Rags to Riches

by Jasper M


Rags to Riches
By: Jasper M
The Ant Cave
Earl Miller, a twenty-two-year-old rapper from Harlem, walks from his day job as an art teacher for the local public school back to his house, while the sky sprinkles snowflakes on his beanie. The long walk from his job to his 750-square-foot apartment isn’t too bad, but with rising crime rates in the area, he stays attentive.
Earl arrives at 6:30, like he usually does, just in time for dinner. He sat down with his mom, dad, grandma, three siblings, and two cousins. His grandma owns her own place, but everyone else stays in the apartment. They feel like ants. Walking and sleeping and living on top of each other.
Brenda Bradford opposes Earl in almost every way. She drives a Maserati, lives alone in her 2.5 million dollar apartment on the upper east side, and writes for The New York Times as a music critic.
While Earl pours his heart out in his room, rapping over a beat he made himself, Brenda listens to the new Drake album, Her Loss, and decides to rate it a 9.8/10, even though she doesn’t enjoy it. Earl spends the next three hours fixing every little problem he can find about the song, at which point he posts it to his YouTube. Almost instantly the song receives amazing feedback from all of his loyal fans, but one comment sticks out from the rest.
Sore Loser
 “What is this!?! This is literal garbage. If I were you, I’d quit rapping altogether!  -BrendaBradfordNYT.” Earl broke down in tears, and he eyes the “disable comments” button when he realizes something. “BrendaBradfordNYT.” He recognizes this name. The name of the runner-up in the 12th-grade music contest, the contest he won. She wants revenge. Earl knows that if he disables comments, she wins this, so he leaves comments on and likes her comment as well.
Earl knows that he holds the power, the power of letting her know that the comment doesn’t get to him, and he can’t give that up for anything. The next day Earl attends a music convention at which he speaks, and he uses this opportunity to inform all the listeners about art's power. After his speech, (which the crowd enjoyed)
Earl takes a few questions from the press and takes the opportunity to sell a few of his mixtapes when he notices a familiar face. Brenda. Brenda Bradford. Earl locks eyes with her, and she instantly looks away, intimidated. Earl calls off the questions and walks off the stage to confront Brenda. She stands her ground this time, starting to act more as she did online. She knows if she stands her ground this time, she can assert herself, and let Earl know that she fears nothing. Earl asks Brenda why she commented something so rude about his song.
“I think you know exactly why.” Brenda scowls, as she runs out of the convention. 
As Earl walks out of the convention, the manager of the convention walks up to Earl and informs Earl that he no longer will pay him, as he didn’t take any questions from the press.
While Earl leaves the convention, he notices one more thing. Every last one of his mixtapes, gone. Earl knows exactly what happened to them, and this couldn’t get in his way.