Cover image for Good peoples
Good peoples
Major, Marcus.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 260 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction African American

On Order



Best friends since their college days, Ibn, Colin, Michael, and Dexter share something unusual in common: Her name is Erika -- "Bunches" to her friends. She's the kid sister of a friend who died, and the four buddies have promised to look out for her. But now she's all grown up -- a twenty-four-year-old knockout of a medical student who's arousing some not-so-sisterly feelings in the brothers.

When one of them acts on those feelings, they will all -- including Erika -- discover how far they're willing to go in the name of friendship, loyalty, and love. The result is this savvy, entertaining novel filled with the wit, humor, and right-on observation about contemporary relationships that distinguished Good Peoples.

Four Guys and Trouble is the irresistible follow-up to Marcus Major's acclaimed debut novel -- and one certain to win this gifted author a wealth of captivated new readers.

Author Notes

A former middle school teacher, Marcus Major is the author of "Good Peoples", which debuted at #4 on the Blackboard bestseller list & was included in Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program. He lives in southern New Jersey.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Chapter One Geh up, Un-kel Myles, Geh up!"     Some people are awakened by the first rays of the sun gently kissing their foreheads to signal the dawning of a new day. Others are awakened by the soft coos of a lover nuzzling them on the nape of their neck. Still others have their noses tickled with aromatic scents cooked by a lover whose world was rocked the previous night. But they are all fools, Myles thought, for they do not know true morning joy unless they are stirred out of their slumber by the fingers of a pair of three-year-olds, digging into their eyes and telling them, quite loudly, to "geh up!"     They were not exactly the female companionship he had in mind, but there were worse sights to behold first thing in the morning than his twin nieces, Deja and Jade. Their hair was braided and beaded, and they were looking cute in their bright (a little too bright first thing in the morning) yellow matching jumpers. He couldn't resist the opportunity to play the "mix-up game."     "Good morning, Jade," he said to Deja.     "Nnnnoooo," they replied in gleeful unison.     "I'm(she's ...) ... Jade/Deja ... she's(I'm ...) Deja/Jade."     "Ooohhh," he replied, "now I understand. Hello, Deja," he said to Jade.     "Nnnnooo," they answered.     As the twins squealed with laughter, accompanied by his bulldog Winston's yelps of bewilderment, Myles's brother decided that he'd had enough of this foolishness.     "Myles, I know Deja and Jade are probably the first females that you have had in your bedroom in months, but could you get a move on, please? I'm ready to play some basketball, and I'm feeling kinda right today."     His brother, Amir, always ready with the snide comment.     "Girls, go in the living room so Uncle Myles can get ready. Winston wants to play with you."     The dog glared at him as if to say, "Yeah, right." Then he headed off to the living room with the little girls hot on his trail.     Myles went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. As he looked up from rinsing his mouth out, he saw Amir's reflection in the mirror. His brother was looking over his shoulder, admiring himself while pretending not to.     Amir was the type of man that sisters swooned over. He was a regal, tall, muscular man with smooth chocolate skin, thick eyelashes, and a curly crop of "good hair." Further adding to his ego was that his eyes were a shade or two lighter than the average brother's and would sparkle when hit by light. Being the younger brother by two years, Myles had considered him the bane of his very existence when they were children. Amir was personable, a natural athlete, while Myles was the pudgy, contemplative, intellectual child. One guess as to which one was the star in their neighborhood. Even aunts, uncles, and grandparents, when they weren't poking Myles in his stomach to see if he said, "poppin' fresh dough," focused the majority of their praise and attention on Amir.     "You know," Amir said, taking a break from looking at himself, "I don't understand this monk lifestyle of yours. You're not a bad-looking guy."     "But, I'm no `you,' right?"     "Hey, don't set the bar so high. If you try to reach that ideal, of course you're doomed to fail."     Even Myles had to laugh.     "As I was saying, you're a good-looking guy. You seem to have got that weight situation under control, you're smart, available, professional ... what's the problem?"     "Just because I haven't turned my apartment into a sanctum of skankdom does not mean there is a problem, Amir. Lord knows, before you got married you had enough women for the both of us, Mr. Seventeen-hoes-in-his-freshman-year-alone."     "Hey, hoes can be good people."     "I'm sure they can be," Myles said as he brushed past him to go back to the bedroom. He peeked into the living room and saw that the girls were engrossed with some cartoon on the TV, much to Winston's relief. "But if I try for something more than empty one-night stands, should I be faulted for holding myself to a higher standard than `skank-'em and thank-'em'?"     As Myles put on a pair of sweats and laced up his sneakers, Amir answered in an affected, hat-in-his-hands, southern drawl, "I reckon us common Negroes can't wait for true, undying love because we just like the feeling of a pair of titties in our back at night."     "As do I," he replied, ignoring Amir's sarcasm. Myles opted for a T-shirt rather than the tank top he had on because that showed the top of his surgical scar from childhood heart surgery. Another source of insecurity was that he had been born with a heart murmur. "But I don't know ... I'm just tired of meaningless encounters with women."     He regretted saying that as soon as he said it. Had he forgotten who he was talking to?     