The first notes were hammered by the viola. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony echoed over the airwaves. Applause and cheers from a virtual audience exploded through the speakers. The french horn, string bass, and violin joined in continuing the concerto. The applause, cheers, and symphony trailed off as the talk show hosts began the live radio broadcast.
“Welcome to Midnight Talk coming to you live from Breezeport, Florida. I’m Adawra,” a silvery voice greeted.
“And I’m Candice,” a second exhilarated voice announced.
“We’re anxious to get our topic for tonight started,” said Adawra.
“As usual, I’m here to keep it real,” added Candice.
“Tonight, Adawra wants to do something a little different. She wants to start off with a letter,” Candice said with her usual snarky tone and eye roll.
“Yes, Candice, I know how much you disagree with letter writers, but here’s the deal; we have some Midnight Talkers who are afraid to hear their own voices over the airwaves. You know, the shy type. So, we’re going to help this one out.”
“I don’t know if we should. If she doesn’t want to talk to us, why should we help her?” Candice crossed her legs and folded her arms on the table.
“Come on, Candice. Ease up. Have a heart. Let me read the letter and then we can decide if we should open the phone lines.”
Candice uncrossed her arms, planted her elbows on the table and twiddled her fingers, “Go on, read all you want, but if she can’t call and ask for help, I ain't helping.”
Adawra smoothed the letter on the desk and read:
Dear Adawra and Candice, I love your show. I’m a dedicated listener. You and Candice are the epitome of advice for us listeners.
“Now, you see, Adawra,” Candice interrupted with a deep sigh. “Epitome? Now she is an uptight—”
“Candice!” Adawra screeched. “We are on the air.”
“Okay, okay. I apologize. Go ahead. Read on.” Candice gave a submissive wave.
For months now I have been trying to get up the nerve to call. I haven’t been able to rally my confidence into action. So, I figured I would do the next best thing; write a letter. So, here it is. I want to know how to be sure, without a doubt, that my husband is cheating on me. I don’t want to wrongly accuse him.
The phone blinked a red light indicating a call. Another line blinked, and another.
“Well Candice,” Adawra said in her smooth, modulated voice, pointing at the flashing lights with her lips spiraling out with a smug smile, “from the looks of the phone lines I think you’re out numbered. The Midnight Talkers, well, they want to talk.”
Adawra punched the first blinking, red button, “You’re live with Adawra and Candice.”
“Oh, my gawd, I got through,” a penetrating, eager voice yelled through the speakers over the airwaves. “This is Leslie. I agree with you, Candice, girl. If she doesn’t want us to hear her voice, why should we help her?”
“Thank you for your support, Leslie,” said Candice in her I have won this round voice.
“But, since she took the time to write that sorry ass letter, I have a few words for her. Girrrrl, if you think your man is cheating, he surely is.”
“Thank you, Leslie,” Adawra said politely, effectively cutting the caller off. “We need to help out our fellow Midnight Talker. Let’s get some real answers for her.”
“How do you know the letter isn’t from a him since it’s not signed with a name?” Candice asked sarcastically.
“Well, she said husband,” Adawra answered in an uninterested tone.
“Are you saying men can’t have husbands? Where have you been, Adawra? Hiding out in the 1800s?” Candice sucked her tongue.
Adawra ignored Candice. Rolled her eyes to the ceiling as she stabbed the red, flashing button for the next caller. “You’re live with Adawra and Candice. What’s your opinion, caller?”
“Hey, this is Lisa and I love the way the two of you feud over our topics.” She chuckled. “My brother has a husband. I sure hope he isn’t the one who wrote that letter.”
“Thank you, Lisa. We have to keep Adawra updated with the twenty-first century,” Candice said laughing out loud.
“I know men can have husbands,” Adawra said defensively. “I just overlooked that possibility when I read the letter.”
“I have a comment for the letter person. How are we supposed to help her—”
“Or him?” Candice interjected.”
