8. Too Many Thoughts

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I roamed through the house looking for Aug. It wasn't hard to find him. All I had to do was follow the scent of weed. 

"Don't come in here." Aug warned, taking long pulls from the blunt. 

"You weren't going to kill him." I came in and looked around his man-cave. He took another pull, holding in the smoke, then allowing it to cascade from his mouth.

"I just want the dumbass to know it's not good to fuck wit' me and my money. He better have that money by tomorrow or I'm gonna beat his ass." He pointed the blunt at me, ashes hitting the floor below him. 

"Maybe it wasn't a good idea for him to come out here." I rubbed my hands together, watching the lightning strikes beyond the windows. August cleared his throat before saying, 

"Does he do this shit back in Vegas?" 

"Nah." 

"He shouldn't do dat shit in ma' territory then." August wasn't giving Adrian any kind of leeway. "Did he leave?" He leaned back, opening the curtains to get a view of the stormy weather. 

"Yea." I sat there in the ominous room. There was a silence in the room, but apparently not in our heads. 

"I'm moving to ATL." August ripped me from my thoughts. "I'm not doing this the rest of my life." He pulled from his blunt.

"What's in ATL?" 

"A possible record deal." He swiped his hand over his hair before fixing his snapback over them. 

"Rapping?" 

"Singing B." A smirk appeared on his face. 

"For real?" I asked unconvinced. 

"Yea." 

"Where is this coming from?" 

'"I've been thinking about it fo' a while. You don't want more than this?" 

"What more could I possibly want? What more do I need? Out the womb I was set." 

"But you've never touched that money?" 

"My mom once told me, I would never have to worry about anything." I looked up from my lap at August. I put out my hand, ready to explain, but hesitated. "That's all I've been doing my whole life." I brought my shoulder up into a shrug. "I don't think I've ever had hopes and dreams." I cognized.

"If you wasn't living this life, what do you think you'd be doing?" Aug asked. I looked to the side trying to find an answer. "Maybe a better question is: what would yo' be life if yo' mom and Derrick never died?" He questioned. I looked down in my lap, shaking my head. "Derrick's death was fucked up man, yes I know. You're living a life of rage and revenge. You got yo' revenge, but what's driving you mo' is the loss of yo' mom homie. You can't get any revenge on cancer, so it's a never ending rage in you." 

"How are you going to tell me about my wrongs when you just had a gun to A's head?" My voice became ugly in defense. August pulled from his blunt, shaking his head, refusing to answer. 

"Did I pull the trigger?" 

"If I wasn't here, you probably would have!" 

"I have somewhat of a conscious, but I like how you dodged ma' question." 

"We're not talking about this-" 

"I'm moving to Atlanta and doing me, because ma' family B." August revealed.

"My mama put me out because of me selling, but I was making money, so I didn't see the wrong. Scratch that, I saw the wrong, but the money. The money. I needed it. I was on the streets homeless. I needed that shit. Now, I'm in Chicago doing something frowned upon. I'm moving to ATL to work towards this record deal. I'm doing this fo' ma' brother man. I'm doing this for him. I'm doing this for ma' nieces and ma' mom. This isn't about me and I realized that after my brother died. I woke up that fucking morning to ma' cousin telling me someone kill my brother man." His voice was holding, but hiding much wrath and emotion. "When I'm lying in my death bed, do you think I want to be surrounded by money? I want my family. I'm moving to Atlanta fa' my family. This is bigger than me. I want to be there for ma' family. To support them and let them know, we're straight. I want to do something so they can be proud of me. They don't want to touch this drug money. I've seen the struggle. I've seen my niggas die B. Too many of my niggas! I'm out of New Orleans, but I'm not OUT! It's time for me to get out. I could be next. I've been playing this game fo' too long Jason. I'm 20 years old. I'll consider myself lucky if I see 25. This isn't any way to live. I have to show my niggas a different way. Yes, I have the money, the cars, the females, but this isn't anything to be proud of. I'm not a man for this, neither of us are. My brother's death hurt my heart and snapped ma' ass in check. Yo' moms death, Derrick's death, and Lila's absence has turned you into someone else. How many people have you killed by taking out yo' rage?" 

"I didn't kill them because of my shit!" 

"Boys make mistakes. Men admit their mistakes. I've made too many mistakes to count. This is me owning mine. I got my reality check. When are you going to get yours? Another loss in your life could turn you into the devil himself. You won't just hurt the people you hate, you'll go after the people you love." He stood up with those final words.

I'm not going to hurt the people I love. It's as if I could feel the veins in my body expand, fire circulating through them, thoughts multiplied, frustration rattling my mind, spoken words were nonexistent. I could barely hold back the roar that threatened me. My head fell between my spread legs. I tugged the roots of my damp strands. I was seconds from igniting. I opened my eyes and a lit blunt was in my face.

"You'll find yo' way in a matter of time. Ya heard me? Here." August waited for me to take the blunt. I thought he had left the room. With tranquility in my face, I snatched it and pulled it to my lips. After a minute of August towering over me I spoke, 

"I can't change Aug." I shook my head. "This is all I know." I added. 

"Nah." 

"What's going to change me?"

 "The guy with all the answers doesn't have the answer that's going to change his life." He rested his hand on my shoulder. "You'll know once you face it. I'm leaving by the end of the summer. Where are you going dawg?" 

"I'll know by the end of the summer." 

"Look at you, me and Marissa. We've all suffered losses. Do you see all three of us being alive in the next 5 years if we don't change something? Somebody's gotta survive. I'm telling you this, because you're my homie and I don't want to bury you and I damn sure don't want you burying me. I know you refuse to bury Marissa. You're trying to her help, but who's helping you?" 

"She's trying..." 

"But are you letting her in? Are you listening? Are you too far off that the shit she's saying isn't registering, because half the shit I say doesn't move you?" 

"I'll talk to you tomorrow." I crushed my blunt against the glass ashtray. "I already have enough thoughts in my head. I'm not making room for more." 

"That's yo' problem. You have to realize you're not indestructible." 

"Maybe so." I stood up and pulled down my shirt before leaving August's company. I went to my room and did what I do to calm myself down, I didn't play my guitar tonight. I wanted a quiet escape, so I drew and wrote.

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