Chapter 1 Feeling HOT HOT HOT
When Georgette, my best friend, decided to reconcile a part of my past; I wondered if it was still worth taking another chance on the rollercoaster of my life. With all its ups and downs, with all its twists and turns, my soul trusted that events unfolded as God intended. That belief might be the insane thought that kept me going through all my adversity but that mantra appeared to be keeping me sane as well. From my history, fact is much more fascinating than fiction especially when describing my dysfunctional family and ghosts of past relationships.
A year after losing it, while still regaining my composure and accepting my new way of life, a girlfriend arranged for me to link up with a hard memory to forget as well as the person connected to it. Using the Internet, my pal facilitated a cyber-meeting that led to today’s engagement. Would this reunion turn into another hellish series of events or would this encounter be my saving grace? Only time or God knew that answer. Curiosity- if nothing else- brought me down south to a prearranged meeting, today.
Swelteringly hot best describes the feeling in the area as I sat at a table outside a local bistro. The fans strained to mimic the ambiance of Paris or some other quaint, Northern European town but their labored spinning along with the sea breeze didn’t muster up enough coolness to succeed. Nearby, the ocean remained dead flat because the wind didn’t kick up enough activity to ripple through it. Rare for this area, the stability of the air grew stifling.
Seated right next to me, a purse dog whined to be set free. Once that animal escaped its heated, leather prison; the pooch shook the sweat off then pranced to a shaded spot right under its owner’s table. As the lady flashed the diamonds of her well-manicured hands putting on all kinds of airs, my eyes traveled along the well beaten path from the seaside to this cafe. Incapable of being caught up in the business around me, I found amusement in my memories.
At fourteen, while babysitting for the neighbors, one of which was a lawyer, I realized that my hometown attracted famous people. One day, upon answering their phone, a man chuckled about being at an emergency room and in need of good, legal counsel. I wrote down his name and location as well as some telephone numbers. When the couple arrived back from their date, the husband quickly got all this information. He smirked, “It’s Dick, again.”
His wife’s eyes danced with sheer delight, “What South Beach Hotel checked him in, and what celebrity does he wish to sue this time?”
This time? My mind quickly sorted the highlights of their conversation. After placing a call to one of the numbers listed, he reentered the room as his wife paid me my meager wages. Her husband started his client’s explanation. “Funny turn of events!”
“What?” My female neighbor asked.
“He must be a celebrity magnet.” Her spouse’s story rambled a bit, “While out jogging by the Fontainebleau Hotel, a small dog leaped from a lady’s arms. Before she could retrieve her pooch, it bit him in the Achilles Tendon.”
Gasping, his partner giggled, “You’re kidding me. He usually waits in hotel lobbies for opportunities to get hurt by celebrities and their entourage. This attack happened outdoors?”
“Yes, he wasn’t even on hotel property this time. As luck would have it, he attracts a successful case against someone while minding his own business- jogging.”
“Unless, he ran by that place often, and it was a part of his elaborate plan.” She offered.
“It seems to have worked. Lisa gave him all her contact information, which the police verified as authentic. The singer even told him that she’d settle out of court if he remained fair.”
“Sounds like an easy open and shut case,” His wife declared.
“If he doesn’t become greedy, it is.” The man warned.
“What about you, will he pay you a part of his winnings?”
“Definitely, because there were three witnesses who heard her admit her mistake having that dog unleashed. We are taking it to court.”
As I daydreamed about my past including this area as well as near misses with celebrity encounters, my lunch date arrived in his limousine. Noticing the car, my mind sorted pictures trying to determine the difference between his hired ride and a hearse. From my vantage point, his transportation seemed just as lonely as the latter. Swooping out of that luxury town car, he looked both ways even though a road between him and me didn’t exist. He felt more at ease with fanfare than I did, which explains my decision to choose the chair closest to a flowing tropical plant- a good object to duck and hide behind.
Glancing my direction, his hand tipped in a wave as his face lit up with an easy smile. Nodding, my eyes alerted him to the crowd gathering to pay him homage. Little did I realize but this scene would play out repeatedly during my short visit to my old stomping grounds. To this man, everything in this area felt new and flashy; even though at a nearby tavern, in his youth, he used to bus tables. For a brief moment, he searched out that establishment; it survived the Art Deco Revival. As his eyes met its doorway, he reveled in the attention of his celebrity approaching our rendezvous site.
Meanwhile, in my mind, this strip of land looked completely foreign except for the palms. I am sure my feet and hands helped me climb the ‘S’ shaped one as a child. Many times, I played at this place when it bragged of being a great family beach as well as ‘the sun and fun capitol of the world.’ Today, the newest trends added material value to this shoreline but took away the wholesomeness of its tradition.
My memories took me back to costal Miami when replanted New York and New Jersey Jewish people missing their grandchildren patted us merrily on the head as we passed. Now, the same pat on the head might turn out to be a seagull’s discharge because this ocean front resort changed hands in the years between yesterday and today. Long gone, probably deceased, are those mostly Jewish individuals being replaced by jetsetters; a more youthful group invaded my homeland. Today, my age almost caused me to stand out in the crowd.
After placating his admiring stalkers or fans, my friend pulled up a chair boldly asking while presenting himself as the prize, “Could it get any hotter?”
Knowing that he meant his comment facetiously, my joke followed, “Any hotter and I’d have to refer to it as Hell.” Laughing while tossing my head with a wink, I added, “Ooops! People might think my comment is egotistical.” Continuing this levity, my voice became more a whisper, “Ask Leslie or Bill; I am the Hell in the Family. I’m a magnet for immoral and amoral vagabonds.”
Is Rich just another immoral or amoral relationship for Helen? Or, are they rekindling their past, love life?
Come on buy (this book) to find out.
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