Ricardo (A Crime Fiction/Novel) Episode 2

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Ricardo started counting after they had embraced and looked like frightened babies. He had counted up to seventy before Nya removed her hands from the back of her mother. She stood apart from her mother, and they held hands. Ricardo felt like throwing up on them. These his family members, who behaved like tender babies sucking their mother’s breasts.

Finally, Nya spoke, “What about Aunt Rosa, mom?”

“Aunt Rosa is getting well, that’s all I can say. The illness is not as bad as it was when it started. It threw her way down that I thought she would not survive. It is a miracle she is able to pull it through to this moment, at least. We look forward to more miracle. We may never know what God has in store for us.”

Nya inhaled and looked worriedly at her mother. She said, sadly. “I pray we don’t lose her like we lost Aunt Betty, Uncle Dane’s wife. It was really a painful experience for me.”

“And me, too, hun,” their mother said.

“And me, too,” Ricardo said. They all nodded to themselves and avoided looking to each other’s face. It was a very sad moment in their lives, watching Aunt Betty die on the hospital bed, and they knew there was nothing they could do about it. She died due to cancer. It was at the advanced stage, and Ricardo and his siblings watched in horror as Aunt Betty’s situation deteriorated faster and faster until she was thin and looked like a tiny stick.

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They were quiet for a while. They let their heart breath faster than it was normal and took in and took out a lot of air. It was Ricardo who broke the silence.

“What are we having for dinner, mom?” he asked.

“We are having chicken, and let me say, salad.”

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“Where is the chicken, mom?” Ricardo asked, suddenly peering into the kitchen as if the kitchen was lying there. Ricardo’s ears turned up when he heard chicken. his mother and sister looked at him and laughed. They knew how much of a meat lover he was.

“No one buys raw chicken any more, hun,” their mother said.

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“Mom, you’d say that prepared chicken were dead bodies or fattened corpses,” Ricardo said. He held his hands together and wrapped them across his chest. “How is it possible that you no longer see prepared chicken as that?”

“Never mind that I had that thought, now we’re about to prepare dinner, hun,” their mother said. She had left where she stood and walked to the kitchen. “We’ll have chicken, and it was already prepared, lying frozen in the fridge. You mind getting it for us, Ricardo, and completing its preparation for us?”

“I ain’t gonna do that,” Ricardo said in pretty low tones.

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“And why won’t you do it?” Nya said. She raised her right fingers and snapped them in front of her as if she was preventing something. Removing something from there in the most aggressive way she knew she could. “The kitchen is no longer for the ladies alone. And that’s it, you’d not been making contributions in this house. You don’t cook either.”

Their mother looked toward Ricardo. She had more warmth in her eyes than before. “Hun, you can cut the chicken right and wash it? That’s the only thing you’d be doing. Shamar would be coming home today. He’d be happy if you prepared the chicken.”

“Mom, why did you have induce Ricardo to prepare the chicken with that?” Nya asked. She flared up, really pissed at the moment, her chest rising and falling very fast. “He has the space, obligations, and rights to prepare the chicken like any of us ladies in the house.”

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“You speak like they have been teaching you moe of Luther and Malcolm these days?” Ricardo smirked. He was already moving into the kitchen, turning to look at Nya.

“More of like Rosa Parks. If the world wasn’t too intoxicated with chauvinism, Rosa Park’s daring act would have been more recognized.” Nya placed her arms on her waist, looking like one about to strike the first blow or something. Ricardo smiled; he had been there with the braggadocio high school made you have.

Their mother watched them calmly, her arms folded across her breast. The cobweb remover was still in her right hand. It hung low, bouncing on the left side of her body. “See, what good school and knowledge was making my baby do. Oh, come to momma and give momma a hug. My bright star shines forth.”

Ricardo wasn’t ready to see any of that. He hurried off to the kitchen and to the side of the fridge to get the chicken. He took in a heavy breath. Not that he hated preparing anything, or that he had never prepared chicken at all. He’d prepared chickens in the house before, and he didn’t have any problem with that. He didn’t understand where all these women rights stuff was coming from. However, that’s how he behaved late in his high school days, attacking people’s view about Black Rights and all. The school made one get that mindset.

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Ricardo got to the fridge, opened it and checked for the chicken. The fridge’s coolness blew his face and made his head cold. There were fruits all over the fridge, banana, grapes, melons, all kind of stuff his mother shopped in the market. She loved fruits, Nya loved it too, but Ricardo and Shamar hated it. In the fridge, there were also a lot of milk shakes, yogurts, fruit juices. In the middle, the large fresh chicken lay on its back as if it was alive and breathing. Before this moment when their mother believed chickens killed in the market, skinned and displayed in nylon covers were frozen corpses, they used to buy life chicken and prepare it from there.

He brought out the plate that had the chicken on top. He placed it on top of the cabinet, brought out a tray and kept the chicken on top of it. He dropped the plate in the sink close to where he stood and began to work on the chicken. With the sharp kitchen knife he sliced through the kitchen and made sure they were cut to perfect fit sizes. He cut the chicken pieces to the right sizes. Doing this, he hummed a song, letting his hand work around the chicken, fastidiously.

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Soon, he was done with the preparation of the chicken; the chicken pieces were neatly cut and were equal and the right sizes. Ricardo put them in a bowl and moved to the sink to wash them. At the sink, he turned the tap, washing the chicken pieces and watching as the blood mixed perfectly with the water.

 He finished with washing the chicken pieces. He left to inform his mother and sister that he was done, and they could come to make the dinner they were to prepare. He met them in the dining, making some material from the wool they had in their hands. He was surprised, because they were supposed to be getting to ready to make dinner.

