None of the characters in “Promises of Starlight” represent any person living or dead.
The character “Rock Star”/”Angel” is based on Adam Lambert. The author does not in any way wish to disturb or predict Mr. Lambert’s life through the characters in this story.
All videos are to be enjoyed through their link to YouTube. They are not to be downloaded. No claims are made on the videos by the author.
Chapter 19 – HEADED SOUTH
“I think we oughta head maybe for Richmond or Atlanta,” he said. “They’re the first big cities we’ll come to. We can decide where to go from there. And we need to get as far south as we can.” He stopped to think about how much money they had. “I think $300’ll get us to Atlanta and leave some left over.” Lil Bro called the Greyhound number. The New Carrollton station in Lanham, Maryland had a bus for Atlanta leaving at 6:55 PM and arriving in Atlanta at 9:45 AM. He’d been right; each ticket would cost $111.
“If we sleep on the bus,” he continued, thoughtfully, “then we can get something to eat and start looking for jobs right away.” He was already thinking. “We can get some breakfast and then head out.”
“Where we gonna sleep tomorrow night?”
“Wherever we can afford.”
“How we gonna do that?” Sis was like her older brother, Peanut. He’d always wanted every little detail worked out before he did anything. That was one of the few things she remembered about him.
That was when they came up with the idea to travel as newlyweds. That way they’d only need one room instead of two. They were close enough in age to pull it off and, although they had the same father, Lil Bro favored Mommy’s Cuban heritage of almond skin and dark hair. Sis, however, favored their father, who’d been pale and blond.
If they were lucky and could get jobs right away, something would have to work out.
They made their way to the lightrail stop and then to the bus station, keeping on the lookout for members of Pimp Dealer’s Crew. They didn’t act too worried but they were; they were in another territory but that didn’t mean they could relax. If discovered and made to talk, they might be returned to Pimp Dealer just to keep the peace, with a little extra time with Sis thrown in. Lil Bro was really scared about that.
The bus station was busy but not as busy as the one downtown. They could hide there in Lanham. There were other black folks around but nobody from their neighborhood came there. Too many white people.
While waiting for their bus, with Sis in the Ladies Room, Lil Bro overheard some news about the old neighborhood that made him sick. A woman’s body had been found in Anacostia. It looked like she’d been assaulted, her neck slashed and thrown from the roof of a building. People were shaking their heads about what was happening to D.C. Lil Bro knew who the woman was; he decided to keep the news from Sis. She was upset enough about having to leave. Finding out about Mommy would just make it worse. She’d lose it completely and he needed her as calm as possible.
They chose Atlanta because that was the first big city down south where Pimp Dealer and Twin might be and it was somewhere they could afford. Maybe they could get jobs down there in a barbershop and a beauty parlor, like they’d had in D.C.
There were some black people on the bus who were from Atlanta. Lil Bro started a conversation with them while Sis tried to sleep. He found out where the best barbershops and beauty parlors were in the black neighborhood. He also found out there was a popular strip club right next to the Bus Station, with others on Fulton and Industrial Parkway near I-20. That was where prostitutes and druggies hung out. There were hotels and strip clubs around there, too. And where you found the hookers, you’d probably find the druggies.
The bus pulled into the Atlanta station on Forsythe Street. They were offered a ride out to where both the beauty shop and barbershop were but they said no, thank you. They didn’t know who they were dealing with so they weren’t taking any chances.
They found where the shops were on their own. Lil Bro left Sis at a coffee place down the street and walked in the shop, looking around as if to make sure it was the kind of barber shop he’d want to be in. He caused some stir because he was definitely new to the city. The men could tell. The owner came up and asked him what he could do for him. Adopting just the right combination of country humility and city swagger learned from the shop back home, he explained that he and his bride were new to Atlanta and that they were looking for work. They’d heard his was the best shop in town, so of course he’d come there first.
After a look at Sis, and Lil Bro’s proof that he knew his way around a scalp pattern, he was hired. Temporarily, of course. And the church down the way would help ‘em find a place to stay until his first paycheck came in.
Sis wasn’t so lucky. It seemed all the beauty parlors had enough help. It was a few weeks before she got a part-time job at the Walmart. The hours weren’t great and the pay wasn’t either, but at least it let them move out of Mother Coleman’s. Staying with the older, devout cat lady was getting on Lil Bro and Sis’ last half-a-nerve.