Cash Only: Chapter 7

Monday, 08 March 2010 16:26 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Cash Only: A Novel



I walk into Tyler’s house and see Magic – the dreadlocked dancer who always wears the Jamaican flag as wrap. “Sup?” he says.

“Hello,” I reply, moving cautiously into the room that smells heavily of weed and scented oil – a combination of sweet and musk.

“Hey T, come on back,” Tyler yells from the other room. I glance at Magic who is grinning just a little too hard for my taste and my comfort level drops to zero.

“I can just leave the sketches out here if you’re busy packing for your trip,” I yell back. Tyler appears in the doorway, still shirtless. “Naw, I have time to talk about what you came up with. We can discuss while I pack.”

I hesitantly follow him to his room, caught off guard by the scroll tattooed on his back. The words of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, "Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day," are written inside it. “I’m impressed, that’s one of my favorite poems you have on your back.”

“Oh yeah?” Tyler turns to me and smiles. “My favorite by her is actually the piece she did for ‘Pac. I started kinda checking her out after my sister put me on.”

“Interesting,” I say as I sit in the chair to the right of his bed, not that I could have sat on the bed – it was covered with clothes. “I would have never thought.”

“Why is that? I mean, I ain’t been to no college and I am more street than the educated brothers you probably date, but ‘Pac was a poet, like most emcees.”

Wow, ‘Pac and Nikki, this man could definitely get it. I shift my eyes from him to my art case. ‘No he can’t Tracie!’ I scream to myself.  “Of course, I didn’t mean to offend you or anything. I’m actually a fan of Tupac and agree with you. I’m just surprised,” I say as I open my case and remove the sketches. “Are you ready to take a look at what I’ve come up with?”

Tyler reaches for the sketches and his hand brushes against mine. He sits on the edge of the bed and his knees touch mine as well. “These are hot girl, you got skills,” he says placing his hand on my knee.

“Which one are you feeling the most?” I ask, casually moving to the side to fish my pad out my case. Something is happening when he touches me; is my leg shaking?

“This one is dope. I can definitely see that one,” he says. Our eyes meet.

“Oh, really? So you’re good with it as is? You don’t want me to add or change anything?”

Shaking his head, Tyler hands me the pad. “That’s the one babe. Once the fellas see this, you may have some other requests.”

“Cool, I could use the extra cash so pass on my information to anyone interested.” I get up to leave and Tyler stands in front of me, so close I can smell the Irish Spring soap on his skin. “If they want a sketch, they can go through me.”

“Ok … why does that matter?” I ask, avoiding his gaze.

“Because I want to keep you to myself.”  Before I know what’s happening, he’s kissing me.

Tracie, Nyla and Lynda

I leave Tyler’s house about 30 minutes later, unsure of how I felt about what just happened.

Bad girl/ Get at me, bad girl.

“Hey girl,” I say answering Nyla’s ring.

“Hey, Lynda’s on the line too.”

“A conference call? Really ladies?” I laugh as I get on highway 50 toward D.C.

“Yes, Miss Strictly Friends,” says Nyla. Lynda giggles. “You can’t be just friends with a man who looks like that! Spill it,” she demands.

I can’t lie to my girls. Sigh. “Well it was business until he knew about Nikki and ‘Pac and loved my sketch and ….”

“And?” they ask in unison.

“And he kissed me, damn!”

“Ok, really. Stop.” These girls are laughing like we’re watching Eddie Murphy’s Delirious.

“Oh, I love being right.”  Nyla is not going to let this one go.

“Yeah well, all we did was kiss and I pretty much bolted once I came back to my senses.”

“Stop fighting it,” says Lynda. “You like him. It’s ok.”

“He takes his clothes off for money. And I’m not good at sharing, and you know he has too many women to count. I’m not even trying to set myself up like that.”

“Girl, you are preaching to the choir,” says Nyla. “Don’t you think I have the same doubts?”

“I don’t,” says Lynda. “We’re just kicking and so can you and Tyler, Tracie.”

I shake my head. That child is clearly trying to convince herself. “Well, I don’t do casual very well. Besides, it was just a fluke. He’s leaving tonight and I doubt I’ll hear from him when he gets back. It’s done before anything really started.”


Again with the unison! “Whatever!”

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*Photography by GMO Photo Editor, Billy Montgomery


Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

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