unions like ours unnerved people and heightened Diane’s fears to the point where she changed her mine over a dozen times when it came to attending the Semline Charter ceremony.
Everything about living together was lovely. We cooked together. The simplest stuff brought me joy, especially seeing her wearing my boxers with just a tank top and socks, as we cuddled on the sofa, watching TV, reading or chatting.
But the love ended on Friday, October 11, 1991. The apartment’s wall to wall carpet, and the fact I always entered quietly muffled my steps.
There stood the maintenance man, naked, standing behind Diane.
There bent Diane, with butt in the air.
Sweat dripped from his forehead, nose then chin to the small of her back. The look of ecstasy on both their faces. The sudden pause in mid-stroke. The words fighting to escape her larynx. My simply walking to the closet and reaching for my camera. At that moment, in the periphery, I could see him step toward his clothes. Jeans, blue denim shirt and briefs, he had tossed on the lounge chair she bought at a yard sale. She called it her comfort chair. She sat there to read, watching me while I did hand-drawings with my back to the headboard. Or, as I sat on the computer to her right.
Perhaps he thought of reaching for a gun, assuming my mind traveled there. He obviously knew details of me. If he didn’t he would not be in my bedroom playing my role. Diane obviously did not know me as well as she thought because she called out to me after I said, “Don’t mind me! I am just reaching for my camera.”
As I made my way to the door, her bare feet swimming through the plush carpet followed my casual steps. “Ernest, it’s not what you think!”
“Oh, OK! I was beginning to think you loved me.” I closed the door, ran down the steps and made my way out of the building. Friends know friends, and brothers want to take your place when they sense trouble. As a friend Girard knew immediately that a part of me had died but I knew better than to tell him right there on the spot. Basically, I anticipated his words; he of the rational, handle everything as it comes mindset.
“Yo, you’re going tell me what’s wrong or what?” He asked again after we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. We passed that first park overlooking the East River. When I told him, he swerved out of the left lane, crossed two lanes and pulled over to the right side of the road, a few feet past the overpass. G looked at me like I had lost my mind. I was real angry but played kool. I already formulated a plan based on the conclusion I drew from Diane’s reaction to mine. My problem meant my solution would be implemented not G’s. “We gotta make a Ueee and kill both of them. Do you know what happens if you let that kind of disrespect slide?”
“Yeah, but I also know what killing two people means.”
“If you had smoked them right there on the spot, you could have pleaded temporary insanity. There’s a defense for it: crime of passion.
I made to calm him, by getting him to focus on self-preservation. “Son, she’s not worth the hassle.”
His eyes widened and eyebrows arched up. “It’s not her. It’s you. When word gets out on this, you, us…collectively will become the laughing stock.”
“Oh, word is bound to get out, but if we declare war, dude in my bedroom with my woman will be like a medal of honor. You feel me?” G understood my logic but I could tell he would never choose this method, so I had to drive the point home. “Yo, what’s the pecking order? Devon is the rock, the monarchy. I am the president. You are the military. I declare war! Are you in?”
“Of course I’m in. Just let me know when it’s time to kill the joker in your bed.”
“That joker is not a wild card; he’s nothing more than a clown, a mere pawn. Someone’s pulling his strings.” I took my stare off Girard and looked directly ahead at the people, staring into our car, wondering why we parked on the side of the highway. “I need you to pull into the service station before the Tappan Zee Bridge on I-87. Make a phone call. Diane is SUM so this was an attack. If she’s on the prowl, then chances are one or more of them Stay Black’n Die dudes were creeping behind my back. Therefore…”
G finished my sentence, “…they’re behind this scene” then gave me the frat grip. “Did you forget your camera on purpose?”
“No, I am not that smart. But I do remember packing it. I think she took it out my bag. She wanted me to catch her and dude together.” I should not have told him the last part because his eyes screamed for murder. “G, make love not war!”
Girard’s driving lacked the carelessness he previously displayed. The toughness he comported lied not on size even though he trained hard, running a dozen miles a week to stay fit. His confidence originated from a quick mind backed by quick hands, and the ability to take a punch but only when needed. He believed if you hit first and your hardest, only those of your ilk could retaliate; and if such people existed then you should have long befriended them.
Someone hit me hard, but I categorized it as a sucker punch and nowhere near hard enough to keep me from my destination.
