Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.
I was ready to go at 4 p.m. I planned to pick up J around 6:45 p.m. and then arrive fashionably late for the 7 p.m. dinner. It’s what the filthy rich are supposed to do, Mother claimed only barbarians eat dinner before 7 or show up on time. Showing up a tad late makes those of a lesser class nervous and those of the same class envious. That’s Mother, always thinking about other people. She is this generation’s Mother Teresa.
I asked Nicole for advice, she’s a good friend, she’ll drop everything to help out on a moment’s notice. Nicole searched my wardrobe and picked out beige linen pants and a white silk shirt hanging to wear outside my pants. She suggested light brown loafers for a sporty look. Nicole stayed with me while I undressed and put on the clothes she laid out for me. When I finished, I turned to her and said, “How do I look?”
Nicole responded making a scratching motion with her right hand, “Grrrrr.”
Her growl gave me sexual confidence. Without warning, Nicole started walking slowly, seductively toward me unbuttoning one button after anther on her blouse. I thought she wanted a close up look. I realized I was mistaken when I had a sudden surge of sexual energy focused in a lower part of my anatomy. When Nicole dropped her blouse to the floor I forgot all about dinner. My libido was fired up and ready to go. I hadn’t had sex since I met J. I’ve been true to her. I was experiencing fate’s great temptation challenging me to love one woman and forget all others. Fate can be cruel and it was taking me for a ride down the rapids of love.
“Do you really want to have sex with Nicole?” my conscience said.
“Un huh,” I answered. “It’s a guy thing. Did you ever have a bachelor’s party?”
“Yes, but I didn’t ask the housekeeper to spend the night with me,” said my conscience.
“It wouldn’t be the whole night, I’m not a complete fool,” I countered.
“Close to it. If you ask her, I’d add idiot, imbecile, lunatic, and not deserving of the prize that knocks on your door.”
I hate having a conscience. He’s always making me think of the consequences. I’ve lost the devil may care, everything goes for the filthy rich, morality be damned attitude Mother spent years drilling into me. I said, “Okay, you win. I know you’re right.”
“Who you talking to, Tiger?” asked Nicole purring in a way that made me want to forget my conversation with my conscience.
I’m not sure what got into Nicole, she was within arms reach and while I was conversing with my conscience she had slipped off her pants and I was staring at the hottest Latina on planet Earth wearing only a red lace bra and the cutest, sexiest red panties I’ve ever seen. I’ll deal with my conscience tomorrow, the hell with it, I’m going to live for the moment. I tool a step toward Nicole and walked into the space where destiny and visceral life forces collide, Mother’s voice cackled over the mansion’s intercom. “Nicole, Nicole? I need you this instant to trim and paint my toenails for tonight.”
Nicole flipped an obscene gesture toward the voice and then gave me the sexiest pouty look ever, “Sorry, Tiger. You was making me weak with your sexy look. I gotta go and trim and paint the bitch’s toes. I give you a raincheck.”
I stood in place trying to make sense of what happened. I love J. I truly love her and yet, Nicole tempted me beyond a male’s human capacity to resist.
“You make me tired. You’re trying to rationalize your immature behavior and lay it off on being a male,” said my conscience.
“My species is weak. Woman rule us only we’re too dumb to realize it. Anyway, it’s easy for you to say. You didn’t have Nicole trying to seduce you.”
“That’s why I intervened for you and had your Mother call her.”
“We’ve got to have a talk about your role in my life.”
“Fat chance. Get your head in the game. J will be texting you any moment, She needs to talk to you. She’s on her way and will meet you on the sidewalk outside the mansion’s walls..”
At that moment, J text. She needed to talk to me and said she’ll be outside the mansion’s walls waiting for me. Something was up. I was happy she didn’t say, ‘We need to talk.’ That’s code for a breakup and we haven’t even started.
I left the mansion without a word, hopped in a golf cart and parked it on the grass to the side of the ten foot metal gate, walked to gate and punched in the code. The gate swung a wide arc, I walked through and spotted J’s beat up Toyota off to my left. I waved at her and hurried over. I slid into the passenger seat and caught a breathtaking glimpse of an angel. J wore a black dress that was making love to every inch of her skin. I knew she chose the dress for me because of the dipping neck line and exposure of her marvelous breasts.
