Dreary black clouds roll across the windy-city skyline as the gusts the city is famous for blow hard against an upscale north-side loft. Rain splatters on the window pane beating the window senseless as if about to break. Against the odds, a neglected open pane defiantly fights the oncoming torrent, unfortunately permitting drips of water to peel up antique wallpaper en route to pooling on the hardwood floor.
The darkened den is eerily quiet sans mother natures beatdown outside as a stately grandfather clock chimes twelve midnight. A vibrating rumble joins the chorus as a cell phone hums diligently across a office table heading towards the edge. The ignored cell phone flashes twenty seven missed calls before it hums once more catapulting it over the edge. The bounce springs off the cover and battery as it comes to rest against a woman’s foot covered up in the dark.
A house phone comes to life disrupting the quiet complacency, also ignored the answering machine picks up. A cheery message contradicts the current tone as excited female voices answers, “Hey, this is Maureen! And this is Bailey! You found us, now share with us! Toodles!”
A lit cigarette seemingly floats in mid-air as the silhouetted figure remains rigid in the dark, inhale, exhale, repeat, as toxic clouds escape out the window into the wet night. Silvia Woods soft voice penetrates the room, “Maureen, sissy, please please answer the phone. I, I need my big sis please, I’ve been calling all day! Where are you? Are you there ignoring us? Please pick up!” She pauses for a moment before sighing softly, “Ezekiah is here, he flew back in today. Don’t worry about him, you can do this Moe’, he can’t hurt you anymore, I have your back sis. I still can’t find Kevin, family is calling in from all over. I really, really don’t know how long Mama has sis, this may be the last… I, I, I can’t… I feel this is all my fault. Please call me, I can’t do this anymore.” Silvia’s voice trembles and breaks up as she fades away before the final beep.
Soft sobs join the noisy spatter of rain outside as Maureen Woods shaking hand picks up a glass of wine and tries to drink. She sips the drink before attempting to light another cigarette, the glow from the lighter illuminates a picture of her and Mama in younger days. Mama Woods holds Maureen in a happy shot among their home garden.
Maureen drifts off to those simpler times, reminiscing of running through the large garden playing as her mother busily plants zucchini, squash, corn, beets, radishes, greens, tomatoes and other plants that would end up in tasty dishes at Zeke’s. Mama was cooking healthy organic goodies before it was the ‘in’ thing to do. Little Moe’ would get under her mother’s skirt, playfully chuck sprouts before she got in trouble and eventually want to till the dirt and plant seeds herself. Mama and her shared a bond over gardening, spending hazy summer days in Detroit weeding and watering plants before sitting on a blanket in their yard sipping sweet tea enjoying the fruits of their labor.
“Mommy, does this plant grow pills?”
Mama would look around concerned she had found something she shouldn’t have before chuckling, “No baby, that’s a green sprout, you’re looking at the seeds!”
“Didn’t you give this to me when my tummy hurt?”
“That was medicine from man, I feed you green beans at dinnertime to nourish your soul.”
“Oh, do I like these?”
“I sincerely hope so, they will help you grow big and healthy like your mother.”
“Big and healthy? Oh no! I want to grow up to be as beautiful as you mommy.”
Pausing, Mama about cries as she gives her daughter a tight hug, “You will dear, you will…”
It was a huge compliment everybody always said Little Moe was the spitting image of her mother, they felt her craft in the garden would lead her to fill Mama’s shoes one day. But Maureen always had loftier aspirations. Little Moe always looked forward to when Mama and Daddy Zeke would sell the excess food that didn’t make it into the restaurant. With her caramel complexion she would look stunning in her favorite yellow dress and act proper as a young businesswoman marketing their wares in the neighborhood. She would cut and paste pictures and put them on flyers to pass out, Mama would pay for small ad’s in the newspaper and she even perfected email blasts in the early days of the Internet.
