Native New Yorker Emmanuel Sheafe captures the wacky insanity of growing up African American in the Big Apple in the 1970’s. THE PRODIGAL SON & THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS is a start to finish Laugh-Out-Loud-Tale that can be summarized in 4 words, “Scandalous escapades & outrageous exploits!’
Born into a devoutly religious family he was so ill-behaved when he was around 10 years old the church congregation decided to take up a collection for an exorcism. Although he scored a 171 on an IQ test the principal of his elementary school informed his family that he was being assigned to a Special Ed class. “We’re convinced he’s retarded!” As he states, “In the 1970’s there was no such thing as political correctness; you were simply a retard, moron, imbecile or just plain f*^’king stupid!”
He engrosses the reader as he writes about being shipped off at age eleven to a private boarding school in Canada where, for close to 3 years, he was the only black kid among 400 Caucasian students from all over the globe. Abruptly his classes changed from an inner-city curriculum to equestrian horseback riding, Ice hockey 101 and performing half gainers in the Olympic-size swimming pool. He details the amusing cultural shock of returning to Brooklyn to attend an all-male, all black and Hispanic high school. “After my first day of being laughed damn near out of the building I vowed to never again wear my starched blue button-down shirts, two-tone saddle shoes and white V-neck pullover sweater…in private school, I would have looked real cool…to this gathering I was an Uncle Tom house nigga.”
All hell breaks loose with the zany cast of characters. Guys like the school narcotics dealer. While making barbecue spareribs for the annual church picnic his parole officer unexpectedly shows up at his house. He panics and makes a split-second decision to dispose of his weekly allocation of merchandise by pouring two ounces of marijuana, an eighth of a kilo of cocaine, 30 mg. of methamphetamine and a handful of fentanyl into the barbecue sauce. During the sermon the following Sunday, the pastor spent over an hour complimenting, “The tremendous barbecue that Brother Abdullah made at the picnic…he was touched by the Divine Hand of God!” to shouts of “Amen” “Praise Jesus” and “Oh Hallelujah” from all over the sanctuary. Abdullah walks around royally pissed for about a year. He said, “Them Muth%^$&^ing intoxicated saints better not complain, those were $10,000 ribs.”
If you love to laugh, this is a must read non-fiction adventure. Between the covers of this book lurk these and dozens of utterly unforgettable, hilarious, sidesplitting and pandemonium-causing characters.