Knuckleheadz by CJ Hudson

Ghetto girls birth ‘em. Hood rats love ‘em. Society fears ‘em. Police target ‘em. And the penitentiary welcomes ‘em. From the coochie to the casket, these trouble making band of misfits wreak havoc on the community. They are loyal to no one but themselves and not even death can scare them. They are untamed, untrained, and worst of all, unchained. They run through the city with reckless abandon and perform unspeakable acts of random terror on innocent, law abiding citizens. They are the definition of trouble makers. They are…Knuckleheadz.
Antwan, the ring leader, is a twenty year old malcontent with big dreams and small money. Ever the optimist, Antwan won’t stop reaching for the moon until he’s touched the stars.
Temp, his fiery, quick tempered partner can’t seem to keep it in his pants and because of it, the majority of his money goes towards paying for abortions.
Bishop is the only member of the crew to be employed on any level, albeit part time. He likes being part of the crew but is getting increasingly tired of some of their antics. And when a tragic turn of events leaves him holding a smoking gun, his loyalty to his crew is severely tested. Niko has his own set of problems. Hanging out with his comrades provides him with his own personal fortress of solitude, far away from the pain of his abusive mother. Chris is the quiet one of the crew. He doesn’t say much, but he’s always down to put in work.
Guard ya grills…The Knuckleheadz are on the loose

Excerpt:  Veronica and Tangie sat on the porch drinking malt liquor out of Styrofoam cups. No sooner had Chris, Niko, and Bishop walked down the stairs, Veronica broke out into laughter.

    “Now, why you do that, bitch,” Tangie asked her.
    “Do what?”
    “Bitch, please! You think I didn’t see yo’ nasty ass uncross and re-cross yo’ legs when they came up on the porch?”
    “Hoe, Please,” Veronica said, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture.
    “Ain’t nobody tinkin’ ‘bout them young ass boys.”
    “Then why the fuck was you tryna catch they attention then, slut?”
    “I don’t know what the fuck you talkin’ ‘bout,” Veronica said, smiling coyly.
    When Veronica lifted her cup to take a sip from it, she thought about how she had embarrassed Bishop that day at the store. She also thought about what Tangie had just said about her trying to catch their attention. She realized that her friend was right. It hadn’t dawned on her until just then that since she’d shot Bishop down and he’d starting ignoring her that she was trying to make him notice her. She hadn’t given Chris a second thought. The boyish crush that he had on her turned her off.
    But Bishop represented a challenge and if wasn’t careful she was going to find herself on her back with her legs resting on the top of Bishop’s shoulders.
    “Hey, V, ain’t that yo’ sister walking down the street hand in hand wit’ some nigga?”
    Tangie’s statement snapped Veronica out of her daydream. Her eyes narrowed into slits as she focused in on her fifteen year old sister Dana making goo-goo eyes at the handsome young man that she was walking with. Dana was so captivated that she never even saw her sister or Tangie sitting on Tangie’s porch.
    “Dana! Girl what the hell do yo think you’re doing?” Dana’s dark skin turned a shade darker when she spotted her sister staring at her.
    “Huh? Oh, hey sis…I was just walkin’ wit’ Jay and…”
    “Do mama know where yo’ lil fast ass is at?”
    Dana was busted. She was supposed to be over her friend Tracy’s house doing homework. Veronica took one look at Jay and decided that it would be best if her baby sister came up on the porch with her. The look in his eyes all but confirmed his intentions. If he had his way, Dana would be taking an oral exam the minute he got her alone inside his house.
    “Yeah, that’s what I thought! Get yo’ lil fast ass up here! And Jerry or Jay or whateva the hell yo’ name is, you can get rocks ‘cause you ain’t gon be hittin no ass today! At least not hers,” she said pointing at Dana.
    Jay walked off in a huff, mad now that he didn’t take the short cut through the field, like he started to do. Dana walked up on the porch with an attitude. She couldn’t believe that her cock blocking sister had just stopped her from getting her first piece of dick. She’d been talking to her friends about it and they had all convinced her that if she didn’t give it up to Jay, some other girl would. They had also been telling her how good it felt, so she wanted to try it firsthand.
    “I don’t know what the fuck you got an attitude for,” Veronica said when she saw her sisters face. “I know you didn’t think I was just gonna sit back and let you take a chance on getting knocked up by that nigga.”
    “Wasn’t nobody gon’ get knocked up,” Dana said, sucking her teeth.
    “How do you know? You don’t know if you was gonna get pregnant or not!”
