** I think it's time for all creative souls to step forward. Make art, teach art, give art share your soul. see if that is what it will take to help stabilize what going on in the world today. November 2016
I’m a Humanist and a Buddhist and I meditate when I can, hey no one is perfect. I’m also a thinking man. I spend a lot of time in my head. I’m trying to grow into the man I would be the most proud of. I really like the guy I am but hey who can’t be better. Loving human kind for a sensitive man like me has proven to be more difficult than I could have thought. I have not given up, I just strengthen my mission.
I’m a good conversationalist and a better kisser. I'm a Photographer, Artist, Painter, Poet, short story writer, good cook and baker. So art and Music hold major place cards in my life.
I have a wonderful Partner who is supportive and inspiring. A nicer and sweeter man I could not have imagined. His name is Herschell
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Escorting Miss Tina
So the night was going good, when Miss Tina Mac a.k.a. Terry (never to be used) showed up on Santa Monica Blvd. Dressed in her usual evening before work wear, a basic black dress to the knee, black patent leather pumps, a string of pearls and her hair pulled back to a tasteful bun with a diamond hair pin stuck in it. You see Miss Thing was a working Show Girl. She started out here in the trenches with us, and then she worked her way up to a performing career and only an occasional trick, if they were VSP (very special piece). She would always show up on the scene with lots of hugs and kisses. Miss Tina Mac always said she felt more comfortable around us boys than any commoners. I don’t think she was legendary yet, but she would be someday we were all sure of it.
This evening Miss Tina needed an escort over to Orange Drive where the blonde boys hung out. Any of us young guys would have been happy to walk with her, but at the moment we were all working. I had pulled two tricks already and tonight Jamal was getting on my last good nerve. Usually he and I were cool, but never tight. So I decided to speak up and volunteer.
She seemed pleased, “I can always count on you to come to the aid of a lady”.
“It would be my pleasure Miss”, I opted for Miss, thinking it made her seem young and fresh and she was somewhat
I was dressed well enough that night that she felt OK to take my arm and we were off. I liked Miss Tina Mac because she treated all of us better than most drag personas we came across. Sometimes she would come and get one of us to help her carry coffee or hot chocolate back for the rest of us or she would take one or two of her favorites out for a meal. I being lucky and smart in life, worked hard to be one of those people. I had an in, because Rainbow is my girl and her friend does Miss Tina’s hair. Apparently, they said nice things about me when my name came up. I always felt I was lucky that way, but people said that it was not luck, but the way I carried myself. It took me years to understand what they meant. I always said that my great grandmother raised me well. She is still alive but far away, so I look up to the sky and say a little thank you to her for all she tried to do in the short time I lived with her.
So Miss Tina and I started walking down Santa Monica Blvd. I always let her set the tone. If she wanted to talk she would or if she just wanted to be quite that was OK too. If she really felt comfortable that you could represent yourself well and not embarrass her she would ask if it was OK if we stop off at someone’s place from her never-ending list of really good friends. Unless I’m pressed I will say fine by me. Around Miss Tina I tried to be more like her; “Never Bothered and Never Pressed.”
This evening she said, “Hey T, do you mind if we stop by a girlfriend’s house to pick up a necklace of mine she borrowed?”
“Fine by me”, I said and she smiled and squeezed my arm closer.
Miss Tina’s friend lived in a regular looking apartment on the third floor. The door looked metal and made a hollow sound when I knocked on it for Miss Tina. As we waited, I thought to myself, “This could be boring or very nice”. Miss Tina would never let an evil queen of any sort have at the boys that escorted her. Well, maybe if they deserved it for not living up to her standards. I was most definitely not one of those boys. I knew how to act even around impolite ladies of the manly varieties. The door opened and a five foot tall, extra dark chocolate lady with a pink and red flowered scarf covering beer can size pink plastic rollers. Her night wrap was a red silk Chinese dressing gown with fuzzy red mules. Topping off this wild vision there were bright green contacts staring at me like I was the wrong dinner that was already two hours late but will have to do.
