Black Short Stories : In God's Way

Discussion in 'Short Stories - Authors - Writing' started by csojourner, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. csojourner

    csojourner Member MEMBER

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    This is the first chapter of a book I'm writing enjoy.


    I used to watch them from my sill, being as I live in Apartment 2B and it faces the front of the building. if I had a mind to I could see everyone’s comings and goings, but I never been one to mind grown folks’ business. If I was, I’d call Section Eight and report Ms. Loretta—she the heifer who lives upstairs from me. She got her man living with her, which violates the terms of her “tenancy agreement” with Section Eight. But, he seem ok and she finally losing some weight so I figure why ruin a good thing. She ain’t always been big—matter fact when she was in secretarial school she lookeded really nice. Don’t get me wrong—I ain’t got nothing against big folks. Honey child, I ain’t but a smothered pork chop away from Lane Bryant

    Anyway how, we get to talking about Loretta. Oh, yeah, so I ain’t into minding grown folks’ business—it’s just when you lived here long as I have, well, you get to observe things. Like the time Ms. Albertina in Apartment 3C done ran off with Mrs. Roscoe in 5B. Yeah, you heard me right—I said Ms. ran off with Mrs. We may not be no big city but the winds of change done blown this way, too. Now, Mama always said to tell the truth to shame the devil, so I’m gonna tell it. This ain’t gossip, this is gospel.

    Now, first thing you got to know is that there is a Mr. Roscoe, and he ain’t been right since the night it happened. Fact, poor Old Man Roscoe so filled with shame, he made up a story to cover it up. Couldn’t stand to admit that his wife of over twenty years done snuck down the fire escape in the middle of the night for places unknown with a girl twenty years her junior, he ended up telling tales about how his old lady’s mother had passed and she had to go and tend to the funeral and family business. Now, I’m just thinking out loud, but being as her mother had already crossed over to glory or something less than glory, wouldn’t she have had time to pack more than a couple of Piggly Wiggly grocery bags? And since when did colored folks leave out their place by way of some rickety old fire escape? Honey, the only thing us colored folks use those fire escapes for is barbequing.

    Oh, I’m sorry—I’m getting off the subject again. I’m thinkin’a about getting me some of that Ginkobaloba stuff—they say it helps you concentrate. But I’m back now, so I can tell you about the day I seen both of them and knew it was gonna be a interesting spring. It was one of those years when you put away all your winter clothes and then got to take them out again, cuz Mother Nature done decided she’d be a trickster this year. Well, anyway, she sat down first. Oh, another blessing of living in Apartment 2B is I have a perfect view of the bus stop. Well, like I said, she sat down first. Excuse me she being Reline or something like that. All I know is she had one of them cutie names poor white trash give to they children to help them pass in the world. As if a name gonna fool someone into thinking that you come from someplace other than where you come from. Hell, like Mama used to say, if you want to know where folks come from just look at their shoes and teeth. Of course she also used to say you can take the child out of the projects but you can’t take the projects out of the child. Mama used to say a lot of things about everybody. One thing about Mama she was an equal-opportunity offender.

    Well, back to oil and vinegar—that’s what I calls em, because, trust me, them two was as different as night and day. I remember the first time I seen Reline sit down at the bus stop in her twelve-dollar floral-print dress and ten-dollar pleather Payless shoes which had a story of their own. Oh, remind me when I finish with this story to write that heifer Star Jones and Payless Shoes a letter lettin them know that don’t no one believe their ten-dollar heels can support Star Jones.

    So, Reline be sittin at the bus stop with long stringy hair, cheap make-up and far too much foundation basically looking for all the world like twenty going on forty. Oh, don’t get me wrong—she didn’t look like no Jezebel or one-a them stripper girls. She just looked in need of a Jenny Jones makeover. So, you prob’ly wondering how I seen all this from my sill. Well, I didn’t—I got a up-close and personal look courtesy of the fact that my dog Sadie likes to do her business over by the bus stop. Sometimes it takes her upwards of an hour to find her spot. But I don’t mind, especially if there are folks waiting for the bus. Oh, but Reline—just one look at her and you knew that she and she alone knew the weight of the world. Her shoulders were all drooped over like some old woman and her eyes looked like they was frosted with that white stuff that white folks be getting on their Christmas trees. What they call it, flocked something or another? Ugliest thing I ever done seen.

