Third book in the series
Dance Floor Wars: Collisions
The following has not been edited and is the working version.
Angela K. Durden — Alias/Pen name: Durden Kell
Attorney: Jelani Miller
j m i l l e r @ t h e m i l l e r l a w g r o u p dot c o m
404-974-9583 or 404-781-0794
Excerpt: 3000+/- words
Overview of Goals for the Dance Floor Wars Series:
A. Books published
B. Movies or TV shows to be based on these
Dance Floor Wars: Collisions
Angela K. Durden • Alias: Durden Kell
“The mind is not a slave to anyone.”
Thus spake the greatest romantic poet and writer of the nineteenth century. Victor Hugo; author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame; works of such political and emotional depth, and certitude of man’s unchanging genetic condition, that for the better part of two centuries the sale of his books, and tickets to mounted plays, have made many men rich. I do not doubt the accuracy of Hugo’s statement.
However, from this writer’s standpoint, there is a lot of voluntary servitude by those who are fearful, thus allowing others to enslave their minds. And that voluntary servitude leaves those willing enslavers in control of lives not their own. Wearing my other hat as “probing reporter”, I had to ask myself why voluntary servitude exists in spirituality, politics, marriages, or anything that requires thinking and action.
Fact: Making a conscious decision implies taking responsibility for your own life.
Fact: Acting on a conscious decision means family, friends, bosses, and others in the community will not like it that you changed the steps to their dance.
Fact: Continuing to dance to another tune, march to another drummer, even transform the dance itself, implies revolution.
Fact: In revolution, ideas collide in flesh, steel, and bone.
Fact: People don’t like pain and will go to great lengths to avoid it…unless they like that sort of thing, but that’s another column for another day. So, people avoid collisions, believing all opportunities for those to be injurious.
I personally have confidence in collisions as destroyers of inefficient systems – and the placer of building blocks for better ones. Need I reference the biggest collision ever: The Big Bang?
Pun intended for you romantics out there.
Gordon W. Asbury, excerpt from his syndicated column, Opinionated Gordon, 2003
TRINI: Viva la Revolucion
Trini married Fortisima because that was what one did when one knocked up a virgin. Especially one who lived in the same small village, and who grew up with you, and had the same teachers. And whose daddy was El Alcalde, The Mayor. Who, when he requested a private audience, you did not turn down because to do so meant certain death. And when El Alcalde said, “You will marry my little princess and you will never cheat on her or I will have you cut into small pieces and dropped out of a plane over the Bermuda Triangle, though I will pickle your boles and pene and keep them in my vault,” it simply naturally followed that a wedding would take place post haste.
Naturally, Trini smiled at the wedding. He smiled at the feast (nothing was too good for El Alcalde’s little princess). He did such a good job of smiling, even Trini’s own mama and papa believed he loved the girl…or soon would.
As for the girl, Fortisima begged El Alcalde to please not make her marry Trini as he wasn’t very good. When El Alcalde inquired as to what Trini wasn’t very good at, and she informed him he hurt her when they…you know…did…that (she was blushing), her father smiled in relief that yes, indeed, his little princess had been a virgin, and he laughed.
Fortisima thought he was laughing at her pain and began a large wailing cry that brought Mama. El Alcalde was scared of no one on this earth except Mrs. El Alcalde, and by the time she finished beating him about the head with his own hat, and screaming estúpido, he was cowering in a corner, and begging her forgiveness for such an ignorant lapse in his handling of her daughter.
Nevertheless, the wedding proceeded. On this point, both her Mama and Papa were in agreement. And so time passed, and a boy was born, and it looked just like El Alcalde, and Havana cigars were passed throughout the small village. And more time passed. And another baby arrived…naturally.
By this time Fortisima, having learned the lessons at her mother’s knees on how one managed one’s man, was regularly whaling away on Trini. Previously sworn enemies, El Alcalde and Trini became fast friends, as each understood the nature of their lives. And, one day going after elusive game, also known as dinner they wouldn’t bring home and another beating in store for them, and sipping on homemade mezcal, El Alcalde let slip his deepest, darkest secret.
