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Didn’t bother me that Momma and Daddy didn’t live together either; they still loved each other. Daddy did have a lady friend, Lori—but to me, she was just that: his friend. Lori was a tall, thin white woman. She reminded me of Popeye’s girlfriend Olive Oyl, but I still liked her because she made the best chocolate cake (my favorite).
A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book by Cupcake Brown
|Name of Book||A Piece of Cake: A Memoir|
|PDF Size||3 MB|
|No of Pages||633|
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I really liked her daughter, Kelly, a pudgy Mexican-looking girl with long black hair, only six months younger than me. Neither of us had a sister, so we decided we’d be each other’s sister. We played together and always had fun together. She didn’t mind being silly, and she was always willing to play my favorite game: Africans. I’d be “Unga-Bunga,” and she’d be “Oooga-Wooga.
” We’d jump around with fake spears, acting a fool. I had no idea what it was like to be a real African so I imitated what I’d seen on TV. I didn’t know that TV was run by white folks. What do white folks know about being African? Nothing. But at the time I was too young (and really didn’t care) to know.
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Momma didn’t have any sisters, and she only had one brother: my uncle Jr. His name was Ray, but we always called him Uncle Jr. Uncle Jr. was a stocky man who stood about five foot three. He was cocoa-colored like my mom, and had the same smooth, silky black hair. “Good hair” is what black folks called it—not wooly and kinky like mine. He was the only uncle I had and I loved him a lot.
That was one thing about me. I didn’t have many people in my life, but those I had I loved fiercely. Uncle Jr. was really quiet. Probably because he was a junior–high school teacher and was around badass, hollerin’ kids all day. He taught at one of the worst junior high schools in San Diego—which is where he was the morning Momma died—teachin’ dem badass kids.
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But as soon as he got the call about Momma, he came to Daddy’s. It was my uncle Jr. who’d also given me my love for learning. He was a schoolteacher and real smart. He was always telling me interesting facts and stuff. For example, he told me that my great-great-great-grandmother was kidnapped by an Indian tribe and forced to be a concubine.
She got pregnant by one of the braves, and the baby was born under Indian captivity. She and the baby were subsequently rescued by a buffalo soldier whom she later married. Of course, I asked Uncle Jr. what a buffalo soldier was and, as a result, got a short history lesson on the historic segregated black cavalry and infantry soldiers who kept order and protected the settlers in the southwestern part of the United States.
The only family I’d ever known were my momma, Larry (who I was constantly trying to get rid of), my grandma, Uncle Jr., and Daddy. My uncle was a very important, customary part of my everyday life, especially after Larry went to live with Daddy. Jr. would check on us periodically, because Momma and I were “two women living alone.” A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book
I used to put my hands on my hips when he said that, and reply, “I ain’t no woman!” and we’d both crack up laughing. That night, I learned how to hold the pipe and the torch so the rock melts correctly. I learned how to inhale slowly. I learned to hold my breath twice as long as I ever had smoking weed. And I learned not to swallow the smoke (swallowing gives you the runs).
When I finally did do it right, it was the best feeling I’d ever had in my life. Better than booze or regular coke. Better than meth, sherm, heroin, or uppers. The physical sensation I got from freebasin’ is difficult to explain. But let me put it to you like this: think of the happiest, most joyful, blissful moment in your life. Now multiply that feeling by a hundred. That’s the ecstasy of basin’.
It was simply the most exhilarating and pleasurable sensation I’d ever had. And I didn’t want to lose it. I never again reached the same level of ecstasy that the first blast had given me. But I spent the entire night trying. Who wouldn’t want to be Marcia? She had two loving parents; brothers and sisters who loved and supported her; no one was raping her or beating her; and she could eat as much as she wanted. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book
And from the looks of it, she ate well—not just rice and beans. Alice was always cooking up all kinds of goodies. She lived in a large, beautiful house. She had the cutest, latest clothes. And, on top of all that, she had a dog and a maid! Yup. Marcia Brady had it going on! If I could have been anyone different or have lived life differently, it would have been as Marcia Brady.
Except, instead of a white girl, I would have been a light-skinned black girl with long hair so that I’d be pretty. But I knew that no matter how much I pretended, I wasn’t ever going to be light-skinned. My skin color wasn’t ever going to change. All in all, the learning process at the Baker firm was surprisingly pleasurable. No one in the office ever harassed or hassled me about my continual mistakes, lack of legal experience, or severe forgetfulness. In fact, the whole office learned to work around my shortcomings.
For example, Todd would file court documents a day or two before they were actually due—he had to, since he quickly learned that I’d inevitably do something wrong that would force us to have to refile them. And like Gloria, Todd would give me helpful suggestions whenever he saw the need—and he was never rude, condescending, or patronizing. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book
For example, whenever I would take phone messages or talk to clients calling in, I would say “uh-huh, uh-huh,” to signify to the caller that I was taking down their phone number or that I’d understood the message they wanted me to relay. I discovered ready rock. Ready rock is best described as “freebasin’ to go.”
