Blackhumouristpress's Blog

October 21, 2009

Gypsy Voodoo Queen Martini Maker

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 6:13 am
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It all at once hit Glad. Her husband had been having an affair with a woman the same age as their children and their son was in trouble once again with the law. Glad began to cry as she stood in front of the prison. She felt so helpless and alone. Glad wondered what it was that she could have done in her life to deserve what was happening to her.
Standing outside his cab, within a few feet of Glad was Horatio. Horatio was an average European looking man with a strong five o’clock shadow. He had been talking to his cousin who had just opened up a martini bar on Halsted Street on the south side of Chicago. His cousin reasoned that since so much of the south side was being bought up by developers, it was just a matter of time before young urban professionals would troll the neighborhood, looking for a place to wet their whistles. His cousin went by the name of Toula. It was really something too hard to pronounce in Hungarian and so she went by Toula and told people that she was Greek. When Greeks spoke Greek to Toula, she could speak Greek. Toula once had a husband that was Greek and he spoke Greek to her. Hungarians would have known she was a Gypsy if she spoke Hungarian to them. Instead she claimed that she was Greek and cut down on discrimination.
Horatio hung up his phone and approached Glad who was sobbing heavy. Horatio suspected she was robbed or assaulted in some way and genuinely wanted to help.
“Lady… You okay, lady? Why you crying, lady? Somebody try to take your money, lady… Come on, why you crying?”
Horatio, rubbed Glad’s bare arm. Ordinarily Glad would have been taken back by such a thing by a stranger, but she was actually comforted by the stranger whom she did not fear. She explained what was going on to Horatio. Horatio offered to help her occupy time for the next half day.
“I gotta place you can visit, lady… It’s a really nice place. It’s run by my cousin Toula… We’re Greek, lady? You Greek?”
“No, I would say I’m mostly Irish with a little English and German…”
“No wonder you cry… You all mixed up, lady. I cry too if I not know if I German or English… During the war, you would know which side yourself gone try to kill the other half…”
With that Glad smiled and laughed a bit. Horatio gave her a napkin from Dunkin Donuts from his glove compartment and herded her into the cab. Horatio had a CD of Frank Sinatra playing in his cab.
“You like Frank? I like Frank a lot. When I live in Europe, I like Frank. He the reason I move here. I say to myself one day… I gonna go to Chicago just like in that song Frank sing about… Don’t worry bout nothing, lady. I gone take you to Toula. You gone stop and talk to Toula. Toula gone help you feel better and you gone look at the world like it a sunny day… It a nice day to be alive, lady… You gone see.”
Horatio called Toula and they spoke in a Gypsy dialect of Romanian as Horatio drove towards her martini bar that had been open less than two months. The martini bar was only a few blocks away from US Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. At the ball park, the players were getting ready for the game against the Chicago Cubs. The White Sox won the night before and were poised to repeat during the afternoon game.
Toula was readying herself for overflow of patrons from the well established drinking holes of White Sox fans. Toula believed that blue collar baseball fans, would like something different. She was right. Many people in the area liked the idea of a bar where martinis were served. Toula served beer but it was beer from Greece. Many were reluctant to try the beer because they could not read the label. It looked too foreign to them.
Horatio told toula in their Romanian dialect, that he had a really nice woman who
