Category Archives: FICTION

75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 13

It was Epsom salt time!

I was feeling out of sorts, out of my mind and more confused after talking to Vickie.  The only thing I could think about right now, at this moment, was soaking in my tub filled with Epsom salt.  Tomorrow would be here before I knew it and I, along with my parents would be heading south.  As I began to run the water in my Sanford cast iron, clawfoot tub someone was ringing my buzzer.  “Not now” (I yelled to the air).  I continued running my water and pouring the salt thinking about how all my troubles were going to fade away once I stepped my body into this elixir.  Somebody was still ringing my buzzer.

“Who is it!” (I yelled through the buzzer).

“It’s us Thomasina, let us in.”

“Who is us?  (I yelled back).

“Artesia Ms. Tommie. It’s Artesia.  Jay and Anderson are with me.  Can we come in?

“Artesia!  What’s going on?

“Hey Ms. Thomasina, this is Jay. We just want to talk to you. It won’t take long. Come on, buzz us in please.”

“It’ not a good time. I was just about to take a bath.”

“Girl, come on now. Put on a robe. It won’t take long. We need to talk to you right now.”

“OK, OK Anderson.  Give me a minute and I’ll buzz y’all in.”

I turned the water off, grabbed my robe and house shoes and buzzed the trio in.  I’m not sure why they were here but it looked like the only way I was going to get rid of them was to see what they wanted.   Oh my God. (I thought to myself)  I have not talked to any of them since I left on vacation.  I hope Linda broke the news to them so I won’t have to look like the tyrant.  God, I hope that their severance package was fair, I pray that they got jobs at good properties.  Poor Artesia, she’s so shy, hopefully she’s going to be OK with another manager.  Anderson, Anderson sounds like he’s pissed at somebody – I hope it’s not me.  If any of them can handle the situation it’s Jay.  He’s a free spirit and he probably can’t wait to take whatever money they gave him and start his own business.  Anyway, Anyway…

“You go open the door or what Boss!”  (Jay yelled).

“Hey, come on in y’all.  So what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

“What you got to drink in that fridge Miss Powell?

“Help yourself Jay. It should be something in there to your liking.  Artesia, Anderson, you want something to drink, something to eat, some chips or something, there’s some barbecue fritos on the counter, help yourself.”

“So when you leaving?  (Anderson asked).

“Tomorrow.  I’m heading out tomorrow morning.”

“Well what about us Miss Thomasina. What’s going to happen to us?”  (asked Artesia).

“Didn’t Linda talk to you all.  Linda did tell you about Mort selling Paradise, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, yeah Boss.  Linda told us, she told us everything. Good looking out – Linda told us that you wanted to make sure we got treated right, fair.  We all got offers to go somewhere else.  I for one go take my small severance  and chill for awhile.  I don’t know if I want to be a janitor at another property.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I want to be a janitor period.”

“Well Jay.  What do you want to do?”  (I asked).

“Right now I wanna finish off this golden champale I’m drinking.”  (we all laugh).

“Artesia. What about you. What do you want to do sweetheart?”

“I’m not sure Miss Thomasina.  I was thinking about going to Community College.  You know, take some classes in something.  I don’t know though.  I’ll be 20 in a few weeks and all I can think about right now is buying me a new used car – something a little more reliable than what I got now.  What you think I should do Miss Tommie – should I go to another property and pick up where I left off?”

“I don’t know Tesia.  Do you like working in Property Management?”

“Paradise is my first job.  I don’t know if I like it or not.  I know I liked working for you and working with Anderson. I even like working with Jay sometimes….

“What’s that suppose to mean shy girl?” (Jay asked).

“I mean, I like working in property management at Paradise because you, Anderson and Miss Thomasina work there.  Most of the tenants are like my friends, like uncles and aunts that I never really had.  I’m not sure if I like the job more than the people that work and live there.  It probably won’t be the same somewhere else.”

“Anderson, you got to be thinking about maybe retiring now.  I’m sure Mort was generous to you – long as you been keeping that property in working order.  What you think old man?  You got it in you to maintain another building at this time?”

“I got your old man Miss Powell.  But seriously.  Ever since Lula Mae passed I’ve been asking myself that same question, better yet, been asking myself who I’m working so hard for now at my age – You know I’ll be 62 next month?”

“That’s all! (yelled Jay).  I thought you was at least 80 man, you only in your sixties?”

“Alright young blood.  Show some respect to the old man who taught you how to use tools and then some.”

“I’m just playing with you man.  You don’t look a day over 60.”

“I know that’s right.  If Lula Mae was still alive – she would agree with you. God knows I miss that woman.  My only regret is that we could not have children.”

“Why not Anderson?” (I asked).

“We tried. Lord knows we did.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”

“Anderson, where you and Lula Mae from?”

“Well Thomasina. We came to Detroit so long ago – it feels like we from here. We came here, me and Lula, when we were in our teens. We went to high school together, and once we graduated, we followed my brother Don this way. Don had got a job at the Ford plant and helped us out till we got our footing.  We came from Clayton. Clayton Alabama.”

“When’s the last time you been down south Anderson?”

“Oh Thomasina. It’s been a long spell.  I’m not sure if anybody I know is still there, in Clayton.  Me and Lula Mae got here and never looked back.  We stayed in touch for awhile with friends and kin folk – after our parents died, we went to the funerals. After that, we never went back.”

“What you doing tomorrow Mr. Anderson?”


B. Knox

To be continued



75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 12

“Miss Love is from Tuscaloosa.”

