A Perfect Match by Frederick K. Foote
A Perfect Match by Frederick K. Foote
The sister’s not my type at all. She is too light to fight, too thin to win, and too white to be right. She has bone-colored skin, a flat iron nose, and just a hint of lips.
And, and the kicker is, I’m at a party at The Club filled with brown-skinned, sensually curved, women with some meat on their bones and lips to call their own.
But she caught my eye from the get-go. She doesn’t just walk. She has an imperial strut powered by an audacious self-confidence, a bright and definite purpose, and a wicked bewitching smile that threatens, promises and beguiles.
She wears her short nappy natural like the most excellent crown from here to Kingdom Come.
Her short, tight dress is royal blue, accenting her underwhelming assets.
I do what I always do when I see something utterly amazing. I investigate. I step in front of her. She does a little pirouette and glides right around me back on her intended path.
I move quickly to fall in step with her.
“Hey, my name is Oliver Kent. I would love the pleasure of your company and the good grace of your smile for a while.”
She doesn’t break stride as she replies. “Oliver Kent, I’m not your type, I’m not your style, and I don’t need no simple-minded, boy toy.”
“Hey, it doesn’t matter what you want or what I want or what you like, or we like. Some things are meant to be. And right now, that’s you and me.”
Her bright smile doubles in intensity. She grabs my hand. “Is that what you think? Let’s see if you really believe that.”
Straight as an arrow we go, hand-in-hand to the table of Easy Money Brown, the baddest Negro in town.
Doughboy, Brown’s bodyguard, steps in front of us, blocks our way with his 280 pounds of muscle, bone, and down-home, rattlesnake mean.
Skinny girl isn’t shy. “Get out the way, Doughboy. I got business with Easy.”
“My name ain’t Doughboy, bitch. My name’s Marcus and—”
“Move it, Fatso, or I will sic my boyfriend on your pudgy ass.” She nods toward me when she says, “boyfriend.”
I don’t even try to look tough. I just try not to look scared shitless.
Easy Money saves the day, “Marcus, she’s family, somehow, a distant cousin, I think. Let her through.”
Easy’s seated at the table between his girl, Sassy, and a dark-skinned brother with opaque shades and short dreads that I have never seen before.
My new girlfriend may be a little bit, but she is on it, calling Easy out by birth certificate name, “William Gibson, you need to get your gangsters out of the park at 5th and Elm, yesterday.”
Easy Money chuckles, “Slow your roll, Cous. You need to show some respect.”
But Little Bit isn’t slowing down she’s picking up speed, “I show you the same respect you showed us when you put your goons in the park and drove the kids out. You got to give respect to get respect, Negro.”
“Marcus, I think these two are ready to leave The Club — by the back door. Now!”
But Little Bit isn’t intimidated or finished, “You get them out of the park tonight or tomorrow you and your hoodlums will no longer be allowed anywhere in this city. Your choice William.”
Easy waves his hand in dismissal.
Doughboy has us by the shoulders and is dragging us backward. My shoulder feels like it’s in a vise, but I can’t moan or groan because Little Bit isn’t even flinching.
As the bodyguard drags us across a corner of the dance floor, I’m gritting my teeth so as not to reveal my pain and fear, I ask my crazy, thin companion, “What the heck Little Bit? You have got us killed or if we are lucky, just beaten to a pulp. Who the hell are you?”
“Why dear, sweet Oliver, I’m yours. We are fated to be mated. I just heard that from you, right?”
Doughboy is joined by another thug, Bone Breaker, who snatches me away from Doughboy and puts me in an armlock as he pushes me toward the door.
“Hey, man, take it—” In response to my complaint, the outlaw jacks my arm up a little more. “Shit, Little Bit, what’s your name?”
“Sorry, Oliver, but I don’t give my name out to strangers. That’s very risky behavior.”
Doughboy rips open the back door and bounces Little Bit off the opposite wall of the alley. Not to be outdone, Bone Breaker rams a fist the size of a bowling ball into my ribs and tosses me against the same wall. I feel something snap as I hit the wall, and something pops as I drop to the brick road.
I see Bone Breaker remove a blackjack from his jacket pocket while Doughboy puts on leather gloves.
I try to stand, but my left knee’s not cooperating, and there’s a shooting pain on my left side. Little Bit pulls me to my feet.
“I won’t give you my name, but Nambi sent me—”
At the mention of the legendary, mythical witch, demon, goddess succubus, the bodyguards’ exchange looks, turn, and stare at us with wide eyes and trembling lips.
Little Bit ignores them, stoops to examine my knee.
Doughboy dashes back through the door.
Bone Breaker looks out the alley to Mott Street. The big man looks like he’s ready to make a record-breaking sprint — to sprint out of the side street and into oblivion.
Bone Breaker pleads his case, “Look; you should’ve said something, spoke up. I didn’t know. Fuck! Look. I’ll let you go. Go—”
Easy Money and Doughboy explode out the door.
Easy Money advances on Little Bit, waving his finger in her face, “What the fuck! You never said She sent you. You never said a fucking word about Her. You have fucked me! You should have said something.”
