No rules, no limits, no escape.
"998,000, 999,000, and one million!" I cheered, counting our profit while laying in bed with Marriam. "And just in one day".
"Don't get too happy," Marriam looked at me with a sly look, "I'm gettin' most of that"
"I'll be damned," I replied, crossing my arms.
"We're selling the cookies at MY shop," she pointed to herself, "Fubway is my thing, so I get sixty percent"
"I helped build it up with you," I explained to her, "Let's split it fifty-fifty".
"You didn't even like Fubway when I opened it at first," She raised her voice a bit.
"I didn't like you when I first met you," I said, "Look at us now".
"Yeah," she started rubbing her chin, "That's pretty sweet. But I put a lot more into Fubway than you. I had a whole damn song compaign. You just now came and joined me".
"I still did a lot," I tried to explain, "Hell, I came up with some of the cookie concepts myself".
"The salsa cookies and the trippy cookies?" she asked, "Those are our best selling ones, and guess who came up with them?"
She pointed her thumbs to herself and cheered "Me!"
"You got me there," I admitted, "But my ideas sold well"
"The drowsy cookies, the lemon cookies, the pepper cookies, and the rehab cookies?" she said, "You could combine all of that, and they still won't sell as much as mine. Take your 400,000 and weep".
"Man, that's a lie," I slammed my hand down on the bed, "I wanna see some numbers"
"I record every dollar on my phone," Marriam said. She pulled up a chart, and sure enough, her cookies outsold mine.
"Got ya!" she flicked her tongue at me.
"Take your tongue somewhere else". I folded my arms.
"Where?" She said.
She licked my neck, making me feel kind of fuzzy.
"Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about," I said, "Come here, baby".
I turned her around and placed my hand on my back. Both of us went in for a long, smooth tongue wrestle.
"I got a surprise for you," I told her, "I'll be right back".
"You better not take too long honey," she said, "Or I'll kill you".
I laughed, then she said, "I'm serious".
I walked out our bedroom down the halls of Marriam's mansion. The old, creaky woodem floor was now obsolete. In its' place laid a reflective black and white marble floor. She recently had the walls redone to be less "creepy". The barren, stained green walls were replaced with gold walls, lined with a brown wooden trims. New glass lights illuminated the hallway, and she had water fountains and vending machines lined up.
"Man". I looked around and took everything in. "Four undecillion can go a long way".
Then came the stairs. She kept some things intact because she "kinda liked the scary vibe". This was one of them. The elevator was still under repair, with new mirrors and a jacuzzi being installed. I could risk it and still get on, but I decided to be rational. The walls turned back to their original green at this point. I slowly walked down the stairs, trying to tune out any creaks. A construction hat on the ground didn't do me any favors. To my surprise, I made it down safely and landed in our new living room. She had the walls redone to be a velvet red with a yellow trim. The four couches, new carpet, and rugs all matched. The broken and stained chandelier from the past was repaired and shone proudly. A wide TV with subwoofers on the side faced it all. Finally, a fish tank punctuated the middle of the room. If anything, our living room looked more like a lobby. The People magazines stacked neatly on the computer desk next to a bowl of jolly ranchers confirmed my claim.
I walked out to our new white porch and took some time to gaze at dark blue night sky. The stars glistened and sparkled, with a glowing half moon stealing the show. Looking around, I took note of everything we added. A swing set, a dining table with wooden antique chairs, and an arcade rocket. It had two slots - a 25 cent one, and a 50 cent one.
"Hmmm". I rubbed my chin. "I never tried the 50 cent one".
I reached in my pocket, pulled out 50 cents, and stuck it in the slot. A small burst of fire bursted through the fake engine
"Whoa!". I jumped back. "That kinda scared me".
I walked back into our house and went straight to the kitchen. It was also renovated to be more restaurant-styled, with a buffet in the middle, silver shining stoves, and a black fridge that opened via a touchscreen. The microwave and toaster were stylized in the same manner. The cabinets shines with glossy glass, with the frames and knobs platted with gold.
"She really did this place up," I said.
I touched the "open" option on our fridge and pulled out a bowl of cranberries. Then I walked over to our pantry, and grabbed some Colonel Sanders Kool-Aid. Within ten seconds, the bottle was empty.
"Who knew KFC could actually make good kool-aid?". I placed the bottle in Marriam's secret bottle collection.
Before I sleep and after I wake up, I always drink Colonel Sanders Kool-Aid. When I drank it, I was a little more focused, ready, and down for whatever. A day without it was like Martin without Gina. Plus, it kinda tastes like chicken.