Miss Tina broke her spell by saying, “Cleo! Cleopatra Destiny Williams! Do you hear me talking to you girl? Or would you prefer your given name? - Snap out of it Miss Thing”.
Cleo shot back, “How you doing girl? You know I was waitin’ for you. Get in here; you know I don’t entertain on the front step”.
All the time she was eyeing me like I was a taste or a thief or a tasty thief, I couldn’t tell.
Miss Tina Mac saw this and said, “Cleo this is my escort for the evening Mr.” (I was about to jump in and help her out, no one but my closest of close knew my last name) “Mr. Ted Kingston”.
I looked shocked for a split second, while Miss Tina snuck a wink at me, “and your hostess in this beautiful place is none other than the Devine Miss Cleopatra Williams”.
I smiled “Not Cleopatra Destiny Williams? I always feel when you meet a lady of stature for the first time one should be properly introduced”. I took her hand and kissed it. They both giggled like school girls.
“Girl and he’s only fourteen, can you stand it and he was raised right by somebody”.
Miss Cleo looked me over again, “Are you sure? My girlfriend Sara has a son who is about 14 and he is nothing like this one. What is your name again?”
“Ted, Miss Williams”, I said pouring it on thick, “But most people around here call me T or TK”.
She frowned,” That’s enough with that Miss Williams stuff, you can call me Cleo”.
Miss Tina smiled, “You must be something T, because usually Cleo don’t care for chocolate, she says it breaks her out in a rash.”
“Shut up girl this young man is sweet”. “Why is he spending time with a wanna be Lady like you?”
I smiled at the obvious tease between good friends.
“T was sweet enough to volunteer to escort me over to Orange Drive to see if Gabrielle is there before my show”.
“Damn girl, you are still chasing that no account brother of yours? He just takes and takes and won’t change. I admire you for keeping up with family but you know how I feel about Gabby”.
“Cleo. I know, I know girl, but what can I do, he’s my twin?”
“I know girl but dam”.
As always if you get two close drag queens together and you are not Trade or a Mark they will from time to time forget you are there and that was usually fine with me. Chat-chat and giggle-giggle they went on for about fifteen minutes. I started to look around at Cleo’s place; it was nicer than I thought; no gold or animal prints or feathers which are the usual feature in most drag personas apartments. It was tasteful beyond what I had come to expect from my time out on the Boulevard. More like the houses of some of my high school friends. Miss La Joy might even feel OK being in this place, well maybe even with these two ladies. I laughed to myself at making my mother sound like a Drag Queen. She would have given me such a look.
“T…..T, hello that is what you’re called, right?”, said Cleo; pulling me away from thinking about my family, something that I seemed to be doing a lot lately.
“Yes Empress? How may I help you?” I smiled a sly smile. I think Miss Cleo actually blushed. She’s as dark as me so it was hard to tell. But being a Pro she recovered quickly.
“Child no one dozes off in this place but me. Are you on something?”
“No Cleo I’m not, well not at the moment. I was admiring your beautiful apartment.”
“I was talking to my sister and she said you have a nice home with parent and all and you choose to come out here and stay with the children on the streets. Is that true?”
“Well I guess it is a nice home but it was never my home. There was a certain Hell there that you either live through or leave. I chose to leave. The nice home, Lady Tina speaks of, is for my mother and her husband.”
“Oh did they kick you out?” asks Miss Tina.
“No. I think I am almost always welcome if I follow their rules”.
“Was that the problem?” asks Miss Cleo, “were you one of those mannish little black boys. Always getting into trouble?”
“Not really, I am as you see me here. I was raised to be a gentleman.”
“Look little man put it down sharply. Why are you living on the street with the riff raff, when you could be at a nice fuckin’ home with your brothers and sisters?”
