Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Missing Granddaddy...

Every Memorial Day and Veterans day, I take time to remember my grandfather.

He served in World War II and the Korean War.

He died a few years ago, and when I go to see grandma, I still expect him to walk around the corner, and yell...

"Hey Sweet!"

I remember thinking one time when he did that, if no one else cares about me, or if no one else is happy to see me, Grandaddy is!!

So in light of that, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite Grandaddy stories. (Don't fret, Chele, these are short!)

The King of the Pogo Stick. I lived with my grandparents during most of 1977 and the latter part of 1976. I was only 6 years old at the time. In 1976, I received a Kick-and-go and a pogo stick for Christmas.

That was a scant Christmas, and those were the only 2 big gifts I received. Now I was elated about the Kick-and-Go, but I remember not knowing what to do with the doggone pogo stick.

Well I took the pogo stick outside and tried my best to handle it. Grandaddy happen to be out there too, adding oil to his car, something like that. But he saw me in the middle of the street fighting with the pogo stick. I remember looking over at him as he leaned against the car puffing on a cigarette.

I guess he got tired of watching me, because he threw the cigarette down, stepped on it, and walked towards me.

"Give me that pogo stick, Lee!"

He took it from me.

"Let me show you how to do this, Lee!"

Grandaddy proceeded to jump on the pogo stick and spring up and down the street in front of his house without missing a beat. I remember being in complete shock because it happen so quickly.

I was in awe of him for a few days afterward. How could someone that OLD (he was around 46 or 47 at the time) jump around on a pogo stick like THAT?

Now when my grandaddy did that? I just knew he could do anything under the sun!

The shark's gonna get you! Grandaddy had a motor powered boat that he use to take to Florida once a year and spend a week fishing. He would come back with coolers of fish and everyone would come over and get fish once he returned home.

Well one year, my mother and I went with him on this fishing trip. I remember being excited about the trip. We stayed in a hotel and everything. (Didn't take much to excite me).

Now I think I was around 6 at the time. And I think it was before I went to live with them.

We went out onto a lake in Grandaddy's boat.

Out near the middle of the lake, the boat stalled. Grandaddy pulled out an oar and paddled us back towards the edge.

When we got close to the edge of the lake, he did something that completely unnerved me: He jumped into the water and started pushing the boat to the side of the lake.

I could only think of one thing:

I started screaming.

I started screaming and crying so loud and hard that people were turning and looking at us.

"Grandaddy, get out of the water! Get out of the water!"

"The shark is going to get you!"

"Jaws is going to get you!!!!!!!!!!!"

I remember my mother doing her best to hold on to me, trying to keep me from getting to Grandaddy. I guess I was gonna try to rescue him or something. I really don't know. I just know that he needed to get out of the water.

Remember... we were in a lake. Never crossed my mind that a big shark would not be hanging out in a lake.


Granddady told my mother to take me back to the hotel and don't come back.

Now Grandaddy had 7 granddaughters and 1 grandson. This is the reason why I, the oldest granddaughter was the only girl to go fishing with him. None of the other girls were ever taken. My brother had gone fishing with him numerous times since the age of 3


I do truly miss my Granddady. And if I could go back in time to watch him conquer the mighty pogo stick or go fishing with him, I surely would jump at the chance!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hence the Fence

My brother has moved in with me, I think... He says he is doing a test run.

"Just for a week, Lee, to see how it is."

Whatever that means.

Then he proceeds to go to his car and unload everything he owns from his trunk. I didn't say anything, just watched him go back and forth to his car. He even went and did his own grocery shopping (a bunch of junk food. I was horrified.) I'd been grilling burgers and hot dogs that day, so after all that hauling of luggage up to his bedroom, the little boy was quite famished.

He walked into the kitchen.

I stopped what I was doing, and looked at him real close.

"Boy what's up with your face?"

He broke out into a huge smile. "I'm growing a mustache, Shawty!"

I shook my head. "Boy, stop!"

I told LadyTee about this. We had a good LONG laugh.

"Tell that little boy he still the baby!!"

He sure is. I don't care how old he gets or how much facial hair he grows: He's still the baby!

Kay and Kari, circa 1987:

Anyway, I've been doing home improvements.

Well, not really. More like watching the home improvements get done.

My neighbors on the left, Paul and Stan, came up with this brilliant idea: they wanted to build a fence along the backside of our properties and my neighbors to the right property. Seems like some of the locals (crackheads, prostitutes, vagrants, etc.) like to use our yards as a cutthrough to the next block over. This isn't good, since Paul and Stan have a beautiful glass back door and a wonderful breakfast nook with incredible windows. My neighbors to the right, the gay frat boys, have similar house features.

I don't even have a back door leading outside. My back door leads down into the garage. And let's just say, you better break out some ladders if you are going to break in on me. And all my windows are alarmed up, so whatever.

Now I know the gay frat boys' back door has been kicked in by the locals in the past.

