WHEN I CAME IN with a box, there was Melosa and a very light-skinned woman who looked to be a mix of American Indian and Negro. She stood almost seven feet tall, weighed about ninety pounds, with hair of natural golden-blond. She wore a pair of jogging pants that were too small and looked like a new style of Capri pants. Her blouse looked like the shirt of a uniform, maybe a postal uniform. The sleeves were rolled up and exposed on her right forearm was a dollar-store tattoo of a crack pipe. Her shoes were used Keds that at one time had been white but were now gray. I suspect that everything she wore was second-hand. I also suspected she never had anything new in her life other than the drugs she took.
Sistah looked at me and uttered, “Hunh, he don’t look like no big hero to me. He looks like nothin’ but trouble.”
I proffered my hand, hoping she would return the courtesy but she ignored me. “Hi. I’m Preston Meadows.”
She turned and left the room, saying over her shoulder, “I don’t care who you are. I don’t need no white boy coming here who is able to find a job and work for a living. He ain’t nothin’ but trouble. You know what I am saying?”
Melosa followed her into the other room and I could hear her tell Sistah my story and that I needed a place to stay until I found Katie. When Sistah learned that it was Delgado that I was looking for her voice boomed a “HELL NO! That white boy will be bringing nothin’ but trouble here. Delgado stays away because I stay out of his bid-ness.”
Then I heard Melosa reply in Spanish. If Sistah wouldn’t help me then she would stop helping Sistah.
Then I heard the loud slapping of angry footsteps, and when Sistah banged through the door, she had her finger shaking at me. “I’m gonna let you stay here but you gotta work and I mean work. And if you piss off that Delgado and he comes here making trouble I’m gonna hurt you, you unnerstand?”
She jammed her hands on her hips and leaned that skinny body in close to me, and then stuck her face in mine and yelled, “WELL! What’s it gonna be white boy?”