Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Black Refer Listing

The good folks over at Black Refer are letting me list my blog at their site; as such, please allow me to share with you their link. Use it often if you want to find African-American products and services:

Monday, May 08, 2006

Business leads to pleasure

Simon and Sophia hopped a cab together back to his suite in a swanky hotel on Park Avenue. Along the way they continued to discuss the television business and what it would take to get viewers used to the type of programming they both respectively hoped to create.

They arrived at the front doors of the hotel in what seemed like no time at all; despite the late hour, the lobby was nevertheless bustling. True to its reputation, New York never sleeps, thought Sophia.

Simon led Sophia by the arm to the elevators. Initially the only two riders, when the car hit the 10th floor, a rowdy crowd of college kids boarded. Simon pulled Sophia closer to him as the maniacs poured into the elevator, threatening the capacity limit. The last rider boarded with a shove, and Sophia found herself pushed into Simon’s arms. He grabbed her around her waist, and something happened.

Sophia felt as if the wind had been knocked, no sucked, out of her. Her mind went blank, as did her vision. Everything was gray, and her ears were ringing, though she heard a voice – a whisper. It was a man, and he was calling someone. It wasn’t her name. She couldn’t be sure because of the ringing, but it sounded like he was saying Helene.

Although the total time elapsed during this episode was only 10 seconds, it felt a lot longer. The group of miscreants only went up to the 11th floor, though when they piled out, Sophia fainted. Simon caught her before she hit the floor, and one of the kids who left the elevator shouted “YOU GOTTA TIME YOUR GHB BETTER, DUDE! GIT ‘ER DONE!” The doors closed to howls of laughter.

When the elevator finally reached the 20th floor, Simon had to juggle Sophia to be able to reach his passkey in his jacket pocket. Seeing that it’d be better for him to just throw her over his shoulder, he prayed that no one would come out into the hallway, thinking that he had in fact drugged the poor woman and was now attempting to have his way with her. Fortunately for him, there were only three suites on the floor, and he made his entry without incident.

He laid her gently on his king-sized bed; pulling the sheets back on the opposite side, he then softly transferred her over, took off her shoes, and propped her up on the large pillows. He then stood there, looking at her, as if merely staring at her would diagnose her condition. He soon realized that that wasn’t helping, so he went to the bathroom and wet two thick washcloths to wipe her brow. After a few minutes, she still did not snap out of her blackout, so he decided that perhaps the alcohol and the heat of the crowded elevator got the best of her. He covered her up, and then went to the living room, turned on the television, and then pulled out the sofa sleeper. He kept the door open so that he could monitor Sophia at a glance.

Simon lie on the roomy yet uncomfortable sofa sleeper, pillows propped so that he could easily keep an eye on his guest. He felt as if he could look at her from now until vision was outlawed. He couldn’t understand what it was about her that he was drawn to. A confirmed bachelor in his mid-30’s, he was fully enjoying being single. He was never wont for the company of a beautiful woman, and could have any woman he wanted, damn near. Sophia, while attractive, wasn’t what he typically went for. She was a bit too short, a bit too thick, a bit too – intelligent. While he’s only gotten to know her over the past few hours, he could tell that she was no-nonsense and had a short tolerance for bullshit. He would never think to get involved with someone like her – she was a lifetime warranty type chick; he preferred those who were 90-day limited.

Yet there was no denying that he needed her. He couldn’t believe what he was saying to himself, but that was the naked truth of the matter. He didn’t want her. He needed her. Ever since he first noticed her as she walked past him on her way to the cigar bar, his lips knew they needed to taste her; his hands knew they needed to touch her; his skin knew it had to meld onto hers, to be a part of her, never leaving her again. It made him sick to his stomach.

Simon felt himself drifting off when he heard her moaning his name. It seemed like she was already in conversation with him. He got up to check on her, wondering if she had in fact bumped her head before he broke her fall.

While he could clearly make out his name as she whispered it, that was about all he could understand. He thought she was babbling at first, but she was speaking too clearly. It dawned on him – she was speaking another language.