    Anyhow, mama used to say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, if that’s correct, Ms. Raline’s windows done been boarded up so tight even Deacon Abernathy couldn’t pry them open, and he about three of Star Jones. Anyhow, she just sat there staring off into space—a bus would come and a bus would go and she’d just nod her head at the driver, just to let him know she wasn’t fixin’ on catching his bus. Now, she ain't the first one to just sit at the bus stop and watch as the buses roll on by. No, matter fact it’s more common than you think. A while back I was walking Sadie and seen this man watch near six buses go by. So I axed the bus watcher—that’s what I call them—what in hell is he waiting for? You know what that old fool done told me? He says “Good woman, I’m waiting for the bus marked ‘Destination: Anywhere But Here.’” Now, ain’t that about the dumbest thing you ever heard? So I tells him if he want to go anywhere but here, which ain’t a bad idea, all he got to do is get on any old bus. Well, then the old ninnycompoop truly showed his color when he said, “No, good woman, all roads lead home and so do most buses.” Lord have mercy, colored folks getting just as crazy as white folks—matter fact my aunt Brula got her a job at the Puzzle House and said that each week they be getting more and more colored folks. Oh, the Puzzle House is what my mama used to call the crazy hospital, I guess cuz the patients are always doing puzzles—at least in the movies.

    Well, back to Ms. Raline. She just kept sittin’ there starin’ off into space
    —that is, until the B440 come rollin’ up the hill. The B440 come from across the tracks and through downtown before it get up here and by that time it be full of all types of folks. You got your straight-off-the-turnip-truck poor white trash; you got your dreadlocks-wearin’, I wanna-be-black, at-least-until-the-police-show-up rich white kids; you got your hey-look-at-my-250-dollar-sneakers kids—many of whom already got kids of there own which they ain’t even supportin’. But the worst is those loud-*** ghetto girls. Lawd, have mercy, they some triflin’ *******. Loretta, the heifer who live upstairs from me, done told be about these two stripper girls who was in secretarial school with her—well, I guess they was so bad they done got banned from the bus. And not just the B440—oh, no—them girls been banned from the whole tri-county metropolitan transit system. If Mama was here, she’d say “Pray for them”; well, I ain’t my mama so I’m gonna tell you that if I was Rosa Parks I’d be turnin’ over in my grave right about now. Don’t make no sense colored folks done lost their lives for the right to ride them buses, B440 included, and now these simple-*** young folks actin’ a fool.

    Anyway, I guess if the whole world is goin’ to hell in a hand basket, then the B440 and all her passengers be leadin’ the way. And, accordin’ to Loretta, them two banned girls from her secretarial school gonna be waitin’ in hell for the bus—somethin’ about they want their bus fare back being as they got put off the bus.

    I know I’m supposed to be tellin’ you about Reline. But I got a really funny Loretta story and then I promise I’ll get back to what I meant to tell y’all in the first place. One day when I was comin’ in the building behind Loretta I seen her drop somethin’ so of course I picked it up and called after her. Well, she was listenin’ to one of them Walkman things so I guess she didn’t hear me. Anyway, I’m too old to be chasin’ after folks so I just put the paper with my things and was fixin’ to give it to her when I seen her in the laundry room. She be down there late at night sometimes washin’ her man’s work clothes, which is also a violation of her “tenancy agreement,” but at least the ****** got a job and I ain’t gonna be the one to help him lose it. Anyway, I go about my business and later that week I comes across this letter reads as follows: To whom it may concern, I graduated from Miss Vanderschmidt's Secretarial School, and was in the top 3/4 of my class. I also was Fourth Runner-up in the Ms. Mavis Beacon Typing Contest. I should have been Third Runner-up, but Sinnamon Styx, (which isn't even her Christian name) cheated. As for the French thing, I saw an online course that teaches you French in ten days or you don't have to pay. Plus, I already know the really important words, like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. So please give my name to the person who ran the advertisement for a French-speaking executive secretary. I’m sorry I don't have a resume at this time. But that is not my fault because Kandi Kane, who happens to be Sinnamon Styx's best friend, took it. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you real soon. Respectfully, Loretta Precious Youngblood.

