In The Bag   Dec.17.2008

"Mase, calm down."

That was Red's attempt to get me to stop cursing out my mother for making me come all the way across town for absolutely no reason. As we sat in our booth at Spades, I fumed just thinking about the fact that her water didn't break at all. Part of me thought she set it up, so I could be home to receive the damn summons.

Of course, Red disagreed.

"I don't think so, Mase. Why would your mother do something like that?"

I looked at him in disbelief. "Red, I can't put anything past her at this point. And how can you sit over there and try to defend her? This is the same woman that's hiding a fugitive and keeping Alex in jail. It's because of her that a family's life is being turned upside down. And with no remorse. She's horrible, man."

"She's not horrible. She's doing what she's gotta do. To protect herself."

"At my expense, though? I've been called by the prosecution to testify against Alex. She has the power to stop all of that. What kind of mother does that to a son?"

"I don't know, Mase. Maybe she feels like you're a grown man and that you can handle stuff. Maybe she knows you can, and thinks that you should understand that her baby can't. Maybe she feels like saying stuff against Sheldon would make it hard for her baby."

I looked across at Red with a scowl, before taking a swig of my Red Stripe. I hated it when what he said made sense, because, sometimes, he didn't know it did. But it did this time. He had a point. The shit was still fucked up, but I understood what he was saying.

"Red, if that's the case, and she's protecting her child, at her other child's expense, then when and if I do testify—because I haven't decided whether I am or not—I'm showing her no loyalty. At all. I'm going to get up there and say whatever I need to do for Alex to come the fuck home."

"Me, too." Red waved for the waiter to come over to clear his tray of ravaged chicken bones. I swear, they weren't even in front of him for more than ten minutes. Insane. 

"I just worry about Starlet," he continued. "I want Alex to come home, so A.J. will know him growing up. And now that she's pregnant again—"

I interrupted him with a loud laugh. "What? Get out. Big Bones is knocked up?" I looked around in a mocking manner. "Are we sure it's Alex's kid?"

Red didn't smile with me. "Come on, Mase. It's definitely Alex's baby. That's why I worry. I want Starlet to be OK. And not just because of the food she makes me, but because I know how hard it is to grow up without a father. I don't want that for her and her kids."

"I feel you, man. That's why we have to do whatever we can to get Alex off. Say and do whatever we need to do."

"I know, Mase. I know." The waiter brought more wings to the table. As Red went through his ritual of inhaling as much of the 'Spade-hot' sauce as he could stand before commencing to eat, that's when I noticed the small backpack sitting next to him in the booth.

"Red, what the fuck is that? You have an overnight trip planned I don't know about?"

"What, this?" Red said, pointing at the bag. "Nah, no overnight trip. In fact, I probably need to get home soon. To prepare."

"Prepare for what?" I asked, giving Red the side-eye. "What's going on? What's in the bag?"

"Well," Red began, somewhat hesitant. "A few weeks ago, I received some mail. And wasn't sure who to tell about it. So I didn't tell anyone." He licked his fingers from the sauce before unzipping the bag and pulling out a pile of papers and placing them on the table.

I picked them up and was speechless as I began to read the first page.

"I kept them, Mase," Red went on. "I read them, and then put them away, not sure what to do with them. I haven't even told Jean about them."

"Red, are you crazy? You know what you need to do with these. This shit could be gold. You need to get these to Alex's lawyer right now! This shit could change everything!"

"You think so?"

"Hell, yes, I think so!" I threw money on the table and jumped up and headed toward the exit. I couldn't wait to get what looked like some sort of diary with Sheldon's name on it to the lawyers. Without even reading what was inside, it couldn't be anything to help the bastard. And that's all I needed to know.

Whomever sent this to Red knew what they were doing. They must've known that sending it to me or Yanni would've meant a manhunt and a fucking scalping for my mother's baby daddy.

I was halfway to the exit when I looked back to see Red still sitting at the table. "Red, you coming or what?"

Red looked up from his plate and put his hands in the air. "What, I can't finish my wings first?"

This guy.