Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)
by Cherie Ann Turpin
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A quiet crowd hovered in the alleyway between [] street leading up to the dull, gray door of Aremwen’s Parlour near opening time, 11 p.m.  Two Nephilim hybrid brothers, one with Black skin, one with White skin, stood at the entrance as security, quietly surveying the makeup of the chic crowd.  Both men wore matching black suits, sunglasses, and Secret Service style earpieces, but they reserved the electronics for human eyes and ears, as they were adept at telepathy and teleportation.  They were quite useful as security not just for their  7’8 height and massive chest and arm muscles, but because they were magical beings like the clientele of this private club.
BOTTLE-SERVICE
The bar was located in the alleyway near an art gallery just before the C&O Canal at the bottom of Georgetown.  It was the only venue that openly welcomed Phorzhicoans, witches, vampires, demons, angels, shifters, warriors, extractors, telepaths, fallen deities–in other words, all uber-natural beings often not welcome among humans in social settings.  Mary, who was a vampire, owned Aremwen.  At 300 she still looked like a slender teenager with smooth, dark brown skin, and a tall Afro cut down the sides into a mohawk.  She was originally brought to the New World as a small child from Ghana.

After surviving the Middle Passage, Mary was sold into slavery to a small farm outside Jamestown, Virginia.  Her Vampire Mother, under the guise of a freedwoman midwife, rescued her from the lecherous slave master whose nefarious intentions had already resulted in an unwanted pregnancy and birth of a stillborn girl.  After smuggling the almost dead 19 year-old from the farm, the “midwife” offered Mary the choice of a quick death to relieve her of the painful, uncontrollable bleeding that would certainly result in her eventual death, or a new life that would free her of human pain and enslavement.  Several centuries later, Mary owned a high-end bar that offered Bottle Service to VIPs, a complicated but extremely profitable service, given the special appetites of her VIP clientele.

Few of the ordinary patrons who sailed through the bar could afford Bottle Service–contrary to the myths, most supernatural beings these days struggled to make ends meet by working like the humans–but there were a few who had not been around long enough to know of Mary’s wrath who deemed themselves cocky enough to attempt to run a scam, i.e., get Bottle Service and skip out on the bill.  Such was the entourage of new vamps in the corner, loud enough to partially drown out the techno music pumping through the bar.  Some of them were too young to even have the knowledge of comparing vampire powers.  Had even one of them known the full extent of Mary’s power none of them would be destined to be tied to each other with heavy silver chain links, prone, and in a pile like logs to be set afire in the venue’s basement.

Mary would soon have a nice talk with the Nephilim brothers, because they were either clearly off their game tonight, or she had two very strong creatures who were in on the scam.  Either possibility brought dread and not a little bit of irritation to Mary, as she stared at the quivering set of baby vampires in the corner.

This was not going to be a good night.

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IAW&A Salon in DC, “Cultural Bridges”: An Evening of Artistic, Cultural, & Personal Connections, 4/4/14 | Irish American Writers & Artists

” Friday, April 4, 2014, Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) held its  first “road Salon” in  Washington, DC at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the evening turned out to be one of true artistic, cultural, and personal connection.   Because UDC is considered a “historically black college,” the event was billed, “Cultural Bridges: DC Salon.”  The Salon was organized by Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin of the English department at UDC and myself, the Salon Producer for the IAW&A.  Travel and hotel expenses for the New York artists were generously provided for the New York artists by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Ireland.”

Read more here–> IAW&A Salon in DC, “Cultural Bridges”: An Evening of Artistic, Cultural, & Personal Connections, 4/4/14 | Irish American Writers & Artists.

Afternoon Tea: Story #11 (30 Stories in 30 Days)

 

Afternoon Tea:  Story #11 (30 Stories in 30 Days)

 

By Cherie Ann Turpin

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“Would you like lemon and honey with your tea?” asked the waiter, a waif-like lad with long, blond hair pulled back in a bun. Dressed in a standard waiter’s uniform, he looked far younger than his deep, baritone voice. I nodded quickly, and watched at he disappeared behind the double doors.

 

Lunch rush ended two hours ago, leaving the main dining room and bar empty, save for an elderly couple in a booth near the back. The restaurant was housed in a narrow, white brick building near the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Nebraska.  Named after an obscure Civil War general, John Buford Tavern, the dark wood and red brick interior was dimly lit with dark orange lighting, casting odd shadows throughout the dining space and bar. 

