Short Stories

Don’t Say Forever……

Dear Readers,  A sneak peek into a short story in progress. Happy Reading.

Don’t Say Forever……

I did not hear the urgency in her voice I was excited about our weekly rant session. The first clue that something was wrong we didn’t meet at our usual diner for loaded nachos and Long Island Ice tea, with an extra shot. Instead, we met at a fancy tea-house in China Town. When I sat down Katherine looked at me with a death stare and said,

“I hope you have some spare time, this could take a while.” When I looked into Katherine’s usually big brown, beautiful, shiny, eyes, they were dull and blood-shot.

The atmosphere of the teahouse is solemn and dim. This disturbed me because I was in the mood for the cheerful, bright lights and noise of the diner. Kathrine ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea and a glass of sake. My thoughts were racing I’m confused, we talked two days ago and she was her normal lively self. After the table was set and I made tea Katherine took a long drink from her glass of sake, and initiated the conversation…

“This was supposed to be the greatest adventure of my life. I have waited a decade for my King and soul mate. When Samuel got down on one knee, and placed this ring on my finger and ask me to be his life partner, at that moment I felt as though I’d awaken from a long and terrible nightmare.”

I’ve known Katherine for fifteen years she’s been my rock and road dog. I’ve seen this fearless women battle life struggles like a true warrior Queen. She has slayed some ugly demons and dethroned men, and like a hunger and anger lioness, she pursued her ambition of becoming a tenure English Professor and accomplished that goal. The person sitting in front of me, I don’t know her.  Katherine took another drink from her glass of sake and continued.

“It’s my fault, I moved too fast. I should have taken your advice and kept my apartment; my haven; where no one dictated to me. He kept pushing me to move in. I wanted to wait until we were husband and wife.”

Katherine ordered another glass of sake. I reached out across the table grabbing her hand; she squeezed mine with a death grip. Our eyes locked. In hers, I saw grief, regret and something I’ve never seen before defeat.

Kathrine continued, “This relationship is a mistake. Samuel is smothering me and wants to take away my life. He want me to become the relationship.”

I had to say something; I wanted her to stop and breathe. “I’m confused. I thought you said he’s being supportive.”

“Yes, he was while we were under two separate roofs. Samuel says that my goals are for a single person, and since I’m no longer single, I need to think about what’s good for the relationship.”

“What?”

“I rejected an offer to teach for six weeks in Korea because he feels that we haven’t established a solid foundation. He follows me everywhere, he is clingy, needy and he whines. There’s no peace in the house because he talks nonstop, and he interrogates me about everything. The only peace I have is when he isn’t home, when I’m at work and when he doesn’t follow me to church.”

Guilt swept over me. I encouraged Katherine to open her heart and give Samuel a chance.    I watched Katherine dry her teary eyes.

“Come stay with me.”

“Oh no, I will remain right where I am for the next two years.”

“What? Why? I don’t understand.”

“I’ve pondered this situation for weeks; I don’t have to think about forever with Samuel.”

“I don’t get it; you’re going to continue to live with a man you say is not the one.”

“Yes, I am in the best possible position to achieve my goals with financial ease. What is our biggest struggle as single women?”

“Rent.”

“Yes, I don’t pay rent, Samuel does. I pay the smaller expenses. I will continue to play the dutiful fiancé while completing my next two novels, my M.F.A. in addition to going back to the  New York City DownTown Chours to sing at Carnegie Hall, and Samuel will be standing beside me.  In two years, I can retire from teaching. To solidify the deal I will marry him and plan our honeymoon in Aruba.”

“Now I’m truly lost, you’re going to marry him.”

“Yes. Remember the little villa I have in the hills of St. Vincent that no one knows about except you.”

“Yes.”

“While we’re on our blissful honeymoon I will escape and go there. When he reports me missing he’ll become the main suspect.”

“Are you seriously going to do this?”

“Yes. I will be very happy on my little island; while he sits in jail.”

