Mystery Series: “From Rags To Riches” pt. 1
(“From Rags to Riches” was an Urban Mystery written back in 1995 from SFG founder J. Johnson. We will share pieces of it monthly until the end. These blogged versions will exclude explicit romantic scenes and the different ending that a book version may have. Enjoy!—this is Pt.1)
My sister told me that even though I was selling clothes and things that it was still a form of hustling. Her advice was to always be careful because no matter what forum you use, that hustling always brings unnecessary drama. So here I lay flat on my back and feeling like I’m about to die. Wearing my Gianni Versace underwear, jeans, sweater, and butta’ colored Fubu boots. Yeah, wearing all white and looking like an angel going home to God’s great kingdom. I knew I shouldn’t have let that young cutie I met talk me into buying all of that mess. Now I’m going to be taken to the hospital looking like a male nurse. It was 1997…..
It all began a couple of years ago with the breakup of my engagement. It happened so fast and whether it was my fault or hers, she was gone and my self-esteem plummeted faster than rapper MC Hammer’s career. But this was no time for feeling sorry for myself. Let’s face it, a lot of married men probably envied me now; a 28 year old professional with a nice apartment(“crib”) to himself. Hating where I worked, I felt like I should make an attempt to accomplish goals and ambitions that I’ve had for years. I wanted to own a retail-clothing store for men featuring up and coming designers. Not that they’re better, but the world is missing out on talent that is in a class by themselves. They hungry and creative. Following the fashion industry’s nuances was sort of a hobby for me. Soon, the attention and enthusiasm I got from women quickly changed my target clientele to “a clothing store for women.” Oh how I love women. Especially exotic women of color. But aside from all my personal feelings I knew I could make money. Women buy clothes and accessories for no occasion at all. I knew it was going to be hard because I continued to work 11pm to 7 am, didn’t have thousands of dollars in the bank, and no clientele. That did not stop me. I obtained all the proper licenses, pooled together 6 personal credit cards totaling $8,500, and “it was on.” With no store, I targeted hair salons and quickly built my clientele from there. I showed up at certain times at five or six salons a week. Business soared and actually went too fast at times. I had a natural ability to charm some clients into sales and friendships. You see, I was something special to them. A novelty. A “straight,” ambitious, attractive businessman who cared about their needs in merchandise. A funny thing started to happen while building my clientele. Hundreds of women became customers but 25 or 30% have become lovers or friends. My self-esteem was booming now, or ego to some psychologists. Even my “ex” was a customer. I was a businessman/”lover man.”
Wow!!! Another exciting week has come to an end and I’m headed for the club tonight. But before I leave the phone starts ringing.
“Hey, who’s this?” I asked.
“It’s Shamaira. I called to say hi and see what’s up.”
“I’m going to the MECCA tonight baby. It’s been a hard week at work and I just want to get my groove on.”
“Oh really. Well maybe I’ll get dressed and party with you.” She said seductively.
“Do that. You know I like being around intelligent, attractive women.”
“Okay, I’ll see you there sexy. Bye.”
Shamaira is a very attractive woman who I met while she was working at a pager company. Yes, pager, aka a “beeper”. I was there to pay a bill. While someone else was helping me she walked out from another room. I looked up and said, a little too loudly, “Oh my God!” Everyone in the room burst into laughter as they seemingly knew what I was talking about. Five minutes after that I was in a flower shop sending some to her with a note. It read: “To Shamaira——–I just wanted to let you know I think you are one of the most naturally beautiful women I’ve seen in my life. If you have a man just take this compliment and let him be proud. Jay 555-1513.” She may have had a man but she’s been fond of me ever since.
There were three or four more calls before I left on this hot summer night. I was ready to turn off the TV and leave when a news report aired about a woman named Simone Justice who was still missing from a mental institution after two years. She was sent there after she got off with an Insanity plea for murder.
“What’s going on with this world.” I said to myself. Then I left for Club Mecca. A trendy club on the City’s west side, where all the “Honeys” are, or “Foxy mamas” if you’re from the 70′s.
On my way to the club my pager starts vibrating. It’s Candy, a customer who has been having problems with her boyfriend for the last six months and has been confiding in me for most of it. She loves to hear me tell her how a man should cherish, respect, and support his woman. One time I even gave her a sensuous massage at my house while telling her how bad and neglectful he was treating her. I don’t even think sex with her because I’m not into her that way. Anyway, I’m smart enough to know that this particular woman was not interested in sex, from anybody, in her current state of mind. “588-2626, that’s her all right.” How is it that she is always having problems with her man when I’m relaxing, or not working. This time I’m getting rid of her quick because she’s going to tell me something that might spoil the mood I’m in.
“Hello.” She answered sobbingly.
“Is this Candy?” I said.
“Yeah it’s me. Jay I need to speak to someone. That b——–d didn’t even remember that my birthday was today. I just feel like nobody cares about me.” She said crying. “Except for you maybe. Can I please meet with you tonight?”
“Well, um, Candy, I’m in my car on the way to the MECCA to meet and party with some friends.”
“What about your man? What are you going to tell him about you leaving so late?” I asked.
“He’s not even here. I’ll come down to the club tonight all right.” She said frustratingly.
“Okay I’ll see you there; and stop crying. I’ll give you a nice big hug for your birthday.”
“All right bye.” She said.
She sure did sound shook up, and down right crazy.
I arrived at the Mecca around midnight. Right away I start to feel that patented Baltimore House/club music sound melodically thumpin’. The women were looking so good.
……………………to be continued