Her “conversation” became more urgent; she was speaking rapidly now, and sweat beads began to form above her upper lip. She began to shake. Nervous, Simon knew he had to bring her out of her fit. He re-wet her cloths, and then lifted her gently off the mattress; sitting under her, he placed her head in his lap and stroked her brow with the rag, her lips. He massaged her temples, and spoke her name, softly at first, then adding an edge to it. Her eyelids fluttered, and he slapped her face with just enough force to shock her, but not hurt her – not much, anyway.

She jumped up, looking around wildly, scaring Simon a little. The look on her face was – abnormal. Actually, he could’ve sworn that there was a completely different face where hers should be. A few seconds later, as recognition of her situation washed over her, her features returned to normal. She began apologizing – and shivering – profusely. Her face was covered in sweat.

“No, don’t apologize. You fainted – passed out. I think it was a mixture of the alcohol and the heat, when those morons crowded the elevator. You were out for a few hours. Are you cold? You’re shivering,” he said, rubbing her arms as he spoke.

“Y-yeah, I’m f-freezing,” was her reply.

“Perhaps I could run you a bath. A hot bath may help you come back down to Earth completely,” said Simon. Sophia seemed apprehensive. “I’m sorry, I said run you a bath, not give you a bath. Once the tub is filled, you’d be on your own,” he said with a smirk.

Sophia relaxed and apologized again. “Of course, I’m sorry; I’m just not feeling myself. I’d really appreciate a bath, thank you.”

Simon stood up and went quickly to the bath that was immediately to the left of the bed. Sophia heard the knobs squeak as he turned them, and imagined what he must be thinking of her. If she was hoping for a chance for something more than business – heck, even just business – she could forget it now. He was just doing her this kindness so no one could say he let a shivering lunatic loose on the streets of New York.

He interrupted her self-pity. “I said, do you want bubble bath, I hear ladies have a thing for bubble bath.” “Oh, yes, please,” Sophia replied. She stood up and walked to the roomy walk-in closet just past the bathroom. Two thick cotton robes hung from the pole; she picked one and walked into the beautiful, surprisingly spacious bathroom.

“Oh my. I need this. I need this bathroom,” she said to Simon. He simply smiled, gestured at the tub and said, “All done. Take all the time you need. I’ll be in the living room, just holler if you need me.” With that, to his surprise as well as hers, he kissed her on her forehead, then left, rather awkwardly, closing the door behind him.

She stepped out of her black one-piece jumpsuit, took off her thong, and plunged into the deep-set bath. She stepped on something hard and round, and felt around to investigate. It was a jet. “Whoa,” she said as she realized it was a Jacuzzi ®. She looked for the controls, found them, and set them to full blast. She was warm and relaxed in no time.

She struggled to remember the dream. She was on a dirt road, but she wasn’t herself. Her skin was lighter than it is in real life, her hair was long and wavy, and she was slimmer and dressed in colorful garb. She was laden in clanging bangles and hoops, on her ears, wrists, and waist. She was on that dirt road, walking alongside a man who was referring to her as Helene. She knew she was referring to him by name, as well, though it would not come to her now, no matter how hard she tried to remember. He was guiding her out of a village, and he was promising to rescue her from her shameful life – was she a prostitute? She couldn’t remember. She just remembered wanting to believe everything he was saying, everything she heard him say. She kept asking, “Do you promise, ****? Will you honor this vow, ****?” Why could she not remember his name?

She was still struggling to remember when a knock on the door brought her out of it. “You ok in there? You been in there a while…” He was right. The water was cold and the bubbles were almost gone. “Yes, I’m ok, I’m about to get out now,” she said, and she turned off the jets and opened the drain.

She toweled off and robed up; tightening the belt extra tight (trying to avoid further embarrassment by seeming like she was trying to be seductive), she picked up her clothes and headed out to the bedroom.

“Here, I thought maybe you’d need this, too,” Simon said as he handed her a cup of tea. “I didn’t put any sugar in it, because I didn’t know how you liked it. It’s right over there. Hey, I think I have an extra pair of pajamas I can lend you,” and, seeing the look of apprehension on her face, he added, “not to be presumptuous, but it is late, or early, rather, and we’ve both had a long night. I’m personally looking forward to getting some rest, and I think you should do the same, if you don’t mind being my guest.”