    Yes, indeed, come to find out them stripper girls got stripper names and they done cheated my Loretta out of her rightful place as Third Runner-up in the Mavis Beacon Typing Contest. Well, I want y’all to know Loretta never did get that French secretary job—no, she still fryin’ fish over at Mr. Roscoe’s Chicken, Fish & Waffles. Yes, that’s the same Mr. Roscoe, and while he might not know how to keep a woman he sure can fry some fish.

    Where was I? Oh, that’s right, Reline. Hell, Reline can wait, ’cause I’m gettin' kinda tired and hungry and really want to tell y’all about the oil to Reline’s vinegar. And that would be Miss Payton Weddington-Fairchild, whose Christian name was Ronald Samuels—yes, you heard me right. Miss Payton Weddington-Fairchild was born Ronald Samuels. And he, I mean she—oh, hell, I don’t know what I mean, but I don’t mean no disrespect. I just happen to know what the child came into this world with on the account that I used to tend to him when his mama was cleanin’ houses. I know what the good lawd done gave him. Now, I ain’t gonna say I done fancy folks messin’ with what they came into the world with, and it ain’t got nothin to do with religion, I just get confused, that’s all. As for the God and religion, way I see it, as long as there’s strippers named Kandi Kane and Sinnamon Styx, the Payton Weddington-Fairchild of the world ain’t got nothin’ to worry about. God already got his hands full.

    So, anyway, when Payton was still Ronald, that poor child used to catch so much grief from every which way. Poor child—by the time he was ten years old he done been called a sissy and girl so many times he prob’ly just figured he was one. So first chance Ronald get at the ripe old age of twelve he up and ran away. Matter fact, ’bout ten years done passed before Ms. Samuels was called home to Glory. And that was the next time we’d see her child.
    I remember the funeral. Folks fallin’ out all over each other talkin’ ’bout poor old Ms. Samuels—she was such a God-Fearin’ Christian Woman. Now, I ain’t gonna argue with that she was a good God-Fearin’ Christian Woman. But if these folks had ever treated my kin like they did her Ronald, there wouldn’t be nothin Christian ’bout the ***-whoopin’ I woulda given this whole town. That’s why I don’t attend church on a reg’lar basis: ain’t nothin’ but hypocrites and folks frontin in fancy clothes even though everyone know their lights fixin’ to get cut off on the first and the gas man comin’ on the fifteenth. But let the good old Reverend Doctor Hollingsworth get to preaching and soon he’ll have the whole congregation believing their power gettin' cut off cuz they ain’t sowin’ their seeds and tithin’. No, their power gettin' cut off cuz they ain’t paid the bill—God ain’t got nothin’ to do with Metropolitan Water, Power & Sewer. And the good old Reverend Doctor Hollingsworth ain’t even a real ordained reverend, I knows that for a fact. Who ever heard of a reverend ownin a liquor store? Oh, let him tell it and he ain’t got nothin to do with the store. Say it be some of his unchurched kin folk who run it. But, wasn’t nobody talkin about who runs the store, We talkin about who owns the store. It just so happens that my girlfriend Olivetta work down at the County Department of Licensing so I had her pull the store’s business license. Guess who’s name is listed as the owner. He ain’t gonna get a dime outta me.

