First up to bat . . .
CROWNING MISS BABY MaMA
Definition of a “baby mama”: That chick who will spite the current girlfriend or wife of the man she had a child with (aka baby daddy), and who will be connected to and able to get what she wants out of the baby daddy for life!
Whoever thought a hood rat, guttersnipe young bitch like me would be rocking this nigga’s world? I thought as I watched Li’l Man walk to the bathroom ass-naked. I’d just given him some of the most amazing sex of his life. The one thing that he loved about me was that I was a young thang who hadn’t been passed around like some of these old chickenheads cluckin’ around, so the punany was fresh. And unlike the old heads, I can be folded into any pretzel position his little heart desires.
Meeting Tyrone Simmons, known in the streets as Li’l Man, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a nothing-ass crumb snatcher like me. I know it sounds harsh, but it is what it is. According to many psychologists, the first step to progress is acknowledging your faults. That theory alone has done the most to bring me to where I am in life. To understand me, one must study my game: the sweet roll of the dice that it took to make Li’l Man fall for me. But first, let me tell you the history behind my so brilliantly played game.
Although Li’l Man was born and raised in Tidewater Park in Norfolk, Virginia, just as I had been, he was fortunate enough to have reached extreme heights. He was no longer living in the concrete walls that kept the bullets out and the roaches in the Park. “Park” is the name Norfolk city officials have so generously given the projects to create some sort of false image. They put up white picket fences, hoping to convey the idea of a park. Unfortunately, the projects are quite different from the parks where there are happy families spending sunny days in green grassy fields flying kites and having picnics.
In the projects there are dark brick blocks that cast an everlasting shadow. The green grass is replaced with dirt paths leading through alleyways used as quick getaways from the cops and as hideouts for hos and addicts. The smiling faces have been replaced with faces of praying grandmothers who look upon unhappy families, including a cracked-out daughter, a locked-up son, and an HIV-positive grandbaby.
One thing for sure: Just like the park, the projects are full of games. But the games of the projects aren’t jump rope, or hopscotch, or ring-around-the-rosy. It’s more like a variation on hide-and-seek: nigga’s in the cut waiting to move on the next nigga by surprise. Games of tag and dodgeball in the Park are niggas getting shot and dodging bullets. For the chicks, it’s a game of chase: Everybody’s after that nigga with a little bit of drug money or chasing behind that deadbeat baby daddy. So people like me and Li’l Man have been programmed to be a product of this jungle that the outsiders label as a fun-filled “park.”
Generations of families living in the Park have bred a certain kind of man and woman. Conveniently, the Park has a single entrance and exit to keep us in and them out. We have our own stores and restaurants and even our own elementary schools. Until we reach our teenage years and go off to middle school, we’re trapped in this box referred to as the Park.
Unaware of how the world operates outside our box, we’ve developed our own way of thinking according to how our world operates. Even though we’re now out of the box, we operate as if we weren’t, treating every situation as though we were still living in the Park. For some this outlook gets them locked up, but for others it gives them the strongest sense of survival. In Li’l Man’s case, it did the latter.
He had taken his Park mentality and survival skills and developed a small drug ring, dominating the city of Norfolk. And just how did a twenty-seven-year-old dude like Li’l Man end up with a nineteen-year-old project chick like me? It’s simple: Niggas always feel most comfortable with what they know, and the projects are what Li’l Man knows. A scheming bitch like me understands that. So when the opportunity knocked, I opened my legs and let him in, but not before I put a hole in the condom.
Aaaaauuuugggghhh!” I screamed nine months later as the paralyzing pains of childbirth shot through my body.
“Just take deep breaths, honey. It will be okay,” the nurse calmly instructed. “Just breathe and push. Breathe and push.”
Although she meant well, I’d had it with this bitch and her instructions. Besides, nothing she suggested thus far had done a damn thang to ease the pain, so I decided to ignore her, refus- ing to breathe and refusing to push. As a matter of fact, I refused to do anything, even open my damn legs, until Li’l Man got there.
“What time is it? Where is the phone? Give me the damn phone!” I demanded as I pushed the nurse away from me and attempted to climb out of the bed.
“Ms. Carter, you’re going to have to calm down,” the doctor interjected. “Open your legs, and let’s deliver this baby.” I could sense the frustration in the doctor’s voice.
