By James Lewis, USN



Click here to send comments

Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques

Editor's note: This is a character study, not a recommended personality type. To discover how this character fares in life, contact the author for the remainder of this story.



I am a 30-year-old Navy enlisted man of twelve years. I have been writing

short stories for about 15 years now, but have just begun the difficult but

exciting task of short story publication. My publishing credits include 3AM

Magazine, Timbooktu, Nubian Chronicles, Dark-Fiction, Eyeshot, Dare Magazine

and an upcoming story in Shadow Show.


I like to write short stories with an African American flavor. I have two

completed novellas I hope to publish one of these days … preferably before

the afterlife.

Carl felt disgust growing in his heart when he locked his eyes on Shareka. She stepped onto the rug, shiny beads of water rolling down her skin as she reached for the towel, snatches of melody oozing from her throat. He glared at her, wishing the sight before him could somehow change with a magical twist. With Shareka’s laid-back attitude, he knew his fantasy would never come true. She just stood there acting like she didn’t care.

Shareka never knew of the countless times Carl had scanned every inch of her body in moments like this, sneering or shaking his head behind her back. And there she was wiping the towel across her wet skin, a sunshine smile glowing from her caramel-colored face upon noticing his eyes on her, ignorant to his growing frustration. He could see all of it and he was fed up. Apparently, it was not as obvious to her.

They were all there, everything that he hated so much: The projection of oversized breasts, swaying back and forth as she wiped her back; the overhang of cellulite on her arms shaking in unison with her breasts; streaks of wrinkled, discolored skin tattooed in sporadic areas around her light-brown hips and thighs; and the most despicable sight of all — the protrusion of lard hanging from her gut, jiggling like jelly, moving in harmony with the rest of her excess skin. He knew she could tone up these areas but Shareka was not getting the hint.

I’m getting tired of her gaining all this damn weight. I wish she would just stick to a damn diet and exercise so I don’t have to look at this shit every morning. She’s got all the potential in the world to be tight as hell, but she ain’t feelin’ it. Damn, this is frustrat--

Why you looking at me like that?” Shareka asked, cutting off the swarm of words in his head. She tilted her head and rubbed her dark hair. Thick strands dangled against her shoulder, concealing a gross indentation caused by custom-made bra straps.

Carl had been browsing through his Muscle Fitness magazine after they made love that Saturday morning, fantasizing that Shareka’s body was toned and luscious as the Hawaiian woman on the cover; a dream he now realized was destined to remain just that – a dream.

“No--nothing, baby,” he stuttered, his eyes turning back to the magazine.

“Well, you going to take a shower? You know I want to buy that skirt today.”

Without responding, Carl rose up from the bed. The sharp rattle of bone friction coursed through his body as he stretched to the ceiling. Shareka walked into the bedroom, the towel draped around her shoulders. She stopped in front of him and caressed his limp “joystick,” a lover's smile gleaming on her face.

“Goin’ now,” he said, moving her hand away and feigning a half-heartened grin.

Shareka’s smile disappeared and a hiss of air brushed his chest, her eyes rolling away as Carl walked to the bathroom. Before he entered, he turned to her and frowned at the deluge of wrinkled skin cascading down her lower back. That shit is really getting on my nerves.


As the streaming warm water pounded against his tall frame, nagging thoughts of an overweight woman he somehow failed to mold picked at him. Shareka was a little overweight when he first met her, but he thought all she needed to lose was about 15 to 20 pounds. He knew she would lose the pounds if they exercised together, but with their conflicting work schedules and distracting lethargy, they were never able to establish a plan. Within two years, another thirty pounds crept up on her in places he couldn’t stand.

Carl feared that at the rate she was going, there was no way in the world he was going to marry her any time soon. He thought that she would follow his example and become more active. She’d always complained about her expanding weight, but never put forth the effort to lose it. He couldn’t count the times she promised to walk everyday, only to stop after a week or so. Every attempt at a weight-loss regimen fizzled. He was afraid Shareka had come to grips with her weight and decided to give it all up without telling him. He couldn’t have that shit.

Man, oh, man. What do I have to do to make her understand? I don’t want her to leave me, but what can I say that won’t hurt her damn feelings? One of these days I’m gonna have to come real ‘cause that overhanging belly be turning my ass off. What’s messed up is she’s pretty as hell, too. I bet she could look like one of them thick bitches on Jay Z’s new video if she really tried. If she looked like that, man, I would never complain. Dem broads be looking bad as hell.

