Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure Ma$e Is Haunting Me

Now you might read that title and think "Oh, boy. Another article where this kid displays his knowledge and 'ironic' love for a passé pop culture icon. I can hardly control myself." And while, yes, that sort of writing makes up the lion's share of my oeuvre, these experiences are unfortunately all too real.

It began a few weeks ago. When I got back to my apartment, I heard music coming from behind the closed door. At first I thought someone had broken in and was evaluating my music library so they could determine if it was worth stealing. Then I listened a little closer.

Welcome back, welcome back, (You know you like that) that betha's back
Welcome back, welcome back, (You know you like that) Harlem's back
You know you like that
Welcome back, welcome back, (You know you like that) that betha's back
You know you like that
Welcome back, welcome back, (You know you like that) Harlem's back
For those not in the know, that's the chorus to Ma$e's "Welcome Back". I don't have that song on my computer, or vinyl, or even cassingle. My hands shaking, I unlocked the door and burst in, hoping to catch the criminal in the act.

The room was empty. My computer was turned off and sitting exactly where I had left it. Had I just imagined it? Was the stress of city life finally getting to me? These questions lay unanswered for the time being, for something much more horrendous had appeared.


(Ignore where it says Blingee, that's just the software my camera uses.)

Somehow, my cat had found a fitted Yankees and a blingin' chain, two items which I don't keep in the apartment. Along with that, my entire wall had been turned into a window in a bizarre dimension, one where dollar bills rain down from the heavens in an eternal rain. And above it all, a simple four letters: MASE.

I rubbed my eyes and looked away, unwilling to stare too deeply into the madness. When I looked back, it was gone. My cat looked up at me and warbled. The wall was its usual off-white.Once again, I put it down to stress.

Weeks later, I was at a bar. I'd had a long week of menial work, and my sleep was still troubled with visions of a pimped out cat rolling around in hundred dollar bills. I decided that what I needed was a good hard drunk. I left my phone at home, not wanting to be interrupted.

So, like I said, I'm at this bar. This cute girl sits down next to me, and for whatever reason (and I thank God for it) she starts talking to me. We actually hit it off - we're both aspiring writers, really into television, she's not allergic to cats. I ask if I can buy her a drink, she says yes. I turn to get the bartender's attention.

Suddenly, a chill wind blows behind me. The back of my mind itches and says to me, "You know, it felt like this in your apartment that time. You know which time." I want to turn around and confront whatever dread presence was causing this, to ask it why it was focusing on me.

But I couldn't.

When I was finally able to look behind me, the girl was gone. And in the distance, I heard someone yell "There go Ma$e, there go ya cutie!"

Once is a mystery. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a haunting. A few days after that incident with the girl, I was at home, lying in bed. It was a hot day, muggy and airless. The fan in my apartment wasn't doing anything. I had simply not gone into work. The fear that I could run into this spirit in Harlem World, his home turf, was too frightening.

The phone rang. I looked at the caller ID screen.


I threw the phone across the room, where it broke into pieces. Why was he doing this? What had I done to draw this ghost's ire unto me?

As I lay there asking these questions, I heard music. It came from the corner of the room where I'd thrown my phone.

Breathe stretch shake let it go Breathe stretch shake let it go Breathe stretch shake let it go Breathe stretch shake let it go Breathe stretch shake let it go

Since then, I've barely slept. In order to protect myself, I've placed albums from the four patron saints of Dad Rock at the cardinal locations of my apartment. But I can feel their power waning. Soon, it will be time for Ma$e to strike again.

I can only hope that Diddy is able to distract him with the lure of another record deal.

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