Stepping into the much cooler,flourescent lit interior and letting the door swing shut with the thudding clank
common to such commercial style doors,,I paused for a minute to not only let the cool sweep over me but to let my eyes adjust
to the different quality of light that flourescent tubes provide.
And doing so allowed me to listen to the sounds of the kitchen before wading into it.Mind wise I was
still not really back to 'firing on all 8 cylinders' since the 7-11,,not to mention the night before.'Are ya gonna hava break
down,dude?' asked my little inner voice."Maybe", I said under my breath.'Well,,get your cheque,,deal with John,,and then,,after
he goes home,,let's go to the library and see what we can find out.BUT,,get your cheque,,so's we can get home and burn one.'
"Yeah,,that's a plan." was my mental reply as I took two steps forward,,and went into my 'work place'
stride as I passed by the table on my left..Heading forward the bathroom door was directly in front of me so when Alicia came
out and left the door open I got a direct view of an obviously female naked butt bent over behind her.As Alicia seen me she
smiled real big and said loudly,,"Whoops!He done got a free shot,Mishale!" and turned to grab the door handle in order to
pull it shut.
Mishale,,the owner of the oddly spelled name and the very,very nice looking butt turned with her panties,,nice
light blue ones with a red striped waistband,,half up one cheek and her black waitress uniform skirt still bundled up abover
her waist,,seen me and said,,"Oh,,him.No biggy,,he's seen it before.And more.Morning!", "Ooooh,,Tina was right then!She said
you two musta done sumpin from the way you smile at him sometimes." saying that as she stepped back in the bathroom,Alicia
turned and looked at me with an 'impish gleam' in her eye, then shut the door.
Smiling at the thought of what the topic of conversation was going to be I hung a right to head around
the 'tray racks' kept at the back end of the prep coolers to go to Wallys office and allmost ran right into Mabel.Stopping
so quick my Pumas squeeked on the floor I said,,"Hi Mabel!Thank You!"
"Boy,,don't you be thanking me for nuthin,,you hear me?You thank God,boy,,you thank God I can catch the
Finding out what the meaning of 'taken aback' was I stepped back and stared in stunned amazement at the
little old womans face.Lined with age,obvious concern and lit with a very irate inner glow it's eyes glared at me while it's
mouth was moving so rapidly that the toothpick tucked into it made me think of a sewing machine needle,,but sideways. The
sounds coming out of it were not making any sense at all to me while she began swatting me profusely about the head and shoulders
with a piece of paper.
Ducking and bobbing a little while taking another couple of steps back I said,,"Mabel,Mabel,,stop,,I
don't understand a word you're saying!" and began laughing.I didn't think the subject she had on her mind was going to be
humorous but the way she was going off and all was about as funny of a sight as one could ask to see.
Stopping as suddenly as she had began,,she looked at me with that now kind looking face and said,,"I
couldn't help it,boy,the look on your face was priceless." and began cackling in her very unique fashion.While doing so she
grabbed me by the sleeve and began pulling me back to the table by the back doors.
Still laughing she got me there,sat down in the chair facing the back doors and laid the paper which
she had just been swatting me with in the middle of the table.Sitting down opposite her I asked,,"Did you dream another number
dream about me again,Mabel?"
"No,and that dream wasn't about the numbers,boy.The numbers were part of the story." The smile was gone.The
look on her face was serious and yet heavily laden with concern.While she was kind enough generally,,the intensity of it caused
me to become filled with a sense of apprehensive unease while my skin began to go sort of 'dry clammy'."And" , she continued,,
"you got some serious trouble ahead of you that could really mess you up if you aren't careful."
"And that's because,,why?" I asked.Afraid of the answer but looking at her in earnest anticipation of
one that I was sure was going to have something to do with 'a ouijie board,moving planchettes,dead girls calling folks or
something named sam.'
But her answer was,,,"I don't rightly know,youngun.All I know is like I said,,I have dreams.And the dream
said you need to be free to frolic today to be present when something is found to keep something else from being found." ,
"Now,what the heck does that mean,Mabel?"
Pointing at the paper she had laid on the table she said,"You have the day off and there's your cheque.Go
away.Go frolic.You have somewhere to be so you need to be free to be there,,that's all I know." I looked at the paper she
had been swatting me with and realized that it was a regular pay envelope with my name on it.
"No idea where that somewhere might be?" , "No,,just that it's somewhere you will be if you are free
to be anywhere you want today,,now go.Git!" With that she slapped her hand on the table,,which,with Mabel,,was equal to a
judge using a gavel to end a matter.
