Category Archives: Short Stories

Loving Through Bars: Bidding With Someone You Love (Part 1: M.I.A.)

Loving Through Bars (Part One): Missing In Action

by K. Omodele & SKL

Real Talk, many who knew us ain’t think we was gon make it through no five-year bid especially since Shelley was only twenty-four when them people snatched me up off them streets.  Matter of fact, soon as them crackers put me in the back of that SUV and it began sinking in that wasn’t no jumping through no windows, hauling-ass through the woods like Harriet Tubman, soon as I realized that I was wound up tight, I figured I was gon have to let Shelley ass go.

By the time they got me all processed and that cell door clanked behind me, my first priority was to make some calls and let somebody know where the fuck I was. My heart was turning into wood because I knew: one, wasn’t gon be no bond (they ain’t never gave me none before, though I always clung to a lil wriggle of hope); two, I ain’t remember no numbers (I’d been commanding my damn cell phone to dial people numbers for years); and, three, I had to find a way to call Shelley and eventually make her ass go on bout her business.

Being locked up, your first priority is self-preservation, you understand?!


That Thursday, I’m waiting on my Man to call me because that weekend we was supposed to be headed to a holiday party at one of his friend’s house in Charlotte and he was driving all the way down to Chattanooga from D.C. to pick me, then I was gon drive us on up to North Carolina. That’s a lot of driving but back then I ain’t mind us hitting the road together. We made every trip a damn adventure, stopping and eating at little restaurants and we used to love us some Sheetz. We’d been together about a year; first we dated about a month, then we had hauled all my belongings up to an apartment he had just got in D.C.

Anyway, he ain’t call Thursday, so I blew his messages up. “Where is MY Man??? I need to talk to MY Man.” That always had his ass calling me back within minutes.

But when I ain’t heard nothing from him that night, then on Friday either, my heart began feeling like a damn semi was driving over it. Then, late Friday night, my cell phone rang, but his name didn’t pop up on my screen. It was his cousin’s wife.

“Hey, Girrrl. Jomo got locked up down in NC in another bitch house… blah, blah, blah, blah… He fucked now… blah, blah, blah. You young, you might as well go on with your life. He ain’t shit. You need to find some other … blah, blah-di blah-blah…”

And my emotions just flooded, over-flowed, and gushed into each other in one big-ass river of hurt. People sure know how to kick you when you down and pour salt in a wound, don’t they? Salty-ass bitch.

woman holding space gray iphone x
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

To Be Continued

Dry Cry: B-Block, Unit 6

B-Block, Unit 6
Copyright K. Omodele 12-24-04

I share a block with twenty-six convicted felons who shed no tears.
Never. Ever.
The day room where I like to write, when not in-cell, and where I am writing now, is a hard twenty by thirty feet with a solid, concrete-slab floor and frigid brick walls painted in more layers than a geisha. The pale pastels match the monotony of life in the bing. Hanging from a locked, metal frame above, a twenty-four inch JVC lords down upon its faithful subjects.
Basketball is on this boob tube. There is an incessant buzz of anticipation that periodically explodes into cheers for Lebron or Iverson. Even with earplugs, I cannot drown the babbling completely-laughter leaks through. A stifled shout slips into my thoughts here. Covert conversations crease my concentration there.
By the bathroom, Rasheed hangs up the phone. “Man, it’s cold as fuck up in Philly right now. What’s up with these warm-ass winters down South?”
His voice barely filters through my earplugs. From my table in the back, is like watching a sitcom with the volume way down.
He barks. “Yo, Fronz, grab the horn.”
Looking like JJ from Good Times, Fronz leggo the dice and hops on the phone. I’m sure he’s dialing Virginia Beach.
‘Sheed returns to his table in front of me. He meets my eyes and shakes his head, sighing with the weight of the world before plopping in his chair. I just nod in recognition. Holidays…always rough.

At the table to my left, Wolf and Bass hide hands from each other in a game of casino. Wolf is Grizzly Adams from the Mountains in West Virginia and Bass is this ever-cool, surfer dude. Whenever Wolf opens his mouth, he sounds like a Harley, idling. Smells like one too, exhaust fumes like stale Camels. Last week we made him take a fresh. He’s due for another shower any day now.
The Uptown Saturday Night hip-hop mix on Power 98 must be on because the younger Brothers have their headphones locked on while they catch the game or throw the dice or strategize over chessboards. From what I can suss out, Jay-Z and that new one…wha’ his name?…Young Jeezy must be on the airwaves. Anyhow, doo-rags bounce and heads bop. And, wha de fuck, I might as well pick up back smoking because the air is a mish-mash of Newport, Camels, and Tops smoke. My lungs vex, vex, vex. In a few minutes, I’ll have to suck some relief from my inhaler.Against a wall a microwave hums. Holiday packages ordered by families and loved ones arrived last week and I hear the chow hall-AKA Vomitville- is a ghost town with tumbleweeds right about now. The microwave might rebel soon. Every couple minutes the bell DINGS and somebody yells, “Next.” Popcorn, salmon, garlic, jalapeno, sausage fight a losing battle against the overpowering tobacco stench.The holiday spirit is a hollow barrel in B-Block. Beneath masks resides a longing only revealed in sunken eyes. Under a fragile facade of contentment, draped in nonchalance, lurks an angst- disconnection, seperation from the world-that is only communicated in raised eyebrows, grudging grunts, and even gnashing teeth.
Anything…everything…but no tears.And early tomorrow morning, in the absence of the distraction of the JVC lord and radio shows and bedlam, we’ll rise from our bunks. Methodically wash faces and routinely brush teeth. And one by one we’ll bleat, “Next” for the phone. Then, when finally our turn comes up, we’ll pull up a chair, burrow into the phone partition and carry on tender, covert conversations with our weeping families and children.
But always, with determination, we refuse to shed tears.
Never. Ever. Shed no tears.

Copyright K.Omodele 12-24-04
From the blog “The Abeng and My Conscious Pen