And I have heard through a couple of locals that a similar scouting expedition has been carried out on Paul and Stan's house. (I didn't tell them that... and by the way, THIS is why it is good to befriend some of the locals! They share valuable information concerning "Welcoming people to the ghetto", i.e., robbing folks houses.)

Hence the fence.

Well, Stan is a jack of all trades: he will go read everything in the world about a little project and just get to working on it. He and the gay frat boys would be out back discussing the fence project and call me over when they see Hen-Dog, my chaffeur, drop me off after work.

"Ladylee, this is what we're going to do. We've made our measurements and we think we can do this fence."

I'm standing there just looking at him as he points and analyzes. To me, he's sounding a bit like the grownups on the Charlie Brown Peanuts show...

"Wah, Wah, Waaah, Wah, Waaaaah".

I can hardly take all the fence talk. I'm quick to cut the convo short, because I want to go in the house.

"Dude! I have no idea what you're talking about! Look! Just tell me how much money you need from me, and I will write you a check."

"Well, LadyLee, we just need for you to clean out all of the brush out behind the black tarp of your property line. We are going to run the fence through there."

I looked over at the small forest in my back yard.

"Who? You need for ME to clean all of that out?"

"Yeah, LadyLee! It won't take long! We're renting tools from the tool bank, and we can all just clean our yards in preparation for the fence.

Well, the conversation went on like this for a couple of weeks. My final answers were a hodge podge of the following...

"Look, man, I am a girl!"

"Look, I ain't getting out here cleaning nothing! I'm a girl!"

"Do you realize what will happen if I see a snake? I will pass out! I'm a girl!!"

"Do you really think I'm gonna get out here and get over into all that and clean it out? I'm a girl!"

"Man, I'm a girl!"

Yes, Ladylee is the ultimate tomboy... but I don't like snakes, rodents, and insects. No way. I turn into a straight up diva, damsel in distress when I see such craziness.

Basically, if they thought that I was gonna help them, they were crazy. As far as I was concerned they could go sit on a tack.

So I told them something that I KNEW would make them happy.

"I'ma go call my brother. He'll help ya'll!"

"Alright LadyLee!"

I called up Milk and Cookies. He was happy to help. Afterall, he does what I tell him to do. And that's a good thing.

I even got up and fried him up some chicken and baked biscuits for him early on the Saturday morning of the cleanup. Had plenty of drinks and water ready for him, too.

I didn't mind doing it... As long as I didn't have to do any yard work.

My bro came over early, and went out and got started with Paul and Stan. He came back in after three hours, all smiles.

"Lee, we're going to Home Depot and getting a chainsaw, and price a few things!"

He was giggling a bit too hard for me. He grabbed a papertowel and another fried breast quarter and biscuit.

"Lee did you know that there's a bunch of gay black dudes that live next door. I mean a whole lot of them!"

"Uh, yeah."

"That is funny! Never expected to see that!"

He left the house laughing. He jumpled in Stan's SUV and went shopping.

Later on in the afternoon, he came back in for a break.

"Lee, you know them brothas saw a snake and ran like crazy?"

"Shoot, man I don't blame them! You see I'm right in this house!"

"I just don't understand. I stomped the snakes and killed them with the shovel. I can't believe they ran!"

"Dude, they girls just like me!"

"Whatever, Shawty. We needed their help, and now they are gone. Dog."

Milk and Cookies was a bit disappointed.

Well my brother did an excellent job helping out. I walked outside at one time, and saw that he had scaled a tree and was cutting branches with the chainsaw.

*LadyLee frowning hard with a look that says "Get your behind out of that tree right now!!*

Now, I wasn't happy about that at all, but I quietly retreated back to the safety of my house.

The fence is nice, and the cleanup even added 10 feet to the backyard. The huge tangle of trees, vines, and weeds was located where all that soil is now. I don't know how they dug up that small forest, and I don't care. All I know is that they did a great job.

Later that week, I went over to Phil and Stan's house to give them my share of the costs for the job.

I tore a completed check from my checkbook. "Kari sure liked working with ya'll. I think he learned a lot, and I hope he behaved himself."

Both Phil and Stan said something that left me shaken.

"Yeah, he sure is handsome!"


*Huuuuge multitudes of crickets*



I tell you. You had to be there to see and understand the look that was on my face for a split second.

Shock and awe! I was screaming inside.

What the heck was I suppose to say to THAT!?

But I composed myself very quickly. "Yeah, uh, he is a handsome guy."

"LadyLee, he came over to talk to us in the backyard after his military drills the other day, and he was so handsome in that army uniform."

Damn. What do you say to all THAT??

"Unh-hunh. Listen ya'll, here's your check, and I gotta get on back home."

"Alright, LadyLee!"

I told my brother about this and we had a good laugh.

"Lee, the frat boys invited me to a baseball game, so I will be going."

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "Dude just take care of yourself, because I can't rescue you!"

"Yeah, I'm going. And I will be sitting there with one of my girls. They look at me, they'll be looking straight at a woman too."

Well alrighty then, Milk and Cookies.

Just be ready for more home improvements at any time.