“Right. How can we help, if we can’t ask questions?” Lisa continued.
Candice happily answered, “That’s right, Adawra, so how are we supposed to do this? We need to know why she thinks—”
“Or he,” Adawra interrupted.
Candice guffawed. Caller Lisa joined the amusement.
“Well, we need to know why this letter writer thinks the husband is cheating,” Candice finished.
Candice knuckled a flashing, red button. “It’s Midnight Talk time. Who’s with me tonight?”.
“Hey Candice. Hey Adawra,” the caller heartily greeted the two hosts. “I feel sorry for the letter writer. She’s—,”
“Or he,” interrupted Candice.
“Yes,” the caller agreed. “I’m right there with the other caller. If the letter writer thinks the husband is cheating, he probably is, but the person wants to know how to tell without a doubt. So, maybe you can answer from that perspective.”
“A caller with her thinking cap on. Do you want to take this one, Candice, or would you like me to answer?”
“Like I told you, she couldn’t call, so I’m not answering her or him or whoever.”
Adawra cleared her throat, “Here is what I think. Our callers are correct; if the person who wrote the letter thinks the husband is cheating, then sadly he probably is. There is no way to tell without a shadow of doubt unless you hire a private investigator or you yourself follow him, which is too much work and money and pretty risky. My suggestion is, if you have had a long and wonderful marriage, talk to him. Honesty is always the best policy.”
“How touching,” Candice smirked. “But right now, we have to go to commercial. Someone has to pay the bills.”
“Three, two, one, and we’re clear,” a subdued voice announced.
Adawra leaned back in her high back, pink, leather, swivel chair, kicked off her pink, strappy sandals, picked up her bottle of Evian and took a sip. “I swear Candice, you are so hard on our fans.”
Candice turned her matching pink, leather, swivel chair to face Adawra, “So what.” She waved a hand through the air, “Anyway they love that shit. And according to the big boss our numbers are increasing. And that’s the only metric that matters.”
Candice rooted through her purse, found her compact and admired herself in the mirror. She turned her head right, flicked her black, spiral curls back, and slid her top lips over the bottom, smoothing her mahogany lipstick.
“No one is going to see you, Candice. It’s radio.”
“I know that. But, you never know who may come in while we’re here.” Candice snapped her fingers, “Hey, are we still on for our trip to Baltimore this weekend?”
“Of course, I checked on our flight and the hotel. We’re all set,” Adawra answered watching the fingers count down, Three, two, one and hearing the subdued voice announce, “We’re live.”
“We’re back,” said Adawra. “The call lights are going wild, so let’s open the phone lines for the next caller.”
“You’re live with Adawra and Candice,” Adawra announced.
A nasal voice answered, “I love the show. The topics are great. I just want to say, that person is spending way too much time wondering if her man is cheating. She should spend her time trying to keep him interested. She probably—,”
“Or he,” Candice interjected snickering.
“Alright, or he, probably doesn’t even bother to spruce up, get a new outfit or a new hairdo; maybe even learn some new sex moves.”
“Oh, I like this caller,” Candice said enthusiastically.
“Of course, you do, Candice. I bet the two of you probably meet up at the hair salon for a new do and gelled nails and discuss the newest sex moves on the top ten billboards.”
“Now, that’s just wrong, Adawra. We don’t do that. Do we caller?”
The caller answered with a chuckle, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea. We should start a billboard. The top ten sex moves for the week.”
“We may just do that,” Adawra answered.
“So, start thinking up some mind-blowing sex moves ladies. Try ‘em out on whomever and be ready to add yours to the top ten,” Candice ordered.
“Well, that’s all we have time for tonight. Same place. Same time next week. Be here.” Adawra leaned back and swiveled in her chair with her finger placed thoughtfully across her lips.
“And letter writer, if you think that man is cheating, he is. Confront him,” Candice demanded.
“Three, two, one and we’re clear,” Lenny echoed in his subdued voice.
