Tuesday, December 04, 2007

TODAY WAS MORE THAN A TRIP AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T EXPECT A WHOLE LOT

This is a revision but I don't know if it improves the original or what. You tell me.


TODAY WAS MORE THAN A TRIP AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T EXPECT A WHOLE LOT
MORE FROM TOMORROW Copyright Leslie Jones McCloud 2007


ACT I

Firetrucks surround a simple but modern three bedroom house, hoses criss
crossing manicured lawns.

Slowly, robed and sleepy neighbors crowd around BeBe's house chattering
amongst the noise of the the shiney red engines were making in the middle
of the night.

BeBe ran a clean business. She only did the hair of those she knew, and
their friends. Most of them didn't mind her bulbous brests brushing on the
backs of their heads and they paid her well enought to afford her home in
the quiet suburb.

But this evening was different because she had gone to sleep with a
pressing comb still heating in its oven. The kitchen was destroyed and she
would have to wrangle with the insurance company in the morning.

BeBe stood amongst her neighbors, pulling closed a thick terry robe one of
her clients had brought her back from a vacation. Her own hair hang in a
straggly bedhead arrangemnt like the exotic plants she clipped from her
backyard.

BEBE

ACT I

FLASHBACK;

Bebe, thinking back, leads a group of her chattering relatives up to her
new home. She is dressed in early 90s garb, as the rest of the group,
holding a small box under one arm and the keys to her new house in the
other. The guy who sold her the house, Carl, pulls up in a shiney new car.

ANNIE
Hey, Carl. I'm glad you showed up.

CARL
I wouldn't miss this. We worked really hard to get
you in it.

Carl blows past BeBe's family to stand with her as she opened the doors to
her new home. He kisses her and takes the box she is holding. They walk in
together.

What they see is dust and sturdy hard wood floors and beautiful bare
windows. Everyone follows the pair in.

ANNIE
Oh, my ... I never thought I would get this far.

BeBe walks quickly throught he house. Unbeknownst to all, CeCe walks in
with a welcome basket in her hand.

CECE
Hi. Welcome to the neighborhood.I thought I would
just bring this by and introduce myself.

ANNIE, not used to such niceties, just stood there with her mouth agape.

ANNIE
Come in.

There wasn't much to see inside. CeCe looked around and stood there with
the basket of bread and fruit in her hand. Everone else looked at her too.

CECE
I always wanted to see the inside of this house.
Everyone said it was haunted.

No one said anything at first, then Carl broke the silence.

CARL
How about a quick tour?

Everyone chatterd happily again and started moving around sitting boxes
down and going back out to the moving truck to get more. BeBe and CeCe
walked through the house with Carl. BeBe's mother trailed behind the trio
with a small house plant in her hand.

Flashforward to present time

Fire engines break the silence of the quiet block. The large fire hoses
cris cross the manicured lawns and fire personnell trample neat flower beds
in a hurry to douse more water on the fire that raged in ANNIE's kitchen.

ANNIE, who had just moved into the neighborhood last year, alternated
between staring at the flames, trying to get her hair in to a pony tail and
clutching at her robe trying to keep it closed. But CeCe--who lives next
door, wanted answers. ANNIE turned when she touched her shoulder.

ANNIE
Hey.

CECE
Are you okay, girl? What happened?

ANNIE
I don't know T. I woke up and smelled smoke and ran
into the kitchen and the whole thing was on fire.
All of it. And you know I can't afford this.

CeCe lit a cigarette and offered one to ANNIE. The women pulled hard on the
cigarettes and stood in silence, watching the fire damp down little by
little.

ANNIE
I know they'll be asking me how this happened.

CECE
No they won't they'll go in there and tell you how
it happened. Did you pay your insurance?

BeBe rolled her eyes.

ANNIE
Yes, ma ma, I paid my insurance.

One of the firemen walked over to BeBe and pulled her to the side. CeCe
watched as they talked. She saw BeBe lower her head into her hands, silent
and still. CeCe sighed as her cragly friend walked back over to where she
was.

ANNIE
He said it started from the hot comb. I left the hot
comb in the stove and it set fire to a towel. And I
guess from there it did this.

CECE
Well, at least you can get a new kitchen out of the
deal and possibly new furniture. What else did you
have in there that was valuable.

ANNIE
Who knows? I hadn't even gotten around to cleaning
out the attic and basement from the old owners. I
was so happy to get a house...

CECE
That fireman sure was cute, girl. Did you get his
name?

Bebe rolled her eyes again and the women just stood there looking at the
smokey, smoldering mess that used to ANNIEBe's kitchen.

CECE
Don't worry, I'll help you get it back together
again. I remember when you bought this house. You
know, you and this house didn't get off to a good
start anyway. You should move.

BeBe stood alone in silence as CeCe made her way towards the cute fireman.

ANNIE
Yeah, we must have looked pretty country--trampling
over the lawn, hollering and all.

She smashes the cigarette out into the soaked lawn with the curled toe of
her leather house shoe. She looks over her shoulder and sees CeCe's lawyer-
friend, Thomas, pull up with his cell phone sealed to his ear. He looks
over towards the mess in BeBe's front yard, puts the cell inside his coat
and joggs out towards the house.