And by the way, Cowgirl Cre said that she'd be glad to loan you an eyebrow pencil if you want to fill in that mustache!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Truest Commentaries

LadyTee and I have this ritual, one that we have carried out since 1980:

Calling each other on the phone and doing a little joint commentary.

"What do you mean by that, Ladylee?" you may ask.

Hard to explain, but the following may ring true, even with you and some of your friends:

“Lee, turn to channel 2, Solid Gold on.”

“Alright, let me get up and turn the station.”

“Lee, put your tv on channel 46, Sold Train on.”

“Alright, hold on, Tee.”

You know how it is. We do this with the Grammys, the Oscars, American Idol, any awards show… any show where they are competing, dancing or singing… We've been known to do it with the evening news, too.

Either LadyTee or myself will be dialing phone numbers looking for the one another when we see ANYTHING interesting.

So we can sit there on the phone, watch said show together, and jone or praise people.

There are no real rules when calling each other under these circumstances. One just needs to see a really good performance, something that pisses one off, or something real stupid.

Oh, and although we are two educated women, all good English goes straight out the window and we get over into some bootleg broken and busted up ebonics at times….

Well, the other night, LadyTee called me...

Lee, put your channel on PBS.”

“Dang girl, I ain’t lookin’ at no doggone PBS.”

“Girl, shut up and put your tv on PBS!!!”

I scramble around.

“Lee, hurry up!”

“Man, I gotta find the remote.”

LadyTee sucks her teeth.
“Gurl, I swear! You always losing that remote!”

I find the remote and turn to the channel. It is an informercial for a huge collection of 70’s Soul music hosted by Isaac Hayes and some random chick. I am sure you’ve seen such informercials late in the midnight hour, you know, with the titles of the songs scrolling up the screen, and little snippets of each song sung by the artist.

You get my drift.

This show stayed on for a whole hour. And we sat there and commentated down.

A sampling of a few observations we made...

LadyTee: Damn, Barry White sho do have a nappy ass perm!
LadyLee: Oh, but it was the bomb back then!

[speaking of Al Green]

LadyLee: He got some sort of a perm, don’t he?
LadyTee: I don’t know, girl. I think that’s a blowout.
LadyLee: Well he sho need some Afro Sheen or something!

[Speaking of Patti Labelle and the crew]

(LadyTee getting all excited)

LadyTee: Look at Patti, Lee! LOOK! She stepping hard, Lee.. She highsteppin’ hard.!
LadyLee: Yeah she gettin’ it, ain’t she?! And they in them shiny space suits. They use to scare me with that get-up.
*LadyTee and LadyLee butchering "Lady Marmarlade" something terrible*

LadyTee: Girl, you KNOW I'm down for some Sister Sledge!!!!
LadyLee: Yeah, you did always like them girls.
*LadyTee and LadyLee singing "We are Family" waaaay out of tune and off key*

[Speaking of all the male groups]
LadyLee: Tee, look at them tight ass britches they got on!
LadyTee: You got that right!
LadyLee: How the hell do you dance in a tight ass three piece suit?
LadyTee: I don’t know, but they use to be gettin’ it, girl!

LadyTee: That Natalie Cole! Boy, that girl know she be sangin’ some songs when she was on them drugs, man!
LadyLee: I know that’s right! She was doin the darn thang back then!
LadyTee: Sho was!!

This goes on for the entire hour...

Way back in the early eighties, when music videos first came on the scene, we'd been known to commentate hard for 8 hours straight.

Don't laugh. Even in our late thirties, we are still the best commentators on the scene.

I know you and your best friend were too!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Character Round-up Part II: BIN LADEN

One thing I know.

I cannot stand Bin Laden!!!

Oh, I don’t mean that menace of a dude hiding off in a cave over in the Middle East somewhere. Well, I don’t like him either. (Yo Bush, you know where he is! Nuke those mountains and let’s blow that joint. Time for them soldiers to come home!)

No I mean a crackhead vagrant in my hood that goes by the name of “Bin Laden”.

They call him Bin Laden because he looks like Bin Laden: tall, thin, same facial shape, a thick beard, minus the Arabic head wrap and gear.

I knew I was in trouble when one day, my neighbor and coworker, the Infamous Hen-Dog announced:

“LadyLee got a boyfriend.”

“Who??” the general audience asked.

“Bin Laden!”

*LadyLee kicking the HARD eyeroll*

I remember the day I first met Bin Laden. It was a cool autumn afternoon. I was cleaning out my garage, and pondering raking my leaves. I’d talked to the Mayor of my Hood, Snake, about coming over and helping me with these chores. He was washing cars at his bootleg car wash a couple of houses down the street from my house, and had promised to help me. But I think after he made his car wash money, he disappeared into thin air… He went to get a hit, I suppose.

Oh well.

I was dumping trash into my herbie curbie, when I spotted this tall lanky darkskinned dude walking up the street.

“Miss Lady!” he yelled.

I ignored him.

“Miss Lady!”

I gave him a head nod. Didn’t think it was a great idea to speak to him.

“I bet you think I’m a criminal, don’t you?”