Shareka’s sweet hums startled Carl. He was so deep in thought he didn’t realize Shareka was also in the bathroom, preparing for the day’s events. He pushed the plastic curtain aside to see Shareka combing her thick hair. He always loved her full-bodied hair, a blessing created by her Puerto Rican and African-American mixture. Carl wished she took care of her body the same way she did with her hair.

After pulling the curtain back, he ran the soapy washcloth down his legs and feet, trying hard not to think too much about his present “dilemma.” More than once he griped his thoughts out loud, to which Shareka would respond, “Who are you talking to?”

After showering, he stepped out of the bathtub onto the damp rug and grabbed his towel off the rack, keeping his eyes away from Shareka. As Shareka brushed her teeth, her eyes surfed Carl’s lean body, a body she always yearned to caress and embrace. This was the body of a man whose photographs littered the walls of her cubicle, calming her when the stress of the nine-to-five wracked her nerves.

She leaned over the sink and spat out toothpaste. “You look sexy when you’re wet,” she said.

Carl turned his back toward her while wiping his behind and said, “Yeah, I know.”

He knew he had to return the compliment, so he took a second, rolled his eyes, and said, “You … uh, look good, too.” It was a thin response; there was no emotion in his tone to emphasize a remark she deserved.

Shareka smacked her tongue. “Damn, you sure don’t sound like it,” she replied. “I know you wished I looked like one of those girls in that magazine.”

Well, if you know that why don’t you get off your ass and start trying to look like one? “Naw, girl, I like you the way you are,” he said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

She turned to Carl and rolled her eyes as he sat on the toilet, wiping off his wet feet. He knew she was staring at him, hissing under her breath, so he kept his eyes off her. 

She turned off the water and placed the toothbrush in a small cup. “Whatever,” she replied. She stomped into the bedroom and grabbed a curling iron off her dresser.

"Humph," Carl huffed under his breath.

After destroying enough bacteria with a Colgate scrub-down, he grabbed his Norelco electric razor to trim his bushy mustache. Shareka was standing in front of a small mirror on her dresser, straightening her naturally curly hair, and giving it the length she knew her man would like. She then dressed in a sleeveless, medium-length dress and walked out of the bedroom. Before she walked out, Carl noticed what she was wearing and frowned. There she goes putting on shit she knows her big ass shouldn’t be wearing. Damn, damn, damn. He shook his head.

He placed the razor in the cabinet, and then studied his toned frame in the mirror, his vain eyes perusing his arms, chest and stomach. He clenched his belly and glared at his reflection, wearing his best warrior face as he tightened his jaw and pursed his lips, convincing himself that the rock body of Carl David Lovell — all 6”2’, 185lbs of him -- belonged on the September edition of Muscle Fitness magazine. His fingers caressed the rippling hardness of a self-made six-pack, a satisfied grin etched on a conceited face.

Then he balled his fist and raised both arms, flexing his biceps and looking like a 185lb Lou Ferr-“Negro.” He tried to strike a stance that was better than the pro-builders in his magazine. His crunched face resembled someone suffering the ills of constipation more than that of a man trying to pose. He had no doubt in his mind his three-day workouts would allow him to send in a before-and-after picture soon. He gave his biceps a peck.  

Damn, I look good. Shit, even if I pinch myself I can barely feel an ounce of fat. Why is that? Is it because I’m motivated? You’re damn right. What I’m looking at right now is exactly how she’s supposed to look, for real.

After a few more minutes of self-flattery, he returned from his beefcake fantasy and walked into the bedroom, throwing the towel on the bed. Rays of morning summer heat seeped through the window blinds, so he pulled out a pair of denim shorts and a white tank top and threw them on the chair in front of the computer.

He stared at the monitor. “Hmmm,” he said, concentrating on the evil deed brewing in his head.

He sat down in the chair and clicked on the Internet Explorer icon. With the high-speed connection of DSL, the Yahoo! web page jumped to the screen. Ever since they switched from modem to DSL a few months before, Carl had become a late night Internet junky, especially on nights when Shareka would fall asleep in the living room. It was the best time for him and his Ebony Ecstasy pinups to partake in a freaky fantasy right there in his bedroom.

Before typing in the web address, he put a halt to his X-rated secret. He finally acknowledged what the left side of his brain had been telling him. If Shareka caught a glimpse of a cyberspace woman with spread legs and plastic breasts staring at her man from a computer screen, her angry shrieks and flying objects would jack his day all up. His hobby was for him and his hard little homey only. He had to check his shit another time, when Shareka couldn’t mess up his nasty flow. 

“I’d better not,” he said, remembering that Shareka was in the other room. He shook his head, and then decided to check his email. The list of junk advertising from a gazillion folks who bought his email address littered his inbox:

              Subj: Get 2% APR on a VISA!

