Trippin’ Over You- Chest Naked In The Park (Part 5)

Tamara was an emotional wreck.  She woke up a half hour before her alarm clock went off at 5am.  She hadn’t eaten since 3pm the day before.  Her appetite was shot.  Her patience was low and her disappointment was high.  Tamara draped an old T-shirt over her television.  She had no desire to watch the nonsense disguised by capitalistic puppeteer’s  as entertainment.  She was over it.  She was over it all.

After showering she stepped out of her towel.  She sprayed hair spray under her arms and sprayed deodorant in her hair.

“Oh I’m buggin’ “, she admitted to herself.

She still had Travis on her mind. He was violating her head space.  She had no idea why she allowed him that kind of power.  People can’t take your power away, you give it to them voluntarily.  You have to allow someone to have control over your thoughts.  Travis was a jerk but Tamara allowed him access into her temple a long time ago.  He had entered her mind, her heart, and other unmentionable body parts.  Maybe it was her ego that was bruised.  It had only been 3 weeks and Travis had already filled her position in his life.  To add insult to injury, she heard through the grapevine that the girl was gorgeous.  That was irritating.  If she was a mud duck, Tamara would have felt better.

Tamara grabbed an apple and stuck it in her purse.  She threw on some slacks, loafers, and a black fitted t-shirt and hopped in the car for work.  After attempting to put the house key in her ignition about 4 times, she decided it was time for a rushed telegram prayer:

Dear God, please get me through this day. Amen

She was running late, as usual.  She’d make up for it though.  She knew how to push that little car to the limit and there was no ticket that her smile couldn’t get her out of.  Her thighs were burning.  She had been running every night since the “break up”.  At first, it was a pathetic attempt to see her charismatic Chest Naked Demigod.  Then it became a wonderful way to get her mind off of things.  Travis made her feel weak.  Working out allowed her to impress herself with her improved strength.  Physical pain was a distraction from emotional pain.  When things ended with Travis it felt like her soul had been steam rolled over repeatedly and then cars were just driving over her mangled mutilated spirit over and over and over again.  So she worked out…constantly.  When she couldn’t sleep, she’d walk until she couldn’t walk anymore.  Sometime at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.  She was determined to have a tight body with a broken heart.  A heart that pumped resentment.

Deep down inside, she thought Travis would get himself together.  She thought he would be remorseful and apologize for the way he treated her. For his emotional inaptitude.  For his brute ignorance.  He never did and she was starting to turn purple from holding her breath in anticipation.  What was that old saying again??? “If you love something, let it go.  If it stays gone then it was cheating on you the whole time.” No that’s not it.

Why did she always feel like a reject from an old Ricki Lake episode?  What was the problem?  Furthermore, why was she so curious about Mr Demigod? “Curiosity gave the cat an infection.” No that’s not it, is it?

Tamara got to work safely and on time. Her day went relatively well.  She forced everything out of her mind.  Kept that coffee coming. The quart of Poland Spring on her desk was actually Grey Goose straight.  Come hell or high water, she was going to make it through.  Ten minutes before her shift ended she got a call from the security desk:

“Tamara Sprout?”

“Yes”, she answered in unpleasant anticipation.

“The 98 Midnight Blue Ford Contour in the East parking lot….is that yours?”, he asked quizzingly.

“Depends.  What’s wrong?”

“Dont be alarmed but there appears to be a bullet hole through your back window.  I wouldn’t drive home like that because one bump and your whole back window will shatter.”

Don’t be alarmed?  Is he serious?

Tamara enhanced her calm.  She took another sip of her “Poland Spring” and then she spoke,

“Thank s for the call, Chris.  I’ll call AAA.”

