Just a glance at the room…Everyone seated in their fine suits and dresses. Thousands filed away in seats for the handshaking and smiles. Bobbing their heads to the elevator music, making idle chithcat and exchanging business cards.
I never took. Too many people, too many names to remember. I didn’t care about any of them. My crew as on Lennox Ave fixing up a row of houses neglected since even before the riots. I had real work to do.
They wanted me to make a speech. Supposedly I was impressive and worth listening to. Honestly, I had nothing to say.
Dressed in my jeans, a baggie sweatshirt, and off-brand construction boots. I had work to do… my men needed their leader by their side. Not posted up for this vanity project. Natalie’s work.
I was curious what these people did with their wealth. In their freetime. Maybe get advice. Ha, they would love that.
All smiling. Primped and preened. I hadn’t a haircut in months. Halle finally gave out and twisted my hair while I slept, one night. My thick hair natural grew in natural twists past a certain length but she gave it shape and style. Been up for a few days running around. She finally caught me slippin. Clipped my fingernails too. It’s either let these grow or finally succumb to the barber shears. This is honestly the first moment I paid it mind, Better things to do than be concerned with my hair or clothes.
There was work to be done… but these good people came for a speech, some advice. We live different lives.
“Yo, Mr Morgan Ellys!”
I let out a sigh and glanced behind me.
The MC came up with a smile as shiny as the rock in his ear. He extended his hand and moved in ot dab me up. I gave in, my courtesy superseding my cynicism.
“Damn, man looking like you came straight from work, you gonna charge?” he chuckled.
I looked him over, and forced an uncomfortable smile.
“Heehee…” he stopped laughing and rubbed his neck, “Uh… damn man. Your glare is cold.”
“I’ve been told.”
“Huh…” he looked at this Rigo Stash loafers.
Halle showed me a similar pair that ran $1000. I called her crazy for even suggesting. Her reply was you pay for the recognition. That’s funny because I typically paid for quality.
My lip twitched as I turned back to the crowd.
He stepped by me, “Ready for this man?”
“Can you take a step to the left? I don’t like men on my shoulder.” I didn’t turn. I could feel his presence. He stood within reach of a dagger through his eyes. But those were different days. Days my MC couldn’t imagine. That most these people couldn’t. “Please, back up.”
“Whoa man… I’m just going to leave you alone.
I didn’t bother to respond. Lost interest and my patience had expired with the pricetag. I could knock him cold and use his outfit to fix a house. The shoes alone could cover a family’s repair expenses. I may just be able to pawn them for half the price, even that was a come up.
I can only pay my men in food, nickels, and dime. He wears a pair of Stashes.
Is it me?
These people have no responsibility to help me or those I help. They have no duty to anyone but themselves. They should enjoy their wealth, no? If I believe that, what’s this knot in the pit of my stomach?
“Where’s the bathroom?” I asked needing time to myself.
Rigo’s spokesman pointed a quivering finger. Fear. Of me? Please… he wouldn’t be worth the guilty conscience. I left because I was tired of the violence. I won’t go against that no matter what I could use his outfit for. Let the man live his life, Morgan. He isn’t you… none of these people are.
The ballroom wasn’t enough. Their booths and stations set up all over the conference center. Looked like a college career fair. These things were all the same these days. Maybe my wasted time was all that scorned me. This feeling there was more to be done.
I agreed to this, come on old man. Get your shit together. You’re not dead yet. Far from. I suppose not far removed.
You think you’re big shit Ellys? Like your time is better than these people’s? Get over yourself, man. Your boys will be fine. This is where you’re at… remember what Natalie said, “consider this fundraising.”
I didn’t want to sale a dream.
I didn’t want these people’s money.
And Natalie left you…
“What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.”
“Excuse me, sir. Do you work here?” A tall young woman in beige approaches me. God honestly she could give Halle a run for her money for most beautiful on Gaia but she was caked in makeup. It did her no justice, probably came from insecurity rather than a need. Poor girl had no idea how beautiful she is, “sir can you hear me? This Nutcase must be a janitor, he’s just staring at me!”
“How long did it take you to get all that on your face?” I ask rubbing my chin.
Her friend laughed joining our conversation. A short and shapelier woman who stole my focus entirely leaving me speechless for a few moments. In an ill fitting suit and scuffed flats. At a glance they didn’t belong together. Reminded me of when I met Halle and Natalie but these two had synergistic energy.
“Excuse me?” the taller one cocked her head as if ready to fight me.
“Watch your attitude.” I cut my eyes at her, giving her pause with my glance.
“Whatever.. Let’s go, Rose.” she began walking off.
Her friend looked at me intently with those soft chestnut eyes and full lips pulled into a wild grin. She had her own beauty entirely. One that was never appreciated. Outshined by the vapidity of flesh, you could feel her strong spirit and joy. Her smile soothed my soul. She must have been of the divine.
“Rose?” the tall one stops realizing she wasn’t being followed.
“Holy shit, you’re Morgan Ellys.” The girl named Rose covered her mouth.
“This fucking janitor?” Cameron rolled her eyes.
“Watch your mouth, raggedy anne.” I sigh.
“What the fuck did you just say to me!?” her eyes lit up, growling as if ready to pounce.
“That’s all you have to say?” I rolled my eyes.
In truth, they were bringing something out of me I didn’t know existed… presenting something I didn’t know existed.
“You’re a dick!” she retorts.
I shrug, “I don’t take to the opinions of circus folk. Take your work clothes off and talk to me about janitors.”
“Maybe you should try putting some real clothes on!” Cameron sucks her teeth, “Maybe look the part of a keynote speaker, not some Farmer Dale wannabe, you hear me?”
“Maybe those are the wannabes and I’m the real deal? They all got dressed up, smiles, and pride to put on a suit. Please, if this impresses you- You, know what, very well girls. Enjoy yourselves.”
I began moving along but can’t help but hear their conversation.
“Cam, don’t get embarrassed, baby girl.” her friend Rose stepped up closer.
My heartbeat quickly, as our eyes met once more.
“Embarrass myself? This is supposed to be a conference and he’s dressed like some-
“Construction worker?” I ask turning around, “Like my profession?”
Rose covered her mouth, laughing hysterically as ‘Cam’ just stared in silence. Cam gave up, looking at Rose then to me in shock. She looked as if she saw a ghost.
“Excuse me , ladies. I was heading to take a leak.”
“Wait… are you really Morgan Ellys?” Rose asked grabbing my hand, “I’ve waited so long to finally speaker to you.”.
“Maybe once. I’m not sure anymore.” I said far too honestly, “Good luck ladies. God Bless.”.