Hood rat


Book - 2006

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1st Floor FICTION/K'wan Due Mar 20, 2024
New York : Saint Martin's Griffin 2006.
Main Author
K'wan (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
356 p.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

K'wan's latest (after Eve) is a meandering trip across Harlem with plenty of pit stops for vice and violence. Yoshi is a stripper who prostitutes herself for extra cash; Rhonda is a promiscuous and abusive mother of three; Reese is a scabrous, demanding kept woman; and Billy is an attractive, sporty woman with a healthy distrust of the men who live in their Harlem 'hood. All of the women get sucked into drama involving neighborhood rappers, drug dealings, abortion, fistfights, catfights, shootings, rape, AIDS or good, old-fashioned drunkenness. There's a bevy of minor characters, each involved in intersecting subplots, though these don't so much coalesce as run their course. The most interesting story involves Paul, a man who's trying to go straight and become an artist, and who's also dating a respectable lawyer named Marlene, but things are destined to end badly. None of the characters rises above stereotype and the plotting is mechanical, but the big draw here is the electric prose, which is imbued with profane, comic lyricism. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

In LaMarche's first novel, the life of New England teen Ted LeClare is turned upside down the summer before high school when his friend Bobby Dennison is accidentally shot at Ted's house with a gun Ted loaded. Ted's guilt about what happened, along with an ongoing investigation that could implicate him in Bobby's death, sends him on a downward spiral. He finds solace and a degree of acceptance by becoming involved with American Youth, a group of neo-Nazi teens who act out their anger against middle-class newcomers to town and who regard Ted as something of a hero because he owns a gun. He participates in their vandalism and even becomes involved with the ex-girlfriend of one of the group's leaders-until their actions begin to hit too close to home and he must make a decision. LaMarche's style can distance the reader from the characters at times, making this raw and often violent coming-of-age tale less emotionally compelling than it might have been. Still, it's a worthwhile purchase for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/06.]-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Part One I'll Bet You Know Somebody Like This 1 That's right, nigga, fuck this pussy!" Yoshi grunted as she threw it back. The muscles flexed in her toned arms as she gripped the semiclean bed sheets of the motel room. Her back arched and flattened with the motion of his stroke, making slapping sounds as his thighs hit her ass. The young man cursed and rained spittle on her back as he went for broke on the fine light-skinned girl. From all the noise she was making, you'd have thought he was wrecking it, but it was all a show on her part. She learned early in the game how to get into a man's head and make him blow his wad. Two minutes later, it was a done deal. "Damn, Yoshi. That shit was the bomb!" he huffed, flopping on his back. She brushed a strand of her jet black hair from her forehead. "Yeah, daddy. You laid it down." "Yo, I was thinking," he said as he slid a little closer to her, "maybe if you're not doing anything Saturday, we could get together. My uncle is having a cookout and--" "Nah, don't think I can make it," she cut him off. "Well, maybe Sunday? We could go to dinner or something." Yoshi reached over to the nightstand and removed a Newport from the half-empty pack. She lit the cigarette and casually blew the smoke into the air. "Check this, Rel. You're cool, but it ain't that serious. You knew what it was before we laid down, so don't try to make it more than that." Rel was glad the room was dark so she couldn't see his facial expression. He felt like someone had cocked over and took a shit in his mouth. Rel had met Yoshi at a strip club where she danced the weekend prior. All his boys had kicked shit on her name, but he believed in giving everyone a chance. He had gone back to the club on several occasions, just to see the yellow tender, and try to get close to her. After having a few drinks and a few dollars, he decided that she was cool peoples. His man had told him not to get roped up with the fast chick from Harlem, but Rel allowed his heart to lead him. Sure, she was a stripper, but he dug her as a person. His theory was, if he could show her a different way to live, they might have a chance at building something. Now he realized that he was panning for fool's gold. "Damn, it's like that?" he asked. She blew rings into the air. "It ain't like nothing. That's what I'm trying to tell you." "I don't fucking believe this shit." He angrily slid his jeans and T-shirt back on. "Here I am trying to show you love and you're shitting on me." "Love ain't got no place in my world, boo-boo. I ain't looking for a man, Rel, just a come-up. You can leave that bread on the nightstand." Rel pulled some bills from his pocket and tossed them at her. "You're a cold bitch, Yoshi. I should've known you can't reform no ho!" Using her leg, she swept the bills closer to her. "Call me what you want, nigga, but you won't call me broke. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." Rel glared at her, contemplating kicking her ass and taking his money back, but figured he'd be worse off for it. When they had begun undressing, he peeped her stashing a .22 under the pillow. Clenching his jaw, he stormed out the door, slamming it so hard that one of the dime store portraits on the wall fell and broke. Yoshi never even flinched. She took her time counting through the bills, making sure he hadn't shortchanged her. Folding the bills and placing them in her Coach bag, Yoshi placed the bolt on the motel door and headed into the bathroom. It was only 1:45. If she hurried, she could make it back to the club in time to catch another trick. Time was money. Reese stood on the corner of 135th and Fifth Avenue, tapping her foot impatiently. She was five foot four, with brown skin and hair that stopped just below her earlobes. Reese had a nice ass and healthy breasts, but her face wasn't all that. She wasn't an ugly girl, but lost points for her wide nose and crooked teeth. Word on the streets was what she lacked in looks she made up for in skills. Reese had the reputation of being a head specialist. Glancing at her watch, she noted that she had been standing there for almost a half hour, twenty-five minutes longer than she should have. Her boo told her that he would be there and once again he pulled the bullshit. You'd have thought that as much as he did it she'd be used to it by now. She decided that if he didn't arrive within the next five minutes she was leaving. No sooner than Reese had the thought, a silver Benz pulled up to the curb. The car's tints were so heavy that the onlookers were probably not only wondering who was in the car, but how they were able to even see out the window. Reese pushed the ill thoughts she had had a few seconds prior out of her head and hopped in. "Hey, baby." He kissed her on the cheek, scratching her with his beard. Teddy was a heavyset cat with cocoa-colored skin and pearl white teeth. He was a working-class dude in his early forties who had taken to messing with girls half his age to feel like he was still in the loop. Most bitches only dealt with him because he was a trick, but Reese actually liked him. "Ted, you know how long you had me out here waiting?" She clicked her gum. "Stop acting like that, you know I be in the mix." He waved her off. "So fucking what, you still could've called my cell phone!" she barked, holding up the Motorola he had bought her the month before. "Look, I just had to go through some shit with Penny and I really ain't in the mood to hear it from you," he told her. Reese slit her eyes at him. "I should've known." "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" "It means that I'm about tired of her cutting into my time. Every time I turn around you're late or pulling no-shows because you had something to do for her." Teddy ran his hands across the top of his waved-up fade, as he often did when he was frustrated. "Reese, don't start this shit. You already know what it is." "Yeah, I know what it is and I'm about sick of it," she said. "Why the fuck do I always have to take a backseat to that bitch?" "Ain't no need to be slinging names, ma. You need to hold your head." "Hold my head?" she asked as if the statement was offensive. "Teddy, how long have I been holding my head? This shit is getting tired." "Reese, what do you want me to do? Penny is my wife." "And I'm supposed to be your girl!" she snapped. "How long have you been promising me that you were gonna leave her?" "It ain't that easy, ma. I can't just go home and say, 'Penny, I've fallen in love with someone else. It's over.'" "Why not, Teddy? You claim you love me, so why do I have to keep waiting around for you to tell this bitch what the real deal is?" Reese had been seeing Teddy for a little over four months. At first she didn't know he was married, but by the time she found out, she was already hopelessly in love with the man. When she confronted him, he fed her a story about how the marriage was already on the rocks and how he was about to file for a divorce from his wife of ten years. Though her brain screamed he was a fat fucking liar, and she should cut him loose, her heart vetoed it. Teddy had his fucked-up ways about him, but for the most part he was good to Reese. He spent money on her and made her feel beautiful. Though in her heart she knew there was more to love than that, it was enough for the moment. "Reese, a situation like this requires tact. Penny is an emotional woman. If I break it to her like that, there ain't no telling what she might do. I'd feel like shit if I found out she killed herself 'cause I left her," he said, flattering himself. "I promise, baby." He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. "Just give me a little more time and it'll just be me and you." "Whatever," Reese said, pouting like a child. For the next five minutes they drove in silence. Teddy fumbled with the radio