Afterwards, Daddy Zeke and Mama would take the family to the homeless shelter to personally give away all of the unused produce and product. Maureen was extremely proud of that and her accomplishments under her mother’s guidance, it helped make her into the gifted advertising executive she is today on Chicago’s Michigan Ave. Always with a heart of gold lending a hand in community centers and shelters when she could. It helped her meet Bailey, ironically a cook at one of the north-side’s finest Italian eateries. Funny, even with all of her accomplishments, her older brothers evil sass could destroy all her good vibes in one setting.
Ezekiah crossing her mind disrupted her happy thoughts like a skipped record, reminding her of the trouble Mama was in. Maureen emerges from her dark hiding spot, her dry no makeup face blotched with tears, her usual magnificent styled hair disheveled, her violet nightgown crumpled. Her near silent sniffles suddenly turn into loud sobs, her hands shaking, her petite frame seems larger as she pushes the pictures off of the display. Screaming, she grabs her wine glass and lobs it across the room smashing it on a bookshelf. She violently pushes everything off of the desk before she breaks down crying uncontrollably.
The hallway light comes on as Bailey calls out, “Maureen baby? What’s wrong? What’s happening?” Maureen keeps weeping as Bailey is heard coming down the hallway. “Maureen? Where are you? Please talk to me!”
“Go back to bed, please Bailey!”
“No I’m not Maurie, are you in the den?”
Bailey rounds the corner of the small office, flicking on the light to Maureen’s disgust, her eyes squinting, “Damn It, turn out the flipping light!”
The equally petite Caucasian brunette adheres to her lovers request, turning off the light but still rushing over to her. “Oh my gosh, Maurie, what is wrong? Oh my gosh!”
Maureen holds her hand up, trying to keep the cook at bay but Bailey has a way of slipping past her defenses each and every time. Years of mixing dishes has built her biceps up as she glides a tattooed arm around Maureen’s, “Baby please talk to me, what happened? Please, please…”
Bailey caresses Maureen’s face and manages to pivot her around to look into her eyes, her eyes plead with Maureen who finally submits, “It’s my Mama, I can’t go on without her…” tears start to flow as she falls into Bailey’s bosom sobbing.
Bailey rocks her softly, comforting her lover by stroking her hair, “Shh, shh, it’s okay, I understand, I’m here for you Maurie, I’m always here for you. Let’s pray for Mama…”
Thunder cracks in the distance as the immediate storm tapers off. The windowpane creaks a low squeaky groan in the dissipating breeze while the unwelcome gush of water inside retreats. The disarranged room falls back to its previous quietness as the darkness engulfs both ladies with Bailey rocking the love of her life to a more restful slumber.
West Bloomfield, Mi
Harsh winds stir around a richly manicured garden estate leading up to a stately manor, seven bedrooms, large entrance-way, three baths, large living room to throw parties in, a kitchen large enough to have cooking shows, five car garage, swimming pool, guest house near a community lake, but it’s all eerily empty, desolate. Oddly, it’s still adorned with decorations from a child’s previous birthday party, many of the party favors whipping about in the wind, unsealed trash bags toppled over with birthday wrap falling out. Lavish, but unkept, the manor has been neglected for an obviously lengthy period.
A lone occupant mumbles incoherently amiss the howling wind as leaves and trash splatter against the grand windows on the upper deck. Kayla stirs in her sleep, sweating, kicks the covers off of her as she groans, “Dirty back stabber…” Her nightmare assaults her fragile mind.
Near the huge ‘Made In Detroit’ banner, a quiet brick laden elegant business office houses Simon Woods Simon. As office workers pile over clients paperwork, lawyers rush back and forth to meetings and court dates. A large office in the back, clean, orderly, is oddly quiet as the receptionist desk sits empty. The network phone continuously blinks an ignored incoming call.
Kayla leans against her fire hot Tesla Roadster looking like a model fresh off a photo shoot, offset by tears streaming, contorting her fabulously made up face. Oblivious to passerby’s ogling her done up hair, sparkling gold earrings and necklaces draped down her ample bust in her crisp botanical Jason Wu dress, she obsesses instead her nicely manicured nails clutched around her iPhone constantly pressing redial.
Kayla grits her lipstick smudged teeth together, “Answer the damn phone…”
Annoyed with the business voicemail, Kayla switches her tactic, dials another number.
