Walk Away

walk away

About 2010 or 2011, I was having black bass for lunch at Ms. Martha’s Restaurant and Lounge on 116th off Buckeye Road when this 6’3”, 260-pound brother, whom I’ll call DT, sits next to me.  We start conversing before realizing we might have met before.

I glanced at him trying to recall.  “Was it at the Shaker Shanty?”

“Could be. I believe that’s where I threw a dude through their plate glass window.”

“Okay. Well, I wasn’t there for that one.”

We conversed a little more before he said, “You know, I like you, OG.  I like talking to you. I want to get your opinion on something.”


“I want to start selling drugs.  I already got the stash house, the source, the runners….”

I turned toward  DT, “How old are you?”


“And why would you want to start selling at your age?”

“For one, I want to get a Lexus like yours.”

“Really?  You know that car is five years old?”

He laughed.  “Naw, man.  You keep it in good shape. “

“That’s because I  keep my cars ten years or more.”

“Oh…That’s smart.  I bet the honies still dig on it.”

I laughed.  “I’m not kickin’ it with some lady because she likes my car, but that’s another conversation for another day.  You asked for my opinion on your new venture.”


“Well, I can think of more ways you can lose than win.  I had another acquaintance about your age maybe ten years ago who thought he could do what you want to do.  He’s still in the pen. You got snitches, some you might even hire  that owe somebody and got no allegiance to you; you got competition that know the ins and outs of the trade and will try everything in their power to take you out; you got the rollers; and you got a system that could care less if you get two to life depending on how much they find on you. Is that worth a 2006 Lexus?”

DT thinks for a while, then jumps up, wraps me in a bear hug and says, “God brought you here today.  I’m not gonna do it.”

“Cool,” I said trying to catch my breath.  “You can put me down now.”

He then whips out a pen and writes a telephone number on a cocktail napkin. “Look, I owe you. I’m the head of one of the largest gangs in Cleveland.  Take this number.  You got a beef with anybody now?”

I shook my head.

“Okay.  But if you ever get into one, with anybody, walk away and call this number.  I can usually get to any place on the east side within fifteen minutes.  I can have up to ten of my men there in a half hour.”

I fingered the paper before putting it in my wallet.  DT hugged me once more and left.

Our conversation took place close to six years ago.  I haven’t seen DT since, but I still have his number. I never had to use it, but it felt good knowing I had that type of back up.

I also remembered his instructions about walking away.  I hope he remembered mine.

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Sister reading

I was talking to a friend of mine from Los Angeles a few days ago. It made me recall a time, some years prior, when I had told him I was coming to visit.

“Cool,” he said.  “There are some dynamite strip clubs in LA.”

I responded, “My brother.  I don’t go to strip clubs in Cleveland, why would I travel all the way to Los Angeles to go to one?”

Anyway, when I arrive, he says he still has to go by one to transact some business, and would I mind.

“No,” I answered. ” Do what you do. ”

We get there, and I take a seat in the far corner.  After a few minutes, a young lady, in her mid-twenties, resembling my favorite actress, Angela Bassett, comes up to me and slides her hand up my leg.   “Can I do something for you?”

“Naw.  I’m good.”

“Really? Then why are you here?”

I pointed to my friend talking to another man across the room. “I’m waiting for this brother to take care of his business.”

“Oh.  Okay.  You mind if I sit here, then?  It’s kind of slow tonight.”

“Have a seat.”

We engaged in small talk for a while before I asked, “So, what are you going to do when you leave here?”

She perked up. “You mean tonight?”

“No.  I mean for the rest of your life. You got a whole lot of life left after you are finished with places like this.”

She gave me this quizzical look before shrugging.  “I don’t know.”

“Don’t you feel it’s something you should be thinking about?”

“Um. Yeah?”

“What’s your passion?” I asked.

“Well, one of my friends gave me this Leica camera for Christmas, and I think I’ve taken some really good shots of people and nature.  I believe I would like to pursue that.”

“A Leica is a great camera.”

She smiled. “So I’ve been told.”

