Editor's Note: The following is an exclusive excerpt from Texts From Bennett, a novel by rapper Mac Lethal based on the popular Tumblr blog he started in 2011. The blog exploded in virality, leading to a book deal with Simon and Schuster. The following is an excerpt from the novel's first chapter, republished with permission. Go buy the book on Amazon for $9!!!
“I’m thirteen percent black, man!”
My cousin Bennett was always saying and texting stupid stuff, so this proclamation came as no surprise to me.
But for his part, Mr. cole stood with his shiny head cocked to the side, his mouth a quarter open, wheezing against the moist august air. he was shrouded in a bathrobe with holiday inn embroidered above the right breast pocket. his Jheri-curled hair was glistening in the sunbeams. and he was armed with a bowling pin, and it was clear that someone was about to get their skull busted open by it.
His Yorkshire terrier, Franklins, aloof to the situation, was sit- ting on his butt, left leg propped up, licking his balls. Normally I wouldn’t take the lowbrow route and point out when a dog is lick- ing his balls, but I was so terrified by the idea of being concussed by Mr. cole’s bowling pin that I could either look at my cousin Ben- nett, in his sagging purple nylon pants, or I could admire Frank- lins’s profound focus on cleansing his eggplant-colored ball sack.
And I knew if I looked at Bennett I would end up killing him myself. I had no idea why Mr. Cole was mad. all I knew was that my cousin was most likely guilty of something terrible.
I had just gotten home from the studio and was getting ready to water my jalapeño and tomato garden when I noticed Bennett and my neighbor Milton Cole, arguing across the low backyard fence. Both were talking over each other and cursing a lot. I had swiftly walked up to see what was wrong.
On a physical combat level, Bennett was in way over his head. We both were. But I had no idea why they were arguing. I just knew that out of all the people in my new subdivision one could get into an altercation with, Mr. Cole, my fifty-one-year-old, stocky— ex–Black Panther—neighbor was the worst choice. the man had been imprisoned for twelve years on a federal kidnapping charge, stemming from road rage after a sixteen-year-old kid cut him off in rush-hour traffic. he was so angered by the kid’s “lack of respect for elders,” that he dragged the boy out of his car, threw him in the back of his Lincoln town car, drove to the kid’s parents’ house, and threatened to kill the father if he didn’t teach his son how to drive better. he’s a fucking lunatic. Plus he named his very effeminate dog Franklins—after plural $100 bills.
“I paid a family tree company to locate my roots—and my grand- pa’s mom is from africa!” Bennett declared.
Really, Bennett? A family tree company? I thought. Bennett had a very bad lying problem. It didn’t help that he was a bad liar, as well.
Point being, we have zero African in our bloodlines.
Mr. Cole appeared homicidal. “Y-Y-You just a sissy-ass white mothafucka! I’d s-s-s-s-s-s-s-snap yo mothafuckin’ neck if I wouldn’t end up in . . . L-L-Lan-Lansing again,” he peppered out.
Mr. Cole lifted the bowling pin above his head and was seconds away from delivering a shattering blow to Bennett’s cranium. Ben- nett leaned back and weakly raised his arms to protect himself.
I ￼was in a heated trance, unsure of whether I should jump between them, hop the fence and tackle Mr. cole, or just stand there watch- ing, avoiding damage altogether. the thing I was quite certain of, however, was that when someone stutters through his death threat, it’s kind of hilarious.
Don’t laugh, I reminded myself.
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