What inspired me to write this piece was the way my mom doesn't has much money but still...
Show full author's note »
The Big Idea
That got me thinking. ‘If…’ My thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Sara Lee Thomas. “Come in here, girl,” I said, ferociously ‘cause I had a big idea. I shut the door and locked it. “Child what’s wrong with you. You didn’t let that ole boy yours come over here last night because this plays looks like it is crawling with rats.” I looked around and pushed the drink can to the corner. The rat squealed. “No…I have a great idea. I am going to throw a Harlem Rent Party.” Sara Lee looked me up and down. “A Harlem what-tee?” she said sitting down at the foot of my bed. She threw her scarf on the back of my chair. “A Harlem Rent Party. I supply food, drinks, music, dancing, and gambling and they give me some money for rent. I was thinkin’ ‘bout maybe $5.50.” Sara Lee looked at me in amazement. “Child, that is a wondrous idea but ya ain’t got enough money to buy yourself a soda pop so how you gone buy a 100 people, each, a soda pop.” I looked at her mean. She was right, though. Ding. The light bulb in my head came on. That’s the only light that came on, though. “You can loan me about a $100 and I’ll give you your cut later and….” I said, cut off my Sara Lee’s ignorance. “Who gone give you some money? Child, you betta ask Lee Simpson for some ‘cause ya must’ve lost your mind.” I sat down next to her. “I pay ya back after the party.” Sara Lee said, “What party, Jessica? Ya broke. I broke. Ya boy broke. Who got money?” Sara Lee got up and looked out the window. “The party can be here and you and Lee can loan me some money. You makes flyers tellin’ the peoples bout Room #257 gone set this place out and go buy some groceries while I go find Duke Ellington and his band, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and some mo’ folks to perform.” Sara Lee looked at me crazy and shook her head. I knew she thought I was playing but I was tempted to knock that smirk right off her face. “Ya still ain’t got no gambling, Jessica. And this ain’t never gone work ‘cause…” she said, discouragingly. I handed her $5 in her hand. “Go buy some cards,” I said, while walking into the bathroom to take a shower. “Lord, have mercy! When that child gets an idea, she ain’t playin’,” Sara Lee said, walking out the door to do her job.