A Boss, A Mentor, and the Young Man/chapter 9

Chapter 9

Even our supposed leaders have drama…

circa September 1998


A short dark chocolate woman in here early 40’s walked behind Boss Man and screamed, “Juan, where you going I ain’t done talking to you?”

“Look here Cheryl, I ain’t got time to play these games today, if you want to talk we can talk this afternoon” Boss Man said.

“Where’s my child support Juan? Why don’t you care for these children, why don’t you call them no mo? Why don’t you ask about them?  You just packed your bags one night and left us by ourselves…and for what? You ain’t nothing but a lying dirty dog…you said till death due us part. I can take you leaving me, but how you gonna do ya own blood like that,” she screamed.

By this point, the whole carpet mill was quiet. A lot of folks were stunned that the clean cut brother had some baby mama drama. Shadesville is a mostly black town, but we had only had white folks serve in the capacity that Boss Man had now. Most folks wanted to see the man be successful, but he wasn’t winning many folks over today if some of what his ex said was true.

“Cheryl, get a hold of yourself woman,” Boss Man said.

By the time he spoke, his ex-wife was in tears. He tried to hold her hand, but she walked briskly back towards the parking lot. In the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Bill walking towards me. I already knew that Mr. Bill was deeply jealous of Boss Man, so seeing this drama play out before his eyes gave him a wide smile.

“You see that Youngster… I knew that man wasn’t all that. He just a dead beat daddy. Look, I’m telling ya, don’t ever trust a man that don’t even attempt to take care of his children Youngster,” he said softly.

“Mr. Bill, we don’t know whats what. I know it don’t look good, but there’s always two sides to every story,” I said.

“Youngster, you a dummy,” he said with a hearty laugh.

“Mr. Bill, for real man, I respect you and all, but stop with the dummy jokes,” I said.

“Okay, I see… You a sensitive dummy,” Mr. Bill said with an even bigger laugh.

I shook my head and then said, “I accept defeat Mr. Bill, you got me…but for real, give Boss Man a chance, I think it’s only right we try to make sure we give him an opportunity to succeed at the mill.”

Boss Man walked back into the building after chasing his ex wife to the parking lot, and with an exasperated look on his face said the following:

“Gentleman and ladies, please get back to work. I’m sorry for what you saw there, as you can see I’m…I’m not a perfect man, I’ve made mistakes. Please accept my apologies for bringing my personal life to the job. I ask you to please resume your work.”

Later that afternoon I picked up Auntie from dialysis. She hopped in the car with a wide grin on her face.

“Tell me bout all da drama dat happened at da mill boi,” she screamed.

I asked, “Auntie, Auntie, Auntie, ain’t you tired from dialysis today?”

I spoke quickly and gave her the gist of the story. Apparently the streets were talking, because all the church folks been talking, which meant Auntie already had additional information about why things went down today.

Apparently there’s a test now…they call it “paternity tests”. Well Boss Man had been given a subpoena to appear in court a few months back. He was ordered to take the paternity test, and the tests came back stating that he was indeed the father of his ex-wife’s children. Even bigger news was that his current wife was banking on not having step children. Boss Man gotta pay child support now, so his new wife ain’t gonna be able to spend like she wants to.

I laid in bed thinking about my own personal pain. Losing my dad, mom, and sister. I thought about Auntie’s struggle everyday. She’s on dialysis and lost a brother, sister, and niece. Mr. Bill is an ex drug dealer with estranged kids. Boss Man abandoned his children for a younger woman on the hope and lie that the kids just weren’t his. Life is funny. Life is sad. Life is pain. Life is tears. Life is laughter. Life is life. Life is death. I want to make sense of it all, but it’s moving to fast for me to gain the clarity I desire.

I closed my eyes, and softly prayed.

Now lay me down to sleep.

I pray my Lord my soul to keep.

If I die before I wake, I pray my Lord my soul to take.

That night, I slept peacefully.



Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.46.44 PM

Author, Sam Blakemore, July 31, 2017


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