Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sit time between flights make me more tired than the hours I spend on the plane. I utilize this time to have lunch in the food court for a change. Lucky is next to me with his nose in a box of Popeye’s Chicken while Eddie is across from us nibbling on a six- inch sub with a bag of chips.
“Word on the low is.” Lucky begins, “Roxy is about to lose custody of her daughter.”
I’m not a fan of gossip but for some strange reason my ears perk up whenever her name is involved. It has a lot to do with I don’t have a life and she seems to have too much going on in hers. Every week it’s something different. One week she’s not getting along with the nanny, the next week she and her rapper boyfriend are fighting. On an earlier flight, she got confrontational with a passenger over a wrong drink order. Tomorrow she may get off the trip just to show us that she doesn’t need the job or the money. I just look at her and think Lord, why her? She never seems content. If I were in her position I would utilize my time and money wisely. There are times when the crew has gone out for dinner and she orders the most expensive thing on the menu. She takes two bites out of it and she’s done.
Poor baby. Your daddy’s rich and your mama’s a hot mess. I’ve always wanted a child or two and here she is with a daughter and she runs away from her every chance she gets.
“To whom, Mad Lew?” Eddie asks. He’s thinking like me. Mad Lew didn’t want that child anymore than Roxy.
“Mad Lew’s mother wants it. You know what that’s all about.” Lucky dips his chicken strip in a round container of spicy mustard.
“To keep from paying Roxy child support.” I add.
“You know he pays her $20,000 a month?” Lucky fans himself, “Honey when she told me that my jaw dropped.”
“That’s $240,000 a year.” Eddie says.
“Lord forgive me for saying this but for that amount of money I wish I could birth a crumb snatcher.” Lucky looks at me, “You feel me, Boo?”
“No. You are by yourself on that.”
His smile disappears and he rolls his eyes at me, “Anyway, that heifer got Walter Nunnley paying her membership dues in the President’s club.”
Eddie frowns, “You’re supposed to be her friend, why are you telling us her business?”
“Amen.” I second.
Eddie taps my hand. “Ronnie, does he tell you my business?”
“I always put him in check.” I wink.
“Don’t even try it.” Lucky rolls his eyes at me again.
“So what, you and Roxy hanging tight now?” Eddie asks.
“I’m not supposed to be telling all her business.” He turns his back towards me and rolls his eyes at Eddie.
“Suit yourself.” Eddie chuckles.
Once I’m on the plane, it’s still a half an hour before boarding. We’re on a 757 with twenty-four first class seats so I find a seat in the very last row. Somewhere between a light and a deep sleep I wake up to the sounds of Roxy’s voice yelling into her cell phone.
“You knew my status when you got with me.” Apparently she doesn’t see me. What does she mean by status? Financial status? Relationship status? Her status of the War in Iraq?
“You know what Kenny, kiss my ass.” She yells into the phone, “And if you think you’re getting custody of Marlow kiss my ass again.” She slaps her phone shut and I hear it being thrown into her purse. She walks the first-class aisle in a huff and still don’t see me slump against the seat. I hear Lucky come on board and stow his bags in the mid-cabin closet, if he walks into first-class he surely wouldn’t miss me.
“What’s wrong with you?” I hear him ask Roxy.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” It sounds like she’s standing in front of the mirror powdering her nose. “When are you going to New Orleans?”
He answers, “This weekend, why?”
“I need a witch doctor or something. You know any?”
“Do I look like the type of person who know people like that?”
“You want me to lie?”
“Boo, I don’t know what you’ve heard but I don’t know witchdoctors.”
“What about your mother, your grandmother?”
“What are you trying to do?”
