Authors: Nikki Turner


11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Fabiola couldn't contain her enthusiasm. “I'll do anything you need me to do, Mr. Walker. I'll move my bedroom suite into the studio if I have to, so that the last thing I do before I go to bed, and the first thing I do when I wake up, is record.”

“That's not going to be necessary,” DeMond assured her, “but it's damn good to hear. So many young artists these days think it's all about the parties and the money; they forget what it took to get here. Speaking of money, you can pick up the real check for the fifty grand from our Manhattan office first thing Monday morning.”

Fabiola fingered the platinum pendant they had given her. “I'll never forget what it took, Mr. Walker.”

“Oh, and there's one other thing,” DeMond said.


“Call me DeMond.” Then the president of Hot Soundz walked away.

“Okay, Mr. Walker.” She smiled and covered her mouth. “I mean, DeMond.”

After learning that she could pick up her $50,000 check on Monday, Fabiola, Viola, and Adora traded in their tiny hotel room for a three-bedroom suite at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel. They shopped during the day, and at night they ate at some of the finest restaurants and even managed to attend a couple of the hottest Broadway shows. They splurged and spent all the money
they'd scraped and struggled to save up for the trip, and maxed out a couple of credit cards they had no business with in the first place, because they figured the fifty thousand they were to receive on Monday was only the appetizer—something to keep them satisfied until the main course, when Fabiola inked a deal and big money would come flooding in.

Monday morning bright and early, Viola had the gospel music playing as everyone primped and groomed before heading uptown to Hot Soundz to pick up the check.

“God is good,” Viola said as she glided around the room. “See, he's got favor on us that is something way beyond our control. Who would've thought that we would be blessed like this? See what God can do, if you believe? You will achieve,” Viola shouted as Adora counted out loose change and put together the few dollars they had left.

“A-men,” Fabiola agreed.

“I'll second and third that there,” Adora chimed in.

It didn't bother them one bit that they had to scrape together money for the cab fare. Not only were they broke, they were in debt to everybody and their grandkids, but it didn't dampen their spirits, because they could see the pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.

“We got enough to make it over there,” Adora informed her mother.

“I told you God had our backs, didn't I?” Viola began singing Kirk Franklin's song “Our God is an Awesome God.” She sung that song from the depths of her belly.

“Mommy, we gone get you a deal next.”

“Chile, my day is over.”

“At least a duet, mother and daughter—picture that.” Adora cheered them on, and Fabiola joined her mother in singing the song.

In the highest of spirits as they left the hotel room, Viola continued to sing God's praises in the hotel halls, the lobby, the streets, and all the way over to Hot Soundz. People couldn't help but smile at her, because Viola could carry a hell of a tune and in New York City it was not unusual at all to hear a songbird on the streets. At a street corner while they waited to cross the street a couple of people even gave them a dollar or two because they thought she was singing for money.

Once they arrived at the record company, they noticed that most of the building was surrounded by double-parked vans. They hopped out of the taxi with Viola leading the pack. As they approached the building, a huge man whose name tag read “Jake” stopped them at the entrance. “Hello, ladies. Where are you headed to this morning?”

“We're going to the offices of Hot Soundz Records.” Viola flashed a smile.

“Ma'am, there's been a problem upstairs at Hot Soundz Records,” Jake informed them.

“Well, what type of problem, young man?” Viola asked. “My daughter here”—she glowed as she looked at Fabiola—“just won first prize in their national singing contest, and right now we're here just to pick up the check as well as sign our contract.”

“Well, ma'am,” Jake started, “first of all, I would like to congratulate your daughter on winning the contest. I heard her sing and I think it would have been an injustice if anyone besides her would have taken the prize.”

“Of course.” Viola smiled at him in agreement. “You got that right, young man.”

“But …” He paused for a moment. “I'm afraid you can't collect your winnings right now.”

“Why?” Fabiola asked.

“There is no money to pick up.”

“What?” Adora screeched. “No money? What you mean, ‘no money’?”

“I got this, Adora,” Viola said.

“Young man, if you have something to tell us, you need to just go ahead and spit it out. We have a plane to catch in a few hours,” Viola demanded.

“Well, the IRS has shut down the company and frozen all of its assets,” he blurted out. “My uncle DeMond owns the company, and I may not even get my paycheck.”

“Get your supervisor down here right away,” Viola ordered as she placed her hand on her hip, “because we damn sure ain't going to take the word of some fucking doorman. Man, you gonna make me lose my damn religion up in here.”

“Ma'am, we don't want you to lose your religion, but he can't come down here, because he might be going to jail his daggone self,” Jake said.

“You get someone right here, right now, or else. I'ma tell you, you people do not want to fuck with me. You really don't.”

“Ma'am, please calm down.”

“Not when it comes to my fucking kids, I won't. Don't fuck with me, okay?”

“It's really not a good idea,” Adora advised Jake.

“I don't want to have to call the police to have you removed, but I will,” he added. “I do understand your frustrations, but there's no need to take it out on me.”

“That's why I asked you to get someone else down here to shed some light on the bogus-ass situation,” Viola demanded through clenched teeth.

Jake picked up the phone and called upstairs, only to be told that someone would call him back with more information.

Two hours later they were still waiting, and Viola was pacing the floor and raising hell while Adora tried to comfort her sister
and calm down her mother, failing at both. Someone finally came downstairs and told them the same thing that Jake had.

“No, I am not just taking that!” Viola said. “The IRS needs to make good on any deals that were made before they brought their asses in on this here shit. They're saying they had an investigation going on for a while now. Then why in the hell did they let the showcase go on then? Tell the IRS to get down here and face us. Tell them to explain to my daughter”—Viola pointed to Fabiola, who was sitting in a chair in tears—“who has worked her ass off since she was three years old to get to this point that she's not going to be a star because of them. Have them come down here and face me.”