Candice stood, stretched her arms to the ceiling and yawned, “I’m going straight to bed.” She unhooked her purse from her chair-back and slung it over her shoulder. “Hey Lenny, get security to walk us out,” she called through the set door.
Adawra slipped her feet into her sandals, sipped the last of her Evian and rubbed her palms across her eyes. “I have got to wake up.”
“Come on, Adawra. Our protector is here.”
The ladies walked through the dimly lit, uninhabited office. Vacant desks and black computer screens peered back.
“Great show,” Lenny said waving at the women as he gathered his equipment.
Flittering their hands in the air, like birds in flight, in Lenny’s direction, the ladies exited through the door to the desolate corridor, their heels clicking with echoes on the bare wooden floor, purses swinging in their hands. A security guard waited at the end of the barren passageway. “Chop, chop ladies,” he called out.
“Hey Buster,” the ladies greeted. He was a short man with a round body and a huge, red, bald spot trimmed with short, gray fluff.
“Good morning, ladies,” he said placing his uniform cap over his bald spot and opening the door for the women, gesturing them through. They exited onto the lot.
“I heard your show tonight. It was wonderful. Just wonderful, and if you need someone to try out those top ten billboard moves with, I’m available,” Buster said in his usual wobbly voice.
The ladies’ strides toward the lot halted. Their heads snapped in Buster’s direction. Laughter.
Jester stood at the edge of the pavement glancing over the murky waters of the Baltimore Inner harbor. The sun lingered in the sky, radiating July heat and humidity. He pocketed his hands inside his jeans and rocked from heel to toe. Thoughts of yesteryear intruded in on the view. Jester saw himself as a young boy at the age of ten.
“Mom, look,” he said as he held his clenched hand to his mouth as if holding a pretend microphone and lip syncing a song which was playing on the radio. Jester’s mother smiled as she watched his fancy foot work. “One day,” he said moon walking across the floor, “I’m gonna be famous just like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Everyone will know me.”
“You’re right, baby. All you have to do is be committed and practice,” she answered continuing to wash the dishes.
“And when I’m rich, I’m gonna get you a dishwasher, Mom.”
Jester pushed the memories aside and squinted up at the perfect, blue sky. Not one cloud in sight. Just a plane streaking toward BWI. He swiped at the sweat that trickled down his brow as he kicked farther down the edge of the pavement and focused again on the murky water as his thoughts once again traveled backward to memories of his father.
“Hey, Jess, get down here, son,” his father called from the bottom of the steps. “It’s time to practice. If you don’t practice no one will know your name.”
Jester hopped onto the dark, wooden banister and slid to the bottom. “I’m ready, Daddy. I will practice and practice until I’m famous.”
“Hey, Jester,” a familiar voice shouted in the distance, intruding on Jester’s thoughts. Melvin jogged over. “I thought that was you.” He stopped in front of Jester, bent over and slapped his hands on his knees, panting.
“Are you still fighting that Asthma, dawg?” Jester asked.
“Yep. A friend told me about some medications that could help me, but right now, I can’t afford it,” Melvin said standing up and sliding his hands into the waistband of his pants. “It’s a hundred and fifty dollars or more a month.”
Jester’s eyebrows furrowed, “Melvin, you mean you don’t pick up enough tips in your bucket down here at the harbor when you perform to pay for your medications?”
“Dude, it’s not just the price of the medicine. I have to pay the doctor too. So, it’s cheaper to just visit the ER when I need to. What they gonna do, man, take a house I don’t have or garnish a paycheck I’m not getting?” Melvin sighed. “Sorry to cut this short, but it’s my turn to perform and make some dough. Peace out.” He turned and hurried away.
The crowd cheered as a six-foot Melvin with tanned skin and brown hair cut in a Caesar style mounted a unicycle and began to juggle bottles. The sun glinted off his bright yellow, spandex outfit. Jester looked on at the spectacle of a show Melvin was putting on and chuckled to himself.