    Oh, I’m sorry, I keep losin my train of thought. But, that was important folks should know what kinda folk be leadin em and that’s all I got to say on that.
    So anyhow, there we were in the hot-*** church just about to begin the testimony portion of the service—you know, where people get up and say nice things about folks they don’t even like or hardly knew. And guess who walks in? Well, I’m gonna tell ya and I ain’t afraid to say it. The most beautiful lady I’d ever seen. She had a nice shape, good hair, and these really pretty gold eyes. But it was the way she was dressed and walked that threw a hush over the congregation. Walked like a model, had perfect posture and was wearin’ one of those fancy New York designer suits—and not one of them knock-off’s the Africans be sellin’ downtown. No, this was real, and she had a fancy-dancy hat that was all done up with real peacock feathers standin’up two feet above her head. You would have thought time stood still as she made her way up to the casket, the picture of grace. Then she knelt beside it, fixed Ms. Samuels’ hair, took the most gorgeous pin off her jacket and pinned it on Ms. Samuels’ dress, kissed her forehead and strode right on out of the church. Well, of course everyone could not wait to get to talkin’ about who this lady was and what was she doin’ in this God-forsaken town. Mama use to say God was supposed to have created our town on the seventh day but he decided to rest instead, yes indeed we done live in the town that even God forgot. Anyhow like true colored folks we rushed through a couple verses of “Precious Lord” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” after which the men folk went to Rudy’s Bait & Tackle Shop, which everybody know is just a front for his numbers business. And, well, the women folk done ran over to Magdelinda’s House of Hair. I really didn’t feel like bein’ bothered so I took my tired black *** home. Anyway, I knew that twenty minutes after they found out who the lady was, I would too. Ain’t no need for me to be missin’ my stories.

    Well, I was wrong. I got the news thirty minutes after everyone else but that was only on the account that Loretta decided to stop back by the church for some cake before makin’ her way home. I keep tellin’ her, “Loretta, you a pretty girl but you better leave them cakes alone.” And while she don’t listen to me she is very good at relaying stories in a way that kinda has you there without havin’ to be there. So here is what she told me. Fact was when they got to Magdelinda’s House of Hair no one had any idea who the lady was. So in true colored folks’ fashion they began to retell some elaborate **** that they had seen on TV as their own version of who this lady was. Everyone was talkin’ at once, except Candalaria Viaroyal. Seems she hadn’t said a word the whole hour them heifers were yappin’. That is until someone asked her whatever happened to Ms. Samuels’ funny boy. Seems Candalaria was Ronald’s only friend back when they was young. I remember when he ran off Candalaria done cried for days and told the whole town that if anythin’ happened to Ronald they would have his blood on their hands. She sure did, cursed the whole town in Spanish and English.

    Well, at first she said she hadn’t heard from him in years. In fact, the last she heard he was up in New York City doin’ some kind of fashion work. I reckon’ if you that way New York be the best and safest place for ya. A couple of my stories take place up in New York City and the men seem to be prettier than most women folk elsewhere. I ain’t mad at ’em, just a little jealous. I wouldn’t mind takin’ me a bus trip up there though, maybe even stop by Pine Valley and see where Eric Kane lives. I think I’ll talk to old Ellie Mae over at the post office, see if she want to put somethin’ together. Lawd knows she don’t really do nothin’ else.

    Oh, so back to Candalaria. Well, after about an hour of heavy proddin’ from a room full of fake-*** sanctified sistas, she done broke down—just came right out and said it. The child they use to know as Ronald, Ms. Samuels’ boy, was the lady at the funeral. Didn’t nobody say a word, cept for Ms. Josephine who always got a word. Ruth Ann Wilkerson started crossin’ herself and sayin Hail Marys, which don’t make no sense since she Baptist. And, well, like a good little foot solider, when Loretta got back from all that mess she announced that the lady at the funeral goes by the name of Payton Weddington-Fairchild. But more importantly she, he whatever is also the former Ronald Samuels. Oh, there is lots more, but I’m still tired and hungry, so y’all sit for a spell and I’ll be back
     
  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    I really enjoyed this story line sitting back awaiting the second part !

    this book should be a very nice read....................keep doing ya gift
    is beautiful.
     
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