I shrugged. I’ve been trained (brainwashed) by Hen-Dog to be nice to everybody. It cuts down on the chance that I would be properly "welcomed to the neighborhood", i.e., get my house targeted and robbed.

Then Bin Laden started walking towards me. I remember thinking to myself “Dude, my angels will tare you up if you bother me.”

I continued doing what I was doing.

“Ma’am, I just want a little work, that’s all. I see you got a lot of leaves…


“Can I rake your leaves?”

Now the “can I rake your leaves” request brought back crazy memories of Charles, and the look on my face told the whole story. I was not pleased.

He pointed at the leaves. “Ma’am, just need a little work, that’s all. I can have these leaves raked in no time.”

Well, I looked down the street for Snake. He was nowhere in site.

“Alright,” I finally said.

He went ahead on and raked the leaves and bagged them up in refuse bags. In the midst of these chores, Snake came strolling up the street. He stopped and looked at me like I had just snatched his crack pipe.

“LadyLee, I can’t believe you are lettin' Bin Laden rake the leaves! I was 'spose to do that!”

“Dude, you disappeared,” was my simple answer. “Besides, you can still help me with the garage."

Snake and I cleaned out my garage, stacked a few books, and laid down some spare linoleum and carpet to catch the oil that drips from my car.

Bin Laden raked the leaves and bagged them up, but didn’t take them out to the street corner. He just left the bags to lean against the house.

That was alright. That just meant that he would not be raking my leaves ever again. You can’t do a complete job, you’re out for the future. You just lost a customer, man.

After this, some craziness began happening.

Bin Laden started knocking on my door at ten and eleven o’clock at night. When I would ask who it was, he would say, “It’s Snake!”

I never believed this, because Snake rarely knocked on my door, unless we had an appointment for some yard work or a car wash. (Okay, I know that sounds funny, but Mayor Snake prides himself on being of high character and integrity. Read this post to see what I mean).

This happened several times.

I finally found Snake and went off about this ordeal. Something to the effect of…

“Snake! You better talk to your boy Bin Laden and tell him to stop knocking on my door all late at night, or I’m gonna call Zone 3 [the police] and tell them that he stole something.”

Snake yelled back...

“That’s what you get for letting that n**** rake your leaves, LadyLee!”

Well Snake talked to him.

Bin Laden decided to knock on my door anyway at an earlier time.

Now, I have a rectangular window above my front door. Kay and I figured out a long time ago that if we were upstairs, we could easily look over the upstairs banister and see through that window who was standing at the door without that person noticing.

Well, that day, on a Saturday afternoon, around four o’clock, Bin Laden was at the door.
I wasn’t going to answer the door, until he did something crazy…

He had the NERVE to pull out a brush, and quickly try to brush and tidy up his beard.

“Ohhhh noooo!” I yelled.

I almost broke my freakin’ neck running down those stairs to the front door. I snatched the door open.

“What, man!!??”

“Just wanted to rake your leaves, LadyLee.”

“No! And don’t come back!”

I closed the door in his face. I REALLY was hoping dude was NOT tidying himself up for me. I get the heebie-jeebies every time I think about it!

He did this a couple of more times. I didn’t even bother to answer the door.

The last time he came back was a month ago.

“Dude, I told you not to knock on my door!” I became highly upset when I saw him lounging on the brick steps of my front porch.

“I know, I know,” he said, his hands raised in surrender. “I just wanted to pull some of the weeds around the stone steps up there by the mailbox.”


“Well sister, can I get a quarter?”


“Come on sister, please. I'm just asking for a damn quarter!”

Personally, I have no idea what anyone would do with a quarter. I had a dollar on the table. I threw it at him. “If you come back, you going to jail. I swear I will call the police.”

I haven’t seen him since.

I told the Infamous Hen-Dog about it, who urged me to just send Bin laden on down the street to his house, the blue house down the street.

Part of me was quite interested in the whooping a bunch of Que Dogs would give Bin Laden.

But that would be wrong. No need for all of us to come up on oharges for putting the stomp down on a crackhead.

But like I said, he hasn’t come back.

Maybe I should’ve threatened him earlier!

Friday, May 12, 2006

This week's homecooked meals!

This week I did something to piss off a few of my favorite blog sistas...

They all seem to eat out a lot. I told them that they need to make some homecook meals... I sent them some examples, and I will continue to send examples and pics until those broads-- and they know who they are-- get it together and do the right thing!!!!!

Now this is some random stir fry.

I am the freakin' stir fry queen of the world!! I make at least a couple of batches a month and sit it in the fridge... Add some noodles and random meat, and it's on.

Now these are my attempt at fajitas...

Serenity23, the super shoe queen blogger, LOVES Mexican food! I know she wasn't happy to see this. But she was cordial... She let me know "That looks good!"

Thanks girl!!

Now why don't you get your behind in the kitchen and make some from scratch!!!

Now a new Publix store opened on Thursday ... Downtown on Spring street, close to my job.