We talked about subscribing to magazines that would help her understand the market better, getting formal training, finding a mentor, and selling her work.  After another five minutes of conversation, she called over to the bar, “Give Everett a drink on me.”

My buddy hears this across the room, cocks his head, and gives me the same look the young lady gave me when I asked about her future. When we get ready to leave, she walks me to the door and kisses me on the cheek.

In the car, he taps me on the shoulder, “When y’all gonna hook up, playa?” He smiled smugly and nodded. “I knew you would like that place.”

I didn’t even answer. He wouldn’t have understood.

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Why Donald Trump will Never be as Wealthy as John Lewis

A guest blog by my daughter, Lia P.

Donald Trump began buying properties in the 60s. By 1973, he and his father Fred were sued by the US Justice Department for excluding black residents from its buildings in Brooklyn, Queens, and Norfolk, Virginia for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. During the 80s, Trump continued to build his real estate empire, but by 1991 he filed for bankruptcy for the first time.

In early May 1989, Trump took out a full-page ad in the Daily News to weigh in on what he thought he knew about the Central Park Five case, implicating five teens in the rape and attempted murder of a Central Park jogger. In his news ad, Trump suggested we bring back the death penalty. Though the boys in the case were exonerated by DNA evidence that proved a serial rapist and murderer committed the crime, he still refused to admit he was wrong.

In 2005, Trump University was opened and then shut down amid lawsuits claiming that it was a sham. By 2012, as a prominent member of the Birther Movement, Trump offered President Barack Obama five million dollars to give to any charity of his choice in exchange for his birth certificate.  He later affirmed that the president was born in the United States, but no charity, to my recollection, received the donation.  In 2015, NBC cut ties with Trump due to his remarks about immigration.

One of America’s most famous business and television personalities and currently the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump has amassed monetary wealth in real estate, gaming, sports, and entertainment, and his legacy will surely be that of a man who made and kept most of his money (multiple bankruptcies aside). But if we are to measure the success of a person by the depth of their legacy, his pales in comparison to the man he repeatedly criticized this week, Senator John Lewis.

In addition to being one of my son’s heroes, John Lewis has spent his entire life protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. Unlike Donald Trump, John Lewis was not born wealthy. He came into the world in 1940 and was the son of sharecroppers.  Early in his life he became inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This is what impacted my son the most when he read, March earlier this year. My son, who struggles with reading because of his ADHD, finished Lewis’s book in nearly one sitting. Whereas Donald Trump frightened my son, John Lewis inspired him.

At a young age, Lewis decided to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement and generations since will forever be grateful. He organized sit-in demonstrations when he was a student at Fisk and volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides in Tennessee. He risked his life, was arrested, and was beaten working for justice in the segregated south.

From 1963 to 1966, Lewis served as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was one of the most important organizations of the civil rights movement. At twenty-three years of age, Lewis was a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. He worked tirelessly on voter registration and worked with other civil rights leaders to lead over 600 peaceful protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

Lewis has been the Associate Director of the Field Foundation, the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP) and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency. Before being elected to Congress in 1986, Lewis was on the Atlanta City Council where he advocated for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. He has received too many awards to list for his service, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medal of Freedom. He has been on the front lines of the civil rights movement for decades.

Even though there’s no doubt that Donald Trump, has amassed a certain amount of wealth, (how much I guess we will never know),  that type of wealth is fleeting, especially considering his six bankruptcies.  But even if Trump dies a rich man, he’ll probably be remembered more for those he scammed and bullied, while Lewis’s legacy will be of one who helped change the future for generations to come.  As Billy Graham once said, the greatest legacy one can pass on “is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” Only John Lewis meets that test.

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The Hobo Family

For Thanksgiving, I was asked to write a guest post for indieBRAG. This is my post about families, and what I’ve learned about the hobo family. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


The Hobo Family

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Fifth Award for A Long Way Back

Contact: Montrie Rucker Adams, APR
Phone: 440-684-9920
Fax:       440-684-1556
Email: mra@visibilitymarketing.com


Cleveland, Ohio, October 28, 2016…The Independent Publishers of New England announced that A Long Way Back, by J. Everett Prewitt was a first place winner during its October 2016 publisher’s conference.