Once I walked out the kitchen, I took a huge gulp, knowing I would have to brave those stairs again.
"Think happy thoughts". I tilted my head back and chanted, "Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!"
I made it up the first step, then the second, and before I knew it, I was on the second floor.
I said to myself, "That wasn't so bad, you little scaredy-cat".
"Joshie, where the hell are you?" Marriam called off from the room. Of course, I walked even faster to get to her. She stood at the door, rubbing her hands across a knife.
"You're back! I just was about to do it". She placed it down on the dresser.
"Yeah right," I scoffed. "Anyways, I got you something this afternoon".
She looked at the cranberries and they sent her into a frenzy. She frantically jumped up and down.
"Oh my God, those are my favorite". She looked up and smiled at me. "Thanks Joshie. I love you so much"
"I love you too, Mary,"
I went in for a gentle hug and slowly wrapped my arms around her. If we could, we would stay like this forever.
Outside of our place, the town of Cookie Ranch was filmed to the brim with excitement. People were in the streets and on the sidewalk, just talking freely and eagerly. A car could barely pass by. The reason? A new horror-comedy movie, entitled "Closed" was finally out. It centered around three pre-teens discovering a "hidden" amusement park that only they know about. They keep it secret and take full advantage and of it, until they find out, they're not alone. For the past month or so, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing an ad for this movie. The local Wal-Mart rebranded all their products to include the characters. The Chinga Tu Madre mall has an amusement park built behind it that looks exactly like the one in the film. And across town, people who resembled the main villain, Jennywise, knocked around on everyone's door. One of them came to our house last week.
June 12, 2018, 2:00 A.M
Marriam and I were in the living room, playing a little game of Monopoly, but with a twist. Every time you went to jail or landed on someone's property, you had to wear a clown mask and do a silly chicken dance. Marriam didn't have to get up once, while I was all worn out. Furious, I shook the dice hard and slammed it down.
"Ten". I moved my piece about six spaces forward, then I realized I was only four spaces away from jail.
"Go ahead, Joshie," she teased me.
"I'mma get you next time," I snapped back. I slowly moved my piece while preparing for the inevitable. Then we heard a knock on the door.
"This better not be those Young Thief dudes," she growled, grabbing her shotgun. She cocked it and opened the door. I looked to see who it was, only to hear a loud thud. Then I ran up to the door and looked on the ground.
"You knocked out Jennywise!" I shouted. She was dead on the floor with her trademark rainbow knife.
"I don't give a damn," she folded her arms, "She shouldn't have came here with a knife"
Bell and Marina were one the few jam packed in that hot line. Marina was a bit impatient, but Bell did a little wiggle dance.
"I can't wait! I can't wait!"
"It's not gonna be long, baby," Marina reassured him. But she knew better. Turning to the side, she covered her face. She grabbed some aluminum foil out of her purse, kneeled down, and laid it on the ground.
"It's gonna be a long night," she said to herself. Sighing, she pulled out a bag of skittles, and looked at them.
"Here we go," she poured all of them out on the foil.
"Bell, you want some?"
He jumped up and screamed, "Yeah!", and knocked down the guy in front of him. He kneeled down besides Marina.
"Get your straw ready, baby," she told him while pulling out a credit card.
"Got it!" he pulled it from behind his ear.
Marina chopped the skittles up with her credit card. The whole time, Bell cheered, "Chop it up! Chop it up! Wooooo!"
"Ah, that's why I love you honey," she looked at him with a glow in her eye.
"I love you too, Mare Bear"
They gave each other a tight hug and together, they snorted up all the skittle powder. The people in line around them had no idea what the hell they were doing - well, except one little girl.
"I wanna join!"
Her mother wiped away a tear and said, "I wanna join too honey," sniff sniff, "I wanna join".
Down the street was London Boarding School, known for being the "Good school gone bad". It's pretty much the school equivalent of Rihanna. But there was nothing crazy going down in one of the empty rooms today. Instead, my sister, Mariah was ending her dance class, filled with girls 16-19. Jada and Emmani just chilled on the side
"Alright, everybody did real good today, we still gotta work on those leg extensions, but we gon get there. Come on y'all".
They all got into a huddle together and Mariah cheered, "One, two, three..."
"Dance squad!" they all shouted in perfect unison.
The class packed up their bags and got ready to leave. One girl pulled out a giant jar of cheeseballs.
