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“Lil’ Z?”

“Yeah, Lil’ Z, the rapper. You’ve never heard of him?”

“Of course I have.” I lied again. “He’s one of my favorites.”

I hoped Darnetta wouldn’t ask me to name any of his songs because I’d never heard of the man. Thankfully, she didn’t go there.

“So how about it, girl?”

After accidentally knocking over my tea onto some paperwork, I involuntarily blurted out, “Shit!”

“Ooh, Jon, I’ve never heard you curse before,” Darnetta chided. “What else do you do that I don’t know about?”

I didn’t like her implications. “Huh? What do you mean?”

I felt bad about cursing. I wasn’t raised that way but, from time to time, a four-letter word forced its way out before I could push it back down my throat.

“Never mind,” Darnetta said. “What about tonight? I really need someone to go with me and I don’t want to waste the ticket. They were so hard to come by.”

“What about your boyfriend, Darnetta?”

Even though we rarely held conversations at work, everybody knew about her boyfriend Logan. He was all she ever talked about—rather, bragged about—in the break room.

“Logan’s out of town for the weekend. He went to Durham. Asshole! I’m so pissed at him. I told him about this concert weeks ago but he made plans to go hang out with some of his immature friends anyway.”

“I see.” I rolled my eyes up to the ceiling. Surely there had to be one other person in the entire city of Atlanta Darnetta could get to go with her. “Darnetta, I’m exhausted. I had a lot of errands to run today. Maybe we can go out some other time.”

“Aw, Jon, please don’t do this to me,” Darnetta whined into the phone. “I realize this is short notice, girl, but I guarantee you’ll have a good time. Funky music. Free buffet. Fine-ass men.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Now I definitely wasn’t going.

“Jon, I’m telling you to take a chance and do the damn town with me. What’s the problem? Do I stink or something?”

We both giggled.

“Darnetta, it’s not you. Really, it isn’t. I just don’t like going out. Especially to clubs. I don’t even recall the last time I’ve been in one.”

“Well, things need to change then. How old are you?”

“Twenty-four. Why?”

“I’ve never heard of a single, twenty-four-year-old woman that doesn’t enjoy going out. You have a man, right?”

Now why did she have to go there? I could never tell her the truth. She could never identify with the fact that I’d never really had a boyfriend. No one would.

“No, no man. I’m kind of between men at present. You know how it is.”

“I’m feeling you. That’s why this is a great opportunity to meet someone new. There will be a ton of bachelors there tonight, just waiting on a sexy sister like you to grace their presence.”

Me, sexy? Who was she trying to fool?

“Darnetta, I appreciate the offer. I can’t believe you thought of me, but I really just can’t make it. Sorry.”

Darnetta sighed into the phone. I could tell she was disgusted. “Fine, Jon. I’m going to let you off the hook this time, but there’s one condition.”

“A condition?” I asked, still trying to reorganize my papers and dry the damp ones off.

“Yeah, the next time I ask you to hang out with me, no matter where it is or when, you have to agree right this second that you’ll go.”

“Um, I can’t really say if—”

“Jon, I mean it. Agree to go with me next time or I’m going to be highly offended and get an emotional complex thinking I really do stink or something.”

I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I agreed. “Okay.”

“Okay what?”

“I’ll hang out with you the next time you ask.”

Darnetta giggled. “All right. Now we’re getting somewhere. Well, I better run and get ready for the evening. Even though I’ve got a man, I’m still trying to be fly as hell when I step up in that bitch. I still have to wash my hair so I’m going to get started.”

“Have a good time, Darnetta.”

“Oh, I will. You can believe that.”

We discussed work for another few minutes before hanging up. Darnetta said that if I changed my mind, I could call back within a couple hours. But that would never happen. There was no way I was going to a club with a bunch of strange men around. They made me nervous.

I ate my dinner and watched some cable. I was completely drained by ten. I took a hot shower, threw on some pajamas, and climbed into my bed with the latest D.V. Bernard novel, The Last Dream Before Dawn. The brother is a powerful writer but I didn’t make it through ten pages before I passed out.


Two Hours Later


What kind of boring sista falls asleep at ten-thirty on a Saturday night? Jon really needed to wake up and smell some strong-ass coffee. We were young, educated, and beautiful. But the way Jon dressed, which I hated, deterred people from figuring out the beautiful part. I was sick and tired of the ugly-ass, wire-rimmed glasses. I’d broken three pairs and Jon still hadn’t taken the damn hint. Our vision wasn’t that bad anyway. I could see just fine without those stupid glasses. Fuck it. Jon could wear them but I refused to reduce myself to that.

I wasn’t about to be bored so I got out of bed, went into the bathroom and glanced into the mirror. As usual, Jon had on some baggy-ass, flannel pajamas that I wouldn’t be caught dead in.

I checked out our reflection in the mirror. “Look at us. We’re tall; we’ve got thick, ebony hair; caramel skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom; legs for days, and an ass men would weep over. Yet you try to cover us up like we’re a nun or some shit. Fuck all that. A body like this is meant to be displayed.”

Jon had taken care of the bathing part so that left me with the hair and makeup. I tore the pins out of our hair and let it flow before breaking out the curling iron to hook our ass up. Jon kept buying this cheap lipstick from the dollar store but I found an old tube of L’Oréal behind some jars in the medicine cabinet, mixed the two, and it looked halfway decent.

Pickings were slim in the closet, at least when it came to “whorefits.” I selected a black suit and managed to turn it into a somewhat revealing ensemble by going braless and leaving the blazer unbuttoned except for one button at the waistline. I was content. We were showing mucho cleavage and looking damn good.

When I pulled up in front of Club Snatch, it was a madhouse. Finding Darnetta to grab that extra ticket would prove to be damn near impossible. Jon was always fucking things up for us. Darnetta was a cool sista and Jon had no business turning down invites in the first place. I almost fainted when she agreed to accept the next invitation from Darnetta. I couldn’t wait to see that.

It wasn’t like we had some busy-ass social calendar or some shit. Those stupid sexual addiction meetings didn’t count as socializing. Jon never said anything while she was there. Besides, there was nothing for her to say. She didn’t know jack.

After circling the block three times, I finally lucked out and spotted someone pulling out of a space. The music was slamming but there were more than a hundred people in line. I was infuriated. I wanted in there bad. Lil’ Z was doing the remix of his hit “Baby Got Breastesses for Dayz” and I was all into him. Jon’s stupid behind had never even heard of him. That says it all.

Damn, I just love bald heads! That was the first thing that came to mind when I spotted his blue-black ass standing at the end of the line. I could tell he was from Jamaica, Barbados, or some other place Jon refused to take a vacation, even though I’d left numerous pamphlets and brochures around the apartment as hints.