“I’ll tell you about it later.” She says just minutes before Whitney and Victor arrived. I remain slumped in the first-class seat until I feel someone tapping my feet. I pretend as if I’m asleep and start wiping my eyes.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Just listening to the recorded conversations I had with my Instructor gives me a headache. Everything about him was big and loud. He had big hands with a tumor the size of a grape growing on one digit. He was articulate and you could tell he came from one of those families where both parents were educated and they associated with others of similar backgrounds. He graduated from Princeton and worked for a brief time on Wall Street. He moved to Los Angeles and started writing specs. He eventually sold a script enabling him to kick down a door and land him a job as a story editor for a short-lived sitcom. For fourteen years he wrote and sold scripts that never made it to production. Discouraged with the whole Hollywood scene, he packed up and moved back East. He got an idea for a story while sitting in the Barber’s chair listening to some guys reminisce about the year their high school’s football team captured the state title. What made the story even more dramatic was that the coach was African-American. The icing on the cake was that the coach won with an integrated football team, a feat unheard of in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
His script landed on the desk of one of the top producers in Hollywood who happened to love sports themed movies. Even with his backing the script appeared as though it wasn’t going anywhere. Hollywood studio heads only green light one inspirational story a year. They eventually got the movie into production and it became a hit, grossing over 100 million dollars at the box office. The message was its appeal. The script was compelling bringing even the President at the time to tears.
I look over my notes and try to make sense of his writing. He can’t understand his own cryptic markings yet he expects me to decipher them. I work until my words cross up and none of what I typed made sense.
My phone rings. It’s Jeremiah.
I answer by the third ring. “Hey you.” My computer clock reads 8:30 p.m.
“I was thinking about earlier today. I told my co-workers that I had a date with an angel.” Even over the phone I can sense he’s smiling.
“I was thinking about you too. I loaded the pictures on my computer. They look very nice.”
“I wish you were here right now.”
I wished I were there too, but not tonight.
“If I were there tell me what you would do?”
“You sure you want to go there with me?”
The ice has melted and the water is steaming.
“Let’s go there.”
“If you were here I’d take off your shoes and massage your feet.”
“I’d massaged those beautiful calves of yours in a slow circular motion and work my way up to your thighs.”
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It's difficult to watch a loved one deal with health issues. But my mom is taking everything in stride. Her doctor advised her to take two more chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy is no walk in the park. First of all before you begin the treatments a port gets inserted in your chest. A port is a thin, soft, plastic tube that allows healthcare professionals to draw blood and deliver chemotherapy drugs into your vein without having to insert an IV needle each time.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
With music playing softly in the background, I hammer away a scene on my keyboard, one in which the main character falls for her mentor. The setup is at a campground in which Zydeco music is heard and people are two-stepping and swinging out. As she Zydecos with her mentor she catches a leg cramp. Her mentor uses his expertise in the powerful way of healing and he gently kneads the spot where she feels the most pain. Their quiet interaction speaks volumes. The careful consideration he takes into making sure she feels better. The way she stares at him, never before having him up so close that she notices his scars. She inquires of each one and punctuates each inquiry with the soft tip of her finger. She takes her finger and traces the outline of his full lips. He takes her hand and kisses the inside of her palm.
I am so deep into the scene, writing and rewriting to make sure it works that I don’t realize I’ve spent six hours just trying to make sure I give them the right words, I even try to imagine myself as the character. I have a digital recording of my Instructor giving me pointers on how to fine tune the scene. Now all I need is a way to transition it from a quiet little scene on the back of a double cab pickup to a scene filled with passion so intense the reader feels it.
I put it aside and close my eyes more so to rid myself of an impending headache. Jeremiah floats in my mind like a sheet of paper being blown by a mighty gust of wind. I try to remember his face and just can’t get past his eyes. There is something about them. I remembered how his long lashes fluttered when he tried to see what all I had to offer from behind the counter. I force myself to halt my thoughts of him and be about the task at hand. My cell phone rings.
That thing’s supposed to be off when I’m writing. I glance at the ID and see Jeremiah’s number. Just as I reach over to answer, it stops. Oh, no he didn’t. I glance at my cell again to make sure it’s the right number. I even go so far as to compare it to the number on the paper he had given me. Why did he do that? I want to call back and ask but I am too afraid for fear that I might appear desperate...
