The Learning Curve


Chapter One: Beginnings

BOYD JENKINS SAT IN HIS den with his friend of eight years Daniel Cummings and discussed the nature of things.  They had a few drinks and the T.V. was on, showing a movie, "Hannibal".  It was then that Boyd had a revelation about his life and passed in on to Daniel.


"Man, when I entered college I didn't know if I was going to ace it out on the books or become a baller like you."


Daniel paused for a second, then responded, "And to think Boyd, you did neither."


Such was the nature of their relationship, a back-and-forth of truth and jokes.  A sometimes acrimonious, tongue-in-cheek banter that always seemed to lead to deeper revelations.


It was early 2001. and things were going great for the two.  Boyd had just come out of a long depression and was beginning to see life in a new way.  Daniel was taking on the reigns of responsibility in his family, by taking care of the family home and managing the Adult facility the family owned.


Boyd had known Daniel since High School, late High School to be exact.  He'd met him through his older brother Stan, when they used to go out and party on the weekends, visiting from College and introducing Boyd to the "word of the nightlife".  It is this world that had captivated Boyd at an early age and would hold him there for most of his life.  What he learned from his brother and his brother's friends he would translate to his own friends and they would use it to "own the night" as they came to know it.


Boyd attended an alternative High School for the "gifted and talented" as a youth.  There he learned quickly the way of the "flam": the art of getting what you wanted by using verbal skills and personal charisma.  It was what he and his friends were good at, and whether one was flamming or being flammed depended on the circumstances surrounding the event or personal perspective.  Boyd's friend Virgil was particularly good at this art, and as he and his best friend Tariq would later put it, they'd been flammed many times.  This would occur many a night, and would usually consist of Virgil and one of his compatriots, Amp, getting some "flave" at a local crackspot and not telling Boyd and Tariq what they were going to do there.  Leaving the two to think they were just visiting friends: totally clueless.

Such was the course of events on a weekend night in the city for Boyd and his friends, one that would usually include some High School sporting event, house party or nightclub.  If it was spring, Sunday afternoon would be spent  in the Park, profiling with supped-up rides, if you had one, and meeting with girls with their "fly" gear, jewelry and hair extensions.  It was the late eighties and everyone was either hip-hop dancing or fighting the  power.