The Dirty South
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“One of the most exciting writers of the black urban experience.”—The Times (London)
The mean streets of south London offer little hope for young black guys. Selling drugs, on the other hand, offers quick money and respect. Dennis Huggins finds himself drawn into the spiral in this powerful portrayal of gang life.
dance floor. She liked Tupac and watched films like Boyz in the Hood. The last DVD my mum bought was Shaft, some film where every black brother had a mad afro… Only the Lord knows when my parents will finally make it into today’s world. Everton always had a zoot dangling from his mouth and when one morning break I rolled my own fat-head he didn’t say shit. He just looked over with a kind of half smile. Why couldn’t Paps be like Everton? The job I had was a kinda compromise after Paps and myself
and bitch about giving you money to live on.’ Carrying a tray of drinks, Noel returned to the lounge. He sat beside his mother and Cara caressed the left side of his face. She looked at him sweetly. Then she picked up her drink, downed half of it and then poured ginger ale in it to top it up again… ‘Take a drink, baby.’ After passing me a glass of whisky and coke, Noel sipped his own drink with his mother watching him intensely. She placed her glass on a small coffee table and took in a big
buff self. When are you gonna show me some love? You know, take me on a tour around your proper buff body.’ ‘Excuse me!’ ‘When are we gonna connect, man, in the plug, wall socket sense. You know, to do what young people do. Aren’t you feeling me? I’m not feeling any love from you right now. Why you so quiet? Akeisha?’ She cut me off. I couldn’t believe it. No chick had done that to me before. My head spun. Oh my God! I fucked it up. Me and my Brixtonian macho self! I’m not Noel, I’m not Noel!
paying for what you own, Cara was licking Noel with a Dutch Pot and a steel ladle. I said to my paps at the time, ‘Why you lecturing me? I didn’t t’ief nutten.’ Two days after the sweet shop robbery, Noel came back to school with a cheap plaster on his forehead and for the first time I saw a bit of coolness in him. The lickings from his mother didn’t put him off and we made plans to ‘hit’ other sweet shops that were further away. By the time we were at secondary school, nicking sweets from
in the front room, surrounding Paps with our plates of food on trays. It was his favourite – lamb, rice and peas. Propped up by three cushions, he looked a little embarrassed as Davinia and I, pausing our usual cussing and fussing, offered to pour him his glass of Guinness or pass the hot curry sauce that he loved. After Paps had drained his drink, he turned to me and said, ‘Dennis, if you’re not too busy I want to chat with you.’ ‘Yeah, Paps, of course. Whenever.’ Mum and Davinia went to do