She made a phone call but it wasn’t to AAA.  She dialed the same number she dialed the night before when she had this same felling of loneliness, fear, anxiety, and disappointment.  The hairs on her arm stood up.  She felt a chill but it was 86 degrees outside.  Her lip started to quiver.  Her hands got sweaty.  Every time she breathed a knot formed in her throat.  The phone felt like it rang one hundred thousand times.  Finally a familiar baritone voice answered,

“Hello Tamara”, His caller ID gave away her identity.  Tamara took a deep breath to keep from crying.  She placed her right hand on her chest.  She put her left hand over her barren womb.  The phone was silent.  It was an uncomfortable silence.  The kind of silence one would do anything to break.  She waited for her courage to build and then she said,

“I think your brother may know about us.”

(To Be Continued)

-Shaun M Nickens

The Race

My heart and my mind race against one another. For such a heavy heart, it moves so quickly. My mind doesn’t stand a chance. My heart maintains a steady mile a minute. It hydrates with the bloodshed of broken vessels of hope. It waits for no one. My mind struggles to keep up but logic and love are so incompatible. Traveling now in two different directions. My eardrums burst from the sound of my heart pounding loudly in my chest. The vibrations cause my rib cage to tremble. The wall I built so securely around my vulnerability crumbles slowly. My lacrimal glands produce tears of blood. Staring unbelievably and painfully, I can see through blurry eyes…him walking gracefully and calmly into my chest cavity and laying down comfortably.

Date With The Sun- Me Time Narrative

Ladies in their best bikinis trying to divert their men’s attention away from Ms Fat Booty laying out on a towel two umbrellas down. Trying to find a place in the sand to make my palate trying to avoid dips in the sand. Trying to make my impression in this world trying to avoid learning experiences that only teach what I already know. Everything happens for a reason they say.  Everyone comes out in drones with individual intentions. The sun is faithful to all its lovers. He kisses us all the same way. We all respond to his kiss differently. I twist and turn on my red Stony Brook blanket taking all the heat I can take, baking and rotating like rotisserie chicken (wondering if I taste as good.) While your man puts oil on your back and your face is down , his eyes are fixed on me. I just shake my head at him and get further into my book of Nikki Giovanni poetry. Turn my iPod up .D Angelo caressing my eardrums now.  Men in Speedos covered in suntan lotion. Ballys bodies. Pecks, traps, glutes. A big girl adjusts her coverup , looks around anxiously , and then secretly pulls a mcdouble out of her pocketbook followed by a bagel with cream cheese. She salivates a little bit. I forgot to shave. I hope no one notices. But we all out here exposed, flaws evident, stretch marks, dimples, birthmarks, tattoos with your ex’s name. Seagulls hover just waiting for you to hit the water for a quick cool dip. Teenagers infatuated take twitter pics and head off to the distance to play volleyball and make out with the “love” of their lives after each score. I close my eyes and wish them luck. My Dominican blowout is curling up (My stylist Yovi would be so angry) . But this is worth it. I’ll blow another $40 next payday. Sweat drips down my thigh but this is one of two occasions where I don’t mind. Everything feels right and I’m not paranoid or overly concerned with what could be wrong. Big girl kicks sand on Ms Fat Booty “accidentally” in a malicious way.  I can smell the waves but I wont play with them today.  The sand is always hotter on the way back.  Pain is relative.  Today was my date with the sun.

My Brothers Keeper- Part 4 to Chest Naked In The Park

Travis opened the door for his brother, Sire.  They walked passed the Sony flat screen television sitting in a whiskey-logged box.  Sire silently chuckled to himself while simultaneously shaking his head from left to right.  He knew his brothers ego would catch up to him eventually.  He warned him incessantly about playing with a womans emotions and her trust and most importantly her patience.   Sire knew that every woman had a breaking point no matter how much self-restraint she had and how much she was a “ryde or die”.  Tamara was beautiful, smart, humble, submissive and now she was gone.  Sire secretly and silently wished her the best and was glad she got away from his brother.  The “incident” (the name Travis gave to the tragic murder of his TV and his photo) had only occurred 3 weeks prior and already Travis was dating someone else.  She was some chick they met at their cousin’s wedding.  Her name was, Special, and boyyyyyyy was she unaptly named.  She had the intelligence of pocket lint,the personality of a pebble, the refinement of a banshee, a reputation as an international hoe, and none of their friends liked her.  Sire knew Travis missed Tamara.  Its hard not to love a woman who loves you.  Special was just a pretty face and new booty.  Tamara was innately unique and …gone.