G pulled into service station and I stayed in the car. I never asked who he called. It would be the same if he asked me to make a call. In this situation the protocol followed along these lines. “I got word that Ernest’s woman is fooling around behind his back. Send word ahead of us! We are heading to Semline. We’ll be there in three hours. It’s War!”
We crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge a bit after 8 p.m. then continued north heading toward I-90.
To prepare for what lay ahead, I used thoughts of Diane, to think of why she would do such a thing. We took a chance on each other because she treasured her family’s legacy and wanted to carry it forward. She held no strong ties to the sorors around her, as they treated her like a pariah. It really came down to fear. Neither of us believed in monogamy. This formed the basis why we never dated anyone exclusively during our undergrad years. As I got to know and be with her daily, I understood why she didn’t. Being inside someone long enough to know their fears, you reached a point where fear endured as this space, a compartment inside a person. The most bewildering kind leapt forward when a person feared those who loved her in the past would stop.
I failed to deduce how Diane viewed this as holding onto me. Perhaps she knew the danger awaiting me at Semline and thereafter to be greater than losing her to infidelity. The next option meant she chose the most vile method to push me away, to see if I would hold on. But I cannot, for my fear sat too close to my anger and my anger won out each time.
Constructed as an open campus, Semline had no gate nor security guard for visitors. Off I-90, one took a local road that bypassed the campus. The driver needed to know the turn onto what less than two decades ago remained a gravelly road. A quarter of a mile down the path, a large clearing, slate gray buildings, smooth limestone walkways greeted visitors. All campus buildings stood on this side of campus. Two large parking lots on opposite sides of the buildings. The buildings seemed to be stacked in rows, then followed by a clearing, a large grassy field used for concerts, picnics and outdoor classes. Beyond the open field were the dormitories, the only buildings not on this side. To get to them by car, one had to go back out and continue down the road. There, each entry needed a five-digit code to pass the thirty foot high security gate.
We walked in and faked as if we brought more joy to a crowded ballroom, where gents in tuxedos or their best dark suits spun dance moves and sultry lyrics to women in gowns, most showing bare shoulders, smooth necks and expensive jewelry. No one could have guessed any differently since MAX boys never needed to front to show love to each other and people not affiliated with us. We believed in love and all its many covers. Some of us wore macho poses. Others kept so kool one had to touch their skin to see if they were alive. I normally preferred the latter, but tonight I bore a jovial mask to greet people I had not seen in a long time; to smile at people I knew had thrown darts behind my back.
SBD, nicknamed Stay Black’n Die, assumed the role of our biggest rival. Firmly written in both our histories, the rift started shortly after the Women Suffrage movement and heightened during the Civil Rights Movement. Each year the separation got wider, specifically after MAX boys stopped acknowledging a sorority as our sister organization, while SBD had the ladies of SUM as their queens, practically their reason for being.
Many tried to make it more complex but the constant infighting sprouted from our refusal to have an equal, female branch to our organization. At the same time, SUM and many other women turned to MAX boys to settle their disputes with SBD, or when SBD failed to act on their behalf. We were the queen’s army because they knew MAX boys shot first and dared anyone to question us.
Two people caught my eye simultaneously: Devon and Ken. Devon looked extremely depressed. My eyes darted around the room. Lucille, his woman was not here. Unlike Diane who became a recent constant in my life, Lucille stuck by Devon for four years and through the lowest of points. If anything had gone wrong, blame Devon. Damn, D, what did you do?
The shorter distance to Ken made me head in his direction. Ken was the type of brother who could easily have been a MAX boy. He had done athletics as a youth – a boxer – gained some notoriety but late in his high school years he started focusing on academics. As a former boxer and all-around tough guy, he fitted in nicely with SBD. Yet at six-two, a solid two-fifteen with brushed back wavy hair and dimples, the MAX history book gave hint that his family probably started on this side of the Society. He and Attitude bonded early in their freshman year. Second semester both pledged and wanted the other to pledge the other’s frat. For Ken, the physical nature of SBD lured him. Whereas Attitude never really got into the I wanna be a tough guy thing.