              Subj: Are you drowning in debt?

              Subj: Why didn’t you call me last night?

              Subj: I have what you’ve been waiting for…

              Subj: Re: your new account

              Subj: If you want it, come and get it…

Email filters and address blocks couldn’t stop all cleverly disguised X-rated advertisements. Sneaky online hackers used more creative ways to get past them. As many X-rated web-sites as Carl visited, Hugh Hefner, Larry Flint, and any other tycoon specializing in visual fuck candy were probably having a bidding war over his email address.

He deleted his junk mail, and then checked his online backing account and stock portfolio before closing up the web pages. As he stood from the chair, he caught a glimpse of Miss Hawaii on the magazine cover and smiled, deciding to give her a mental visit. It was the August swimsuit edition, so he plopped down on the bed and flipped through the pages to find her.

Upon setting his eyes on her golden body, her naked image manifested on his waterbed, lying against his pillow, staring at Carl with exotic cat eyes. Her tongue swirled around her bright-red lips. Naughty eyes invited him in ... swollen breasts like large cinnamon-flavored lollipops ... meaty legs spreading wider ... and wider ... and—

“Carl, you want an omelet?” screamed Shareka from kitchen.

Carl shook like he got caught staring at a Heather Hunter spread on the Net. He punched the pillow where Miss Hawaii once lay. Shit, I was just about to get in some Aloha ass, too. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, realizing the anger in his voice.

After flipping through more pages, he decided there was no use torturing himself, so he threw the magazine up on his dresser and sighed. Well, I ain’t ever gonna have somebody as fine as her on my bed, so I got to settle for Shareka’s ass.

After getting dressed, he grabbed some lotion and a hairbrush off his dresser and walked out of the room. The aroma of Shareka’s infamous bacon and cheese omelet tickled his nostrils as he entered the small dining area. Shareka was rolling the omelets with a spatula.

“You ready for yours?” she asked.

“Hell, yeah,” he replied, wiping lotion on his arms. “You know I love that shit.”

It was a typical Saturday morning ritual: she always made it a priority to whip up a breakfast dish she knew he loved. Before meeting Shareka, he didn’t know anybody with the kind of cooking skills she had. Even though he didn’t like the weight she had gained, he couldn’t see himself telling her not to cook certain foods, knowing she would have to eat too. He decided since he couldn’t cook and since he loved to eat, it didn’t make sense for him to tell her, “I want you to cook me up some baked potatoes, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and green beans — but you can’t have none ‘cause it’s too fattening.” At times he definitely wanted to tell her that though.

While they chewed their food at the glass table, Carl was thumbing through the pages of another men’s magazine, similar to the one he left in the bedroom.

He did not say one word to her.

While skimming through articles detailing the next hot vitamin supplement and workout regimens, he didn’t feel the heat from Shareka’s eyes.

“You didn’t say a word about how I look,” she said.

Aw hell. Carl’s eyes inched up. He noticed her hair was a little more relaxed and wavy, touching her shoulders: a trace of mascara over smooth skin; light brown eyes that sparkled like crystal; full Afro-rican lips ... a face of beauty, just a little chubby. It was the same face that made Carl whip his car around upon noticing her standing at a bus stop a couple of years ago. It was the face of a woman now craving her man’s recognition.

Carl only noticed the girth in her arms and the need for curl-ups to tone them.

He returned his eyes to the magazine. “I think you look nice,” he said with no enthusiasm. He said nothing more. The only sound that followed was the clatter of their forks against their plates. 

Carl continued flipping through the magazine. He turned to a page of a young sista with honey-colored legs spread like peanut butter, a finger tugging on her bottom lip, her wet body posed under a tropical waterfall, her angelic face floating with orgasmic bliss.

He nibbled his bottom lip. He could taste the honey. He pushed the magazine away and concentrated on tasting his omelet.

Shareka looked down at the magazine, eyes narrowing, fingers balling, and fury growing. 

“You trying to tell me something?” she said.

Carl looked up, trying his best to look innocent. “What?” he replied amid his chewing, sounding like a toddler who knew he did wrong.

“You know what! Why did you leave this page open? You obviously wanted me to see it.”

Here we go. Maybe your ass will get the hint. “Shareka, you’re crazy,” he said, his eyebrows crunching together. “I just finished reading it, that’s all.”

Shareka rolled her eyes and stood up, banging her knees against the glass. Carl placed a hand on his vibrating plate. He didn’t say one word as Shareka grabbed her plate that was still full of uneaten bacon and eggs.