Special smiled at Sire when he came in but never officially greeted him.  She only spoke when she was spoken to and Sire speaking to her would have been a waste of oxygen.  When the guys sat down at the table to play chess (they definitely couldnt watch TV), Special left the apartment to get drinks and pizza for the guys.

Wait for it…wait for it…

Travis asked the predictable question, ” So…what do you think of my exotic Nubian queen?”

“WHERE???????? WHO????!”  Sire was rolling on the floor laughing.  He literally fell out of his chair and rolled on the floor gasping for air because he was laughing so hard.  His 6’4″ frame almost knocked over his brothers cheap ass table so he got up before he did anymore damage to his brothers studio apartment or Travis’ injured ego.

“Dont try to play me, Sire.  You know my shorty stops traffic.  You wanted her but I bagged her first.  Don’t be a sore loser.”

“Trav, she’s cute but cut that “exotic” non-sense out.  You and I both know she ain’t exotic.  The word exotic indicates that she is of a foreign nature, different, non-traditional.  When I hear exotic, I’m thinking of a woman who makes me guess her ethnicity, her influences, and her exposure.  The only thing I guess with Special is how many partners she’s had and how many of them I probably know or gave a pound to on the basketball court or in the barbershop”, Sire said while still laughing.

Half mumbling Travis said, ” She is exotic.”

“Aiight.  I apologize.  She’s exotic.  Her toenails are done by Asians.  Her hair is blown out by Dominicans.  Her cosmetologist is Jamaican.  Indians do her eyebrows and her eyelash extensions.  Caucasians at the spa in the mall do her Brazilian bikini waxes.  Not to mention, she’s boned dudes all over the world”, Sire continued taunting his little brother.

Travis couldn’t help but crack a smile at the last part. Sire was right.  Special was high maintenance and manufactured but she was fly!  Definitely the trophy piece he was looking for.

“Listen, you can’t keep insulting her.  That’s not right.  She’s educated.  Got her Masters in criminal justice”, Travis defended.

“What does her ability to write papers and pass tests have to do with the fact that my boy who lives in Canada, knows your girl and smashed that down after 1 Bahama Mama at a bar?”

“Low blow, Sire.  If a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, did the tree fall?’

“If a tree sluts itself out in St Lucia and no one is there to see it but my boy puts it on the internet….YES that tree is a HOE!”, Sire said.

“You always cross the line, Sire.  Checkmate.”  Travis was focussed on the game while Sire was cracking jokes on his new love interest. “You don’t understand the importance of having a flawless woman on your arm.  You a herb.  Every woman you’ve ever been with had a “nice personality”, Travis said.

Sire flipped the table upside down.  The chess pieces flew everywhere and some of the glass pieces shattered.  Sire’s large frame loomed over his brother.  He positioned himself so that there was only a centimeter between his pocket knife and his brothers right eye.  He put his mouth at whispering distance to Travis’ ear and said, “If you ever talk about my wife in that manner again, I’ll cut you into tiny segments and use them as your replacement chess pieces.  Then I’ll hang whats left of you on the wall where your flat screen used to be.”

Sire’s wife died 2 years prior.  She was the only woman he had ever been with.  He loved her and his family loved her.  She was a beautiful woman but she had a rare disease that took away her thick long hair and her coke bottle-shaped body.  Even as the end was drawing near, Sire remained loyal and faithful.  Truthfully, he met Tamara first and if he hadn’t been emotionally attached to his wife, he would have courted and dated Tamara.  Travis coaxed his brother to cheat but that wasn’t Sire’s style and he adored his wife to the very end.

Travis remained calm but his eye was twitching.  “You’re so sensitive, jeez.  Get that knife out my face, Sire. You play too much.”

