Once he got to the car, he checked his voicemails and text messages.  He was glad to see that Tina made no attempt to contact him that day.  Rodney and Kyle had both send text messages checking on him.  He could tell that his homeboys had been talking and concerned that he was acting extreme.  He received a voicemail from his mom stating that she hadn’t spoke to him in over a week. That was unusual, and the sound of her voice had that concerned mother’s tone to it. “I bet that Kyle and Rodney told her some shit…..or did Tina call trying to get me to talk.”  He didn’t respond to anyone and started to travel to his apartment.

He went to pick up some food at a nearby fast food joint.  While in the drive-thru line, the song changed from a recently up-to-date song about the singer’s exploits to prove that he is what some woman really needed and wanted to an old Luther Vandross song that he hadn’t heard in years.  He paused and keyed in on the words, each word further explaining his anguish, his pain, and possibly the truth of his situation.  Luther soulfully bellowed Burt Bacharach’s beloved hit, “Anyone Who Had a Heart” through the speakers.  The car seemed to inch itself further in the line as Jasper stared lost, more like dazed, through his front windshield.  His torn heart was singing in agreement with the man on the radio.  

The lady working at the drive thru window attempted to hand Jasper his food about when the saxophone kicked in strong toward the end of the song.  Though her mind was occupied with getting the ever-growing line down so she could take her final break of the day, she seemed to draw in a bit of the sadness of a man who was hungry for something more than the high calorie food in the bag could help.  She felt a pinch of what he was feeling as she recognized the song coming out of the broken-hearted man’s speakers.  She could feel herself about to say “It will be ok, baby.”, but only “Sir! Your food!!” came out instead.

She caught a glimpse of his eyes and instantly looked away feeling a tad bit sorry for the aggravated tone to get his attention.  Embarrassed at his slip from reality, he grabbed the bag and thanked her.  Then he quickly pulled off no longer hungry but somewhat relieved that he heard an answer to what caused the turmoil boiling in the place where honest love once dwelled, all in the chorus of a song.  She couldn’t have a heart, and that is why the deceit was so easy and the triflingness so trifling.  That answer seemed to be enough right then because he had to snap out of it.  He couldn’t let Tina have so much control…not like the control she had right then.

When Good Men Go Bad (Excerpt)

By Dante D. Long