“Whatever,” she said, her back toward him. “You’re an asshole.”

She marched to the small kitchen trashcan, pushed her food in with the fork and dropped her plate in the sink. Without looking his way, she grabbed her car keys off the kitchen counter and walked to the front door. Carl said nothing as she opened the door. She slammed it behind her with a loud thud. Carl could hear her wooden sandals pounding against the steps. Crybaby ass.

Carl huffed as he chewed, hardly feeling any guilt despite the devious suggestion of a half-naked, well-toned woman in the magazine. He finished his omelet and put the plate in the sink. He knew she would be in the Honda Civic pouting, so he was in no hurry.

He strolled to the front door and opened it. As he closed it behind him, he whistled a tune from his favorite artist, Nelly, acting carefree. He reached in his pockets for his keys and locked the door.

After descending the two flights of stairs, he walked to their designated parking spot and saw Shareka sitting at the wheel with her arms crossed and an blank stare. She had not started the car yet.

He pretended as if he didn’t notice her and reached into his pocket for his shades, acting cooler than an Eskimo. Shareka started the car the moment Carl got in. He noticed her moist cheeks and looked out his window, cursing the “crybaby” in his head. Aw hell, she was crying. She’s always crying. I’m going to have to keep myself quiet. Shit, I can already tell this is going to be one fucked up day


 In Ross department store, [N1] Carl followed Shareka around like an upset kid in a place he didn’t want to be. She looked through several skirts and blouses on the clothes racks, her attention on finding the clothes while Carl’s intention was on eyeing the “hos.” He took quick peeks at other women poking through the racks, careful to avoid gawking at a fine female. He did not want to contend with Shareka’s inevitable bitching, but the male hormonal drive was harder to deal with. Shit, that bitch got an ass on her. Man, I would eat that shit up.

Shareka found the skirt she was looking for, gave Carl her purse, then retreated to a nearby dressing room. Carl sat down on a small chair outside of the dressing area, setting her purse down between his feet. He folded his arms and sat with a scowl, annoyed by Shareka’s choice of clothing.

He placed his head against the wall and closed his eyes, thinking about why Shareka kept insisting on buying clothes that only thin women should wear. I can’t stand it. I just can't stand it. Here she is parading around in this department store, looking at all these clothes, and she doesn’t have a clue. Got me waiting for her ass and shit, and it’s the same old thing. I'm getting tired of this shit. I…

"Carl!" Shareka yelled. Her angry shriek roused Carl out of his trance and his eyes shot open. "What do you think about this skirt?"

Carl looked up at her, wearing an apathetic glare on his face. Shareka stood in front of him with her hands on her hips, staring down at him and waiting for his approval. He examined his woman standing before him in the short, white summer skirt and tried to find something attractive about her in it. The only thing he noticed was how the protrusion of her large breasts made her look like she was wearing a maternity dress. He couldn’t find anything “Tyra Banks” about her.

"It’s a’ight," he lied.

Shareka rolled her eyes. "Ugh!” she grumbled, storming back into the dressing room. “You make me sick! Just say you don’t like it!"

Carl shrugged his shoulders, unmoved by her sudden outburst. He just couldn’t understand why she would even try to subject herself to what he called, "embarrassing" situations. He felt agitated by her oblivious attitude, kicking her purse as he thought of her standing before him.

That woman is half-black, half-Puerto Rican and got the thick body to prove it. Damn, if she lost some weight, she would look good in that skirt. Don’t that woman know she can’t be wearing crap like that the way she looks now? Up here thinking she can come out looking like Nia Long or somebody. She got some fuckin' nerve putting that shit on!

Carl mumbled to himself, disgusted by his woman’s insistence on wearing clothes that exposed her overweight frame. He stared at other women with envious eyes as they rummaged through the clothes racks, pouting as he watched. He focused on one attractive sista wearing a short skirt, similar to what Shareka picked out. As she passed by him, his eyes did a slow walk down her dark-brown legs, registering of every move of muscle. He shook his head.

Damn. Now that’s how my girl’s supposed to look. I would… shit, she got some nice titties, too.  

The woman ignored him, unaware of his lustful stares. He stood up and stretched in an exaggerated fashion, trying hard to get a better glimpse of the triangular area that showed a hint of chocolate-skinned breasts. With his tall frame, it was easy to catch every detail.

He noticed other pear-shaped women poking through different clothes racks, trying to find those short, summer skirts that all men love. Carl used his keen eyes to stare at their legs and butts from where he stood. The loud rant of “what the fuck are you looking at?” was ringing in is ears, so he made sure to not leave his spot.

