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Excerpt from Liar's Game by Eric Jerome Dickey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Liar's Game

by Eric Jerome Dickey

Liar's Game by Eric Jerome Dickey X
Liar's Game by Eric Jerome Dickey
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2000, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2001, 400 pages

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"Damn, you don't look no more than twenty-one."

"Thanks, but look. Let's not waste time. I'm divorced with two kids. My daughter is in middle school. My son is sixteen, almost your age. What you wanna do, come over and play Nintendo with him while you baby-sit?"

"Hey, age ain't nothing but a number."

"In some states it's ten-to-twenty singing jailhouse rock."

"Five minutes, that's all I ask. Let me buy you a drink and we can talk, and in the end if you wanna step off, cool."

He didn't back away. Stood in front of her like he had been appointed the spring to her summer. Six foot five, thick, and when he strutted, most of the sisters looked like they were ready to start throwing him their panties and keys to hotel rooms and charge cards.

Jefferson took Gerri's hand, pulled her away from us, got her a glass of wine, hemmed up in a private spot, and got his mack on.

When they left Dana smiled, looked the young buck up and down, let her eyes dance to a rhythm of envy and delight, then made a sexy, humming sound.

I asked, "What was that all about?"

"What?"

I mimicked her scandal-lust humming.

She laughed. "You weren't supposed to hear that."

While me and Dana tainted our souls with a strong and smooth French Connections, I played the role and hid from my memories, told Dana I was a black man working hard every day, as single as a dollar bill, no kids, no ex-wives, no problems. With every word I dug my hole deeper. Dana shifted closer, gave me serious eyes, said she had the same résumé.

Dangerous Lyrics took the stage. A group of five girls. Most of them barely looked legal. All dressed in tight-tight black pants made of that trendy, stretchy-tight material that let you know where a woman's panty lines are. Colorful halter tops—satin lying across their majestic breasts—made them look like rainbows above the waist. All of them with nicknames like Big Leggs, Goldie, Butter Pecan, Pooh Bear, Chocolate Starr.

Butter Pecan stepped up like she was the leader of the crew. From her looks, her nickname was based on her complexion. The D.J. kicked on a preprogrammed tape. People stepped back and the group found some space on the tiny wooden dance floor, danced with the same ferocious energy M.C. Hammer did when he had a job, sounded like TLC with a NWA edge and did an edgy song of possessiveness of a lover. They set the room on fire with a catchy melody that praised sex, retribution, violence, pretty much everything wrapped in one tune.

Gerri was on wearing out the carpet, hands up high, pumping it up and grooving. At thirty-six she danced better, had more choreography than most of the girls in the rap group.

Dana smiled, bebopped where she stood, shoulders bouncing to the beat.

I spoke up over the music, asked her, "Wanna dance?"

"About time. I was wondering when you were gonna ask me."

She took my hand, anxiously led me through the heat. We had to settle for the carpet; the floor was only big enough for about ten people. It was awkward because the carpet was worn, held stains that made the fabric sticky to my shoes.

That stylish native New Yorker had wicked rhythm. She adapted to the carpet, turned up the volume on her rhythm, moved so good that other men tried to sneak a peek and women tried to mock her style.

After Dangerous Lyrics finished two records, the room applauded loud enough for the girls to O.D. on their egos, then the group went to another room. Gerri and Jefferson were between the fireplace and the exit sign in the back, slow dancing, laughing, talking nonstop, her southern grin gazing up at that roan-colored statue with dreamy eyes. Dana turned down my offer to slow dance, didn't let me get that close. The music changed.

Copyright © 2000 Eric Jerome Dickey. All rights reserved.

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