“I want to go to America, my son,” El Alcalde slurred, caressing his cheek with the cold steel barrel of his hunting rifle.
Trini could not believe what he heard, and said, “Perdóneme?”
Haunted eyes turned toward Trini, a small nod of the head confirmed he heard accurately, and it was then that Trini began to understand what many around the world already knew: A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts. But a finger brought to El Alcalde’s lips swore him to secrecy. And so, more time passed. And another child was born to Fortisima; this one looked like Trini’s mama, and for a while he was a proud papa. But, game was scarce and the beatings frequent in both houses, and since one did not speak of such things in his village, and he did not want to be accused of being without cajones, he went hunting with El Alcalde often.
It was on one such hunting trip that secret wishes gave birth to firm – but highly secret – plans. And two weeks later, El Alcalde gave up his position as mayor when he slipped over the American border with his son-in-law. There were a couple of scares when they thought capture was nigh, but praise be to the Virgin Mary, border patrol did not see them, and before another week was out, they were in a large metropolitan area, hired on to a construction crew consisting of undocumented workers, also known as illegal aliens, and one legal guy with a green card. There they smiled as they worked their asses off and burned their backs every day the sun shone.
And on rainy days, if there was no indoor work, they slept and had nightmares of their women back home. Upon waking, they gladly took the verbal abuse of their bosses because it was less than what they endured at home.
Mrs. El Alcalde took over her husband’s position and began to beat some discipline into the rank and file in his office. Jokes in the only bar in the village were that they understood now why he left. Cute as she was, nobody wanted to bed Fortisima; fear ran deep that the unhesitating application of steel did not skip a generation, or else why would her husband have left, too?
While now-ex El Alcalde and Trini had nightmares and smiled at work, there came a time when they realized their lives were lacking in diversión, or what the Americans called fun. Upon asking around, they were told about a salsa club called Hydrate. It wasn’t long before they were regulars.
FIRENZA: Firenza is Screwed
Fear. Because of fear people talk themselves out of too many a good thing. Firenza knew this to be the case because she was a good thing and lots of men knew it – and told her so; but…
Ah, The Big But. After one or two chats with her, they talked themselves out of her. Oh, Firenza, you are amazing, and any man would be lucky to have you, but…
But what she never found out because they never said. So Firenza put to work her amazing analytical ability – or Triple A – to try to understand why it was she could be the best she could be and yet, still, nobody wanted her.
AAA Deduction #1: They felt she was competition.
AAA Deduction #2: They felt the competition was too stiff.
AAA Deduction #3: They would never believe she was not in competition with them.
AAA Deduction #4: The rules of engagement were not the same with her.
AAA Deduction #5: They were old dogs who didn’t want to learn want to learn any new rules of engagement.
The process never changed. No matter who she met. No matter where she met them. The process never changed. So she applied AAA again and decided she wouldn’t answer their questions honestly. If they asked what she did for a living, she wouldn’t tell them she was a war correspondent. Oh, no, that wouldn’t do. She would be a writer…of…poems. Yes, something sentimental and easy and girly.
Or she’d be a massage therapist. Or work in fast food as a server. Or checkout girl at a grocery store. Or sell shoes in the mall. Or receptionist in a lobby of a hotel.
And after every statement of what it was she did, she’d quickly change the subject. So, what do you do? she’d ask.
House painter. Chemical spill cleaner. Code monkey. Car salesman. Professor. Coach.
But it didn’t matter. And it didn’t matter how much she pretended she wasn’t smart and had no dreams and hopes and goals, the men could still smell the real her and fear ruled their lives. She was tired of fear ruling her life through them.
Then she’d see them settle. They’d settle for ordinary. They’d settle for average. They’d settle for commonplace. They’d settle for mediocrity. Or a combination of those. And why not? Why shouldn’t they settle for that which wouldn’t be a challenge? Amazing Analytical Ability was again applied.