THOMAS
What happened BeBe?

ANNIE
My kitchen burned down.

Thomas looked into the dark crater that was once BeBe's breakfast nook and
stepped inside of it with the few remaining firemen.

THOMAS
Maybe I can get you some money out of it.

Forword 1/4/01
Annie didn't know if it was her hair or the cheap french purfume but she
figured one of them had to go if she was to ever climb out of the hole she
had dug for herself emotionally.
She bought herself new purfume for Christmas and swore New Years day she
would never again date a bisexual man.
It was just too hard to do.
She didn't work, but if you call writing working, well--she worked. At home
mostly or on the train or whenever she got an assignment. Annie had stop
being picky about the kind of assignment she would take long ago, so she
ended up meeting men in the strangest of places.
That's where she met Tim, in a strange place.
He was attractive but she was drunk. A normal occourrance. She didn't
notice as many quirks when she had a glass or three of wine. It made
meeting men easier and it helped drive them away before she got bored.
But Tim wasn't a bad guy only strange. Odd behaviors seemed cute when
fanned by the breeze of Merlot. And then Annie liked guys who are
considered different, the loners. The kind of men sober women only consider
dating for a few minutes before making up some excuse as to why they can no
longer share that four dollar drink with them at the crowded bar.
But not Annie. That kind of behaivor she considers rude and she suffers
greatly because of her fondness of another human oddity--Miss Manners.
But for a while, Tim and Annie together seemed to work.
They were sweet together. He was sweet to her, kissing, holding hands--the
kind of stuff girls like. She was affectionate towards him to varring
degrees and he apprecieated it. And for a while they clung to each other in
their self-made storm. But Tim craved drama and Annie was shy.
The kind of stuff that could be seen as a trap, of sorts. The kind of
closeness that would trap any of the walking wounded, like Annie. Tim was
good at caring because his feelings were genuine. He cared for Annie but
the world outside of their comfortable make believe fantasy life could
offer him more of what he wanted. And he drifted away.
Annie's folks always told her she would never keep a man acting the way
that she does but she didn't listen to them.
Instead, she listened to her heart and learned the way of the down low
brother.

Chapter One
Annie didn't really like to ride the bus but she needed to get around with
out the hassle of a ticket being slapped on her car when she got back. The
bus reminded her of how different everyone is. There are those who have
cars and ride for convienience and there are those ride out of necessity.

They were as different as night and day and always looked at each other
with suspicious looks.

But nobody ever said much. It was just another thing Annie noticed about
life and kept to herself.

Annie pulled out her notepad and started to scribble down thoughts as the
bus whizzed by her stop.

"Huron," the driver said.

Annie's eyes popped wider than they already were as she shoved her notepad
deep into her pocket, simetaneously checking for her tape recorder and
grabbing her bag.

"I missed my stop. Can I get off here?"

Without acknowledgement the driver opened the doors with a hydrolic sigh.
Annie felt the cold wind eat through her tights as she scurried off the bus
a good mile from the office.

She didn't see T tucked away in his car but he saw her.

Annie was hard to miss.

Long-legged antique bronze face and a long shock of streaked dark brown
hair she dared to let hang far below her shoulders.

T u-turned and whipped his shiney new BMW 320 Si down the block to get
another look at the woman marching--damn near bouncing--down the street in
stilleto boots, a wool coat and neat bag.

He saw her duck into one of the buildings then noticed a bar and grill next
door. But in the T tradition, he looked at the clock in the car and drove
away.

Annie bounced out of the office, assignments in hand and the idea that
tonight she would party. She stuck her arm out to get a cab. Her friend
Marcy screamed her name from across the street.

"Girl, wait," she said breathlessly.

"Hey, where are you coming from? Wanna share this taxi?" Annie said,
noticiing Marcy's new look.

"Naw, let's go to Panties and get a drink. I want to tell you about my new
boyfriend," she said presenting her wrist so that Annie could check out her
new tennis bracelet.

"Where'd you get that from," she deadpanned.

"Common, my treat."

With that Marcy pulled her unbelieving friend inside the place to a table
near the window.

"You look good. What happened in the week I didn't see you. Donald Trump
put you on his list--new job--promotion?

"Fool no, I met a guy on the sidewalk last month trying to get a cab...

Annie started to gather her things.

"Where are you going?"

"Back out there to get my taxi," Annie joked.

"Girl! Listen

Marcy explained how she and Brennon met and shared a cab a talked and
clicked and later had dinner and talked about the perfect wedding the
perfect kid the perfect life and fell in love almost immediately. Perfect.

And Marcy droned on about it, shaking the bracelet around, moving it up her
wrist, tossing her hair.

Annie wonedered if she was obnoxious when she was in love two months ago.
And she didn't even get diamonds. Just a few lackluster meals with an
average guy who droned on about his past relationships. And he was
bothersome, always on her back about something. Maybe Brennon was a hideous
creature--that would lift her spirits.

"Want another? Have one more. I need to kill some time before Brennon shows
up," Marcy said with a toss of the head.

"Okay," Annie said with a smile.