You should have seen a crew of us up in there. They had a bunch of free samples and stuff... We were soooo ghetto... We destroyed those freebies!! We just didn't care at all! (Yo ATLien Nikki, get down there NOW girl, they got some amazing deals until the 17th!!!)

Snow Crab legs were on sale for $5.99/lb. You know I had to do the darn thing!! I even threw some potatoes up in there. Let's just say I am ready for the weekend, babes!!

Now if you know anything about high post Publix, those Crab legs are going to be $9.99/lb next week. I may just go down there and buy all the crabs they got and stick them in my deep freezer in the garage, mayne!!

So there you have it...

And do Ladylee a favor ya'll... Stop rolling up on all that fast food... make it from scratch!!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Character Round-Up Part I: CHARLES...The Leaf Raker

There are a few minor characters running around my hood that I would like to tell you about. Of course none are more interesting than the mayor of my hood, Snake, who, regretfully, is still locked up…

But they are interesting folks, nevertheless…

Now when I first moved over to my hood in the downtown ATL, this tall brother who looked like Bryce Wilson use to knock on my door. Note that I said he LOOKS like Bryce Wilson.

More like a broke down, poor man’s Bryce Wilson. He had the super curly hair, same eyes, same complexion, exact same face, but he didn’t have the high post designer clothes. He wasn’t all shiny, no bling-bling, you know what I mean?

A broke man’s Bryce Wilson.. In a dirty oversized white t-shirt and a pair of baggy pants.

He was very polite and well spoken, though.

“Hi my name is Charles? Can I rake your leaves?”

Now I’d been trained by Snake not to let anyone do my yardwork except for him (Snake).

So I kept telling the dude…

“No thank you,” or
“Come back when I’ve had time to think about it.”

Well, he kept coming back, again… and again… and again…

He would be there when I got home from work, before I could even get my keys out to open the front door…

“Can I rake your leaves?”

I finally approached Mayor Snake about this.

“Snake, there’s a dude who keeps coming over to my house, asking to rake my leaves.”

Snake jumped back like I’d just pulled a gun on him.

“What, LadyLee??” he yelled. “Describe this young man.”

“He’s about six feet tall, dark skinned, skinny. His hair is real curly, like he got a kit in it or something.”

“Oh,” he said with snort and a wave of his hand. “That’s just Charles.”

Like that was suppose to mean something to me.

“So what’s up with him?”

“First of all Ladylee, I’m the only one that’s suppose to cut your grass, wash your car, or rake your leaves for a small fee. You are a valued customer.”

“Negro, I know that! Who is this joker that keep knocking on my door?.”

“Like I said, that’s Charles. He likes to try to run the women of this neighborhood, you see.”

I laughed hard. “Are you serious!?”

Snake nodded. “Yeah, he gets a check every month. So he can do that, you know.”

I was really tripping behind that revelation. The notion that getting a check every month gives one license to run women. Oh my!

But um, that depends on how big of a check it is.

I grabbed Snake by the arm, and spoke real low.

“Dude, how much of a check we talkin’ bout?”

“Oh, I believe seven or eight-hundred dollars a month.”

I almost fell on the ground laughing after he said that.

“What’s so funny, LadyLee? That’s a lot of money!”

“Yeah, to you it is, since you smoke that rock, man. I can’t do NOTHING with that.”

Snake peered at me curiously. “So, girl, how much would it take for you to let him rake your leaves?”

“Oh, Snake, that check has to be at least six to seven thousand dollars a month! At least that much. I can work with that. Dude might be able to rake a few leaves for that amount.”

Snake looked at me liked I’d just whipped out a blade on him. “Oh Lawd!!!"

Anyway, I told Snake to kindly inform Charles that he should never, ever, ever step foot in my yard, ever again, and not to even think about knocking on my door asking to rake my leaves!

It is not going down, boo.

I’ve seen him occasionally, but not much lately. He gives me a smile and a wave. I give him a head nod. But he hasn’t knocked on my door since my talk with the mayor.

I guess he has figured out one thing:

He won’t be raking Ladylee’s leaves.

No way, no how. That’s for sure.

Monday, May 08, 2006

No Milk and Cookies... A Soul Food Meal.

I am taking over my big sister's blog, so that I can send a message out to two beautiful young ladies.

Serenity23 and The Ladybug.

I want you both to know. That I am not Milk and Cookies.

I am a soul food meal. Yes, not a mere snack... but a soul food meal.

I am a good man.

I am grown and sexy, as you can see in my pictures.

I have a job. I just bought a new car. I have money in the bank.

I am in the Army Reserves. This mean I am military.

And ladies, you know what that means.


That's right. I have BENEFITS.

Now, I have been trying to holla at you, especially you, Serenity, for a few months. You will not listen. This is my last try. Either you or Ladybug will do.

Feel free to get my cell phone number from my big sister, Ladylee.

Send me a text. Or give me a call.

I am available anytime, anywhere.

I am giving my big sister back her blog, now.

