Chapter 3 Julie Newsome Green vs. Ernest Tyson Green
When sitting in prison cells one has time to think, and once he had his all to himself, Ernest Green had been thinking a lot. Ernie’s thought process is somewhat cyclical but more so melting pot. It starts with fond memories associated with his past criminal acts and how smart he felt he had been in orchestrating them, transitions to a feeling of stupidity for being caught, and concludes with a weird joy. This joy is brought on by the fact he was only serving time for a misdemeanor. Not the hard time he deserved.
The thing he got popped for was only a drop in the bucket in the whole operation. He was too damn smart to be caught up in the big picture. Too damn smart to be hit with a felony. But still, stupid enough to get caught. Stupid enough to let Julie see too much. He knew that she was the rat after all. The cops kept talking about the ounce of weed and bottle of pills. Julie likely stumbled across some of his stash and told the Boys in Blue all about it. He would teach her a lesson when he got out.
At least he was smart enough not to let her see too much. Smart enough not to leave visible marks when he roughed her up. Smart enough to accept the plea deal. But still stupid enough to be doing a year in County. Sure, it was twelve months for a drop in the bucket, but it was twelve months he’d never get back. Twelve months for his wife to find another man. Shack up with another man. Fuck another man.
Ernie’s dad used to tell him, “To be so damn smart, you sure are stupid sometimes.” Ernie knew it to be the truth, and had decided to do the smart thing these past six months. Twelve months is cut in half for good behavior. So the twelve months became six, and Julie was none the wiser. He was too smart to tell her he had a six month head start.
While in prison Ernie had mailed Julie a letter to their old house in Greendale. Either Julie had been checking the mail in Greendale or had had it forwarded to a new address. Whatever the case, he could tell when he got her letter she had moved. And knowing her, he thought, it was likely she had moved in with another man.
At least she had not been dumb enough to write her new return address on the envelope, but she had not been smart enough to figure that it would be stamped with a Baxton post-mark. Even more telling of the fact that she had moved were the notices for non-payment Ernie had been receiving each month from the mortgage company. The notices read that payments had not been received since March, which also so happened to be the month of his arrest. Now it was October, making seven months without payments. So not only did Julie likely move, she just stopped paying the mortgage all together. What a fucking bitch, he thought.
Figuring the house was as good as gone, he thought to himself maybe he’d buy him a little spot in Baxton when he was released. Figure out where she was and who she was with. This way he would be able to keep an eye on her, and rough her up a bit when she needed it. He would have a six month head start, after all. However, this was before he knew Julie had robbed him blind, and before he knew the Court had granted their divorce.
When he found out these things, it was immediately apparent that Ernie would be without the resources to get his own place. Nevertheless, in that moment of finding out he was broke, and finding out the Julie had really left him for good, the need to get a place in Baxton took on more significance than ever. While at first him getting a place was to keep an eye on Julie, and maybe rough her up a bit when she needed it. Now, the plan had changed. He would still need to keep an eye on Julie to execute his new plan, but not so he could rough her up. Roughing her up was the old plan. The new plan was much more sinister.
Ernie knew his absence of funds would be immaterial if he were able to ingratiate himself with a new lady friend that already lived in Baxton. Relying on a woman with a home in Baxton would be perfect because he wouldn’t need to work. Of course he would tell her he was working, actually utilizing that time to move freely and monitor Julie’s movements. As luck would have it, finding the perfect girl would be simpler than anticipated as well. Because, didn’t that nigger who snuck me brag about making a widow out of a waitress in Baxton? Yea, Ernie believed he had. Some waitress named Katherine Suchie.
Not only was Kat lonely, she was extremely vulnerable. In normal circumstances this is just the way Ernie likes them. Unfortunately Kat’s vulnerability tied in too closely with her loneliness. It was a vulnerability directly associated with raising a small boy without any help, and a loneliness which stemmed from the tragic death of her loving husband. And though Ernie prided himself on his brightness, he knew it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that in order for Kat to spread her legs she needed to be told he’d help out with the family too. So Ernie planned to meet her first thing when he got out. And sure he’d help raise the boy. That was a single lie of many that he would not mind telling.
