On Monday of this past week (Nov. 30th), the Ascot Library here in Los Angeles--a place that was such a pleasant and important part of my childhood--was dedicated to my late sister, Wanda Coleman. Wanda was a brilliant poet and short story writer and activist who won numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy and a Guggenheim. Her books are available through the Los Angeles Public Library system, and soon mine will be as well. The first two books in my series, The War This Side of Heaven, are The After School Murders and Man Trouble, and the librarians have happily said that they will acquire copies and make them available through the Los Angeles Public Library system.
To my delight, lots of people are showing interest in my latest book, Man Trouble. But I'm planning to branch out and write other stories not related to the series. I've got some interesting ideas outlined, and I'm getting excited about them as well. But now, for those who have yet to read my stories, here is another vignette which shows off the heroine of The War This Side of Heaven, Janette West. Enjoy.
Excerpt from Man Trouble,
Chapter Three "Christmas Jeer"
Then, as if life wasn’t interesting enough, it waxed more colorful on Wednesday, the 13th.
“Janette,” called a feminine voice. I turned and saw Vicky Marshall out in the hallway, hands on hips and staring at me with an expression strongly suggestive of being put out. The smile on her lips was strained, her head was tilted, and the daggers coming from her big green eyes were almost visible. Her voice was pleasant, however as she said, “Janette, could you come here a minute, please? I’d like to talk to you.”
Oh, God! Now what is it? I could have ignored her, but decided to get whatever it was out of the way. I followed along to her classroom and she closed the door behind us.
“Janette, have you been telling Mr Conrad that he ought not to go out with me?”
“What? No, of course not.”
“Are you sure of that?”
“Yes, I’m sure. We never talk about that sort of thing.”
“Well, I’m sorry but I don’t believe it. And I’m telling you right now that I don’t appreciate the way you’ve interfered in my relationship with him. You come along and then he starts asking me questions about God and what I think about faith and religion; now he’s called things off with us for no good reason. The only thing he had to say was that what we were doing wasn’t right, and that he just didn’t think we should see each other anymore. Now, why else would he say something like that if you hadn’t influenced him?”
Am I hearing things? He said that? That’s tough to believe. For a moment I was too stunned to answer. When I did find my voice I asked, “Are you sure that’s what he said?”
“I most certainly am. I made him repeat it. Then I asked him several times if I had done anything wrong and he said that I hadn’t.”
“What else did he say?”
“He said that if God was real then he needed him on his side and didn’t want to offend him. Now, naturally I asked him if there was somebody else he was interested in, but all he said was that it wouldn’t make any difference one way or the other because it was over with us.”
“Well, I’ll be! I had no idea. Honestly, Miss Marshall, Mr Conrad rarely mentions you or any of his other girlfriends.”
“Oh, I just figured he had others. I don’t know for sure. Anyway, I never told him he shouldn’t see you anymore or even suggested it. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’d better get to class.”
“Not just yet.” She blocked the door until she could finish saying her piece. “Now, since you were the one that messed things up, I want you to have a little talk with Mr Conrad and fix it. Do you understand me?”
Lady, what side of stupid did you get up on this morning? Do you know who you’re talking to? A smile spread across my face and I nearly laughed out loud. “And if I don’t fix it?”
“Then maybe people might find it interesting to know that you’re trying to take my place with Mr Conrad, because I’m beginning to think you are; turning his head with your fancy clothes and that religious talk. Maybe the other woman he’s got is you.”
Now I did laugh openly. “Oh, man! You can’t be serious!” It felt like old times, having a teacher call me on the carpet. My anger didn’t rise up like it used to, though. Actually it was rather amusing, and would have even been flattering had the place she held with Mr Conrad not been such a low one. Finally, since this whole business was making me late to class, I began to get annoyed and decided to bring this conversation to a close. “Miss Marshall, do you have any idea why you still have a job at this school? Maybe you think it’s because you’ve changed the way you dress and stopped all those little games you used to play with the boys, but that’s not the reason. The reason is that certain friends of mine weren’t willing to give you up as a hobby, so they withheld evidence against you. Well, Miss Vicky, I have some of that evidence, and there are others who have collected even more since then. Now, if at any time you feel you would like everybody else to have it, too, then you just try and make good on your threat. Now, please step aside so I can go to class.”
Miss Marshall turned pale and swallowed hard. Then without another word, she moved aside and let me pass.
I wasn’t sure I would mention the incident to Mr C because it would likely upset him far more than it did me. Still, I was dying to know what was going on with him. Was that his real and only reason for dumping her, because it “wasn’t right”? I’d often thought he’d tire of her eventually and find another main squeeze, but this looked like something else. Well, whatever his reason, this news was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. But then I hadn’t made it to my next class yet.
BOOK TRAILER AT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta0XpOxMUAk
ON AMAZON AT: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009YPOQ7U