In A Long Way Back, Black soldiers thought to be killed in action mysteriously reappear in Cu Chi, Vietnam. A curious war correspondent uncovers an illegal army mission gone awry. The novel is an intriguing glimpse into the Vietnam War, merging the lives of the soldiers and the reporter as they struggle to overcome their fears and face the battles each must fight to survive.

Since its publication, A Long Way Back has received the Seal of Approval from Literary Classics.  The novel was awarded the Bronze Award from Foreword Magazine’s 2016 INDIES Award, the DQ Award from IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Award, the Silver award from Literary Classics, and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal from the Eric Hoffer Awards.

Responses to the book have been positive: “…this is an intelligently crafted tale, brimming with both suspense and social commentary,” says Kirkus Reviews. “A Long Way Back is a powerful and compelling novel,” says Literary Classics. “A Long Way Back is an excellent read…J. Everett Prewitt is an excellent writer and his writing style is realistic, intense, and seems to accurately capture the time period and military life…This book does everything well including pacing, character development, and the storyline itself. It is clear that Prewitt is a good author who is well within his wheelhouse on this one…” says Readers Views.

A Long Way Back has also garnered a five-star rating from Amazon.com.

Everett Prewitt is a Viet Nam veteran and former Army officer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science Degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. He was awarded the title of distinguished alumni at both schools. Prewitt’s first novel, Snake Walkers, was also the recipient of multiple awards.

To read a sample chapter and learn more about the book and the author, visit http://eprewitt.com.


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Literary Classics Interview of J. Everett Prewitt


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Unintended Consequences

Black Man Writing

They say people are often inspired by small things–an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or even a wink.  My writing inspiration came from a different source.

A few years ago, I along with other former African-American Ohio University Bobcats, was asked to write of a memorable experience while at the school. All wrote positive stories about meeting new friends, the newfound freedom of living in a dorm, fraternities, sororities, etc. I, too, enjoyed the school— maybe too much—which is why I graduated from Lincoln University instead of Ohio University. And although most of my time spent on campus was good, what I remember most vividly took place my sophomore year.

I was assigned a dorm room with a white football player—a nice guy, but not too bright.  We took an English Composition class together. He was getting D’s and F’s.  I was getting C’s. So, after a few submittals, he asked me to write his assignments.  Since I was majoring in business, I recognized the monetary benefits of this budding relationship and charged him five dollars a paper.

I never thought I was much of a writer, so I accepted a C as an appropriate grade.  To my surprise, the first paper I wrote for my roommate received a B.  His next submission received a B+. One paper even received an A-.  Meanwhile, I was still receiving C’s, although I spent much more time on my papers than his. During the course, it became evident that the prof hated football, so it had nothing to do with my roommate’s athletic abilities.

My dilemma was that I couldn’t tell the professor I had written my roomie’s compositions. Instead, I asked him what I needed to improve.  He responded, “Everett, you are on the verge of a B.  Keep up the good work. if you write a high-quality final paper, you may very well receive a B in this class.”

My final grade was a C.  My roommate’s, a B.  I was pissed but also motivated. Roomie was elated and gave me an extra ten dollars. But he had given me something even better. Through him, I found I had potential. Plus, the venture was a business success.  My parents were sending me fifteen dollars a month, so the thirty-five dollars I made writing allowed me to leverage my bets at the pool table and simultaneously assuage my disappointment with the grade I was given.

I never thought much about the professor over the years. He was only a bump in the road. There will always be people or situations like that. I guess I should thank him in a way. Although I’m sure it was contrary to his intent, he had planted a seed.

Events like the composition course happened several times in my life. But instead of derailing me, they only made me more determined. That resolve afforded me the opportunity to achieve some successes in life, including the publication of two award-winning novels. I wonder how the good professor would have graded my works of fiction, Snake Walkers and A Long Way Back?

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