“What’s up, J? What’s the problem?” I said, my eyes not straying a centimeter from her caramel colored cleavage.
“My eyes are up here,” she said using her thumb and forefinger to tilt my chin.
“I need your full attention while I talk to you. I don’t want your mind wandering. I don’t want you fixated on my body parts. I am serious. Very serious. When I’m through talking, you can tell me if you still want me to meet your parents.”
“The answer is yes,” I said. “There is nothing you can tell me that will change my mind about you. I love you. That’s settled. Anything else?”
J shook her head, put the Toyota in drive and pulled away from the curb, “Dante escaped from prison two days ago.”
“I assume he didn’t have a get out of jail card and was playing Monopoly with the guards. Did you help him escape?”
“How would I do that? Do I look like some kind of fool?” said J.
I love her passion and her temper turns my flame to high. I responded in a way that showed J my deep sense of compassion and family, “The only reason I asked is if you did, can we have conjugal visits if you’re convicted?”
“Is sex all you think about?”
“Mostly,” I said.
“What are your parents going to think about you having a brother in law who’s hiding out from the police?”
I thought about it for a moment, then I had a flash of insight, “Does Dante know how to do massages that have happy endings?”
The look J gave me melted my heart. She said, “You are so innocent, so naïve. You really, really need me in your life.”
“I know,” I said.
“Answer me truthfully,”
“Okay?” I asked.
“Being a psychologist. You don’t have a clue about being a psychologist, do you?”
“I can’t argue the point.”
J pulled the car into a Wendy’s parking lot.
I said, “You want a burger?”
“I’m not hungry, but you are going to want to read your trust fund agreement.”
J reached into the driver’s side door pocket and pulled out a manila folder. I reached for it and she pulled it away.
“Where did you get it?” I said.
“Dante is a skilled professional. He did me a personal favor. Let it go at that. Next thing, I am going to be honest with your parents. I am who I am and I am not going to play nice with them. Do you still want me to go to dinner?”
I said, “I love you. You don’t have to play nice. Just promise me you won’t kill them right away. You’ll think about it. If you do kill them, give me a warning so I can make sure they didn’t write me out of the will.”
J started laughing, reached over and gave me the sweetest kiss I ever had. She handed me the file and I read it.
Louie asked a friend who called a friend to drive me home. I slept until the next morning and was awaken by Mother’s shrill cockatoo voice. “Martin, Martin, Martin if you don’t wake up I’ll come in and sing to you until you wake up.”
My head, my eyes, and my ears did not need her singing anything a cappella, let alone my nervous system. I made a mental note, if the situation were right, to ask Oscar if he ever heard Mother shrieking in delight and wanted his opinion on her voice quality.
Mother spoke again, “Martin, hurry, you need a hearty breakfast for work.”
I called back, “I cancelled work today, Mother.”
She said, “Dear. You can’t cancel, not going to work may affect your trust fund. We want to keep that ten million in the family. Father and I can’t help what Mother Houston put in the trust fund terms.”
“Mother, I don’t care what the old bat put in the trust fund terms. I am not going in today. I need the entire day to get ready to pick up my fiancé and bring her here for dinner tonight so Father and you can meet her.”
“Well, Martin, why didn’t you say so. I will call Pettibone and tell him it’s okay.”
“What if he says it isn’t, Mother?”
“I will grab hold of his nuts and twist them off,” said Mother in a way that raised goosebumps on every available space of my skin.
“Now, shower and get dressed. I want to hear more about your fiancé at breakfast. I’m going to toss Father’s Wall Street Journal in the trash. I’ll let him make the young bitch secretary he’s been sleeping with fetch him one.
Mother is in a truly rare foul mood. I said, “Mother, is today Oscar’s day off?”
“Yes, and I’m not happy about it. There are several things that need his personal attention.”