To be honest, in a straight up fight, SBD would mop us MAX boys. Though we do have fighters, our frat attracted artists and intellectuals, and definitely lovers. Fly MAX Beta were the brothers whose style stole the show. As a ballplayer, roughneck type, I looked more SBD than Max, but looks deceived and betrayed how my brain worked and the sharpness of my mind.
From the first day I met Ken, he breathed an air I wanted to test and cut short.
Barbara stood to his left. Though she tried hard to perfect the unruffled look, I sensed a discomfort in how her right foot pointed slightly toward the room’s main exit. I met her years ago and introduced as Attitude’s sister-friend, she took to Girard; and I to Hope. But nothing happened. For me, Hope simply teased my juvenile games, placing the two year edge she had over me as a barrier I would have to work too hard to eclipse.
In Girard’s case, Barbara still held the throne as the only woman he ever flaked on. He claimed it was respect for Ken but they had yet to start dating. I still teased him that he couldn’t handle that. Not only did Barbara possess a voluptuous solid frame, her beauty stood in stark contrast to the powdery fluff favored by men looking for a quick roll. A few years back I happened onto her on TGI’s campus and flirtatiously asked, “How come I never see you all dolled up with make up, slinky hair, etc…?”
She answered with no hint of repulsion that I would ask this, “No more perming for me ever, and no make-up, unless I’m going to be on TV or for some special event, where the lighting might obstruct my beauty. Plus, as a natural Black woman I take the test when it is given, so there’s really nothing to make up.”
Though I sensed this as pledge program lessons she never shook off, it confirmed what I knew before I became part of the Society that SUM women were definitely a different breed. Not all SUM women lived and styled that way. In fact, far from it; the key was they were always willing and ready to take the test. I stepped toward Barbara and Ken instinctively held her hand in case I had forgotten.
I studied the look in Ken’s face, how it dared me to walk the twenty feet. I nodded to the beat; hugged a couple of our little sisters, the women who helped during my pledge process; and then made my way to them.
“Ken, what’s up baby?” I stood directly in front him, less than two feet away and kept bopping my head to the music.
“All’s good! What’s the deal?”
“Jokers, really! That’s all. Just wanted to come by and greet this lovely SUM lady.” I pivoted so that we now stood in this awkward triangle shape. The distance between them was less than theirs to me, but I could change it with two more sentences. “It’s good to see you and your sisters and that the boycott has been called off.”
Barbara appeared confused, possibly not in the know since she had graduated before our pledge class began. Her overly-perfect and formal tone and diction confirmed she was out of the loop. “Good to see you to Ernest! I am glad everything is back to peace.”
Had Attitude not walked over with Bliss, my next sentence would have sealed the deal. In fact, I think Ken and Barbara ignored the warning on purpose. “Is peace better than love?”
Attitude’s eyes told me he knew everything bu I could not tell if he wanted in or out. He hugged both Ken and Barbara then introduced Bliss as his wife. Unsure what bullshit he and Bliss were on, I stepped away to go check on Devon.
The room had gotten more crowded but I found him in a circle of frat and co-eds. “What’s up! Where’ve you been?”
“Participating!” Devon sported an eager look like that of an animal about to be fed.
“Nah, D! Stay out of this one. Something is obviously wrong since Lucille is not here.”
The shift of octaves from his voice hinted at his denial. “I ain’t fazed by her. In fact this may be the last go around for us. She refuses to understand my platform.”
Lucille by his side solidified Devon’s image as a guy who took all risks no matter the outcome. If unattached, women would move more cautiously when he pitched promiscuity as standard fare. “D, she’s not affiliated! Forget your platform! She stayed with you for years through everything. Lucille is a wonderful woman…”
He interrupted me. “Do you want her? I’m serious. You see this…” He waved his hand around the room, at the people, the ambience, the rivalries, the accolades. “I want this. You don’t!”
His words caused me to take a defensive tone. “What makes you think I don’t want it?”
“If you wanted it, Diane would have been heading up here with you. What could they have done if she broke her legacy right here and we made her our queen?”
“She wanted to but couldn’t risk a war that goes back four generations for her family and I’ve only been down for less than a year.” I stepped slightly to the left. “Look over there at Barbara and Ken. That’s how uncomfortable Diane would have been.”
