Tyrome, his mama, and Raquan sat on the sofa while Ethel, a fellow neighbor, read Miss Phillips’ will aloud, “Okay, to Raquan I leave my Bara manga which I’m sure he will enjoy.” She handed over a stack of manga to the overjoyed teenage boy.
“I take back every word I said about you being an old nag, Miss Phillis, you’re an angel in disguise!” his cousin exclaimed.
“You must really like comic books,” his aunt commented, which caused Raquan to angrily launch into a lecture of the difference between comics and manga. Tyrome chuckled at the scene before him.
“To Tyrome, I leave my most prized possession. Use it well.” Ethel reached behind the desk and came back with the mysterious possession.
“It’s a doll.” It wasn’t just any doll it was one of those old Russian dolls from what looked like an antique shop made entirely of clay rather than plastic or porcelain. With dark hair wrapped in a scarf, she wore a white and red dress patchwork dress that looked hand sewn, and it had almost life-like brown eyes.
“Can I get a refund?” Tyrome asked Ethel. Tyrome’s mama smacked him in the back of the head.
“You say thank you!” she chided.
“But you told me not to tell lies.” Tyrome was really confused.
“When someone gives you a gift you lie yo butt off,” his mother explained. The women frowned and read from the will. “It’s a blessing doll, it brings good luck apparently,” she stated.
“Oh man, you gots a doll!” Raquan howled.
“Shut up or I tell mom what you gots!” he snapped at his cousin.
“What do he got?” Tyrome’s mom demanded.
“Nothing, auntie.” Raquan glared at him. After that, the two boys and Tyrome’s Mom said their goodbyes and went home. A storm started on the way back rain pounded the windows and continued all the way until after dinner.
The family sat around the table heads bowed. ” Lord, please help poor Miss Phillis find peace in your heavenly kingdom, Amen,” Tyrome’s mother prayed.
“Amen,” the boys repeated and dug into their tomato soup. As thunder raged outside Tyrome grimaced, he didn’t mind the thunder but his cousin's greedy slurps were driving him nuts.
“I’m talking an extra shift tonight, that school, it ain’t gonna clean itself,” she said getting up and picking up her purse. “And clean this place up!” she added, motioning to the caked dishes which lay in the sink completely piled up. The various cans and fast food containers which were spread out all over the kitchen floor.
" You working late again?” Raquan complained.
" You want food on the table?” Mrs. Johnson asked.
" This ain’t happen when uncle Thomas was alive, why he gota throw his dam life away!” Raquan said.
" I ain’t wanna hear you trash your own uncle like that,” said Mrs. Johnson coldly her face went stiff. Then she looked at her watch sighed and hurried from the house.
" Why you gotta bring that up dumbass?” Tyrome demanded
" he died protecting some hoe” his cousin emphasized.
" My daddy did the right thing!” Tyrome snapped he was used to hearing the opinions of others about his father's choices but that did not make such comments sting any less.
" He in the ground after years of being sneered at by white and black folks” Raquan retorted. Then he fell quiet for a moment” this detective stuff it just fun right? I mean you ain’t really gonna.................” he trailed off.
" I wanna help our people” Tyrome responded.
" Tye look, I know yo brain ain’t work like everyone else’s but it a smart brain. The kind of brain that could get you out” Raquan emphasized. ” Don’t be like Uncle Thomas tryna be some crusader” he pleaded.
" If I leave there’s still gonna be gun shots at night” Tyrome shot back.
" But they won’t be outside yo window, what about Auntie? You get one of them fancy jobs and you can take care of her. She ain’t gota work her fingers to the bone cleaning up after a bunch of brats” Raquan emphasized.
" If I stay, I can make things better for everybody, solve the crimes the cops ain’t care about” Tyrome argued.
" Look you wanna help I get that, get out and then go save the dolphins or some shit” Raquan emphasized.
" I don’t want to save the dolphins, I wanna save our neighborhood” Tyrome could feel himself getting frusterated.
" This place is shit! Miss Philly got shot in her own dam home with her two dogs! That cuz is the place you wanna protect” Raquan shouted.
" Not everyone is like that!” Tyrome insisted ” You ain’t like that”
" Me, I’d join the Black Foxes if they’d take me, half the dam school would!” Raquan argued.
There was a long moment of silence.
" You what?” Raquan turned and started storming out of the room ” Raquan!”
" Just leave me alone alright!” the other boy went in the next room, Tyrome heard the tv flip on.
Irritated and confused Tyrome started to turn on the water, and then he thought about how the plates touching each other and how it would make a loud irritating sound. Something he couldn’t explain to Mama or he’d be accused of trying to get out of it, usually, he endured the discomfort but tonight he was rebelling. “You know what, I ain’t doing it,” he decided.
Then he turned went to his own room where he had to stare at that creepy little doll which just stared back at him in turn. “Blessing doll right, it’d be a blessing if you could clean the kitchen.” Then he put on a pair of headphones to block out the sound of the TV and picked up a psychology book from his alphabetized collection. The mystery novels lay on the top shelf followed by the science textbooks on the bottom. Raquan used to go into his room when he was younger and mess with the order of his books just to drive him crazy. Tyrome flipped to where he left off in his studies. He had held a long interest in the subject due to his struggle to understand others' thoughts and emotions. Tyrome read a few paragraphs and wrote down. “Need to test this out, find a control group.”
He paused, the kids at school were the obvious choice of course. But his Mama and teachers didn’t like him using his classmates as guinea pigs. His Mom may have cried out in dismay at his busted nose and lip but now Tyrome knew what not to say to his classmates and could avoid further incidents in the future, he considered that progress.
Tyrome returned to his book engrossed until he felt nature calling. Sighing, he placed the book down and then went to relieve himself. When he came back, he froze, the doll was gone. Tyrome sighed and got up out of bed, not in the mood he walked past the kitchen to the living room. “Raquan, you’ve been in my room, you want the doll you can have it!” Raquan called out.
“What’re you talking about? I haven’t touched your doll.” Raquan shouted from the living room.
“Oh yeah, I bet it just jumped off my dresser and—” Then he heard the sound of running water. Quietly, he crept back into the kitchen, and there sitting in the sink washing the dishes was the Russian doll. “Uh, Raquan, you’ve got to see this!” he croaked.
“I’m busy!” Raquan lied.
“You need to see this now!” Tyrome stressed.
“What can be so damn important it interrupts—?” Raquan let out a sharp gasp at the sight. The doll turned its eyes which flitted from Raquan to Tyrome and then it bowed to him.