“What make you think Samuel will go to jail?”

“I’ll plant evidence pointing to his guilt.”

“What do you need me to do?”

“Oh, no I’m not going to get you involved in this the less you know the better.”

“I won’t let you do this alone. Remember we promised to be friend until the end, no matter what.”

“This is going to be a long two years, but I can’t leave unless I have the funds to support myself. I have a friend who works for a bank in St. Vincent she, will help me transfer my retirement checks there without anyone being able to trace them.”

My best friend will be gone in two years. What am I going to do?”

We continued to meet for our weekly rant sessions. I don’t know how Katherine did it; living each say in such misery.  Katherine kept an exhausting schedule, when she needed rest, she stayed at my place; by the end of the first year, she published one novel, half way through the second manuscript, and had completed her M.F.A.

The start of the second year Katherine said it was time to begin to focus the plan. She began to close all of her accounts transferring the money to a bank overseas. She cancelled her credits cards and for the rest of her life she will have to use cash she did not want to create a paper trail. Katherine through of everything she knows a someone who knows a guy who can create fake documents for her to assume a new identity. I begin to panic this was becoming real. I’ve heard of people doing stuff like this, I’ve seen movies of people planning how they would vanish, but this is close to home……stay tune for more of  Don’t Say Forever……

 

In the meantime, Read A Different Flavor of Love, by J. R, Floyd, Available On Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Different-Flavor-Love-J-Floyd

Also, tune into my new YouTube Channel, Conversations from my Couch, and Hosted by me. Here is a sneak peek……. https://youtu.be/qYj5sSJepqE

 

Random Thoughts

I remember When…..

Dear Readers,

There is a Rap song titled “We came from nothing” and an old church hymn that talks about building a house on a solid foundation. When I think of a solid foundation, I think of family. civilization was created with the idea family being the fabric that holds society together. Family is where children are supposed to learn the values and morals of life. The knowledge passed into children from their grandparents are words of wisdom that is the sum of their life experience and struggles they have conquered.

Family is where mothers teach daughters how to be domestic divas and at the same time how to be self-sufficient, while preparing to meet their life partners. Family is where fathers educate their sons how to respect women and what their responsibilities are to their future wives and children. Family is where children learn to love, share, communicate and stay close to their siblings.

Our family’s teach the importance of honoring our elders and never forgetting those who passed on. Family is where babies are celebrated and weddings are a serious extended family event, and death is seen as a home going not the end. In a perfect world, this would make sense.

Nowadays, the family structure is broken and seems damaged beyond repair. Divorce has swept through generations if to say the only way to be happy is to remain single. Mothers burdened with the task of raising multiple children by different fathers. Men are running from home to home spreading their seeds without looking back to see them to maturity. Grandparents are now parents to children parents felt that parenthood is too burdensome. Aunts and Uncles have become best friends to their nieces and nephews, instead of being role models of good leadership and guidance to help younger family members to navigate a world of hate and misery.

I remember growing up eating at a long wooden table this was a sacred time for my family. We waited for family members to arrive for the pleasure of sharing a meal. We did not answer the phone or watch TV. We sat, ate, talked, and laughed. As I got older, the family dinner table became the place were serious family matters were discussed and solved. Sunday was family day, a day relatives anticipated these weekly visits. Nowadays, there are no weekly visits or calls just to say,” hi, how are you.” No one sends cards by snail mail anymore, and we texted instead of letting our voices be heard.

We carry senseless grudges until somebody dies and then we live with the guilt of not asking for forgiveness while they were alive. Children thrown out of their homes at 18 because parents feel it is time for them to go. The visits to elderly family members get less and less, we have replaced time spend in person with technology. We have allowed the grind for that next promotion to get the new car or the bigger house, and spend less and less time with family. In addition, parents are over scheduling children in extra after school activities to keep them busy.

Take a second and think. Do you wish for the days when Family was first, and everything else followed.

