Me, Myself, and a few Others
Let me reintroduce myself, I'm Ethan Gabriel Pride aka Merchandise. It's not some alias for drug dealing. People always told me I drop mental gems on them. My uncle said, intelligent people know that knowledge is the best merchandise on the market. It's a give, yet take, but overall win-win. Damn, a lot of words right? There goes a permanent nickname. The man behind the cockiness of the first things you've read so far came from very humble beginnings. As I said, my biological mother was a prostitute working in Lynette's brothel. Nobody is sure if she was white or just high yellow, but they damn sure know she was a pain in the ass. Right after she popped my Black ass out in February of 1976, she found her a white trick and moved on leaving me behind. Not a bad decision for me at all because Lynette is irreplaceable in my life. Even though Lynette did and sometimes still does make money illegitimately, she didn't keep it that way. She played the stock market, invested in property and businesses and now probably sits on more money than most her suburban white collar neighbors. Lynette Pride is my real mother in my eyes and hell even in the laws eyes as well since she legally adopted me.
I grew up in a unique way with pimps, hustlers, whores, and even cops at times as my role models. I was assumed to follow in the footsteps of their illegitimate ways like my brothers' did for the most part, but they were wrong. Now don't misunderstand me, I am a family man so I've done some dirt as my family members have and I will do some more dirt if necessary so it's best for the necessary not to occur.
I told you mostly how my life went in the previous section, but I did leave out the part of joining the Army. More information about that is to come. As I aged into a man-child and eventually full man, I had a set agenda for my life and most of it didn't involve chasing women. Lynette believes it's because I grew up surrounded by provocative women that I was immune to the weakness of the flesh. She always told me that I was a stronger and stranger man than most for that gift. Now that's where I have to say my mother was wrong for once on her life. After all, this tale I'm sharing with you is all about the ladies in my life. Don't get it twisted I'm not a pimp nor am I some kind of player. I also don't have a tender dick that needs to be up in any and everything in a skirt. The ladies just love me like Cool J. I guess I have a strong niche for them too. Not all of them, just a few special and not so special souls have taken to my life. Mostly it's a hero complex that was nothing sexual, well it always started out as nothing sexual. When I see damsels in distress, I just have to pull them from the fire. They soon became my followers and eventually referred to each other as wife-in-laws (which actually is a term used for whores who share a pimp) but I was "husband" to all of them in their eyes.
I hold up that framed picture that I know Chloe put on the wall. As I run my fingers over the ladies faces in the picture, I will admit those times are my most nostalgic and fun. We did and still do actually live life like Mormons or Muslims. There are no religious undertones to our thing though. I gave these women second and sometimes third chances at life, that's all. They appreciate it so they always make room and deal with me without zero complaints. That's how it was for long time; it's still somewhat like that now too.
All this reflective thinking makes me want to go digging up the past. I head to my closet and I pull out a Rubber Maid black box with a baby blue top and lug it towards my bed. When I open it, pictures flood me. Party pictures, funeral pictures, sex pictures; damn near every kind of thing you can take pictures of is in here. I move the loose ones to the side until the hot pink photo album comes to sight. A picture of a VERY young Lauryn with me is on the cover. I think I was seventeen and she just turned nineteen. I'm leaning over giving her cheek a kiss as she smiles wearing a childish party hat. It was the first birthday party she ever had in her whole life. Since then Lauryn has been the party queen; for every damn holiday there's a party to follow. That makes me grit my teeth; I definitely know she was in on this thing too. Family is family and my mom is right; just because I washed my hands of a funky bitch doesn't mean they had to. I'm sure they got cards and calls over the last year and a half. I'm sure because I got them too. Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Enjoy your spooky Halloween, The Big Boy turns 8! That was her last card and last sneaky jab to me which was this past February. You'll find out later what that's all about. I gotta story to tell and it's a wild, crazy, carnal, and even sad tale. I'm still going to tell it in all the truth that I can give though.
The Ladies in My Life
Lauryn, The Mover and Shaker
She was my first for pretty much everything. As 2Pac said, "We all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman." So between Lauryn and my mother that was very true for me. I lost my virginity to Lauryn; she gave me my first blunt, and became my first save. Lauryn worked in Lynette's brothel house since the age of sixteen. Lynette doesn't force any of the women, but especially not the young girls to jump into prostitution. In fact between her and my Uncle Barry, they own six businesses which includes a hotel, security company, Laundromat, and even an accredited technical school that teaches mechanics and stuff. Jobs at those places are offered, but most of the women and even some men opt for whoring; Lauryn was no exception. She was actually raised to be a sex slave by her family. She didn't have to tell me, I could see it in her mannerisms. They never taught her to read or write. She didn't know much about her past, all she knew was she was born to a young sex slave and sold when she was three years old to some old perverted man with a nickname of Tuffy. I'm not going to go into her terrible upbringings, but the book, Push, which was turned into the movie, Precious, comes pretty close. She managed to get out and see the world and realized that sexual slavery didn't have to remain her life.
