Monday, March 18, 2013
A Favor For a Friend
I couldn't find Clerow...It looked like he and Corrie had gone out....Kool Kat wasn't around...Neither was Sean Jackson, Robert Foxworth,Harry Charles, or even Owen Todd...None of my running partners...Strange, but even Chris, Chess, Donald Smooth and the guys weren't in either...Reed Nelson, Downtown Rob Brown and Bone Hampton were on the road....and 88 and Mabel were in AC...
So tonight...even though the joint was packed...I felt kind of alone...
"I been away...I was in Puerto Rico." I said.
''Oh...I wondered..cause I asked about you and nobody could say they'd seen you or Robert." he said.
"Yeah, we were down there on business." I said.
"Uhh Huh." said Gus..."You shoulda been here last week....Reed Nelson and Bone Hampton and "88" and Downtown Rob Brown turned it out on consecutive nights....Everybody was here, Chris, Chess, Clerow and his wife, Paris, Blake,Kool Kat..." he continued...
"Ha...all the folks who aint here tonight." I laughed...
"Oh well, you know how that goes...They'll all be back...Guess they changin it up." he laughed.
''Heyy Kevin." said Honey Brown...
"Ouuuuu, you gone get me divorced.." she laughed..."Thank you baby." she said.
"I'm gone miss ordering drinks from you.....but it's about time....Now you manage the place eh?" I said.
"She was doin that anyway...Bossin the other waitresses and waiters around...handling the figures and the money...I might as well have given her the title." laughed Gus...Honey smiled too...
"Hey Big Kevin..." said Honey's husband... Bernard "B-Flat" Brown...
''What's good B?"I said.
''Honey and life" he said grabbing his wife and kissing her cheek. Honey giggled like a school girl...
"Oh cut it out B." she laughed...
I was Happy for both of them.
I sat down next to her and nudged her shoulder....She turned around and seeing that it was me, smiled her sweetest smile...
"Hello Kevin, you are just the person I wanted to see..." she said.
"I don't know if that's good or bad.." I joked.
"Fine ass woman like that wants to see you and you think it's bad?"said a drunken bystander....
Sissy and I both dismissed him...
"You out alone too huh?" I asked...
"Yes...Eddie and Basil and Harry Charles are at some fund-raiser the Church Outreach center is having tonight. We are supposed to hook up later." she said.
"Fund Raiser?? After all the money I gave them? " I laughed..
"They're doing big things." she said.
''Apparently!" I said.
"Kevin...I need you to do a favor for me.....It's the kind of thing I can't do....I have a little bit of money and I'll pay you to..." she said..
I cut her off...I raised my left palm up towards her...
"I wouldn't dream of taking a dime from you, regardless of what it is you want me to do." I said.
"But Kevin!" she said.
"Forget it...What do you need Lieutenant?" I asked...
"I need you to find my Father!" she said.
''What?" I asked.
"I need you to find my dad!" she said.
"I wasn't aware your parents were still alive or in the area." I said.
Sissy smiled and then looked at me...
"Once upon a time, you were just some private investigator who tended to bend the law a bit, who gave me good information and helped me close great cases.....But overtime you became my close friend....I realized a few months ago when you helped me move that broken bed out of my house and install the new one that you didn't know anything about me....I mean you'd never even been to my house before...You don't even know my real name..." she said.
"It's not Sissy?" I asked....
"No Kevin...My birth name is Siselia Lorraine Van Buren!" she said.
"Siselia!! That's not much of a stretch... Siselia...Sissy...It fits." I said.
"I don't tell too many people my actual name... Robert,Keith and Carlotta are the only ones who know and now you know." she said.
''My mother was an African-American woman from Philly named Sirena Richardson and my Father was a White man from Toronto named Charles Van Buren....He was a musician...A saxophonist....They met in Toronto ,where she was working for awhile...A whirlwind romance followed and they got married..Actually my mom discovered she was pregnant..They had to get married! They came to Philly to live...It wasn't easy....They got flack from Whites and Blacks...being an inter-racial couple...I got teased at school..Called "Half-breed...and what not...By the time I got to High school, I stopped telling people....My dad worked off and on...but not nearly enough...When I was 16...He left...Walked out the door one night and never returned." she said.
