The story I’m about to tell you opened doors for me and has changed my life forever. It was the summer of 1993. The music industry had changed over to gangster rap. The three of us were Inseparable like Natalie Cole’s song. We were not getting in touch with our feminine side. Dwayne Miller, we called Baby Boy because he never seemed to age. Tyrone Fulton, we called Tonto because he was the opposite of faster than a speeding bullet. I was called Luscious Larry, named after my father who was the player of all players in our neighborhood. My real name is Larry Beard. As a group, we call ourselves the Nighthawks. We hung tight and we had each other’s backs. Our parents made it clear if dark catches you out past midnight you better have an alibi.
The Nighthawks loved music. Baby Boy and I could switch to any kind of music but Tonto only liked Old School Music. Baby Boy would sometimes get frustrated with Tonto but it was all good. I found a way so we didn’t squabble over who listened to what. I knew one day we would be larger than Boyz II Men. Personally, I wanted to follow in BabyFace’s footsteps. Baby Boy wanted to be like Notorious B.I.G. Tonto’s favorite old school singer is Stevie Wonder. He said Stevie has lasted a LIFETIME.
Tonto would always arrive late. It didn’t matter if he had a watch on. His TIME was always off. Baby Boy would always play his music first. By the TIME Tonto arrived he didn’t have any rap music to listen to. I would always hang loose or wait until I got home so I could play anything I wanted to hear. After we got through our music session, Tonto always seem calmer and wouldn’t fly off the handle at people. It was hard for Tonto to understand when people said things in a smart or sarcastic manner. We later discovered music was like therapy for Tonto. Baby Boy would get very defensive if anybody tried to crack on or make fun of Tonto. Whenever Sammy and his crew came around I could see Baby Boy’s jaw tightening and he would stand real close to Tonto. Sammy knew not to say anything crazy about Tonto. Sammy was always up to no good. He looked like that poison bottle with the skull and two bones going through the skull’s head. Yeah, he was Dr. Death. He had more secrets than the Pentagon. Everybody in the neighborhood was told to steer clear of Sammy. He wasn’t trying to do anything with his life except to try to pull the next good life down. We renamed him, Satanic Sammy.
We would leave our music session and go down to Mrs. Val’s corner store. This store had every type of candy and fruit drink you could imagine. It even had EDDIE the town drunk. The strange thing about EDDIE ON THE CORNER, none of us had ever seen him with a bottle on his side. I often wondered why Mrs. Val never chased Eddie off. Mrs. Val was like sweet strawberry licorice. She was kind to all the kids. She really took to Tonto. It was strange how she knew what candies to choose for him. It was like Tonto had some extra feelers on his tongue that would not allow him to eat specific items. He would have a terrible reaction. The next thing you knew whatever was in his mouth was headed your way.
The problem started 2 years later with the Nighthawks. Some new boys moved in the neighborhood. Sammy knew not to mess with Tonto but that didn’t keep him from setting up the New Kids On The Block. He dared them to go tease Tonto. They would whisper in Tonto’s ear some strange message he never revealed to me or Baby Boy. We saw Tonto’s behavior change dramatically. Once you told Tonto something bad it was hard for him to move on. His anger would increase and before we could start our music sessions, Tonto would want to go down to Mrs. Val’s store and pick on EDDIE. He began picking on EDDIE at least two to three TIMES a week. He never told us what was said. We did not know how to get through to him. We finally ask Mrs. Val to talk to Tonto. She got through to him. Baby Boy and I did not question Mrs. Val at all. We were so happy that Tonto made a decision to back off of Eddie. Something changed for Tonto. I wished he would open up and tell us what those boys had said to him.
It was time for our music session. This Time Baby Boy was late. I kept checking my watch. Tonto’s mother, Ms. Ernestine showed up. My kneecaps tightened and my legs felt weighted. She said there had been a shooting and she would give me more details once we got to the hospital. Baby Boy found out what Satanic Sammy had the new neighborhood boys tell Tonto. Before Baby Boy died of his gunshot wounds he told me what happened and to promise to watch out for Mrs. Val, EDDIE ON THE CORNER, and Tonto. He never mentioned taking care of Ms. Ernestine.
The timing was bad. Tonto was getting ready to go off to college. He decided to stop by Mrs.Vals and take one more shot at EDDIE. To his surprise, EDDIE was gone. There was a very well dressed man on the corner. He handed him a card and the name Edward Morrison appeared. It had Mr. Morrison’s email address and cell phone number. The man told Tonto to get in touch with his father. Tonto was really angry. He could not hold the secret any longer. He confronted his mom and wanted to know why she would tell him that his father died in the War. She was disturbed and in more ways than one. She couldn’t explain herself out of this one. Tonto came to the house and told me what happened the night Baby Boy got shot. He was told that EDDIE ON THE CORNER was his dad.
I was asked to go with him to find his father. He handed me the card. The name looked familiar but I couldn’t be sure if it was THE EDWARD MORRISON.
Satanic Sammy’s mother and Tonto’s mother were once best friends. Ernestine had gotten pregnant by Tonto’s father. She was a shame because he had several learning problems. He never could understand or get along with any of her friends except for Paula, who was Satanic Sammy’s mother. Paula is dyslexic. She hid for many years. She never revealed to Ernestine that she was dyslexic in fear their friendship would end. So Paula ended the relationship with Ernestine and continued her friendship with EDDIE ON THE CORNER. Paula later went to work for Edward Morrison Institute.
Well, we reached Morrison Institute and we sat outside in the lounge. Mr. Morrison came out to greet us personally. Tonto turn around and said to me, this is the man in the suit at the corner of Mrs. Val’s store. I looked at Tonto. I looked at him. Tonto couldn’t see that he looked like Edward Morrison. Mr. Morrison smiled and explained why Tonto could not recognize his face. EDDIE ON THE CORNER was Mr. Edward Morrison of Morrison Institutes. He is the owner and CEO of 35 learning institutions around the world. He specialized in Nonverbal Learning Disability. Mrs. Val is Tonto’s Grandmother. I was asked by Tonto’s father to come in and trained to head up one of Morrison Institutes. Tyrone Fulton, a.k.a Tonto is now following in his father’s footsteps.