(Photo source: I Am Second)
Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Leicester, England. Club Urban Beauty. Clipse performed. In the front row was this girl who was absolutely radiant and stood out from the entire audience. Her skin was like porcelain, long dark hair, and long dark eyelashes with bright, baby-blue eyes. She wore a white, loose-fitting dress with a black belt at the waist. She didn’t walk; she floated like a character in a Spike Lee Joint.

I was on stage, but the spotlight was on her. After our performance, I went backstage to dry off, and then proceed to the VIP area where I bumped into her.

"Hello," I said. "What’s your name?"

"It’s Carrissa," she said in a thick English accent, "but don’t try to 'chat me up.' I don’t trust men and you can have any of these ladies here you want."

"I just asked your name," I said, "I don’t want any of these chicks, I’m not at all thirsty. And like you, I don’t trust women. Besides that I’m married." But after a few more sips of Brandy, we exchanged emails.

A year later. Carrissa came to visit me for my birthday in Finland. Once the show was over, we did an after party. After a night of drinking and partying we headed back to my room. Drunk, and in the middle of getting to "know" Carrissa, she turned over and right on the small of her back there was a tattoo in remembrance of her sister, Leila, who had passed on from cancer. On the left of the tattoo was Leila’s birthday, and to the right of the tattoo was the date she died: Aug. 18th, my birthday. Instantly, I sobered up. It wasn't just what I saw but it was how I saw it; with the moonlight piercing through the blinds perfectly framing "8/18." It presented itself just like a dame in a Bogart black and white with the lighting solely fixated on her eyes and with the rest of her face in silhouette, adding mystique.

It wouldn't be the last time something I did haunted me.

It wouldn't be the last time something I did haunted me.

About three weeks later, Clipse had a performance in Herndon, VA. On the way there I called over to my boy: "C.J.,what happened to that girl that was supposed to come with you to the show?"

"Ah man, forget that B*&@H I told her to stay home!" C replied.

"Why?" I asked. "Long story," C said. "How you mess that up?" I asked.

"Tell you later," he said.

When we reached Herndon, we checked into our rooms. After I got situated I walked to C’s room. He was ironing his shirt for the night, but once he saw me he blurted out: "Oh! This is what I had to tell you earlier. That girl that I was gonna bring to the show said she was at a party and the cousin of some girl you messed with said you gave her AIDS and she’s dying right now. She also said she has a brother that is going to put a hit out on you. Then I said to her: 'Then why he [Gene] ain’t dyin’ or sick?’

"‘I don’t know,' she said, 'I’m just telling you what the girl told me.' I didn’t wanna say that in the car around everybody, but forget that hoe," C said, "I hate when the haters start rumors and s#!+."

"Call her right now," I said, "and put it on speakerphone." I had to hear it for myself. He did, and I heard her say, "You didn’t tell him, did you?"

"I told you I wouldn’t say nothin’, just tell me again," C said. Suddenly, though, she couldn't remember exactly what was said or exactly who said what,except for the fact that the cousin of the girl I was supposed to have infected had a baby.

I frantically tried to make sense of it all.

"If this were true, this rumor would have spread like wildfire, especially seeing how I’m Malice of the Clipse," I blurted out. "The streets would have quickly propelled this info!"

Nevertheless, I couldn’t just simply deny a rumor of this magnitude. Just so happens that I did "know" a girl in the biblical sense by the name of Chelle who fit the description. She had a cousin who had a baby and a brother who was a knuckle head. Now, Chelle was cool and I've always known her to be healthy and happy.There were some uncanny parallels between Chelle and I: She was born in New York like me; her birthday was in August (a Leo like me); she sucks her thumb (a habit I’ve never been able to fully break); she lost her grandmother who was on dialysis like mine; and by the luck of the draw her nickname was Mookie, just like me, spelled the same way and everything. She was a good girl, believed in Christ, constantly read her Bible, only listened to gospel music, and hardly watched TV.

"Her ONLY vice was that she dated a married man," I said to myself sarcastically.

With all that swirling in my mind, I still found a way to go on to do the Herndon show. I returned home late the next morning to dogs barking, an immaculate house, towel and wash rag laid out. I took my bath and got comfortable. But right before dinner I received an email. It was from Chelle’s brother asking for my address.

"Gene, I wanna send you my demo and I want you to give me your honest opinion," he said.

Oh Hell No! I thought. The rumor was true! This dude doesn’t even know me like that to ask anything of me! I had given his sister AIDS and he was coming to kill me.

I called Chelle. Ring, ring, ring, but no answer. I call again. Ring, ring. Still no answer. I called anonymously, and she picked right up.

"Didn’t you see me calling you?" I asked. "Yeah," she said, "I was gonna call you back. I'm just trying to get my life together!"

"What does that mean?" I asked curiously, looking for any hints or signs of ailment. She didn’t let on to any sickness but I did notice her disposition towards me was as if I got on her nerves, which was a total deviation from the norm. Something was on this girl’s mind and I was determined to keep her on the phone until either she admitted a problem or her mood lightened up.

After an hour of prying, she turned back into the jovial, good-spirited Chelle I used to know. Before we get off the phone she asked, "Did my brother email you?"

"Yes," I said.

"He wanted your phone number but I wouldn’t give it to him," she said. "Pay him no mind and don’t talk to him." The little relief I had received from her now-pleasant demeanor was ruined by her "don’t talk to him" statement. To me, it was a warning: I was right back to where I had started from. My investigative prying was in vain.

Later that night I was in my bathroom "Googling" on my Blackberry, which I often do. I looked up symptoms of HIV: "Sometimes within two to six weeks after exposure to the virus you may experience fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headache and rash."

I began to worry.

Was it really the ceiling fan that brought on these flu-like symptoms that night? Or was it "The Monkey?"

This is adapted from the book, "Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, and Naked" by Gene "No Malice" Thornton. The full book can be purchased on Amazon. To see how the story ends, you can watch "The End of Malice" the full-length documentary about Thornton's life, on Netflix. You can also purchase the film as well as the discussion series, click here.

(Photo source: I Am Second)

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