Sunday, May 24, 2009

Snippets from "Spring Cleaning"

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

Another snippet from "Spring Cleaning"

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.

            “Any children?”

            “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

Wondering...What Was the Last Good Movie I Saw

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."
Another good movie I saw that left an impression on me was "Forrest Gump."  Tom Hanks played a convincing role and the movie was somewhat like a history lesson put together over an unforgettable soundtrack.
Lately I can't recall the last good movie I saw, I'm talking about a movie that's so good that you leave the theater thinking about it.  Even while riding in the car with the music playing, you think about it....Hmmmm....I'm drawing a blank.  I think the last movie my husband and I saw together was Tyler Perry's, "Remember the Browns," although not necessarily a good movie, it was something to do to past away the time.  Hmmmm....I'm still trying to think of a good movie, maybe it was "Dreamgirls," yeah....I liked the scene when Effie is replaced by a new singer, I have it memorized.
"Curtis was supposed to love me....I turned my back and find myself right on the could've warned me but that would've been too kind..."
The segue from that scene to Effie's, "And I am telling you..." sometimes makes the hairs on my arms stand up.  Jennifer Hudson's interpretation was just as good as Jennifer Holiday's and when she finished, the audience cheered.
Last week on a trip, a co-worker and I wanted to check out Beyonce's latest flick, "Obsessed," again, just to pass away the time.  Needlessly to say, because of delays out of New York, we ended up spending that day on the beach in Cancun instead. Ha!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

TOP 20 Things that I'm so glad to know.

20. So glad to know that President Obama does not walk on water.

19. So glad to know how to read a map and follow directions.

18.   So glad to know the truth about Christmas.

17. So glad to know the difference between Holidays and Holy Days.

16. So glad to know Deuteronomy 8:18.

15. So glad to know that I eat to live and not live to eat.

14. So glad to know where I can get a good colonic.

13. So glad to know the difference between friends and Friends.

12. So glad to know how to make a gumbo dance in your mouth.

11. So glad to know there are some people who sincerely care.

10. So glad to know that I tithe on the gross and not the net.

9. So glad to know the difference between spiritual fruit and 
religious nuts.

8. So glad to know that God is not the author of confusion.

7. So glad to know my family is covered by the blood of Jesus.

6. So glad to know that all it takes is faith.

5. So glad to know the significance of the Passover

4. So glad to know my husband truly loves me.

3. So glad to know I can go to God in prayer.

2. So glad to know Jesus and because he died for me I'm...

1. So glad to know that when I die I'll be with him in paradise.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reminisce about the 'ville

I want you to take a trip with me down memory lane.  Or better yet take a trip north of H-town about an hour's drive depending on the heaviness of your foot.  If you're driving at night and you see a ghostly white figure about ten miles ahead, don't be alarmed it's just big Sam keeping a watchful eye over the city.  If you're traveling from Dallas, the "Hitchin' Post is on your left.

Let's go down memory lane....Remember "Soul Night Saturdays" at Silver Wings Roller rink? The place opened at 8 but the party didn't get "crunk" until 10:30.  My cousin, "Mooney" was on the 1's and 2's and if there was a dance contest you were guaranteed to find the two Tasha's on the floor.  Tasha Pace made the "Roger Rabbit," look effortless while Tasha Ross made every move from Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation," her staple.  Closing time was midnight but the festivities didn't end there, the parking lot was just as crunk with people showing off their latest rides. If a car had a decent sound system then you heard thumping and booming coming from its speakers .  People didn't know when to go home so of course "Johnny Lawman," is called to send the young and restless away.

Sunday morning was church...Greater Zion...St. Luke....St. Paul...New Zion Missionary Baptist Church (home of Holy Smoke barbecue), First Baptist, Friendship Baptist, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist, Little Bethel Holiness Church...the list goes on.  Wal-Mart was the place where folk "made groceries."  You literally saw everybody and his mama there buying chicken and potato salad, cole slaw, Miss Schubert's rolls, and red soda for Sunday Dinner.  I remember spending Sunday afternoons bowling at the Huntsville Lanes with my friend, Bnard, his cousin, Byron, my sister, Punkin, and their other cousin, Remar.  Late Sunday afternoons were spent at Emancipation Park, chilling and watching people floss their latest rides, the guys would be peeping out the girls, and the girls would actually buy an outfit and get their hair done just for the occasion.

