“I hate my daughter with a passion!” Francine Douglass said to no one as she walked toward her two-bedroom rental home on South Custer Street after parking her Honda Accord a block away. She had just ended her shift where she washes dishes for an upscale restaurant in the busy downtown district that caters to the rich and powerful. “I just hate her!” Francine repeated while looking for her house key in her oversized handbag. The hot and humid weather made her black, long-sleeved uniform cling to her medium body frame. All she wanted to do once she entered the house was ignore her daughter and take a cool shower before she started her evening hustle.
Francine neighbors were factory workers, delivery drivers, professionals and paraprofessionals. They sometimes minded their business and hardly paid Francine any attention – unless she was conducting curb side service outside of her home. The neighbors all surmised that she was mean and wished that she would quit performing transactions out in the open. The police had visited her home on several occasions, but no arrests were made.
As Francine entered her home, which should have been condemned for housing and code violations; she glanced at her worn sofa, scratched coffee table and mismatched lamps. Her new television was a gift from one of her drug-dealing clients. He thought she and her daughter should at least have a nice new television set. “Fuck my daughter! This will be my TV!” Francine said to her client. “She ain’t done nothing for me!”
The homes on Francine’s quiet street are brick ranchers or well-kept two-story homes that were built in the late 1960s. All had manicured lawns, beautiful shrubbery and flower beds. If it wasn’t for Francine’s dilapidated house, South Custer Street would have been a nice backdrop for the old soap opera, “Peyton Place.”
Closing the door behind her, Francine found her twelve-year-old daughter, Deidre, sitting at the cluttered kitchen table doing her homework. Francine noticed her daughter’s coiled hair and slender figure. Her breathing became hard and heavy.
“Hi, Ma!” Deidre prayed that her mother would be in a good mood for once in her life. The pre-teen counted the days until she could spend a few weeks with her aunt, uncle and cousin. She would get her hair fixed, take hot showers and do some things she wanted to do without any judgement or criticism from her mother.
“Mind your business!” Francine retorted as she sauntered toward the beige refrigerator to retrieve a beer from the nearly empty refrigerator. She would shop for groceries when Deidre went away for a while.
“And don’t speak to me or look at me unless I ask you to. I’ve told you that a million times and you still don’t listen to me. God, how I hate you…,” Francine spat out followed by a long swig of her ice-cold beer.
With her brown eyes filled with tears, Deidre stood up to leave the kitchen. Francine suddenly noticed that her daughter was probably about a couple of inches taller than her. However, Francine, thirty-eight years old, was a short woman standing at five feet two inches. She figured that Deidre would be a tall woman in a few years.
“Did you ask me to be excused?”
“You may be excused. Go to your room,” Francine stated as she savored the cold beer flowing down her throat.
Thinking of Deidre and her slender teenage figure, medium brown complexion, hair that’s probably shoulder length, if it was straightened and styled and expressive eyes, Francine realized that her daughter looked just like her biological father. Deidre didn’t bring in the child support payments, marriage or acknowledgement she had hoped from her father. Deidre was just dead weight to her.
Francine had grown up in a middle-class home complete with a mother, father, and a sister. She had not wanted or needed anything growing up because her parents provided well for her and her sister. However, it just wasn’t enough for her. She just wanted more in life like what those black Hollywood celebrities she admired seemed to be enjoying in real life. Francine was enamored with parties, drugs, clothes, liquor and orgies. The drugs and liquor gave her a false sense of hope and well-being. And she only wanted to marry a man if he was rich or at least upwardly mobile. Children would be a byproduct of the union, but not a necessity for her.
She dropped out of community college after one semester and worked odd jobs until she could save some money to rent a house. Francine’s parents were gracious enough to let her live with them until her attitude became too much for any parent to bear.
Now, standing in her tiny bathroom, Francine took notice of her short, stylish haircut, full breasts, hips and lips. She had been called “cute” on several occasions, but most men and women say her foul mouth and nasty attitude takes away from her “cuteness.” “Fuck you!” was always Francine’s reply to these types of comments.
After finishing up in the bathroom, Francine retrieved some paper bags from the kitchen cabinet and dropped a bag of weed and a lighter in each one. She folded the top of each of the bags and stapled them closed. It felt like she was getting ready for “Trick or Treat,” but it was for her curbside service operation. The angry mother placed a container of cocaine on the kitchen counter, retrieved a razor blade and divided the liter of coke on a clean mirror. For those who wanted to come inside her two-bedroom rental, they would be able to take a hit for a fee. This convenience was only for her preferred customers and those that she knew very well. Naturally, Francine didn’t want to get arrested by some undercover cops.
Curbside service started 8:00pm until midnight in front of her home most days of the week except for Tuesdays and Sundays. Therefore, she parks a block away so her customers can have exceptional service and a quick getaway. In addition, Francine had no reason for not selling drugs on Tuesday, but Sundays was the Lord’s Day and a day of rest. Francine placed her bags in an oversized handbag and stepped outside of her house. She had previously instructed Deidre to stay in her room after 8:00pm, which she obeyed.
One by one approaching cars flicked their headlights at Francine while the driver held his or her hand outside the car window. Francine took the folded money and handed each driver a brown paper bag. “Thanks for your business,” was her standard reply. While transacting business, Francine noticed a few neighbors peeping from their windows. She mouthed, “Fuck you,” to each of her nosy neighbors. Sometimes, she would give them the “finger” or turn around and pat her fat ass at them. Francine knew this would anger some of those church-going folks.
Later that evening, Francine enjoyed a profitable night of selling drugs. Her coke snorting friends normally arrived close to midnight while Deidre was fast asleep in her worn bed. Noticing the arrival of a late model Land Rover, Francine became mildly excited. It was her favorite “coke-friend,” Willie Bartee. He was in his mid-forties, average in height and looks and missing several teeth. However, Francine thought he had the best “dick” in town. So, she was willing to overlook some of his inadequacies in favor of his dick.
After quickly checking to make sure Deidre was fast asleep, Francine opened the front door. There she found Willie dressed in black jeans and a hoodie along with a pair of designer sneakers.