Man, that was some party! It was just like the house parties of
years gone by. And I was a dancing fool back in the day. Get
down Sugarman! Stomp that Roach! Gone
and get with it then. Ah sooky sooky now! You cut
that rug, Boy! Oooh, cant touch you with a sugarcane,
can they Sugarman?
Sister was really surprised. One because she discovered the party
was mainly for her. And two, because some of the people there,
she hadnt seen in decades. Must have been about fifty folks,
all totalcounting the four from my job that came, the three
from Johnnie Maes company, a few people Sister knew from
the phone company back when she and Johnnie Mae worked there,
and a slew of people from the old neighborhood.
People I grew up withpretty much have known since before
they got their permanent teeth (many of which have lost a good
bit of theirs now). There was Jawbone, Doc, Hotshot, Knock-Knock,
Didi-bo, Brenda (aka Crawl-the-Bottom), Blue, Dosha, Baby Doll,
and Dog (only I didnt invite Dog and dont have a clue
who even told him about it).
Neither Rosalyn or Sister had an escort there, but that didnt
stop either one of them from buffing the shine on the dance floor.
Stocking bare feet, them just twisting and shaking like two teenagers.
Yeah, counting couples, it was about fifty.
Johnnie Mae barely broke a sweat. I had to drag her out on the
dance floor just to get a slow dance. Then a fast one came on,
and I wouldnt let her walk away without finishing that one
out too. I really cant understand why she doesnt like
to dance; shes great! Now Rosalyn, shoot!that girl,
a couple of times, looked like a fish trying to flop its way back
into the ocean.
Its hard to say for sure but I believe Jawbone had his good
eye on Rosalyn (his glass eye looks straight ahead all the time
anyway so its hard to tell for sure by that one). And if
it hadnt been for those two front teeth missing, she might
have let him finish his tired old rap with too many Ls
I believe Rosalyn had her sights set on Doc. (Doc is the one who
had the brother called Preacher and when Preacher dieddrowned
he didthen Doc became a preacher.)
Right now Doc has questions hes waiting on God to answer
so hes sort of on a sabbatical until his answers do come.
Then he plans to step back in the pulpit without having to think
himself a hypocrite, which is why it was okay for him to be at
the party in the first place and not worry about sneaking his
Canadian Mist on the side (being that he istechnically speaking...officially
anywaynot on duty).
Knock-Knock almost got into it with Didi-bo because Didi-bo was
still (in private anyway) referring to Knock-Knocks wife
by her old name of Crawl-the-Bottom.
Of course, all the fellows knew Brenda (because of
her loose reputation) by the name of Crawl-the-Bottom which is
what they dubbed her (though she never knew it because no one
would ever say it to her faceone never knew when or if he
might have a dry spell in between women and end up desperate enough
to have to Crawl the Bottom).
Knock-Knock said he wasnt about to tolerate anybody referring
to Brenda that way any longer, so Didi-bo decided
to knock it off (even if Brenda was the one flirting with him).
And Blue just sat there staring at Dosha. We all noticed how he
didnt look away and wondered whether he was planning to
make a move before the night was over.
They both are about the color of midnight; Dosha more like a Tootsie
Rolla chocolate taste without all the fat, and Blue more
like a giant Hersheys Kissa rich gooey chocolate (especially
when he gets too hot), small on the top, big around the middle,
and simply loaded with fat!
Now Hotshot, having noticed Blues gaze locked tight on Dosha,
and then Doshaevery now and thenseeming to be sizing
up Blue as well, whispered in my ear, Man, Im gonna
tell you...if those two get together, I pray to God they practice
some form of birth control. Lord-have-mercy help us Jesus!
Blue finally struggled his way up...seeming to have gotten the
nerve to stagger Doshas way.
I can still hear the words...the way they flowed like a song from
his mouth. How he hit the high notes just right...holding long
the low ones in that baritone voice of his as he said to Dosha
(and we all heard it), Yous one ugly sap-sucker!
Dosha stood up. It got quiet fast. You could hear our neighbors
roaches scampering a mile down the road.
Everyone who recalledand believedDoshas reputation,
knew Blue was about to turn a bright shade of red. And those who
didnt know, must have sensed she might possibly miss when
she cut, shot, or slapped the mess out of him.
Dosha stood and walked up just beneath Bluecataloguing his
body parts from his head to his toes. She smiled, then spewed
in a cigarette coated voice, Kind of like looking in a mirror
at the fun house, aint that right you big-fat-no-account-skillet
Blue took one more step up to her...it was like watching a live
rendition of a miniature King Kong getting ready to devour a king-sized
So? he said, cocking his head over to one side...a
smirk spreading over his face. You wanna dance, or not?