I now understood her bad temper. Perhaps I’ll mention a bit of abstinence is good for the body and the soul at breakfast. It’s going to be a tricky situation when I sit with them. Mother will grill me as if she’s been appointed as a special prosecutor by the President. Father will move his glasses down to the tip of his bulbous nose and stare at me over the glasses. He’ll occasionally search the room, move his shoes around under the table, tilt his plate and shake loose his linen napkin hoping the Wall Street Journal will shake loose. I wonder if the Wall Street Journal was his primary reader in grade school.
Twenty-five minutes later the three of us were sitting at the dining table. We sat silently waiting for someone to make the entry into conversation. I thought of possible conversation starters, “Mother, have you considered using a dildo today?” or “Father, do you take your Viagra with your morning orange juice or do you wait until you go to your office?” I didn’t think these openers would lead to anything productive.
Fortunately, Mother broke the ice, “Martin, I’ve made two decisions for you. I know you’ll approve. You and J will have your room on the second floor next to our bedroom. We’ll all live as a happy family.”
“What’s the second decision, Mother?” I asked convinced now she was certifiable or I had no balls if I went along with her decision.
“I will make an appointment for you both to go to the fertility clinic to donate an egg and sperm so a surrogate mother can carry my heir. I’m sure J will be happy with this news, then she won’t have to deal with morning sickness, unsightly weight gain, water retention, stretch marks, and labor pains. Birthing is a messy experience and only suitable for those not in our class.”
We won’t make it past the salad tonight if Mother tosses these comments at J. Mother might not live to see sunrise. If J whacked her, we’d be on the lamb. I can see the headlines, FILTHY RICH WHITE BOY AND HIS BLACK VENUS ELUDE AUTHORITIES.
I made a life’s decision at that moment. I do not want to live any longer in this house. I have to find something to do besides faking it as a shrink. If I keep on living like I am living I am going to end up like Mother or Father or worse, a combination of both of them.
“Well, Martin, you agree with my decisions for your life, don’t you?”
“Frankly, Mother I could give a damn what you think.” I watched a rerun of Gone With the Wind last week. I wanted to use something like Clark Gable’s line to Scarlet O’Hara but hadn’t found the right opportunity until now.
“Father, speak to our son. Did you hear what he said to me?”
Father looked up from his iPhone, “What did you say, Mother? I was texting my secretary and asking her to pick up a Wall Street Journal for me. Mine is missing today. I also asked her to have my medication ready for me. I have a stressful job at the office.”
Mother huffed and she puffed until her pasty white face turned red, “Martin, perhaps I was a bit too aggressive. It seems work is helping you to mature. Of course, I will let J and you pick out your room in the mansion and choose your own fertility clinic.”
“Thank you, Mother. You are the most thoughtful person I have ever known,” I said “NOT” in my mind. Oscar once told me never to get in a pissing contest with a skunk because you always lose. Now, I’m not calling Mother a skunk, that would be insulting. She is more like a vulture picking meat off dead carcasses.
“Martin, Father and I were married in June. I think being a June bride sets a nice tone. I’ll order up good weather and we’ll have the reception on the south Lawn. I’ll hire the city symphony to play. Victor will supervise the cooking for the five hundred people we’ll invite. I assume J will have an equal number, maybe more with Dante coming out of hiding. It will be a celebration of the arts. Oh, Father, I am so excited.”
“Did you hide my Wall Street Journal?”
“Can I have it back, please,” said Father.
Mother said, “Father, you know I can’t have my massage today. I’ll give it back to you if you take your blue pill for breakfast and meet me in the bedroom in thirty minutes.”
“Mother, this is blackmail.”
“I hate that term. Can we use the term, ‘whitemail?”
“I’ve got to run,” I said. I really need to get away from this family.
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.
“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.
After J and I broke our kiss and embrace neither of us said a word. We closed the office and walked to the elevator. The elevator stopped at the 2nd floor. Carlos stuck a leg in, followed by his head sporting a gold canine and five tooth smile. J slid over to the door opening and gave him a look that peeled the paneling off the sides of the elevator. Carlos stepped out before having his nose reshaped without the benefit of a plastic surgeon. When J turned to press the close door button, Carlos flipped me a thumb’s up.