Prior to ready rock, a buyer had to take the powdered coke home and cook it up before it could be smoked. But “ready rock” was just that: cocaine rocks that were ready to smoke. Someone had come up with the ingeniously wonderful idea to do the cooking before selling. So all a buyer now had to do was take it home and smoke it. No more cooking kits, no more waiting.
Instant high. It was later called “crack.” Why, I don’t know; and personally, I didn’t care. All I cared about was that it was wonderfully fast—and cheap. I could get a rock for as lil as ten dollars, whereas with powder, the smallest quantity I could get cost twenty-five dollars. I instantly fell in love with ready rock. Soon, it was all I was doing. I began missing more work because I couldn’t pull myself away from it. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book Download
In one month, I missed fifteen days. Jack sat me down and, for the first time, seriously threatened to fire me if my attendance didn’t improve. I was also spending more money on my new dope preference. I stopped buying food, paying rent, or doing anything else. All I was doing was smoking crack.
Tommy’s mom had done a beautiful job with the wedding plans. White wooden chairs sat in two columns on the freshly cut green lawn. Since I’d refused to use red as wedding colors, someone had chosen yellow and white. Huge satin yellow bows were placed on each aisle seat. An arch covered in yellow and white roses was centered at the front of the chairs.
The minister, dressed in a black suit, stood making small talk with guests waiting for the wedding to start. I had no idea whose minister he was or what church he’d come from. Nor did I care. I had a horrible hangover and was dead tired from lack of sleep due to my attending a private party the night before. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book Download
Since we had only a limited amount of people we could invite (apparently, the reception food cost by the plate), we decided not to invite our friends. Knowing there would be no hard liquor there, and that we’d invited a crowd heavily stocked with squares, our friends weren’t insulted by being left out. In fact, they’d preferred the idea of having our own lil celebration on the eve of the wedding. And celebrate we did.
We stayed up all night partying, drinking, and tooting. By the time we got to sleep, it was 7:00 in the morning. Tommy’s dad woke us at 11:00 to leave for the park and prepare for our wedding. Before I could respond, the women got to work, moving as a team. One told me to take off the dress as she began to fill one of the sinks with cold water.
Another began to help me pry off the saturated dress while carefully trying not to get blood everywhere. Another went to get the spare shirt and pair of shorts she “just happened to have” in her bag. Another grabbed the dress, threw it into the sink and began ferociously plunging it up and down in the cold water in an effort to get the blood out.
The way they grouped together to help me, you would have thought we were all old friends. The woman hurriedly returned with the shirt and shorts. As I struggled to keep my balance while putting on the shorts, the women continued to focus on the dress, chattering about various tricks they’d learned or heard about over the years for getting out blood. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book Download
As I threw on the shirt, I interrupted their chattering and told them that I was on my honeymoon. At that announcement, they seemed even more determined to get me looking right again. Though, I really cared less. What I did care about is that I’d learned that their pity for me kept drinks coming.
I further justified the hitting by telling myself that he must really love me to be so adamantly vicious about the thought of losing me. I defended his behavior even further by telling myself that it was the dope and booze that caused him to act that way. I came to this conclusion because Tommy was only violent when he was loaded or drunk. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book Free
Problem was, we were always loaded or drunk. I justified his behavior even further by convincing myself that, other than the violence, he was a good man—he kept a job, he drank, and he drugged—all I ever wanted in a man. I knew nothing about standards, principles, respect, or boundaries. I even began to accept as true his own reasoning: that I deserved to get hit because I insisted on hitting back.
No one ever told me that no woman deserves to get hit, period. The people at work either didn’t see the signs of abuse, or ignored them; most likely because, like most people, they didn’t want to get involved. Actually, though, making the decision to mind their own business was probably a good thing.
Because if they had said something to me, I would have most certainly cussed them out for getting in my business. I absolutely hated folks in my business. One of my first assignments at Mesa Vista was to write a good-bye letter to my drug of choice. I refused to do it because, as I explained to my counselor, I really didn’t have a “favorite” drug—my favorite was whatever was free. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir PDF Book Free
To prove my point, I listed all of the different drugs I used at least occasionally. Once I finished my list, I proudly showed it to him, expecting him to be impressed. He reviewed the list and handed it back to me disinterestedly. He explained to me that I was what they called a “trash-can junkie”—someone that would, and did, do any drug. I actually liked this label because it described me accurately.
Still, he said I could pick only one drug for the letter. I still refused, and we argued back and forth about the issue. Finally, we came to a compromise and agreed to a slight change in the assignment: I would write two good-bye letters—one to every drug I’d ever done, and one specifically to crack because it was the one I preferred when I had money and it was the one that had brought me to my last residence: a Dumpster.