    “I do know that!”
    “How the fuck can you know?”
    “Cause, we wasn’t gonna do nothing,” Dana lied. She was dying to get her first taste of meat.
    “Girl, you must think I was born yesterday!”
    “You may not have been planning to do nothing,” Tangie added, “but that lil nappy headed ass Jay damn sure planned on gettin’ him some ass today! You see the way he stomped off mad as fuck?”
    Tangie was giggling but stopped when Veronica cut her eyes towards her. She didn’t think that it was funny. Tangie on the other hand thought that it was hilarious. She remembered Veronica being the exact same way when she was that age.
    “I don’t know why you think this is so fuckin’ funny, Tangie.
    “Because I remember how yo’ ass was,” Tangie put her on blast.
    “See, that’s that bullshit right there,” Veronica said, pointing her finger at Tangie. “I wasn’t nowhere near this hot when I was her age,” she said, jerking her head towards Dana.
    “And even if I was, we ain’t talkin’ ‘bout me, we talkin’ ‘bout lil miss hot ass here.”
    “Sis, you need to just chill the hell out! Shit, it ain’t like you my mother, you just my fuckin’ sister!”
    Tangie and Veronica looked at each other in shock. Their mouths fell open at the same time.
    “Lil girl who the fuck you think you talkin’ to like that? I’ll slap the piss outta you.”
    Dana leaned back and crossed her arms in a defiant posture. Seeing that her sister wasn’t moved by her threat, Veronica decided to call out the big gun.
    “Ok smart ass,” Veronica said, taking out her cell phone. “Let’s just see what mama had to say about this shit!” Dana’s confident smirk evaporated in two seconds flat.
    “Ok sis, you. My bad. I’ll go home. You ain’t got to call mama.” The last thing Dana wanted was for her mother to find out that she was trying to creep over some boys house. She would get skinned alive and she knew it.
    “Nah, miss bad ass! You tough shit remember?”
    “Veronica! Don’t you dare snitch on that girl,” Tangie intervened. Veronica continued to hold the phone up as if she were going to dial. She wanted her baby sister to know that she meant business. Dana stood there, scared to death. After torturing her for a few more seconds, Veronica finally clipped the phone back onto her hip.
    “Listen lil girl. The next time I catch you tryna creep with a boy, I’ma…”
    “Excuse me ladies,” Jermaine interrupted, “but y’all look like y’all could use some company up there.” Tangie and Veronica looked at each other and rolled their eyes at the same time.
    “Nah, dude, we ain’t looking for no company.”
    “Y’all sure,” Erik chipped in. “We got some smoke and some drink,” he said holding up a twenty sakc of weed and a bottle of Hennessey. “We can have ourselves a nice lil party.”
    “The fuck these two yellow ass niggas come from,” Veronica asked Tangie. They had been so pre occupied with Dana that they never saw Jermaine pull up in front of the house and park.
    “Look homie. You and ya man there need to roll out. I got a man and I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate y’all pushin’ up on us like this.” Jermaine and Erik looked around and shrugged their shoulders. They doubted very seriously if either of the ladies had s significant other. In their flawed logic, there was no way the two ladies should be sitting on the porch alone if they were single. They saw Dana standing there but to them she was a non issue. Whether she was the child of one of them didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to play daddy anyway. All they wanted to do was hit it and quit it.    “Man? Where? Baby, I don’t see no man,” Jermaine said holding his palms up. “Come on pretty lady, let us come up there and party wit’ y’all,” Erik said. He was almost on the porch when he looked up and saw Antwan.
    “Nigga, if yo don’t get the fuck offa my steps, I’ma have a party on yo’ ass!”  The two men looked at Antwan’s boyish features and chuckled lightly.
    “Aye, yo’, this yo’ lil brother or somethin’? Go somewhere and watch a rap video, lil nigga. This here is grown folks bidness.”
    “Yeah, lil nigga. Ain’t you got some homework to do,” Erik joined in. the two old heads burst out laughing. The giggles came to a dramatic cease when they saw the hammer in Antwan’s right hand. Antwan walked out onto the porch, closely followed by the rest of the knuckleheads.
    “Oh, so y’all two o’ them joke tellin’ muthafuckas, huh? Well I got a joke fo’ yo’ ass,” Antwan said, walking up on Jermaine. “What do you call a nigga who just wrote a check his ass can’t cash?”
    Before Jermaine could respond, Antwan smashed him in the middle of the forehead with the butt of his gun.