We walked the two blocks to the corner of Loomis and Ocean Drive. Maxine’s Deli sat on the corner as it has for the past forty-three years. Zagats gives it a five star rating.
I turned to J and said, “I’m getting the pastrami and sauerkraut rueben with Maxine’s special dressing on marble rye and I’m passing on the dill pickle. I’m going to have a bottle of the oxygen infused water.” I tossed in the last item to show J I was health conscious,
J said, “I’ll have the same.” Her words were spoken with the same emotion one might have waiting for the light to change from red to green.
I passed on the dill pickle. I didn’t want to take a chance on pickle or garlic breath. J did the same. It spoke volumes to me. We walked side by side to Ocean Drive. We crossed the street and picked up the pedestrian path that curled at the edge of the cliff overlooking the reserved beaches and ocean. The firs three benches were occupied, I pointed to the fourth, “Is this okay?”
J nodded. She didn’t speak.
We sat. I opened the bag, pulled our a rueben’s out, and unfolded the wrapping paper half way around the sandwich. When I handed it to J, I said, “Mustard packet?” Mustard packets are always a good way to break the tension. I think I’ll stop by Maxine’s on the way back and grab a handful for the next group session.
J gave me a smile carried by a love beat. She said, “Yes, thank you.”
My heart was in rhythm with the ocean waves lapping against the shore. We ate silently staring out at the ocean. A cool ocean breeze, the sun at our backs, and my black Venus next me made this the most perfect moment of my life. I wanted it to last forever.
J only ate a half of her sandwich and wrapped the rest up. She handed it to me. I placed it back in the bag. I was still hungry, but I wasn’t about to ruin the moment, I did the same with my sandwich.
A brief moment later J said, “What happened? Explain it to me?”
I said the first three words that came to mind, “I love you.”
J turned turned toward me and took both my hands in hers, “M, I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. I fought it. You’re filthy rich. I grew up dirt poor. You’ve never worked for anything. I’ve had to struggle to get this far. I still owe over one-hundred thousand dollars in student loans for college. Your white. I’m black. You don’t have a serious bone in your body. I take life very seriously, it’s the only way I survived. Mama can’t stand you. I can only imagine how your mother and father will react when they see me. Do you understand all this?”
I stared into her eyes, I know she was speaking to me, I didn’t hear a word. I only wanted to look at her and hold her.
“Well? Speak to me,” said J.
I said, “I love you.”
“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” said J.
I nodded my head and gave her a silly grin.
“Oh M, you are like a comfortable shirt I want to toss out, but I can’t get rid of it.”
I leaned toward J, closed my eyes, and kissed her. Some moments later when we broke our kiss, I said, “Seriously, will you marry me? I don’t have a ring with me. I’m serious. I’ve never been more serious in my life.”
J let go of my hands and turned back and looked out toward the ocean seeking an answer. I turned toward the ocean and tried to use my highly limited mental powers to detect any good karma I had floating through the universe. This was one of the times I wished I watched the PBS special on developing good karma. Twice I tried to start a conversation, twice J shook her head. I sat and stared and waited.
Fifteen minutes went by before J turned toward me. “M,” she said. “I know I love you. I don’t know if I want to marry you.”
I blurted, “Is it the sex. You want to discover if I’m great in bed. I have great reference.”
J started laughing the deep laugh I heard when we first met. I started laughing too until tears were running down my cheeks. J dabbed at them with Kleenex from her purse.
Eventually a moment of calm occurred. J said, “M, I want you to introduce me to your parents. Not tonight. Tomorrow night at dinner at your house.”
“Not tonight? What are we going to do for the rest of the day?” I said hoping J was going to say make non stop passionate, unbridled love until we passed out from exhaustion.
Instead, she said, “I’m going back to the office and canceling group for tomorrow. I am going to the salon, then the spa, and you can pick me up at my apartment tomorrow for dinner. It’s 2342 Center Street, apartment 301.”
“What am going to do?” I asked.
“How old are you?” asked J.
“Thirty-three?” I said questioningly.
J said, “It’s time you figured it out if you really want to marry me.”