Jake and the supervisor still weren't able to offer any new information, and after several minutes of Viola cussing out anyone within earshot, Adora reminded her mother that they couldn't afford to stay any longer. Their nonrefundable discount airplane tickets couldn't be switched to a later flight, and they had to leave in time for the subway ride to the airport. So, with broken hearts and broken dreams, Fabiola, Viola, and Adora exited the building and headed to the airport in silence.

I Shot the Sheriff

he big bird touched down at Richmond International Airport after ten
. By the time Fabiola and her family got their luggage and found a ride home, the ladies were mentally and physically exhausted.

Fabiola was sitting on her bed soothing her tired legs with lotion when her mother walked in. “Fab, I know this has been a huge disappointment, but don't let it get you down. I'm going to get right on top of this in the morning. There's got to be some kind of a logical explanation.”

“Ma, maybe this isn't what I am supposed to do. I mean, this is the second deal that I've gotten and nothing has come of it … Why?”

“Baby, this is the entertainment world, and a lot of folks
had deals that didn't pan out before they got their big break. Don't think one monkey can stop a show, or one clown stops the circus. You know your momma: While you were singing your butt off”—Viola gave her daughter a reassuring look—“I was making contacts. I have lots of business cards from people that I met on Friday who were interested in you, and I'll start contacting them tomorrow, too. In the meantime, we'll just continue booking you everywhere we can to get you more exposure.”

Fabiola knew it was no use trying to argue with her mother when it came to anything concerning her career. Her mother knew best, and Fabiola would follow her lead. Dropping her head, she softly conceded, “Okay, Ma.”

Viola headed to the door. “Now get you some beauty rest. We'll talk in the morning.”

“Thanks, Mommy. I know you are disappointed, too, but things will work out for us.” Fabiola knew that her mother was more disappointed than she was letting on.

“I know, baby. I am going to sleep now. We'll start fresh tomorrow.”

Fabiola fell into an exhausted deep sleep, only to be awakened the next morning by loud knocking at the door. Still half asleep, she snatched the covers from her head and sat up in bed. Maybe she was dreaming.


There it was again. The pounding on the door continued. Fabiola was definitely awake now. Who could sleep through that racket?

Fabiola lifted her eye mask and dragged her feet out of the bed. She slipped on her fuzzy bedroom slippers and headed downstairs to see who was beating on the door.
Maybe it's UPS or FedEx with my Hot Soundz check and contract
, she allowed herself to hope.
Wishful thinking

As she walked down the hall, she pulled her Victoria's Secret boxers out of the crack of her butt and fixed the straps on the matching tank top.

Viola beat Fabiola to the door. “Okay, okay. I hear you … Who is it?” she called out.

“It's the sheriff's department, ma'am.” Viola looked through the peephole.

A sheriff's car was parked in front of the house, and two deputy sheriffs stood on the front porch.

Viola, speechless for a change, turned and looked at her daughter.

“Let me see what's going on, Ma,” Fabiola said as she unlocked and then opened the door. “Yes? What seems to be the problem?”

Viola reached for her daughter's arm. “No, I will tend to this; you have to protect your image. We wouldn't want any of this—you dealing with the sheriff's office—to be something that the press could dig up in the years to come.”

Viola pushed her daughter out of the way. Although Fabiola stepped aside so she wouldn't get knocked down, she watched and marveled at how her mother was always thinking two steps ahead, regardless of the situation.

“Ma'am, my name is Deputy Wiggins. You were served ten days ago with an eviction notice to vacate the property.” Deputy Wiggins, a short white guy who looked as though, if he were taller, he could've been a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, stood with his hat in his hands.

“Yes, sir,” Viola said, “but I called down to the courts and the clerk told me that the city usually has a heart near Christmastime and doesn't evict people after December tenth. I was assured that we had a few more days to make the rest of the payment to the landlord.”

“Well, the landlord enforced the order of eviction, ma'am, and you gots to go. Bottom line,” his partner, Deputy Justice, spoke up. “We don't have to do no explaining to these people,” she told her partner. “You paid your rent and she didn't. Now she needs to pack her things and get out. She should have paid her rent.”

Deputy Justice was new on the job. She was five foot six with walnut-brown-colored skin and weighed about 135 pounds, depending on the time of the month. Her face was scarred from the repercussions of running her mouth back in high school, and evidently she still hadn't learned her lesson.

“Look, lady,” Deputy Justice barked at Viola, “this ain't no hospice or even chapel, where we are going to feel any sympathy for you. This is what happens when you don't pay your rent: You get put out. Now, you have ten minutes to get your things, because after that the moving crew will be here to sit your stuff out on the curb.”

By now Adora had joined her mother and sister and heard what was going on.

“But we have nowhere to go,” Adora chimed in.

“Besides,” Viola added, “we talked to the landlord and he said that he would give us until the end of the month to give him the rest of the money we owe.”

“No, ma'am. What he meant is that he wouldn't enforce the judgment if you paid the back rent that you owe by next week,” Deputy Wiggins calmly said to the family, as Justice walked a few steps away.

“Unit sixty-one to Base,” Justice spoke into her walkie-talkie, “we are going to need backup at an eviction on …” She read off the address on the notice.

“No, we're not,” Deputy Wiggins said to his overzealous partner. “We are going to work this out. Now cancel that call,” he demanded.

11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Lost by Vicki Pettersson
Wrath Games by B. T. Narro
Nekropolis by Maureen F. McHugh
The Face of Another by Kobo Abé
Natural Suspect (2001) by Margolin, Phillip
Swapped by Quist, Keaton, Paulin, Brynn