Friday, July 29, 2005

Is My Book Boring?

1:35 PM 7/21/2005 Copyright Leslie Jones McCloud 2005
"I stink."
" And anyone who lookin can tell that my hair isn't
combed." Marion said aloud.
It sort of just stragled along her shoulders, like straw as she clip clopped down the street, clumsily.
No job.No man.No cares.
Marion hefted her bags up the stairs to a waiting cafe table to
order several of Wet Willy's special frozen drinks and to look at
the men.South Beach shopping and drinking made her forget all of her
problems--which was the purpose of living in Miami instead of
Indiana.But it's really no place for little kids, she thought.
"I'll have a large strawberry margarita, please." she told the
waitress who bounced away to fetch the order, blond pony bobbling
around.
Shopping gets respect in South Beach--not everyone can do it.
Marion relaxed a bit. It was humid and she tried to smooth her
black, parted-down-the-middle-60s-layered-do with her open palms.
"This is like exercise." she said to herself.
Kinda.
She looked down at the loop of flesh oosing around her midsection.Now, that ain't a cute look.
She pulled out her new leather large Coach Shopper from the box. (Now, that's a good look.)
Camel matched her new mules that she so countrily wore out of the
store after buying them. But country is okay in Miami--it is still the south.
She took her time transferring the contents of her black Coach
bucket into her new purse. The leather smelled good and mixed well
with the sea mist in the air. The sun on the balcony of one of the most well loved bar on the beach gave little protection from the noonday sun.
"I love me" she said audibly and shaking around the contents of
her new purse and fanning a little.She rumbled in her new bag for her phone.
"Ma, what chal doin'?"
Nothing Marion, why. What do you want now?"
"Nothing just calling. How are the kids?"
Fine, when you coming to get them?
"Next week. Next two weeks. Gotta find another job.
"Again? Girl whats wrong with you? Your daddy had the same job for
40 years," her mother said.
She eagerly reached for the drink and handed the woman her card to
open a tab.
"Ma, I'm a writer and things are different for me. Didja get that
money I sent?"
"Yes but you really ain't sending me any money cause most of it goes
to feed and clothe your kids."
I sent $1,200. I ain't broke. You need more?"
"No, but still. A woman down there by herself at your age.Why don't you stay up here and do something."
"What ma, like get married?
"Yeah, and have some more kids."
"It would be nice but that's just not the path I'm on right now. It
would be nice though.I'm gonna make some roots here in Florida so in about 20 years you and dad can have someplace nice to live,"
"And watch your kids too, right?
"Yeah."
"Bye Marion. Grow up. You are a 35-year-old divorced woman writing
God knows what for whomever will pay you,.
"And I get paid well too ,ma. Bye. I'm gonna grow up. Don't worry," Marion said, taking another brain freezing slurp out of her drink.
"Are you drinking?"
"It's just a frozen drink ma."
"Bye Mari."
Momma hung up. Marion could hear her children and her nices and
nephews in the background playing. They seemed happy. One big
happy family.And here she was on the deck of a bar drinking in the hot
sunshine.But she knew she didn't want to stay in Indiana so she had to make this work.Someone had to have need for a corporate writer.
"Hell I can commercialize or spin anything. And still a pretty
decent news reporter," she thought to herself.
Continental paid her pretty well when they were done with her--$100,000 is enought to pad the way until the next job.She slurpped on her drink. It was good. Couldn't even taste the
grain alcohol.

