Della wasn’t lying. She was stuck inside of her bathtub. She used a burgundy, terrycloth facial towel to cover her most sacred body part when Anthony walked into the room. He wasn’t sure what to expect. New York City is flooded with perverts. It would not have surprised him if she was going to ask him to have sex as part of an unofficial lease agreement. If his new landlady was summoning him downstairs for something fishy, he was prepared to cast his rod. In the pond of prostitution, it’s foolish to believe that women would not pay a handsome man to skip a few stones across stagnant waters.
Della was crying from both embarrassment and physical pain. Anthony’s first thought was to dial 911. Her leg was cocked under her large body. She appeared to have slipped while trying to crawl out of the empty tub. Her leg looked broken. A woman as large as Della couldn’t possibly be that flexible, Anthony thought. She was holding the back of her head. She bumped it during the fall. Blood covered her high-yellow hand and shaved scalp.
“Holy cow! Are you alright?” Anthony asked.
“No dear, I’m not. I’ve been stuck here for hours. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to bother you. You should not have to pull a naked Black woman to her feet on your first day living here. You were the only living thing close to the sound of my cries. Please give me a hand, young man,” Della begged.
He wrapped both of his arms around her and attempted to clench his fists but could not. He fit comfortably between her breasts. The oversized mammary glands parted. One cascaded over the knee that was bent and the other plopped on the arm that was resting on the rounded edge of the bathtub. He threw all of h is weight backwards but she didn’t budge.
“Ouch! Oh my Lord!”
“I think you leg is broken.”
“No, it’s not, dear. This has happened before. There is something stuck inside of me and it’s not a demon. Ouch! Dear God, I’m sorry,” Della cried.
Anthony wondered why the foot long dildo was white. “Wow! What an imagination. One could never be that big,” his conscious whispered.
His new landlady was in one hell of a predicament and he had to remain serious. The rubber toy was bent like a pretzel and was jammed between her grey rubber duckie and her fat ass.
“Don’t get up too fast when I pull you or that thing may wound me,” Anthony pleaded.
“I need some ice dear. Please go to my freezer and bring me some ice. That will do the trick.”
He walked to her kitchen and past a butcher block table without noticing a large glass bowl covered with a light-blue dish towel. He reached past a frozen chicken, pulled out a tray of ice and twisted the plastic until the cubes broke free from their frozen compartments.
“If you don’t mind, you can wait for me in the kitchen. I will be out in a moment,” Della asked while taking the tray from him.
“Burr…Me, oh my!”
He gladly made his exit towards the kitchen and waited for Della to take the swelling down.
“I have no business trying to raise the dead,” she joking shouted from the bathroom while putting on a fluffy, white terrycloth robe. She washed the dried blood from her head and hands.
“I should sue the manufacturers of that thing,” Della yelled from the bathroom.
Anthony laughed out loud while peeking to see what was inside the bowl on the table.
“Please don’t touch my dough,” Della shouted from the door of the kitchen. “That’s for a batch of cinnamon rolls.”
“I assume the kneading got you all hot and bothered,” Anthony chuckled while replacing the towel over the bowl.
‘Oh, you’re a perceptive one,” Della giggled while taking a paper bag of whole wheat flour from an oak cabinet above the kitchen sink, “I love to bake. It puts me in touch with my soul and it’s a great way to get rid of the demons I pull out of others.”
“You’re a real soul food chef, I see. Wow! I love watching Italian men in pizza joints rolling out dough,” Anthony shared. “My mother made fresh bread every Sunday morning. I helped her with the kneading. I must have been only four or five at the time, but I still remember the soft touch of the dough before it went into the oven. My favorite food in the world is molasses on freshly baked bread.”
“I didn’t realize the new generating knew what molasses was. What do you know about molasses, boy?” Della asked.
Anthony smiled. “I’m all country. We like things slow. You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Della remarked while silently appreciating the twang in his southern accent. His dialect was music to hear ears. It had been so long since a Southerner lived under her roof. His voice sounded so innocent and naive but Della knew that he was as slick as any fast-talking northerner.
She scattered flour on the table and slowly tilted the bowl, removing the dough.
“Do me a favor and pass me that rolling pin next to the toaster.”
“Oh, sure. I never saw a pink one like this.”
Della’s light-brown cheeks turned auburn. “A woman could commit the ultimate sin with that utensil,” she snickered. “I need something that is flexible, otherwise I’ll never get in deep enough to massage my Muladhara chakra.