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“Mom,” Ricardo called affectionately. “I thought you’re supposed to be preparing stuff for dinner. I’m done cutting up the chicken. I have washed them.”

“Hun, what a good man you are,” their mother said, smiling and looking at him. “Thank you. Nya and I’d be going to the kitchen any moment from now. We will prepare it so well you’d cut off your finger chewing them.”

“Mom, you said there would be salad, right?” Ricardo asked. He was expecting her to say yes, but he still wanted to be sure. Salad and chicken was one of the best combination for him.

His mother still said, “Yeah.”

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“You said Shamar will be showing up today? You have any idea he’d be passing the night here?”

“Yes, Shamar called me that he’d be here, but I don’t have any idea if he’d be passing the night,” his mother said, looking at, him and doing what she was doing at the same time. “There was a great, good, guess that he would be passing the night, though. Your brother spends most nights over whenever he comes here.”

“Sure, he does,” Ricardo said. He was walking away from them, going to his room or somewhere else until dinner was ready. He really wanted his brother to come and sleep over. There was an issue pressing on his throat, it needed to be offloaded.

“Ricardo, hun, why do you ask all these about Shamar, anything the matter?” his mother had a troubled voice. It was as if she felt something was wrong somewhere. “Any deal with him gone wrong?”

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“Mom, no, I just need to see him, that’s all.” Ricardo was about to turn left and get away totally from their view. So, he stood and watched them. There was nothing largely wrong that he wanted to see to Shamar for, just that he wanted them to discuss the manner through which he would be getting dope supplies from Shamar. He had always got his dope supplies from Shamar, but wanted them to discuss the matter more now and put procedures and deadlines now than before. Shamar was messing up his business sometimes.

“You sure, hun? Any problem you know you can always talk to me, right?”

“Mom, yes, I know.” He made a frown and folded his arms across his chest. He hated it all the time his mother treated him like a baby. “Now, I’d love to get a rest and wait for the dinner to get ready.” He left their sight and hoped they won’t call him until the dinner was ready.

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Mother and daughter were left alone in the dining. They did their wool work for a while, talking in low tones. After the wool work, they stood and took their material to their different rooms. They went down to the kitchen. In the kitchen, they were very fast with spicing the chicken, cooking and all. They said little to each other. While mother prepared the chicken, the daughter prepared the salad, and they were fast and silent.

They were about getting done with the preparation when Shamar came into the kitchen with a smile on his face. He smelled of a pleasant heavy cologne. Nya noticed that this wasn’t the last cologne he was putting on the last time. This cologne was different; it was more flowery and heavy. This cologne soaked into everything, moved everywhere and settled in the air without clinging. Shamar’s coming in changed the chicken spices scent heavy in the kitchen. The spices scent was heavily neutralized and overpowered.

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“Shamar!” Nya was almost screaming. She ran to Shamar and embraced him, wrapping her arms all the way around his back. He had grown a little bigger. his muscles harder, bulging. Their mother’s trainer, Tom, and Shamar were great friends. They’ve got a good interest in work out and heading to the gym. Ricardo was taller than Shamar, but Shamar was a lot more muscular and heavy.

“What are you cooking? It smells so good. Damn!” Shamar said. He lifted his face and his nose went up, sniffing. “You used some curry?”

“Chicken, Shamar,” their mother said in a calm way. “The way you love them made. Let’s say we’re having some special treat today, Shamar, hun.”

“Mom, you’re always giving the special treat.” Shamar was laughing. Nya admired his laughter, it was deep, thunderous-like, soft and low. Their mother made her face to look funny, turning up her lips to the side. “Your special treat never ends, does it?”

“You all are my darling. If I stop making my special treat, even if it’s everyday, then why should I be living?” Mom opened the oven and looked. “You arrived at just the right time, dinner will be ready in minutes, or perhaps some seconds.”

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“Mom, that’s good, but I doubt if it’s in seconds. I am pretty starving here.”

“There are some fries that were kept for you, do you mind having them? We can warm them up for you,” Nya said.

“I’ll have those later. Now, I’d have to bear my hunger until the chicken was ready. I can’t bear to touch any other food except that chicken with such aromatic scent. It smells so good already, my tongue’s about to leave my mouth.” They laughed. “I’ll have to wait in the dining. It’s about to get ready, right?”

“Yeah.” Their mother nodded.

Shamar said alright and left the kitchen. He marched to the dining. When he left, his mother and sister talked, excited, about how Mr Shamar has changed and what the workout he’d picked up was doing to him. They also talked about he looked more decent and calmer than the last time he came. They suspected what must have been the cause of the change, but they chose to leave things unsaid. They let the humming of the fridge do all the talking.

The dinner was ready in about ten minutes. It was Nya who carried the meal in hollow, round, stainless plates to the dining. Shamar watched something on his phone. She went to the kitchen repeatedly and came back with large plates. Shamar was focused on his phone, and didn’t seem to mind that the food was ready and smelled good. He had lost interest in the food, some crazy things that phone could make you do.

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“Brother, the chicken you’ve been dying for was ready,” Nya said. “Crazy that phone could make you forget how hungry you were.”

Shamar laughed. He dropped his phone on the table. “Where the hell was Ricardo?”

“He was in his room. I think he was resting.”

“Doesn’t he know I am home? He called me sometime ago.”

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“He was probably sleeping. He has been milling around the house. Saying things and things. He’s exhausted himself.”

“Really? Have you people been fighting again?” He looked perplexed, and not like he was really perplexed. He feigned it with his opened eyes and mouth.

“No, we haven’t been fighting,” Nya said. “We just have some mind thinking differences. He believing in another thing, and I believing in another thing …”

***

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