COTORRA BOOKS

don’t understand a word of that shit you screamin’” Maria sneered and frowned like the word was a bad taste in her mouth. “Ba-Bitch?” He sneered right back at her, “That’s what da fuck I just said.” She yanked away from Cidny and took a step toward him, before thinking better of that course. “No, no, no,” Maria shook her head, “Jhu ain’t gon’ keep callin’ me outta mi name.” “Shut da fuck up!” Casper growled pointedly, as he bumped past her on his way back into the office.

her to the ground. “Uh-huhhh.” She offered breathlessly, as she gleaned sympathetic looks from everyone except Casper, who seemed to be leering at her. “Aqui (Here), let me get that.” Cidny half- turned Maria. With an expression of utter hatred plastered on his grill, Casper watched Cidny brush the snow off Maria’s back. Moments earlier during their brief spat, she’d seriously touched a nerve by accusing him of promoting a drug dealing lifestyle to the young boys that looked up to him.. “If it was me, I’d of let Mary bite her.” Casper threw his head back and chuckled, “She prob’ly smelt that funky stuff between your legs.” He was not affected in the least by the aghast looks that came his way. Fuck that bitch. SPLA-AAAT! “Puneta (Punk-ass nigga)” Maria huffed under her breath in advance of snorting and then hock-spitting into the snow. Casper stared stupidly at the slimy spit that splattered the snow near the toes of his unlaced Timberland boot. “If dat would-” “Jhu wasn’t gon’ do MIERDA (SHIT)!” Maria spewed venomously back as Cidny grabbed her by the back of her coat. “Whaaaat!” “Bear!” He shouted, “I’m tellin’ you. I will smack this bitch!” “Yo, Cuuzzzz! Chillll!” Bear yelled over his shoulder while he struggled to clip the chain’s latch onto Mary’s collar. Casper turned back toward Maria as she continued to curse him out in rapid-fire Spanish. “Bitch! Speak English. I

A short, heated exchange ensued prior to Maria heading out into the cold with the others.. All along, she had been somewhat dreading another run- in with Casper, every since she’d agreed to accompany Cidny into the city. But after they said what they had to say, it truly hadn’t been too bad. Meantime, farther out in the scrap yard, the mastiff was growing increasingly agitated. Apparently she could scent Maria’s female dog on both of the girl’s clothing. Suddenly, Mary gave a menacing growl and charged Cidny, who screamed, dropped the puppy and jumped behind Bear. Consequently, the large mastiff went after an unsuspecting Maria. “SHIIIIIIT!” Maria darted back past Casper. She ran in a dead sprint over the rocky, snowy ground. But when she realized she would never make it to the door, she veered left. Like a cat, Maria leapt into the air—practically clearing the side of a broken down minivan as she landed with a thud atop its roof. The mastiff though, faltered in her attempt to leap the same distance and slid sideways in the snow. Mary then padded in a circle, barking her head off for a few beats before jumping onto the minivan’s hood. “Mary! Mary!” Bear yelled the mastiff’s name over and over, to no avail. Her rage blocked him out as King’s crazed barking spurred her on from a distance. From a prone position flat on her back, Maria cringed at the sight of Mary’s sharp fangs as she bounded up on the windshield and snapped at her leg. “No! No! Noooo!” Several times she kicked out at the dog’s muzzle, until Bear ran over and yanked the big mastiff off of the car by its collar. “Maria, are you al’right?” Cidny screehed while helping