 

This was a spot that happened to be located on an unusually active Ley line in the middle of a city full of spirits, entities, ghosts, and other creatures of the mist.  We were close enough to the edge of Chevy Chase Circle, another energy point, to draw even more energy; being near a crossroad, this restaurant tended to draw an unusual set of customers.  I usually came here to gather intelligence from passing spirits who passed through and wished to talk, and on occasion, to throw a few tarot cards to the few clients who dared to sit at my table.  Save for the occasional hipster or yuppie couple looking for something less expensive than the overpriced steakhouse across the street, most customers were regulars like me, and most of them were magical people–like me. 

 

Those few who were not magical were in search of answers to questions most wise folk would say were best not answered, but nonetheless end up cast into the air in search of an answer that under most circumstances would most likely lead the person who brought up the issue in even more confusion and in need of clarification.  In other words, the questioner would find himself or herself in a perpetually fixed state of confusion, and more or less unable to make manifest his or her desires because of a fear of consequences.  Inaction is also a decision, one that also leads to consequences, my mentor used to say to me many moons ago.  The trick is to act and not look back.

 

The man who walked into Buford Tavern was not a spirit.  He was not a local, however, and from the determined expression on his lined face, he seemed to have a purpose in coming into this small spot in the city.  Rush hour had already begun, and as he opened the door I could hear the cars rushing past towards the Beltway.  I kept my eyes on the card layout on the table while taking note of the stranger’s physical specs. He wore a dark blue suit and black tie, and his gray hair was cut closely to his scalp, revealing the receding hairline and bald spot at the crown.  His shoes were black with a spit shine glow. He wore sunglasses, ostensibly to shield his eyes from the sun, but something about his gait as he walked in made me suspect another possibility, one more sinister.  My spine began to tingle and it shot out into my hands like invisible threads. He was magical, all right, and not of the friendly sort.  I felt my spirit protectors gather around me like shields as he glided towards my table with his odd gait.  Not here, I whispered to myself.  This was neutral territory.  Even soldiers like him knew the rules.

 

“The Mistress requires your presence, immediately,” spoke the soldier in a raspy, hiss-like voice.  I could see the red eyes behind the shades, and wondered how long he could stay manifest in his current form.  I didn’t want to find out what it would take for him to shift.

 

“What for, servant? I don’t like impromptu invitations without a good reason to disturb my days of rest,” I responded casually, without looking up from my cards.  I felt the heat gather in the palms of my hands as the magic began to build momentum.  This would not be pleasant.

 

“She wishes to commission use of your services on a matter of some urgency.  I have been sent to escort you to her estate as your driver and bodyguard,” the soldier hissed, and with that emphasized his intent with a low bow and outspread hands.  His fingers were webbed and I could see a small sigil on his left wrist.  Narmonyamon House. She sent her First Soldier to fetch me in broad daylight.  This was no ordinary errand. 

 

I looked around to see who was watching us, and I noticed the elderly couple staring at us with eyes that were no longer human.  They began to shimmer as both of them stood from the booth, and seemed to grow taller and grayer.  Their bodies grew into twisted bodies with leather-like wings, gray fur, and black talons.  I looked back at the Soldier who smiled at me, revealing two rows of razor-sharp teeth and a red, forked tongue.

 

“Get behind me!” hissed the Soldier, who pulled a Taurus G2 from a holster beneath his crisp suit and aimed at the head of one of the Scavenger rapidly closing in on my table. I heard a series of crackling pops as he rapidly fired two rounds, watching the Scavenger’s head disappear into a cloud of molten grey matter.  The remaining Scavenger sniffed and snarled, “Gold ammo!  The Council will hear of this, Soldier!”  It shimmered and disappeared before the Soldier could respond with gunfire.”

 

The bartender and waiter had disappeared from the scene, no doubt cloaked to avoid crossfire of bullets or magic fireballs.  It was just as well.  I would not be welcome here for a few months.  I swept my cards into a blue felt bag and pulled my wrap around my shoulders.  Standing up at last, I faced the Soldier, who stood at least eight inches taller than me at nearly 6 feet tall.  He seemed slightly surprised at my height, clearly not used to tall women.  I smiled, and focused on the red eyes behind the tinted glasses.

 

“If your Mistress sent you to protect me, then this matter must bear enough weight for her opponents to send assassins before I’ve had a chance to consider her offer.  That, all by itself, is enough to whet my appetite for trouble.  Lead the way, Soldier.”

