Trust Fund Baby ~ 47 A Satire

Chapter 47

After I dropped J off at Loomis I drove out to the country club. The way I had it figured, Mother and Father are going to love J. I’ve got to assume the fertility rate among Black American women is a point in J’s favor. One thing puzzle’s me, the mean number of children that filthy rich people have is one point three. How do you have a point three child. I didn’t attend math classes so statistics is a puzzle I prefer to leave to the family accountant.

It was 2 p.m. when I got to the country club. The morning golfing crowd was gone. The hot filthy rich women who compete to take tennis lessons from the hot male and female tennis pros were all out on the courts getting hands on instruction. I sat alone at the bar, my only companion was Louie the bartender, a short guy with wavy black hair and a nose that could be used for a spear. 

Louie was wiping glasses with a white towel. It occurred to me this is what all bartenders do when they have nothing to do. Louis carried his towel and glass and walked toward me. “Off work early, Martin. Can I get you a drink? he asked.

“Louie, can you keep a secret. I mean a really, really big secret?” I asked.

“How big?” He asked.

“I took out my billfold and slid two one hundred dollars bills across the bar to him.

“Oh, you mean a small secret that is okay to get out as a rumor?” said Louie setting the glass down and slipping the two one-hundreds into his pocket.

“It’s much bigger, Louie. It’s like super top secret,” I said. The moment the phrasing past my lips I thought I sounded like a girl in junior high school telling one of her girlfriends about her latest crush.

Louie looked down the empty bar toward his glasses. “Man, I’m behind time wiping glasses. I take pride in my spotless, shiny wine, beer, and shot glasses.”

I still had my wallet in my hand. I opened it, and put one, two, three more one-hundreds on the table. “Can this buy ten minutes, Louie? I got to talk to someone and I’m not Catholic. I can’t go to confession because I don’t have anything to confess. I’m the salt of the earth according to Mother.”

Louie took hold of the three one hundred dollar bills faster than a Vegas casino dealer, deals blackjack. He said, “I haven’t seen much of your mother lately. Oscar keeping her busy? Or, is she keeping Oscar busy? I’m not quite sure how that one works. BTW, I’m Catholic, consider yourself in confession. My lips are sealed tighter than a …”

I interrupted Louie because every simile he uses is sexually explicit. I said, “Thanks Louie. I’m in love. I finally found the woman I want to be with the rest of my life. It’s driving me nuts. Today, she told me she loved me.”

“What’s the problem with that? She’s not pregnant? Already have kids? Is she married and needs a divorce? If so, my cousin Gino is a good divorce lawyer,” said Louie.

I shook my head no. “None of the above, Louie. The problem is enormous, gigantic, overwhelming.”

Louie held up a hand to stop me, “I get the picture, photo, selfie, whatever. It’s serious.”

“Thanks for the summary, Louie. Here’s the real problem, I’m introducing her to Mother and Father tomorrow night at dinner.”

Louie smiled, “You know I’m Italian. Italians work around the principle that it’s a good thing to have someone you’re going to marry meet the parents before the wedding. And, it’s always better if there is plenty of good food around. I’m not sure how it works among the filthy rich.”

I said, “The filthy rich think it’s a good idea too, but not for the same reasons your people might think it’s a good idea,” I said, edging closer to what I really wanted to say.

Louie placed both palms flat down on the bar and bent over a bit toward me, His nose was freaking me out. I think he sensed it and backed away. He said, “I see the problem. My nose bothers you. I like my nose. It’s the only one I got.” Louie started laughing. I like someone who likes their own humor. 

“It’s kind of like that Louie. The filthy rich want to make sure their filthy rich children are marrying someone who is pretty much the same. You know, filthy rich, went to filthy rich private universities, never a public university, go to a mainline Protestant church, and have the same skin tone give or take how they tan.”

Louie nodded his head, “Where does this woman who you want to marry fit into this description?”

I chewed on my lower lip for a second, contorted my jaw into a grotesque position and tried to speak but it came out sounding mfff, durr, flliss.

