Cover image for Dad interrupted : a novel
Title:
Dad interrupted : a novel
Author:
Whitfield, Van.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harlem Moon/Broadway Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
271 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385508186
Format :
Book

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FICTION Adult Fiction African American
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Summary

Summary

Poor old Shawn Wayne is faced with losing his soul mate, Dawn, if his ex-girlfriend turns out to be pregnant with his baby. This much-anticipated sequel to "Beeperless Remote," Whitfield's smash debut romantic comedy, takes an hilariously uncompromising look at the state of black fatherhood.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 The call should have started with "Houston, we have a problem." That would have made sense. Anytime a woman calls a guy and leaves a message that ends with the most feared, dreaded, and deflating words known to man-"I'm pregnant"-her call might as well have started with "Houston, we have a problem . . . I'm pregnant." See it for what it is. If she were your wife or even your lady, and she knew you were up to the joy, stress, and responsibilities of fatherhood, there would have been no call. She would have taken you to the Tropicana like Lucy did Ricky, dropped some knitted booties on the table, and had the band play "Babaloo" before telling you you're about to be a dad. Chicks you're not with, not going to be with, or don't want to be with make the call. They're less interested in you being a dad. Guys are the bulls-eyes to their arrows, and those chicks come complete with a laundry list of headaches, hassles, and demands that will make you wish you couldn't even spell s-e-x. You're about to be welcomed to a world where you'll be perceived as little more than one of "the usual suspects." And you will soon become all too familiar with the list that you've always heard about, but never thought would affect you: "The Official Baby's Mamma Checklist" 1. A summons and the court date that comes with it. 2. Demands for Pampers and Enfamil for a baby that you're prepared to deny because "you only hit it once," and . . . she said she was on the pill, and . . . you pulled out, and . . . she said she never wanted kids in the first place, and . . . you know that the only women who get pregnant from doing it "once" are the women they warned you about in your seventh-grade health class. 3. A lawyer who swears he'll "get this thing straight." 4. A judge who swears she'll "get this thing straight." 5. A lecture from your lawyer on parental responsibility and on how you have to respect "the plaintiff." 6. An even worse lecture from your mother, who just got a visit from "the plaintiff" and the baby who has the same vacant stare and drool pattern that you had as a kid. 7. A piercing blood test. 8. The dreaded announcement confirming that the test proves conclusively that you are a new, not-so-proud father. 9. An examination of your pitiful financial affairs. 10. Numerous conversations identifying you as "My baby's daddy." 11. Uncomfortable explanations to any potential Ms. Rights about your baby's mamma. 12. Child support checks for a child you foolishly continue to deny. 13. Christmas, birthday, and graduation gifts for a child you will always deny. 14. Amazement, shock, and disappointment that the child you always denied failed to invite you to her wedding. 15. Complete dismay that the guy whom the plaintiff / baby's mamma actually married is walking your daughter-the one you always denied-down the aisle. The Official Baby's Mamma Checklist is your worst nightmare. There's no way you could have expected all of this from a quick "hit it and quit it," but this is exactly how it worked out for your friends, your brothers, and their friends. But, Troi wouldn't do that to me. Or would she? The knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat say that I'm not so sure. I've played Troi's message over and over and this is all I can come up with: My lady, Dawn, will freak because she's thinking engagement and I'm pretty sure my baby with Troi doesn't fit into my engagement with Dawn. Kelly, the best co-worker and female friend a guy could have, will say exactly what any woman would say: "You should have kept it in your pants." And my main man Donnie, who's kicked his crack habit, may kick me for putting myself in this position. Troi Stevenson is pregnant and she's coming to D.C. Fate has dealt me a nasty blow. And this situation all but confirms what I've known for some time now. I'm the unluckiest man in the world. Houston, we have a problem. 2 Not much has changed for Donnie. He's "drug free," he's two months from clearing parole, and he's as happy as they come. All in all, his outlook on life is different. It's fresh and full of promise and optimism. His job at the rehab center he once called home has given him hope and a heartfelt purpose. But Donnie doesn't believe anything really changes. "Summer doesn't change to fall, it just gets tired of being summer," he once told me. "Your frail tail would get tired of being hot all the time too." I'm sure he rationalizes not changing-or "keeping it real," as he puts it-so that he can hold on to some vestiges of his never-ending pursuit of a happening lifestyle. Donnie is committed to being as hip as he is "down" with the players, partiers, and peddlers who dominate D.C.'s notorious nightlife. And like any good middleman waiting to happen, he still knows how to get a deal and is closely tied to an enterprising network of street-corner suppliers and distributors. His phone call all but confirms it. He claims to have a line on a brand-new, ultra-thin, Sony 42-inch flat screen plasma TV. And he says he'll help me hang it on my living room wall if I can come up with the cash before tomorrow morning. "How much?" I asked, knowing we were only just starting to negotiate. "My man Shawn Wayne will be watching the ball drop on a phat plasma with a universal remote!" he answered. "You'll be two steps ahead of every poot-butt fool in D.C." "How much?" I repeated, unimpressed. "It's not just HDTV ready, son," he insisted. "It's blingin' with high definition right now!" he exclaimed. "And check this, Shawn," he said, taking a deep breath. "This