somethin’. Maybe a movie?” “Uhhhh,” Maria looked around before her eyes settled back on Casper. “C’mon nowww.” “What?” He bit at the inside of his mouth and really focused in on her face. He already knew she was pretty--once he got past the tough attitude and her tomboyish ways. Man, her eyes sparkle like green diamonds. He mused as he noticed a light dusting of freckles sprinkled across the bridge of her tiny, Minnie Mouse-like nose. “Casper.” Her nostrils flared, “I ain’t wit’ it.” “What’chu mean?” He was confused. Is she turning me down? Maria glanced out into the scrap yard and inhaled deeply, “Look.” She turned to face him. “All jhu wanna do is chalk me up as anotha’ una on jour long list. And like I told chu down Oakland de’ otha’ night…” She peered directly into his dark eyes so that there would be no misunderstandings. “…Jhu- are-not-my-type.” A hard frown overcame Casper’s features. “Why? Cause my skin’s too dark?” Now, he felt like being petty and mean. It was almost as if her turning him down made him want to hurt her feelings. “It’s like, you on some real stuck-up shit.” “Nada!” Maria laughed and then became serious, “Look, man. Chu from here… I’m from there… and it ain’t just that.” She rushed so he couldn’t interrupt her. “I really think that it’s wrong to sell poison to our people. I…” “Who da FUCK is you talkin’ to?” He snapped on her. “You don’t know SHIT about me!”

The 120 pound German shepherd, King, continued to bark and yank at his hefty chain like he’d lost his mind. Then Mary, the mother of the pups, a large mastiff with a short brindle-colored coat, curiously stuck her head past the rubber flap that covered the heated shack’s narrow opening. Spotting the boys and Bear—which usually meant food; Mary trotted out with the puppies in tow across a rough patch of ground checkered with human and dog prints, frozen into the muddy snow. “Hold-up for a second.” Casper said quickly, as he grasped Maria at the elbow and held her back in the doorway. Her evil green eyes slowly glanced down at the slight touch. “Que? What?” He held up his hands in a show of surrender, “Peace offer…” “Ta’bien.” Her ice-grill softened instantly. Casper titled his head and eyed her. Maria huffed a humming breath. “It means okay or al’ight.” “Oh, okay. Ta, ta’been…” She smiled for the first time and displayed a cute, slight gap between her front two teeth. “So, uh, whass’up?” Casper scratched at the shadowed-down facial hairs along his jaw line. “I, uhh. I wanna take you out to eat or

“Nada!” Maria wagged the sucker, and spoke rapidly in that hoarse, scratchy and raspy tone of hers. “Why jhu comin’ at me like dat? Chu know jhu was wrong.” He permitted a crooked grin to crease his lips before relenting even further. “Man, you a feisty lil thing.” office. Relaxed exhalations radiated around the “Ay Cas!” One of the younger boys called out anxiously. “Maria a beast playin’ Madden and Black Ops.” “Yeahhh.” Casper glanced sideways at the video game system siting on the table before bringing his dark brown eyes back to settle on Maria. “I’mma have to see what’s up wit’ all that for myself.” “Is jhu…” She maintained a stare just as challenging as his. “Lil Ron!” Hearing his name called, he turned to Bear. “Huhhh?” “Lil homie, I thought you was gon’ feed them puppies for me?” “PUPPIEEEEES!” Cidny bounced her juicy booty up and down on the desk as the youngster tugged up his sagging jeans and headed for the backdoor. “Oooh, Bearrr! I wanna see ‘emmmm.” She whined, girlishly. Bear asked Lil Ron to chain up the guard dog, King, and then everyone else filed outside into the barbed-wire enclosed scrap yard where broken down cars and trucks sat in varying stages of dismantlement. ARFF! ARFFF!

neighborhood; sporting a dark colored bubble bomber coat over top of a thick hooded sweat shirt, with a pair of acid washed Diesel jeans that were so big that the cuffs nearly covered her itsy, child-sized Nike boots.. “What’chu say about mi boca?” He looked at her dumbfounded, “Huh?” She wrinkled her tiny pug nose, snaked her neck and then repeated the words in English. “Mi mouth. Jhu say I gotta slick mouth?” She eyed him from head-to-toe and back up again. Casper smoothly licked his lips while he checked out the way Maria’s shiny black curls snuck from underneath her ribbed skull cap to twirl and twist here and there like ink-colored curly fries. “Maria. Right?” He asked as if he didn’t already know her name. In a rare show of femininity—with her elbow held high; Maria bent her wrist back delicately and even swung the sucker as she spoke. “Si… Yes.” “You know where you at?” She casually shifted her weight to one foot. “What?” She asked with a shrug of her shoulders. “Jhu gon’ go get some girls from around de’ corner to jump me?” Casper did not say a word for a long pause as he gazed around the room at all of the impressionable young faces awaiting his reaction. The last thing he wanted to do was come off looking petty and mean in front of them—because contrary to popular belief, all street dudes weren’t disrespectful toward their young, Black and Brown sisters. He threw his hands up in a sign of peace. “Yo, chilllll. Why you comin’ at a nigga like dat?”