Like everyone else in prison, Ernie hadn’t been put in there because of the big one. The big one he had gotten away with. But unlike everyone else in prison, Ernie kept his mouth shut about the big one. Ernie’s first cell mate, Jackie Johnson was a tall skinny black guy with a clear substance abuse problem who proved to be like the others. He started running his mouth about the big one late night, day one.
“Hey, you up?”
“Well I wasn’t till you started up,” replied Ernie.
“What you in for?”
Ernie grunted forcefully. “Go to sleep,” he told him.
“Yea me too,” the man replied in agreement.
“You too what, God dammit?”
“I got busted for some dumb shit. You don’t wanna know what I really done.”
“You’re right. I don’t wanna know. Go the fuck to sleep.”
“Yea, you don’t wanna know. Because it’s too crazy. I don’t blame you. Shit is crazy. Crazy. Crazy.
“God, will you please shut the fuck up?”
“So I had been hooping it up on the courts with the brothers in Pride Bay. You know where that is right?
“No. And I don’t fucking care.”
“It’s just south of Baxton.” This made Ernie’s ears perk up. Figuring the guy wasn’t going to stop until he was finished, Ernie sat up on his bunk. “See I knew you wanted to know what’s up. Well anyway,” Jackie continued, “I normally get my hustle on down there. We play 20-30 dollars a game, ya dig?” Ernie nodded. “One day this new nigga shows up, wanting to play. Except for he ain’t a nigga, he white, right?
“Yea he is white like me and not a nigger like you. I got it. So what?” said Ernie, truly hoping the slur would get the guy to finally shut his mouth.
“Watch it now Whitebread,” he replied sharply, but he didn’t stop talking. He continued his story, “So it’s plain to see this cracker is there to play even after we all laugh in his face. So I tells him, ‘Ok, cracker it’s 100 dollars a game.’”
“Let me guess,” interrupted Ernie. “Ya’ll play, and he can ball, right? He wins and beats you out of your hundred bucks?”
“Yea. Something like that. How’d you know?”
“Because it’s exactly what happened in that movie White Men Can’t Jump.”
“I ain’t seen that one yo.”
“Oh you aint, huh?” mocked Ernie.
“Nah. But hold up now. Wait, wait, wait jus a second.” Jackie paused long for effect. “They kill the white mother-fucker in that movie too?”
“Wow, so let me guess. ’Cause you did, right?”
“That’s right. I fucking shot that honkey three times. Pow Pow Pow!”
“Whatever. You kill a guy over $100.00? Just like that. Are you out there just trying to prove how much of a nigger you are?”
“I told you to cool it with that shit Whitebread.”
“Oh fuck you,” Ernie told him. “I had you figured out the moment you walked in here.”
“Oh that right?”
“Damn right. You are scared to fucking death. Your homies probably told you, ‘If when you get in there and they put you with a white guy, you need to make sure you shake him up the first night.’ Am I right?” Ernie laughs. “Oh so you’re quiet now. Got nothing to say? Sort of surprising since you haven’t shut up all night.
“And the story you come up with? Wow. But I mean look at you. I shouldn’t expect that you’d have the intellectual capacity to come up with anything fresh. So you steal one straight out of a fucking movie?”
“What you trying to say?”
“Is this an act, or are you really this fucking dumb?” Ernie asked. “I am saying you are a liar. That story is completely fabricated. Well maybe you robbed him for his Nikes or some shit. Ya’ll niggers love doing shit like that.”
“Oh that is funny,” Jackie said laughing.
“Oh is it, now?”
“Yea, they were Nike’s alright, but I ain’t take em.”
“Good for you.”
“That nigga’s bitch ass son was clunking around in them massive muphukas in Pride Bay just a couple weeks after his daddy was popped.”
“Whatever,” Ernie said. “Go to sleep.”