We were quiet for awhile....I realized that Sissy was exorcising a lot of demons....She was more complex than one would believe....
"I never stopped thinking about him." she said.
''How do you know he's still alive or even in Philly?" I asked.
"A guy we arrested...An older guy looked at me and said..."You're Charlie's daughter aren't you? I can tell, ...got his hazel eyes... He showed me a photo of you once..Talked about you a lot...Couldn't believe he had a child...but it's you...I'm certain of it. " she said.
"He told me that he saw my dad playing the sax in "Little Norway and Chinatown last year" she said.
''So who is this guy?" I asked.
"An old rummy and hop head...His name was Lou Chumly....He won't be any help to you....He died a month ago before I could catch up with him again and question him
"So he played the local joints right? Your Dad?" I asked.
"I guess.." she said.
"When was the last time you saw your dad?" I asked...
''When I was about 16 or 17."said Sissy.
"You got any photos?" I asked.
Sissy went in her pocketbook and pulled out some photos taken of her when she was between the age of 15-17.....
"WOW!" was all I could say...
''What?" she said smiling....
''You mean to tell me...You have always been this fine?? Lawd...Look at you?" I said.
Sissy blushed a little..
"Oh Kevin shut up." she said.
''Is this your mother?" I asked..
"Yes, that's her...Sirena Richardson-Van Buren." she said.
Sissy and her mother were almost identical twins...Both very beautiful women...It was obvious that Sissy got practically all of her good looks from her mother...a definite head turner!!!...
''My God Sissy ,I'm serious...You and your mom are gorgeous! Not that I'm insulting your Father, but how did he?"I said before Sissy cut me off..
"How did a white man pull a gorgeous Black women from Philly right?" she asked.
''Well yeah?" I asked.
"My Father was a very handsome man and a snappy dresser....He always claimed that he grew up amongst Black people in Toronto.. That's where he was born...I don't know if he ever got U.S. citizenship...but he said that he had a number of girlfriends....both Black and White...He was pretty hip and the kind of guy who is comfortable in any social setting..He had the gift of gab and the looks and clothes to pull it off." she said.
Sissy was brown skinned...A little tan, but not easily taken to be bi-racial....But I believe she had told me that her mother was black and her father was white a few years back and had forgotten. You could never look at her and tell.
"Okay...well, I'll stop by your office and you give me any information you have, social security number, last known address and a photo and I'll look for him." I said.
''I just want to see him...I don't want anything from him." she said.
"Where is your mother?" I asked.
"She's dead...Died of cancer a few years back...I tried to find him once before...Failed.He doesn't stay in any one place too long....I ran into a bunch of dead ends." she said.
"You've got Carlotta,Tyriq,Jimmy and Duke...All capable investigators." I said.
"They are...but I can't have my detectives doing my personal work now can I?" she said.
"I see your point.." I said.
"Okay...I'm on it...I'll see what I can dig up." I said.
"Kevin, Can't I give you something?...And before you answer that, remember...You're a married man and I'm in a committed relationship." she said and then smiled devilishly...I loved Sissy's sense of humor.
"That was too easy Sissy...I wasn't going to walk into that.....and if you're talking about money, forget it!! This one is on the house....And I have never told another client that my services were on the house...consider yourself special." I said....
"Awww, you're special too!" she said.
"Hey Gus...a beer for me and one for the lady." I said.
Gus rolled two Coronas down to us...
''Can I at least pay for your drink?" she asked.
''Yeah, you can do that." I said.
"Kevin....Thank You....Thank you for being my friend....Thank you for everything.." said Sissy who rubbed my arm.....
I smiled at her....
(TO BE CONTINUED...)