Just then, Special entered the apartment with Tamara’s old key.  She was juggling pizza, sodas, and whiskey sour.  Neither of the brothers moved.  They were still in a stand-off.  She looked at the busted up table and the broken chess pieces and stood frozen at the door. Then with a blank stare she said, “Who won the game?”


(to be continued)


-Shaun M Nickens


When The Dawn Breaks-Chest Naked In The Park Part 3

When Tamara arrived at Travis’ studio apartment he was playing Black Ops and watching Discovery Channel w/ Basketball Wives playing in the picture in picture.  He was drinking whiskey sour out of his favorite pimp cup (he won it at his best friend bachelor party last year.)  On his wall was a framed black and white photo of him at the top of a graphically designed mountain in the classic “Rocky pose” with an African proverb reading. “However long the night, the dawn will break.”

How fitting, Tamara thought to herself.  It was time for the dawn to break.  She had been standing in the doorway for approximately six minutes already.  She made a key for herself when she “house-sat” for him one summer and he never asked for her to return it so she assumed they were “exclusively dating” and she moved on from there.  After all, a key was a big deal right?  Well right now it was irrelevant.  She was done.   Travis was okay.  He just wasnt okay for her.  She was tired of love-making that consisted of him asking a bunch of rhetorical questions and answering them on his own.  In example, “Yeah you like that right? Yea you do…yea you do.” -_-   She wanted cinematic love.  Cliche love.  Novel worthy material.  She wanted a happy ending (not the kind he was receiving at massage parlors in the city.)  She knew he wasnt committed to her.  She knew he wanted his ideal.  Deep down inside he had this portrait of his perfect match and sadly she didn’t even slightly resemble that portrait.  She wasnt even sure if she loved him.  She once wanted to love him but he never gave her the chance.

9 minutes and 23 seconds…

Finally she cleared her throat. Without even looking up, he chuckled and said,

“I know a perfect alllll natural remedy for an irritated throat , little mama.  You thought I didn’t know you was standing there? I heard your car when you parked across the street.  I know how many times your heart beats per minute.  You think anyone would ever be in my personal space without me knowing it?  You love attention.  You want the whole show to stop when you walk through the door.  Awwwwwww… it’s not your world girl.”

He’s such an a____

interrupting her thoughts he said, ” You’re probably calling me out my name right now.  Probably questioning why you deal with me.  But I think we both know the answer to that question…”

Travis stopped the game and put the remote down.  He really wanted to finish what he was doing but his “power cord” needed to be re-charged and there was a charger standing in his doorway wearing skin-tight jeans and a hot pink top that looked like it came off easily.  He decided to smooth things out a bit.  He could be a little arrogant at times but it’s because he knew Tamara wasnt going anywhere.  She thought she could change him.  She thought he was emotionally inept.  None of this was the case, however.  Travis knew what he wanted and never settled. Tamara was okay. Just not okay for him.  She was supposed to be a “one-nighter” but he kept her around because she was cute and she had a dependant nature about her.  As a man, it felt good to be needed.  With Tamara, he was needed and wanted.

He attempted to touch her hair but she flinched and took a step back.  So he grabbed her arm and smacked her right butt cheek so hard that it stung and a tear ran down her cheek.  Tamara was quiet.  She just glared at Travis.  He pushed her on the floor.   Purposely missing the couch because his magazines and his remote controls were there.  He glanced up at the television to see the beautiful Shaunie Oneal. “Motivation…”, he thought.  He turned Tamara around, grabbed her long brown hair, jerked her head back and said, “Why do you play these games with me? This isn’t a battle, T.”  He let go of her hair and her head almost hit the floor.  He looked at her jeans again and decided they weren’t worth the effort so he pulled at the waist and broke the top button and the zipper.

“You can go to Rainbow Shop and get another pair”, he said.

Tamara’s body remained motionless. Travis continued his one man show. In her mind, Tamara had already left the building and the “relationship” and this living nightmare.

Wait for it…wait for it…

His classic monologue began, “Yeah you like that right? Yea you do…yea you do…”

Tamara muttered something through clenched teeth and tears.

“What? I can’t hear you”, he said.