Have a nice evening.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Writing Progress... Sweet Heat Chapters 25-27

I happen to see some Golden Flake Barbeque "Sweet Heat" Potato Chips in a bootleg grocery store in my hood. I would go up there and get some more of those chips if it wasn't for them bustas scanning my debit card and telling me that it was rejected. (Ladylee keeps major bread in the bank, you see!) After straight going off on the cashier, she looked at my card... and noticed that it wasn't a food stamp EBT card...

"Oops, my bad, honey... thought that was a food stamp card! I'm sorry!"

I promised myself I would never go in that damn store again...

So I have that one bag of "Sweet Heat" chips as a souvenir. It is sitting on the bookcase in my bedroom.

Wow... I looked back and I see that I have not done a writing progress update since mid-January ("Writing Progress-Chapter 24 "The Perfect Ending")...

I am being a lazy oldgirl.

First of all, that blogger guru The "LBigga" a.k.a. "LBeezy" a.k.a. "Lil Bit" a.k.a. "Ms. Put some stank on it" has done me the HONOR of taking a look at my manuscript, and has barreled through 22 chapters, some 300 pages, in the last 3 days... She has been sending some interesting emails, and offering her expertise.... Asking a lot of questions that are making this oldgirl THINK. So that makes me happy, and has snatched me out of some of my laziness...

*Ladylee frantically searching her pockets for an Original Oldgirl-in-Training card for that gal*

Another funny note... My girl Gigi, a critiquer who was displaced by Hurricane 'Trina, sent an email... I hadn't heard from her in a minute...

"Hey girl, I'm alright... how's that book coming? You got some more chapters??"

Um, yeah, Gigi... emailed those to you, hon.

Now Chapter 24 could've been the end of the book. All the ladies in the place thought that was the perfect ending. But it was on some old Snow White/Cinderella tip. And you know I can't have that!

But, I've only banged out 3 chapters since mid-January. The Shame.

I am at one of those lull points, where I have to hook back into some action in the book that I've been trying to get into. Apparently I haven't developed the skill of saying what I say in 40 pages in only one page, so I have been running around in the wilderness for a minute. But I think I am back on track... A lot of what is going on in chapter 27 is going to be snatched out and turned into a short story or novella...

Now my critiuqers didn't like these chapters at all (save for one- Detroit Mec-Mec, who is my #1 fan), and I wasn't all that fond of them either... They are just some filler to get me to where I need to go, albeit they have information in them that will become important later on. I tried to explain this to my 2 bootleg "Work for free" editors "Sunshine" and "Old mean ass Cynthia", but they both just looked at me and walked away...

You bustas... that's why ya'll work for free.

Now the issha is that I needed to hand out chapters 25-29 or 30 together as a group so it would all make more sense and come together...

But Nooooooooooooo!!! Negroes were yanking on an oldgirl's shirt sleeve!!!

I got tired of walking down the hall at work, minding my own bizness, and having to hear...

Where are my Chapters??

I even got hemmed up in the bathroom once... Dang...

So there you have it... it was all a little dull. But hint, a couple of key things happened in that boriness that will be key later... LOL!!

Oh, and I have already written the ending. I am having to keep an eye on my laptop, because that editor name Sunshine likes to steal, from what I hear.

But peeps, beware... a whole lot of stuff is about to happen real fast in these upcoming chapters.

So hold on to your weaves...

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Thangs Crossing My Mind. The Case of the Stolen Truck, Part II.

click here for "The Case of the Stolen Truck, Part I"

So I’d gotten a tip.

My brother’s truck may be located down in “The Bottoms”.

Hen-Dog had given me instructions on how to get there and what street to turn on.

Simple enough.

Now my plan was simple: get up early in the morning, when all the prostitutes, crackheads, and thuggish-ruggish folks were still asleep, and go down have a look-see.

But you know me. I have a tendency to procrastinate.

Now the truck was stolen on a Wednesday, I believe.

I didn’t go to explore “The Bottoms” until that Saturday afternoon.

"But Ladylee, er'body's awake round that time, Ladylee!!!"

Yeah, I hear you. But shoot, I'd just went shopping and happen to be rolling hard near that area, trying to make it to my house.

I knew I was hood deep when I turned onto “G” street, the entrance into "The Bottoms" and there was a woman standing in the middle of a vacant on a cell phone giving someone a good cussin’ out. I mean she was straight going off on somebody HARD. My windows were down, and it sounded like she was going off on her man for cheating on her…

"N**** you better stop f***** that b**** or I'ma kill both ya'll, you bastard!!"

Oh My.

She was much better than a nice sign that said "Welcome to the Bottoms".

I decided to keep driving. I was going pretty slow, checking out some of the run-down houses, and I noticed that folks had fenced in backyards… Backyards with wooden fences that were at least 8 feet tall. I know one thing: if my brother’s truck was being chopped in one of those backyards, then no one would ever know.

Now, it did cross my mind to jump out of the car and look over some of these fences.

Yeah, it crossed my mind, from one side of my mind right on out the other. I am too scary for that.

But I decided to keep driving. I was going to stick to my basic plan: Look for the boy's truck, write down the house address and get the hell out of dodge. Wasn’t gonna be any of that confrontin’ people.