while Reese busied herself looking out the window, watching the blur of faces. When they reached 125th Street, Teddy made a right instead of busting a left to head to the east side. "Teddy, where are you going? Madison Avenue is the other way," Reese pointed out. Teddy kept his eyes directly in front of him as he navigated through the busy traffic and turned left on Seventh Avenue. "I know, boo, but I gotta stop by the spot right quick." "Come on, Teddy, I wanna get to the store before they run out of my size in those new Dior shoes." Teddy pulled in front of a building on 124th and Seventh and parked the car. "Baby, them shoes ain't going nowhere. Big daddy got you." Without giving her a chance to protest, he hopped out and began walking toward the building. On the third floor, Teddy led her into what he liked to call his Honeycomb Hideout. It was a sparsely furnished studio apartment that he kept in Harlem, unbeknownst to his wife. Reese had been there a few times, but he kept her visits limited and wouldn't allow her to have a key. The reason for this was he claimed to have work on that block, but didn't want the niggaz from around there getting too familiar with anyone he cared about. Teddy had a bullshit story for every occasion. "Teddy, please don't take forever," Reese said, leaning against the wall. "Baby girl, you're too uptight," he said, kissing her gently on the forehead while palming her ass. "Why don't you let daddy work some of that tension up outta you?" "Cut it out." She pushed him away. "I ain't trying get all sweaty with you up in here." "Reese, I know you ain't gonna deny me. I ain't tasted that sweet fruit in like a week," he pleaded. "That's because you were laid up with your wife," she shot back. Teddy ignored her comment and continued kissing her on the neck and lips. "Lets not talk about her, this is our time. Come on, baby, let daddy get a little something." "I told you I ain't trying to get all sweaty and end up having to go home and change. You better go see Penny about some pussy." "Yo, you know how sexy you are when you're trying to be mad?" He cupped her breasts. "Reese, you don't know how bad I want you right now." Teddy placed his hand behind Reese's head and began to kiss her passionately. As much as she wanted to pull away so they could get back outside, she found herself helpless under his strong touch and onslaught of kisses. Gradually he started pushing down on the top of her head. Reese knew what time it was and didn't resist. Dropping down on her knees, she proceeded to undo Teddy's jeans. She pulled his thick penis out and examined it. "That's right, baby," he said, prodding her head further. "Do that for daddy." Reese looked up at him and thought for the umpteenth time how full of shit he was. That was okay, though. When they got to the Dior store he would pay like he weighed for that blow job. Reese began by gently licking around the head of Teddy's dick. Something tasted different, but she really didn't have time to dwell on it before he was trying to force himself in her mouth. She ran her tongue up and down his shaft to get it good and slippery, then proceeded with the magic trick. Reese took all of Teddy into her throat, drawing a low moan from him. "I can't take this shit," he said, snatching her to her feet and damn near dragging her over to the couch. Teddy roughly slung her over the arm of the couch and started pulling at her pants. "Nigga, these is Seven jeans. You rip 'em, you bought 'em," she warned. "Sorry," he said, panting and continuing to pull at her jeans. Finally he got them down and admired Reese's ass. Seeing her in jeans, you could tell that she had a little something, but when they came down you could appreciate the whole union. Fumbling with his short, fat penis, Teddy began trying to penetrate her from behind. "Damn, hold your horses!" she shouted, slapping his hands away from her hips. "You got a condom on?" "Come on, ma, don't start tripping off that shit. You know how me and you do," he said, continuing to force himself inside her vagina. Reese had always had a problem taking Teddy inside her. Though he didn't have the longest dick in the world, it damn near had the girth of a miniature salami. She tried to tell him to take it slow, as she wasn't wet yet, but he ignored her and kept pushing. Reese felt like she was getting rug burns on the inside as Teddy crammed himself inside her. Gripping her hips, he began pumping away, obviously not bothered by the dryness of her. The worst part about it was that by the time she had gotten wet and was ready to enjoy it, Teddy came. "No the fuck you didn't?" Reese looked back at him disgusted. "My fault, ma." He was still panting. "Yo pussy is so good that a nigga couldn't hold it. I'll make it up to you, though." When he pulled his dick out of her, cum ran down her inner thigh and landed on the back of her jeans. Reese wasn't sure if she was more pissed at the fact that he had cum prematurely or the fact that he had fucked up her jeans. "I don't believe you came on my jeans," Reese said, using the overhead mirror on the passenger side to try and fix her hair. "Reese, I said I was sorry. Fuck