I hate you.

He heard that.  Loud and clear. Threw him off completely.  Psychologically and physically, Travis was paralyzed.  He was just playing.  He thought she liked his rough exterior. Was she crying?  When did that happened?  Did he go too far? He didn’t want her but he didn’t want to lose her either.  Not right now.  Travis got up and sat on the couch motionless and emotional.

“I hate you”, Tamara repeated. She took advantage of this lull in the storm and moved quickly to his dresser drawer.  She pulled out his favorite sweats (after all, she’s the one who bought them) and she swiftly took off her jeans and replaced them with the grey Ralph Lauren sweatpants.  She tossed the jeans in the garbage.  She grabbed what was left of the whiskey sour from the refrigerator and poured it over his flat screen television.  Its sparked and sputtered and finally a smile crept over her face.  He still didn’t move.

Finally, Tamara threw the spare key through the glass frame of that sickening black and white photo of Travis and said:

“However long the night, the dawn will break.  I’m cutting your phone off and taking it off my plan tomorrow.  Have a nice day.”

She left and then she peeked her head back in and said, “When I see your mama in church on Sunday….I’m telling her everything. Bye!”

(To Be Continued)

My Interview With Cinderella of When We Were Queens Skin Care and Cosmetics-DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

When you come into When We Were Queens you will most likely be greeted with a huge smile and a warm embrace and a kiss on both cheeks!  Most people don’t even get that kind of treatment from their own family members!  In the store is drapery and colorful displays for the customers.  There will more than likely be a video playing from The Honorable Minister  Louis Farrakhan in the background.  There are books available for purchase, both urban fiction and self-help/instructional.  There are display cases with foundations, bronzers, eyeshadows, lipcolors, cleansers (for men and women), toners, moisturizers, and a whole heap of other products to enhance the aesthetic beauty you have.  The friendships, love, and community atmosphere in When We Were Queens will nourish the innate inner beauty you have!  Listen to this short interview with skin care specialist and award-winning makeup artist, Cinderella    

Listen to the story about how tragedy can sometimes motivate one for change…

001_A_005_What Inspired Cinderella_2012_05_23

You want flawless and radiant skin? Its easier than you think!

001_A_006_3 Tips for Beautiful Skin_2012_05_23

“Without God and you, we truly cannot survive”

001_A_007_The key to running a successful business_2012_05_23

Dressed in my classic “get up and go” outfit, I interviewed Cinderella in black spandex tights, a t-shirt, my hair in a big poof and I was adorned in my favorite silver earrings that are almost the size of my head!  Boyyyyyyyyyy did Cindy have words for me :-o!  Stressing inner beauty as well as outer, Cinderella has challenged us as young women to “cover up that beautiful body”  and leave some things to the imagination!

001_A_010_To The Young Black Woman_2012_05_23

She has advice for running a successful business, finding a decent man, self-respect, and of course skin care!

Cinderella is available for Weddings, Makeovers, and Classes.  She is located at : 186-15 Merrick Blvd Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

Some services include:

Designer Eyebrows 15

Bridal Consultation 45

Prom 40

Facial 45+

Makeovers 50+

Stop in for any product and/or service and mention : or Diamond in the Rough and get a % off of your purchase!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Shaun Melissa Nickens

Chest Naked In The Park-Part 2

“Miss …Can I take your order?”

What was I thinking?  That man was bad (bad as in good) and I let him slip through my fingers like a condom with baby oil on it.


Not only did he look like a chest naked demigod or an extra in a Tyler Perry play but he saved my clumsy behind when I tried to get all Marion Jones in the rain, in the dark, emotionally driven, with $30 knock off FiveFingers on my feet.


Tamara made a fool of herself the other night.  She went running at the track when the rain subsided a bit and then ventured into the wooded park along the dirt trail.  Bad idea.  There were dips and bends that she was unaware of and she got hyped when “Beat’n Beat’n” by Vybz Kartel came on her ipod. BOOM! FLOP! Her foot got caught in a crevice of the earth that didn’t even belong in her path and she sat there in pain assessing the damage.  Next thing she knew, here came sexy Chest Naked Boy wet with a combination of sweat and rain.  He hovered over her and simply asked, “Are you okay?”

