Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Fiction: Storm Talkin'

Guess what. I loooove fiction but I don't share a lot of it. I have a formal finance background but about 10 years ago I enrolled in a creative writing course because I know that one day in the near future, I’ll be in my wish-listed MFA program and I’ll be a novelist and filmmaker in addition to a memoirist. But until then, I’ll be playing with it here on my blog. Also remember that fiction is fake but sometimes the foundation is familiar. One may infuse what they’ve lived or what they know to make their fake story realistic. (Or you can always conduct heavy research.)

This particular story was partially born out of a writing prompt my friend Savannah, who’s also a writer, sent me on Sunday. It was a TikTok where the creator asked five questions and we’re supposed to turn our answers into a body of creative work. Immediately below are the questions and my responses followed by my short story.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Swept Up in El Nino: Spinning Through My 20s in Mismatched Mayhem

(About 3-4 years ago, I launched a quarterly, themed magazine series with the first issue revolving around singlehood. This story was published in that magazine edition. But as I revised it for this blog post, I'm remembering more details and events so I'm seriously considering rewriting this as a proper memoir. Stay tuned, my friends.)

I stared at Antonio* because I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. Or what he had just said. He looked at me.

“Get the rope!” he demanded.

I remained motionless.

“Get the gun!” he added.

Gun?! What gun?

I continued to stand there paralyzed, suddenly fearful that there was a weapon in the apartment.

Antonio saw that I wasn’t moving so he fled down the hallway into the bedroom. I finally turned my attention to that of Marco, the injured guest. He still sat in the chair. I wanted to dial 9-1-1 but I was seriously afraid. I didn’t even have a cell phone back then so I couldn’t grab one, run and call. But I was scared of getting shot, too. I was scared of getting interrogated. I was scared of testifying. I was scared of retaliation. I wasn’t accustomed to any of this mess; it wasn’t a life I had envisioned. But there I was.

Still full of excuses.

And wondering how the fuck I got here even after every screeching red flag that I dismissed.

I turned towards the door deciding if I should just escape right then and leave everything behind but my keys were in my purse in the bedroom. But then where could I go with no keys to my car? It was clear the neighbors feigned ignorance and minded their own business because no one peeked out their windows or doors. Neither the neighbors nor the other guests called the police. The mall and the shopping centers surrounding the complex were all closed. The whole world was mute or asleep. Or afraid.

I tiptoed down the hallway to see what Antonio was doing. He was inside the walk-in closet and I could hear items falling from the shelf and hitting the floor as his arms flailed in search of this gun.

“I can’t find it,” he said.

The shelves were empty. On the floor were sweaters, shirts and baseball caps covering neat rows of shoes. There was no lockbox. No shoebox. No thud of heavy steel meeting carpet. He didn’t have a gun. I walked back out front to check on the guest. He was alert, maybe plotting his own escape.

“You better go,” I told him. “Do what you need to do.”

I had hoped he’d be the one to report the incident.

Monday, March 21, 2022

I am a writer.

I was afraid that I had forgotten how to write because I haven’t written for myself in nearly three years.


Three.


YEARS.


That’s…disheartening.


I resent that I inadvertently validated the opinions of those who don’t understand and see my writing merely as a “little job.” But truthfully, there’s nothing little about a discipline we perpetually depend on and actively use.


Somebody writes those newspaper articles we read and newscasts we watch to keep up with what happens locally, nationally and globally.


Someone writes those books and magazine articles we peruse for leisure on lazy Saturday afternoons.


Sunday, March 20, 2022

The universe will never test you on how badly you want your assigned purpose.

I was experiencing somewhat of a deja vu moment as I chatted with my friend over calamari and cocktails. Barely six months prior I sat across from her over another meal assuring her that I’d be okay after walking away from a progressive 10-year career in finance and telecom. I’d saved money, I told her, enough to make it through the summer. 


My last year of work was mentally rough. After being out on medical leave for two whole months following surgery, I got a taste of what it was like to be free from a corporate environment. I was burned out from re-enacting the same process month-after-month. I even told the head of my department that I didn’t want to see another spreadsheet again – in life. At the first lunch, I announced to my friend that I was going to enroll into the nearby community college to take classes that would help with a smoother transition to a full-time writer. I was already blogging and the now defunct Whole Living magazine had already shouted me out as community blogger of the month in its print issue. I took that as a sign to move forward.


Friday, September 13, 2019

With all due (dis)respect.

Cactus by StockSnap on Pixabay
I am you manager,” spewed the woman of average height, who seemed to suddenly tower over me. “You come to me with your questions.”

I was seated at a temporary makeshift desk -- a rectangular table with a community chair and no cubicle walls to absorb the increased volume that I was sure echoing from my manager’s voice. I was the newest employee in that department at a food services company so a dedicated space wasn’t yet available for me. My colleagues were mute and stoic as they stared at their computer screens. They missed the who-the-fuck-do-you-think-you-are-talking-to look on my face as I glared back at the woman who was actually chastising me -- another grown woman -- for asking HR a payroll question. I mean, that’s not allowed?

I wasn’t accustomed to some mother-may-I type of company culture and I wasn’t about to be uncomfortable, intimidated or simply put into my entry-level place at that job or any job for that matter. Other than that experience, one of the greatest aspects of working a traditional 9-5 was the mutual respect between me and my colleagues and that included upper management. While there were office protocol and obvious chains of command, there was also an open door policy and a welcomed exchange of ideas. I could converse freely with any employee and executives didn’t spit condescending rhetoric as some reminder that I wasn’t a member of the c-suite. Positive working relationships were my norm for 20 years in corporate America. And a fair salary, might I add, although fair may be an inaccurate descriptor given the pay gap between black women and white men. Perhaps I should say “comfortable.” I earned comfortable pay.

The point is I’m motivated by a combination of autonomy and money. I chucked double deuces to food services and returned to the familiarity of good ol’ telecommunications where my expertise was valued and I was treated as a human. I felt trusted, appreciated and consequently obliged to exceed expectations in that environment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Lost one



Missing:

Generally svelte and stealth,
untouchable and untamed,
inaccessible and incognito.

Predator to prey.

Captured, caged and choked by fog and false mercy,
but eager to escape

back to clarity and anonymity.