was all alone in Chicago and that she needed a place to help her feel better while she waited for her son to be released from jail. Horatio explained about the accident that her husband was in and the discovery of an affair too. Horatio believed that Toula could help. Toula had the ability to make people forget whatever was on their mind for a while as they watched and listened to her speak and gesture. Toula appeared to dance as she walked and she spoke poetically and cryptically.
“What do you believe, my beautiful friend?”
“Do you mean faith? I was raised Catholic…”
“You were raised Catholic… That means that someone had imposed their faith upon you at an early age and you have yet to decide for yourself, what it is you believe…People who know me call me Queen Toula.”
Toula had lived in New Orleans for ten years and while there, she became interested in a Voodoo museum in the French Quarter. Toula herself lived on Dumaine, down the street from the museum. Toula became very involved in Voodoo and believed with all her being in it’s powers.
Toula cut a lemon peel from a lemon as she spoke to Glad. Glad sat on a bar stool at the bar. Nobody had come in as of yet, it was still morning. Toula proceeded to make two martinis for Glad. One was made of apple and the other pear. Toula explained that she was a bonified Voodoo priestess. Glad was sceptical. Toula knew that Glad lived a pretty straight forward life and that Voodoo sounded make believe.
Toula locked the front door and took Glad to a room in the back that had statues, beads and candles burning. It was called a gris-gris room. Behind that was a former closet that was turned into an alter room. Around the alter were notes, locks of hair, trinkets, photographs. Glad was impressed.
“Give me something that represents you…”
Glad took out a photograph of herself that she thought made her look very attractive. She kept it with her for days when she felt ugly. Glad would take it out and look at the photograph and feel better about what she looked like. Toula began to blink and held the photo close to her cleavage. Rhythmic music played in the back ground. It seemed African. A lot of drums and a tamborine and some call and response in a foreign language. Toula began to dance in a circle. Her summer dress clung to her as she got sweaty. Toula had the body of a teenager. She was wiry strong and very fit looking. The trance like dance went on for several minutes. Glad kneeled in the corner and watched. The music sped to a frenzy and then it stopped. Toula dropped to the ground in a pool of her own sweat. Glad thought that she had collapsed and came to her aid. Toula looked up with piercing eyes and grabbed Glad by the chin so that she would carefully hear all that she was about to say.
“You have to believe me without doubt… Do you understand? You have been racked with self doubt your whole life. You have gone day to day feeling as though you were never good enough. You have let others walk on you and you have wallowed in your self pity… You are going to change all that beginning today. It starts now…”
Glad took a drink of the martini that was mixed to perfection. It was an apple martini that was tart yet sweet. She guzzled the martini down and then took a sip of the pear martini. Glad had always hated the texture of pears. It made her skin break out into goose bumps whenever she bit into a pear. Apples never had that effect on her but pears did. Glad took a sip and broke out into goose bumps. She told Toula that she could not drink it. Toula with a stern face and intense eyes, pushed the drink back into her hand.
“You must drink it… It is part of the gris-gris… Do you want this to work? Do you want to believe that change is possible? Then drink it…”
Glad wolfed it down and felt nothing more than buzzed. All that Glad had to eat were a bag of cookies that she bought at the airport in Detroit. That had been hours ago. The drinks hit her immediately. Toula left Glad in the room to reflect on what would be different from that point on. Toula went back to conjure up two more martinis. One apple the other pear.

