Kenya Jones

by Margie Shaheed

Where do you live?
Down the drain.
Wat do you eat?
Pig feet.
Wat do you drink?
Black ink."

Thank God her boss let her leave work early today. It's a holiday weekend and the bar is sure to be jumping tonight. Heaven knows, folks are eager to shed the skin of another week of hard labor. Deep down, Kenya believes the bar is medicine for what ails you. She still has to cook a dish for the party, get dressed, and drop the kids off at her sister's house. She is running late.

Standing in her kitchen she smiles as she stirs a big pot of her famous pig's feet. Emma, her drinking buddy joked the last time she cooked some, "gurl, somebody oughta shine a spotlight on your pot of pig feet cuz it's mighty funny—all des niggas in the bar claim they don't eat pork but befo'the night is ovah tell me why den it ain't even a damn bone left in the pot? Somebody's lyin' cuz they sho nuff be cripplin' some pigs aroun' here!" Kenya laughed aloud this time as she put the top back on the pot so that the meat could cook down low. She hollered upstairs to the kids to get ready to go to their Auntie's house and be sure to pack enough clean underwear.

After a quick shower she sprayed a mist of patchouli all over her body. She had read somewhere that patchouli awakens the sex hormones in men. She walked into her bedroom to get dressed. While she lotioned up she stopped to admire her nakedness reflected in the full length mirror. She turned to look at her wide thick hips shaped like an upside down heart. To look at her you'd never know two children had sprang from her loins. Yes, she is a woman whose panties men yearn to touch. And, she chose to emphasize this fact. She picked out a pair of jet black leggings and a low cut blouse made of black silk and lace. The blouse barely swept the bottom of her small waist. She rubbed silver glitter across her collar bone and applied makeup to her face as an adept artist would paint on fresh canvas. She pursed her candy apple colored lips, laced up her stilettos, and called out to the children to gather their things because Mama is ready to go party!

About an hour later Kenya arrived at the bar. The party was in full effect because she had a difficult time finding a parking space. A few people dressed up and looking brand new stood out on the sidewalk smoking cigarettes and talking shit. She stopped momentarily to speak but decided to go on in because her pot was still hot. After she found a place on the food table for her pig's feet she made a mental note to get some collard greens later because Emma had cooked them and she loved the way her friend made them with crushed red peppers and white onions.

"Can Ah buy you a drink Ms. Lady?" Kenya looked up and swept her quick weave aside to get a better look at the brother standing in front of her. Damn, he's fine. I ain't nevah seen him in heah befo', she thought to herself.

"Sure. Ah'll take a vodka straight up wid water on the side. And please, axe the barmaid to put it in a purty glass for me. OK?" She smiled and batted her eyes at him.

"It's a bet," he said as he smiled back at her and headed for the crowded bar.

When he returned with their drinks he suggested they go find a seat so that they could talk. Kenya followed him across the dance floor where dark bodies stood poised in various states of brilliant gyrations. A crescendo of crashing notes led them directly to the only seats left in the bar—right next to the jukebox. He allowed Kenya to sit down first by extending his hand before he took his own seat. She crossed her legs when she sat down.

"Wat should we toast to?" he asked.

As he raised his brandy sniffer the smell of cognac cut softly across the air. Kenya liked the smell of cognac because it reminded her of her deceased father a man she admired and respected.

"How about to good times and good friends," she said as she placed her right hand on his forearm.

"So it is," he replied. Their glasses touched and each took a sip.

Not long after, Emma stopped by their table. Kenya looked up at her friend and gave her a smile. After introducing her to Jamal, she excused herself from the table so that she and Emma could go to the bathroom together. Kenya knew her friend wanted to get the 411 on who that fine brother was sitting with her.

"Come on gurl, tell me everything," Emma sweet-talked Kenya on their way to the bathroom.

"Eeeuu." Both women stopped in their tracks once inside.

The bathroom was a mess. Someone had vomited all over the toilet and wall. After alerting the barmaid of the disaster, they decided to step outside instead so that they could continue their conversation.

His name is Jamal. He's a tall, slim, walnut-hued brother who lives only a few blocks away from Emma. He was invited to the party by the birthday boy Dennis, who had lots of money pinned on his jacket, and who by now was drunk and having a good time. In this town, it's customary for guests to pin money on the honoree instead of giving them a gift wrapped present. Both men worked for the city as housing inspectors. Kenya told her friend that Jamal seemed to like his job a lot because whenever he mentioned it he got real animated. She liked him very much and was genuinely interested in listening to what he was saying but she had to admit that she found herself mildly distracted because when he talks he keeps licking his lips like LL Cool J does when he gives television interviews. Kenya thought this was sexy as hell and said she had to struggle to keep from staring at his mouth. Emma let out a high shrill.

"Gurl, you ain't no damn good," she said to Kenya.

After she and Emma finished talking, Kenya decided to go back to the table to see if Jamal wanted to go with her to fix a plate since she was starting to feel a little hungry. Kenya is a firm believer that in order to keep from getting drunk or sick while drinking, you have to feed your alcohol. When she got back to the table she was pleasantly surprised. Jamal had already gone up to fix himself a plate. Of course she had to see what he was eating. She looked over at his plate and there they were—her famous pig's feet swimming atop a pile of collard greens, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and cornbread.

"Jamal, Ah see you ain't skeered to eat no pig feet!" she kidded with him.

"Nope," he said. "When Ah was a little boy, my mama useta cook ‘em for us alluv the time."

"Ah hope you like ‘em den cuz Ah cookt these!" she said pointing her finger with pride.

"You did? Dey good," he said between bites.

Watching him as he sat there eating her pig's feet made her feel warm inside. She couldn't help but flirt with him briefly before breaking away to go fix her own plate. After she left she planned to hurry back so that they could finish talking and getting to know each other better. She had a good feeling about how the night was shaping up. To her, it seemed full of promise, and she intended to enjoy every minute of it.

Kenya Jones by Margie Shaheed

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