Louie took a step back from the bar, he bent over, and scanned the area under his bar. After a few seconds, he smiled, and he lifted out out bottle containing a dark caramel colored liquid. He set it on the bar and reached under and returned with a shot glass. He filled it so that the liquid hung precariously at the lip of the glass threatening to spill.

“Drink it in one gulp, kid. Don’t ask me what it is. Don’t ask me where I get it. Don’t ask me anything about it. It’s what Catholics do in confession when they got something really hard to confess.”

“They do? They get to have a shot while they’re in confession?” I asked.

Louie nodded.

“I’ve thought about converting, but Mother and Father made codicils in their will stating that any heir in perpetuity that converts to Catholicism is disinherited from all wealth.”

“Is this woman Catholic?” asked Louie.

“I don’t think so. I never asked her exactly what her belief preference is. I know ours is money.” 

“How long you been going with her?”

“We had our first date at lunch today. I’ve known her five days.”

“Kid, drink up. I’m beginning to see the problem,” said Louie as if her were a doctor giving me prescription.

I put my right hand around the shot glass and in one swift motion I brought the caramel colored liquid to my lips and tossed it down. “Yeowee. Oh, Mother. Oh, mama. Get me something, anything. I’m being consumed by a fire raging in my mouth my throat, my esophagus, my stomach. Oh my, oh my.”

Louie’s hand went under the bar again, seconds later he handed me a large pickle with skin that looked like alligator hide. He said, “Take a bite.”

I took a bite, it was sour, tasted of garlic and made my lips pucker. A moment after swallowing the foul tasting crunchy excuse for a former cucumber, I felt an easing from the deadening of every nerve cell in my body. My only concern was the destruction of the entire membrane of my stomach lining.

“Don’t think about it, Kid. It will go away. Now spill your guts, not literally, of course. The filthy rich bitches are almost finished with their tennis lessons. The ones that weren’t able to take a pro home will be here complaining about the one’s who scored.”

I said, “Here’s the deal, Louie. One, she comes from poor roots.”

“So do a lot of people. You can get past that one.”

“She went to a public university.”

“I think you can swing that one.”

“She is breathtakingly beautiful.”

“That’s in her favor.”

“She’s got the most delicious coffee with a hint of cream colored skin.”

“She’s black,” said Louie.

“Yes,” I said.

Louie poured me another shot. “Good luck, Kid. Your secret is safe with me. This one is too hot to handle. I woulda charged you a grand if I knew. But a deal is a deal.”

I threw the shot down, Took another bite of pickle and said, “Can I have another shot?”

“You’ll destroy your stomach,” said Louie as he walked down to the end of the bar where he started wiping glasses.

 

NEXT EPISODE ON MONDAY.

TRUST FUND BABY CONCLUDES NEXT WEEK, DON’T MISS A SINGLE EPISODE.

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Trust Fund Baby ~ 40 A Satire

Chapter 40

There were close to forty tables in Lonnie’s Diner. Not an empty one in the place. From thirty-nine tables happy chatter rose like steam off a boiling pot. At one table, the sounds of silence. We may as well have been packed away in a sound proofed room and ordered not speak or face a firing squad. I kept gazing at J who was staring at Evelyn who was scrutinizing the contents of her purse. She placed her purse on top of the table directly in front of her. I’m not familiar with the black culture in the US. I didn’t know if this was a sign she wasn’t hungry, a sign she wanted to pay for the meal, or a sign she wanted to make sure she didn’t forget her purse when we left. 

I decided to break the ice. I said, “Nice choice. I can’t wait to try the fried Snicker’s candy bar for desert.” 

You’d think I inadvertently stepped on a rattlesnake. Like a cloud to ground lightening bold, Evelyn spoke, “You a damn fool. You a bigger fool than a damn fool. You trying to patronize me making me think you can handle a fried Snicker’s bar? You can’t handle a deep fried donut. You can’t handle a baby French fry. You not man enough to eat grits.”

Evelyn had a point, maybe more than one point. I was playing for high stakes, J’s love, and I wasn’t going to back down. I said, “No ma’am. I’m trying to get a conversation started. You said you were going to test me. How about testing me now?”

