Sneak Peek


Summer 1987

“Looks like you’re missing your vehicle sticker, Mary. I’m gonna have to see your license and registration.”

I watched Mama dig in  her purse before handing her license to the policeman who stared into the car. While she waited, she swore under her breath, thumped her fingers against the steering wheel and said, “My husband put the sticker on the other day. It should be there.”

Mama stepped out of the car and joined the officer to stare down at the license plate. I peered at them through the window.

“It’s right there, Officer. What’s going on?”

“Umm…I don’t know how I could’ve  made that mistake, Mary.” He gazed at her for a moment and then smiled. “I must have got all excited when I saw you drive by.”

Mama drew back a little and frowned before turning to go. With one hand on the door she spoke over her shoulder. “It’s okay–”

“Mama?” I whispered, “Can we go now?”

The policeman’s eyes momentarily left Mama’s backside. They were like cool blue slits when he gazed down at me, “Not just yet. Me and your mama got something to work out.”

I bit my nail as Mama said, “I don’t understand. What’s the problem?”

I watched him rock back on his heels while speaking over her. “I don’t have to give you a ticket or anything like that. I can let you go with a special warning.”

“A special warning? but I didn’t do anything.”

“Yes, you did, ” He said with an easy laugh as he reached out to touch Mama’s hair. “You stole my heart.”

Mama jerked away from his outstretched hand, “Are you crazy?”

“No,” he said simply. “not at all, but I want you and I’ve been real good, real patient…lucky for me, the wait is over.”

Mama pushed at him as he came closer. “Stop it. Just stop…” She said as she took a tentative step back, “Now, I’m getting in my car and taking my daughter home.” When she turned her back on him, I saw her flinch when the policeman begin to laugh.

“You’re funny, Mary, but what you’re gonna do is give me what I want or I’ll take it.”

Mama stumbled as he pulled her away from the car. Her voice shook as she yanked out of his grasp. “Don’t touch me… Don’t you dare touch me…” pointing a finger at him now, she continued “You will not assault me, in the street, in front of my daughter.”

“Bitch, I can make it so you won’t have a daughter.”


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