I left the estate around six thirty that evening in my new M760i, the most expensive BMW on the market. Mother always tells me go for the best and leave the crumbs to others. I could have taken the Porsche or the Mercedes, but Father told me the M760i would impress my future bride. Earlier in the afternoon when I told Mother and Father I was going out with the future mother of the future heirs to the Sanderstuff fortune. Mother reminded me to take condoms in case the relationship didn’t work out. Father asked me to ask her what her net worth, if she is a trust fund baby, and do they belong to the country club. Mother and Father always have my best interests in mind. The filthy rich like to stay filthy rich and pass it on to their children so they will be filthy rich. It’s an economic schema they only teach in Ivy League schools.
I took the city loop. It was an alternative to the most direct route suggested by Google maps. When I showed Oscar the shortest and fastest route suggested by Google, he said, “Man, you take the direct route through the city with your M760i you gonna get car jacked, rear ended, or kidnapped. These are the least of your worries. If they take you alive, no telling what might happen to a filthy rich white guy who decided to ride through the city without four bodyguards in a car guaranteed to be eye candy for gang bangers. I got to ask you a question, is this woman you’re dating a color different than you? I ask this because you are first crossing over Plantation Street, which separates the rich and the filthy rich. Then, you are crossing over Fargo Ave, which separates the rich from the middle class. Then, you are crossing over Chavez Drive that separates the middle class from the dirt poor, gangs, pimps, migrant workers, homeless, people the rich and filthy rich forgot about and who the middle class wants to forget about. Then, you are crossing MLK Drive, which separates the Mexicans from the Blacks. I got to assume, your honey is black.”
Oscar sounded like he went to the university and earned a doctorate in sociology. I said, as if color didn’t matter to me, “She’s a shade darker than me, you can hardly tell.”
Oscar stuck out his muscular brown forearm. I saw a few bruises on it. I wondered if Mother put them there in a moment of intense pleasure. I have an inquisitive mind.
Oscar said, “Is she lighter or darker than me?”
“She’s a different shade of dark. She is the color of the perfect blend of coffee, cream, and love.”
“She’s black, right amigo?”
I said, “She never said she was black. Besides, love doesn’t know a color barrier,” I said defensively.
“She must be good in bed for you to take a chance like this,” said Oscar wanting to know more. “You want me to give you some Latino lover secrets? The secrets I give you, she’ll become obsessed with you. I give this warning to any guy who wants my secrets. It’s like the stuff they put on medicine. You know, my secrets got side effects like if you drop a woman after using my secrets in bed, she might want to kill you. She will definitely stalk you. And, you can be sure she trash you on social media. The last one is okay, it’s like free advertising. You know what I mean, amigo?”
Mother doesn’t like me to be so familiar with the help. I’m glad she didn’t hear Oscar calling me amigo. Oscar is an alpha, macho Latino male. He sweats testosterone. I’ll admit I have a strong sex drive, but Oscar plays at a much higher level. I think it’s his Latin blood. I made a mental note to ask Oscar how much he charges for a pint of blood. I’d like two or three pints, not all at once, I’d have to get used to it first. I didn’t want to disappoint Oscar and tell him the truth that J and I hadn’t even walked to the starting line to have sex. So far it’s been a fantasy, all mine. He’d lose all respect for me. I said, “I’ll hold off on the lesson, Oscar. A gentleman doesn’t tell tales, know what I mean?”
Oscar gave me a fist bump, a wink, and said, “You the man. You remember, you get the secrets anytime you want them, except at 9 a.m. that’s when your mother gets her daily massage.”
And, I thought, the secrets in action. Mother would never stoop to being violent with Oscar. Although, she might hire someone to kill him if he quit the daily massage.
I was in a great mood as I drove the loop to get J. I took note of how the billboards changed along the route. In the area where the rich and filthy rich live, there were no billboards, there are city ordinances passed to keep the rich and filthy rich areas green, free from advertising, and discouraging to anyone of lesser status.
When I was driving through the middle class section of the loop, billboard appeared. There were billboards for fast food restaurants, billboards for insurance, billboards for banks, billboards for realtors, and billboards for a half dozen churches promising salvation. The tone of the billboards changed when I skirted to boundaries of the Mexican and black sections of the city. I saw billboards for bail, criminal defense attorneys, divorce lawyers, adult video and toy shops, and lawyers wanting to defend anyone who was in an accident with a sixteen wheeler. My mind was quickly filling up with too much information to process. I didn’t know a world like this existed. For a quick instant, I thought I might have crossed an invisible barrier and entered an alternative universe. Relief flooded me when I saw the exit sign for West 98th Street.