Shareka came out a few minutes later, frowning at Carl. "I’m ready to go," she said.

Carl rolled his eyes and followed her through the aisles several steps behind her. He didn’t try to catch up to her because he wanted to check out other females walking down the aisles behind Shareka’s back -- where she couldn’t see his roaming eyes.

Shareka pushed back the swinging door with force, almost succeeding in slamming the glass Carl's face. As calm as a man on Valium, he placed his hand on the glass, just short of his forehead.

Shareka’s sandals pounded against the pavement as she moved toward the parking lot, never turning around to see where Carl was. Carl put his shades on to shield his eyes from the August sun and to get a better view of more women wearing sinful skirts and “short” shorts. He didn’t see a Volvo approaching when he caught glimpse of an attractive blond-haired teenager walking toward the store. Damn, young girl got some nice legs. How come she can't look like that? Is it so hard?

Trying to be a true “playa-playa,” he grinned and said, “what’s up” with a low, smooth tone. He turned his head to get a look at her behind when she walked by. When she showed no hint of interest, he finally noticed the old Volvo coming his way. Oh shit. The car stopped with a loud screech a few feet away from him. Carl could see a haggard, crumpled white face, looking like a balled up, dirty T-shirt. Fuck you, old punk.

Shareka had the engine roaring and was in the middle of backing up when Carl stood in back to block her. He caught her twisted scowl through the back window before she applied the brakes. He played it cool as he walked to the passenger side to open the door, looking around to see if anyone saw his near-death experience. He knew Shareka was pissed, but as sly as he was, he also knew his best defense was a good offense.

He opened the door and yelled, "Why the hell you trying to leave me and shit? What did I do?”

The back tires screeched in reverse, missing a Ford Explorer parked on the other side by no more than foot, leaving rubber stains on the pavement like a hellified black magic marker.

"Slow down, woman!" Carl cried. "We're still in the parking lot! You want to hit somebody?"

She swerved pass the stop sign like it was a yellow light, cutting her way through the busy lanes of Sports Arena Blvd, obviously not giving a damn about automobile etiquette.

"You need to let me drive if you’re going to be doing this shit," he warned.

"I don't know why I put up with this shit!” Shareka screamed. “You’re always disrespecting me. I can't take this shit!"

Here we go again. She always does this stupid shit. I wouldn't be acting like this if she’d lose some weight. Time to play dumb again.

"Take what? I don't know … slow down, damn it!"

Shareka was close enough to sniff the driver’s underwear, just missing the blue Nova’s rear bumper as she switched lanes. She pounded her sandals on the brake when the approaching traffic light turned red. The car’s thrust pushed them against the seatbelts, resisting their quick movement forward. Once again, Shareka left a black trail on the pavement.

With the red light in front of her, Shareka took in rapid breaths of air, huffing and puffing with each inhalation. The steady grip of her hands on the steering wheel kept them from trembling. Carl stared at his shaking woman and leaned away from her against the door. He knew the onslaught of wild, flailing hands possessing sharp fingernails was imminent.

"I don't know why you always do that to me," she said in a calm voice, staring down at her feet. "You act like you hate the way I look or can't stand the sight of me. I saw you rollin' your eyes at me. I know you were looking at other bitches in the store."

All right, damn, there she goes. I'd better chill. She's gonna start poppin' that ‘if you don't like the way I look, fuck you’ shit. What do I say now? I’m caught. Just be cool, Carl. Don't get her riled up, especially while she's driving. Need to start lyin' my ass off. Got to play this right or she'll wind up drivin' off an overpass or something.

To Shareka’s surprise, Carl started smiling, then chuckled at something funny only to him.

"What the fuck you smilin' about?" she exclaimed, her face twisted in a confused frown.

Time to flip the script, Carl. "You want to know what I'm smilin' about?" he asked, with no hint of defensive anger in his voice any longer. "I was thinking about the time we were in this same situation a few months ago and you went off and slapped the shit out of my ass. You hit me so hard my lips stuck to the passenger window."

Shareka’s eyebrows mashed together, her mouth forming an “O.” A few months ago in a situation similar to this moment, they had just left the grocery store with Shareka stomping toward the car, pissed off over something Carl had done. While driving, they had gotten into an intense argument. Shareka had her left hand holding steady on the wheel and her right hand lashing across his face so hard it made a whipping sound. She had even leaned against the window so she could get full extension.