Just go scope out the place and dip, man!

I got to the back of the neighborhood and ran into a million afroed and dredlocked-up negroes wearing white t-shirts and baggy pants, all standing in the middle of the street, drinking, smoking, and laughing, and shooting basketball on a portable hoop and goal.

“Aww hell!” I exhaled.

I kept driving, hoping these dudes would just get out of the way. Now, if I had to mow the brothas down with my Mazda, it wouldn’t have bothered me one bit.

They eventually got out of the way of my car. They stared me down, obviously perturbed that I’d interrupted their basketball game and other activities.

It crossed my mind to pose a question…

“Yo playas, ya’ll seen a old red Silverado around here?”

But that was another one of those thoughts that simply crossed my mind. Again, I was much, much too scary for that.

I simply enjoyed the contact high from whatever wonderfully special herbs the brothas were smoking.

I kept driving. I remember looking back through my sideview and rearview mirrors at the brothas in their oversized white tees and saw some of them staring after me. Maybe I should have covered up my license plate? Oh well, too late for all that.

The entrance street to “The Bottoms” ran all the way through the small neighborhood, and was apparently the only real street in the neighborhood, as I soon realized that it curved all the way back around and led me back to the main street that I’d turned on. I turned back out onto the main road, and that very same chick was still standing off in the same vacant lot, cussing up a storm!

I didn’t see the truck. It crossed my mind to go back through again, but um… that would’ve been stupid. A bit more stupid then rolling down there by myself in the first place.

Oh well, I’d done my part.

Da’Kari came home the next week for Christmas break. He and Kay were sharing a rental car, and they both seem to be content with the arrangement. So, I decided to cut my little investigation short.

Well Christmas came around, and the family gathered at Grandma’s house for dinner. I remember standing around outside and joking with some of my cousins.

“Come here, Lee,” my Uncle Tweet beckoned.

“What’s up, Tweet?”

“A bunch of Chevy Truck parts came in last week.”

I was thoroughly confused. “What?”

“I said, a bunch of Chevy Truck parts, engines and transmission, stuff like that, came in at this house I know where they sell stolen parts.”

Now, Tweet is a lot like Snake, the Mayor of my hood: they are both, how should I say this… They are both a bit fond of partaking of and smoking certain substances.

Tweet continued talking to me about some little chop shop in that neighborhood, and he’d seen some parts, and thought I should go check it out.

“Lee, what you need to do is, get the VIN number from the truck, take it down to this shop and see if you can match that VIN number with the parts. That’s what you need to do. And if you see a match, go head on and call the police.”

Oh see, he was trippin’. I looked at him hard, and he appeared to be sober. I’d been talking to him all afternoon, and he wasn’t high. But I knew that he couldn’t be serious.

A crazy image crossed my mind: Me standing in some dope boy’s chop shop, with a slip of paper containing Kari’s truck VIN number, going from engine to engine, trying to match up the numbers, then upon finding a match, me pulling out my cell phone, and dialing 911…

followed by me getting straight up pistol whipped and shot…

“Nawl Tweet,” I said as calmly as possible, trying not to scream. “I think I will pass on that.”

“Well I’m just telling you. Them parts came in.”

“Yeah, Tweet.”

Later, when I was sitting at the dining room table, eating some of Grandma’s homemade sweet potato pie, another Uncle, my Uncle Dean, ran up on me.

“Lisa, Tweet told me about those parts that came in. You need to go check it out.”

What the hell was going on? Did they really want me to get shot or something?

Well my uncle Dean proceeded to give me this long, LONG drawn out lecture about how I needed to go check it all out, and how it was all a matter of principle.

“People should not steal, Lisa. It’s just wrong. It's a matter of principle.”

I just sat there and listened.

Wondered silently to myself if my uncles were really serious, or if they had both been smoking a little something, something. I turned around and looked at DaKari, who was sitting in the livingroom, watching a movie on my laptop… It was very obvious that he wasn’t sitting around distraught and upset about his missing truck. He'd been skinnin' and grinnin' all damn day. Shoot, all day long, he'd been in all the pictures I'd taken. Even Uncle Tweet was cheesing along with him in few pics.

I’d done my five minutes of detective work. That was all that they were going to get from me.

Well to make a long story short, the police found the stripped down truck, on a street near my Grandma’s hood.

So maybe my uncles were on to something. Far be if from me to find out.

The insurance company totaled the truck out, and Ma got the insurance money.

The boy went and bought a new car. He speaks fondly of his old truck, and he does miss it, but he seems to be happy about the new Grand Am he just purchased.

Hopefully this one won’t go missing…

If it does, hopefully it won’t cross my mind play the Wanna-be Investigator!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Case of the Stolen Truck, Part I

It was a typical sunny weekday morning, approximately a week before Christmas.

My sister Kay was frantically running around, getting ready to leave for her job at the bank. She usually leaves the house around a quarter after eight.

I was laying in bed, brooding because I had to get my ass up and get ready for work. The sound of the triple chime sounding when the front door opened was usually my signal to get up and get ready.