Standing up and sliding the chair back under the table I smiled one of those 'shit eaters' and said,,"Well,,thank
you Mabel for passing the dream on,,even though you haven't told me the dream.And I do thank God you caught the dream too,,
especially since I get to have a three day weekend from it." Scooping up my paycheque I ended with,,"And,,with pay at that!"
"Well,,don't forget,,be careful.I ain't sure what's going on boy,,but I pray in the name of the Son of
the God of Abraham,Issac and Jacob that you wind up where you are supposed to be so's you can do what ya gotta do and be as
safe,capable,couragous and wise as ya need to be to get through what ever ya might go through."
Putting a sort of 'suspiciously leary' and a little bit scared smile my face,,"Is that like a 'God bless
you' or 'goodluck'?" and began backing slowly away,,"If so,,,thanks I guess.And the same back at ya,Mabel." I continued to
back away,,keeping the look on my face as best as I could,,which was gettng harder because she was looking at me in an equally
strange fashion,,aping back at me with the good humour she rarely showed many folks that she had.
I bumped into the doors,and faked a 'startled reaction' which got her to shaking her head and giggling
a little.Then with mock fear making my voice tremble and crack I asked,,"Uh,,is there anything else,Mabel?Are you sure that's
Openly laughing,,allthough not loud,,she shook her head and said,,"no,,no,,nuthin else,boy." As soon
as she said that I turned quickly,,said,,"Thank You!",pushed the door open and started to dart through it untill she stopped
laughing and said,,"Oh,,hey,,wait!",,and I froze in my tracks.
Turning very little besides my head I looked back at her with the mock fear mask still on my face and
asked in the same,,yet shriller voice,,"What!?"
"Watch out for holes." I dropped the fearful look and just went plain puzzled."Holes?What kind of holes?I
really like some holes,Mabel." That made it her turn to look puzzled for a second,,then an impish gleam twinkled through her
eyes as she realized what I was referring to."Those will git ya in real big trouble,,but no,,just holes in general."
"Uh,,okay,Mabel." As I said that,,as though some unseen person had 'cued them',,Alicia and Mishale came
out of the bathroom behind Mabel.Seeing them,,I acted all amazed and scared,,hollered,'Ahhh!Holes!!',turned and ran away screaming.Untill
the door closed behind me I could hear Mabel laughing as the two girls voices made questioning sounds that I didn't understand.
Jogging to my car door I jumped in and cranked the Skylarks engine,,briefly interupting the Air Supply
song John was singing along to.He stopped crooning 'I'm all out a love',turned down the radio and asked,,"Get it"?
Leaving it in park I took a swallow of my coffee,set it back and said,"Yep.", and opened the envelope.Looking
at it briefly to make sure the numbers looked at least close to what I figured they were supposed to be,,I then folded it
and put in in my right shirt pocket.Picking my coffee cup back up I looked at John,raised it at him in a 'toasty' fashion
and said,,"Onward and upward the eagle flew,,having shat,,dollars so few."
Lifting his in return John replied with,,"Tho one would wish it not so,,'tis nothing new,,this too common
blue.",,and we both took swallows in unison.Setting mine back down in the console I did a mirror check and backed into a turn
around then pulled out after checking for traffic."Where ya going to get it cashed?" , "Park Place if any one is there right
now,,if not I'll probally stop at the Step Saver.But I want to call Eddie to see if he is still home so I can get a sak before
he leaves for work."
Getting a little more joyful over the prospect of 'beach bumming' later,,with Melissa,,I pressured my
accelerator a bit and got to Park Place in no time flat.Passing an old black man walking down the canal side of the road,,I
looked in my rearview and seen the wind from the cars passage blow the fellas old fashioned hat off his grey haired head.Feeling
a tad bad,,I none the less chuckled a bit.
Braking a little hard in order to slow down enuff as I came up on the place,,I pulled in and parked alongside
the building,,across a couple of spaces that really weren't defined.Leaving it running,,I hopped out and quick stepped to
the door.Tugging on it,,and finding it was unlocked,,I turned and flashed a smile at John before ducking inside.
Stepping in and looking around,,I seen Mary Oglernawski,,the wife of one of the several family members
whose family owned the place.Her husband Levi worked at the Club as head bartender,,and she did too on certain occasions.I
also used to go to school with his youngest brother,,Shawn.