Kayla whimpers and shoots up out of bed. She looks around puzzled, the room blurry, not knowing where she is for a moment. Her hair frayed and unkept, her robe dingy, no makeup, she looks as if she hasn’t bathed in days. The wind bangs trash against the window as she jumps. Unconcerned, she scratches herself and eyes three thirty four on the clock.
“This that bull…”
She opens her drawers and searches for something. Snorting, she looks around frantically before eyeing something on the floor, reaches, its a small blue pill.
“What the doctor ordered!”
She grins and lays it on the nightstand, crushes it immediately with a handy metal device before proceeding to snort it. She kneels still for a moment as it drips down her cavity, letting it kick in before her eyes flutter and she blacks out kneeling against the nightstand. Her mind drifts off again…
Inside Simon Woods Simon, Ezekiah leans back in his chair behind a large modern desk, acting as if studying the ceiling, his Brooks Brothers suit rumpled as if working a hard day. An unique ringtone disrupts his thoughts as he looks forward. His Blackberry business cell phone lists 32 missed calls, but its not what is ringing. He reaches into a hidden pocket of his sport suit and pulls out a small flip phone. He looks at the phone puzzled.
“Why are you calling me??”
Out of sight, Ms. Kane mumbles, “Obviously I’m not, just a little preoccupied…”
He answers, “Who is this?”
“It’s your wife you egotistical moron. Think I wouldn’t discover your secret phone? Do you take me for an idiot?!”
“Oh, now you know my name? Now you want to address me? Really? After I pleaded for you to acknowledge me for months? Years? Who do you think you are?”
“Now listen here…”
“NO! You listen you son-of-a-bitch! No respect to your Mama; who’s a great lady but her first seed sprouted fell far far from the tree, rotten and awful, stinky like manure, just ripe for bottom-feeders, nasty parasites to discover and devour, fight over, destroy a happy-home, destroy a family! Those bottom feeding sluts can have my discarded left-overs! You deserve each other!”
“Baby, you’re delusional, what are you talking about?! Nothing is going on!”
“Oh yeah, really? Delusional huh? I have your delusional!”
“Kayla, really, I’m trying to work here…”
She clicks the phone off on him.
Kayla’s head nods, she hits the nightstand waking her up abruptly.
“Ouch! Dammit! Now I need another…”
Kayla achingly gets upright and starts to stumble about the room, searching, looking around for more of her beloved blue pills. She doesn’t even notice the dark blood dripping from her forehead.
Barefoot, she meanders out into the hallway, leaning against the wall, her nose dripping. The extensive hallway sways like an extended tunnel. She whimpers, “Stop moving, stay straight.”
She manages her way to the stairs, looks down them, contemplating, stoic, nerved. Finally, slowly, she descends down them, mumbling, “I don’t remember living in a tower.”
Halfway through, she slips on something and tumbles the rest of the way down. Flopping over herself she hits the bottom floor with a loud thud. Sprawled out on her stomach, she groans in pain, “Dammit, I’m firing that lackadaisical maid in the morning…” She pauses, remembers, “Oh wait, I already did!” Kayla starts to giggle manically over her own irony, before she spots her blue friends on the living room coffee table. Her mouth contorts into an odd grin.
Kayla paces in the gleaming sun glaring at Simon Woods Simon. “Work huh, you working hard huh, gotta bring home the bacon to your wife and kids huh?” She eyeballs her Tesla, “I have something that will work for you!”
Kayla pushes an unsuspecting pedestrian out of her way, “Move! Get out my way!” before entering her vehicle. They respond with a visual obscenity.
Ignoring them, she guns her electric sports car, turning up loud Detroit legend Adubb Da Gawd, rapping about “Don’t Shoot (Me Tonight)” Working the shift buttons she puts it in gear before darting out into surprised traffic. Vehicles swerve out of her way as she does an abrupt U-Turn in the middle of downtown. People honk and shout at her as she revs the engine louder, managing to burn the back tires rubber before darting across the street.
“Yay baby! Look at me go!”
