Andrea (TEA) Clinton Author







Red Dollar


Leo finds a dollar bill that has a unique redness across the bottom. Knowing tales of the red dollar, his mother tells him to get rid of it as it will bring forth a horrible misfortune and demise to the owner, leaving them in misery. Since Leo is in debt to Low-Blow, a local drug dealer, he decides to let Low-Blow steal his money so that he will obtain the misfortune, then, Leo will be relieved of his debt.

Low-Blow lives like a king, coming and going and letting others do his dirty work. But when he receives the red dollar, his world flips upside down, and he enters a twilight zone of a different kind.





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“You can smell the evil on that dolla’! Get that thing outa here,” Tildee said to her grandson Leo, the ex-junkie who only months ago moved home from the rehabilitation program. “You can’t t’row ‘dat t’ing out da’ window, no. You have to give it to someone. When the pizza guy come, count it like so and give it to him. ‘Dis money here, it bring somet’ing far worse than bad luck. It bring evil, seen? Pass ‘dis like you use to pass t’ing when you was doin’ dem drugs so.”


“Yes Mama.”


Leo did exactly what his grandmother told him to do. While all the kids were running in the room waiting for the pizza to come, he walked to the door and down the stairs to pay the pizza man. Knowing the guys downstairs who sold drugs robbed him on a regular basis to make up the money he stole from them in the past, he usually kept two batches of money and if he didn’t have it, he would come and go through the back door. But, when he heard his grandmother say that the money he had was evil money, and he knew all his problems came from those guys getting he and his friends addicted to crack when they were only fifteen years old, he decided to let them rob him of the evil dollar. So, the five dollars he usually kept for them, he swopt for the single dollar bills, including the evil red dollar.


When the pizza man came in the hallway, he quickly opened the door and when one of the guys saw it opened, they ran across the street to snatch Leo up. Leo paid the pizza men and set the pizza on the step. As he yelled for his nephew who always spied and followed him around to come get the pizza. Then, he came back down and pretended to attempt to close the door just after the pizza guy left. His struggle was such that any one with common sense would realize he wanted them to come get him.


“Don’t, please, you know my Mama don’t give me more than five dollars for myself.”


Snatching Leo by his shirt, Low-Blow, his ex-dealer, pushed him up against the wall, as two other guys came in and helped pin him to the wall. “You know I’m going to be robbing you for your five dollars for the next twenty five years until you pay me back my three thousand dollars. If it wasn’t for your grandmother and your cousin, I’d have killed you a long time ago!”


“Ok, let me get you the five dollars,” as Leo tried to go in his pocket.


“Let him go!” his nephew Beady said while standing at the top of the stairs holding the four pizza pies. He was ready to run into the apartment if they come after him. “Mama! They got Leo again.”


“Mama know what time it is. Take ya butt in the house boy,” Low-Blow said, then he turned back to Leo, “I’ll get the money. I don’t want you holding out on me. ‘Cause if it’s six or even eight dollars, I’m taking it,” as he dug in Leo’s pocket and took out the single dollar bills.


The two guys began to walk out the door, Low-blow walked out the door behind them looking back at Leo with hatred in his eyes, hating drug addicts, even when they became so at his own hand.


After they all left out, Leo fell back up against the wall. He looked up at his nephew and said, “He’ll have to do evil to get rid of it and if he keeps it, it will drive him so broke, he’ll have to do evil to maintain a pocket full of cash. Either way, that evil red dollar will take him out of my life,” Leo said to his nephew with a smile.


“Yeah, and he foolish enough to see the red dollar and admire it, and keep it for good luck,” he said while shaking his head at him. Both of them laughed.


“I’m sorry he’s your father and doesn’t even recognize you anymore,” Leo said to Beady.


“I’m not. If he did recognize me, he’d be teaching me all about the drug game and not raising me proper like Mama. Then I’d be treating you badly instead of praying for you to get well so you can get back to being my uncle.”


“Yeah, well,” dropping his head in shame, “I’m sorry for that too.”


“I’m just sorry I don’t already have my teeth sunk into this pizza. Come on so I can eat and get ready for Wednesday night prayer and praise classes. Ms. Ezraa will be here soon.”


Following Beady, jogging up the stairs, “Yeah, maybe I’ll go with you tonight and study with you. What do you think.”


“I think that would be nice, if indeed you do come,” Beady said as they entered the apartment.





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