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The van ride to the hotel was an interesting one. Nightfall had just settled in over Aruba and I couldn’t help but think about Natalie Holloway, the girl who disappeared. On the radio, Backseat Judy by Mad Lew plays.
“There’s your baby’s daddy.” Lucky shouts behind us, startling me and Whitney.
My ear was ringing. “Everybody on the island heard you.” I said.
“Driver, turn it up.” Lucky starts popping his fingers and rocking in his seat, “Where are the clubs around here, I'm feeling like Ginger Rogers tonight.”
“We have Carlos and Charlie’s.”
“I’ve heard of that place.” Vincent says, “I believe that’s where Natalie Holloway was seen last wasn’t it?”
“That place is wild.” The First-Officer adds.
Lucky stops dancing and leans forward. “As in how wild?”
The Driver coasts to a stop, “They have wet t-shirt contests, beer drinking contests, tequila drinking contests.”
“I don’t wanna see no chee-chees.” Lucky sits back in his seat. Roxy is next to him, too preoccupied with her cell phone to be bothered with us.
“We’re game for drinks.” Vincent says to the First-Officer and the rest of us. “Roxy are you coming?” He asks.
“I’m meeting someone.”
“Who do you know in Aruba?” Eddie asks, speaking for the rest of us.
“Why is it your concern?” Her around-the-way-Bronx attitude is in full effect.
Eddie not one to bite his tongue, “I’m not, you can trust me on that.”
Whitney glances over her shoulder. “You have a myspace date?” She askes.
I hear Roxy sigh and suck her teeth, “Again, I’m telling you what I told your boy.” She closes her cell phone.
Whitney hunches me, “She met somebody online.”
“Whitney you know what you can do and driver will you TURN THAT DAMN RADIO OFF!”
“Hey, watch your mouth.” Eddie says.
“Roxy, was that necessary?” Vincent adds.
Lucky forever the peacemaker, gives her hug and a squeeze.
“That’s all she needs. Shame on you, you and you.” He points to me, Eddie and Whitney. I look back and notice her scowling at him and him looking back at her and trying his best to not laugh.
The bartender at the hotel says $12.50 for a margarita. We say no thank you and walk outside across the street, past the casino and follow the sound of the live salsa band. I figure where there is salsa playing there are reasonably priced drinks. The First-Officer and myself, along with Whitney and Victor find a table for four. They order beers you only find in Aruba. Whitney and I like our fruity drinks so we order margaritas.
On a 25 inch-television screen above the bar the Dallas Mavericks are playing the Phoenix Suns. Victor and the First-Officer talk basketball and airplanes. Whitney and I nurse our drinks and comment on why the bird handlers across the walk from the restaurant have colorful parrots, and toucan chained to the perch.
“Isn’t that animal cruelty?” I feel a sudden sadness. Those birds are too beautiful to be chained.
“Reminds me of life before I got married.” Whitney says with her eyes still glued on the birds. Her expression turns somber.
“Honey, what’s the matter?” I admire how Victor is in tune with her. She points to the birds.
“I don’t like how they have those birds chained. I want to tell them about it.” Victor gently taps her hand. “Sweetpea, there’s no PETA in Aruba, leave them alone.”
“I feel the same way when I see those horses in New York City with all that stuff weighing them down and they have those blinders.” She mimes as she speaks, “Up near their eyes with that sack trailing behind.”
“The sack is a good thing, the streets would be in a lot worst shape than they are now.”
I add my two cents. “I don’t like when people abuse dogs.” My mother has two small dogs that she treats so much like children she even allows them to sleep with her.
“Maybe I should join PETA.” Whitney says half jokingly, “My girlfriend Nikki has a couple of furs that I want to take out and burn.”
Victor takes her margarita glass to examine it. “They put a lot of alcohol in this?”
“I don’t have a buzz, yet.” She says, “When I do, you’ll know.”