His gaze drifted across the water as he watched tourists load onto a white, two-story ship with a thick, black stripe across its side announcing sightseeing. The cheering of the crowd watching Melvin, and the music faded as Jester was drawn back to his teens and the fear his uncle had instilled in him. His reason for performing at the harbor.
“Now, why in the hell would your mother give you a name like Jester?” His uncle had asked. He was a shabbily dressed man who wore a scowl like a tattoo. He put a cigarette between his lips as he leaned against the door frame behind the dilapidated screen door. His eyes were black and empty. He slid a lighter from his shirt pocket and flicked a flame. He let the flame flicker inches from the cigarette. “You know boy, Jester means fool. A fool who performs for people of no-bil-li-ty.”
“No, sir, Uncle Frank, I didn’t know that,” Jester answered quickly as he watched the flame touch the tip of the cigarette.
Frank, his mother’s brother-in-law, took a long drag on the cigarette and glared down at Jester perched on the wooden steps in the backyard. “You know you will never amount to anything; don’t you, boy? You’ll be just another crackhead on the streets or an inmate over there on Madison Street.”
Jester looked away, pretending to be admiring the blanket of colorful flowers his aunt had planted that morning; black-eyed Susans, pansies, and a sunflower leaning lazily against the chain-link fence.
“You hear me, boy?” Frank said as he blew ringlets of smoke into the air.
“Yes, sir, I hear you, but I don’t agree. I will be famous one day,” Jester insisted.
“Boy, are you disrespecting me?” Frank huffed. “You are lucky your ma’s sister wanted to take you in after your mother’s...” he took another drag on the cigarette, looked to the sky, blew out a puff of smoke and folded his arms across his chest, “demise.”
Jester glared at his uncle with eyes filled with abhorrence.
“You had better watch your step,” his uncle said gruffly as he palmed open the screen door, dropped the cigarette butt on the old, wooden porch and twisted his grimy shoe sole over the burning stub. “You must need another ass whooping,” he said as his burly mass stormed the porch. The screen door banged loudly against the brick wall. Dogs in neighboring yards began barking.
Jester stood slowly as if trying to avoid any sudden movement in the presence of a wild animal in the wilderness. He started backing away. One foot behind the other. His stare focused on the approaching, menacing form. Jester’s eyes widened as his uncle unbuckled his belt and began to slide it from the belt loops of his pants. Turning on his heels, Jester broke into a sprint, jumping the fence, running down the alley and never looking back.
“Hey Jester,” Melvin called. “Get ready, you’re on in ten.”
Adawra stood at the expansive window appreciating her fifteenth-floor view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Lowering her one hundred and ten pounds to the plush beige carpet in Sukhasana pose, she inhaled. Moving her shoulders forward, she exhaled and rolled her shoulders back. She repeated the move as she surveyed the clear, blue sky poised just outside her window. A plane streaked across the sky leaving a white trail. She moved her ear over her right shoulder and then moved the opposite ear over her left shoulder. Her chin touched her chest and then back as if nodding her agreement. She looked right, then left, then back to center. She sat with her head over her heart and her heart over her pelvis and breathed in and out, looking for her body and mind awareness. Adawra closed her eyes. Breathed. Relaxed. Meditated.
A tapping on the door interrupted Adawra’s meditation. She hoisted herself to her feet, jogged to the door and put an eye to the peep hole. “Darn, why is she here so darn early?” Adawra said blowing out her breath as she unbolted the lock, turned the knob and opened the door to Candice.
“Hey girl, I see you in your yoga outfit,” Candice said as she sashayed through the door with her purse swinging on her arm. “How long before you’ll be ready for some sights?” She plunged her body onto the couch. “I didn’t come here to spend all of my money on this hotel and not go anywhere. The view is great and all, but I need air.” She fanned her face with her hand.
Adawra shook her head, “Maybe you should try a little Yoga.” She turned and strolled back to the window. “You could stand to lose some of the tension that’s ravishing your body.”
