Mary Jane


I’m drunk as fuck right now, listening to Rick James’ “Mary Jane”. My first memory of this song dates back to ’94-’95. My mom was dating a guy nicknamed  Woody (put 2 n 2 together there and figure out what he was with my mom for).
He took us all to Galveston where a bird promptly shat on him while we were on a ferry. Due to the fact I had never been to Galveston before and I hated Woody (for reasons we will get to soon enough) all in all it was a good day. On the way back from Galveston Woody stopped at Checkers and got us burgers. Woody always felt like he was getting gypped by buying the combo so he would only get burgers at a restaurant, then stop by a convenience store and get chips and sodas which he said was cheaper. My mom thought this was infinitely stupid, because by the time he drove from a fast food joint, and then paid separate  taxes not to mention gas for Woody’s Camaro he spent more money. Due to the fact a bird had pooped on him earlier that day Woody was  not in the best of moods to hear a woman challenge his intellect.
We had been listening to some Rick James tape, I couldn’t tell you the name of, the entire drive. On cue, Rick James questioned if Mary Jane really loved him. Woody asked the same of my mother. “If she really loved him why would she make him so mad after the day he was having?” He rationalized, his anger boiling up. He made another stop at blockbuster to pick up the movie Dead Presidents.  apparently he had went into the store for something else but they didn’t have it. I spent a long time in the back of his Camaro cramped up. I was a skinny kid (if you can believe it) and I always had to sit behind Woody, who was tall, so that he had enough legroom. Never mind that at 8 I had very long skinny legs. Woody always called me skinny mini because I was like the male version of Pop eyes Olive Oil. My bony ass knees always poked into his back, irritating him more. I had to sit sideways so that I wouldn’t make him mad but then my brother would always complain that I was kicking him. It was a lose lose situation. By the time we got home he was thoroughly pissed. Bird shit on his shoulder, back hurting from an 8 year olds knees and pride hurting from a woman that didn’t see that he was ALWAYS right.
My brother and I had went off to our room after a short while. I tried to stay up to at least hear part of the movie. Out of nowhere an argument started between my mother and Woody. My brother and I tried to ignore it but as the situation got louder it got harder to ignore. Screaming, crying, glass breaking. We couldnt take it anymore! We rushed in to save our mom, who by the time we came into the room had been thrown through a glass table, and punched several times in the face. But try as we could we couldn’t do anything to this grown ass factory worker.
On top of his hitting us too our mom was furious at us for jumping into the situation when she had told us to stay in our room!

Every time I think of that incident I hear Rick James’ Mary Jane as the soundtrack. I picture Dead Presidents on the TV, and envision my mother, bruised and bleeding on the floor. I can still remember how helpless I was, how useless I was. “Do you think you love me Mary Jane?