"Good morning,Mary." , "Morning.What are you doing in here,,shouldn't you be at work?" , "Surprisingly,,I
have the day off,,with pay,,if I can get you to cash my paycheck that is."
Waving the check I had pulled out of my pocket at her,,I then asked,,"Does ya think ya can turn it into
money for me,,please,ma'am?" , "Probally,,what are ya going to do with a whole day off,,with pay?" Sticking her hand out for
the check,,she took it,,looked at it while I said,,"It's actually three,,can you believe that?",,then handed it back saying,,"Endorse
it,,I have enough cash.Three,,wow,,how did you rate that?,,have you been flirting with Lois?" while heading for the register.
She was referring to the dark headed thick hipped older woman who was the Head Manager of the Club,,Lois
Socrates."Of course I have" I replied,"but it was Mable that did it.She said something about having a dream that said I should
have the day off."
Laughing she said,,"Mabel and her dreams!You know,,the funny thing is,,she is often right with those
numbers.I have made more than a few wins using them." while she keyed the register open. "Really?I don't mess with that racket.But
if her dreams get me a three day weekend,,I'm all for listening to them.You got a pen?"
Pausing in counting out the money she handed me one from on the register,,and asked,,"What'ya gonna do
with three days off in a row?" Signing my name to the back of the check,,I handed it and the pen back to her and said,,"Go
to the beach with a purty girl and party hardy!! What else?" Laughing she took the pen then counted my money out onto the
"You oughta see her,Mary,,she's beautiful.She has the prettiest eyes I've ever seen and a body that makes
my tongue hard." , "Ooh,,sounds like love!" ,"I don't know about all that,,but I know there are some things I would love to
do to her,,er,,I mean,,with her."
Picking my money up,,I continued with,,"Actually though,,she's really nice.I think I'm hoping it may
be a lot more than the usual to tell you the truth." , "Well,,if so,,I hope so,,for your sake.It's nice to find a special
someone to be with for more than a little bit."
Smiling at her as I started walking away,,I said,,"We'll see I suppose.Tell Levi I'll see him next week,,okay?And
thank you for cashing my check,sweetheart.I'll see you next week too,,unless I see you two in here over the weekend."
"Okay,,you be careful and have a good time,,allright?" Opening the door I replied with,,"Yes,ma'am,,I'll
see ya later." as I stepped on out and let it close behind me.
Stepping outside,,I learned my car was not running like I left it and John was on the payphone.I got
in and left the door open while I took a swig of my coffee and turned the radio on at a low volume.There was a Marley song
playing that I did not know the name of.While the 'island rythym' filled the car I looked in the rearview mirror and seen
that old black man whose hat got blowed off had turned around and was coming back this way.Still quite a distance away and
not too far from where I had passed him it seemed like he had not went past that point but had simply turned around.
My nagger,,that little 'narrating mental thorn' chose that time to pipe up with,,'maybe he's peeved over
the hat and is coming after you.' , 'Yeah,,like he's gonna chase me down?As slow as he looks like he's moving,,we'll be long
gone by the time he gets here.' was my laconic response to the idea.
Looking back at John,,I seen him hang up the phone,,then stand there just looking at it.Obviously immersed
in thought he stood like that for a moment before seeming to shake himself a bit,,as though snapping himself out of his mental
absorption and turning to stride to the car.
Jumping in,,he said,,"My cousin Bob is at my house and he's got some of that Rasta stuff." , "Really?"
I asked as I quickly cranked the car and put it in drive.John,,his right leg not all the way in the car exclaimed ,,"Whoa,,let
me get in first.!" as he caught the car door before it crunched his leg and laughing,,he shut the door as I gunned it and
looked in the rearview to see if any one was coming.
There were no cars,,just the old man still walking.John was saying,,"I talked to my mom too,,she says
she has to talk to you." Glancing at him when I heard that I came up on the stop sign at US 1 a little quicker than I anticipated
caused me to have to brake rather hard to not shoot the stop.The suddeness set me and him both to laughing.His stopped suddenly
when he heard the song onthe radio.Hurriedly turning it up he said,,"This is just the song we need to hear right now,man,listen
to what he says!"
"I'm a duppy conqueror, conqueror! Yes me friend (me good friend) We de a street
again Yes me friend (me good friend) Dem say we're free again So don't try to cold me up on this bridge, now I've got to reach
mount zion The highest region So if you're a bull-bucker, Let me tell you this I'm a duppy conqueror, conqueror! Yes me friend
Dem say we're free again, oh, oh yeah! Yes me friend Dem set me free again "
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