"Gimme some," another girl asked.
"Maybe in your dreams," she dismissed her quick. She passed the jar to Mariah.
"This is for you, thanks for everything you do, I really appreciate it"
"Aww, thanks". They had a quick hug and she twirled out the room.
"Who the hell is that," Emmani asked.
"That's Stacy," Mariah said, "I don't like picking favorites, but she's on the best ones in here".
"You just said that cause she gave you some cheeseballs," Azyrea chimed in.
"Nah," Mariah kicked back in seat,"Well, yeah. But it's like she gets everything real quick, she don't complain about stuff, and she kinda fine too"
"Wow Mariah," Jada took a sip of some raspberry lemonade. Then the principal walked in.
"I gotta say, I've really been impressed with the progress this class has made lately. Say, on June 25th, I wanna a dance tribute to Michael Jackson, can you..."
"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" Mariah leaped out of her seat.
"Great, I'm sure you'll come up with something amazing". She smiled from ear to ear and started walking out the room. "Have a great night, don't let the broke boys bite".
In the London Boardwalk apartments, Johnny and Kimberly were just fooling around in their room. They were drinking some Apple Cider and Vingear while watching lyric videos on YouTube.
"Hey baby," Johnny slurred, "Wanna do some karaoke?"
"Hell..hell yeah," Kimberly flung her bottle around, spilling it a bit, "Let's get it on, daddy"
The song they chose? Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. They held invisible microphones and sung the lyrics:
"We're no strangers to love
You know the rules, and so do I, hey!
A full commitment's what I'm thinkin' of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand"
The hook came,and they sang that shit at the top of their lungs:
"NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP, NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN, NEVER GONNA RUN AROUND AND DESERT YOU, NEVER GONNA MAKE YOU CRY, NEVER GONNA SAY GOODBYE, NEVER GONNA TELL A LIE, AND HURT YOU"
They were off-key, off-sync, and woke up the whole damn apartment. The door had burst open, and all four members of One Direction had came in.
"Jumpin' Jellybeans!" Kimberly zoomed over in a flash, leaving Johnny with a dumb look on his face
"What, what the hell is this?" he threw his arms out.
"Oh my God, I love you guys!". She shook Niall's hand, Liam's hand, and Louis' hand. She reached for Harry's hand, but he told her, "Bug off". His solid abs, completely drowned in tattoos, distracted her from his comment.
"One Direction? Oh man!" Johnny crept up with a guitar, "I could be your next Zayn". He strummed random, mashed up notes on his guitar while singing, "Girl, I wanna love you sidewaaaays, and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down"
All four members covered their ears.
"Issa no from me dawg," Liam put on his best Simon Cowell impression.
"What, what are you guys doing here?" Kimberly asked.
"I heard your singing and I was blown away," Louis told her, "Would you like to join our group?"
"Oh my God, yes, yes, yes!"
"Why are we letting this annoying little brat join the group? She can't even hold a note" Harry had his eyes low, and was clearly out of it.
"Why are you such a jerk?" Kimberly's voice cracked. He looked at her, and said nothing. He just smirked and laughed a bit.
"You are so cute, Harry"
"You too, Kimberly"
They looked each other in the eyes, and they shared a long, fiery kiss.
"Get off my girl!" Johnny yelled, running up and ready to rumble.
"Johnny, you okay?"
Kimberly woke out her sleep to see just what the hell was going on. He was on the floor, beating up the lamp, and screaming, "You talentless monster!"
"What the hell dude?". She scratched her head.
"Sorry, I had a nightmare". He got up and climbed back in the bed.
"You wouldn't leave me for Harry Styles, would you?"
"The hell?" Kimberly raised an eyebrow and began to explain. "I don't even listen to One Direction like that".
"Thank God," he wiped some sweat off his forehead, "It was just a dream"
"You need to stop reading Wattpad at night," she told him, before going back to sleep.
While all this was happening, Kenyelle, Monica, Thomas, and Grady were chilling and smoking weed in the local production studio. Grady changed a lot in the past year. He hit a marvelous growth spurt that sent him from 4'11 to 6'1, had a small mustache, and his squeaker turned into a voice that rivaled Barry White's. Monica took note of all this, and stared at him for a while.
"Damn, boy," she took a long drag. "I ain't seen you in a year and you got all fine. You grew up"
"Thanks". Grady smiled and got up.
"Something else grew too". He started to unbuckle his pants, but Kenyelle popped up
"Bruh, chill". He put his hand out in a stopping motion.
