Chapter 22–Epilogue

Bri aspires to be a rapper — but to make her dreams come true, she'll need to overcome family hardships, prejudice at school, and misconceptions about her art.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. retaliation
    action taken in return for an injury or offense
    “You wanna die or go to prison, Bri? Either a Crown will kill you in retaliation, or somebody will snitch and the cops will take you down. That’s all that can come from this.”
  2. vulgar
    conspicuously and tastelessly indecent
    “We barely in the house and you already lying,” Grandma says. “Y’all ain’t fine. What’s this about Brianna making vulgar songs?”
  3. altercation
    a noisy quarrel
    We were more likely to be subjected to pat-downs, to random locker checks, and to secondary screenings. Several of us have been in physical altercations with them.
  4. apprehend
    take into police custody
    “There have been weapons brought on campus,” Karen claims. “Gang activity. If I’m not mistaken, Officers Long and Tate recently apprehended a drug dealer on campus.”
  5. appalled
    struck with fear, dread, or consternation
    “Like everyone, I saw the videos from the incident, and I was appalled. There was no respect for authority from many of our students. They used a vulgar, violent song to taunt two gentlemen who were simply doing their jobs. A song that my son says was done by a student and specifically targets them. We cannot and should not allow our children to be exposed to such things. I personally signed a petition this morning to have that song taken offline. I encourage other parents to do the same.”
  6. proactive
    causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond
    Superintendent Cook has the most uncomfortable smile as he waits for the applause to die down. “Mrs. Jackson, I’m sorry that you feel that the school district has not been proactive regarding the incident with your daughter; however, an investigation is ongoing.”
  7. beckon
    summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture
    The officer beckons him to come on, but Dr. Cook puts a hand up and comes over to us.
  8. protocol
    code of correct conduct
    Jay reaches into her briefcase and takes out some papers. “I’m sure this is not the proper protocol for applying for a position, but I figured why not. Here is my resume as well as my references. I have several years of secretarial experience.”
  9. aback
    by surprise
    “Oh,” Dr. Cook says, clearly taken aback. But he accepts the papers and pulls out his glasses.
  10. sobriety
    moderation in or abstinence from alcohol or other drugs
    “However, I recently celebrated my eighth year of sobriety.”
  11. commendable
    worthy of high praise
    “Wow. That’s commendable, Mrs. Jackson.”
  12. determination
    firmness of purpose
    “Yes,” he says. “It shows your determination. That’s a good character skill. I’m thirty years sober myself from alcoholism. Have to take it one day at a time. I can only imagine the type of willpower you must have. You should be proud of yourself.”
  13. willpower
    the trait of firmly controlling your own behavior
    “Yes,” he says. “It shows your determination. That’s a good character skill. I’m thirty years sober myself from alcoholism. Have to take it one day at a time. I can only imagine the type of willpower you must have. You should be proud of yourself.”
  14. daze
    overcome as with astonishment or disbelief
    Jay looks dazed as she shakes his hand.
  15. pang
    a sudden sharp feeling
    I get this pang in my stomach, like a little knot that’s twisted up tight, and I think—well, hope—that I’m still breathing.
  16. rile
    disturb, especially by minor irritations
    “Look, he may try to push your buttons,” he says, keeping his voice low. “That’s Hype though. Don’t let him rile you up too much. Just be yourself and say what you feel. All right?”
  17. insinuate
    suggest in an indirect or covert way; give to understand
    “But c’mon,” Hype cuts me off, “even you gotta admit that some of the lyrics are a bit much, baby girl. You talk about being strapped, you insinuate that you’ll kill cops—”
  18. bustle
    move or cause to move energetically or busily
    Usually, this place is bustling as employees toss pizza dough in the air, yell out orders, and slide pies into the oven.
  19. plaque
    a tablet that commemorates a person or achievement
    Platinum and gold plaques line the walls of the reception area.
  20. spontaneous
    said or done without having been planned in advance
    He even wrote a damn intro, like I can’t get in there and spontaneously say something.
  21. sassy
    improperly forward or bold
    That word sassy has always rubbed me the wrong way for some reason, like articulate.
  22. articulate
    characterized by clear expressive language
    That word sassy has always rubbed me the wrong way for some reason, like articulate.
  23. disposal
    the power to use something or someone
    “Baby girl”—he says each word slowly, as if to make sure I hear him—“you’re in the music business now. Keyword, business. This is about making money. That man in there”—he points toward the studio door—“got more cash at his disposal than he knows what to do with. We’re about to damn near commit robbery and take as much of it as we can. You just gotta do this song.”
  24. gawk
    look with amazement
    It must’ve been awful to have people gawk at you and demand you entertain them how they see fit.
  25. stark
    devoid of any qualifications or disguise or adornment
    There are no windows, so no sunlight. Just stark bright lights that you see long after closing your eyes.
  26. arraign
    call before a court to answer an indictment
    “I talked to your attorney this morning,” says Jay. “It’s one of those court-appointed ones. He thinks they’ll have you arraigned early next week.”
  27. remorse
    a feeling of deep regret, usually for some misdeed
    “You’re in jail, Katricia,” Jay says. “Jail! Yet you’re sitting here plotting some of that same street mess that landed you here in the first place. You don’t care that this has been hell for your family. You aren’t showing any remorse. You’re plotting!”
  28. fend
    try to manage without help
    "...now you leaving me to fend for myself again, huh?”
  29. sheepish
    showing a sense of shame
    Miles holds the back of his neck and looks at Sonny sheepishly.
  30. foyer
    a large entrance or reception room or area
    Seems like half the congregation fills the foyer.
  31. deja vu
    the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
    I can’t help the feeling of déjà vu that hits me.
  32. moderate
    preside over
    “The other day,” Jay says. “We talked for a few hours. Hashed out a lot of things, even stuff from way back when.”
    “Did Jesus moderate it?” I ask. “’Cause that’s the only way I see this working.”
  33. dictate
    determine, order, or control how something is done
    “Discussed? You dictated to me. You wanna talk to Trey about pursuing his dream, but I can’t pursue mine?”
  34. quota
    a prescribed number
    I swear, I’ll never eat enough vegetables to meet this woman’s quota.
  35. headstrong
    habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition
    You see, I’m headstrong (and petty) like Grandma.
Created on February 12, 2019 (updated February 13, 2019)

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