When the light turned green, she made a left on Rosecrans Ave and drove toward the 8-east exit. Carl noticed the frown had gone from her wounded face. She was quiet, more relaxed and composed. He was surprised to see the corners of her mouth inch up. She appeared to be trying to smile, and he wondered if she was remembering how shocked and apologetic she was once she realized what she had done to him that day. At the time, she couldn’t help but try to laugh it off and say I’m sorry. Even though he was angry about getting bitch-slapped, he decided in order to diffuse the situation, he had to laugh with her.

"What made you bring that up?” she said, suppressing chuckles under her breath. “What, should I smack your ass again?"

Ah, I can hear the chuckles in her voice. "Hell, no!” Carl cried, amid fake laughter. “You obviously want to laugh, so you must’ve really liked that shit. Naw, I’m just saying ain’t no way in the world a man should be dumb enough to get in an argument with his woman while she’s driving. I almost made the same mistake again. I could see your hands trembling, so I was like ‘oh shit, shut yo’ ass up, Carl.’ Baby, I was acting all funky and stuff. I am so sorry."

Shareka made a turn toward the highway onramp. As she drove with the highway traffic, she turned to Carl. Carl had the eyes of a man relenting; eyes that could always warm her heart and soften her rage.

"You’d better be, dammit,” she said.

Yeah, whatever. Carl took her hand and held it. He looked over at the odometer and noticed the meter at 70-miles per hour. Cars were zipping by them, driving the required San Diego speed limit of at least 15 miles over what was legal. He smiled and exhaled a short breath. A woman scorned behind the wheel meant a head-on collision into the afterlife. Carl, realizing this, kept his cool, and shut the hell up.  

“I did slap the shit out of your ass, didn’t I?" Shareka said, after a short silence. "I surprised myself. Your ass deserved it, though. I don’t remember what you said to piss me off, but you deserved it."

Carl chuckled with her. He was able to calm her down, possibly saving their lives. He knew if he had kept at it, Shareka would’ve tried to wring his neck going 90 miles an hour on the freeway. Now, she was cool enough to drive the speed limit, passing vehicles in and out of the highway lanes as if a cop was following close by. She’s laughing. Woo, that was close. Need to keep this up. Need to start lying a little bit more.

Carl turned to her, still stroking her hand. “And baby,” he said, trying to put on his best loving face, “I wasn’t looking at other women, either. You know how I hate waiting for you while you try on new clothes. By the time you finish, security guard be like ‘excuse me, ma’am. I’m sorry, but we’re closed’."

Shareka chuckled louder. "So what?” she replied. “Just don’t do that shit again, all right? Just for that, you’re going to buy me some clothes, since I didn’t buy any today."

Yeah, if I can find some to fit your ass, I’ll do that. "Sure, babe. As long as I live to see home, I’ll buy you anything you want."

Once again, Carl was able to smooth things over with her, even before they got home. This was a new record for him. He knew his woman well. All he had to do was say some sweet things with a touch of humor and give her a half-hearted apology to calm her down. It always worked.

Shit, I'll be in that ass by ten tonight. I'd better make sure it's real good so it'll get rid of any leftover hostile feelings.


After stopping at VONs grocery store and Blockbusters, they arrived at their apartment by mid-afternoon. At the front door, Shareka placed her bags on the welcome mat. Carl jumped in front of her before she could grab her keys. She folded her arms and stared at him with a stone-faced gaze. Although she tried to keep from chuckling, she couldn't help but grin at him when he twisted his face into a goofy smile. She shook her head as he grabbed the bags and walked in. Yeah. I made her smile again. I got her back.

She threw her purse on the couch and set the bags on the dining table. "I'll fix us something to eat after I get out," she said, walking to the small bathroom outside of the bedroom.

"All right, babe," Carl replied.

As soon as she closed the bathroom door, Carl ran toward their bedroom. He yanked off his tennis shoes and stepped over a basket of clothes to get to his computer desk. He sat down with a loud plop and grabbed the mouse. I need to check out my shit while she's in there.

He clicked on the Internet icon and Yahoo! jumped to the screen. With Shareka in the bathroom, this time he figured him and his limp buddy could get at least a taste of some chocolate fantasy. His nervous fingers pounded the URL address and hit the Enter button. The familiar image of a naked, beautiful black woman with jumbo-sized breasts welcomed him in. He clicked the Enter button of the Ebony Ecstasy web page and a large display of X-rated thumbnail sized graphics covered the screen. He could feel his limp-noodle buddy transforming inside his pants as the graphic images of gorgeous naked women downloaded onto the computer screen.

Damn, that shit looks good. If only she looked like that. Fantasies ran rampant in his mind of every graphic picture he could download. His jittery eyes flicked from the monitor to the short hallway to see if Shareka somehow made it out the bathroom without his keen ears knowing. His knees knocked together as he tried to invite as many big-bootied hoochies as he could. Shit, that looks good. If I had ass that looked like that I’d be waxing that shit every night.