“Sup y’all?” Casper’s eyes roamed around the spacious office that was more of a Man-cave, than an actual office. “What ch’all up to?” “Not much.” Bear’s stout chin jutted toward Cidny. “I’m tryin’ to see what’s crackin’ wit’her doe.” Sheepishly, Cidny over bit her bottom lip and turned to hide her beautiful smile. Casper shook his head somberly. He watched her perched there on the corner of the desk, looking toothy in a pretty way—and deliciously healthy in her snug fitting jeans, and a heavy hoodie, that did next to nothing to hide the dimensions of her sizeable boobs.. Then a thought came to him, Bear gon’ ruin all of this sweet girls’ innocence. Casper could easily picture some of the scenes from the sexual escapades that had taken place in the office; not to mention, on that very desk. He cleared his throat, “Cidny, where’s your lil friend?” “Huh?” Her smoke-grey eyes blinked a few times then took in Casper’s cocky smirk. “The stubby built one wit’ da slick’ass mouth… that said my skin’s too dark for her.” She looked at Bear, then back to Casper. The entire time that Casper watched Cidny give him the dumb-look, Bear exaggeratedly shook his head from side-to-side behind her back; prior to him finally just giving up and pointing in the direction of the boys crowding the fish tank. “Wha-”. Casper looked back as one of the smaller boys turned. Standing in a bowlegged, pigeon-toed stance, Maria snatched the Blow Pop from her pouty little mouth with an audible, PLOP! She was dressed like any other young boy from the Wilson Works

ragged towel he’d pulled from his pocket. “Dey back dere, feedin’ them crazy ass piranhas live mice.” With a half of a grin on his usually unsmiling face, Casper ducked around a car raised up on the hydraulic lift before taking a gander further down the line of an old-school Grand Prix in the early stages of its full restoration. He then leisurely continued on to the back office; where everyone usually migrated to when they stopped by the body shop to kick it. “Que paso (What’s up)?” Pedro, the best paint sprayer in the shop asked him, as Casper passed in the office doorway. “You, FOOL!” Casper playfully patted the man’s growing gut. “Si (Yeah)”, he chuckled. “Mi wife stuffin’ me wit’ beans and rice to make sure no other chicas want me.” “And you know you love dat shit!” Casper barked before stepping all the way into the office where a loud group of young boys from the neighborhood—all dressed in big bulky coats and baggy jeans, gathered around the massive fish tank. “See that one!” Way, a big kid from down the block, eked as a half-eaten white mouse attempted to paddle to the surface. “Got ‘em!” The mouse disappeared within a swarm of brightly colored piranhas. “Bearrrr…” A female voice whined in a high pitch, which caused Casper to turn to see Cidny sitting on the edge of Bear’s desk while he leaned back in the high-backed office chair, putting his mack-game down.

Both of the wide grey metal garage doors, outside of Bear’s Auto Body Shop, were pulled down due to the cold weather. Casper parked his black truck halfway up on the sidewalk, beside the vast red brick building. BOOM! BOOM! After a few pounds with no reply, Casper stepped around a pile of snow and went to the side door entrance. Last night, there had been a big snow storm. The skies were now cleared, but it was still ice cold enough for the air to burn Casper’s throat when he inhaled deeply as he turned the door knob a few times. “Casper.” The bristly white haired man, who unlocked the door, greeted him and moved to the side, as a gust of wind whipped past them. “How you doin’, Pops? Where’s Bear?” Pops eyed Casper over top of the thick glasses perched on his thick pockmarked nose and glanced toward the back office while wiping his hands on a

CHAPTER 3