Amir gave him a look of incredulity and cracked up. "You ain't had enough pussy in your life to say what you tired of . You have zero credibility about what you're tired of until you staaaa-rrrrrt fuckin'."     Myles glanced into the living room. "Damn, you're ignorant. Don't say anything when one of your daughters comes in here to ask you what `fucking' means."     "True that, which would be funny because this is the last place they would actually see anybody doing any."     "All right, all right, your point is made. You ready to go?"     "I'm waiting on you, remember?"     The ride to the basketball courts took about ten minutes. After they strapped the twins into the back of Amir's Pathfinder, Myles turned on WPRS. They were playing "It Only Takes a Minute" by Tavares, which had been one of his and Amir's favorite songs when they were kids. They alternated lead vocal duties and still remembered the words after all these years.     When they stopped at a red light next to a car driven by a pretty woman, Amir could not resist the opportunity. He pulled up alongside her car on the left. He then tapped the horn lightly while at the same time rolling down the passenger's-side window from the master control panel. The horn tap got the woman's attention. She looked directly at Myles, giving him a "what the hell do you want?" look.     Now, having been the victim of this before, Myles knew there were a couple of ways he could play it. One way was to duck your head down, act like you dropped some change on the floor. It sounded good in theory, but then Amir would yell something along the lines of: "You reach across my car, honk my horn, bothering this attractive young lady and now you gonna duck your head down like some scared little punk?"     The better option, Myles had learned, was to feign indifference when Amir tapped the horn and rolled down the window. The key was to look straight ahead and hold it. This worked best because Amir ended up looking like the fool. Myles looked like the indifferent, intriguing dude who could care less.     But with this particular Latina in question, he got caught looking, and Amir moved in for the kill.     "Excuse me chula, mi hermano has not been out with a mujer in muchos años . He has no cojones. Por favor , help him."     The woman and Amir were still laughing at Myles as the Gods of Mercy changed the light to green and they took off.     "Amir," Myles said, pissed for letting himself get embarrassed, "must you always be the jackass?"     Amir put his hand on Myles's shoulder, looked him straight in the eye, and said, "Yes, I must." He then started to laugh again.     "It must be nice to be able to crack yourself up, Amir." Myles turned around to face the twins. "Deja and Jade, your daddy is a funny guy. Can you say `simpleton'?"     "Thimbleton."     "Shimpledon."     "Look at you trying to turn my daughters against me. Talk about ungrateful. This is the thanks I get for trying to help you out?"     Myles looked out the window. That woman in the car had had a pretty smile and catching laugh, even if it was at his expense. It would be nice to have a woman like that laughing because of him and not at him. He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Myles pictured then window shopping down some quaint little street, strolling arm in arm. She would toss her head coyly and say cute things like "Oh, Myles, you're something else." Since it would be cold outside, a picturesque winter day, she would be bundled up from head to toe, which would draw even more attention to her sweet, gentle face. As they continued their stroll they would reach a jewelry store, where she would slow down to give him the not so subtle hint that she wanted him for a long-term commitment. Because he was too good a thing to let go of. Subconsciously, as she looked at the rings, she would be squeezing his arm tighter, hoping that he felt the same way about her.     The smile that spread across Myles's face quickly turned to agitation as he felt a sharp elbow in his side. He opened his eyes and glared at his brother.     "There will be no daydreaming on my shift. You should've said something to her when you had your chance." Chapter Two Marisa looked through the huge glass window of the restaurant. She had asked for a table in the front because she was dining alone, and figured that she could occupy herself by looking at the passersby. It was nearing noon, and the tony Georgetown street was starting to bustle with activity. Nannies pushing strollers, groups of old ladies, and college students all vied for sidewalk space with the influx of businesspeople and government workers looking for a place to eat.     She was admiring the cute summer outfits of two young Latinas who walked by when she saw a shiny black Jaguar approach and then stop in front of them, beeping its horn to get their attention. The passenger's-side door opened, and a girl just as pretty as the other two stepped out and walked around to the driver's side to engage in some serious lip lock with the driver. As she leaned in as far as she could, her short skirt rode up. She was dangerously close to showing her ass to the world, a problem which she was apparently oblivious to because she took her sweet time before she finished. She finally pulled her head out of the car, blew the driver one last kiss, and giddily bounced up on the sidewalk to join her friends.     The Jaguar pulled away down the block and toward the restaurant where Marisa was sitting. It stopped in front, where Marisa had parked. She knew that the driver had spotted her car, so she waved at the Jaguar's tinted window. It was a simple, quick "yes, I do see your sorry ass" wave, which could not have possibly been interpreted as "why don't you come inside and join me?"     Nevertheless, ten minutes later, while she was enjoying her spicy chicken wings, Ruben walked in and sat down next to her. He leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek, smelling and looking as good as he always did. He glanced at her plate.     "That looks good."     "It is, but you can't have any."     "Any what?" he said softly, leaning toward her. Someone once must have told him that it was sexy when he whispered.     "Any of that, either," Marisa said, irritated.     He took his sunglasses off, leaned back, and laughed. "That's okay, I don't eat chicken anyway."     "Yeah, you just eat chicas ."     Ruben wasn't sure what she meant by that remark. Before he could answer, the waitress came over and gave him a menu and refilled Marisa's water. He put his sunglasses back on and pretended to look over the menu. Really he was studying Marisa's face for what she meant, even though he knew it was a waste of time. In the short time that he had known her, she had never revealed anything. He ordered a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee and handed the waitress back the menu.     "I've never had any complaints," he said as he stuck out his tongue in a lapping motion.     Marisa recoiled in disgust. If these wings weren't so damn good, this asshole was almost enough to make her lose her appetite.     "I wasn't talking about your bedroom habits, Ruben. I'm referring to your need to corrupt and devour as many women as you can."     "Damn, where did that come from? I got out of the car for this? Do you know how hard it was for me to find a parking space?"     "Oh, and here I thought you were just circling the block waiting for your young girlfriend to turn the corner."     The waitress put Ruben's cheesecake down in front of him. He had been hoping that Marisa hadn't seen him until he pulled up alongside her car. His look of chagrin at being busted was short-lived, however, and was soon replaced by a self-satisfied expression. When Marisa saw it, she knew that he had misinterpreted her level of interest.     "You jealous?" he asked.     "Actually, I am. I should have had the cheesecake, too."     "That wasn't anything, Marisa. Her sorority invited me to speak at her college. To give a lecture on entrepreneurship, you know, successful minorities in the business world." He took a forkful of cheesecake.     "Oh? And what was your lecture titled? Pimping in the New Millennium: How to Get More Bucks for Your Bangs?"     Ruben put down his fork and started laughing, enjoying Marisa's comment far more than she thought he should have. His dumb ass was probably taking it as a backhanded compliment. He leaned back in his chair and looked at her.     "Funny and pretty, that's what I like about you, morena . Nah, seriously, my construction business has been doing well. A lot of houses have been going up. Speaking of which, how is it going selling your aunt's place?"     "I close tomorrow."     He stopped his fork in midair, hesitated, then put the food in his mouth.     "So you decided not to have those repairs done I suggested? That's too bad, Marisa, 'cause you could have got more for the house."     "I had them done," Marisa said, checking her watch.     "What!" he said, too loudly. He put his fork down for good this time. "I told you I would have done them for free."     "And I told you at the time I appreciated the offer," Marisa said as she looked at the bill and reached for her purse.     "Then why didn't you let me do it?"     Marisa closed her purse and looked at Ruben, sitting there with a stupefied look on his face, and decided that there was nothing wrong with him other than his ego being bruised. He was handsome and rich and simply not accustomed to women not going along with his program. They had been introduced a while back by a mutual friend, but Marisa wouldn't allow herself to take him seriously and she knew she had done the right thing. Hell, he had been pursuing her for a couple of months now and had no shame about getting caught tonguing some co-ed in front of her. He was the last man that she wanted to have thinking that she owed him something. Besides, she had asked around, and Ruben's company had a reputation for doing shitty work.     "It wasn't meant as a slight, Ruben. How about you let me pay for your cake and we call it even?" she said, getting up, and putting the strap of her purse on her shoulder.     "Hey--hey now, where you going?" he asked, tugging at her sleeve.     "I have to get back to the office," she said, adjusting her purse so that she could free her arm diplomatically.     He wrapped his arms around her waist. "Let's do something this weekend."     This was the second time that he had put his hands on her to prevent her from leaving.     "Look, Ruben," she said, taking his hands into hers to get them from around her. "We just don't have a lot in common, and we aren't what each other wants right now." She gave his hands back to him.     "What do you want? What do you want that I can't give you?" he asked, trying his damnedest to look earnest.     She wanted to laugh at him, but hell, she was game. She looked him straight in the eye with an equally dramatic look on her face.     "Devotion. Unconditional, till-hell-freezes-over devotion."     Ruben sucked his teeth and turned back to the table. The waitress came over, and Marisa gave her the money for the bill and tip. She then said good-bye to Ruben and headed for the door.     "Unconditional devotion, huh? Hell, Marisa, I think what you need is a dog," Ruben called out.     "Well, if I do decide to get one, I know where to go, Mr.--" She then imitated the lapping-tongue motion he had done earlier, opened the door, and left.     As she stepped out onto the sidewalk and headed for her car, she heard a tapping sound. She turned around and saw Ruben holding his fist near his ear, thumb and pinkie extended, miming that he would call her. She could tell he was turned on by her sticking out her tongue. She already knew that Ruben had her pegged as a freak who just needed some dick. She put her sunglasses on and walked to her car.     As she opened the door and got in, she looked back at the restaurant. Ruben was still leering at her. She shut the door, turned the ignition, and began to pull away.     "You may be right, Ruben, but it won't be your worthless dick." Copyright © 2000 Marcus Major. All rights reserved.