Like three motley mini-musketeers gone wild, these little afro-punks spray-painted their special graffiti art swordplay all over the side of a bland brick wall, hidden from the main Memorial Day parade show currently in progress in Brooklyn, New York. Boomer, Twista, and Breezy Bee were hard at work, entranced and focused, not caring about any city celebration.
Breezy was about to finish, finalizing her piece with a few more touches when Boomer and Twista noticed her most awesome art piece yet. Boomer and Twista were twin boys who wore their hair drastically different from one another, like a pre-tween identity crisis. Breezy was a few years younger and had a style all her own, sporting a revised 90’s punk hairdo. She let the boys lead the way mostly, while Breezy seemed happy to follow if it wasn’t the rules.
“That look good, Breezy. Let’s Tok it,” said Boomer.
“Go Breezy!” said Twista.
Breezy busted out her dance moves for Boomer to record it. Then she dashed over to him to check out the shot on his Tik Tok channel, but a bullhorn harshly interrupted the little huddle before anyone could admire it.
“EH! What’re you kids doin?” shouted the police officer from his car.
The motley musketeers didn’t waste time, scattering like a bunch of dry leaf triplets swirled up in a country wind storm.
At a mini-mart boutique tightly tucked in between street shops, Boomer, Twista, and Breezy were walking through the aisles as if they were shopping, but they were secretly pirating some candy booty. It was a highway robbery in action, smoothly undetected. These kids have done this before. While Twista moved to divert the cashier’s attention paying for one candy bar, Boomer and Breezy swaggered out like nothing was wrong. Twista sweetly thanked the cashier with a smile and waved while leaving; it was a good day.
On the front steps of Breezy’s city apartment building, the tricky trio emptied their pockets and piled the candy together, happy about their stolen booty.
“Today was a good day,” said Boomer.
“Yup,” agreed Breezy
“Breezy, time for lunch!” yelled Isabelle, Breezy’s mother.
“When’s your dad comin?” asked Boomer.
“He’s comin at seven. We’re going away for the weekend,” said Breezy
“Where?” asked Twista
Breezy shrugged and said, “I dunno? He said it was a surprise.” She then grabbed her share of the candy and stuffed it in her backpack, heading inside the main apartment doors.
“See you when you get back, Breezy,” said Twista.
Breezy carefully crept on the hardwood floors, tip-toeing her way past old Ms. Nessie’s open door, with Ms. Nessie napping soundly in her lazy chair. She liked to keep her door open to let a breeze through, considering that the city would get so hot in the summer.
When Breezy opened the door to her apartment, she saw her mom getting ready for work. Isabelle was dressed in a high-class waitress uniform, looking neat and almost picture-perfect. A small-town southern beauty full of charm, she got hardened by single-mother city life. It was no time for self-pity; she had to work and feed her growing baby.
Isabelle could hear Breezy walking in and said, “Lunch is on the table. When’s your dad coming?”
“I dunno? Sometime tonight,” replied Breezy.
“Right. I’m gonna call him.”
“He said he would be here!” yelled Breezy.
Filled with doubt about a jerk who always broke his promise, Isabelle called Orlando Black, Breezy’s father, “Hey, it’s me. When you coming to pick Breezy up again? You said you would take her for the whole weekend. I gotta life too, y’know.” After she left the message, she quietly said, “Prick,” under her breath so Breezy could not hear her.
Breezy walked in her bedroom eating her sandwich. She then placed it on the table next to her bed and slumped down on her little twin bed, tired. She closed her eyes and was about to drift into sleep, but Isabelle stormed in with Breezy’s backpack, startling Breezy awake.
“Where did all this candy come from? Did you go stealing at the store again?”
Isabelle was clearly upset, “Yes you did! I’m not going to raise a little criminal, Breezy.”
The heated moment was interrupted by a cell phone, and Isabelle left to answer it. Breezy slammed her door behind her mother, which startled Isabelle. But Isabelle rolled her eyes and shook her head. Not this again. Isabelle looked at her phone and perked up when she saw the name featured: “DAD.”
“Hey, Dad, nice to hear you. Happy Memorial Day to you too! Yes, yes, Breezy is fine. Just waiting on her Dad to come pick her up. Yes, Dad, I know he’s a Hooligan; you were right the whole time. Listen, I gotta get ready for work. Can I call you back later? Love you too.”
Isabelle opened Breezy’s door but stayed in the doorway. Breezy covered her head with a pillow; she didn’t want to hear the lecture.
“Listen, I got a short shift today. We can talk about this when I get back. Ms. Nessie is right down the hall. Alright?”
Breezy refused to answer; it was the silent treatment. Then she heard her mother leave the apartment and uncovered her head.
“I ain’t no criminal,” said Breezy to herself, her eyes red, wet, and puffy. Pouting to herself, Breezy put on some headphones and listened to the music while staring up at the Afro-Punk Festival poster attached to her wall. She loved being an Afro-Punk and looked forward to going to the festival at the end of summer with Boomer and Twista.