Little Bit knocks the finger waving hand away, “You didn’t give me a chance. But, dumb ass, who else would have been giving you that ultimatum? You fucked yourself.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll get our people out right now.” Easy pulls out his phone. “I’ll get everybody out of Southside.”
“You do that. For your sake, I hope that’s enough.”
“What else? What else can I do?”
“That is Her favorite nephew.” Little Bit points at me.
I grew up around the stories about Her. Most black people will not speak Her name – ever. I don’t believe in that backward, backwater, superstitious nonsense. But I have never said Her name out loud.
I grew up and lived around Columbus, Ohio. I have family and friends in Indiana and Illinois. None of these far-flung connections have ever spoken Her name in my presence. Yet, we all know who we are referring to when we say, “Her.” I have never met a white person who’s even aware of Her existence.
Right now, the pain in my knee has receded. With Easy Money I was frightened of a bad ass whipping. I have suffered through a couple of those. But listening to Little Bit, tying me to Her as a relative, has terrified me through and through. I’m feverish. Have the chills, feel a sickness deep within.
Suddenly Easy Money’s very solicitous of my well-being, “Hey, man, you okay? We’re going to get you to a doctor. Bone Breaker, man, bring the car around. Hurry the fuck up.” Easy Money turns back to Little Bit. “I remember you from a family reunion, Fon, Right?”
“Ouch!” Little Bit’s probing my left side. She turns back to Easy Money. Your memory is a day late and a dollar short. I have been called Fon before, but She ain’t going to be too fond of you. I think you broke some of Her nephew’s ribs.”
A big black Mercedes glides to a stop in the alley. Bone Breaker jumps out of the car and races to gently help me into the back seat of the sedan.
Fon, if that’s her name, slips into the driver’s seat. “Are you good back there, Oliver?”
Before I can respond, Easy Money’s confronting Fon. “What the hell are you doing. That’s a 96K whip. You—”
Fon revs the engine. “Sounds sweet. William, I think you have far bigger worries than this hunk of German junk. Auf Wiedersehen.“ Fon peels out of the alley.
“Fon, you are Fon, right? Why’re you doing this?”
“Oliver, I’m driving you to a healer because we’re soulmates, according to you.”
“No, why are you using Her name in vain? I would rather face Easy Money any day.”
“Okay, I’ll take you back to the gangsters.”
“Fon, serious business, why did you use Her name?”
Fon shrugs, “It isn’t a big deal. You aren’t superstitious, are you?”
“No. Yes. Yes, I am.”
Fon accelerates around two cars and blows through a red light.
“Fon, slow the fuck down. What is it with you? Do you have a death wish?”
Fon responds by taking a hard left on squealing tires, cutting off oncoming traffic.
Fon giggles, “Come on, love of my life, is it Her or Jesus you praying to? You need to pick one or the other.”
“Fuck you! If you were going to mention Her, why didn’t you do it before we got bounced around?”
Fon’s doing a hundred hurtling into the warehouse district.
“Fon! Fuck! Stop! Let me out.”
Fon hits the brakes hard. The big Benz tires scream, smoke. The mass of metal stops like a well-trained hound. I’m caught uptight by my seat belts. My knee and ribs are screaming along with the brakes.
There are tears in my eyes. I’m biting my lip to keep from crying.
“Oliver Kent, you’re a big liar. You said we are meant to be together. You said—”
“Fon, I didn’t know that you’re insane. I didn’t know about your death wish. I—”
“And I didn’t know that you are a whining, crybaby, liar. I hate liars. Get out of my car.” Fon steps out of the car and opens my door.
“It’s not your car. I meant what I said. But just because I said it doesn’t make it true. I could have made a mistake, okay.”
“You said it. You meant it. That makes it true. Now you’re trying to undo it. Mistake my ass. You tied us together. Get out.”
“Okay, I’m getting out, but you had a say too. Fon, you’re not bound by my words. You don’t have to go along with what I say.”
“Get out now. How do you know if I’m bound or not bound by your words? How do you know?”
Fon reaches in and undoes my seatbelt. She half drags me out of the car.
I hold onto her arm.
“Fon,” I look into her odd brown-gray eyes. “Fon, I didn’t think about what I said. I just said it.” I pull her closer. “I meant it.”
She shakes free of me, slams the backdoor, slips into the driver’s seat, slams that door and peels off down the street for two blocks, makes a screeching U-turn, and accelerates back at me. I’m still standing in the middle of the street. I don’t have the time or agility to avoid the onrushing 4,600 plus pounds of steel, plastic, and rubber.
Fon brakes at the last minute. The car stops less than twelve inches from me.
She opens the front passenger door, but I hobble over to the driver’s door.
“Fon, get out. I’ll drive.”
She snorts, “You have a busted-up knee and ribs. You don’t know where we’re going. And—”
“You can direct me.”
“Fon, some things are meant to be. I believe I’m destined to drive the rest of the way. That’s just the way it is.”
We’re inside a vast warehouse, sitting in the car looking at a wooden table that must be ten feet long.
