Clandestine Brothers - Part IV

Please read also, Clandestine Brothers, Part II & Part III

Tuesday 8:45am

Its early Tuesday morning and no customers have arrived so Clee stretches out in his chair to catch a quick snooze. Floating in that netherworld between fully sleep and fully awake, he encounters some intense nocturnal moments. "Oh Miss Mary, no Miss Mary" he mumbles writhing in his chair to dodge the phantom whip administered to his backside by the girl of his dreams. SMACK! SMACK! No Miss Mary he shouts as he jumps startled and disoriented from his chair.

SMACK! SMACK! Clee's fully awake yet the sound persists. Looking out of the door of his shop he can see three girls jumping double dutch in front of the beauty shop next door. SMACK! SMACK! The rope meets the sidewalk with a familiar sound. One of the girls jumps in, chanting as she jumps, "Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black..."

Clee, with a flashback to his days of yore, darts over and asks permission to join in. The girls, somewhat astonished, agree. He makes his move and the girls start chanting,

"...the line broke, the monkey got choke and they all went to heaven in a little row boat."

Clee is in the flow, bounding off the pavement as if wearing a pair of Converse Allstars, his feet moving like lightning. The ladies, in the beauty shop cease their activities and peer through the window to observe Clee's double dutch magic. "The old boy still has some life in him" remarks Lanovia. "You should know", quips Precious. (eyes start cutting)

Clee's lightning feet begin to turn into rain as beads of sweat roll off his forehead. Then suddenly, like thunder, his body crashes to the pavement. He sits there, in agony, holding his 39 year old ankle which twisted moments before his descent.

The double dutch girls scatter, but without hesitation Lanovia ("No") Langston bolts from the beauty shop and drops to her knees beside him.

"Clee!" she yells "Are you alright?"

The women from the shop poke their heads out of the door " Clee, Lanovia is there something we can do?"

Clee replies, "No thanks, its not too bad. All I need is for No to help me get up"

Precious quips again,"Oh yeah, I hear she's good at that" and quickly all of the women duck back into the shop conversing with one another.

Sandi speaks first , "Ooh Precious girl you so baaad. Sayin' somethin' like that."

Precious retorts," Now child you know there ain't no secrets in this town just wives, mistresses and bastard children."

Other women in the shop, disgusted with Presious' mouthings begin whispering to each other :

First lady: "My my my, girl ain't she common though?"

Second lady: That ole "skunk molley?" You know she got five kids and four daddies her damn self.

Back on the street, Clee and Lanovia begin to maneuver toward the barbershop. Lanovia talks while struggling to support him . "Clee, just ig those biddies, they ain't about nothin'." Clee responds, "Baby you know I ain't paying those women no attention. Hell they'll make somethin out of nothin' just to have somethin' to talk about".

Tuesday mornings are often slow at the barbershop and Clee and Lanovia have the place to themselves. They talk and laugh briefly before Lanovia starts back to the beauty shop. Just before she exits through the doorway Clee calls out "Lanovia, the way you throw that bubble on your back, I can understand why the fellahs call you "The No"." Lanovia smiles, "I just want to see that tattoo that you promised me you'd get". Then she leaves, throwing her hips hard enough to make Clee's heart skip a beat.

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Copyright © 1996 Thomas E. Smith

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This Page Last Revised: April 28, 1996