You gonna stay in here all
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,
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.
Really, what part?
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!