When she ran away she didn't realize the world was just as harsh as the one she came from. Besides getting a birth certificate and her old perverted guardian locked up, (And eventually killed in prison) she was pretty much pushed out on her own at fifteen. Old ways die hard, so she figured if she was made for nothing, but sex she should get paid for her services. Yet strangely as she volunteered to sell her body to men, she hated men and still does. Her sexual pleasure comes from women. Even as she can suck a mean dick, ride like a cowgirl, and let you cum in her mouth, her sexuality is lesbian.
Anyway though, I got a MacArthur's Fellowship Grant aka Genius Grant when I left high school which was worth half a million dollars. So I bought a house in Tennessee and took Lauryn with me.
Once she started to truly believe she was done using her body to survive, the dimmed light in her brightened. She was and still is a blessing to be around. She made sure I was taken care of by order of Lynette since I was still underage. In her harsh early life she had gotten pregnant many times and was force to have so many abortions that she can't have any kids now. Mothering me and all the other women as you'll find out was what really made her happy and fat. J Even as we act more like brother and sister now, I still call her my first wife; she asked to be which was crazy to me at the time. She said to me,
"I breathe because of you, so the least I can do is show my gratitude, by asking to be a part of your world." I didn't want to actually get married back then for real, so we just had a fake wedding. The asking for my hand turned into the custom of being a part of my life. Lauryn enforced it so much that it has become one of my unwritten rules now. So Lauryn was the first to start me down this path of madness. I guess I wouldn't want it any other way though. She deserves to be first.
In some African cultures the first wife wears the titles of her man's achievements' on her ankle. So I had a white gold anklet with a money sign made for her. It's been damn near twenty years since I gave her that and she still wears it and I keep adding titles to it. She never went to school a day in her life, yet someway somehow with a little of my help she concocted this hair moisturizer. After having it patented, it went on shelves. Now it's no Dark and Lovely, but it does give her a net worth of $1,500,000 dollars annually. Lauryn could be anywhere she wants to be, but she said she'd rather stick close to me. She's one of many people living in the mansion. I don't mind; she's the big mama since she's the oldest of all the women there and they all take regard. Lauryn was first listed, because she was first in my life. I'm putting these ladies out here in an order that ranges from sunny days to stormy weather to full fledge natural disasters.
Kayda, The Sweetheart
I dig up the orange book next that has a picture of Kayda and I on the cover. She's actually sitting on the couch in my lap holding up a cheesy peace sign. My arms are around her; one is on her stomach the other has cranberry juice and Grey Goose in it. There's a dark brown hand on my shoulder with a big ring that's more diamonds than platinum, but the rest of that person is cropped out as much as I could get it without snipping the Phillies fitted cap I have on. Although I know they are all guilty equally with this backstabbing welcome home party shit, Kayda knows I can't be mad at her for long.
Seriously she does know that because she's psychic. For real, not for play. I'm a man of science and like many men of science, I don't believe in higher beings and supernatural entities. Kayda, someway somehow, can make you rethink that theory though. She really gets into people's heads and souls. It's not ambiguous or objective shit either. Her predictions have a high percentage of truth in them. Some of her visions I listened to her on and some I only wished I listened to her on.
She came to me when she was seventeen. I was well past her age and a grown ass man on leave that summer before 9/11. When I first met her it could have went either way; good or bad. She literally read my mind when she said,
"We are different, you'll see soon enough." That is what I was thinking dead on. Unlike Lauryn and some of the others, Kayda's story wasn't quite a tearjerker. Her mom was a party girl so all the money she made at her waitress job pretty much went to booze and drugs. She had an older sister named, Krishna who was pretty much her motherly model. While Krishna cursed her mother every day, Kayda strangely wasn't mad at that time at her mother though. She knew her mother was trying to find any guy who would marry her for a green card. Their American dad was already married when he met and made Krishna and Kayda. Besides their mother not knowing that, he was also busy raising his other six kids. The mom came to the states when she was pregnant with Kayda and was doomed from the start so she took it out on her children.
Usually the two were stuck in a cold house with no electricity, and just rice to eat. They also had strong Trinidadian accents and wore the same clothes to school three days in a row so kids would definitely make fun of them. Krishna took to men for help, but Kayda kept her head up. Now I know it was because she knew most of her classmates' ill-fates. She also said she knew I was going to come along.
She didn't know when and where, but she knew it was going to happen. I guess the saddest part of her story is the fact that her mother left one day for work and never came back home. I think Kayda knows her mother is dead, but she won't tell any of us. She was sent to a group home while Krishna ran away. Kayda tried to give it a chance, but soon found it to be better on her own. That's around the time I scooped her up.