“Hmm, OK, I don’t usually discuss my business like this but since you asked so nicely I’ll reveal. I have only been in California for four years; I started out in Springfield, Missouri (leaving out being born in Detroit, Michigan) I lived there with my great grandmother”.
The ladies looked at me oddly. “You knew your great grandmother? I barely knew both of my grandmothers”, said Cleo.
Miss Tina said, “I knew both of my grandmothers, my mother’s mother was a total B-I. She hated my father for being with my mother and I and my twin always reminded her of him so she hated us too”.
Cleo looked at her as if to say, “Shut up bitch this is not your story hour”.
Miss Tina stopped talking and said “please continue T”, and then rolled her eyes at Cleo.
“Well my great grandmother raised my grandmother, my mother and me. She had 11 kids. My grandmother was the second oldest but didn’t have a kid until her twenties which was kind of different for that family; usually the girls had babies early and often. She didn’t want to be tied down with my mother, so she begged her mother and father to take care of her daughter. They agreed if she worked and sent money home to help. So my mother grew up with her uncles and aunts. When she got PG she gave me to the lady who raised her because she didn’t want kids either”.
“Damn!” said Cleo, “that’s cold”.
“Well even colder when you know she didn’t even bring me home from the hospital, my great grandmother and great grandfather did. My Mother also had her tubes tied so she would not make that mistake again. So because it started looking bad that she would leave her only child with her aging grandmother, she brought me to California with her current husband. She only told him after they were married that she could not have any new children with him. That house is their reality; mine had to be somewhere else. This is just a road to find it”.
“Why don’t you go back to your great grandmother’s house?” said Miss Tina.
“Well she would have me in a minute but she was so good to me I don’t want to be a burden to her or anyone”.
“Girl did I tell you he goes to school and has an A+ average”, said Miss Tina.
I smiled at her and said, “I guess I’m going to have to tighten my security. How do you know so much about me?”
“Yeah girl how do you know all his business?” asked Cleo.
“I have been asking around ever since we met last year at that dance in Plumber Park. This guy threw down! He peeed for it all. Really girl, not like the tired dancers we see at the shows around here. No girl T gets down, like he’s trained or something”.
They both looked at me, like well?
I said, “I know a step or two. Thank you, Miss Tina for your kind words”.
Cleo looked at me and said, “Why do you talk like that? Half white and half black, but black from somewhere nice. Where is this nice home, Baldwin Hills?”
“No, in Long Beach”, I lied (they can’t know everything).
“I bet it’s in the rich part, your mother’s some kind of rich socialite Bitch, right?”
“Nope, she’s just the regular kind”.
We all laughed.
After about a half hour later Miss Tina asked for the necklace that she had lent to Cleo supposedly for a hot date. We made our way to the door and as I shook the hand of Ms. Cleopatra Destiny Williams and thanked her for a wonderful evening. She said it was her pleasure and I could come by anytime. Even though her smile was genuine I knew already that this was not really true, it was the evening. If you were not a very good friend or the #1 lover of a lady such as Cleo or Miss Tina you should wait to be directly invited to their home or you surely would get read.
As Miss Tina and I walked away arm and arm I was sure my ears would be burning when they saw each other again. Most likely after Miss Tina Mac’s midnight show. I walked Miss Tina over to Orange Drive to the original destination. We found he twin brother Gabby she wanted to check in on. I never noticed how much they looked alike. If her brother wasn’t such a junky they could’ve done a great brother-sister act. After she finished, I returned Miss Tina to the back door of the Gold room. She offered me a chance to come in and wait with her while she got ready and to see her show. I had to decline; the call of the Riff Raff as Cleo put it, was getting louder every minute. She smiled and hugged me tight saying thank you and she thought Cleo really liked me. After about a block away I stuck my hand into my back pocket and pulled out a $20.00, I guess Miss Tina Mac still has fast hands.
What a lady.
My smile lit up all the streets as I walked back to my people.