She pressed the large ball of dough with her hands before sprinkling it with flour and rolling it into a square 18” x 18”. “I don’t use molasses in my rolls, but I bet you’ll like these,” Della tempted while unwrapping a stick of Parkay margarine from shinny foil paper. She placed the yellow stick in a small black bowl and popped it in a microwave oven. “I just love microwaves,” she shared. “They call in roaches, but by damn, they cook things fast.”
Anthony watched with fascination as she mixed a cup of sugar with a brown spice that she pulled from a wooden rack on the wall, just above her stove.
“What is that?” Anthony asked.
“Cinnamon and sugar.”
Della removed the melted butter and spread it over the flattened dough. She then sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the butter and topped it with nuts.
“These are chopped pecans. Here, taste one.”
Anthony nibbled on the tiny piece of pecan and carefully observed as she rolled the dough up like a wrapped newspaper.
“That looks nothing like pizza dough. What did you say it was?” Anthony asked.
“The stickiest cinnamon rolls ever made,” Della informed while carefully slicing twelve times across the sweet roll that look a lot like the dildo she used in the bathroom.
“Now reach in that oven for me, dear, and take out that cake pan. Don’t worry. It’s not hot.”
Anthony took out the pan and brought it to her. The large, square aluminum pan was lined with toasted pecans, drenched in brown sugar and melted butter. He didn’t ask what they were for but watched quietly as she topped the roasted nuts with the sliced dough cylinders and sprinkled the concoction with pure white sugar.
“I can never get enough of these damn things, but they take forever to make. Thank heavens for the microwave. I have to let the dough rise again before baking them. Would you like a reading?” Della asked while covered the large square pan with waxed paper.
Anthony was petrified. What if she could see inside of him? There were things he didn’t want anyone to see, despite all that he had already witnessed regarding Della’s private life. He didn’t answer her and hoped that she wouldn’t insist on telling his fortune.
“Relax, I’ll only tell you the good things. My energy is best when there is active yeast in the house. Come over here boy. Give me your hands,” Della said like a mother calling to her child.
He didn’t want to be touched. His nerves were sensitive. Perhaps the sex business had ruined his taste for physical affection. When he had sex for money, he never kissed. Eventually he decided never to kiss anyone. At least he could save that part of himself as something special to be shared on a later date with the right person. The business made him incredibly sad and cold. There was no reason for him to grow attached to anyone, especially his clients. There were always sad good-bye’s in his life. That was all he knew.. When Della touched his hand he jumped and started to tremble.
“It’s okay, dear. There is no sin in it. You are free now.”
A tear streamed down his high cheek bones. He felt filthy. He had permitted many wealthy men and women to rub their hands all over him. No matter how much he washed or how many baths he took, the feeling never left his heart. He felt better knowing that she didn’t care about what he did for a living, in addition to the job he had at the Armani Exchange.
“She lived for as long as she could. She didn’t want to leave you,” Della channeled, speaking on behalf of his deceased mother. Her spirit was filling Della.
He closed his eyes and immediately was back with her, lying next to his mother in her big bed with thick quilts and down-filled pillows. It was snowing outside their country home in the hills of Virginia. The two of them were napping in the afternoon. He awoke from slobbers rolling down his chin and onto her firm breasts. She remained asleep. She was exhausted from the illness that was eating away at her inside. He opened his eyes as a little boy again, and watched tiny dust particles cross the stillness of the bedroom. Outside, white flakes of snow came down and the large pine trees that covered the landscape were drenched in a blanket of white. He wanted to go outside and play, but he knew while in his hypnotized state that his mother would be leaving him for good that day. He had already been through this moment in time and this was his opportunity to re-live it. He didn’t go outside this time, but waited next to her side for her to die.
His mother was a child too now. They both were playing together in the snow. She ate a handful of snow and waved good-bye to him.
“She stayed for as long as she could, Anthony, but it was time for her to go,” Della explained.
He immediately pulled his hands away from Della, shocked that she had known so many things about his past life.
“Your daddy used his talents to finger-fuck the masses,” Anthony shouted in a deep tone, much lower than his normal high-pitched, queer Southern dialect. It didn’t mean to say those words.
His crule statement offered in the moment between conciousness and the dream state went right to Della’s heart. The words burned right through her. She was terrified. She had never encountered such powerful darkness in all her years of doing energy work on others.