Fon is still giving orders, “You have to get out. Lie on the table. Wait for the healer.”
“What? This is crazy. The University Hospital is—”
“Oliver, please do this, and I’ll explain what’s happing to us. Wait—” She answers her text, studies it in silence for a while. She hands her phone to me.
There is a picture of a body, skinless except for the face of Easy Money. I vomit.
“Skinned him! Why? Why do that?”
“Respect. Fear. I don’t know. I don’t care. Oliver, you and I still have our skins.”
“Yeah, but for how long?”
“Rest on the table, Oliver. It’ll be alright.”
“Did She do it to Easy?”
“Rest, please. I promise you I’ll explain after you’re healed.”
Fon helps me to the table.
“Are we safe, Fon? I mean, that was a quick ass job on Easy Money. How much time do we have?”
Fon snickers. “Time is not on our side.”
“Fon, this table feels like an altar. Am I being sacrificed?”
“No. Not yet.” She grins at me. “I have to go. You have to wait.”
“How long? How long do I have to wait?”
I’m sitting on the altar as Fon kisses me like a transfusion of desire, hope, and need. So much need.
I fall asleep on the table dreaming of fulfilling that need.
The healer is confusing, shifting shapes, sizes, colors, sexes, and voices. Dark-skinned, tall. Thin Arab-looking male dressed in white robes, slices his wrist and holds the bloody fountain to my mouth, “Drink my blood and know me.” I drink greedily.
A seven-foot Asian woman in a San Francisco Warriors Jersey slices inches of flesh off her forearm and presses it to my lips, “This is my flesh, eat it and know me.” I devour the offering voraciously.
Joined at the hip girls in a grass skirt and halter tops spread a stinking vile yellow paste on my injuries.
There is chanting and drums in the background as a brown-skinned woman straddles and pisses on me from head to toe.
Someone standing just out of sight, behind my head tosses a lit match on my chest, and instantly, I’m an inferno. I’m dead. Fon lied. I have been fucking sacrificed.
There is a God-like voice speaking to me in surround sound.
“Fon means well, but strays from reality sometimes. Time is of the essence. You have questions. I have answers.”
“Are you – no, are you real? No. No, this is a dream, right?”
“Okay, okay, alright. Are you – did you — you do that to Easy Money?”
“Oh, shit! Fon, is she – did you do something to her?”
“Not yet. You’re wasting time. You have more important questions than these.”
“Okay, okay, how old are you?”
“I was in Africa when the first of your kind was born.”
Are you going to hurt me? Skin me?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you want from me?”
“An important question at last, but your time has run out.”
I wake up on the altar. I’m alone; at least I think I am until I hear the sounds of heels clicking toward me.
I’m petrified; I refused to turn and see what is approaching me.
It’s Fon, looking pleased with herself. “Oliver, you look healthy. Do you want to fuck?”
I do. We do on the narrow table.
It is a fucking religious experience. I’m transported to a place that I do not ever want to leave.
“Oliver, are you okay? Can you hear me? Can you speak?”
I nod, “Yes” twice in a row and then “No.”
“We have to go now. I have clothes for you in the car. I’ll help you.”
Fon punches me hard in my injured ribs. Fucking Fon! I feel it, but it’s like a normal punch. I’m not reeling in pain. I’m back.
I test my knee. It’s fine. I’m fine.
I’m not a crispy critter. I feel better than I can ever remember.
“Fon, what is going on? You promised you would explain. Is She still looking for us? How much time do we have?”
We are walking to Money’s used to be ride. I notice I’m nude as a noodle. I feel dizzy, disoriented.
Fon takes my arm, steadies me, “Well, the good news first. You were right about us – we are meant for each other. Your vows at The Club worked. We are mated.”
I stop walking. “What? What do you mean, mated?”
“Married – an indivisible, unholy union for all eternity. We just sealed the deal on the altar.”
I shake my head in disbelief. “You, you and I are husband and wife?”
Fon snarls, “I’m no fucking wife. We are partners. Come on. We have to keep moving.”
She has underwear, shorts, and a garish Hawaiian shirt for me.
“Okay, okay, I’m married to you. Okay, what about Her?”
“Oh, more good news on that front, spouse. Doughboy and Bone Breaker got out ahead of the game.”
“They found both of their heads in the head in The Club.” Fon actually giggles.
I gag. “Fon, what the fuck are we going to do, wife?”
Fon, grabs my ass and kisses me with about eight inches of tongue. “Let’s get in the wind, mate.”
“Wait, where are we going?”
“Does it matter, husband?”
“I’m driving, sweetheart.” I snatch the keys from Fon.
“Don’t start us on the wrong driving wheel, darling.” Fon tries and fails to snatch the keys back.
In the car backing out of the warehouse, it hits me. I slam on the brakes.
I turn to Fon. There is only one creature that can use Her name at will and not suffer retribution. “Fon, Fon are, are you—”
“My consort for life — and probably death too — smiles with all her teeth, “Yes, husband. Do you have a question? If you do, I’m the answer.”
Copyright Frederick K. Foote 2020