“Ummm…hello miss?”

That night, Chest Naked Boy didn’t even wait for her response.  He picked her up (all 175lbs of her!) and urgently placed her soft behind on a park bench.  He elevated her feet and then stooped down so he could look at her lower body at eye level.

“Just looks like a scrape on your right ankle.  Does anything hurt?” he said.

“My pride…my ego…and last but not least, my heart”, Tamara thought.  Instead she just nodded ‘No.’

He looked relieved and revealed a smile so bright it could give the moon competition.  Then he stretched, looked at her anxiously as if he was hoping she’d say something…

When Tamara stared at him like a simpleton and didn’t even mutter a “Thank You”, Chest Naked Boy completed his run.

“Miss…Can I pleeeeeaasssse take your orda???!”

The ghetto hood booger broad in the drive thru window was starting to lose patience.  Tamara was daydreaming once again, thinking about the man she met at the park.  Her lap vibrated with a text message from Travis:

“Can I see you today?

He must want some booty. Smh

When she arrived at the second drive thru window, the same hood booger was working the window.

“Understaffed?”, Tamara said with a chuckle.

“Huh?” Hood Booger said in utter confusion.

“Nevermind”, said an exhausted Tamara.

“I like ya’ watch miss”.  It was a Rolex that Tamara received from her god-father years ago as a belated birthday gift.  All gifts from her god-father were belated.  It was like she was his permanent afterthought but the gifts were always good so she didn’t mind being his last precedence.

“I like ya hair.  Where’d you buy it?  What numba pack is dat?” Hood Booger was getting on Tamara’s nerves.

When Tamara handed Hood Booger the cash, Hood Booger glared admiringly at Tamara’s nails.

Wait for it…wait for it…

“Dats a niiiiiiiice cola miss!  Where you get ya nails done at?”

How long does it take to make a chicken sandwich?  Why do people always pick you apart and complement each segment of your overall look, ask you where you acquired the components to maintain that look and then continue to look you up and down while they interact with you.  Isn’t it easier to just say, “You look nice today”?

“Miss, can I have my chicken sandwich please?”, said an exasperated Tamara

“It aint ready yet Ma”, exclaimed Hood Booger.

If this chicken-head don’t give me my chicken sandwich…

Tamara was starving and her head-space was clouded with thoughts of her park-dwelling hero the other night. She had been thinking of him so much that she went back to the park the next night in her sexiest, stretchiest, spandexiest, athletic wear.  She put a little bronzer on her face and gelled her hair into the perfect “effortless” bun and walked her curvaceous behind around that track for approximately 2 hours until the lights went out.  Where was Chest Naked boy and why didn’t she get his name that night?

She didn’t get his name because she was still being faithful to the idea of a relationship with Travis.  How dumb is that?  Travis could be out here dipping his doodle in everything that moves and how would she know any better?  She was conforming to a “situation” an “it’s complicated” status of being instead of the commitment she knew she deserved.  This man would reach for her stomach and say, “Just making sure your tummy is still flat.”  God forbid he hug her and embrace her.  She wanted a man who could lift her up into the air, slide her down his tight thick strong body and let her feel his “power cord” (the affectionate term she and her girls had for a man’s special place) and then whisper in her ear, “You see what you do to me?”  Instead she was in the seventh circle of hell waiting at the drive thru window, waiting for a chicken sandwich that she’s not even going to eat.  She was going to surprise Travis with lunch and more than likely, he would just ask her why she didn’t cook for him instead.

“You know what hunni? Cancel the order.”

Tamara placed two business cards on the platform of the drive thru window, one for her hair stylist and one for her nail salon.  She smiled and drove off.

I can’t do this anymore. 

She text messaged Travis:

“Yea…you’ll most definitely see me today. We need to talk.”


(To Be Continued)

By: Shaun M Nickens