ALL THE LIES ARE TRUE… excerpt

Chapter 4
You gonna stay in here all night? 

I was jolted from my daydreaming by the harsh voice of the bag lady who was busy preparing a makeshift bed in one corner of the filthy restroom.

  These bus people don’t like it if more ’n one person sleep in here at night and I got here first, she snapped.

Reality hit me again. Here I was in Los Angeles, California. After midnight. Didn’t know a soul. No place to go.

One thing I did know was I wasn’t going to spend my first night in the damn Greyhound bus station restroom. Splashing cold water on my face, I quickly gathered up my bags.

It’s all yours, I said as I walked out into the now quiet lobby of the station.

I headed for the nearest ticket counter. Excuse me, I said in my most polite southern voice, Are there any decent hotels nearby?

The dirty blond clerk looked up from her copy of The Enquirer apparently agitated that I would interrupt her from important reading.

What do you mean decent? she asked in that bored, nasal Midwestern tone probably reserved for black folks.

Ignoring her attitude, I replied, Decent as in clean, you know rat and roach free and under $20 a night.

She gave me an intense stare that could have been curiosity or hatred, I couldn’t figure out which.

Hmph, she said, turning her attention back to the paper, Try the Jefferson on 10th Street. That might be decent enough for you.

Well, so much for the welcome wagon. I gathered my bags and headed towards the exit. I didn’t dare ask her where 10th street was or how far it was from the bus stop so I just walked out into the humid night air once again considering my predicament.

After midnight. Alone in L.A. A few cabs were parked in front of the terminal and the drivers had their heads thrown back snoozing behind the wheel like a chorus of Rip Van Winkles.

I was considering whether to wake one of these sleeping giants to ask directions when a tall brother dressed in a brightly colored dashiki, jeans and a Black Panther like beret called to me from the shadows.

Hey sister, you need a cab? You shouldn’t be out here this time of night by your lonesome.

No shit, I murmured trying to get a better glimpse of this tall figure.

At that moment he appeared blocking my path. He reminded me of a Huey Newton poster-six feet, skin the color of butter, tight jeans and dark, soulful eyes. I eyed him suspiciously though inside I was smiling thinking about this fine specimen standing in front of me.

Like I said sister, it’s not a good idea for you to be out here by your lonesome in this part of town.

No, I didn’t know that….just trying to find the Jefferson Hotel. Do you know where that is? My tone had changed from frightened to what I hoped was cool.

Sure, it’s about three blocks from here.

Three blocks I calculated would probably translate into $5 in cab fare and I was on a tight budget.

No, I can walk, I said trying to step around his tall frame.

Wait a minute sister, it’s obvious you’re not from L.A. and believe me you don’t want to go strutting down these streets alone this time of the morning. Besides, I’m just getting off and I can drop you off on my way. I won’t even charge you.

Before I could respond, he took the overstuffed suitcase from my hand and led me to his cab. I was glad to see that it was a real cab and not one of those this-is-my-car-posing-as-a-cab.

I could easily identify him if I needed to from the cab company name printed on the side. I settled into the back seat as he placed my bulky bag into the trunk. I spotted the ID picture rubber banded to the visor: Richard Elliot, ID no. 4976. DOB 12/15/50. A Sagittarius, no wonder he was so helpful.

So where are you from? he asked, easing his long legs under the wheel.

Virginia.

Really, what part?

Norfolk.

You’re kidding! he said turning to face me. I just came from there a few months ago. I was stationed in Norfolk until I got out of the Navy. I sighed. Well at least he wasn’t an axe murderer or serial rapist.

What brings you all the way out here to L.A.?

Just visiting, I said, trying to sound cool and casual.

Oh yeah. How long you gonna be here?

Don’t know. Two weeks, a month, maybe forever.

A smile played across my lips. The thought of being this free was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.

You’re not planning to spend the whole time at the Jefferson are you? he asked, pulling the cab in front of an old building with a small sign above the front proclaiming Jefferson-Vacancy.

I don’t know. I said suspiciously eyeing the seedy exterior.

Well, it’s not the best hotel in town but it’s not the worst either, he said opening my door.

He helped me out of the cab like I was a piece of fragile china. As I took his hand, I couldn’t help but inhale his male scent enhanced by a splash of Brute.

Well, I’ll probably be here a couple of days, I said following him to the trunk to retrieve my bag.

Look, he said, you seem like a nice sister and since you’re from my old Navy town, I wouldn’t mind looking out for you. You know showing you around. I don’t start driving until around 7 at night so I’m free during the day.

He closed the trunk and carried my suitcase to the narrow entrance of the Jefferson.

Hold on girl, I thought, surveying his fine physique. The way his jeans encased his tight butt was an especially pleasing sight. You don’t know this man from Adam. Because he looks good doesn’t mean he is good for you.

My logical self began a game of mental gymnastics with my emotional self.


Ok, I said settling the dispute. I would trust my instincts.

