Keene walked around the old pickup truck parked in the middle of his mechanic shop, followed by Beheen and I trailed behind him both of them. We were like three chu-chu trains.
I could tell that Keene was avoiding Beheen. He always seems to be in a hurry when Beheen wants to talk to him.
“I need some help.” Beheen started.
“I owe the tax people a lot of money” he continued.
Keene looked back at him.
“What’s that got to do with me.” Said Keene.
“Could you lend me some money.” Said Beheen.
“Oh no! Little brother, I can’t.” said Keene.
“You didn’t even ask me how much I needed” said Beheen.
“Does it really matter? You always need something.” Said Keene.
I looked at Beheen as he replied. “Why can’t you help me out for once.”
Then I looked at Keene as he replied. “I’ve done you enough favors.”
“You don’t do anyone favors.” Said Beheen.
Side to side my head turned until my neck got tired.
“Well how about all that money you got, I didn’t get any of it, isn’t that enough of a favor.” Said Keene.
“We had different father’s that no my fault.” Beheen said.
“You’ve always been a helpless kid.
mama sent you to a good school and you didn’t even go to class.
Then they gave you all this money and you blew it in 3 years.
now your standing here asking me for more money.
The only thing I can do for you is offer you a job.
And I know how you feel about real work.” Said keene.
“You know what I’m not scared of work.
I’ll sell my paintings and make the money.” Said Beheen.
“Oh wow, you’re going to finally try to sell that stuff in your basement.
Thank god, our mother can finally get a return on her investment.” Said Keene.
“I don’t need your sarcasm right now.” Said Beheen.
“The only painting that is worth anything is the one that mama painted. And you better not think of selling that one.” Said Keene
“You don’t need to worry. I won’t sell her painting” said Beheen.
Later that day, We sat at Gloria Park with Beheen and all of his art pieces spread out around us. The park only had a few people that day. Two old women stared at the art for a while then smiled at me.
“she’s a cute little girl”. they said.
Then they walked away. The old ice cream man kept an eye on me to see if I wanted more ice cream.
When we got home mama rushed to the front door to greet me.
Pastor Benjiman sat up from his slouch on the couch and stared at Beheen.
Beheen stared back at him.
“funny seeing you here pastor, to what do I owe the pleasure”. Said Beheen.
“oh I came to see Sandra about the fellowship ministry.” Pastor Benjiman replied.
“where did you two go today?” mama interrupted.
“we were at the park selling Beheen’s paintings” I said.
“Beheen, Did anyone buy your art?” Said Pastor.
“The park was empty”.
“Everyone was at work. Said Beheen.
“Sounds like something you should try” said pastor.
“So Pastor ,What is your work? Making house visits when boyfriend’s arent home.” said Beheen.
“At least I have a craft that feeds me.” Said pastor.
“Eating the sheep, that what you call a craft that feeds you.” Said Beheen.
Get out of my house! You old wolf!” said beheen.
Pastor made his way to the door.
“The real problem Beheen is your not a good artist. Your mother was a good artist.”
Pastor pointed to the painting on the wall. “Now that is art!” Said pastor
“I said get out of my house!” Beheen yell.
Beheen opened the front door.
“God punish you for that insult Beheen, I promise you.” Said the Pastor.
The pastor walked out the door.
Beheen slamed the door shut.
“That’s no way to talk to him.” said mama.
I stood frozen, I didn’t know whether to follow mama as she marched into the kitchen or stand next to Beheen.
“lets go upstairs lacy” mama said.
I turned to follow mama.
Before I could take a step there was a knock on the door.
Mama stopped and turned around to look at the front door. I turned around.
Beheen swung the door open.
He yelled. “What!”
A blue suited man stood at the door.
“Mr Beheen Sandete, I’m here to collect the tax debt you owe.” said the man in a blue suit.
Beheen stepped outside and closed the front door behind him.
Mama came and stood next to the door to listen.
“Well you understand what this means. There will be a warrant for your arrest effective tomorrow evening.” Said the Man.
“Yes, I’ll get the money.” Said Beheen.
That night, I woke up to mama yelling at beheen.
“I don’t want you taking my daughter to go begging in the streets with you”. Said Mama.
“At least I spend time with her.” Said Beheen.
“oh wow, your gonna throw that in my face.” Said Mama.
“You’re to busy doing church stuff.” Said Beheen.
“I’m doing god’s work!” said Mama.
I could see the light under the door way moving about.
“I doubt god wants you to abandon your daughter ever and fool around with a pastor.” Said Beheen.
He’s a good man, he mature, and stable. Which is more than I can say for you.
I sat up in my bed. “Beheen!” I yelled.
Beheen and Mama came into the bedroom.
“yes” I said.
“Did we wake you up,” Said Beheen.
“I’m sorry go back to bed.” Said mama.
“What’s the matter.” I said.
“Nothings the matter Lacy, we are just talking.” Said mama.
The next afternoon, we walked around an art gallery in town.
Beheen found an empty wall in the gallery.
“sit here and don’t move, I’ll be right back. Okay!” Beheen said.
I nodded my head.
I swung my feet from the chair as I watched Beheen walk out the gallery.
Beheen came back holding two paintings.
He hung up the two paintings on the empty wall in the gallery.
Beheen stood back to look at his paintings.
What do you think Lacy?” said Beheen.
I smiled and gave him two thumbs up.
A woman with a badge walked up to us.
“Excuse me sir! What do you think you’re doing?” she asked Beheen.
Beheen scratched the back of his head.
“I was hanging up some of my art!” said Beheen.
“I’m sorry sir, please take those paintings down.” she said.