What say you?

Random Thoughts

The Truth of the Matter

Dear readers,

This is not an attempt to sound preachy nor am I speaking out against people who believe in God. I was raised in a Judo-Christine home. My father the late Rev. Joseph N. Floyd sr. taught his twelve children no matter their lot in life, be respectful, kindness and above all hold onto hope and faith.

I said that to say this….

These days people seen to be angry at God or the Devil.

People in the church seem to think that the devil is blamed for war, famine, and a failed economy. I beg to differ. This is not the work of the devil. The true evil drives from the greed of power-hungry individuals, working collectively to destroy the lives of people who they deem unworthy to live a prosperous life. Yet, these same individuals continuously quote “That all men are created equal.”

There are questions concerning the presence of God. Like, why does God let terrible things happen to good people? Why does God watch people suffer? Why won’t God answer prayers, or give people the things they need? I remember a Judy Blume book I read “Are you their God it’s me Margaret?” A story about a young girl who prayed night after night for bigger breasts and when it didn’t happen …well you can guess the outcome.

People in the religious world blames the SIINERS for creating the SINS that cause people to turn their backs on GOD. The church claims that people in the secular world belief is “In God We Trust.” The individuals in the spiritual world accuse the non-believers in trusting too much in “earthly wealth” instead of earning their place in heaven by doing honorable deeds on earth. The non-believer’s counterargument is that believers are too passive and spend too much time praying, hoping, wishing, and waiting for life to get better, instead of making it better they wait for some invisible God to do it for them.

Mega churches are being built, but who are they helping? Politicians make promise of making life better for the less fortunate during an election year, only to get into office then cut programs for the same people who BELIEVED they would make a difference.  PASTORS of these mega churches are preaching a message of better days and a better life and all people must do is believe?

The finger pointing can go on and on between the believers and the non-believers the real question is, how can we come together and make this world a better place regardless of our own personal beliefs?

What say you?

 

 

 

Short Stories

Remember This Day.

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If you know anything about people of color, it’s this: Sunday is church day. No matter who you are, what job you do, and how much money you have or don’t have, in my neighborhood on Sunday people attend church. Anything outside of that is considered sacrilege.

The blocks that make up my community consist of brownstone houses. There are two grocery stores, one fish market owned by Mr. Martin & son, one liquor store and a laundromat. Also, there are Ms. Handy’s candy store and Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

During the week,  the streets are busy with the usual activities of the number runners going door to door taking bets for  illegal numbers,  mothers  hustling their  children off to school, and men waiting for rides to go to work.

The ice truck arrives every morning just before Mr. Martin receives the fish for his market. Everyone else is busy opening their shops getting ready for a day of business. The rule in the neighborhood is that the liquor store doesn’t open until noon, a strict code of conduct that is respected because folks around here don’t believe it is right for anyone to start drinking before lunch time.

Ms. Handy opens her candy shop just in time to greet the mothers coming back from school after picking up their children. On some days when the mothers have time, they hang around the counter drinking soda pop and running their mouths, while the children sit outside eating whatever treat they are allowed to have before supper.

The older men who don’t work linger around the liquor store passing around a bottle of Thunder Bird, each taking a sip, telling dirty jokes and repeating the same war stories.  In this area nobody looks down on these men because most of them served this country by volunteering to go to war. This is a community where everybody knows everybody and people help those in need and don’t look kindly on strangers or, as the elders would say “Those who don’t fit in”.  Mostly, they are talking about people outside the colored race.

Friday is payday: this means that the men come home early and women put on their best dresses, because payday means grocery shopping and a visit to the White Castle on the other side of town.  For the families who don’t own a car, it is up to the men to do a head count and double everybody up.  These weekly outings mean a break from cooking for the women, quality time for the men, and the children consider eating at White Castle fine dining.

