“Hello,” Brice said, waving at him. The guy hid behind his bushes. “Your yard is the best, Jace.”
“Out here you call it a landscape.” Jace said, cutting Brice off entering the house.
Jace reminded him constantly about being out of the ghetto. Word of mouth built the invisible barricades keeping his neighborhood separated. Out here was among the words used. He heard plenty more when he lived with Jace for his junior and senior year.
Brice followed Jace through the kitchen. Pepper and allspice containers were masked behind scraps of peeled squash and cucumber skin on the counter. Then he entered the terrace, where he flopped down in an ivory colored patio chair.
“You call your parents,” Jace said. “They're worried about you.”
“That’s why I’m here.” Brice propped his elbows on the table, rubbing his hand together. “I’m showing you I’m alright.”
Jace’s grill had folding sides with shelves. The grilled vegetables were on one side and the other held a cleaning bucket for the grates and utensils. He dipped the brush in the bucket then scrubbed the grates.
“I’ll phone them when I get home,” Brice said with hands flat on the table. “I’m destroying Arcadio.”
“Don’t mess in that crap.” Jace threw the brush at the grill, toppling the vegetable to the ground.
“Did you return to that dumb ass neighbor to get rid of Arcadio from the start?”
“I returned to make my neighborhood a place to live,” Brice said.
“You can’t save it, the poor are living there,” Jace said. “I hated that the neighbors are predominantly black and seen as representing all blacks. These people don’t fight back. Politicians and opportunists including drug dealers are robbing those people blind there.”
But it’s wrong to leave children born into poverty behind, Brice thought. Give the kids something better to look forward for. Jace stood there, flaring his hands like a dictator demanding for the poor to be gone.
“Quit your job and come work for me.” Jace gripped the other chair back then he pulled it out. He scooted up to the table. “An assistant manager job is always waiting for you.”
“No,” Brice got up and picked up the vegetables. "Arcadio destroyed the neighborhood with his drug houses. He invaded Cody toting his sick dope. His family and he got to be run out."
“Throw those away.”
“You keep this place immaculate.” Brice examined the vegetables. “I can wash them off.”
“Get some more from the fridge.” Jace smashed the vegetables between his hands, carrying them to the trash.
“I’ll start the meat,” Brice said. Jace believed you could throw away the poor the same way. It wouldn't help to educated and trained them for jobs. He believed they still desired handouts or make money illegal.
“Sit down,” Jace said. Brice leaned against the door frame, crossing his legs. “I do all the cooking here.”
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