She drops the throttle and races the Tesla across the street as cars dart out of the way. She bounces over the curb while startled pedestrians leap and roll out of the way. Splicing a newsstand in half, paper flies everywhere as the car bounces towards the plate glass bay windows of Simon Woods Simon. A loud sickening crash erupts as the car enters the building. Surprised office works run for safety as office furniture and supplies fly into the air.
The Tesla bashes through the pane windows of Ezekiah Woods office raining glass down onto the floor. Kayla covers herself in the T-top before peeking over the dash. Quiet now except for broken lights flickering, something moves across the destroyed room, her husband and Ms. Kane peek out from behind the desk.
“I Gotcha delusional! Working so hard for your bloody money!” Kayla raises her iPhone and starts snapping shots.
Ms. Kane shrieks and grabs her top before fleeing for the restroom with Kayla snapping sequential shots. “Run slut! Run!”
Marty and Theodore Simon rush up with other office workers. “Great Googly! What in Gods name is happening here!?” Theodore bellows as Marty looks in shock.
“Hi Marty! Hi Theo! Tell Clara I probably won’t be making her bridal party this weekend but good luck with the nuptials! If you’re a snake like my beloved husband, she’s gonna need it! Oh, and make sure to sue me well, because my money, is his money, and he’s part of you suckers! So, go at it ya’bitch!” Kayla shoots multiple pictures of their shocked faces.
Marty bellows, “I’ve always had respect for you Kayla but this is clearly unacceptable!”
“Really? Really, office party so-called elevator mishap with the bell boy Marty… The BELL BOY Marty! What do you think Clara would think of that predicament? Hmmm?”
“Well, I what…I never!?” Several office workers snicker.
“Hmm-hmmm, sorry for the abrupt disclosure. Blame all this on your beloved partner, my so-called HARD- WORKING hubby!”
Ezekiah attempts to interrupt, “Kayla I…”
“Ahhh!! SHUT IT! This my moment, Zekey Jr. and now in the words of your beloved sis, ‘Toodles!’” Kayla tries to turn over the engine as the battered car stalls.
“I hope there’s no fire!” Theodore quips. Marty narrows his eyes at him.
The car turns over as Adubb continues his rapid flow going, she backs up over office equipment as some associates attempt to race after her. She throws it in gear as the bumper rests on the floor tripping the close following workers. Kayla makes her escape back out the hole she made while onlookers look on in shock.
The partners glare at the beleaguered Ezekiah, still under the desk who all he could do is shrug in contempt.
Utopia pulls up to the Woods manor in her Fiat bobbing her head to Juny D’s ‘Hold On’. She shakes her head, ‘Mmmm, that boy is cute!”
Filing out the car are Ezekiah and Kayla’s eleven-year old daughter Kylie and seven-year old son Matador. Matador tumbles out of the car with Utopia’s five-year old son Gentry playing, the boys spend so much of their time together they regard each other as brothers.
“Boy, come back here! Gimmie my ball!” Gentry cries out as Matador sprints towards the garden.
“Come catch me!” Matador yells out now yards away.
“Boys! Mind the yard, I don’t think Mr. Wright has been here in a while!” Utopia calls out.
Kylie yaks away on her iPhone, “Well no, I don’t think Rafael is cute, that’s you, I have higher standards. What? No, Kirk and I are just friends! I mean, he did try to kiss me once, but who told you that?”
Utopia eyes her in shock and scrunches her face, “Oh no, trying to do what I did…” She trails off as she is surprised by the locked door. She tries it again before ringing the doorbell. Nothing. She knocks hard as the tween annoys her talking like a grown woman.
Utopia looks through the small window to the left, “Maybe Isabella is not working either? Place looks horrible. Where is your mother? She knows we need to be at the hospital!”
Utopia looks through the small window to the right still knocking, she does a double-take eyeing something odd on the floor. She places her hand on her mouth, grabs Kylie who sees the same thing, Kylie drops her phone and screams.
Inside, Kayla lays sprawled out, lifeless on the floor, blue power around her nose and mouth, vomit on the floor.