“Whatever you say,” Candice answered waving the words away in the air. “Hey, how about a trip to Fort McHenry or maybe some shopping at that Gallery place? Anything except staying in this room admiring the view.”
“Why don’t you do that, Candice? Admire the view while I shower and get dressed.”
Fifteen minutes later Adawra was ready, sauntering into the sitting area closing her gray and black satchel. She gleamed a wide smile at Candice, “I’m ready.”
Candice stood and looked Adawra over, “Where do you think you’re going in those heels?” Candice put her hands on her hips and tapped the toe of her tennis shoe on the carpet. “Do you see how I’m dressed? Sweats and tennis. We’re not going to a club. We’re going sightseeing. I don’t have all day, Dar. Put on some tennis and let’s get rolling.”
Ten minutes later Adawra was appropriately outfitted to Candice’s specifications, a blue sweat suit and blue running shoes. They headed for the elevator. Adawra pressed the down button and stepped back to wait. Candice hit the down button and then struck it again, “Geez, this elevator is slow as molasses. I really need some sunshine and sightseeing.”
Adawra eyed Candice, “Why are you so wound up? We’re on vacation. We don’t have to rush around. There is no deadline to meet.”
“Sure, there is. We have three days to see the sights if you know what I mean,” Candice shot back.
“No, I guess I don’t.”
Candice opened her leopard tan handbag, fished around inside and extracted her compact and checked her face, “Haven’t you heard, Baltimore has some of the hottest men?”
Adawra slammed her hands on her hips, “I guess I haven’t. I thought we were here to sightsee and relax, not hook up.”
“We’re here for all of the above, sightseeing during the day and hooked up lovin’ at night from a fine Baltimorean man. You only live once, Dar. Don’t waste it.” She tapped her finger on the tip of Adawra’s nose. Adawra rolled her eyes and turned her face away.
The elevator dinged. “Finally,” Candice said impatiently as the two squeezed into the full space. “Next time we’re taking the steps.”
The elevator dinged its arrival to the lobby. The doors slid open. Everyone rushed out like a herd stampeding the lobby.
Two male clerks stood behind a gleaming, dark wood, concierge desk. One of the clerks noticed Adawra and Candice right away.
“Hey, Brian, check it out,” the tall, tawny clerk whispered from the side of his mouth as he jabbed his co-worker standing next to him in the side.
Brian, the co-worker had a darker complexion, like dark chocolate, and wore a wider grin than his work-buddy when his gaze found the tawny clerk’s preoccupation, “Oh man, those honnies are hot. I’d love to get a piece of that.”
The two men sized the ladies up as five-foot-five inch Adawra with auburn ringlets ricocheting against sun kissed skin and five-foot-seven inch Candice with Midnight black spiral curls flapping in her wake approached the elongated, gleaming, wooden desk.
“Good morning, ladies,” Brian said as his eyes pored over Candice. “What can I do for you today?”
“Good morning,” Candice replied reaching for the name tag on the concierge’s gray suit jacket and grazing it with a fingertip. “Oh yes, indeed; there is plenty you can do for me, Brian.”
“Candice,” Adawra whispered. “Stop flirting. People are watching you.”
“Let them. Maybe the old batties will learn something.” Candice turned her attention back to Brian. “We want to take in some sights, maybe Fort McHenry.” She smiled as she peered at him through her long, black, thick lashes. “Or Fort Brian. How would we get there?”
Candice watched as a smile formed at the corners of Brian’s full, dark chocolate lips. A large smile going all around with folds and wrinkles and spirals, looking like a place where you have just thrown a rock in a pond. “Well, ma'am—”
“Ma’am,” Candice said indignantly, “do I look like a daggone ma’am? I’m not forty.”
Brian’s smile froze in place.