Sometimes on a Friday Mr. Martin will host a fish fry at his house that also doubles as a card game. Each family takes turns going by the house buying fish dinners, and Mr. Martin gives free ice cream to the children.  When it starts to get late, women take the children home and most of the men stay behind to play poker. Another special part of each Friday is that is one night that the older children are allowed to stay up an hour past their normal school night bedtime.

There is a different rhythm to the activities on Saturday. The men get up early to wash their cars, while children watch cartoons and eat bowls of sweet cereal, allowing time for mother’s to clean the house and prepare for Sunday. After the house chores are done, most of the mothers leave their children with the fathers or at grandma’s house so that they can keep their appointments at Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

No matter how busy Saturday is the golden rule is Saturday is the day before the Lord’s day. People take this seriously. They believe that it is the Lord who blessed them to have jobs, a roof over their heads, and food to eat, so it is only right to give Him one day.

Preparing for Sunday means that the men shine their Sunday shoes the old-fashioned way, gather their male children to inspect their suits, and teach them how to tie a tie.  Women young and old scrutinize their closet for their best dresses and hats. Mothers instruct the oldest daughter in the house to choose outfits for the younger children to be pressed, which has to be done on Saturday night because church going folk don’t Iron clothes on the Lord’s day.

Before the sunset on Saturday, the liquor store is the first to close early and the other stores follow. The last wash at the laundromat is 3pm, and no bets can be taken after closing time because numbers don’t come in on a Sunday. The noise in most homes starts to fade around eight o’clock PM. Children are put to bed no later than nine o’clock PM. Over the course of the night, both parents help with the food preparation for Sunday’s meal.

When the sun rises Sunday morning, the first thing that one notices is that the streets are quiet; there are no number runners and the grocery stores don’t sell beer on Sunday. The smell of Sunday dinner cooking and gospel music can be heard throughout the area. Right after breakfast the men will leave the house to go and put gas in their cars. The mothers bathe and dress the children and sit them down in the living room to wait.

Even if you don’t go to church, everyone respects the Lord’s day.  No one considers himself to be what some people would refer to as a “holy roller,” because people believe that what they are doing is being obedient to the will of God.  The majority of the people around here are members of the same church, Bring it on Baptist, and the Pastor is Reverend Getright. On Sunday full names turns into church title such as sister, brother, mother, deacon, and trustee.

The church day begins with Sunday school. Pastor Getright says “Sunday school sets the tone for Sunday Service”.  Sunday school is taught by the elders, meaning the church mothers and deacons.  Pastor says that “it’s good to keep the elders, involved in the church activity.” He says, “Its’ cause they have life experience.”

Most, if not all, of the children and young adults attend Sunday school. These classes are where most of the children learn The Bible Basic, and as you get older you move from junior  class, to young adult,  and finally to adult class, and someday become a Sunday school teacher.  For me the best part of Sunday school is the snacks after classes are over.

One thing about church ladies it’s this, they can bake. I’m not taking about pouring the cake mix out of the box, adding water, and then baking. No, these sisters bake from scratch; they use real lard, lots of butter, and make their own icing. I heard some of the older sisters say that the recipes they use have been in their family for generations.

Well, I don’t know about generation of recipes, all I know is that the cakes are good!

While the Sunday school crowd is having their snacks, it is the duty of the ushers and deacons to prepare the sanctuary for morning worship. Beside the Sunday meal, the morning service is considered the highlight of the day.

During the preparations, we can hear the organist playing hymns, warming up the organ, the drummer resetting his drums, and the choir gathering in the back room, putting on their robes and praying, asking God to help them to sing for His glory. Although this is a Baptist church, it’s modern by today’s standards. As I was told the Baptist people from down south didn’t start out with musical instruments; they sung a capella clapping their hands to keep the beat.

Well, I’d better move this story along, because Sunday dinner is waiting and there is nothing better than Sunday supper, followed by homemade cake; and if we are lucky we get to go see some of our friends in the neighborhood, which means another piece of cake.