AAA Deduction #6: Their egos are saved.
AAA Deduction #7: Water finds its own level.
AAA Deduction #8: They are unformed, like liquid.
AAA Deduction #9: There was no man for her. Ever.
AAA Deduction #10: Bravery was out because bravery takes work.
AAA Deduction #11: Most people are lazy.
Firenza was screwed.
TRINI: They Come to America
Three years passed during which Mrs. El Alcalde and Fortisima heard nothing from their men. Fortisima found a man, but could not marry him as she was unsure of her marital state; at least, that is what she told him. A few rumors floated back about the father of her children, but nothing definitive. America was a big land, and after a while all the illegal alien/undocumented worker stories sounded the same. Besides, she had no money, nor inclination, to clarify her marital state. She liked not having a man around to beat.
Fortisima’s will-do man did everything she asked in hopes of getting some. And he got some every now and then. But, it was not easy be discreet too often; the village was small. So Fortisima and Mrs. El Alcalde, like good little troopers, managed their lives and the little village prospered under her rule.
In the meantime, El Alcalde built a reputation as a leader amongst the construction crews. He was the go-to guy on matters involving disputes. One did not serve as mayor in any town without learning how to play Solomon, judge fairly and with discernment, and sometimes slap el stupido upside the head getting him to agree to drop his dispute thus effectively ending it. Better El Alcalde than the policía. Everybody was happy with the arrangement.
A couple of years into their self-imposed expatriation, Hydrate continued to be a source of diversión for El Alcalde and Trini. Not inclined to go to Sunday Mass, Trini did not have to worry about how late he stayed out. One night he stayed until the club closed. Truth be told, he stayed because a cute waitress caught his eye. Hey, he might not like to get beat by a wife, but a girlfriend could give him pain every now and then and he wouldn’t complain. So, he stayed late. Could he walk her to her car? She replied by calling him a name that good Americans, especially very politically correct ones, would never dare use in polite society: Un mojado? El infierno no, stupido?
Translation: A wetback? Hell, no, stupid.
Trini did not flinch; he had been called worse; he walked to his car whistling. Later that night, though, money troubles woke him up and he remembered the mess the restaurant was in when the lights went up. Maybe they needed somebody who knew how to clean. And that is how Trini got a second job at Hydrate and how he became one of the prime witnesses in the murder of The Reed.
BIG DADDY: Big Daddy Spills the Beans
Though Daniel reported on the doings of high finance and businesses trading on Wall Street, and knew the personalities of the movers and the shakers. Though Big Daddy was one of the biggest movers and shakers. Though their lives had not much in common. They found that each was a man’s man. They didn’t have to have anything else in common.
After a third Maker’s Mark and Coke, Daniel changed the subject from business to personal. “Exciting love life still happening?”
Big Daddy set his drink on the bar, placed both palms flat, and hung his head. “Well, I’ll tell ya.”
Daniel laughed. “I think you just did. Nothing shaking?”
“Oh, no. That’d be an incorrect assumption on your part, my dear reporter friend. The ladies are still hot and heavy after Big Daddy.” He raised his head and said, “I’m getting ready to tell you something. A story. But you better not tell a soul.”
Daniel crossed his heart, said he hoped to die if he should ever tell. Big Daddy stared at him, soberly, though not sober; he nodded acceptance of Daniel’s promise.
“I met a woman.”
It was the way Big Daddy said it that kept Daniel from retorting quickly with some half-assed comment like, “Duh. Big Daddy’s met a woman. News at 10. Duh.” Yeah, the way Big Daddy said I met a woman implied implication; serious implication.
“Big Daddy getting married?”
“Then, Big Daddy engaged?”
Big Daddy pointed a finger at the bartender, then dipped it to both glasses. Bartender nodded. Big Daddy answered, “Nope.”
“Okay. Big Daddy dated a woman more than once?”
