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.