Breezy jumped out of bed and rushed to find out who it was, hoping it was her father. But her excitement faded when she found Ms. Nessie standing outside her door holding a place of food. It’s not what she wanted.
“Hello, Ms. Nessie”
“Why the long look on your face?” asked Ms. Nessie.
“I was expecting my dad.”
“Well, let’s make sure you have a full belly while waitin’. Don’t want any hungry children round here if I can help it.”
“Thank you, Ms. Nessie.”
After giving Breezy the plate of food, Ms. Nessie moved towards her open door but stopped. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a black-clad figure fumbling with the main door’s handle. It was Breezy’s dad, Orlando. A well-dressed city thug with gold chains galore, Orlando was drunk but trying hard not to show it.
Orlando stumbled past Ms. Nessie, who was standing in her doorway, “Ehhhh, Ms. Nessie. How ya doin?”
Ms. Nessie could smell the disturbing odor of alcohol and fanned her face, “What in God’s name have you been drinking, son?”
“What? Me? You crazy old lady. Why don’t you get back in your apartment there and mind your own business.”
“You got some nerve!” said Ms. Nessie shutting her door.
Breezy opened the door and burst out, jumping into her hero’s arms. He has finally come to the rescue. Orlando took out a stuffed pink pig from inside his jacket and gave it to Breezy.
“You made it!” said Breezy with excitement.
“What did I tell you? I told you I was coming.”
Breezy rushed to her room and packed her clothes while Orlando stammered around the apartment looking for any loose change.
“Where are we going, Dad? I need to know what clothes I should bring…” asks Breezy.
“Where we going? Did I say we’re going somewhere?” asks Orlando back.
“For the weekend, you promised.”
Orlando looked out the window and down at the car waiting for him, “Not this weekend, baby. Your dad has to go on a business trip.”
Breezy’s bags were packed, and she was ready to go, “So, take me with you.”
“Naw, baby, next weekend. I promise.”
“NO! You promised me!”
“C’mon, Breezy…” Orlando tried to play it off and moved to the door, ready to leave. But Breezy grabbed him from behind, “Dad, don’t leave.”
“I just can’t right now, Breezy. I Promise, next time.”
Breezy yelled, “But you said that last time!”
Orlando struggled to get out of the apartment with Breezy tugging at him from behind, almost begging and pleading for dear life, “PLEASE, Dad, take me with you!”
Ms. Nessie could hear Breezy from her apartment and helplessly watched Orlando try to leave, with Breezy pulling him back with all her might.
“I can’t, I just can’t.” Orlando looked like he was about to cry, not wanting to deal with his emotions. He knew this story all too well, a childhood memory returning to haunt him.
Ms. Nessie gently coaxed Breezy to let go of her dad, “Come now, child. Let him go.”
“No! He promised me he would take me away for the weekend!”
In an Uber ride pulling up to the apartment, Isabelle gets out of the car and sees Orlando without Breezy.
“Where’s Breezy? I thought you were taking her for the weekend?” asked Isabelle
“Not this weekend.”
“You fucking loser! That’s what you said last time.”
“C’mon baby, you know how it is.”
“When you going to grow up, huh? You no good, son-of-a..." Isabelle slapped Orlando in the face. A moment of silence.
“Maybe next time.” Orlando got inside his car and drove away. Isabelle can see the shadow of another woman in the passenger seat next to Orlando, her eyes filled with hurt as a tear escaped her eye. She quickly wiped it away.
Ms. Nessie and Breezy are standing on the front steps, Breezy was holding her new stuffed white pig close to her chest.
Isabelle crept towards them, not sure what to do or say next.
“Since when did you like farm animals?” asked Isabelle.
“Dad gave it to me.”
“Are you going to be all right?” asked Ms. Nessie.
Isabelle sighed and said, “Fine as I’ll ever be.”
Ms. Nessie patted her arm reassuringly, “Good for you, Isabelle! Say, doesn’t your grandfather have some pigs on his farm like that one, Breezy?”
“I guess so.”
“That’s right, the farm! Ms. Nessie, you just gave me a great idea! Breezy, what if we go visit grandpa on his farm?”
“Gross. I hate that farm. It’s got too many bugs.”
“Might do you two some good to get out of the city,” said Ms. Nessie.
“Right. I’m gonna call him.”
“And don’t you two waits, neither. Just get out and go!”
Isabelle found her phone and called her dad, “Hey dad, how ya doing? No, everything is fine. Listen, want some company this summer? I was thinking of coming to the farm with Breezy. When? Well, tomorrow. Yea, that soon. C’mon dad. So what? We’ll go grocery shopping together, I got you. Okay, love you too, dad.”
Breezy rolled her eyes, “I hate that farm.”
“You’ll love it.”
“NO, I WON’T!”
“And your bags are already packed.”
“Boomer and Twista are going to be so mad about this.”
“I don’t want you hanging around those hooligans.”
“Hooligans? Who are they?”
“Ask your grandpa.”
“My summer is ruined.”