Glad sat on a bar stool and ate peanuts out of a bag and sipped martinis. She had
one pear and one apple. At noon time, Glad was on her sixth martini. There was a band of young black men, playing jazz fused funk for the patrons that were downing a few drinks prior to going to see the White Sox take on the Cubs at US Cellular Field. Nobody spoke with Glad and Toula was racing around making sure that everyone had drinks with her two man staff. It was their busiest day. Toula would be able to pay the rent with just that one day. Within an hour, the people filed out and the band sat at the bar to have a drink. The band was taking a break until after the game. One of the men in the band was a man named Anthony. Anthony was a tall black man of nearly fifty years of age. He had the body and energy of a man half his age. He wore bib overalls with a tank top t shirt underneath. He wore a White Sox hat and laughed heartily at everything said. He sat besides Glad and stuck up a conversation.
“Motown… Oh yes, oh yes. Spent mucho time in D town. Matter fact I lived just round the corner from Tigers Stadium in Corktown. Shit… It was dangerous foh a brotha in that hood. I member once driving my 1968 Chevy Impala down Michigan Avenue round bout there and some young brothers threw a brick through my passenger window. I’m just driving listening to some Marvin Gaye and the next thing I knew. I was wearing the glass of my passenger window and a brick sat on my lap… Hee hee hee… First I was
like… I’m gonna whoop me some ass and then I remembered me once dropping bricks from the overpass on the 94 back when I was a lad…Hee hee hee… God took while but he didn’t fo-get. He might take while to get back to you but all deeds will not be fo-gotten… All in all though, De-troit a good town. You want some good food… I mean really good foh the soul, honest to goodness, soul food to rest the soul and make you feel good foh living, there a restaurant off seven mile and a woman go by the name of Matilda… She was in her late fifties and built like a kettle… Pretty nuff smile and sweet as her sweet potato pie… I taste that food, that pie and I said to her, I done found the love of my life…hee -hee hee… Yes ma’am… Every time I got a gig in De-troit, I stop there… You probably ain’t never been round them parts… You probably from way out west somewhere… I’m right ain’t I girl? Yes sir… north and west, way far way from the hood… I ain’t hating though. You all got nice homes, nice restaurants and people obey the speed limits… Hee hee hee… What brings you to the south side of Chicago?”
Glad did not hold back. She took a good half hour to tell Anthony about her relationship with her husband, problems with her son, her lack of sex and low self asteem. Glad told Anthony about her plan to get into shape and eat better. She told Anthony that she was going to internet date and find a good man to be with who really appreciated her. All Anthony could think about was having a casual romp with a sexually frustrated woman. It did not matter if she was a bit homely and unfit. Anthony had a thing for women with smaller waists and large asses. He always marvelled at that phenomena of nature. A twenty inch waist and thirty eight inch hips with buttocks large enough to set a drink upon it.
Anthony used to believe in monogamy and fought hard to be exclusive to his wife. It was during a six month job working on a cruise ship that things changed for Anthony. He had been working with three young women from Sweden who believed that if you wanted to have sex, it was possible to do without having any other feelings other than sexual attraction. Anthony understood their point of view and quickly adopted it. Anthony’s wife was not so understanding or tolerant. It had been nearly ten years since his divorce. Anthony was much happier and really appreciated the variety and more than happy to not slog through the mundane necessities of day to day life, with each woman he met. That was for their husbands.
“Come on… It’s much more comfortable upstairs…” said Anthony as he lead Glad up the stairs.
At that moment, the White Sox had scored three runs in the sixth inning and were
ahead. There was still about an hour or so until the hoards returned either despondent or euphoric over the outcome of the game.
Glad had never been attracted to black men. There was something too raw about them in all facets of who they were. Of course Glad tried to be open minded and tried not judge all blacks the same but she could not help it. Black men were scary and strong and when they had their minds up to rob or rape you, it would be done. Black women were sexual too. Glad had decided that all black women constantly ooze sexuality in how they look, talk and dress for nothing more than attention from black men. Anthony was the exception.
Anthony thought about sex every twenty seconds like any boy with an extremely high libido. Being nearly fifty years of age, Anthony learned that he could have all that he wanted by being nice, attentive and patient. It nearly worked every time. White women would talk and drink and before they knew it, Anthony was just like white men. He wasn’t so scary after all. It was the same with Glad. Glad never panicked as Anthony helped her remove all her clothes. Glad never panicked either when Toula walked into the room and joined them in the bed. Glad kept her eyes closed and enjoyed her sexual spontaneity more than any sexual experience she had ever had before. After nearly an hour, Anthony dressed and went down to start playing again with the band as customers began to return. Toula too dressed and headed down. She took Glad’s chin in the palm of her hand and asked her if she felt better. Glad felt much better. In fact she masterbated again while the post game interview went on. White Sox won 4-3 against the Cubs. The booze would flow like water in Bridgeport that night.
Glad fell asleep for close to a half hour. The sound of the drums and bass woke her from her slumber. She dressed and made her way down the stairs. The room was shoulder to shoulder and required some tunnelling in order to get through the door. Toula was feverishly mixing drinks and Anthony had his eyes closed while playing a Stan Getz tune on his tenor saxophone. Neither Anthony nor Toula noticed Glad leave and within a few days, they both forgot they had met her. They both meet so many people everyday.