“No, that’s how you would have looked with her next to you. Diane is a rugged hardcore chick. She ain’t scared of these motherfuckers. But I think, I guess someone else sensed your fear, that’s why they attacked. If you wanted this, you would be begging me to participate. Who makes love better than me?”
Damn, Devon called it wrong in assuming fear held me back, but I respected him for having the gall to say something like that, especially to my face. “No, I want you to stay out on this one!”
“Is that an order?”
Devon’s coldness did not surprise me nor that he made no attempt to make amends. Certain things about Fly MAX Beta one learned to appreciate even though they would always irritate.
Rank was one of them. Within each individual pledge line, there were ranks. Of the people listed so far from our line, the ranking went: Devon, Ernest, then Girard. And, that irked Girard the most because he was a fourth generation MAX boy, and this was only our first year in the Society.
Within the chapter, the founding line was one person: Attitude. So, he had top ranking. If we had no honor, Attitude would be dead by now.
The second line consisted of five brothers. When they heard of this particular war, they gave their standard answer to anything they didn’t agree with: that’s some bitch shit. Tonight G sided with them. Though he followed my order to declare war, he decided not to challenge SBD in this manner. Girard believed confrontation should be upfront and settled quickly, and that behind the scene maneuverings led to long-lasting feuds.
Of the remaining four brothers on our line, three joined the war, and most visiting brothers did the same.
The college’s Vice-President for Student Life made a speech to welcome Fly MAX Beta as Semline’s newest chartered organization. The Regional President for the fraternity then rose to present us our membership pin and rings. Each new member received two rings, one for himself and the other for the woman he had chosen for life. This tradition started back in the early 1900’s and presented a challenge for us modern day MAX boys. Of the new pledge line, none of us had a woman present we could truly call our own, our personal queen. Hence our creed – a woman for life; a man you can trust with your wife – was something we could not uphold.
Girard did not push the issue that his woman make the flight from the Midwest. Mine kept wavering. Devon gave no reason for Lucille’s absence.
Instead the seven of us, each walked to the podium with one of the women who helped us during the pledge process. We called them our sisters because for all they did for us but no official recognition came with that, especially since we each pocketed the ring meant for the woman in our life. To them, it did not matter, but the half-smile on the faces of the SUM women and other sorority women present spoke volumes. If we could change our ways, then MAX boys would not be alone. And, alone we were.
After the presentation, the bright lights dimmed and the sadness suppressed with smiles and drinks returned. I found myself sitting on a folded chair at a table thinking how it went so wrong so quickly, and whether it had ever been right. If so, then perhaps it could still be right.
The party was jumping; the women, simply beautiful; and everybody who was anybody was going to fuck tonight. What could be better? That was why the MAX family threw parties – to share the love. Before we pledged Max, we went to everybody’s parties. Then last year, for the party celebrating us having made it into the frat, no affiliated person came. The few GDI’s – got damn independents – who did come felt left out, but it was not our doing. We never asked them to simply observe. We always shared the love.
Last Call for Alcohol.
I needed more than another drink. To last the night, I dangled a shy smile at one of the pretty Barrington students who traveled an hour to work at Semline College. The affluence and smallness of the Semline campus made it unattractive to me when I came during college tour. I held the dreams and skills to make it pro and they had no MAX charter. The girl working as a barmaid caught my eye two years ago at Barrington, in her freshman year. I never really got to know her because of her bouncy personality and she hung out with a couple of upperclassmen chicks I had run through. Occasionally I would give her a nod, and during the Charter ceremony, those slight past acknowledgments gave me enough currency to approach her and say, “Do me a solid and bag a fresh bottle of Jack for me and leave it under my tuxedo jacket over there.”
I gave her a discreet pat on the butt with my left hand, like I would do to a teammate who’d made a good play. “Get my number from Devon and ring me next time you feel like coming to the city. I got you. OK?”
Big smile because I probably made her year. Even if she didn’t call me, the ability to tell her friends what I offered would be enough status for her. That’s how MAX boys rolled - how we loved. So, to be alone and showing sadness meant the attack hit me hard.
I walked over to Girard. He held court with three women. I recognized them as TGI students but did not know them. He posed with both hands in his pants pockets and the tuxedo jacket folded over his right wrist. The stance meant he had no preference and whichever one made the offer, he would bed for the night. When I came over he continued his conversation with them, but went into MAX speaking code.