“But it’s art! And It’s an art gallery, what the big deal.” He said.
“Sir if you don’t take the art down I’ll be forced to remove the art.” She said.
“Look I need to sell my art and there are people here who are willing to buy” He said.
Two black men in grey uniforms appeared.
”Please escort this man outside.” Said the woman.
“Let’s go buddy!” said the shorter guard.
“Don’t touch me! You bastards.” Beheen said.
The lady looked at me as they were lifting Beheen by his arms.
She squatted down. “Are you with him little lady.” She said to me.
I nodded my head.
She went over to her desk and came back with a chocolate bar. Then she opened the front door for me to walk outside.
Beeheen was laying on the sidewalk with part of his shirt ripped.
We stood outside with Beheen when the security guards returned to throw the art out the front door.
The paintings hit the pavement, the frames broke and the paintings ripped down the middle.
“You lousy buggers! That’s my best work!” yelled Beheen.
The guards looked at him and giggled at each other before walking back inside the building.
The big woman came to the entrance. “If you don’t leave this area, I’ll be forced to call the police.” She said.
Beheen dusted himself off.
He reached out for my hand and we walked across the street.
I could tell Beheen was sad.
“don’t cry “ I said and wrapped my arms around his waist.
He looked down at me.
And caressed my head. Then he took a deep breath.
You want some ice cream. He asked.
“Yes”, I nodded my head.
We walked around the big town and found an ice cream place.
Beheen watched me eating my vanilla ice cream. He let me have a bit of his chocolate ice cream.
“Yucky!” I said.
Our table was next to the window.
We could see the people walking by.
A man stopped at the window and waved at us.
He walked inside the ice cream place with his companion dressed in a nice suit.
“Beheen!” the man yelled out.
“how are you!“ The tall man continued.
I recognized his blue eyes and long hair from the house party Beheen had two weeks ago.
“hey parker, how’s it going”
“Hey Todd this is my friend” Beheen.
“he’s an artist” Parker said to his companion.
“Todd works at an art auction.” Said Parker.
“Awesome, we are having an auction tomorrow.” Said Todd.
“Could I bring some art to the auction?” asked Beheen.”
“Absolutely, Bring your art by and we’ll put it on stage and see what it’s worth!” said Todd.
“You’re a doll!” Parker kissed Todd on the cheek.
“We have to run”. Parker grabbed Todd’s hand and they walked out the front door.
Beheen smilled at me.
“You know what that means.” Said Beheen to me.
I smiled at Beheen, but I didn’t know what it meant.
“But I don’t have any good pieces of art left.
I’m going to have o find some art by tomorrow.” He said.
That night, mama and beheen were yelling again.
The next morning, when I ate my cereal I noticed the big painting in the living room was gone.
Two police men came by in the morning and mama opened the door for them.
The tall police man walked around the house looking for beheen.
The fat police man asked mama alot of questions.
Before they walked out the door, the fat police man handed Mama a piece of paper with Beheen’s picture.
Beheen came by in the afternoon through the back door.
I showed him the paper with his picture.
He helped me put on my pink boots and my purple jacket.
We walked for a long time and found his car far away from the house.
We drove across town. We arrived the art Auction Todd told Beheen about.
The auction was full of a lot of nicely dressed people.
Beheen and I found a chair in the corner and watched the the crowd.
I could see Todd on the stage talking to everybody in the room.
Pastor Benjamin walked in the building and greeted us.
“How did he know we were here?” asked Beheen.
The painting in the living was on stage.
“Excuse me sir, please follow me” A police man asked Beheen.
I could see pastor Benjiman looking from a distance.
“Wait right here, I’ll be right back.” Beheen said.
Beheen followed the police man at us.
I sat in the chair and waited for Beheen to come back.
The painting was moved of the stage and another painting was brought on stage.
After sitting by myself for a long time, I hopped out of the chair and went to look for Beheen.
I walked down the hall way.
Everyone was so big.
I got scare and went back to my chair.
“Lisa! Oh my god!” Mama came running towards me.
Are you okay.” Mama asked.
I nodded my head.
“Where’s Beheen?” I said.
“He’s at the police station” mama said.
We went home in Pastor’s car.
That night, I heard pastor voice still talking to mama.
That winter Mama married Pastor Benjamin in the church.
They made me carry a ring down the front of the church.
Mama was happy and I was happy for mamma.
“What does this mean Mama.” I asked mama.
“It means you don’t have to call him pastor.” Said Mama
What do I call him?
“You can call him Papa, if you’d like. Mama said.
“What about Beheen, I though he was going to be Papa.” I said.
“Oh no, he’s not a good Papa anymore.
Pastor Benjamin is more mature and stable.” Mama said.
Two Years later, when mama and Ben were driving to a church event and I was sitting in the back seat. My ears perked up when I heard Ben telling my mom something.
“Beheen got released last month from Folsom Correctional.” Said Ben.
“good for him.” mama said.
Ben looked into the rear view window at me.
I looked out the window at the traffic the instant we made eye contact.
So I got my courage up and walked all the way to Keene’s mechanic shop all by myself.
When I got there. I saw Beheen and his brother working together on a car engine.
I gave Beheen a big hug around his stomach.
He asked me how I was doing.
I told him I was going to be in 4th grade soon.
“How’s your mama doing?” asked Beheen.
“She married that old wolf.” I said.
Bheeen laughed until tears came out his eyes.
In the background of the mechanic shop, his mother’s painting hung on the wall along with a few other paintings I never saw before.
Afterwards, Beheen dropped me off near the Old Wolf’s house.