Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.
By: Victor Anderson
I met Keith Shaw by the extremely shitty and hardly occupied pool—one of The Bloch’s least popular coming attractions. It was fenced in near the back corner of the parking lot, away from the road as if The Bloch was ashamed of it. Horrid trees and evil prickly bushes accommodated for the exterior space surrounding the fence while bumble bees, gnats and wasps hung out. The pool really was the ultimate hemorrhoid of eye soars. Just like most Caucasians, aging wasn’t too kind to The Bloch Pool but I knew there was a day when that place was brand spanking new and was the home to some ill pool parties; too bad I arrived nearly 50 years too late. Despite my bashing, I didn’t mind sitting by the water, especially on a clear day to read a book or chew my fingernails but I wouldn’t dare take a dip in that swamp. The water was murky; there were countless leaves floating on the surface; I’m sure it was the grave for deceased insects; and I think I saw an iguana emerge from it once. It’s a salt-water pool and the only reason anybody knows that is because of the rusty sign that was rooted in ground on the edge of the watering hole. I swear, I had been at that motel for nearly a month and this Keith Shaw guy was the only one I had ever seen who was brave enough to swim in that collection of liquid.
We were about the same age but he was in his third year of marriage with a broad he had started going steady with while
he was in the 11th grade. I couldn’t and wouldn’t dare imagine being in his shoes; the thought of marriage at my age, let alone celebrating my third anniversary at my age frightened me. But poor Keith was right in the middle of a rough patch in his civil union. He and his wife, Britannia, had been separated for a few months, forcing Keith Shaw to move back in with his dad. He needed to get away from his house so he finally decided to emerge from his old bedroom and head up to The Bloch for the weekend. Meanwhile, Britannia’s mom and dad are putting her up in an upscale apartment downtown until the couple’s dispute is over. The way Keith Shaw tells it, there isn’t too much to their dispute. She always accused him of adultery and claimed to have a creative but paranoid imagination. Keith Shaw would never ever act unfaithfully towards his wife but deep down he wasn’t sure if the feeling was mutual. So now, they’re on a break and she suggested that they try and see other people to test their actual bond for one another. It sounded like bullshit to me but poor damn Keith Shaw kept his fingers crossed and patiently waited for his wife to come to her senses.
So, me and this guy Keith Shaw are at this chic cabaret restaurant in the city, eating roast beef sandwiches, drinking tea and enjoying the live entertainment. On the small performance stage stood a young woman with hair that flowed like a red carpet towards the very same shoulders that supported the straps of her simple white city dress. This goddess was effortlessly strumming out rock and roll tunes that reminded me of Chuck Berry but it was like she had tapped into some kind of Betty Davis reservoir, vocally. She vibe-d with this funky bassist and I couldn’t help but nod along and groove to it.
Somehow, our conversation took a sharp left turn towards the topic of beef jerky and I couldn’t help but become distracted by the bottom of the server whom strutted past our table.
After looking around and observing the diners, I got a sense that someone was watching me and I instinctively direct my vision over my shoulder to meet the eyes that were burning the holes in my cranium and Talia’s darted away. She pretended to act like she had been watching the band, but I knew. I tuned back in to see what Keith Shaw had to say and we had moved on from beef jerky to deer jerky. Apparently, it was the only other jerky that he had ever tried and then he gagged at the thought of shrimp jerky.
I thought it was the waitress but I was mistaken and I’m sure you can guess who it was.
“Oh, hey there,” blurted Keith Shaw.
Not only was I surprised that she approached my table but I was utterly surprised when she chose to talk to Keith Shaw instead of me—-what’s up with that? Eventually, I found out that they met at The Bloch; they parked next to each other and she helped carry his weekend luggage.
“You gotta smoke?” She tenderly asked Keith Shaw but unfortunately for her, he didn’t smoke—-or did he?
He shook his head and she looked at me through those thick rimmed glasses that she wore and asked me the same question she asked Keith Shaw. Four out of five times my answer would have been the opposite of Keith Shaw’s but I said:
“No, I’m sorry. I mean, I only have a couple left, ya know?”
“Well, why won’t you let me have one?”
“Because I want to keep them?”
She calmly said, “Okay. Bye–” and walked away and Keith didn’t seem to mind the abrupt departure at all. To let her know that I was only joking, I faced her table and waited for her to notice me. Alone, she sat down at her small wooden table for two and I eventually caught her eye; she had a subtle smile but her eyes were nothing but devious. She fixed her hair behind her left ear and removed a cigarette. That square soon became dangled from her parted lip; she struck a match against the matchbox and proceeded to light her stoogie—-all within my line of vision. When she slowly began to pay attention to the live entertainment, I knew that she had given up on our staring contest, but I couldn’t blame her.
That was a few days ago and I hadn’t seen her again until today. Now I’m behind the wheel of her navy blue 1988 Camry as she lies unconscious in the passenger seat.
To be continued…