"You ready to do this?" he asked Monica.
"Hell yeah!". Monica pumped her fist in the air.
"Alright, when we record, I want you to sing the hell outta that song!". He started to move a bit frantically. "Pull your soul in that! Don't hold nothin' back! I want people outside the studio to feel it! You got me?"
Monica giggled a little.
"I got you, man,". She cleared her throat, walked into the recording booth, and looked at the mic with a fire in her eyes.
"You ready?" he asked her.
"I was born ready!" she snatched the headphones and locked them around her ear.
"1, 2, 3, Go!"
A dark, cloudy trap beat with a tinge of R&B flavor began playing, and Monica lightly bounced around. Once the bass drop, she came in with:
"He tried to shoot his shot like he can't miss
I warned that lil boy that I'm dangerous
If he ain't loyal, he can't claim this
I told him watch out cause my shoe game heinous"
Kenyelle cut the track and hopped up out his seat.
"Ay, that was lit," he told her.
"Thanks man," she said, walking out the studio. "You got your verse yet?"
"Manc I'm not gon' lie," He started scratching his head, "I ain't even start on that it yet".
Monica folded her arms, and shook her head, while smirking a little.
"You said you was gonna have it today"
"I was tryna get the beat right," he tried to explain, pointing at the equipment.
"Ay, time to lock up," a voice called from outside the studio. He dangled the keys.
"I promise, I'mma have the verse tomorrow," he claimed. All four of them began walking out.
"And if you don't?" Monica asked. She looked at him menacingly with her hand slightly outstretched.
"Then I just don't have it," he said.
Monica rolled her eyes and said, "Whatever".
Back at the movies, the movie Closed was coming to a close. In the final scene, three of the four kids were walking away from the amusement park.
"I love this place, man," one of them told the other, still a bit jumpy. "Halloween Horror Nights doesn't stand a chance to this"
"Well, at least all those creeps are dead, we can go back to riding like we want"
"This place might be haunted!" the third kid flinged his arms, "Again!"
"I doubt it," the first kid said. But behind them, something was rising from the dirt. A hand with a rainbow knife.
The end was punctuated with a standing ovation in the crowd. One guy pulled out a gun.
"This movie's so good, I gotta bust a cap!" He shot one in the air. Half the moviegoers scattered towards the exit. Marina turned to Bell.
"You can take the popcorn bucket off your head now"
"Is it over?"
"Good". He took the bucket off and wiped sweat off his forehead. "That movie was scary as hell! I almost peed myself"
Marina looked at his pants. They were soaked and dripping wet.
"I think you actually did".
"Aw man!" he cried, "I got these from Gretchen. I'm gonna die!"
"Relax babe," she put her hand on his chest, "We'll just wash it when we get home, okay?"
"Okay". He used his infamous pout face.
They left the theater and walked to her shiny black Nissan. She pushed the button, and they took off.
"Baby, put something good on the radio for me,". She smiled and looked at him, still thinking about what just happened.
"We bout to get gangsta up in here". He pumped his shoulders, then turned the knob.
"This is Gangsta rap radio, tonight we got a classic for ya, just kick back, grab a six pack, and relax..."
The beat began playing, and Marina's eyes perked up.
"Bell, change it!"
It was too late. The infamous police song by N.W.A began playing. After the first two bars. Marina clicked it off and wiped her forehead.
Bell reached out to the radio.
"Turn it back on," he begged.
"You wanna get in trouble?" she asked him
"No". He shook his head like a child.
"Then don't play it," she told him and shook her head. They finally arrived at Jonny and Gretchen's house, got out the car, and walked in.
"Hey hey hey!" Jonny ran up to them, "How was y'all little date?"
Gretchen scoffed and looked at him.
"Eww, you quoted Bill Cosby"
"Buzz off, slimy!" he yelled, fanning his arms
"Anyways," Marina started to tell them, "It was amazing. Bell is such a sweetheart. First, we..."
"What's all that orange and blue crud outside," Gretchen cut her off.
Bell peaked out the door and yelled, "Hey Jonny, we got some visitors!"
"Oh really," he said while walking up. He opened the door, only to see some white men in white hoods with torches, the local police, and the H&M manager at Chinga Tu Madre Mall.
"Ahh!" he let out a high-pitched squeak and slammed the door shut.
"Who the hell was that?" Gretchen said.
"Nobody". He hid his face in shame and cried, "Whyyyyyyyyy?"