Sophia shook her head. No, she didn’t mind at all. So, perhaps he was being sincere, and not just playing nice so that she wouldn’t snap and trash the room like a rock star after a show. She decided to play along, to see where things went.

He brought her a wife beater and some pajama bottoms and gave her some privacy. She changed quickly and walked into the living room to thank him. “No problem,” he said, and she pulled up a chair close to the pullout bed, to watch TV with Simon. There was some awful movie about teenaged zombies playing. They began imitating Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Sophia couldn’t help but notice that Simon was staring at her rather than the TV screen. “What, do I have snot on my face?” she asked him.

“No, not at all. Um, are you bilingual?” he asked.

"No, I just speak good ol’ American,” she replied, doing her best redneck impression. “Why do you ask?”
“Never mind, it’s nothing. Anyway, I’m sorry, but I can’t stop looking at you. I don’t know why. I just can’t stop. Am I making you uncomfortable?”

“Slightly,” she admitted.

“Well, I guess that’s too bad, because I don’t think I’d want to stop looking at you, even if I could. So, it seems that we’re gonna have to think of something that’ll make you feel less uncomfortable. How about you join me on this terribly lumpy mattress?” he asked, patting the space next to him.

“I’ve got a better idea. How about you make me uncomfortable in there?” she asked, pointing to the bedroom. “We can watch this train wreck in there, and you can ogle me in comfort.” He smiled and agreed, and they both walked into the bedroom, her picking the choicest side of the bed, him turning on the television and joining her.

The moment he lay down next to her, it was as if everything that transpired over the last hour was an unnecessary waste of time. They were both naked in no time flat, pawing at each other. The awful movie played on, neglected, as they tried to eat each other alive. They each tried to taste, touch, rub, smell each other into their memory. The scene was savage; the room became humid, sticky. The sheets seemed to melt off of the mattress; they themselves followed in like fashion. They chased each other across the floor, burning their skin on the carpeting, neither one seeming to care. The pleasure they felt was surreal. It seemed as if the carnage of their lovemaking went on forever; it certainly lasted past daybreak.

Sophia was on top of Simon, on the floor between the living room and the kitchenette, trying to choke him with her forearm as she rough-rode him, when her eyes found that scar. It seemed to pulsate, begging for her attention. She couldn’t resist any longer; she lurched forward and first sucked, then bit, the area around his scar. She drew blood, which she immediately sopped up with her tongue. Immediately her world shifted three degrees to the left. Simon sat up, never releasing her, never disrupting their rhythm, but held her tighter to him around her waist. For her, though, it was as if the world stopped spinning. She was breathing but suffocating, thrusting but her hips were inert. She knew everything. Every hole in her soul was filled. Simon was ejaculating violently inside of her, but it was more than that. She knew. She felt dizzy, light, not connected with her normal plane of reality. But she knew, finally, after all of this time. He saved her life, a million times before. He saved her from a shameful life. He was Simon.

Unaware of exactly what this new knowledge would mean, and still in a state of euphoria, Sophia nonetheless grabbed Simon’s sweat-drenched face with both hands and said, “Where have you been? You said you’d be with me forever!”

Simon, still thrusting in spite of having just orgasmed, skin pale and eyeballs rolling to the back of his head as if in a trance, said, “I’ve never stopped looking for you, Helene. Be glad I’ve found you again and don’t complain.”

Sophia’s orgasm gushed out of her in a flood, soaking the area between the kitchenette and the living room. It was so forceful that she lost her breath and passed out. Simon passed out as well.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Perchance Meeting

Sophia brushed past him on her way to the cigar bar. As she did this, a feeling of recognition – no, familiarity – washed over her. Sure she recognized him; he was the star (pseudo-star) of his own music-based reality show, (New York Minute, the producers of which were hosting this album release party in its name). As she buzzed by him on her beeline to her next nicotine fix, it was as if she’d blown by an old friend who she hadn’t seen in years and had much to catch up on.

