Article Index
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
All Pages

Today, Jane refuses to start and I have to take the bus. And I mean The Bus, as in

The One and Only. If you miss it, kiss it good-bye. I’ve seen movies where you stand on

the corner and, whoosh, bus after bus will sweep by and pick you up. No way. Not

today or any day in this town. The wind is trying to shift to the north and I’m dancing

from foot to foot to stay warm. I have my costume bag with me. The “City Times”

wants to do a shoot and I have to be at their office by 1 o’clock. A centerfold piece, they

told me: “MC Mama mixes it up in the Motor City”.

I see and smell the bus approach. It has an ancient advertisement for “The Lion

King” on its side. And a public service message about the vices of smoking. It makes

me want to light up right then and there. I board, and insert a dollar into the receptacle.

The driver barely glances at me. I feel like one of those science kits for the barely

Visible Woman. A transparent body that the light shines through. The driver sees a

slightly stale middle aged woman on her way to nowhere. If he only knew!

It’s the middle of the morning and the bus is mostly empty. I sit in the middle. I

prefer the middle – the middle of anything. So I can really mix it up. Leave open all my

options. It’s like that child’s rhyme about the crazy Duke of York. When you’re up,

you’re up and when you’re down, you’re down but when you’re only half way up you are

neither up nor down.

A young man sits in the back. He’s wearing a satin jacket and a baseball cap

pulled on over a headrag. He’s wired to music. I can tell because of the beat. Boom-dada-

boom-da-da boom can be heard in spite of his earphones. He taps with his fingers on

the metal bar of the seat in front of him. Boom-da-da-boom but he stops and looks me up

and down a couple of times before rising from his seat.

“Hey!” he calls. “You that crazy white old lady rapper? I know you! You

bitchin’. You one bad mother. Wanna hear some fine beats?” He offers me his

headphones. It’s XLDaddy2Cool. My palms start to sweat. Daddy2Cool is too cool.

Thinks he’s so ghetto that no one can touch him. Certainly not some menopausal wrinkly

suburban white lady. I’m in training though. I’m almost ready. I offer the young man

some oatmeal raisin cookies from my bag and give him a flyer for my Saturday show at

the Juke Hall. It’s billed as the Biggest, the Best and the Baddest get down in Motown.

I’m not sure which I am, but I want to be all three. Get down in Motown is my fast track

out of here. Rumors are that a Japanese promoter will be there.

Daddy2Cool left a message for me on my answering machine. “ Yo, mama! Yo

ass is so big – it ain’t something that Japanese dig. You white rice, you stinky fish. I

gonna make you sushi on a dish.”

The bus lurches its way into the City. Old newspapers and plastic grocery bags

blowing everywhere – in all the weedy fields and abandoned buildings. We pass one

strip with viable stores. An auto repair shop, a wig store, a nail salon, a drugstore, and a

bar-be-que joint that looks tempting. Just thinking about a slab of short ribs makes me

start to drool. The branch library stands off to a side with boards over its windows. The

trees have lost most of their leaves and they point at me with their bony fingers. Stay in

your place, Ms. Wrinkly-Face, it ain’t a question about race. It’s who wants a gramma

who shakes her bootie and can jam’ wit ya. Like the brother down the road drivin’ a

Lincoln or a Ford, or a Caddy or a Hummer, or a dope 440 Porsche. Rev it up! Burn

some rubber! You might not get it. You a sucker. It sounds like a whammy

Daddy2Cool might try on me. He’s like those trees pointing with their fingers. He’s got

nothing on me, I tell myself. And this weekend I’ll get to prove that – showdown at Juke

Hall. A duel with Daddy2Cool. One that will let me take off on a 747. I sure hope that

they like cookies in Japan.