"So what's he like? Got any friends?"

"As a matter of fact, we're going out with a few of his buddies tonight.
You should come with, it'll be fun. It'll ANNIEtter than sitting around in
that damn housecoat. I hope you threw that thing away," Marcy said.

"Hush. Where yall going?" Annie said.

"To that new place, Tino's, way up north. They don't hang around down this
way too much," she said with a roll of the eye.

A tall man walked through the door, looked around. Annie caught his eye and
he moved forward.

"Damn girl, he's fine."

Brendon was gorgeous all the way from his briefcase to his wing tips. Clean
cut, well-groomed, mannerable. Perfect.

"Hey baby," he said. His voice smooth and manly.

Marcy got up and they hugged like they were in a private room. He kissed
her on her neck and grabbed her butt. Then she introduced him.

"I'm going to go to the bar for a while," she said to the new couple. She
couldn't stand being a third wheel.

She plunked down on the high barstool with all the grace of a chubby
ballerina.

Annie didn't know if it was her hair or the cheap french purfume but she
figured one of them had to go if she was to ever climb out of the hole she
had dug for herself emotionally.

She bought herself new purfume for Christmas and swore New Years day she
would never again date a bisexual man. It was just too hard to do. She
didn't work, unless you call writing working, well--she worked.

She worked from home mostly. Annie long ago had stop being picky about the
kind of assignment she would take, so she ended up meeting men in the
strangest of places. That's where she met Tim, in a strange place.

He was attractive but she was drunk. A normal occourrance lately. She
didn't notice as many quirks about potential dates when she had a glass or
three of wine. It made meeting men easier and it helped drive them away
before she got bored. But Tim wasn't a bad guy only strange.

Odd behaviors seemed cute when fanned by the breeze of grocery store wine.
And then Annie liked guys who are considered different--the loners. The
kind of men sober women only consider dating for a few minutes before
making up some excuse as to why they can no longer share a four dollar
drink with them at the bar. But not Annie. That kind of behaivor is
consideed rude and she suffers greatly because of her fondness of another
human oddity--Miss Manners.

But for a while, Tim and Annie together seemed to work. They were sweet
together. He was sweet to her, kissing, holding hands--the kind of stuff
girls like. She was affectionate towards him to varring degrees and he
apprecieated it. And for a while they clung to each other. But Tim craved
drama and Annie was shy. The kind of stuff that could be seen as a trap, of
sorts. The kind of closeness that would trap any of the walking wounded,
like Annie.

Tim was good at caring because his feelings were genuine. He cared for
Annie but the world outside of their comfortable make believe fantasy life
could offer him more of what he wanted--guilt free sex.

And so he soon drifted away. Annie's folks always told her she would never
keep a man acting the way that she does but she didn't listen to them.
Instead, she listened to her heart and learned the hard way about the down-
low brother.

"Hey you two love birds, I'm heading home," Annie said.

Okay. Don't forget," Marcy said.

The pair watched as the wind gusted through Annie'hair as she walked out
the door.

Chapter One

"I don't know what's wrong with me anymore," Annie whined to CeCe.

This was her third call to her long-time friend in two hours.

"Girl, I know you aren't crying--WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?" she hollered into
the phone.

"I don't know," Annie sniffiled.

"I'm on my way cause you aint doing nothing but running up my cell phone
bill. Put some clothes on cause I bet you still sloppin around the house in
that nasty looking robe. "Huh, no I'm not," Annie replied,picking
cottonballs off her robe.

"We can go lingere shopping. It'll be fun," CeCe said.

"For who CeCe--who's gone see it?"

"We can go out tonite. I'll tell Al to bring his nice friend from work,
okay?"

"Okay, but who's gone see it?"

"I'm on Euclid."

"I'm ready, I'm ready, bye."

The women hung up and Annie scurried around the house picking through three
days of laundry looking for jeans, a tank and a pair of high heeled
sandles.

She never really stopped looking for the right man and she never really
gave up. She was just tired.

Annie had been stumbling around the city punch drunk for a while, swinging
at anyone who came near her, and CeCe knew it. CeCe honked once and Annie
ran out and jumped in the car.

ANNIE
"You know, I don't see how you put up with the
bullshit 'cause I'm at the end of my rope."

CECE
I just do what I gotta do. You do that. You do what
you gotta do but you just complain behind it.

Annie stared hard at the side of C's face. Annie felt as if she was looking
for an argument. But she didn't give it to her.

ANNIE
Whatever fool. Whatever...

The women pull into a parking garage and head to Vikkie's. People are
lingering, talking, looking.

CECE
Look

Cece holds up a sheer white babydoll with satin trim but Annie shakes her
head. She looks for something that's not really there.

ANNIE
Maybe this?

Annie holds up a penoir set, cream. She grabs the slippers to match and
heads to the sales counter smiling.

CECE
Okay, Jean Harlowe...I guess. Don't you want to look
around a while?

Cece wanders around the store until her eye catches a simple black nightie
with a short, matching robe. She pays for her purchase and the women head
towards the exit.

ANNIE
I don't know why I bought this. Where, when and with
whom will I wear it?
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