you want me to do, buy you a new pair?" he asked sarcastically. "I'd appreciate that," she said as if he had been serious. Teddy looked over at her like he wanted to say something, but his cell phone cut him off. He listened for a while, said okay, and hung up. Reese didn't like the tone of his voice while he was on the phone and she liked the way he was looking at her afterward even less. "Baby, we've got a slight change in plans," he said solemnly. "Oh boy, what is it now? Penny break a nail and need you to take her to the fucking emergency room?" "You know, one of these days I'm gonna bust you in your smart-ass mouth," he warned her. "The moment you feel like losing that same hand you raise to me, be my guest," she said defiantly. "Now, are we gonna sit in front of this fucking building all day or are you taking me to Madison Avenue?" "That might have to wait till later on." "Teddy, I know you ain't about to pull this bullshit on me. I waited for you all damn morning and now you're telling me we ain't going?" "Yo, it ain't my fault," he said, running his hands across the top of his fade. "Penny was supposed to go pick Sha up, but now she's talking about something came up so I gotta do it." Sha was Teddy's eight-year-old son. Reese had met him on more than one occasion, but couldn't honestly say she spent any great length of time around him. "Oh, is that all? Why don't you just snatch him up and bring him along. It'd be nice for me and Sha to finally get to spend some time together." "Nah, you know how Penny be tripping. If she found out I had our son around another bitch she'd kill me and you." "So that's all I am, another bitch?" she asked defensively. "You know what I mean, Reese. You're my bitch." He reached out to touch her face, but she moved back. "Tell you what," he said, peeling off a fifty and a twenty from his bankroll and handing it to her, "use this money to jump in a cab from here and get your mind right. Get yaself a bottle and some smoke, and when I finish with Sha, I'll hit you back and we can see about catching the store." Hearing that he would be coming back to scoop her, Reese's face softened a bit. "Teddy, you better not be playing with me." She took the money and got out of the car. "If you have me waiting around and you don't show up, it's gonna be on and popping." "Ma, I got you," he said, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. Reese went to say something else, but ended up getting a mouthful of exhaust as he peeled off down Seventh. "Pooh, get your ass out here and get the sneakers out of the middle of my living room! If I fall and break my neck, I'm gonna break your ass!" Rhonda was dressed in a pair of denim shorts that were trimmed along the back, showing off her ass cheeks. The tank top she wore drew attention to her double-D breasts, but did nothing to hide her slightly protruding belly. She was a short woman with a large ass and oversize breasts, but as small as she was, she had the mouth of a giant. Rhonda made her way through her cluttered living room, mocksweeping up the cigarette butts and beer bottle tops from the night before. Rhonda wasn't a dirty woman, but her house always looked like a whirlwind had swept through it. It was due in part to the card parties she often threw. Being that Rhonda was one of the few girls who had her own crib, the girls were always coming through partying. On weekends, Rhonda sold plates to everyone in the hood to have some extra cake to stack on top of what she was already getting from the government. Though Rhonda wasn't the most book smart of her friends, she was a master hustler. She was getting checks from all branches of the aid system. The state gave her a little cash and food stamps for her three children, but the big payoff was Social Security. Rhonda had swallowed some of her own stool when she was born, so the doctors said there was a chance she might develop a learning disability. Though there was nothing wrong with her, her mother went to the state building and told them there was. Rhonda's mother had been getting checks for her since she was four years old, and when Rhonda turned eighteen, they came in her name. The hustle was so sweet that she used her son's ADD condition to get one for him, too. "Alisha." Rhonda turned to her thirteen-year-old daughter. "Get off my goddamn phone and go iron P.J.'s clothes." Alisha rolled her eyes. "Hold on," she said into the phone and covered the receiver with her hand. "A'ight! I'll do it when I get off the phone." "Bitch, who you yelling at?" Rhonda tossed a shoe at the child. "Don't make me whip your little pissy ass! You just do like I say." Alisha hung up the phone, with a suck of her teeth. When she passed Rhonda, she mumbled, "I hate you." "What the fuck you just say?" Rhonda grabbed Alisha by the shirt. "Say it again, so I can kick your little ass." She shoved Alisha roughly toward the bedroom. Alisha wanted to cry, but she wouldn't give her mother the satisfaction. All her mother ever did was yell and curse at them. All of the kids' mothers yelled, but not like Rhonda. There were things that Alisha wanted to confide in her mother, as every little girl