J lightly touched my arm. Her touch sent a lightning bolt straight to my brain, the one in my skull, which then sent a red alert signal to my other brain. 

J said, “Mama. Watch your language. M is asking you to play nice. Ask him your questions.”

Evelyn snorted like she was the lead bull in the running of the bulls in Spain. She gave J a look only a parent can give a child. The looks tells it all and it’s not good. Evelyn said, “You don’t tell your mama how to talk. I been on the planet long enough to know I can say what I want, when I want, and how I want.”

“Mama, did you take your pill this morning?” asked J.

“I flushed them down the toilet.”

“You’re supposed to take your pills. They keep you calm and keep your blood pressure down. You don’t want a stroke do you?” asked J trying to bring Evelyn temperature down to near the boiling point.

“I flushed them because I ain’t listening to no white man who claims he’s a doctor no more.”

“Mama, how long did you watch cable news yesterday?” ask J.

“I watched it from the second I woke up, till the second I went to bed. Know why I sat and watched it and watched it and watched it?”

“No, mama, why did you sit and watch cable news all day?” asked J politely. With every word J spoke I fell more deeply in love with her. There is no turning back for me. I’ll stop living if she doesn’t marry me.

“You better listen, girl. No one called. No one visited, not even my children. Now, Dante got an excuse cause the white man locked him up. My daughter, I don’t know what she’s up to. She hardly calls me or visits me.”

“That’s not true mama. I call every day. I called you and you said not to call you were watching CNN News. I visit you every weekend and take you out for lunch after church on Sunday.”

“That don’t make no difference. You probably got it wrong. This white man fill your head with crawfish and bed bugs to make you so crazy you don’t remember who you are. Now, I going to ask my first question to him and don’t help him. “What you watch when you watch TV?”

J had her right elbow resting on the table. Her right hand stroked her forehead. Her eyes had the kind of glaze you see on a honey baked ham. “TV? Oh, TV. Mother only allows Public Broadcasting, the business channel, and only news stations that promote the Republican agenda.”

I hadn’t finished when Evelyn cut in, “Just what I thought. You watching only the shows that filthy rich white people watch. How come you not watching Oprah or reality television or Family Feud?”

I never heard of Oprah. Did she mean opera? I personally hate opera. Mother and Father are patrons of the city opera and symphony. When they die and I have all their money, I’ll make sure the opera gets nothing. I can’t understand them and I hate the tiny binoculars you have to carry. I wonder if I can become a patron of …

My thought was interrupted by my conscience, “Don’t think it or say it. I know what you are thinking and going to say. What will J say if you’re married to her and you tell her you want to become a patron of strip clubs? Well?”

“It’s a form of art,” I argued.

“You moving your mouth, but I can’t hear you,” said Evelyn.

J pivoted her head, now resting on the palm of her hand, toward Evelyn. “M is having an private conversation going with an imaginary friend. Let him alone.”

I perked up, “I hadn’t finished. I do not watch those shows, so you can’t put the blame on me for that one. I’m too busy going to bars and trying to hook up. What’s the next question?” I don’t know what I said that made J rub her forehead again. I’m trying to be honest.

Evelyn shook her head like she was trying to shake the dust out of a blanket. “That was an easy question, now I’m going to give you a hard question. How many baby mama’s you got. I can tell if you lying.”

I turned toward J, “What’s a baby mama? Did she mean baby llama? We don’t have animals on our property unless you call birds animals.”

“You heard right. Let me put it this way to you. Have you fathered any children?” Evelyn didn’t give J a chance to help me.

I turned back toward Evelyn. “I always use a condom, so I don’t have any.” Evelyn was about to come back at me when my conscience whispered something in my ear. I nodded and said, “Evelyn, let me continue.”

“Hah! I knew it. Now you going to confess to having baby mamas.”

“Honestly, I don’t have any baby mamas. What I want to say is if J decides to marry me and make the happiest man in the world, I will buy you and Deeter a beautiful home. It will be yours free and clear. And, I’ll toss in a gardener.”

