We should have marketed this stuff a long time ago, Aisha mused, mixing up a fresh batch of hair grower on a hot July Saturday morning.
Dominic taught Aisha his formula many years ago so that she could maintain the health of her hair anywhere in the world. He made her promise never to write the ingredients down, to never mix them in front of others, and to never leave the finished product laying around for thieving hands to get. That was Dominic’s way of keeping the formula just between the two of them until they could afford to market it together. Even Laquetta didn’t know about the formula.
Aisha and Dominic planned to call the product Aisha’s Miracle Blend, but those plans never materialized due to initial lack of funding, Dominic’s secret drug habit, and ultimately his death. Aisha had forgotten all about their plans until last month’s inquiries about her hair length. Now she intended to have the mixture patented, thoroughly researched, and marketed. She also intended to change the name to Dominic’s Miracle Blend in honor of her brother. After all, it was his idea.
Just after Aisha locked the finished mixture up in a small safe in the back of her closet, she received a phone call from Bonz. He called to ask if she wanted to tag along with him to a pool party at Alexis and Racker’s house.
Aisha readily accepted. She liked Racker and Alexis. If Aisha was really truthful with herself, she would admit that she also just liked being around Bonz.
After hanging up the phone, Aisha made sure there were no family photos around for Bonz to see now that he had limited access to her apartment. Then she got ready for their date.
* * *
On the ride over, Aisha inquired about Racker and Alexis. This would be her first time over to their house and she wanted to know what to expect.
“Well, with Racker and Alexis, the word family always comes to mind,” Bonz replied, keeping his eyes on the road ahead. “Racker’s usually the one suggesting all of the group’s family-type outings. I think it’s because he longed for those things in his childhood and never got them.”
“Did his parents die, too?” Aisha asked.
Bonz shook his head. “No, Racker never knew his father and his mother was never really there.”
Aisha frowned. “Was her abandonment drug-related?”
“Yes, and no,” Bonz replied.
Then he went on to tell Aisha how, like him and E-Blade, Racker was raised in the inner-city projects in a single-parent home. How although Racker’s mother was not on drugs as bad as theirs, she was still just as negligent.
“Besides her casual use of drugs, Racker’s mother was always chasing behind some man. Always leaving him in charge of his four younger siblings while she did it. Over time, some old cats in the neighborhood started calling him Racker because he was more of a man at fifteen than some of them were at fifty.”
“What’s his real name? And what exactly does Racker mean?” Aisha asked, thoroughly intrigued by this topic.
Bonz chuckled. “Never call him this to his face, but Racker’s real name is Romare,” he replied, taking his eyes briefly off the road. “As for the name Racker, it simply means supporter.”
“Both names suit him.” Aisha smiled. “By the way, what ever happened to his mother?”
Bonz shrugged and looked forward again. “We don’t really know. No one has heard from her since she ran off that last time with yet another man.”
“Now that’s just sad all around. No wonder Racker turned to the streets.”
“Actually, Racker thought about turning to the system first. But when he realized that all they would do was split them up, he turned to me and E-Blade instead. We already had our hustle going on and since he was our friend and needed a steady source of income to keep his family together, we helped put him on. Together we vowed to change the game and help each other come up in the world.”
“I guess you were successful, huh?” Aisha asked.
“Successful enough,” Bonz replied, once again downplaying his wealth. “Racker was able to put all of his sisters and brothers through college. He even sent Alexis back to school when they hooked up.”
“That’s admirable,” Aisha replied, wondering when Bonz would get around to telling her his story. So far she’d only heard bits and pieces of it.
Unfortunately, that would not happen today. Not only had they arrived at their destination, Bonz suddenly seemed to realize that he’d been too free with his tongue and smoothly changed the subject altogether.
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier