Nice Guys Don't Finish Last, p.1
Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last
Chavez L. Brown
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 by Chavez L. Brown All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
First Edition: October 2011
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Brown, L. Chavez
Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last: a novel/ Chavez L. Brown 1. African Americans- Fiction 2. Gay/ Lesbian- Fiction
ISBN-13: 978-1461063803 ISBN-10: 1461063809
“Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last” is a tale which took two years to complete in the midst of dealing with relationship issues, struggling in college & unemployment. Everyday situations inspired me to pull out a pen & paper, and create a fictional layer to distract me from my personal life. The characters are a mirror of certain traits I possess or people I crossed paths with. “Nice Guys” is a painting of a gay relationship between two black men which causes havoc in their personal & public lives. The story follows Nico, an aspiring R&B singer who will do anything to ink a record deal, even if he must hide his romantic interest or step on anyone’s toes. Abdul, a Marine who invests energy & time into a love affair with Nico, frequently receives the short end of the stick. When Abdul begins to search for comfort elsewhere, the pair is faced with life’s challenges & a supporting cast that helps intertwines their soap opera. This novel is a commentary about the joys & stipulations of homosexual affairs through multiple distinctive voices, and to capture the rawness & authenticity in the gay community. In relative to the alternative lifestyle, it was important to validate the audience understood the consumption of language & actions of the characters. A few personalities do not use correct English because of their urban background, and grammatical errors/ contractions are purposely written for illustration & age differences. The story teaches readers that ‘good’ guys conquer all & the ‘bad’ guys do not win in the end. When I watch gay themed television, I often see homosexuals portrayed as people who are overly flamboyant & addicted to sex. Yes, those clichés exist, but not a primary focus. “Nice Guys” captures the essence of human beings in a fight for love, respect & security. The tenacity isn’t to teach women about men on the down low or to preach against H.I.V because the concept is overdone. The subjects tackled in the story includes temptation, losing individuality, love vs. lust, death, trust, honesty, religion, power, identity crisis, promiscuity, survival, the music industry, gay sex, bisexuality, and much more. The goal is to embark readers on a journey allowing them to think, laugh, cry, & clap their hands with the characters. I chose the first-person method for the audience to get a glimpse inside the characters’ minds & offer a sense of realistic conversations through dialogue. It was a difficult task lending three unique voices to: a sophisticated, arrogant singer; a masculine yet caring marine, who never attended college; and a flamboyant teenage religious kid, who speaks gay slang. But I believe the challenge was tackled.
The book is broken into ‘two discs’ like a deluxe edition album. The first half describes the past & present for the characters. The second half forwards into their lives months later. Enjoy!!!
First & foremost, I would like to give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for blessing me with the ability to write & share lesson drawn stories with the world. He answered my prayers during trials & tribulations, and offered guidance throughout the writing process. I owe my debts to Him! Secondly, I am thankful for a supportive family who motivated me to complete this book. My mother, Candia J. Oliver, who molded me into the man I am today. She is the first person who embraced my writing; regardless if it was a persuasive letter or Christmas note. Thank you mommy for offering the support I need & introducing me to God. We fought, laughed, cried together, but in the end... I love you unconditionally! Thank you to my father, Leroy W. Brown Jr., who helped raise & lay down the foundation of a man. In order to obtain success, a person must work hard to receive it and you taught me this at a tender young age. I never worked as hard as I did on this book. The hunger does not stop here, I love you dad! I must acknowledge my younger siblings, Myles, who I adore (he’s going to be in the NFL) & LaRae, who cheered me on from the beginning & told me I am going to be a superstar. I love my sister y'all; my cousin, Shamara Bownes, who supported me throughout the process; my amusing grandmother, Joyce Lay, for those uplifting conversations & your unconditional love; my uncle, David Oliver, who read the book, critiqued & helped me along the editing process (a MAJOR blessing). I love you all! I want to give a special thanks to my best friend, Dominique Stiger, who believed & advised me to get it done. Our conversations about love & relationships inspired a story must be told. I love you bookie! Eric T. White, I would also like to thank you for being a genuine friend, and giving your honest input when needed. I love you!!! Thank you, Dwayne Benson, one of my closest friends, who read the book & connected the situations to real life. I appreciate our in depth discussions and I justly love you boy!!! I must also thank, Raven Ekundayo, for being my mentor at the age of nineteen. When you approached me about writing for 'eXcapethematriX', the opportunity opened the door for the birth of this “baby”. The drive to write “Guys” would not exist without the 'matrix' experience! I extend my thanks to: Darius Thompson, Kenneth Jackson, Alejandro Santiago & Savhad Lewis for reading the story and offering constructive criticism. I want to give a shout out to all of my Twitter followers & Facebook friends, who frequently inquired about the book. Specifically, Arnold Harper, he mentioned my book every single day with his inspirational tweets. I appreciate the love I received from everyone, and hope you all enjoy the book. I will see y'all on my book tour... speak these things into existence, right? Thanks to Will Caldwell, a fellow Baltimorean author who gave me pointers during the publishing process, I appreciate the helping hand. I must also thank the talented guy behind the book cover design, Tad Michaell. You brought the visual engraved in my head to life. You rock, sir! Thank you to my fellow gay pioneers: E. Lynn Harris, my biggest writing inspiration for sharing incredible stories with the world; and James Baldwin, for paving the cement towards Black gay writers & offering timeless art people continue to read. Their legacies live on! I would like to take the time out to dedicate my artistry to my late cousin, Britney C. Bownes. I know you are proud to see I am sharing my talent with the world. Your presence still lives through me, and I will continue to keep your legacy alive. I will always love you & we will meet again. Last but not least, I would like to thank James A. Carroll IV, for pushing me to write this story from the very beginning. We have been through hell & back together, but I love you with all my heart. Thank you! I would like to give extra shout outs to the people I love: Shinell Oliver, Nakeia Drummond, Aneisa & Omarr, Patricia Street, Jonathan McFadden, Terrance Jackson, Gloria Toney, David Woodson, Darryl K. Hargrove, Bobby Parks, Damon Rhodes, Jerome Lowery, Tiffany Tyndale, and Larry Moore. I apologize if I left anyone out, but it is too many people to think of. I am so blessed to have family & friends who love me unconditionally. Thanks everyone!
“Piano & I (Nico’s Intro)”
B etween Milo’s strained barks and inner city children propelling snowballs outside the window, I bred hesitant who to shoot first. I’d r
After doodling for the past half hour, the ink pen bled through the yellow-lined paper, while I struggled to choose a format for the next song.
Will the arrangement be a rhyme scheme? They are 90’s and corny, does anyone continue to write them?
Music in the new millennium is bland relying on technology to camouflage their flaws & affect the remaining innovators like myself; dying for a big break. The pressure to inscribe original compositions, unlike the debris on the radio is difficult. The lyrics written in earlier circumstances are inspired by life experiences from close friends, but I often clash with the idea of affability & exposure outside my inner circle.
“Nico, you should write a song about your relationship with Abdul,” a friend suggested. The thought of vocalizing my romance with a guy is tacky & unnecessary.
My mother taught me to never blend business with personal inclination, and her advice crackles in my ears every second I consider going against the grain.
Imagine this… “Up & coming R&B recording artist/ song-writer, Nico Bilal, sings about fucking a dude in his new song.” The media would never respect me as a pliably gay vocalist. A white flame like Adam Lambert grabs crotches & kiss guys at the American Music Awards with no regards. In contrast, the Black community would cleave me a new asshole.
Homosexual artists are obligated to endorse fabricated existences to cater to unambiguous audiences. Do you think every rapper in the ‘game’ is straight? Hell no. What are the odds of a gay rapper obtaining the success of Jay-Z? Slim to none. The general public perceives a man as a tough & masculine object, if he displays a hint of femininity… labels believe he will lose female followers. In comparison, the industry hid Ricky Martin’s secret throughout his career to appeal to heterosexual women with a faux Casanova image.
After he came out of the closet, the music became a secondary focus amongst listeners. Ricky is a public display of what a nut-stacker should be, and the thought frightens me. Once people realize I am affiliated with the Rainbow Club, they will turn on me quicker than they did Chris Brown.
In relation to Chris & a pack of Michael Jackson imitators, the vision of male singers miming on stage to prerecorded vocals is cringe-worthy. When their microphones are on, they sound like dog shit ran over twice.
Move over, Trey! Sit down, Ne-yo! Apply to the nearest McDonald’s, Omarion! The retirement home called your name, Usher!
The aforementioned guys are typical ‘R&B singers’ stealing dance moves from M.J to compensate lack of originality. I will dip my feet in every genre possibly known to man. Once an artist crosses over, the bank becomes fatter & they gain global recognition. Diana performed facade of thousands in Central Park, Michael & Tina broke records with their tour sellouts & Dionne’s collaborations with Burt were massive hits on the charts; Nico will be mentioned alongside the greats.
The artists from the new generation dearth versatility the legends possessed. Social media convinces tone deaf listeners auto-tune is singing & catchy tunes create good quality! Where is the real music? Where are the songs with live instrumentation, meaningful lyrics, domineering melodies & the thrill of belting from the diaphragm? No one should have to shave their head or wear Halloween costumes to gain recognition.
I refuse to construct a ladder to only fall subsequently. The choice to be ‘out’ would contradict everything I worked hard for.
The struggle for words continued as I sat at the grand piano. What is intriguing about love & Abdul? I mean, the relationship is far from picture perfect and produces like a game of “tug-a-war”. The emotions are back & forth, occasionally I become careless to the union.
“Milo, shut up,” I yelled at the dog as he barked standing in the doorway. An echo of footsteps met the door, while the door knob turned slowly. Milo’s barks increased awaiting the door to open. There he appeared, wearing a Crest white smile on his russet brown face and the sleek eyes of an angel.
“Hey baby! It is cold as shit outside,” he reached his jacket as Milo jumped in the air vexing to reach for Abdul’s hand.
“Easy now, Milo! You must have missed me,” Abdul said as he kneeled down to the dog to rub the top of his head.
“Yeah, I guess so. How was work,” I asked staring at the paper.
“Well, work is work. My client Ismael was thrown out of his 90 day program because he violated his probation, so I was stuck doing---.”
“Oh okay, that is nice. Well I have to get this song done, so I can’t talk right now.”
“Nico, you asked me how my day---.”
“I know what I asked you, I cannot talk now. I am sorry I even asked,” I scribbled on the paper as he walked to my side of the dining room.
“Is everything alright,” he asked
rubbing the top of my head with his virile hands. I nudged my head from underneath his hand frustratingly. “Yes, I am alright! Roger wants this song by tomorrow to shop around, but I cannot gather my thoughts without Milo barking every damn second,” I yelled as he walked back in the kitchen.
“Nic, you are the one who wanted the dog, so don’t even,” his abysmal voice reverberated from the kitchen.
“I know, please do not remind me. My goal is to complete the demo before six, so I can hit the gym. Do you mind taking Milo in another room,” I asked.
“Come here Milo, come here boy. Come here, you want a snack,” he ignored me antagonizing the dog, as my blood boiled quicker than a pot of water.
“Oh my God, Abdul! What the hell,” I shouted as he reluctantly walked into my direction spinning the top off the last bottled water from the refrigerator.
“Babe, what is up with your attitude? I can’t even be in the house for five minutes without you yelling,” he shrugged his shoulder kissing the bottle against his lips.
“Because I politely asked you to refrain him from this room and you continued to schmooze about snacks & shit.”
“Did you not ask me to take Milo into another room,” he asked.
“Yes, I did---,” I yelled.
“Well that is what I am doing. The only way to get Milo’s attention is to con him with food.”
“No, you could have picked him up and threw his little ass in the room. Sometimes you make the smallest task, so damn difficult Abdul.”
“Alright, Nico! You are being very disrespectful, man.”
“Well maybe if you would stop acting so damn retarded, I would not have to go through this. Just pick up the damn dog, throw him in the room & lock the door. Simple as one, two, three! And people want to act like I am crazy,” I yelled.
“Nico, what in the hell are you talking about? You need to chill out,” he said in a failed attempt to reach my hand.
“Do not tell me what I need to do. Take that noisy ass dog, and leave me the hell alone. So I can finish my song,” I snatched away and stormed out of the dining room!
This is what I refer to, how can I write a song about someone who irritates the blood out of me? When I see his face I get annoyed. When he talks I want to rip his tongue out, and when he touches me I want to bleach my skin!
“Stranger in my House (Abdul’s Intro)”
“You always get back, what you put out,” my
grandmother would yell towards my mother with her brittle voice. I never understood the quote until I reached my twenties. What if you put out great things, and continue to receive nothing in return? Does the same rule apply?
The room darkened as I lied on the couch inquiring “What did I do?” A recurrent question I asked myself for the past year. One mistake shaft a booming romance into World War III!
Nothing I do for Nico is good enough. Past Christmas, I disbursed nearly two thousand dollars planning a romantic getaway to Miami. Instead of exhibiting appreciation, he complained about the Delano Hotel because the room did not carry the hot tub shown in the promotional pictures. I investe
One occasion we gone to the movies, he grew angry because I would not give him money for nachos, so he caused a scene and drove off with MY car. I spent two hours on the MTA bus to get home from the Arundel Mills area.
Man, I am trying my firmest to be the best boyfriend I can be. I come home from work; all I ever want to do is sit down and chill. No one famine to hear a guy nag all day. If I desired the badger, I would deal with a woman.
Do not get me wrong, Nico is an incredible person. He is undeniably gorgeous; buttery-caramel skin with indescribable bone structure fatal enough to rival the best European models.
I cannot fathom being with anyone else, but he is complicated. Even when he is upset I am challenged not to smile at him, and remain mesmerized by those seductive chestnut eyes. The sex is the best part about the relationship, at least when we have it!
Nico wants the jimmy once he is ready for it, but I ought to have the privilege to want some ass when I roll over in the morning too. People dearth things once it is convenient for them, but hate to compromise. He hardly kisses me anymore and fabricates claims that “kissing makes his throat hurt.” In the beginning, Nico could not keep his hands or mouth off me, now he hates to do anything sensual. I do not ask for much, the emotion is equivalent to being in a love affair with a wall.
“Why do you still love him,” my friends ask. The truth is I am as clueless as they are. We used to be best friends and conversed about any & everything. Lately, living with him feels similar to sleeping with a stranger in the house. I cannot discern what makes him happy or sad because it appears the world ticks him off!
I lift myself from the couch and peeked in the master bedroom to find Nico whispering on the phone, lying on the bed flinging his legs in the air. His schoolgirl giggles began to cultivate under my skin.