did, but they didn't have that type of relationship. She longed for the day when she was old enough to move out. When Alisha got to the back of the apartment, she slammed the door roughly. "Don't be slamming no doors in here!" she called after Alisha. "I gotta pay for that, and I got your little funky ass for free." Rhonda's tirade was interrupted by her phone ringing. She looked at the caller ID, but couldn't tell who it was because the batteries were dead. "Hello!" she answered in her best hood rat tone. "Bitch, you can't answer the phone no better than that?" the caller replied. "Don't play with me, Billy. What's up?" Billy was one of Rhonda's closest friends. Though she was younger than Rhonda, they had lived in the same projects a few years back before Billy's mother had gotten them out. She hadn't known Billy as long as Yoshi had, but over the years they had developed quite a friendship. "Nothing, 'bout to go to Kingdome and see what's going on," Billy said. "Shit, I ain't been there all summer," Rhonda recalled. "I need to go with you. Who else is going?" "Me, Reese, and Jean." "Jean? Billy, what's really good with you and that bitch?" "Don't be funny, Rhonda. You know me and Jean used to play for Brandeis together." "Umm-hmm. Tell me anything," Rhonda said suspiciously. "Let me find out you eat at the Y." Billy sucked her teeth. "You know what, y'all better stop playing with me. You and Reese kill me with them slick-ass dyke comments." Billy's sexuality was a sore spot for her. Growing up, she had always been a tomboy. She didn't play with dolls or do other things that little girls would. Billy felt more comfortable playing sports. Before her father was killed, he had taught her to play basketball. From the time Billy was five until right before she entered junior high school, he would take her to the park every day to work on her game. By the time Billy was twelve, she could give any of the older boys on the court a run for their money. Her friends always clowned her about being so boyish, but she was quick to defend her femininity. She had had several boyfriends through the years, but always felt like there was a void being left unfilled. Being around like-minded girls in the sports circuit all her life, it was only natural that her curiosity was peaked. Billy didn't consider herself gay because she didn't have a girlfriend, nor did she consider herself bi because she only got involved with guys. Oh, she had experimented a few times, but had yet to find the bitch to turn her out properly. "Well, maybe if you wasn't so hard, people wouldn't think it," Rhonda continued. "Rhonda, just because I don't run around with my tits and gut out like you doesn't mean I'm not sexy." "Please," Rhonda said, "I got three muthafuck'n kids. This gut is a badge of honor. Besides, niggaz love to suck these titties." She groped her breasts, as if Billy could see her through the phone. "Speaking of your big-ass titties, I seen Paul the other day," Billy taunted. "Fuck him!" Rhonda snapped. "I ain't stunting his square ass." Billy sucked her teeth. "Yeah, right. You be on that nigga like a fly on shit." "You can't be serious. All Paul can do for me is take care of P.J. and make sure my pockets is right." "You ain't got no shame," Billy said. "Shame, my ass! My son has his last name, and that means I'm tied to that muthafucka for the next fourteen years. Membership has its privileges," Rhonda said smugly. "Now ain't that some larcenous shit," Billy remarked. "Rhonda, just because you and Paul have a baby together doesn't mean he owes you. His job is to take care of his seed." Rhonda moved the phone away from her ear and stared at it for a minute before she resumed their conversation. "Willamina, you've been my girl for a long time, but you must've fell and bumped that peanut-ass head of yours. I was on that table for twenty-six hours pushing that big-head little muthafucka out my ass. The least Paul can do is make sure I look just as good as P.J. does. You lay, you pay. Those are the rules, sweetie." "Whatever. So you going or not?" Billy changed the subject. "Gimme like an hour. I gotta throw something off and get rid of these bad-ass kids," Rhonda said. "Why don't you bring them with you? The kids could play in the park, or watch the game. The fresh air would do them good. Besides, I haven't seen my girl Alisha in a while anyway. How is she?" Rhonda huffed. "That little bitch is trying to make me kill her. I told her little ass to iron PJ.'s clothes and she acted like she was feeling some kind of way. Slamming doors and shit!" Billy snickered. "Stop playing." "I'm dead-ass. She don't know, I'll lay her to rest, early!" "You need to stop talking about them kids like that." "I brought the bitches here, so I can take 'em out. You just make sure y'all come get me." "Just have yo trick ass ready when we get there!" Billy shot back, but it was too late because Rhonda had already transferred her to the dial tone. HOOD RAT. Copyright (c) 2006 by K'wan Foye. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010. Excerpted from Hood Rat: A Novel by K'wan, K'wan K'wan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.