The sound of the flushing toilet startled Carl. Shit. He closed the web page and disconnected from the Internet. Like a seasoned Internet porn guru, he deleted all temporary Internet files from the hard drive to destroy the X-rated trail of evidence.

The water from the bathroom faucet stopped running and the bathroom door came open. Shareka turned toward the bedroom and met Carl’s nervous eyes. Luckily for him, she paid no attention to him and continued on to the kitchen. Seeing Carl on the computer after getting in the house was nothing new to her. Of course, she had no idea Carl was inviting women from around the world into her bedroom and in his mind, all from the kinky depths of cyberspace.

Woo. That was close. Better walk in there where she is and play the goody-goody boyfriend.

He left the bedroom and walked into the kitchen, making a conscientious effort to ignore the television to focus more on his sensitive woman. He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist as she stirred green beans in a pot of water. For Carl, this action was a half-hearted tactic used only when he messed up somehow. Any other time, showing any kind of affection was rare for him — except when it led to intercourse.

"I'm sorry, baby," he said.

"Uh hum," she replied, easing her back into his embrace.

Carl tried not to frown as his hands caressed her waist under her shirt. Damn, her stomach is flabby. Chill out, man. Just play along. He kissed her on her cheek and slapped her butt.

"Ow, you punk," she said, smiling. Carl knew Shareka longed for this kind of warm and playful affection. Because of the monotony of their relationship, Carl had become bored with constant hugs and kisses, something Shareka would always initiate. When he did display some affection, she accepted, filling a small void he knew she longed for.

It didn’t take long for Shareka to whip up some baked chicken, green beans, and macaroni and cheese. They sat down at the dining room table and ate their food in silence. The exceptional taste of the macaroni and cheese reminded Carl of her superior cooking skills.

After taking a few bites, Shareka stared at Carl with an uneasy look on her face. Carl’s eyes inched up, feeling her gaze on him, guessing there was a burning question she needed to ask.

"What’s up?” he said, “looks like you want to say something."

"You remember that girl Sheryl I was telling you about, the one with the abusive husband?”

Carl’s eyebrows mashed together, his jaw the only thing moving on a frozen face. "Yeah. What about her?" he said, wondering where she was going with the statement.

"Well, after seven years she finally left her husband and moved into her own place."

"Ok … and?"

"And ... nothing," she sighed, returning to her food. She played around her food with the fork, showing little interest in eating.

Carl was unwilling to drop the subject. “Why did you ask me that? Are you trying to give me a hint?"

Shareka looked up at him with the face of a person struggling to find the right words. "I know my weight bothers you. It’s been bothering you for a while. What if I never lose the weight you want?"

Oh shit. Carl took his eyes off her and looked to his plate, careful not to respond too quickly. He pretended to chew food he'd already swallowed to buy enough time to think of a bogus response. What do I say to that?

He swallowed his "food" in an exaggerated gesture and placed his fist to his mouth, pretending to cough.

"Uh hum! Excuse me," he said, clearing his throat.

"Well?" she asked, waiting for a response.

Got to play this right, now. "Baby," he said, "I know it's hard to lose weight. I'm trying to be supportive by doing things with you to help you lose the weight, like walking. When we walk, I enjoy that time together. Don't you?"

"Yes, but sometimes you make me feel so ugly. I know I've gained more weight over the years, but I was a little overweight when you met me and I never had a problem getting a man before you. I still get hit on a lot, you know."

She's right about that. I've seen a few fellas tryin' to holla at her before, but she'd be the shit if she just lost about 30 pounds! I'd better turn this one around.

"I know you still get hit on, witcha' pretty self. I only want it because you want it, right? You still want to lose weight, don't you?"

"Yes, but I'm thirty-one-years old now and my body is not the way it was ten years ago. You’re twenty-eight, but you’ve always been in shape. Again, what will you do if I don't lose the weight as quickly as you want?"

Carl put his fork down on the plate and wiped his hands on the paper towel. I know what to say to this. He smiled, then leaned toward her. He held her small hands with a tender touch, staring into her inquiring eyes.

"Baby," he said, "we got a lifetime. I ain't goin' nowhere." He gave her a peck on the lips and wiggled the tip of his nose against hers. Good one, Carl. That should shut her up.

She snickered and rolled her eyes, but a smile soon creased her lovely face. The shameful look she now displayed delighted Carl. He knew he said the right words that hit home, right at her heart.