She's my quiet, bookish girl. When I had sex with her for the first time, I am pretty sure that was her first time ever although she's never told me. That didn't happen until maybe five years ago though and she's been with me for about twelve years. She was one of few who opted out of prostitution. She decided to work at the hotel as a chef, finish high school, and go on to be a pediatric doctor (although she never wants her own children). Her dream is not quite what she was aiming at, but its damn close. She's a nurse practitioner at the clinic Jonah runs. I've been having sex with her like once a month for almost the last year, but it's mainly for therapy. Afterwards she pretty much lets me vent then tells me a fortune or two. That's how I see her; as my live-in guru.
Janessa and Chanté- Two peas in a pod
Although Janessa and Chanté are not quite my "wives", they deserve honorable mention. I took them in and molded them into better young ladies from the rowdy nineteen year old hoes that were sucking dicks for cheeseburgers. Once I told Janessa obligatory sexual favors for men were obsolete for her, she made ALL men obsolete permanently. She became Lauryn's chocolate baby doll and they've been together ever since. She's hostess of one of Philly's top soul food spots owned by my uncle.
Chanté is my cream colored problem child even now at thirty-two years old. She's pretty good with hair, nails, and clothes so I made her thee go to fashion diva. That's not more important than drugs to her though. I swear she could get high off a bubble wrapper and a lighter. I keep her around because when she's not high she's pleasant; almost like my second Kayda. She came from one of those mom's boyfriends snuck into her room homes so I guess even after all this time she hasn't coped with it yet. I still haven't given up hope on her though. All in all, they are my girls even if they are just day players for the most part.
Chloe- The damn baby
As Jigga put it, I got this young girl, she's so immature. That's what I think as I pick up her money green photo album. We're in a picture outside; I'm on my cell phone and she's hugging me around the waist wearing shades at like 10pm. I looked annoyed which I usually am by her. I've known her since she was nineteen; as you can see I get 'em young. Her mom would pimp her out simply because she was jealous of her daughter's beauty. Chloe even has a few knife wounds on her body from where her mother tried to slice her face open. She ended up in an associate of ours hands and became a stripper and minor porn star all by the age seventeen.
She was stripping in my cousin's club trying to get into music videos when I came around. She was on some Superhead stuff though. Every single guy in or out the fame industry that she had sex with she'd post about it on her damn blog. Nobody wanted to be around her so pretty much out of pity, I took her in. I cleaned her image up, put her in school, and made her worth something. Yet when it's all said and done, she's still a teenager in her twenties. I'm not gonna lie and say I love her because I don't. She's all sex for me; I mean I don't treat her like a whore, but I treat her like a whoreJ. She has other qualities that attracted me to her although I deny it. I still have no internal feelings for her though. She's what I want now though; she's the main one I'm doing, so she thinks she's on solo wife level. The other ladies let her have her fantasy because they know the real deal. No more playing house solo. I grew up amongst a bunch of women, that's what I know, and that's all I will know.
I sit Chloe's book to the side of the bin as the red photo album comes to my sight. Instead of me and a woman though, it's me and a little boy. Trust me it's not on some pedophile shit either. He's about three and just as short as ever, but I'm trying to get him to bounce this NBA size basketball. I smile at that memory as I pick up the book. The smile quickly goes away as a picture of Tanny and me drops out onto the floor. That was the picture that was on the cover at one time. She's about twenty years old in the picture and she set up the camera to take a picture of us two in bed together. Even though there was a room for her here, she's the only one of my wives who had her own place so that's where we were at. I'm really asleep so I don't remember, but it was a nice picture that's why I chose it for the cover at the time. It'll never be on the front again though. In fact, I know I should have burned her pictures up a long time ago, but I don't know what's stopping me.
Like something out of a bad movie, a picture that was stuck to the back of the red photo album falls into my lap. This one is not of me and Tanny; it's of me and the girl that was in the blue dress in the framed portrait. Unlike all the other pictures where the ladies are smiling or laughing, she's not. I'm not either for that matter. She leans against me in the doorframe of the kitchen when it was decorated in navy blue and black. It's at some party Lauryn threw; well it's the aftermath of it. It's like 3am so I'm in a black tank top and some ball shorts while she's in a black tank too except she has on purple bikini cut panties. I know it seems real intimate, but as I've told you, I grew up around naked women, this house is pretty much orgy central. Compared to some of the other pictures I have of her, this is tame. I have my signature liquor filled drink in my hand while the other is outlining a tattoo on the small of her back. Neither one of us is paying attention to Kayda who I think is snapping the picture. I looked annoyed as I'm staring at the tattoo while she's looking towards the kitchen where you can see Tania in mid scream from the background. I remember this night vividly because this was the last argument her and Tania had. I have no clue why Kayda thought this was a perfect picture time. She's always like that though. She snaps pictures of people doing the strangest things. That is one of those times when I should have listened to Kayda. I flick the picture off of me as the royal blue photo album comes to me. The worse thing to do in life is fall in love. No good comes of it, trust me. I stare at the blue photo album for a while before I pick it up. The picture of us on the cover tells a deeper story than a quick summary is going to allow.