Thanks for the ride. You can call me in the morning. I said. I was halfway in the door when he called out.

Hey, but I don’t know your name.

Maya, Maya Goodman.

I’m Richard, he yelled just as the door closed.

NOTE: ALL THE LIES ARE TRUE COMING SOON IN eBOOK FORMAT ON KINDLE, BARNES AND NOBLE, APPLE.  STAY TUNED FOR RELEASE DATE. 1ST 100 COPIES 50% OFF REGULAR PRICE OF $9.99. AND AS ALWAYS THANK YOU FOR READING MY WORDS!

B is For Baby Boomer

What happened? One minute she’s turning out Blogs like a well oiled machine and then BAM! Nothing! Silence where there used to be laughter, songs, shared experiences, reminiscing, poetry, etc. etc. etc.


Such is the nature of a Writer; the ebb and flow of life sometimes takes us away from the Words and then brings us haltingly back again.

I won’t bore you with the details of my absence from these pages for the last month except to say… Life Happened.

And when you are 60+ (as many of you fellow Boomers can attest to) it can be challenging.

No one prepares you to be a Boomer …there is no class you can take…(sorry AARP)…it just seems you wake up one day and nature has started taking its course. Stiff gray hairs were there used to be none, creaks and groans from your favorite poses, memory lapses and this sudden invisibleness from the younger generation. Your mind and body seem to literally start playing tricks on you….daily.

A recent editorial by a 60+ writer said that Boomers were becoming the object of disdain by the Millennials. Our propensity for living longer, enjoying better health, and remaining in jobs past retirement age has gotten their collective man buns in a knot.

Finances and absence of a spouse (death, divorce, younger women) often catapult many female Boomers back into the workforce. And our dreams of sleeping till noon, reading that stack of long ago purchased books, and traveling to exotic places are put on hold…much to our dismay.

Like many other women, my plans for life after retirement were derailed, and during countless nights of insomnia ladened sleep (despite lavender candles/ room spray/body oil/even lavender sprigs tucked in my pillow… where his head used to lay) I lie awake at the insomniac hour thinking about what it really means to be a single woman in her 60s in this country.

My move last year from a Senior community – for Active 55 plus- back to an unsubsidized, renovated, urban apartment (complete with a great view of the water and neighbors of all ages, many of them dog owners and pot smokers), has given me a renewed perspective. Since I was beginning  to believe that a building full of  people of the same age (over 55) living together can only lead to depression, isolation, and early demise.

Of course, remaining in the real world is expensive as any person living on a fixed income can attest to, and has led many boomers to delay retirement or return to the 9 to 5.

For many, work is also a boon to stave off boredom and early dementia. And based on the lack of skills-especially people skills- present in many of the I-was-raised-by-a- computer generation is frankly, a godsend for many businesses.

Boomers are generally calm under pressure, great problem solvers and have strong work ethics…all things Millennials could learn from.

And while many Boomers may lack advanced tech skills for some positions, remember we were the first generation of Mac and PC users and can easily be trained to work with complex software now found in many workplaces.

Boomers do have to contend with other challenges as well. Health issues, ours and family members, often become an unwanted reality as cancer, alzheimer and other diseases take residence in our domain.

Changing relationships with parents/siblings/peers/significant others seem to be a hallmark of becoming a Boomer.
Prayer, therapy, and bottles of 19 Crimes can help to lessen these stressors.

So take heart Boomers and lighten the f*** up!


THE EXCITING/ADVENTUROUS/NO GOOD/HORRIBLE/ TERRIBLE VEGAS TRIP pt1

Recently, several people have inquired how I got into the business of Blogging. Although my profession was teaching, I fancied myself a writer having authored several nonfiction texts for young people and labored over the Ultimate Memoir/Fiction tome-All The Lies Are True.

I was also a modern day Griot (storyteller) and known for regaling party goers, polite strangers and insomniac phone callers with my tales.

After a life changing visit to Vegas, I found myself retelling the adventure over and over to the delight of the listeners. (Funny how people take pleasure in others’ misery).

So I decided to start a Blog and post the Vegas Tale there for all the world to see.

It is a long tale. But each segment ONLY takes 6 min. To Read

I will be posting it in weekly segments… always conscious of the time constraints of busy Readers.

Part 1 awaits…..Enjoy!

It all started back in March when the Unnamed one asked me to accompany him on a trip to the wild wild west for a family reunion.

Mind you, this is not his true family, but some kind people he lived with as a teen and who considered him their ‘brother’.

I had previously accompanied the Unnamed one a few years prior to the lovely Myrtle Beach for a similar event and made note that summer months in MB are not for the faint of heart…the humidity and heat is akin to running with scissors.

But the chance of going to Vegas made me go blind and lose my mind for a moment and I said yes.

Blinded by the visions of desert, cactus, prairie flowers, casinos, bright lights, and the Bellagio fountain, plans were made, Expedia was googled, booking a wonderful package via Delta complete with a room with a view at the mgm grand.