October 10, 2009

Women in Bars

Filed under: Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 4:02 pm
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Sarah and Angela made plans for two Fridays in a row to leave their homes in Grosse Pointe to have a drink in Hamtramck which is a little island of a town encompassed by the city of Detroit. After a few cancellations, they met at Small’s. In the main room was a noisy garage band. Sarah and Angela found a table under a television where Fox Detroit was agonizing over the unravelling of the Tigers in the last days of the 2009 baseball season. Neither of them was interested in that nor anything else going on in crowed bar that cool autumn night. Catching up was all that they really hoped to do.

Sarah was the mother of four children and was married to a second generation Greek man who owned his own garage. Demetrius inherited his father’s garage that was started back in 1959. Demetrius made a good buck and lived a fairly simple life.

Angela was the mother of two children, one of which played ice hockey on a team with Sarah’s son. Angela and Sarah became friends immediately and carpooled to hockey games and practices and eventually became each other’s confidant.

Sarah ordered a Long Island Ice Tea and Angela had a Corona Light. A young fat man with mutton side burns, many tattoos and a backwards Lions hat on, put ten dollars in the juke box and played every Ramones tune available. Sarah blinked hard and shook her head.

“Have you figured out when boys become men? This little cherub probably still lives at home and plays drinking games in his parent’s basement in between X Box tournaments with his equally unmotivated friends who are living at home with their parents,” stated Angela, while leaning her chin on the palm of her right hand.

“Um my loving husband is sitting right now in my living room with his brother and cousins, watching a Red Wings game on a seventy two inch television. Four fat Greeks wearing Chelios jerseys, eating wings and drinking beer. I could walk naked in front of all of them and they’d never notice. His fucking brother is such a goddamn pig too. He makes that sound when you’re sucking snot up from somewhere in your throat. It is so damn gross and then he swallows it.” Said Sarah.

“I hate it when his parents come over and the wives of his cousins and brother. Everyone is Greek and they all speak Greek and I’m just running around making coffee for the old people who are ripping on me in Greek because I’m not Greek. Thank god I’m not Greek. Something happens when those Greek chicks have kids. Their hips expand and they grow moustaches. I shit you not. Even the good looking ones get fat asses and facial hair. When I first met his parents they assumed I was Greek and then they wanted assurances from me that the kids would go to Greek school on weekends to learn to read and write in Greek. My Greek god turned into just a fucking Greek. Him and his cousins, brothers, their wives, his parents and their Hellenic hip disease… Honest to Christ almighty. I’m immersed in the fucking white sauce of life.” Said Sarah, while Angela laughed uncontrollably.

Sarah was short with brown hair and carried a few extra pounds. Sarah’s inspiration unbeknownst to her was Angela. Angela had her last child a few years back and began to work out religiously. Angela’s husband had told her that he could not get aroused since she had become more matronly than he had anticipated. Angela signed up for spin classes, Pilates and swam. Everyday she tried to get in between a half hour to an hour of exercise. Within six months, Angela had lost forty five pounds and looked and felt better than she had in years. Angela’s husband still criticized her one too many times. Angela had found more than exercise to occupy her time.

“I have something I have to get off my chest,” said Angela after taking a swig of her beer. “I’m seeing a Polish poet who works during the day as a plumber”.

Sarah laughed as though Angela had told a joke. Angela wasn’t laughing. Sarah reached across the table and grabbed Angela’s forearm.

“I want to hear about this and don’t leave a fucking detail out,” said Sarah.

“I told Tom for weeks to fix the P trap under the sink in the kitchen. I thought he had done it and I open the cabinet to get cleaning solution to clean up a spot where the cat has taken to pissing over and over and the cabinet had fallen apart totally. I could see the foundation through a hole where there used to be wood. I was so pissed. I go into the den and he was looking at porn or something on the internet. As soon as he heard my feet stomping towards him on the hardwood floor, he turns off the monitor… So fucking childish… Anyway I ask him why he never took care of it. He shrugs like my other kids and says he forgot. I was so mad that I went to the hardware store to get the parts myself. I connect it all up and water is spraying everywhere and I’m about ready to cry. There I am under the sink with a pipe wrench and I have whining kids asking for pudding pops and Tom gets upset because he’s trying to watch football and the kids are yelling. He gives them each a granola bar and tells them to play downstairs. Mind you, I’m under the sink with black shit all over my arms and he never attempts to stop watching football which he could tape if he wanted to and help me with something that he should have done. Instead he tells me that I’m going to fuck it up and sure enough I do. Instead of crying, I put on my running shoes and took the kids to the high school track with me and they walked while I ran. I ran three miles and came home and made cookies and never gave another thought to the damn leaking pipe. Tom runs the water and it’s now spraying all over everything under the sink. He says with his smug assed smile that he knew I would fuck it up. My sister tells me to call this handy man named Marek and he comes over the next morning. This guy walks in and I just knew even before he said one word that we were going to connect. He disconnects what I put on and adds some Teflon tape and it works perfectly. Marek tells me that I did a good job except for the tape and he gets ready to leave and doesn’t charge me. I force the guy to take a fifty and I’m thinking that’s that. A week later, I’m right here in Hamtramck at Trowbridge having coffee one night and low and behold my plumber is reading poetry. He’s wearing a pair of jeans and a t shirt and nervously reads his poetry in English with his cute Polish accent. There were maybe a dozen people there and I waited until he was done and bought his book of poems and had him sign it. Well one thing leads to another and we get together and he reads my poems and I his and then one night we go to dinner and wind up back at his place for hours. I can’t tell you how many times we made love. It was love. You know when you’re fucking and when it’s actually the act of love making. Every time is so good and I can’t wait until the next time,” said Angela.