puppy is slimmer than Halle Berry on crack." "She's not on crack," I told him. "She was in Jungle Fever !" he shot back. Donnie is stalling, which means one thing. His price is probably ten times what I'm willing to pay. "Have you seen those bangin' commercials where the fish jumps out of the flat screen?" he asked. "Actually a bird flies into the screen," I commented. "And the commercial didn't say anything about the price." "That's because you can't put a price on top-shelf, state-of-the-art equipment like this," he insisted. "So you're saying it's free?" "My man wants five large," he quickly answered. Five thousand dollars! I'm not about to part with five thousand pieces of my favorite green-colored paper for anything. And Donnie knows it. "But my supplier is down with how we roll, so he's ready to deal," he remarked. "How ready?" "Two grand ready." "You think I'm going to pay two bills to watch TV?!" I asked, alarmed. "C'mon, Poppy," he answered. "It's going for twenty thou at Best Buy." "I'm an accountant," I reminded him. "And I don't think you and Best Buy realize that twenty grand for a forty-two-incher comes out to four hundred seventy-six dollars an inch." "What I realize is that you're the cheapest clown in the world," he said. "I'm trying to give you a deal on a plasma and you're talking about how much it costs an inch?" he added. "That's why Troi left you for bad and high-tailed it back to Chicago, son," he joked. "How much does a TV cost an inch?" he huffed. "Why did you bring Troi up?" I asked, concerned. "I can probably get it for a grand, maybe a grand and a dove if he delivers it," he said. "But I don't know if he's gonna go any lower." "What made you bring up Troi?" I repeated. "I'm not tripping off no Troi," he answered. "I just threw her name out there because classy chicks can spot a cheap fool like you a mile away. So you cool with a grand?" he asked. "You think she thinks I'm cheap?" I asked, worried. "Shawn," he answered. "I don't know, don't care, and ain't about to waste my time thinking about some fly girl who's a million miles away in Chicago." "It's not a million miles," I told him. "Is it another time zone?" he asked. "Yeah." "Do you have to put a one in front of the area code when you dial?" "Yeah." "Tell me what about that ain't a million miles?" he quickly answered. "And why are you still jonesing on Troi when Dawn has you locked down like one of my jailbird homies on a hunger strike?" he asked. "Dawn is here, Troi is somewhere in east-ja-blip and me and my associate have a TV to move." "Troi is coming to D.C.," I blurted out. "I could probably get him down to-" His silence says it hit him like it hit me. "What the hell are you talking about, Shawn?" he whispered, quickly. "Troi is coming to D.C.," I whispered back. "Oh, snap," he said, still whispering. "Does Dawn know?" "Are you crazy?" I whispered, as if someone were in the room. "Are you crazy?" he repeated. "You can't just sneak somebody as fine as Troi back into D.C. and think that Dawn won't find out." "I'm not sneaking her back here," I whispered, even lower. "She's coming on her own." "So where's she staying?" he asked. "And how long is she gonna be here?" "What do you mean?" "I mean, is she swinging at your crib or are y'all pulling a hotel move?" he asked. "'Cause if you are, I got a man who can probably hook up a suite, a couple of massages, and one of them robes." "She's not coming for a visit. She's moving here," I whispered. "Oh, you are crazy," he whispered back. "Dawn is gonna break your balls and have them served up like an appetizer on Fear Factor ." "Not if she doesn't know," I reasoned. "Wait a minute," he said. "You actually think that Troi is gonna just roll into D.C. and Dawn ain't gonna know?" "Yes?" I answered, sounding completely unconvinced myself. "Shawn," he whispered. "Take your head outta your behind. Dawn's gonna know because you don't have the heart to keep a secret from her." "I guess that means I should tell her she's pregnant," I said. "You should tell who that who's pregnant?" he quickly answered. "I should tell Dawn that Troi is pregnant," I whispered. "Oh shit!" he yelled, excited. "Troi is pregnant! Is it yours?" "I don't know," I admitted. "Did she tell you she was pregnant?" he asked. "She left a message." "And she said she's coming to D.C.?" "Yeah." "Your tired ass is about to have a baby, son!" he shouted."Congratulations, fool." He laughed. "And welcome to World War III." "What are you talking about, Donnie?" I asked, still wanting to whisper, but now talking aloud. "It's not going to be a problem. I'll tell Dawn and I'll work it out with Troi." " Fantasy Island don't got nothing to do with D.C., so you can stop yapping about spilling the beans to Dawn and thinking that somebody ain't gonna take an ass-whipping," he quipped. "Look, son, don't you say a word until I get there. I mean it, Shawn . . . don't tell nobody nothing," he went on. "If Captain Kirk beams Troi over there in the next minute and Dr. Spock beams Dawn in right behind her, act like you got lockjaw until I get there." "Maybe you're right," I said, hearing my doorbell buzz. "If that's either one of them, plead the Fifth until I'm on location! You know what a baby is?" he asked, not waiting for me to answer. "It's an interruption! It's not no bundle of joy or none of that Look Who the F*ck Is Running Off at the Mouth sh*t ," he told me. "It's court dates, pinch tests, and child support. Don't fall for none of that crap, and tell whoever's blowing up your doorbell that since it's New Year's Eve, you made one of them restitutions not to talk until next year." "Thanks, Donnie," I answered, laughing. "But you know its resolutions , not restitutions , right?" "The last time I was sentenced was on New Year's Eve last year and the judge said I had to make restitution," he told me. "And after Troi hits you with child support, your size thirteens will be making restitution for the next eighteen years, so don't be trying to correct me, son." "Okay, D," I replied, smiling. "But check this." "Yeah." "Are you bringing the TV with you?" I said, recalling why he called in the first place. "I'll buy it right now," I admitted. "But I won't go higher than forty bucks." Excerpted from Dad Interrupted: A Novel by Van Whitfield All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.