“I ain’t got to do shit!” I retaliated, hoping he sensed the frustration in mine. “Do you know who the fuck I am? Do you know whose baby I’m having?” My yelling silenced everyone.
Obviously these people didn’t know who they were fucking with. No one told Tiara Carter what to do, and definitely no one told Li’l Man’s wifey what to do. I lifted what seemed like my 300-pound body out the bed and grabbed the phone. I couldn’t wait to drop this baby and this baby fat and get back to my old self. My 120-pound hourglass frame had turned into a 160-pound blown-glass vase. My 7 Jeans and baby tees had been replaced by sweats and oversize T-shirts.
I dialed Li’l Man’s cell phone for the hundredth time. Ring, ring . . . ring, ring . . . ring, ring.
I couldn’t understand why the hell he wasn’t picking up. I knew damn well he got all the messages I left him on my way to the damn hospital. He was probably with one of his bitches.
Cheating had been a regular routine of his since the first time we officially got together. This shit was getting ridiculous. That nigga knew I was in my ninth month and could be having this goddamn baby of his at any time. Just then a sharp pain jolted me. It felt as though it was electrocuting my body. It felt like my insides were ripping in two as I returned to the bed. I knew I couldn’t keep this baby from coming, so I decided to give in. I’d just have to deal with Li’l Man’s sorry ass later.
“Please, Ms. Carter. We really need you to cooperate. Your baby is in danger,” the nurse begged.
“Fine. Just do whatever the hell you have to do,” I said, lying back on the bed and spreading my legs. “Get this thing out of me.” Just then another sharp pain ripped through me. “Damn it, Li’l Man, where the fuck are you?” The contractions were hitting my ass like lightning bolts.
The thought of having our baby without him present caused tears to roll down my face. I knew Li’l Man was seeing other women, but when it came to me, I was always top priority. After all, I am his baby mama.
The nurse examined the consistency of my contractions once more before nodding to the doctor. I knew exactly what that meant: It was time. No more fucking around; I had to push this baby out.
“Okay, Ms. Carter—” the doctor began to say as a loud ghetto voice ricocheted off the walls of the hospital hallway.
“Tee, where you at, baby girl?” The doctor’s sentence was interrupted by Li’l Man’s call.
“I’m in here, baby,” I yelled. “Room three!” A smile managed to slip in between the pains. He’d arrived just in time.
Although I was still pissed that I’d been in labor for nearly nine hours before he’d gotten to the hospital, I was happy that he was finally here. When he came through the door, I looked at his perfect appearance.
As he walked over and kissed me on the cheek and grabbed my hand, I could smell the fresh scent of his Issey Miyake cologne. Damn, did he look good or what?
“What up, Doc? We ready. Let’s have this baby, big boy,” Li’l Man said, rubbing his hands together.
Both the nurse and the doctor stood speechless at Li’l Man’s ghetto etiquette. He came in there as if the doctor was not going to deliver the baby until he had instructed him to do so.
“Sir, we are going to need to get you into scrubs,” the nurse said.
“Scrub? Who you callin’ a scrub?” Li’l Man snapped with a hard-core look on his face.
The nurse looked as though she was going to shit in her pants, and the doctor was five seconds away from calling hospital security.
“I’m just fuckin’ wit’cha,” Li’l Man joked. “Lace me with them hospital threads.”
“Baby, you so stupid.” I tried to laugh at his humor before another labor pain hit my ass.
The nurse quickly got Li’l Man into his scrubs while another nurse joined the party to assist. Twenty more torturous minutes of pushing, and the baby was out.
“It’s a boy!” the doctor said as he pulled the bundle of flesh from my womb. The nurse then swept the baby off and cleaned him up.
Li’l Man followed right behind them, excited as a kid on Christmas Eve staring at the biggest box under the tree with his name on it. I was glad at least somebody was happy to have the baby here. Although I was proud to wear the title of Li’l Man’s baby mama, I was not ready to be nobody’s mommy. The last thing a trick like me wanted to be was all tied down and shit. The only reason that baby was here was for Li’l Man’s happiness and for my security. There was no other way I would put up with his lying, cheating ass.
Excerpted from Street Chronicles Girls in the Game by Nikki Turner presents. Copyright © 2007 by Nikki Turner. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.