Sarah had her mouth open as if someone had poured cold water on her. Sarah asked the obvious question.

“Tom? Tom understands that I’m there but I’m gone. He can smell it on me that something has changed. He had the balls to say to me the other day that I act too good for him now that I got in shape. I told him that I’m the same person I was when my ass was too fat for him. There’s just less of me than before. Have you started running yet? Are you doing the 3K with me at Thanksgiving?” Asked Angela.

“I’ve been begging Demetrius to let me have a dog. I want a dog that will jog with me. Maybe a Doberman or something that’s built to jog. I’m up to a mile a day. It takes me twelve minutes but I’m getting better.” Said Sarah.

“So if you want a dog just go buy one,” said Angela.

“It doesn’t work that way when you’re married to a macho Greek. He says if I blow him once in a while, I can have the dog. I’m blowing him twice a week now and last week I wind up getting a cold sore and he’s so sure that he’s going to get herpes on his nut sack that he makes me give him a hand job. Can you believe it? Like junior high, honest to god. I get olive oil and am jerking his cock while ESPN is on the gigantic television. He’s just about to cum and Stavros calls for me to bring him a drink of water. Demetrius gets so pissed and then I gotta start all over again. My damn right arm was cramping and I offer to go in the shower with him since I’m on the rag and he’s horrified that I suggested a little shower sex. I told him it will be fun kinda like mixing a porno with Psycho. He could watch my blood go down the drain. Anyway he tells me to shut up because he can’t concentrate. Finally he cums and I make sure it goes straight up in the air and lands on his precious Red Wings home jersey. He jumps up and mops the come off like it was fucking ink. He thanks me and I tell him I better be getting a team of mush dogs like they have in Alaska,” said Sarah.

At that moment a young cocky guy walks up holding a beer. He had longish blond hair and wore a Fedora with ripped up jeans and a sleeveless shirt. He lifted Angela’s purse up from the stool next to her and sat down uninvited.

“What’s up, ladies?”

Sarah liked the attention but Angela did not appreciate it. The young man could not hold a blow torch to the Polish/plumber/poet and she let him know in so many words.

“Um Kid Rock… You may not have noticed that we have chosen this table away from everyone else because we wanted to be alone. We don’t want you to go away thinking that we are going to crawl out of here and into a bed with each other because we don’t play for that team. Had you been in tuned to clues, you may have noticed too the rings on both or our ring fingers which is a symbol in our society of marriage. Now marriage may not matter to you and that’s cool but we really don’t want or need the company right now. I’ll buy you a drink if you go away,” said Angela harshly.

The young man walked off and Sarah and Angela continued to share details of their day to day lives. They shared things about their children, things they wanted out of day to day life and the physical changes they hoped to make in their homes. They shared intimate details of their lives and cherished the time they set aside to check in with one another. The speed and demands of day to day life made their meetings a necessity for sanity and order. They hugged as they got to their cars and promised to meet the next Friday. The next Friday did not happen nor the Friday after that. It would be a little more than a month before their next opportunity to connect. You can be sure that they’ll both have something they’ll want to discuss. They always do.

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