“Yes.” But the way Big Daddy held the S at the end, and the manner in which he closed his eyes upon holding the S, and the manner in which he dipped his chin toward his chest upon holding the S and closing his eyes, yes, all these things implied serious implication in ways Daniel could not work out. And, though this story would never make it out of his fingertips to paper, nor out of his mouth as rumor or innuendo, Daniel made like a good reporter, got quiet, and let Big Daddy tell the story the way he needed to. “Yep, yep, yep. I dated this woman more than once.”
Drinks arrived, bartender left them to their conversation, and Big Daddy continued. “See, Dan, I was bored. I cannot begin to tell you how bored I was. Everywhere I went.” A finger on the bar punctuated each word a second time. “Everywhere. I. Went. Daniel. You understand me?”
“Everything I did. Everything. I. Did…Bored. So, one night, me and some…people…went out. And everybody there was Hey, Big Daddy this, and Awesome, Big Daddy that. Everybody except this one woman.”
Big Daddy smiled at the memory. “She never acknowledged my existence. Sat there twirling the stem of her wineglass between her fingers and staring at the ceiling. But, oh my God, when she danced? God, she could dance. Man, could she dance.”
“You mean like, on a pole?”
“No! I mean, like…you know, a DJ plays a song, a man takes her hand, they go dance.”
“Oh. Normal dancing then.”
“Yes, normal. Actually, it’s called Social Dancing or Partner Dancing. Remember those terms. Anyway…there was something about her that intrigued me. So, I finally just walked over to her…”
“Wait. Wait. Stop.” Daniel held his hand up like a cop. “Whoa. You walked over to a woman?”
“I know, right? Anyway, then she got me so flustered…”
Daniel did the cop whoa hand again. “Flustered? Did you just say you got flustered?”
“Yeah. Me. Flustered. Goddamn it, Daniel, I blushed.”
At that confession, Daniel laughed, almost spilling his drink, and asked, because he knew there was more. “What else?”
“And I choked on my drink.” Big Daddy chuckled at the memory. “And she wouldn’t take my card.”
“No. Swear to God. She gave me her card and said for me to call her.”
“But…but, you’ve never called a woman.”
Big Daddy slapped the bar. “I know that!”
“Did you dance with her?”
“Oh, hell yeah. Yes. Yes. Yes. I danced with her.” There were those S’s held out again at the end of yes implying more implication.
“And then…what?” Daniel waited.
“And then I choked.” Big Daddy slugged his drink.
“You choked on your drink again?”
Big Daddy slowly shook his head and swallowed. He set his glass down slowly and turned it this way and that making wet rings on a napkin. “No, I didn’t choke on a drink. I mean I choked. I got scared. I didn’t call her, but I thought about her every day for over seven months.”
Big Daddy sat back on the bar chair and crossed his arms. He turned his head to Daniel and said, “You know I ain’t never been scared of nothing in my life. Women? Easy. They came. They went. I didn’t have to work for none of it. Success after success after success. I mean, you know the story.”
Daniel nodded silently.
“For the first time in my life I found out that…well, I found out that my success with women wasn’t due to my amusing and brilliant personality. It was due to my money. Now, Daniel, I knew that little fact…on an intellectual level.” He sighed. “But I always thought…always thought I’d always be successful with every woman and that the money was just an added bonus on top of my supremely confident manner. So, upon meeting Lucinda…”
“Yeah. Lucinda. Upon meeting her…and nothing I did worked with her. Honest to God, Dan. Honest…to…God…everything I said got turned around on me.”
Daniel shook his head. “I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
“Okay. First thing I did was hold out my hand for her to shake. She shook. I said, ‘Hello. My name is Big Daddy. What’s your name?”
“Okay. Sounds good so far.”
“Right, Dan. It does. But she just laughed and said, ‘Big Daddy? When did you get the name Big Daddy? Only, she didn’t say it like Big Daddy. Oh, no. She said it sort of popping the sounds like this: Buh-IG Duh-ADdy.”
Daniel repeated. “Buh-IG Duh-ADdy. Kind of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof accent going on there. Okay. So what’d you say?”