At its basic level, MAX speaking code mirrored normal conversation mixed with numbers serving as the cipher, the code. The numbers meant different things. The language evolved from slavery days as a method to pass messages from the house to the field to beyond the plantation. For example, while talking to his friends, Girard said, “Check it! A man with 17 votes out of 300 cannot possibly win this election. Even if the race was between 7 candidates, he would need to form a union with at least 2 others and be willing to share.”
They were talking school politics and he obviously knew the women from his days of being heavily involved in student government, both on the campus and state level. Girard casually slipped the MAX speaking code into the conversation. At its most complex level, use all numbers with an occasional word. But even when alone, we were never as bold as to simply say: 1 17 300 7 2 of them.
Check it – signified the code switch. But other words also did the trick. Bust it. Yo! Guess what, and so on.
A man was the number 1 – meant ‘one man’, which for us represented Attitude because he pledged alone and revived Fly MAX Beta in the region.
17 – widely used to mean a wife because it was a prime number showing the union of 1 and 7. At this moment, Bliss was a man’s wife.
300 – widely used to mean a public room such as a hotel or motel.
7 – was the number of people on our pledge line, and also meant me because I was the seventh person, the tallest.
2 – was Girard’s number on our line.
Put it all together: Attitude with Bliss at the motel with me and Girard.
I didn’t respond right away because we reserved code for absolute emergencies. I also didn’t believe it, mainly because the share part meant Bliss concocted the plan. G continued the conversation with the two women to see if they could top Bliss’s offer. I simply said, “I don’t mean to be shady but I’m leaving in 15 minutes. If you don’t catch me, I will ring you around 4.”
I walked away but not before letting G know:
Shady Side motel would be a good place.
Fame (15) is something a man with his aspirations cannot get caught up in.
I am not with this episode, and I will be with #4 - Devon.
It took him another twenty minutes, and practically an empty ballroom to come by the table where I sat. I hid the bottle of Jack in my tuxedo jacket’s left sleeve and bundled up the jacket because security would not let me leave the building with liquor. I couldn’t locate Devon and most people had left. Girard’s giggled as if the thoughts of killing someone had completely left his mind. “Them two chicks still on some courtship ritual bull, talking about let’s go to the diner. When I passed, they gave me their numbers so we can do dinner in the city some time. Yeah right!” My lack of interest refocused him. “What is with you, Ern? Seriously!”
“Bliss ain’t into that type of shit! You know how we roll – the 3 B’s. I got the booze and the blow. You got the Buddah. Attitude probably got more blow. Let’s just chill. We need to do some serious talking.”
“A came up to me and told me she wanted to hang with us ‘cause of the stories she heard about our high school days.”
“You fools! Y’all be telling people the type of shit we were into. That’s the past, son! I thought you wanted to run for elected office, and even have aspirations to, one day, be president.”
G laughed and patted me on the shoulder. He sat and looked around the empty ballroom. “By the time I run for office, the stuff we used to be into is what will build the bridges to allow for my candidacy. That chick Bliss is thorough. Think about it! After all them other broads left us during the pledge period, she was the only one who stayed. The only one! Then she got like twenty other chicks who didn’t even know us to stand by us. I know we don’t have sisters and we, in fact, frown on that shit! But, Bliss, she’s my queen! If she wants my loyalty, then she could have it.”
“You make it sound like she’s fighting a war.”
“Attitude says she has Sight and Sound.”
Sight and Sound. Sound was the formal name for what I described earlier as the MAX speak code. Sight was the other half, and as complex but we kept it basic. Since we rarely wore letters stating our fraternal affiliations, we used Sight to recognize each other and send signals, as in give direction. Like tonight when I walked in the room, all the MAX brothers in the room knew me so the fact that I gave sight meant to follow my lead.
Sight was simple: direct eye contact; subtly, look left then down.
To continue and give direction, I looked at the point of attack. Tonight I looked at the first SBD brother within my sight line - Ken. The MAX brother who I had given Sight repeated the process and targeted another SBD brother. Before doing so, he looked at me as the one giving direction. To have a successful plan of attack, no one moved too far from his original starting position until I moved away from my initial point of attack. At this point, everyone should have determined a target – a SBD’s woman to sleep with.
Barbara had been my first choice.