That, of course, was impossible, as she could only wish he was an old friend of hers. Never one to be star-struck, Sophia couldn’t deny he was magnetic; he wasn’t terribly good-looking, yet there was something about his features that she found irresistible (his wide, round eyes, that scar on his forehead, his creamy café-au-lait complexion, his brow that hung a tad too low which made him seem like he was always in deep thought, that scar on his forehead…)

It was that scar that kept pinging her subconscious as she stood waiting for her cigar to be cut and lit. From her vantage point she could watch him without him noticing (he was far too busy chatting up fans to notice much), and she could not stop herself from analyzing that scar. She felt that if she could just touch it, trace its outline with her fingers, press her lips to it, she’d find out everything she needed to know, everything about him, about her, about life and her reason for being…

Wait, wait, wait. “Where the hell did that come from?” she thought. He was attractive, to be sure, but hardly a god. Those types rarely know the path to the fountain of knowledge; she’d bet the farm that he was any different.

Freshly cut and lighted Cuban treat in hand, Sophia made her way to the stage area, where the indie funk band Cherry Pumpkin Soul Soldiers were playing. Despite the trippy name, they were actually quite good. Sophia found herself bopping along before she knew it.

Though she came to the album release party alone, Sophia always found that it was not to remain so. Truth be told, she was hardly ever alone whenever she stepped out. Her strange but exotic looks guaranteed that. Never one to cop to being a beauty, something about her always drew men to her like a magnet. Her heritage was mixed, and this is reflected in her smooth caramel skin tone, her slightly slanted, chestnut brown eyes, her cute round-tipped nose, her strong (if too-wide) jaw line. Admittedly a bit too wide framed for her own liking, she nevertheless was able to find good company whenever she needed it.

A kind of geeky-looking guy in a green message tee (one that was too worn to make out what the actual message was) strolled up behind her and started dancing. “What the hell”, she thought, and she danced along with him. This was a challenge for her because he didn’t have any rhythm and kept throwing hers off. She made the best of it anyway and danced two songs.

Thirsty and slightly sweaty, Sophia begged off another dance and headed for the bar. She couldn’t believe she’d been at this party this long without a drink. She was losing her touch.

After waiting in line for a few minutes, she finally reached the bartender and was about to order when she was interrupted by a cast member who began to (very rudely) order ahead of her.

Coldly staring at the bartender (because she knew these newly famous types didn’t know any better), he said, “I’m sorry, but I believe this young lady is placing an order first.” Going into a diatribe she was sure was solely for the benefit of the two young groupies he’d acquired, the young cast member started shouting things like, “Do you know who I am?” and “I don’t see anybody, the little people know their place”, Sophia found herself about to check out on this nobody when the show’s lead appeared, playing referee. “Chuck, I know your mom taught you better than that, don’t make me call her up. I have her on speed dial.” There was laughter in the background, and as he turned his back to Chuck, he said (quite loudly), “Bartender, please, whatever this young lady wants, she gets, on me. I see I need to teach Chuck about being humble to everyone: strangers, his fans, even the “little people”, especially the little people who happen to be big time media executives.” He turned back to Chuck, who had a look that was a mixture of disbelief and shame.

Having at least six inches over her in height, Simon (the star of the show and Sophia’s bar-side rescuer) reached over her head to grab her drink from the bartender, so that he could hand it to her personally. “Please accept my apologies for Chuck’s behavior, Ms. Jamison,” he said as he handed her her drink, “some people just have no couth.” With that, he thumped Chuck square-dead in the center of his forehead.

Sophia was taken aback. True, her media status is what got her invited to this party, yet she’s a behind-the-scenes player (a status that she loves), hardly someone outside her level of the industry would recognize. He gestured that they walk toward the V.I.P. seating.

“How do you know my name?” she asked. They sat down, and he smiled at her and said, “I make it a point of knowing all I can about this industry. I know many people regard me as just another pretty-faced flash-in-the-pan, but I’m serious about my work and my future. I know I can only milk this reality TV thing for, what, maybe two or three more seasons, and then I’ll be forgotten about. I have plenty of other good ideas, so I know I need to make the proper connections to make them happen. Needless to say, your name came up in my research. It’s a real pleasure to meet you.” Sophia thanked him, thinking to herself “there goes the farm”, and said, “I’m impressed. I have to confess that I’m one of those people who don’t give reality TV stars a lot of consideration, but you seem to have a good head on your shoulders.” With that she found herself snatching a glimpse of his scar again, and that feeling of familiarity washed over her again.