“Candice, please,” Adawra placed her hand on Candice’s shoulder. “He’s just being polite.” She swiveled her attention to Brian, “Sorry, I’m Adawra and this is Candice. We’re here to see the sights of your wonderful city,” she said cordially offering her outstretched hand.
“Wow,” the tawny clerk interrupted. “I’ve only heard that name one time before. My girl listens to a show called Midnight Talk and the woman who hosts the show, her name is Adawra.
Adawra extended her hand, and a smile to the tawny man. “Hi, I’m Adawra, the host of Midnight Talk and this is my sometimes partner on the show, Candice.”
The tawny man took Adawra’s baby pink, manicured nails in both of his and shook her hand up and down grinning excitedly. “I’m Kevin. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I can’t wait to tell my girl I met you. Man, a celebrity.”
“Okay, okay,” Candice interrupted, “back to the conversation at hand. Brian, how do we get to the fort?”
Brian’s attention went back to Candice, “The best way from here will be to take the water taxi.”
“Wait a minute,” Candice interrupted, “could I have a pen and paper, so I can write it all down?”
“Sure,” Brian said reaching under the desk, producing a pad and pen and handing it over to Candice.
Candice poised the pen over the paper, “Go on, give me the information,” she said as Adawra stood next to her shaking her head in dismay.
“You can catch the water taxi over at the National Aquarium. I’ll give you a walking map to make it easy to find. You can purchase an all-day pass or a one-way ticket. The all-day pass is your best bargain. You may want to make some other stops. Here is a list of the stops and the schedule.” Brian paused and handed her the brochure. “Do you need me to repeat anything?”
“No, Brian, I think I got it all,” Candice said as she flipped the page up and scribbled on the second sheet. “Thank you, Brian.” She ripped off the top sheet and handed him back the pen and pad, smiling flirtatiously.
Brian accepted the pad and pen. When he looked down at the pad he beamed as he tucked the pad into the pocket of his pants. The two men watched as the ladies turned away and headed for the revolving door.
“Man, they look just as good leaving as they did coming,” Brian said to Kevin.
“I would tap that in an instant and wouldn’t give my girl a second thought,” Kevin replied.
“Excuse me,” a grandmotherly woman with a head full of thin, white strands, wearing a scowl said impatiently. “Are you two rude men working today or do I need to seek out a manager?”
“My apologies,” Brian said quickly. “What can I help you with today?”
Adawra and Candice stood outside the door of the hotel and studied the map.
“It looks like we should cross Pratt street and walk through the harbor that way,” Adawra said pointing to the left.
They strolled to the corner, stood at the crosswalk and watched as bumper to bumper cars inched past while they waited for the light to indicate the walking man. The light changed and Adawra and Candice fell in step with the crowd making their way across the street with all the other tourists. After reaching the other side they began to stroll through the promenade taking in all the sights.
“Look, Adawra,” Candice said pointing to the right, “according to the map, that’s Harborplace. We can get something to eat and we can shop in there. I can’t wait to taste the crab cakes. I hear they’re the best.”
Adawra followed Candice's pointing finger and then her gaze followed the crowd. “Look over there where the crowd is. Let’s get closer and see what’s so interesting.”
Candice referenced her map again. “That’s the Amphitheater. Hey, it says free entertainment. I’m loving this place more and more,” she said quickening her steps as Adawra walked faster to keep up.
“Holy crap, Adawra, look at the fool in that bright yellow suit.”
“He may look crazy, but he sure can juggle.” Adawra laughed. “Let’s sit on those stone steps with everyone else.”
Adawra watched as the man in the yellow suit caught all of his juggling paraphernalia, put them away and walk to the water’s edge and begin to engage in conversation with a man with a head full of black dreads. The man reached down, picked up a guitar case and began to walk toward the Amphitheater.
“Dar,” Candice said with irritation, “are you listening?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. What were you saying?”
“I was saying maybe we should just hang out here for the day. We can go to the Aquarium, the Science Center… Adawra! What are you looking at?”
