Monday, October 15, 2018

50 Shades Of Black: A Fictitious Exotic Journey For “The Best Part”

September 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Highlights

The Meeting

 

Funny how, when the weather changes, it brings about relaxed feelings. A feeling that indicates there is a pause in the day from all responsibilities and demands.

It rains in Atlanta on the regular — especially in the late summer and early fall. The bright colors of the trees and grass open up to the sky’s moisture, while the business of the day drones on.

Zena’s College Park neighborhood is surrounded by lush foliage, making the condo complex look like a fortress. The calming rain shower is drowned out by the early morning ringing of her phone. “Hello? Yes, this is Zena Mitchell.”

She sits up in her bed with excitement and anticipation. “Hello, Mr. Spoon — I was already up. Are you serious? This is great and I will be right there tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. I am so excited, and thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I won’t let you down.”

The joyful sound of, “You got the job,” sends Zena pounding her feet in a rhythmic dance. “Thank you God.”

The good news was too much for her to keep quiet. She had been trying for six months to get a job to match her degree in graphic design. She couldn’t wait to share the news.

“Mom, guess what? I got the job. It’s an entry-level position, but I can work myself up to be next in line for lead graphic designer. The company is called Onyx & Partners. They are the number-one advertising agency in the southeast. Mom, you know what Onyx is? It’s a beautiful black stone. The company designs ads for major companies to attract the black consumer market. I got to go. I will call you tomorrow.”

Zena connects her phone to the YouTube speaker and turns up the volume on Beyoncé and Jay Z as she dances her way to the bathroom. “Stack my money fast and go (fast, fast, go). Fast like a Lambo (skrrt, skrrt, skrrt). I be jumping off the stage, ho. Crowd better save her. I can’t believe we made it (this is what we made, made).”

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Maximus is preparing to leave his duplex in Buckhead. His top-level apartment features all the modern style and latest gadgets. All white furniture surrounded by blue walls gives one the feeling they have entered the holy land.

Maximus’ grand, chocolate six-foot-two physique stands at the windowsill as he peers out to see if the rain is slowing down. He dials his secretary to check the day’s schedule. “Shelly, you are there early. You are doing better than me, not sure about the traffic I will meet on the freeway. Are you serious? I have no appointments. Okay, I just might stay in today and work from home — so call me if anything comes up and I will be right in. Is Dewayne in? Good, he can handle things. Okay, call me if you need me.”

Maximus gives himself an affirming grin as he hangs up the phone — glad that he gave himself permission to work at home and take some time for himself. He makes his way to his bathroom and emerges in a fluffy black robe with the belt tied around his 38-inch waist. He hits the switch on his wall and the jazzy sounds of Paul Taylor’s “Arrival” electrifies the room. Maximus goes to his kitchen and pushes the button on his coffee machine.

Unfortunately, the coffee machine fails to deliver and he throws on some clothes and head out to the closest coffee shop.

Meanwhile, Zena’s universal eclectic spirit is eager to go out in the rain to meet her good friend at a coffee shop across town in Buckhead. She enters the popular neighborhood spot with enthusiasm to share her news. “Hey, Roni. I have good news.” Roni sighs, “It better be some good news you have for getting me to come out in this rain.”

“Girl, I drove all the way her to your neighborhood. I am so glad I got my car out of the shop. Riding the bus was getting old.”

“Okay, tell me his name.”

“Why does my good news have to be about a man? It’s about me. I got the dream job I always wanted.”

“Girl, no! I am so happy for you. Where?”

“It’s with this advertising company called, Onyx and Partners, and I think it is black owned.”

“Wow! That is fabulous Zena.”

“Well, I have to be honest. It’s an entry-level position but I got my feet into the door.”

Suddenly, Maximus enters — wearing sweats and a sweatshirt. Zena and Roni pause their conversation as he makes his way to the counter to place an order.

Roni says with a side glance, “That’s what I’m talkin about,” as she watches every step he makes.

Zena looks and starts to smile, but continues to sip her coffee and look at her phone. Their conversation continues, but is interrupted by Maximus.

“You ladies using your cream? I don’t see any on the counter.” Maximus’ general glance was slowed in motion with a pause, as he and Zena catch each other’s eyes like the storm’s lighting entered the room.

Roni says with urgency, “Oh, yes. You can have our cream.”

Zena looks at Roni with a smirk and says, “No you can have it, I already used some.”

“Th-thank you,” Maximus stutters, as Zena hands him the cream from her table. He takes a look at her again and asks, “Have we met before?”

Zena says, “I don’t think so. I live across town. Just came here to see my friend.”

“You look so familiar,” he says.

Zena hesitates and looks away not to catch the flare from his eyes and says, “You know what they say, ‘It’s a small world.”

“Well, my name is Maximus Johnson.”

Zena’s friend witnesses the charismatic introduction and says, “Zena, girl meet me next door — I am going to see if that store is open where I bought those shoes. Don’t be long.”

Maximus says, “Oh, I don’t mean to interrupt your time with your friend, but I wanted to introduce myself.”

Zena smiles and says, “It’s no problem. Roni, wait — I’m coming.” Zena stands and looks at Maximus and smiles and says, “Well, my name is Zena. And it is nice meeting you.”

“It’s wonderful meeting you also, and your beautiful smile. You ladies have a great day.” And they both step out of the coffee shop at the same time, each going in separate directions — but with simultaneous over-the-shoulder glances as they parted.

Zena smiles and laughs with her friend as they walk away. She says, “Girl — why do ‘I feel like a natural woman?”

Roni laughs and says, “Okay, Miss Franklin.”

Want more Zena and Maximus? The story continues in the September 2018 edition of Las Vegas Black Image Magazine.

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