"Besides," he added, "the way I throw down in the bedroom, it be like a furnace up in that joint! You know I can make you sweat, baby! I'll turn you out right now and make you lose ten pounds in the next two hours!"

Shareka laughed. "Shut up, boy! Shoot, you mean two minutes! I can't lose ten pounds in one year with yo' sorry ass! You ain’t nothin’ but a two-minute brotha!”

Loud bellows of laughter erupted. Once again, Carl was able to bob and weave, using skills that surprised even him. His devious, ulterior motive to soften her up with humor and kindness worked yet again. Damn, I’m evil.

Carl looked down at his watch and saw that it was 3:07 p.m. He wanted to check out a college football game, but the "goody-goody" mode was still in full effect. He couldn’t mess around and break it now. He had some pussy to get later on that night. He knew he had to stay lovey-dovey, do whatever she asked of him until the storm cleared, and ass would be his reward. Aw damn, I'm gonna miss this game. Oh well, better keep playing the role. Wanna make sure I get some ass tonight ‘cause, shoot, I'm kinda horny.

After finishing their food, Carl figured he could break her down even more by suggesting they lay together while watching the rented movies. He knew she wanted nothing more than to be curled up with her man, his arms wrapped around her body, holding her close.

After putting Next Friday in the VCR, Carl lay on the couch as Shareka retreated to the bedroom to put on shorts and a tank top shirt. Once he caught a glimpse of what she was wearing when she returned, he pretended to read the back of the VCR case to avoid looking at her. He just didn't trust himself to not make any sneers she would notice.

He moved back against the couch, far enough to make room for her. She eased her body against his chest and rested her head on the couch pillow Carl had his head on. Carl rolled his eyes as she adjusted herself on the couch. Lucky this couch is big enough to hold us or her big ass would be on the floor.

"What cha’ put in?" she asked.

A new exercise video for yo’ ass. "Next Friday,” he replied. Remembering the need for “lovey-dovey” mode, he put his arm around her and pulled her close.

The many hilarious scenes made them cry out in laughter. His favorite scene was Ice Cube's blunted hallucination of the beautiful Hispanic woman slithering like a cobra on the living room table. Damn, that bitch is fine. It wasn’t long before his number one homey realized how fine she was, too. His now hard little buddy pushed himself against the fabric of his shorts, reaching out to touch Shareka’s thigh. Like a general in war anticipating the enemy’s next move, Carl crept his fingers under Shareka's shirt and started massaging her nipples. He knew she would feel his hardness growing against her butt and accuse him of getting stimulated looking at the woman on TV. Seconds later, she reached around to touch between his legs.

"Are you getting hard looking at that woman?" she snapped.

He knew she would say that. He knew her too well. "Naw, baby," he lied, "soon as I started playing around with these titties a brotha couldn't help but get hard."

"Uh huh," Shareka smirked. “You’d better not.”

Carl smiled. How did I get so damn good at this?

A moan emitted from her throat. She placed her hand over Carl’s roaming fingers, giving them the direction to slow to a sensual pace. Her body squirmed from his caress, backing further against Carl to feel the entirety of his embrace.  

At that moment, Carl knew he had her back.

Just a few hours before Shareka’s rage could’ve had them both up on a coroner’s slab; now he had her aroused, melting under the touch of his soft hands. Damn, I’m good. Be cool, Carl, don’t rush. You goin’ mess around, knock boots for five minutes, and she’ll be pissed again. Take your time.

Carl took his own advice. He did not want to rush. To Shareka’s surprise, they watched the other two movies, mainly so Carl could continue his gradual foreplay. This was his way of getting rid of any leftover hostile feelings. He figured in the next few hours, she’d forget about how pissed off she was earlier.

After watching the movies, they retreated to the bedroom to take care of some much-needed business, leaving a trail of clothes on the way to the bedroom. Shareka struggled to kick off her shorts while Carl was already butt-naked behind her. He pushed the bedroom door open with the ball of his foot and tackled her onto the mattress, their bodies slapping against each other.

A band of sweat, screams, and motion played well together to create a harmony of sexual delight. Flesh intertwined in ravenous physicality carried Shareka to heights untouched, set adrift on a high of involuntary contractions to the point of exhaustion. Carl rocked the boat for over an hour and Shareka drifted into an unconscious bliss, her moist limbs sprawled out over the bed and on Carl like a victim in need of CPR.

Shareka had a smile on her face and didn’t even know it. Carl’s mission was complete.

Carl wiped sweat from his forehead with the bed sheet. He stared down at his sleeping woman and smiled.

I bet her ass ain’t mad no more.