Dosha walked away, then turned around. Well, are you coming?
she said. Or are you waiting for that lard butt of yours
to just r-o-l-l over here? Cause if you coming, youd best
come on. She began swooning and swaying, singing loud (and
off key) to the point she just plain old drowned out poor Marvin
Gaye. Lets get it on! she sang, Awww Baby!
I hated having to tell Hotshot, Blue and Dosha...they left,
Man. Together. Sucking all over each others face.
When Hot-shot heard it, he promptly fell to his knees...and prayed.
Baby Doll was there. We all recalled how she killed that man.
Well, she didnt really kill him, but you might as well say
she did it. She was about nineteen or twenty at the time. And
old Mr. Charlie was close to ninety. He lived in a pretty nice
size house and had just bought a brand spanking new, fully loaded,
completely paid for, red El Dorado Cadillac that he couldnt
even drive all that well.
Consequently, Baby Doll married Mr. Charlie, and just two weeks
later...he was pretty much gone. There was even a jackpot started:
The How Long Before Mr. Charlie Croaks pot.
How long do you think? my sister asked our mother.
Disgraceful! Mudear said. Just a crying shame!
Folks betting on a mans life like that.
So naturally I was just as surprised as everyone else when I won
that ninety dollar pot, God rest his soul. It did buy our school
supplies that year, paid a month on the power bill; and I was
able to buy Mudear a dress from Newberrys downtown.
Someone (I still dont know who) invited Dog to the party;
I just know it wasnt me. But I dared not to tell Johnnie
Mae that. I have nothing against Dog, but he and Sister once had
a thing for each other. Dog had his chance and he crashed like
a computer system with a major virus.
So when I caught him teasing Sister, naturally I stepped in, although
the frown on her face hissed at some hidden feelings.
Johnnie Mae whispered in my ear later, Hmmm, Pearl seems
to have a way of attracting all the mangy mutts. You mean to tell
me she could have ended up with this Dog instead of the dog she
Looks to me she just might have lucked out after all. Now
thats sad when I have to admit that. Johnnie Maes
stare seemed locked on his waist as his pants rested a quarter
inch below the wide band of hisnow exposedBVDs. Oh
well, she said, at least Flick has the decency to
wear clean drawers. Or at least he doesnt go around advertising
his dirty ones.
Johnnie Mae can always manage to find something wrong with any
and everybody I grew up with. If shed just give them a chance...like
she did with Sister. Only, she had no idea I even knew Sister
back when she introduced us to each other.
Yes, that was a great party! Everybody appeared to have enjoyed
themselves, and that was the goal. Most werent too drunk
to drive home or at least, they had sense enough to have a designated
driver. Those who didnt...we called them a cab.
Sister, in particular, seemed to have had a great time. All of
us laughed as she tried blowing out fifty candles at once. Dog
stood there waiting breathlessly, hoping it seemed, that she would
need mouth-to-mouth (and Im sure he would have fought off
ten men, happily for that privilege).
Man! You gonna have to do this again! Soon. Real soon!
Dog said as he staggered awayhalf-drunk now. He was one
of three who was still there after one oclock.
I looked over at my dear wife whose face seemed to scream, without
apology, Ill be so glad when these fools leave my
house and take their butts on home! and I knew this might
well be the last time this crowd would ever assemble again in
Johnnie Mae did say she enjoyed it, after the last person was
gone. Then she went about the task of unlocking all the locked
doors inside our house. Why she locked them, I do not know. But
after a while, you grow used to certain things.
Showering and quickly sliding between the satin covers, she shivered
and said, Im cold! Im putting the T-shirt sheets
back on the bed first thing tomorrow.
I reached my hand underneath her fluffed pillow and pulled out
a velvet box.
Be my valentine? I said. The light from the moon that
flooded through our bedroom window, somehow caught and seemed
to add a special touch to the diamond tennis bracelet just as
she dangled it in the air.
She smiled, and I gave her a passionate kiss before laying her
ever-so-gently down. She nestled closer to me. We didnt
discuss the good or bad of the night; the only words uttered,
were words of passion and love. I think she said, Yes!
Yes, shed be my Valentine. And if Im not mistaken,
I do believe I actually yelled, Ah...sooky sooky now!
Oh yes, it was definitely a good night!