“How you know where she from Tommie?

“She told me, she told me. Her and her sister, her little sister Lizzie, they from Tuscaloosa Vickie.”

“I thought you said something about pecans T.  You said she left a message for your daddy about the pecan harvest.”

“Yeah, that was the first time I talked to her, when I ….

“The first time T.  The first time, you talked to this woman more than once over your parents house?

“No, No Vickie.  I talked to Adaline, I talked ….

“Adaline!  Who is Adaline Tommie?  You said you talked to a Miss Love.”

“Listen Vickie, stop interrupting me.  I’m trying to tell you, let me tell you.  Adaline, Miss Love, Adaline is her first name, I’m trying to tell you that I talked to Miss Love, Miss Adaline Love.  Before we hung up the phone at my parents house, she asked me to write down her number.”

“After she told you about the pecan harvest T.?

“No Vickie. After she asked me about my eyes.”

“About your eyes!  What does that mean, what, what did she want to know about your eyes T.?

“Vickie, the woman asked me if I had hazel eyes.”

“That don’t make no sense Tommie. I thought you said you didn’t know her. Why would a perfect stranger, someone you’ve never met ask you something like that?  How does she know what color your eyes are?”

“Cause her eyes are hazel too.”

“What! (Vickie screamed).

“And so is her little sisters. Miss Love, and her sister Lizzie, both got my eyes.”

“Where did they get them from Tommie? Where did they get your eyes from?”

“The question is Vickie. Where did I get their eyes from.?

“Is that why you’re going to Alabama Tommie?”

“No, No Vickie. I’m going to Alabama on a work assignment for Linda and Mort. I’m going to a town called Three Notch.”

“Three Notch?  I’ve heard that name before. I can’t remember if it was my mom or dad who mentioned it, but, I know I’ve heard that name before.”

“Well, like I said V.  I’m leaving tomorrow.  And, guess what.”

“What Tommie?”

“My parents are coming with me.”

“Are you planning on visiting Tuscaloosa T.?


“Do your parents know?”

“I think so.”

“Hey T. Stop in Atlanta and pick me up. I’m go ride with you.”

“Thanks V.  I was hoping you would say that. See you in a few days.”


To be continued.

B. Knox

75 South


75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 11

“Hey Vickie.  I was just about to call you girl. You must have heard me thinking about you long distance.”

“Maybe, maybe not Tommie.  I figured since you won’t pick up the damn phone and holler at me I’m go have to do the calling, the checking in, the seeing about my best friend and why I ain’t heard from her ass in so long.  What’s the story Tommie.  What’s going on.?

“V.  You just don’t know.  Shit, I don’t even know what’s going on – not really.  I’m just so confused and got so much stuff going on right now.  You know I’m leaving for Alabama tomorrow?”

“You going where tomorrow T.?

“To Alabama.  I told you about…..”

“Girl (Vickie interrupted).  You ain’t told me know such thing. What you talking about you told me?  When! When did you tell me Ms. Thomasina that you were going to Alabama?  I don’t think that’s something I would have forgotten. But you tell me Ms. T.  When did you inform me that you was coming down south?

“Oh my God V.  Oh my God!  I meant to tell you. I meant to tell you.  I’m going so crazy that I thought I told you what was going on. I was telling myself I was go call you the last time I talked to Miss Love in…..

“Miss Love, Miss Love. Who in the hell is Miss Love Tommie. Is that somebody I’m supposed to know?

“I’m sorry Vickie. Miss Love is my daddy’s friend in Akron, Akron Ohio.  She knows my mamma too, she knows both of them. She’s Bud’s friend, but, she knows my mamma too. She from Alabama. She from Alabama and so is her little sister Lizzie.”

“Her little sister (Vickie screamed).  What!  You been to Akron lately?  When did you go to Akron and meet these people, huh.  Who went with you. Did your parents take you to Akron to meet this woman and her sister?

“No.  I talked to her on the phone.”

“She called you?

“No. No Vickie.  She called my daddy.”

“She called your daddy and you talked to her?”

“Yes. I mean No. I mean, she called my daddy, I was at the house, at my parents house. The phone rang, the phone was ranging and my daddy, Bud, was asleep in his lazy boy. I hollered at daddy to answer the phone, I hollered but he didn’t hear me, he was sleeping, so, I answered the phone. My mother wasn’t home, so, I answered the phone.”

“OK T.  You answered the phone and she told you what?”

“She thought I was mamma.  I told her who I was. I asked her if she wanted to leave a message.”

“What was the message Tommie?”

“The message was for Bud Vickie.  She told me to let my daddy know that the pecan harvest was good this year.”

“Pecans, pecans don’t grow in Ohio. Do they?”

“I don’t know V.  I don’t think so.  I’ve never been to Ohio. Actually, as a matter of fact Vickie. I’ve never been out of Michigan.”

“I always wondered about that T.  All while we were growing up in Highland Park. Me and you, it seems like we’ve always been friends.  We’ve been knowing each other since, since we were babies.  I’m not sure who lived in the flat first – my family, or yours.  I just remember that every time we went out of town for something – my parents and me – that you and your family stayed home and kept an eye on our upstairs flat. I use to ask mom and dad – “why can’t Thomasina come with us – why can’t her and her mom and dad go down south with us?”


“Yes T.”

“Do you remember where you went down south when you were little?”

“Yeah girl.  We went to Alabama.”

“Where at in Alabama V.?”



B. Knox

To be continued.