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I pull out Jeremiah’s number and contemplate whether or not to call him. It’s seven-thirty Seattle time which means it’s nine-thirty in Houston. Today is Wednesday and he is probably sitting at a happy hour somewhere on Richmond enjoying a beer with a few of his co-workers. Or, he is out on a hot date with an exotic looking girl sipping on Mumms Cuvee and listening to smooth jazz. A single young, good-looking man like himself could be doing a number of things besides sitting at home. I take a leap of faith and dial his number. By the fourth ring I hear the phone pick up and I hear a soft shallow voice utter, “Hello.”
I am about to leave a message before I realize he is on the other line.
“Hi Jeremiah, I expected your answering machine to pick up.”
“I’m unwinding, sipping a little cognac and listening to some music.”
“How was work?”
“Double shift. My dogs are killing me.”
An image of Jeremiah in his uniform pops into mind. I’ve always seen him from the waist up so I envision his forest green shirt with the AirExpress emblem and ID badge dangling around his neck.
“You sound really tired.” I say for lack of a better word.
“I’m much better now.” He says just as the tempo of his voice increases. I hear a Louisiana based dialect that wasn’t there before.
“I just knew you were out somewhere having yourself a good time.”
“Why do you say that?”
“A single good-looking guy could find a lot to do on a Wednesday night. Don’t you have a girlfriend?” It’s not uncommon for a guy to be involved and still dabble on the side.
“No girlfriend at the present.”
An alarm went off. I’m not looking to get involved but you can’t tell that by my conversation.
“Have you ever been married?”
“I was married for ten years.” Wow, that’s a lifetime in today’s age.
“No.” Dear Lord, something’s wrong with his soldiers.
“How old are you?”
“How old do I look?” Thirty-five.
“I might guess the wrong age.”
“You’ll be surprised.”
“Thirty-seven.” I blurted out.
“You’re way off. I’m forty-two.”
“You’re not forty-two.”
“Yes I am.”
“You easily had me fooled.”
“You should see me when I haven’t shaved. That gray starts sprouting like wild grass.”
“Salt and pepper looks sexy on you.” I don’t want to sound too suggestive.
“I’m a little self-conscious of it.”
“They have dye in a box you could use.”
“No way. That’s not me.”
“So tell me about your marriage, what happened?” I open the curtains to my hotel room. Darkness is just falling across the Seattle sky. I pull up a chair and rest my feet on top of a desk. I don’t care if I have to get up around five-thirty tomorrow morning. I am on the phone with Jeremiah and I am all ears.
“You want the Reader’s Digest version?”
“I want your interpretation of it.” I was told there were three sides to every story. His side, her side and the truth.
“My ex-wife was a very selfish woman.”
“Did you know this before you married her?”
“I saw signs of it but I was too blind to see it. You know about that?”
“Boy don’t I.”
“When we met she had no college degree and she was still living at home with her mother.”
“Where did you meet her?”
“We worked in customer relations.”
“What was the initial attraction?”
He paused. I don’t know if he was thinking or taking a sip from his glass.
“She was outgoing, witty, charming. She carried herself with a lot more class than most of the women at the office. She was well-traveled, she came from a really good family.”
“When did you start seeing the truth?”
“About two years into the marriage. I saw how she dealt with money. I worked so she could go back to school. She got her bachelor’s degree and worked part-time and I thought that once she got her degree she would join the workforce. But, she went back to school and got her master’s degree. She applied for loans that she didn’t really need and went shopping like she had a million dollars. She ended up getting a car she couldn’t afford. I thought once she got her master’s degree that she would get a job. But no, she went back and got a doctorate...”
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
BET aired one of my favorite movies, "The Color Purple." I remember seeing it twice with my mom, two of my aunts, and a cousin. I remember being captivated and moved from beginning to end. As a matter of fact, I watched the movie so much over the years that I memorized EVERY line, did you hear me? EVERY line. My favorite scene occurred at the dinner table, where Celie gives Mr. and his father a piece of her mind. You may know some of the lines, "It's time to get away from you and into creation and your dead body will be just the welcome mat I need."