On Sundays people behave differently. There is a lot more laugher, the men sit at the dinner table longer, and the women aren’t in a hurry to clean after dinner.  When the day starts to come to an end, families slowly make their way back to their homes. The scene is something out of a movie; the men put sleeping children in the cars, while the women say their goodbyes. The quietness of the evening is kept while each house is preparing for the start of another busy week.

In their rooms children whisper about how much fun they had, and wives and husbands talk over the things that need to be done during the week. One by one the lights go out; the activity of the day will remain in their minds until the next Lord’s Day.

 

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Short Stories

Remember This Day.

Short Story,

 

If you know anything about people of color, it’s this: Sunday is church day. No matter who you are, what job you do, and how much money you have or don’t have, in my neighborhood on Sunday people attend church. Anything outside of that is considered sacrilege.

The blocks that make up my community consist of brownstone houses. There are two grocery stores, one fish market owned by Mr. Martin & son, one liquor store and a laundromat. Also, there are Ms. Handy’s candy store and Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

During the week,  the streets are busy with the usual activities of the number runners going door to door taking bets for  illegal numbers,  mothers  hustling their  children off to school, and men waiting for rides to go to work.

The ice truck arrives every morning just before Mr. Martin receives the fish for his market. Everyone else is busy opening their shops getting ready for a day of business. The rule in the neighborhood is that the liquor store doesn’t open until noon, a strict code of conduct that is respected because folks around here don’t believe it is right for anyone to start drinking before lunch time.

Ms. Handy opens her candy shop just in time to greet the mothers coming back from school after picking up their children. On some days when the mothers have time, they hang around the counter drinking soda pop and running their mouths, while the children sit outside eating whatever treat they are allowed to have before supper.

The older men who don’t work linger around the liquor store passing around a bottle of Thunder Bird, each taking a sip, telling dirty jokes and repeating the same war stories.  In this area nobody looks down on these men because most of them served this country by volunteering to go to war. This is a community where everybody knows everybody and people help those in need and don’t look kindly on strangers or, as the elders would say “Those who don’t fit in”.  Mostly, they are talking about people outside the colored race.

Friday is payday: this means that the men come home early and women put on their best dresses, because payday means grocery shopping and a visit to the White Castle on the other side of town.  For the families who don’t own a car, it is up to the men to do a head count and double everybody up.  These weekly outings mean a break from cooking for the women, quality time for the men, and the children consider eating at White Castle fine dining.

Sometimes on a Friday Mr. Martin will host a fish fry at his house that also doubles as a card game. Each family takes turns going by the house buying fish dinners, and Mr. Martin gives free ice cream to the children.  When it starts to get late, women take the children home and most of the men stay behind to play poker. Another special part of each Friday is that is one night that the older children are allowed to stay up an hour past their normal school night bedtime.

There is a different rhythm to the activities on Saturday. The men get up early to wash their cars, while children watch cartoons and eat bowls of sweet cereal, allowing time for mother’s to clean the house and prepare for Sunday. After the house chores are done, most of the mothers leave their children with the fathers or at grandma’s house so that they can keep their appointments at Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

No matter how busy Saturday is the golden rule is Saturday is the day before the Lord’s day. People take this seriously. They believe that it is the Lord who blessed them to have jobs, a roof over their heads, and food to eat, so it is only right to give Him one day.

Preparing for Sunday means that the men shine their Sunday shoes the old-fashioned way, gather their male children to inspect their suits, and teach them how to tie a tie.  Women young and old scrutinize their closet for their best dresses and hats. Mothers instruct the oldest daughter in the house to choose outfits for the younger children to be pressed, which has to be done on Saturday night because church going folk don’t Iron clothes on the Lord’s day.

Before the sunset on Saturday, the liquor store is the first to close early and the other stores follow. The last wash at the laundromat is 3pm, and no bets can be taken after closing time because numbers don’t come in on a Sunday. The noise in most homes starts to fade around eight o’clock PM. Children are put to bed no later than nine o’clock PM. Over the course of the night, both parents help with the food preparation for Sunday’s meal.