Evelyn squinted at me, her eyes looking like those on a ravenous wolf. I wasn’t sure if she was going to strike me, fall asleep, or die. Then she spoke, “You toss in a weekly maid and you got a deal. Hell you can take her home tonight.”

“Deal,” I said.

J jumped in with both feet. “Not so fast. Mama I will marry who I want to marry. I am not going to spend the night with M.”

“Do you hate your mama? Do not blow this deal for Deeter and me. Don’t sign a prenup. He’ll toss you out and you have to come and live with Deeter and me. I already raised you once. I don’t want to raise you again.”

I whispered to J, “There will be no prenup.”

J rolled her eyes. Dinner flew by. Even Evelyn opened up and started telling stories about growing up in Chicago. I paid and left a generous tip. When I drove Evelyn and J back to Evelyn’s apartment. I helped Evelyn get up the incline and almost fall into Deeter’s waiting arms. J stayed back by the car.

When I came back to the car, J took hold of my hand and said, “Thanks M. You turned a disastrous evening into a great one.” She leaned over and kissed me lightly on my lips and before I could engage her in an open mouth kiss, she let go my hand and turned and headed toward the sliding glass doors. I will not wash my hand or face tonight. My hand still tingles from the warmth of her hand. I’ve been branded with mark of J on my body. More than anything, I want the feel of J’s lips on mine to linger.

Trust Fund Baby ~ 39 A Satire

Chapter 39

While we waited for our table, I noticed the health department rating hanging on a lime green wall. Last quarter, Lonnie’s received a C health rating, not good. Posted next to the C rating, as required by state law, was the latest health department review. I tried to read the review from ten feet away, but I made out only a few words. Someone, I assume inadvertently, smeared ketchup over the summary. I could see the words cockroaches, rodent hairs, and dirty utensils. I stopped trying to read more because I felt a panic attack coming on. The symptoms are always the same, a craving for alcohol, unprotected sex, and a desire to eat pickled eggs. I talked to Mother about this and she claimed I inherited something from my surrogate mother and it will go away if I can get my mind off of what triggered my anxiety attack. I needed a diversion and fast or I might ask Evelyn to have unprotected sex with me. Lonnie can take care of the alcohol and pickled eggs. Fortunately, Lonnie provided the one diversion that can take hold of my mind with a gorilla’s grip. I assume it was Lonnie who surrounded the health department rating with large glossies of ravishing, topless black women who are performing nightly next door at Lonnie’s Saints and Sinners Bar. My daydreaming was stopped faster than a car hitting a brick wall.

“What you staring at? You get your eyes off those women’s breasts or …”

J gently touched her mother’s arm, “He can’t help himself, mama. He was breastfed until he was five.”

“Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. This splains everything to me,” said Evelyn.

   On the way to our table, J told me it might be a good idea not to open the menu. A better idea might be to ask Evelyn if she’d mind ordering for me. I thanked her, but told her I could handle it. J took a deep breath and mumbled something about a disaster date. I knew it couldn’t be tonight. She must be referring to someone in a past life. We sat at a table that hadn’t been cleared. A platter of gnawed ribs sat in front of me. Shrimp peels filled a bowl in front of J, and a plate of four eaten ears of corn were in front of Evelyn. There were a half dozen empty beer cans randomly placed on the table. A young black woman wearing a tight leather skirt that dropped between mid thigh and her pelvic area and a low cut tight gray cami came to clear our table. When she bent over in front of me to reach for the plate, I wondered if I should tell her she wasn’t wearing a bra.

“If it was me, I’d dump him. He don’t miss a pair,” grumbled Evelyn.

As the young woman straightened up and put the dirty dishes, plastic eating utensils, and plastic cups on the cart, I averted my eyes and turned toward Evelyn. I said, “A pair of what?” I asked honestly not knowing what she was talking about.

Evelyn grabbed hold of the ketchup bottle and jabbed it at me. “You. You can’t take your eyes off of a woman’s breasts. How do you think that makes a woman feel?”

“Mama, drop it. The young woman purposely flaunted herself.”