Monday started the daily grind.  When I lived in Huntsville ( 1990 pop. 25,000) There were only four major employers:  TDCJ, Sam Houston State University, the City of Huntsville, and HISD.  If you worked eight hour days and got an hour for lunch you could grab a quick bite at the Sonic, you could enjoy the $2.50 Chinese Buffett at Imperial Garden, or if you wanted to go a little on the high end you ate at the Junction.

The courthouse was in the middle of the square and every morning around 6:30 am you could here the whistle from the old "Walls Unit" signaling that the inmate count had cleared.  I had my first real kiss at the overlook near the old Sam Houston Elementary when I was 16.  High school proms took place at the Lowman Student Center on the campus of SHSU.  Who could forget the activities after prom?

And how about those Hornets back when the football team really had it going on.  Friday nights the bleachers were so jammed packed that sometimes the fans had to sit across the field on the visitor's side.  Basketball was just as exciting.  Eathan O'Bryant, Kirby Roundtree, Eric Holcombe, Mike O'Brien, Keith Hooper, Coach Daniels, Coach Fountain.  Wow I can't stop.... Pep rallies in the gym, each class making sure they yell the loudest in order to get the spirit stick.

Remember Cinema Three?  I can't forget the first time "Boomerang" came out.  It was the summer of 1992 and I went with my good friend, Ceasar O'Neal (God rest his soul).  Remember the Jolly Fox? Remember the parties at the fairgrounds?  Remember Cedar Wood being so bad it was on FOX's "City Under Siege?"  Remember the prison rodeo?  People from all over the world ventured to Huntsville to see inmates ride bulls and broncos.

I could go on and on talking about the place where I was born and where I called home the first 22 years of my life.  I moved away in 1997.  Do I miss it? Not really but every now and then I like to reminisce about the 'ville. 

Snippets from my latest novel, "Spring Cleaning"

I flip through trashy tabloids that I dare not mention and stumble across an article of Mad Lew.  The photograph accompanying it shows him, a massive, huge, figure about six foot six, 285 pounds holding hands with an exotic, breathtakingly beautiful, statuesque woman.  The caption underneath reads, (Monte Carlo, May 15) Rap mogul Mad Lew and Hollywood’s It Girl Director, Ingrid Patel stroll casually taking in the local sights.  Patel is on location in the French Riviera filming a scene for her upcoming movie.

            I wonder if Roxy knows.  I hunch Eddie next to me on the jumpseat.

            “Read this.”

            He scans it over before rolling his eyes.  “Even a gorilla like him could do whatever and get away with it.”

            I’m not commenting on looks.  Anybody who was his girl had to be with him because of his money.  I saw a pattern of that with a lot of beautiful women.  BeyoncĂ© and Janet Jackson could have their picks of men.  With the men they’re involved with now only makes me wonder how their kids will look.  I saw a picture of Roxy’s little girl and she looked like a caramel version of Mad Lew with long, thick black, wavy hair. 

            I flip through more pages.  “You ever heard that new song he has out called Backseat Judy?”  I ask.

            “Yes I have, and I’m not a huge fan of rap but I listened to the lyrics.  He was rapping about Roxy.”

            “That’s what I thought, too.”  I recall the words.  You’ll never be the first up/that’s why you are the backup.  “I don't see how any woman can be comfortable with that role.”

            “As long as she’s getting what she wants from him I don’t think she cares. It’s sad but women tolerate that.”

            “Low self-esteem.”


            Last week she was asking Lucky about a witch doctor. I wanted to tell her that she’d be digging herself into a deeper hole.  Sometimes you have to let people find things out the hard way.