My first hint that something was askew happened when Delta changed our return flight time. This meant we either checked out of the hotel and wandered the halls of the grand (must be a marketing ploy for the casino) or pay for a whole ‘nother night and remain in the room a few hours until flight time.

But problem solved when I remembered I was in possession of a coupon for a free room in Vegas courtesy of eldest daughter T who had sweet talked me and my cash into going with her and youngest daughter J in the dead of February to Atlantic city via the ‘hound’. That is another Adventure not to be regaled here.

For all of you horror movie fans, this is when the music changes and you start to clutch your seat.

What I failed to notice in the email from Delta was not only had Delta changed the flight time, they had also assigned us new seats which were 12 rows apart from each other!

Did I mention that neither the Unnamed one nor I had been on a plane since 911? I, who used to blithely fly from LA to the East Coast and then anywhere else my wandering soul wanted to go, suddenly found myself earthbound and limited to snail travel.

But we rationalized it would be foolish to drive or take the train to Vegas. The only way to go was in the friendly skies and besides we would be together if something happened, wouldn’t we?

And we’re off…bright, sunshiny morning. Bags weighed and measured, liquids and powders in right sized containers, easy to remove shoes…we were the perfect travelers.

I got pulled over by the TSA as soon as I walked through the scanner. The frisker said it was my cell phone. What? it’s in the bin like the sign said. Wand waver took out a special cloth and calmly wiped the phone around the edges, slid it across a machine and smirked, You’re okay…have a nice flight.

And a nice flight was had by all. An hour and a half later, we descended into ATL with enough time to grab lunch and run/walk/take a people mover to the gate for our connecting flight.

Did I mention that the Unnamed one sustained an insect bite while we were in the ATL airport? (I think they are attracted to people with high alcohol counts in their blood).

This Reader, is what is known in literary circles as Foreshadowing.

We arrived in Vegas tired but happy to be on the ground. The temperature was a mere 100 degrees as we waited for a pricey shuttle to take us to the mgm grand. They did not offer free service, one of the many things I was about to learn about the not so grand, grand.

Business was a little slow at the front desk, however, a couple next to us was engaged in a serious discussion with the clerk about the condition of their room.

Words like substandard, dank, dismal were being tossed around by the angry, red faced man. Having been the recipient of some poorly outfitted hotel rooms in the past, I was all ears and calmly asked the clerk about the room we were being given.

She looked at me as if I had had just arrived from Pluto and said tartly, It is a king like you requested, ma’am and is 350 square feet!

She then pointed to pictures from a notebook showing what seemed to be a modern, stylish room.

After paying the abhorrent daily ‘resort fee’ (not mentioned in the Expedia small print), She politely directed us to the West Wing where we were instructed to walk down a long corridor, turn left, pass through the bar, continue on to the row of elevators that would deliver us to our suite.

Hah, words fail me. The corridor was indeed long and dark and painted with some metal gray color left over from a battleship. The rug reeked with the scent of wet feet and musk. I could barely breathe by the time we got to the room, as we were in what appeared to be the basement of the grand.

And the room. Someone must have photoshopped the picture she showed us. Yes, it had a king bed, but there was no desk, no drawer, no tub…only a shower and the view of an alley. It didn’t even have a coffee pot.

I later learned that Starbucks was doing booming business selling caffeine craving guests their expensive $10 a cup coffee.

Motel 6 had better rooms, I groaned. But this was the great mgm grand. Beyoncé and Jayz had stayed here. Surely, there had been a mistake.

I was disheartened but summoned up the strength after our $70 dinner of Mexican food (isn’t that just beans and cheese?) to call Expedia and complain about the accommodations.

Any of you readers who have dealt with these third party booking services already know what I am about to tell you.

The representative was in the Philippines. He was reading a script. He was sorry I was having a problem. But there was nothing to be done.

Oh, you want to speak to my supervisor? She is in a neighboring country, but hold on a minute.

20 minutes later. The supervisor connected. She listened patiently. And then informed me that she would note my concern about the room and the misleading information on the website for Future use.

BUT I would have to take up the room issue with the grand because Expedia had NO relationship with them and no power to change the room. Is there anything else I can help you with?

The heat, the stifling air, the loud noises of partygoers in the hallway, the sudden 4 hour time change And the two margueritas And shot of Patron together with the $70 nouveau chille relleno all conspired against me and I surrendered to that wonderful panacea…sleep.

I would deal with this, or rather I would have the Unnamed one deal with this in the morning.

But wait, tomorrow was our trip to the Grand Canyon and the bus was scheduled to leave at 6 a.m. sharp…was that eastern or mountain time…so the room issue would have to wait.

And so will you dear Reader for Part 2 of the Exciting, Adventurous, no good, horrible, terrible*Las Vegas trip.

(*Reference to popular children’s book about Alexander)

Love and Light! Comments always welcomed.

Follow this blog for notification of new posts.