When the sun rises Sunday morning, the first thing that one notices is that the streets are quiet; there are no number runners and the grocery stores don’t sell beer on Sunday. The smell of Sunday dinner cooking and gospel music can be heard throughout the area. Right after breakfast the men will leave the house to go and put gas in their cars. The mothers bathe and dress the children and sit them down in the living room to wait.

Even if you don’t go to church, everyone respects the Lord’s day.  No one considers himself to be what some people would refer to as a “holy roller,” because people believe that what they are doing is being obedient to the will of God.  The majority of the people around here are members of the same church, Bring it on Baptist, and the Pastor is Reverend Getright. On Sunday full names turns into church title such as sister, brother, mother, deacon, and trustee.

The church day begins with Sunday school. Pastor Getright says “Sunday school sets the tone for Sunday Service”.  Sunday school is taught by the elders, meaning the church mothers and deacons.  Pastor says that “it’s good to keep the elders, involved in the church activity.” He says, “Its’ cause they have life experience.”

Most, if not all, of the children and young adults attend Sunday school. These classes are where most of the children learn The Bible Basic, and as you get older you move from junior  class, to young adult,  and finally to adult class, and someday become a Sunday school teacher.  For me the best part of Sunday school is the snacks after classes are over.

One thing about church ladies it’s this, they can bake. I’m not taking about pouring the cake mix out of the box, adding water, and then baking. No, these sisters bake from scratch; they use real lard, lots of butter, and make their own icing. I heard some of the older sisters say that the recipes they use have been in their family for generations.

Well, I don’t know about generation of recipes, all I know is that the cakes are good!

While the Sunday school crowd is having their snacks, it is the duty of the ushers and deacons to prepare the sanctuary for morning worship. Beside the Sunday meal, the morning service is considered the highlight of the day.

During the preparations, we can hear the organist playing hymns, warming up the organ, the drummer resetting his drums, and the choir gathering in the back room, putting on their robes and praying, asking God to help them to sing for His glory. Although this is a Baptist church, it’s modern by today’s standards. As I was told the Baptist people from down south didn’t start out with musical instruments; they sung a capella clapping their hands to keep the beat.

Well, I’d better move this story along, because Sunday dinner is waiting and there is nothing better than Sunday supper, followed by homemade cake; and if we are lucky we get to go see some of our friends in the neighborhood, which means another piece of cake.

On Sundays people behave differently. There is a lot more laugher, the men sit at the dinner table longer, and the women aren’t in a hurry to clean after dinner.  When the day starts to come to an end, families slowly make their way back to their homes. The scene is something out of a movie; the men put sleeping children in the cars, while the women say their goodbyes. The quietness of the evening is kept while each house is preparing for the start of another busy week.

In their rooms children whisper about how much fun they had, and wives and husbands talk over the things that need to be done during the week. One by one the lights go out; the activity of the day will remain in their minds until the next Lord’s Day.

 

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Random Thoughts

Safe Space

 

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Dear readers,

This message was posted on facebook by a close friend PKTMaxwell, it’s a response to the negative reaction by people who fear the LGBT community. The following  is not a religious speech.

As said by PKTMaxwell: My space is safe at work and needs to be just as safe in the community and especially at church. I know there are many people who view homosexuality as abominable and taboo. Not only are we taught this it is sinful but we can’t seem to separate hating that sin from hating the sinner. We unknowingly give people the idea that it  is okay to belittle, harass and even murder gays and lesbians because it is “God punishment.”

What a sad commentary.

There are so many young people ( in your church)  and even older people who need a Safe Space. Safe Space is a term originating in the LBGT community. As a Therapist, I have counseled with several people who have been on the brink of suicide, not because of who they are but because of how they are treated. Christians have to stop the hatred and demonstrate the love of Christ.

What Say You?