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My radio show At the Edge interviews Kathryn Buford @liveunchained about their Indiegogo campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/liveunchained Tues Feb 26 8pm EST

warsan-1My radio show At the Edge: An Afrofuturist Salon is back with an episode featuring Kathryn Buford, Chief Visionary Officer/Lead Editress of Live Unchained, an organization that “represents black women’s collective and individual creativity.” “Live Unchained was born out of the desire to preserve, share and honor the diverse voices and experiences of black women across continents.” (www.liveunchained.com & 16396_10102254273779090_867894660_nhttps://www.facebook.com/iliveunchained)

Kathryn will discuss Live Unchained’s crowdfunding campaign to bring London-based Somali poet,Warsan Shire and “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” to Washington, DC, as well as the February 2013 launching of an Indigogo campaign to raise funds for the event set to take place in Fall 2014. Live Unchained’s 1st annual awards ceremony is named “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” after a line from one of Shire’s popular poems, “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love.” Shire’s captivating poetry on womanhood, love and social justice have garnered international acclaim as she has performed in many countries and been featured in prestigious media outlets like Vogue Italia. Live Unchained will host a workshop with Shire on healing through narrative, panel discussion on cultural activism and an experiential awards ceremony with a special performance by Shire to honor Live Unchained artists.

Live Unchained crowdfunding campaign: www.indiegogo.com/liveunchained
Live Unchained artists promo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OJjzWQC6Bw
Live Unchained postcard campaign press release:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/Live-Unchained/University-Illinois/prweb10407655.htm & http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/terrifying-strange-and-beautiful?website_name=liveunchained

Kathryn is a writer, digital media consultant and sociology PhD student at University of Maryland. Her current research explores social entrepreneurship and women’s art and emancipatory knowledge across the African diaspora. In addition to Live Unchained, her writings have appeared in various online media outlets including Everything PR, Argophilia and SiliconANGLE, where she curated the technology and social change series.

The radio episode is HERE: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/at-the-edge-an-afrofuturist-salon/2013/02/27/live-unchained-terrifying-strange-and-beautiful-campaign

Tonight’s show with Kenji Jasper was fabulous!!!!

549630_10151183038847781_1008852425_nListen to my new episode Artists and Writers at Work: Interview with Kenji Jasper  at http://tobtr.com/s/4256597. #BlogTalkRadio

Artists and Writers at Work: Interview with Kenji Jasper TONIGHT @ 8PM EST

549630_10151183038847781_1008852425_nArtists and Writers at Work: Interview with Kenji Jasper 01/11 by At the Edge An Afrofuturist Salon | Blog Talk Radio.

This episode features an interview with my long-time friend and colleague Kenji Jasper, a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter.  Jasper began his writing career with an article as an intern for The Washington Informer at 13. At 14, he became a contributor to Black Entertainment Television‘s YSB Magazine, and later worked as a writer and instructor at The Institute for the Preservation and Study of African American Writing. He also served as an on-air personality for WTTG Fox 5’s Newsbag (1986–1987), and later as one of the founding cast members of Black Entertainment Television’s Teen Summit (1989–1993). By the time he graduated from Morehouse College in 1997, his journalism had appeared in VIBE, Essence, The Village Voice, Upscale, The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union Tribune, and The Atlanta Tribune.
He wrote his first novel, Dark, at the age of 21, which was released in the UK, translated into French, and optioned for film by State Street Pictures (Soul Food, Barbershop, Roll Bounce) and Fox Searchlight Pictures.  His second novel, Dakota Grand, was published in 2002 and was praised by Publishers Weekly, VIBE, Essence, The Chicago Sun-Times and Africana.com. His third novel, Seeking Salamanca Mitchell, was published in 2004.  His memoir The House on Childress Street was published in 2006, followed by his fourth novel, Snow.  Jasper has contributed articles and essays to National Public Radio, The Village Voice, VIBE, The Charlotte Observer, The Chicago Sun-Times and Essence among many other publications. In 2007 he co-edited and published Beats, Rhymes and Life, a collection of critical writings on hip hop culture with writer and director Ytasha Womack. He was also the CEO and Editor of The Armory, a publishing partnership with Akashic Books. Its first release, Got by first-time author D, was published in 2007, followed by Cake in 2008.