“Why you sticking up for him? He got to have a woman fight his fights for him?”

I said, “J, you’re doing fine. You go girl.”

J muttered what I thought was a prayer. “Dear Jesus. I thought it would be a good idea to have M meet mama. Bringing them together is like pouring gasoline on a fire, adding habanero peppers to a mild sauce. Lord I pray for the strength to survive this evening.”

I felt J’s prayer was incomplete without asking to spend the night with me. The chivalrous dude that I am wanted to help J, I said, “I’m ready to order.” Actually, I wasn’t and there was nothing on the menu that passed the healthy food test. Hell, I decided to take one for the team.

“What you going to order?” Evelyn said more of a demand than a question.

I decided to go for the aphrodisiac, I said, “I want roasted oysters.”

“That all? You think the oysters going to give your sperm a jolt? Nothing can help you.” Said Evelyn.

“Mama!” said J. “You are impossible tonight. What’s got into you.”

“I tell you what’s got into me. I was sposed to have a romantic dinner with Deter. He even got his blue pill prescription filled. You so thick, you can’t take a hint I don’t want you in the apartment. How do you think I’m going to feel walking in front of Deter with my lingerie on and you watching me be seductive.”

I’m trying to imagine Deter and Evelyn in this scene. I tried to imagine Evelyn in skimpy lingerie, and Deter half naked, but the images that came to mind were terrifying.

“Oh my God,” said J. “He’ll break your pelvis.”

“At least I’ll die happy,” snapped Evelyn. 

I understood in that moment, no one was going to get the last word with her. Not even my black Venus.

We were saved by a tall, thin black man carrying a notepad. “You folks ready to order?”

I saw him checking J out. She was mine and he better not have designs on her or I’ll sic Oscar on him. 

Evelyn spoke up, “What you think of my daughter dating this white man?”

The waiter looked at me, then over at J, then back to Evelyn. He said, “If they’re happy, it’s okay. You got to get with the times old lady. Race is no barrier to relationships. Maybe you can find a rich old white man and you will be his black trophy.”

Evelyn a trophy? How about Pettibone? A perfect match made in hell.

Evelyn muttered something so low none of us heard. I saw J give the waiter a smile and I took the opportunity to slip my hand under the table and give J’s hand a gentle squeeze. I wasn’t quite sure how she’d react to the squeeze, but she turned a bit toward me and smiled. 

I couldn’t help myself. My heart took control of my brain. I said to the waiter, “I’ll have the chicken and dumplings and shrimp and grits, collard greens, and fried pickles.”

“You got one big appetite man,” He said.

J jumped in, “He ordered for all of us.”

I wanted to smother J with kisses, money, stock fund tips, and no limit credit cards. Evelyn sat with her arms folded and didn’t say a word. If here eyes were guns, I was a colander with more holes than a screen door.

Trust Fund Baby ~ 38 A Satire

Chapter 38

I’d never been in the head over heals, don’t want to live if I can’t have you, I’ll make you the happiest woman in the world kind of love. Sure, I dropped the L word a few times to move the relationship along. Mother tipped me off about her species. She said, “Martin, you can tell a woman who is not nearly as rich whatever you want and they’ll believe you.”

I said, “Isn’t it wrong to lie, Mother?”

Mother said, “It’s only wrong to lie to Father and me. As for everyone else, you can tell them whatever you want to tell them. Here’s the secret. Don’t tell anyone the secret who is not filthy rich, we don’t want those lesser than us to know. You can tell them anything you want and it becomes true even if it doesn’t have a grain of truth if you say it is a lie in your mind. That covers it ethically. No court with a filthy rich judge will ever convict you.”

It was this kind of unconditional love that Mother gave me. I decided I’d tell whatever lies I had to tell to get along with Evelyn. She can beat me over the head with her large plastic purse. She can whack me in my shins with with her walker. I don’t care. I love J. I want to marry J. I even love her more than I love Mother. I want more than anything to take her home tonight and have sex all night long.

J tapped me on the shoulder. “I know what you’re thinking. It’s not happening.”