Candice followed her stare. “Oh, hell no, Adawra. Are you crazy? Why are you looking at that man like that? He’s a street performer. He looks like he needs a bath, some clothes and who knows what else.”
“Maybe,” Adawra said with a sigh.
The man had skin the color of a bronze penny. Black dreads hung to his shoulders. He wore a dingy, white, wife beater and well-worn blue jeans riding low with a hole in the knee. He walked purposefully toward the crowd who surrounded him in a semicircle; some were standing, others sat on the stone steps. He laid his case on the ground, knelt on one knee, opened the case and hefted a dazzling, red guitar that gleamed bright under the sun’s rays.
“How in the world did he afford that? Probably stole it,” Candice asked and answered.
Adawra narrowed her eyes, “Candice, you always believe the worst in people.”
“No, I don’t. I’m just real about it.”
He strapped the guitar over his shoulder and began to stroke the strings. As he plucked the strings, he started to sing. People rushed up to put money in his bucket.
“His voice is like melting chocolate. It makes you want to spread it all over your body,” Adawra said slightly breathless.
“Adawra, what the hell is wrong with you. I don’t hear no chocolate. All I see is a street bum.”
“Look deeper, Candice. Listen. He could go far with that voice.”
“Adawra, what were you doing this morning? Yoga or drugs?”
Adawra laughed. “Yoga girl. You know I don’t use any drugs. It’s unhealthy.”
“I can hardly hear the words over the guitar,” Adawra muttered in Candice’s direction. She sat forward and strained to listen.
“My eyes look to the sky every morning, every night. Bring her back to me. Bring her back soon.”
“So beautiful,” Adawra said in a whisper.
“He has so much talent,” a skinny girl who looked about 16 said. “I love him. He is here just about every day. I leave school on my lunch break just to hear him.”
“School?” Candice asked. “It’s summer time.”
“I know. I’m taking summer classes so I can graduate early,” the young girl replied.
The performer finished his song. The crowd applauded, whistled, and cheered. Adawra stood and clapped loudly with the crowd. Candice stood next to Adawra.
“Darn groupies,” Candice hissed.
Adawra watched as the man knelt, put away his guitar, close the case, pick up his can of money, stand and walk away. Her eyes followed him until his form was swallowed up by the crowd.
“I’m hungry,” Candice said. “Let’s see what Harborplace has to offer.”
“Sure Candice, whatever you want.”
Strolling through the harbor, heads swaying side to side, taking in the sights of the boats and tall ships, the oddly shaped, colorful buildings and filling their nostrils with the scents of molasses and spices hovering in the dense heat, the two chose a restaurant with seats on the terrace offering a view of tourists in full sightseeing mode below.
Two glasses of water were set on the table by a waitress, one in front of Candice and one in front of Adawra. She did the same with the menus. Reaching into her apron pocket, the waitress produced a pad and pen and asked, “Would you like to order now or would you like more time to look over the menu?”
“Come back later,” Candice said. “We’ll let you know when we’re ready.”
The waitress turned and walked away.
“Must you be so blunt?” Adawra asked.
Candice crossed her legs, swung the top leg back and forth, “I’m just keeping it real, Dar. No need for her to hover while we decide what we want to eat. Now that’s rude if you ask me.”
Adawra opened her purse, took out her cell and began scrolling through her contacts.
“Candice, that singer was really good. I think Alec may be interested in him.”
“I don’t know, Dar. He sings and plays a guitar on the street for money.”
“Well, at least he’s not on the corner with a sign begging for cash.” Adawra sighed, “Did you see that guitar? It had to cost a fortune.”
“Yeah, I saw it. He probably stole it, girl.”
“I doubt it. If he stole it, I don't think he would be making a public show of having it. And he plays it well, as if the two of them belong together like Frick and Frack.”
Adawra leaned her chin on her tented fingers and said, “Tomorrow, I’m going back to the Amphitheater and record him playing the guitar and singing. I know Alec will be impressed.”