    “Laugh at that muthafucka!” Jermaine stumbled backward and tumbled down the steps.
    “Aye yo’ hol’ up my dude. We ain’t lookin’ fo ‘ no…” Before he could finish his sentence, Chris slapped his viciously across the face with the barrel of his gun. Blood poured from the one inch gash left by Chris’s heater.
    “Tell us some more jokes, bitch ass niggas.”
    The two old heads scrambled to their feet and staggered to their vehicle. The knuckleheads didn’t know if they going to get guns or not, but each one of them stayed at the ready, keeping their eyes on the truck in case they had to dodge bullets and return fire. “Damn, y’all niggas on some real live gangsta shit,” Dana commented. No one had noticed, but she hadn’t taken her eyes off of Chris since he’d come outside. A plan started to formulate in her mind. Since her sister was so dead set against her seeing Jay, she would just have to find a suitable replacement to pop her cherry. Hungrily she eyed Chris’s tattoo of a black panther on his shoulder.
    His flesh seemed so inviting to her as she imagined what it would be like to let the thugged out youngster be the first to invade her sweetness. When Chris finally did realize that she was looking at him, he gave her a slight smile and a wink. It would be just his good fortune to come along when she was finally ready to give up the goods. Tangie looked at Veronica, who was busy checking out Bishop. Then she looked at Dana who was doing the same thing to Chris. “Sister see, sister do,” she mumbled to herself.
Author C.J Hudson hails from the east side of Cleveland where he grew up surrounded by crime, violence, and drugs. Determined to not succumb to that way of living, he attended Kent State university for one year. An avid reader for the past eighteen years, C.J was introduced to urban fiction by his future wife when she gave him Carl Weber’s Married Men. Although he enjoyed his first urban fiction novel, C.J craved to read about the type of street stories that he saw on a daily basis in the inner city. That’s when he started going to Borders and searching out Street lit books. He quickly came across K’wan’s classic novel Gangsta. He then went on a reading barrage and read everything from T-Styles to Triple Crown novels. Shortly after that C.J was laid off from his job as a machine opperator. While laid off, C.J. decided to try his hand at writing. After writing his first manuscript entitled Skeletons, he wrote the manuscript that got him a publishing deal, Chedda Boyz. After Chedda Boyz, he released his second novel under the life changing books publishing house, Next Door Nympho. After that, he self published the sequel to Chedda Boyz, Mo Chedda. He then released the e book Hood Luv. Earlier this year, he released Hood Lawz. He is currently hard at work on his sixth novel, Knuckleheadz. He is married with two children.

Get to Know CJ:
1. How did you come to sign with LCB? I was searching for a publishing house and I wasn’t having much luck, so I started going to borders and checkign out the African American section. I searched the African American/ Urban Fiction books for websites and came across K’wan’s e mail. I reached out to him and to my surprise, he responded rather quickly. I told him that I was an aspiring artist from Cleveland ,Ohio looking to submit my work. He gave me the website of Life Changing Books and Urban books. I emailed Azarel and she told me where to send my manuscript. I sent in Chedda Boyz and the rest they say is history.
2. I heard a rumor that C.J. Hudson is not your government name, bu a pen name. How did that come about? Well, C.J is the first and middle initial of my name. Hudson is my dad’s last name. I did that as a tribute to him.
3. What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned sic being in the game? To be patient. You’d be surprised how many mistakes are made by authors trying to hurry up and drop a book instead of making sure that their material is tight.
4. What process do you think is the most important in the publishing process and why? In my opinion, editing is the most important process by far. A bad editing job can turn a five star book into a four star or even a three star book in a hurry.
5. Why do you feel authors cut corners when it comes to editing? Because editing is an expensive service to acquire. But like saying goes, you get what you pay for.
6. How do you feel about authors who have been in the game for a awhile turning their backs on authors who are trying to get in the game today?  I think it’s bullshit. No one comes into this game knowing everything. why would you not help someone if you can. I’m fortunate enough to have the big homie, K’wan and Azarel, Erick Gray, Treasure Blue and a few other give me advice when I need it.
7. Lastly, how did you get the nickname, Keyboard Assassin? Lol. A friend of mine called me while I was working on a project. I told him that he had to call me back because I was in the middle of writing. He called back an hour and a half later and I was still typing. He was like, “Man, what you trying to do, kill the keyboard?” I was like, “Man, I’m gonna pound this Keyboard until I finish.” He was like, “Go ‘head then Assassin.” I put the two together and the Keyboard Assassin was born.
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