I heard the triple beeps when the door opened. Then I heard it close.

Next thing I know, Kay appears in the doorway of my bedroom.

“Lee, where’s the truck?”

I looked at her like she was crazy.

“Lee, I parked the truck on the street last night. It’s not there now.”

Now, it didn’t cross our minds that the truck had been stolen. So I got up, slipped my feet in my sneakers, and walked outside still clad in my pajamas. I have a pretty long driveway, so we both walked out on the front porch and looked back towards the garage.

No truck.

We looked at each other.

“Somebody stole it, Kay.”

Of course, Kay doesn’t ever know what to do in any dramatic situation. She just stood there and looked at me.

“Call Ma. I’m sure the insurance is in her name, and..”

(No need to explain all that… You know how the bootleg go. We needed my mother to come over so that she could call the police and make the police report.)

On her way over to my house, Ma’s van broke down somewhere. Kay used my car to go get her. Ma came over, and they waited for the police. We made small talk, but she hung out with Kay. I was more concerned with avoiding some weird argument with her, in my house where I pay mortgage. Let’s just get this police report done without any sh** going down…

But all went well. I took my sister and mother to get a rental car. Then I drove down to Cabbagetown and hung out with Carter-Anne, one of the Original Oldgirls, for a half and hour, before dragging myself to work.

My biggest concern about that stolen truck?

It was my brother DaKari’s truck, his pride and joy : a big candy apple red 1992 Chevrolet Silverado.

Ma had bought that truck for one of her idiot boyfriends, and when that relationship went sour, she’d promised DaKari that it would be his once he got his license.

DaKari had been driving it since he was 16. Kay went and snatched it when DaKari went into the military. It was kind of like that scene from coming to America, you know, when them African boys (played by Eddie and Arsenio) went to Queens, New York to find a queen, and they left their luggage outside.

You remember how the neighborhood folks snatched up that luggage when they left it out on the curb.

Well, that’s what Kay did with that truck. She snatched it with the quickness!

The problem becomes, what do you tell the boy about his truck? I mean, what do you tell a boy who’s truck has been stolen? What do you tell the boy who use to sleep with his car keys so that our mother’s alcoholic dope fiend husband wouldn’t take it? Just what do you say?

I didn’t know, and I was very concerned about that…

But there were a couple of things about that truck that were jacked up:

First of all, for the past couple of years, the latch on the back sliding glass window of the truck was broken, making it quite easy for anyone to just slide that glass door open and get on in there and take his truck. I’d been on his rusty tail to go ahead and get that window fixed. His reply was always the same.

“Don’t worry about it, Shawty. I’m gonna get that back window replaced with a full solid window.”

Did he do that? No!

Second, I hated that truck. It had well over 200,000 thousand miles on it. And it drove and sounded like the funky car in that old cartoon Hong Kong Phooey. It was an automatic, but it felt like you were driving a stick, and it felt like you forgot to let the parking brake up or something. It was quite unnerving. Kay was always giving me advice on how to drive it.

“Lee, you got to push that gas pedal just right.”

You’ve got be kidding me.

Anyway, the boy called from Army Basic training. I think he noticed that I was quiet while he yacked nonstop to me on the phone. Finally he said “Lee, I already know about the truck, so no need to be so quiet and try to keep it from me.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

He said he was okay with it. He was going to get another car anyway when he finished up his reserves training.

So that was cool.

Meanwhile, I talked to my neighbor, the Infamous Hen-Dog about the stolen truck. We both realized that the Mayor of my ‘hood, Snake, was locked up. This usually meant that we have to watch our possessions a bit more carefully, since he’s not around to do any special investigations or snitch on perpetrators.

But Hen-Dog is friendly with other neighborhood crackheads, and one in particular, an older abuser Mr. Thomas, saw some odd people on our street that evening…

He said those strange folks were from a place in our hood know as “The Bottoms”, an extremely seedy part of the neighborhood that gentrification and revitalization would NEVER, EVER find.

Now, I don’t venture out too much around my hood. I take the occasional short-cut through some backstreets just in case there is a game down at the stadium. I ain’t like the white people that have moved to the hood, out speed walking and jogging, and all that craziness, just throwing caution completely to the wind. I tend to stay on my street, so if some mess jump off, I can break out and make a mad dash for my own house.

But Hen-Dog explained to me where “The Bottoms” were located. Turns out it was no more than a half mile down the cross street from my house.

“Just roll down there, LadyLee. Mr. Thomas said that them boys are probably so stupid, they might be still trying to remove the engine and the transmission from that truck.”

Yeah, they had to be stupid. They stole a truck that was pretty much on it’s last leg. How stupid could you get!

That didn’t seem like a bad plan. I mean it wasn’t like I was walking down to “The Bottoms”… I was driving. And if I had to run a fool over in the Mazda, then so be it.

So my plan was simple: I was going to make a trip down to “The Bottoms” to see if I could spot my brother’s truck anywhere.

Looking back on this notion?

This was quite stupid.

To be continued...