“Would you think that I was crazy if I said I felt like I knew you from somewhere?” she asked. “It’s just that, here in person, when I look at you, I feel like I’ve known you before. Is that strange?”

“Sure it’s strange,” Simon replied, “I mean, I know I’ve never met you before tonight. I’m sure you feel the same way. To be honest, though, I keep getting the same feeling. Wonder what that's about?”

“Maybe I was your husband in a past life, or some trippy shit like India.Arie would come up with,” she laughed. “Who knows. So tell me about your ideas, your plans for your future in the biz…or are they secret?” She asked this with a raised eyebrow.

“No secret for you, past husband,” Simon replied with a smile. “I’m glad you’re taking an interest. Whenever I bring it up to people in your position, they usually just smile and nod like I’m a retard. I actually want to do what you do – I want to have my own production company. I think I have good ideas for fresh new television, but I see that I’m going to have to make my own way for them to come about. I’m sure you know what I mean.”

Sophia nodded a sincere agreement. While her production company is small in comparison to her dream (she does well in syndication), she knows how hard it is to get relevant television programming aired through traditional channels. She has a whole cache of programming ideas that can’t leave the house, so to speak. This is why she’s trying to get her own network off the ground. It’s been an uphill battle to date.

“It’s no piece of cake, and I have a long way to go before I get to be where I want to be, but it’s rewarding work, to be sure,” she said. “So, why do you want your own production company? I mean, I know my reasons, but everybody in the business has different motivations. What are yours?”

“Well, you know how it is, being a minority in this country. The images that are painted of you, they don’t always ring true, do they? I’m sure you feel this better than I do; you’re both Black and a woman. You’re seen as either an oversexed ghetto whore or a mammy-type; from where I’m sitting, neither one of those stereotypes seem to apply. But, that’s what the average, ignorant viewer wants to see, whether they realize it or not. There may be a calling for more accurate, intelligent portrayals of Black women on television, but if I were to release a show depicting your life right now, it would be crushed in the ratings – few people would watch because few people would feel that your character is true.

“My goal is to develop multi-ethnic programming, intelligent multi-ethnic programming, that’s both entertaining and informative. There is a need for that, even though there isn’t much of a mainstream want. I want to force change in the perception of ethnic groups here in America. I know it’s heavy, but that’s my goal.”

Sophia looked at him in disbelief. “Are you stalking me or something?” she asked. “That’s very close to what I’m doing now, except my plan is a bit more selfish, since I only focus on things from a Black point of view. So, if you don’t mind me asking, are you yourself multi-ethnic? It’s hard to put a finger on your 'heritage'…”

Simon bent his head and smiled. “Yes, as a matter of fact I am. My mother is West Indian, from the islands…I hear that my father was Jewish, though it’s just a rumor.”

“So, did you grow up here in the States? I hear you have a slight accent,” she asked. “Yes, I was born here, but my family, they are very tight, we would visit the islands often, so I developed this,” he said, pointing at his mouth as if an accent could be seen there. “What about you? I mean, I know you’re Black, but some of your features don’t match...”

“Very perceptive. I am the product of racial disenfranchisement bonding together for the sake of love; there are Black, White, and Native American mixtures on both sides of my family. I heard rumors of Chinese a few times, too,” she said.

For the rest of the evening, Simon and Sophia compared notes about their respective ethnic heritages, their dreams and goals in television, and their lives in general. The more they talked, the more their mutual attraction for each other became evident. More than physical, they both developed a desire to consume all they could for one another. After a while, they decided to meet at Simon’s suite after the party wrapped; Simon was a magnet, and Sophia found herself as iron, strong, though not enough to resist his pull.

She knew she had to be with him this night, or risk never being with him ever again.

Next - Business leads to pleasure