Meanwhile, her friends could join her in her search for a new her. Momma could hold out a little longer with just a little bit more money.
She text messaged Nicey. Her husband would let her out of the
house. Hell he was never there anyway. One advantage to holding off on childbearing. Her phone rang in the middle of the message.
"Hello?"
"Yeah, fool where you at now?"
"Miami"
"You moved to Florida?"
"Yeah, I'm sitting out here right now sippin' on a margarita. Yall
coming down here?
"Me and Toni--I don't know about Sheila. She got a job and a man."
"She ain't no fun noway. You bringing Tom?"
"If he want to go. You know how you two fight."
"Shit I ain't married to him. I don't have to do what any ol' man says for
me to do," Marion said, wriggling her neck. She took another long suck of margarita.
"Well if yall come down here look me up."
"I'll be down there Wednesday but Toni said she can't come until
this weekend."
"Okay. Where yall staying?"
"We got a time share down there Toni said she staying with us."
"Okay. I should be totally moved in by tomorrow. We can have a
cookout."
"I hope this is the last time you have to move."
"Shit, I needed a job."
"Unhunn, 1,500 miles away."
Marion was silent. She knew why Niciey was hedging.She didn't want to get serious with Tom's friend Bobby.
"One of us stuck in Indiana is enough."
"Okay dear. We'll see you Wednesday."
"Alright, bye. "
Chapter Two
The house was a mess but it was hers. She bought it because she
really wanted to put down roots.All homes came with an inground pool in Miami. The kids would love
it because they've never had much more than an inflatable pool in the courtyard. The grill disappeared, somehow. Apartment living wasn't big on outdoor privacy.
Grandma's house was only temporary but at least they had a
backyard. And the same inflatable pool. And Grandma's grill.
But Marion had just purchased 2,450 square feet of South Florida sunshine--for just about all of
her 401K.
The white piano in the corner, wet bar--it was so 60s--master bedroomand bath would keep her just fine.
The children each had their own room and there was a dining room, guest room, family room, a huge professional kitchen screened patio and huge vaulted ceilings in the living room. To top it off it was in a gated community. Marion wondered why it came so cheap but she didn't care if someone died in the house. There were plenty of pastors in town that would bless the house for a good tithing church member.
Everyone decent in Florida had a home in a gated community, a pool
and a screened patio.
"Maybe they won't notice I don't have any furniture, yet," she wondered.
Besides a black barstool, and an Asian-inspired room divider,
the house was empty but for love. She managed to move with her three beds and three dressers and two televisions.
She didn't have the DVDs and other electronics because she was never home enought to think to buy them when she was out. Her feet never stayed at home, where a good woman's belonged. Marion never fitted in well with the old-fashioned values that surrounded her.
It was dark in her house too. She left much of her favored lamps and other lights her mom gave her in Indiana.
Marion, in her fit of shopping, didn't even bother to look for
things for her home when she arrived in Miami. She bought more clothes, some luggage and
accessories. None of it reflected a need for putting down roots. And it's difficult to live in a Coach Leatherwear handbag.
She hadn't bothered to check to see if the children were in a good
school district or if there were good day cares in the area.
She was living in a weathy area and wealthy people had nannies.
"I need a job," she heard herself say aloud standing in the middle of her house, surveying all that needed to be done.
Chapter Three
Niciey and Tom were the most popular couple in the city. They went
to all of the right balls and galas, donated to the right
charities, had the picture perfect life--and above all they still
loved one another and got along.But they rarely spent more than 30 days straight, together. Alone.
This trip to Florida would be more like a mini spring break than ahoneymoon.Niecy and Tom liked to have fun together. And bringing Bob would
make it all that much more fun.They might even meet some more swingers while they were there.Tom got Niecey into swinging exactly 45 weeks after they were
married. It's almost as if it were planned that way.She resisted at first but after meeting Bobby and his wife Tammy
then LeAuthur and Clea she knew she would never go back to regular
married life.
And a good thing for Tom because he knew he couldn't love anyone else.She got used to watching her husband glare at the breasts of other
women. At least he picked for her, attractive, endowed men who
were nice before plowing into another man's wife. He had nerves of
steel to introduce her into his lifestyle.But to look at Tom, one would ever know and he liked it that way.Niciey sat up in the bed and gently shook Tom.
"Is Bobby still going?"
Anymore, they didn't have much sex without the swinging.Tom was sound asleep.
"Tommy!"
"What. Yeah, he's going. He ain't got nothing better to do."
Bobby's wife left him after a particularly interesting coupling
with a West Indian couple last year. Hadn't seen or heard from
Tammy or Rufus, since.Marion helped soothe some of the pain but now she was gone too and
Bobby looked to only float through life now.Still, no one dared tell Marion about the swinging. Besides it was
married couples only. She didn't need to know just yet.

Vintage

07-26-05
Leslie Jones McCloud
Copyright July 2005
GARY--Passersby grabbed for shirts and other promotional items Tuesday at a Soul 106.3 live remote held outside of Mercantile Bank on Melton Road.
The event, sponsored by Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living, was held to promote a concert Friday July 29 at Marquette Park Pavilion featuring artist Angela Bofill and an array of classic automobiles.
However, to get free tickets to "Vintage Night on the Lagoon" Bofill fans will have to listen to the radio.
James Ward, Director of Marketing for Edgewater, said 12 pairs of tickets to the event will be given away this week to listeners during 106.3 radio contests.
"Dr. Hughes is excellent at building relationships. (she) also likes music from the 70s and 80s," Ward said.
Tickets to the event are $50 and the attire is white, Ward said, because it promotes the idea of a summertime beach concert.
The event is being coordinated by the Ambassadors of Edgewater, a group of community members and business owners who are committed to supporting the non-profit behavioral health care company.
Roosevelt Haywood III, President and CEO of Haywood and Fleming Associates, is one of the many Ambassadors for Edgewater. He said their numbers swell and shrink but at least 12 members are working on the concert. Haywood specializes in insurance and risk
management and is helping to promote Vintage Night through his business.
"It is the prominent health care system in Gary and Northwest Indiana. Ambassadors support the mission of Edgewater and raise funds," Haywood said. He also said the concert gears community members up for the annual Ambassadors Ball held in October.
Ward said they have had as many as 21 Ambassadors at one point.
However many, CEO of Edgewater, Danita Johnson Hughes, Ph.D, is a fan of classic songs and the Ambassadors of Edgewater. She said she was thrilled to find out Bofill had been booked for the event.
"I love her. I remember her from back-in-the-day. The Ambassadors are extremely helpful because they have been in the community for a long time and they are very active," Johnson Hughes said.
Funds raised will be used for new and enhanced programs such as shelter and care for homeless teenagers and educational or prevention programs at Edgewater.
The concert, for the most part has become an annual event that the community as well as Edgewater employees have come to enjoy.
"Its a chance to mingle and get out and have a good time. Last year they had the Spaniels I believe and vintage cars. It's really a good time," Armelia Johnson, who works in the finance department for Edgewater, said.
###

I'm Getting Old

It was a snowy day when I took this picture of myself several years ago. I had braids with strands of blonde intertwined with my off black and brown hair.
Sometimes I forget what my real haircolor looks like because it's been dyed so much.
Until recently.
I went to part my hair in the traditional down-the-middle-60s-look and there it was: a wirey patch of gray strands.
It was almost white.
Well, I haven't dyed my hair yet. I just find another area that is grayless in which to part my hair.
I am REALLY getting old...

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I'm on Facebook too
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