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Christian Java   Jones   was   a   buppie   hang   out   where   brothas   and  sistahs can get their caffeine fix and their mack on at the  same time.   It was a great place to meet the next Mr. or  Ms. "Right Now", if not the Mr. or Ms. Right.   To prepare  properly   for   the   occasion,   I   wore   my   three­piece   charcoal  grey pinstripe suit with the triple button jacket, a light  grey   shirt,   and   a   cappuccino   tie   with   matching   shoes   &  belt.     Nothing   like   a   power   suit   for   a   little   power  networking.  I arrived at JJ's early to check out the scene. "Big Money!  Where you been, man?"  Tiny shouted at me  from behind the counter.  

"Sup, Tiny!"   I shot him a quick nod the way brothas 

did when they greet each other.   It’s amazing how no smile  and   a slight movement of the head up & down could send  a  little love. Tiny's   voice   boomed   and   carried   throughout   the   shop.  "My man!  The big­time lawyer.  You too busy for us little  folks   these   days,   huh?     Can't   stop   by   and   have   a   cup   of  coffee?"  He laughed at his imaginary snubbing. I returned the favor.   "See it’s not even like that,  Tiny.    I've been busy getting my hustle on so that I  too  could one day be a business owner like you." "Well,   it   must   be   working.     Coming   in   here   lookin'  cleaner   than   the   Pope   on   Christmas."     The   breadth   of   his 


2 smile and the twinkle in his eyes beamed warmth right back  at me.  A little love returned.  I feel you, Black Man. If this was an awards show, I couldn't have asked for  a better person to introduce me.  Tiny was doing some major  promotion without knowing it.  Or maybe he did.  Maybe this  was one way he was able to secure such a loyal following in  light of the competition from the major chains.   Whatever.  Other   patrons   looked   up   from   their   libations   to   see   whom  Tiny was giving the Big   Willie   style   treatment   to.     Since   celebrity   watching  was   damn   near   a   blood   sport   in   LA,   they   searched   my   face  for recognition.  Finding none, most returned to their brew  and their conversations.   Still, a few watched.   A couple  of women craned to get a better view.  I took off my jacket  and placed it on the back on my chair.  Might as well take  advantage of some of the extra reps I'd been doing at the  gym lately. "Here's your usual, Chris," Tiny said as he passed me  a mocha and a giant gourmet cinnamon roll. "Thanks   little   man,”   I   replied   sarcastically.     God  knows why he's called "Tiny.”   Standing 6'8'' and weighing  at least 275lbs., he was anything but.  He’d owned the shop  for as long as anyone could remember, but claimed to have  been   a   pastry   chef   in   the   army   during   Vietnam.    But   I  wasn’t buying that. 


3 First   off,   since   when   has   the   military   ever   been  renown for their desserts?   That doesn't even sound right.  'If you Viet Cong don't behave, they'll be no mud pie for  you'.   I don't think so.   Secondly, this cat, even in his  late 50's, was way too chiseled to have been just a cook.  Some   of   the   old   heads   that   visit   every   now   and   again  whispered   about   him   belonging   to   a   Special   Forces   unit.  Now only in the big city can you find a certified trained  killa'   passing   out   coffee   and   doughnuts.    Remind   me   to  leave a big tip.   Okay…   I'm just kidding.   Tiny was cool   people. As   Tiny   and   I   finished   our   banter,   Nona   walked   into  the   coffee   shop.     Her   presence   immediately   struck   me.     I  hadn’t   noticed   how   attractive   she   was   the   night   of   the  accident.   Things were  pretty chaotic that evening.   But,  now   in   the   calm   that   followed   crisis,   her   attractiveness  shone through like a beacon from a lighthouse.   Her beauty  transcended   outward   features   such   as   make­up,   hair   and  nails.  Don’t get me wrong.  Nona had all of this going on  and more. Yet, her beauty radiated from inside out.  The way she  lifted up her head and chin revealed self­confidence and a  willingness to connect with people.   The way she held her  shoulders back spoke of pride.  Pride in herself and in the  nobility of her people.   The glide of her stride whispered 


4 grace   and   elegance.     The   cut   of   her   biceps   symbolized  strength, while the lithe smoothness of her skin spoke of  sensitivity.     She   epitomized   womanhood,   motherhood   and  sensuality   all   at   the   same   time.     She   was   the   total  package.    And   this   made   her   dangerous!    There   was   no  denying it.  I liked her already.

Christian Nona   wore   a   blue   spaghetti   strapped   linen   dress   with  floral   print.     The   outfit   was   more   of   a   summer   piece.  Since   California   didn’t   really   have   different   seasons,   it  was   both   stylish   and   appropriate.     The   dress   came   to   the  middle   of   her   thigh.     Very   muscular   thighs.     Brown   open­ toed   Carlos   Santana   three­inch   wedge­heeled   shoes  complimented the heavenly garment adorning her body. I tried to contain my appreciation for her gear, but  it   was   a   losing   battle.     My   eyes   certainly   betrayed   my  thoughts.       Otherwise   transparent   feelings   couldn’t  possibly be hidden by the facial expression a man gives a  truly   sexy   woman.     You   know   the   one   like   Chris   Tucker’s  character   had   in   the   movie   “Friday”   when   he   was   like,  “daaammmmn!”  Well, let’s just say that doesn’t happen only  in film, okay?


5 A   brotha’   could   definitely   use   the   distraction   of  conversation right about now, so I started talking.  “Nona,  did you have any problems finding the place?” “No,   not   at   all.     Some   friends   and   I   have   been   here  before.” “Then   you’ll   have   to   allow   me   to   treat   you   to   your  favorite beverage & pastry.  What will it be?” “Herbal tea and a  piece of sock­it­to­me cake.   Good  choice, by the way,” she said, noticing the food in front  of me.   “Before I forget.   I received some correspondence  about the accident.   Since I didn’t recognize the name, I  assumed   it   wasn’t   from   your   firm.     It   doesn’t   say   much  other than wanting to meet with me.   I seem really popular  these days.”  Nona smiled deeply. As she reached inside her brown Coach saddlebag purse  to retrieve the letter, a paperback book slipped out. “What are you reading?” I inquire. “A   novel   by   Diane   McKinney­Whetstone.”     She   held   out  the book so that I could read the cover.  “Do you know it?” “She is one of my favorite authors.   I just finished  it.  How are you enjoying it so far?” “It’s really good.” “You’re going to love the ending.” “Well,   don’t   spoil   it   for   me.     I’m   reading   it   for   a  book club I belong to.” 


6 “Really?     You   don’t   meet   too   many   people   these   days  that belong to a book club.  How did you get into that?” “It seemed like a nice way to meet more of my sister­ friends.” “Oh, it’s an all women’s group?” “Uh­oh.  I’ve seen that look before.” “What look?” “That   look!     The   one   men   give   when   they   learn   about  the existence of an all­women’s groups.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  There was no  look.” “Sure there was.   You know the one I’m taking about.  The one where a man’s eyes squint a little tighter and his  eyebrows   move   closer   together.     You   know,   the   confused  look.” “Okay.   Maybe we’ve been known to give that look once  or twice, but­” “Don’t   worry!     Our   group   had   to   cancel   the   ‘Ban   Ike  Turner’   Parade   and   the   ‘Hurry   Up   &   Exhale,   Girlfriend’  Banquet” Nona mocked. We   both   laughed   at   her   silliness.     “I   guess   I   had   that  coming.”     This   woman   was   definitely   a   triple   threat:  brilliant, beautiful and bold.  Here I go again.


JJones