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” I asked.

“I’m watching you in the rearview mirror and you’re moving your lips. I took a course in lip reading.”

“What’s the white fool saying? Is he trying to take me to bed? I’m not easy or so hard up I’m gonna have sex with a white man,” said Evelyn.

“Mama!” said J. “He didn’t say anything about taking you to bed.”

So much for my promise for self restraint. My manhood was challenged. I couldn’t help myself. I’ve taken all I’ve could take. I said, “You think Deter is a better man in bed than me?”

Evelyn half twisted toward me. Her eyes ran over my body as if she were a TSA agent and I was singled out at the security line for a pat down and wand waving. She said, “Un huh. No question.”

I said, “I have a very good resume with the ladies. If you want references, I can get plenty of them.”

Evelyn said, “Ha! They were faking it like they was making it.”

J butted in. “Will you two stop acting like children at the playground?”

“He started it,” said Evelyn.

“How? You accused me of not measuring up in the male ego department. No male can sit back and not respond.”

“You got a point, white boy,” said Evelyn.

“I have a name. I don’t call you black lady. Please be respectful and call me by name. J calls me. My name is Martin although my parents changed it to Artin. J doesn’t like the name Martin. I also go by my gangbanger name, Double M,” I said.

Evelyn said, “J, darlin, your filthy rich white boy got a bit of a temper. I can see that the way he is attacking me. I don’t believe you or me is safe in his company alone. No telling what he’ll do and then get his rich white lawyer to get him off.”

J unbuckled her seatbelt. A beeping sound started and a red flashing dot pulsated on the car console. J leaned forward. “Mama. You are being racist. You don’t like M only because he is white. You don’t know him. You haven’t tried to know him. I have a good mind to tell Pastor Jenkins about you. What do you think he is going to say to you?”

Evelyn turned toward the front of the car. She closed her eyes, folded her hands as if she were in prayer and began moving her lips.

J leaned a bit toward me and said, “Don’t say anything. Mama’s communicating with Harold.”

I said, “Who’s Harold?”

“Harold is Mama’s great grandfather. He was a slave, but he ran away and got his freedom. When Mama has a problem she talks to Harold.”

“Does he answer her?” I asked watching Evelyn gesturing with her left hand and shaking her head.

J shrugged. I don’t like to talk about it. Please don’t tell anyone. She’s very sensitive about it.”

“Okay,” I said. Then I thought, I’ve got to tell Mother and Father about this. Maybe Harold can help them to pick stocks that are on the rise and sell stocks that hit their peak and are about to fall. 

“If you tell your mother or father about Mama or Harold, you will need a new set of Veneers,” whispered J. 

“How do you do this? What’s the trick? It’s not right to know what I’m thinking before I say it. You’re breaking all the rules.” I turned my head toward J.

She hit my shoulder, “Watch the road. I know what you were going to ask. A voice in my head told me.”

My conscience! “Mind your own business. You are not helping this relationship,” I said to my conscience.

“I’m on duty so watch yourself,” my conscience replied.

“Who are you talking to?” asked J.

“Not Harold. It’s complicated,” I said.

Evelyn’s lips stopped moving. She pointed an index finger toward the car roof, and smiled. She turned to me and said, “If you apologize, we can go to dinner. If you so much as make a pass at me, the truce is off.”

“What would make you think I’ll make a pass at you?” I said.

“People in the apartment building always saying J and me can pass as sisters.”

J tapped my shoulder and slowly shook her head.

I said, “I can see where J gets her beautiful looks. I promise not to flirt with you or any other woman. I apologize for whatever I have to apologize for.”

Evelyn said, “For being filthy rich and white. Apology accepted.

“Huh,” I said. Progress is progress. Anyway, it was J I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and not Evelyn. Hopefully, Evelyn will connect with Harold sooner and not later.

As I pulled into the packed parking lot of Lonnie’s Family Diner, Evelyn said, “I’m  going to test you. If you gonna date my little girl, you got to prove to me you a man worthy to date her.”

I said, “I never ate okra, but I’ll give it a try.”