I took over my Daddy’s coffee shop after he died and thought everything ran smoothly. That was, until the new owners decided to jack up my rent at an unbearable cost.

Just when I was about to close down the shops and let go of the employees, I received numerous checks to keep me up float. Everything was going well until he showed up.

After I cashed the checks, he demanded the payment in full as he reminded me what he signed on the memos:

The first one: You.

The second one: Belong.

The third one: To.

The last and final one: Me.

I knew my guardian angel wasn’t that generous without some invisible and thick strings attached. He doesn’t want money; he wants me. Unless I have something to say about it, he will have me.

Finesse is a standalone erotic novella that deals with long-lost love, forgiveness, and starting over.


Funerals are not for the dead; they’re for the living to show off.

Every funeral I’ve been to it’s been one fashion show after another. From my uncles in their finest Stacy Adams to my aunties clutching their Tiffany pearls and designer black Gucci shades to the church ushers straight out of a beauty salon or a fresh fade.

You’ve been to one funeral, you’ve been to them all. They all have the same thing: a choir, a processional/viewing, somebody sharing great stories, somebody taking a bit too long and needs to hurry up and sit down. Somber music played. Joyful numbers people shout Hallelujah to.

Every funeral is the same except this one – my daddy’s.

It was just me and my daddy from since I was three. My mother decided motherhood and wifedom was just not for her so she bounced. I’ve seen my mother a handful times in the past 24 years of my life and each time I see her, she’s more unrecognizable than before.

It’s not necessarily her fault and I no longer have any ill will towards her. Daddy’s had plenty of girlfriends that have come and gone, but they’ve all left lasting impressions:

Keisha was the around the way girlfriend. She had her ears to the streets, but kept my daddy on his business. She taught me about puberty and boys. “Don’t trust them motherfuckers.” She’d always warned me. Lord knows I wished I listened to her.

Karen was the lone white woman Daddy brought home, but she could throw down in the kitchen. She could make anything from Asian, Latino, and even pretty damn good baked macaroni and cheese. She taught me how to cook. “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” she told me, “give him a good meal and he’ll hand over his wallet, baby.” It was sound advice.

Shanice was the biracial girlfriend who was a walking advertisement for every name brand out there. She taught me about fashion and makeup. “You can’t have a face beat to the gods and look like you just rolled out of bed, booboo.” She’s never had a hair out of place.

Those are the top three I remember. They’re all here with me. The other girlfriends never made it past the front door. I guess Daddy knew better than to bring them inside to meet me. I respect his game.

Posted on March 4, 2020

Now, I’m sitting in the front row of the church, pretending to listen to a preacher I really couldn’t care about as he delivers his sermon to a packed house. My daddy was a neighborhood man. He was everyone’s friend.

That happens when you have the best local coffee chain in town.

Decatur isn’t a small town, but it’s not a big city. It’s sizable. Not everyone knows everyone type of deal, but surely, people know who the main players are. My daddy ran Fresh Espresso for the past ten years. No matter what time of day, everyone knew who he was.

He greeted college students cramming for a test. He served politicians hammering out bills and laws. He placated the bored housewives who gossiped about their Botoxed fremenies.

When it was Black History month, he served cups in black, red, and green. When it was pride month, the cups became a rainbow. When it was Latino Heritage Month, he hired local Mariachi bands to serenade the crowd on Friday evenings.

My Daddy was everyone’s friend. A car accident turned him into a memory.

My lungs push out a sigh as I think about everything. My daddy always paid his bills on time. He was never late on anything. He had great credit, he was loved in the community, and he never even so much had a parking ticket.

An asshole running away from the cops took my father’s life away before he had a chance to drink his own brewed cup.

It didn’t matter now. All I have were memories.

I sigh and listen to the gospel singer sing “Mary, Don’t You Weep” among shouts and “Praise God!” floating in the air. Most of the people in the church knew me since I was a baby. A lot of the faces were familiar, even if I couldn’t remember everyone’s names.

When it was time for the eulogy, I found the strength to get up and speak. I slowly walked to the podium with a round of applause from the church. The only daughter of everyone’s favorite uncle had something to say.

I stood high in my heels, took a sip of water, and cleared my throat. I adjusted the microphone and was astounded to see the number of people before me. A few hundred maybe?

“Good morning,” I softly spoke into the microphone and the crowd replied. “Thank you all so much for coming to honor my daddy today. I might not know all of you but I’m sure over the years you might have been familiar with me.” I took another deep breath. “Everyone has told wonderful stories about my dad and how he went out of his way to help. And you know what? They were right.

Posted July 26, 2020