“I didn’t say nothing. So she says ‘Was it your coach?’ ‘Was it your girlfriend?’ ‘Was it your mama?’”
“I don’t see the problem, James.”
“You don’t see the problem? The problem is I didn’t know what to say.”
“You mean you were without words?”
“But, James, every man goes through this. I mean, that’s just part of…dealing with women.”
“Daniel, you got to understand. This never happened to me before; and that was when I found out how much of a coward I was.”
Daniel laughed. “James, we men are all cowards. Are you kidding me?”
“No. I’m not kidding ya. It took me over seven months to get my courage up to talk to her again.”
Big Daddy stopped talking, turned to the bar, shoulders hunched, leaned down to his drink, and sucked up an ice cube. Daniel caught the eye of the bartender. “Kitchen still open?” he asked.
“Yes, sir. What do you want?”
“Bring us some wings. Hot sauce.”
“Yes, sir. It’ll be about ten minutes.”
“We’ll be here.” Daniel slapped Big Daddy on the back once, in a friendly way, to give him the strength to keep telling his story. Big Daddy sat up straight and continued.
“We went on a few adventures. We pretended to be other people and dressed up like a preacher and his sister, one time. And another time we pretended to be an aging rock star and his assistant. And, then, we went dancing at this Cajun Zydeco place. But, we only had sex once. Well, that’s not true. We did it five times, but all in one weekend.”
“Five times? One weekend?”
“Yep…and it wasn’t just sex, either. It was…making love. There’s a difference you know.”
Daniel nodded again as if he understood, but this conversation wasn’t about him, so he didn’t go into any details. “And then…”
“And then I’ve never seen her again.”
“How long has it been?”
“Why? She sounds great. Just what you need.”
“She is…twenty years ago.” Big Daddy closed his eyes and rolled his head three-hundred and sixty degrees around his shoulders, then slowly shrugged. “It’s all my fault. That weekend we made love, we even had a rip-roaring argument…and the make-up sex was great. I’ve heard of make-up sex, but…”
“You’ve never had make-up sex?”
“Nope. So, lots and lots of firsts with Lucinda. Lots…and…lots…of firsts.”
Big Daddy thought, and Daniel waited until he was ready to move on with the story, which he finally did. “So, what happened was that the weekend was so great…I mean it was great…and for the first time I got to see what I’ve missed out on. What a real relationship could be and all that it implied. And I was thinking this was gonna be a great life with Lucinda. Then came the epiphany.”
“Yep. I realized I wanted children. I wanted to be told to take out the trash. I wanted to wipe snotty noses and rock a baby to sleep. I wanted to be a husband and father.”
“She didn’t want children?”
“She has kids. They’re all grown up. She’s not doing that again.”
“Oh. She’s older than you?”
“Yeah.” Big Daddy smiled. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what did I see in that older woman?”
“How old was she?”
“Oh, my age then.”
“Really? Anyway,” Big Daddy sipped his drink, his smile gentling into wistfulness. “So now I’ve been looking for that woman who is ready for the now-and-future me.”
Big Daddy chuckled. “No. Not in the finding of the one that will work. But I can tell you a side benefit of this whole process.”
“Yeah. Now that I’m very, very clear about what I do want, I’m also very, very clear about what I don’t want. So, Big Daddy hasn’t been on any dates. I even joined an online matching service.”
“What the hell? Aren’t you afraid of your info getting out there? Your reputation…”
“To hell with my reputation. And yes, I put out there that I wanted some very specific things and if you, woman perusing my profile, are looking for somebody you think is going to be impressed with your boobs, or your ass, or your pussy, then please know I’ve seen them all and experienced everything those things have to offer and I am bored with it – not that I never want them again, mind you. But, I need a real woman who is ready to live a real life.”
“You said all that? On your profile?”
“Yes, I did. Straight out like that, too.”
“So far…nothing. But at least it is high-quality nothing, and that is fine with me.”
And surprisingly, Daniel knew exactly what James meant.