April 3, 2017, 6:15 A.M.
Ratchet City Jail
The walls were bare save for the dingy white paint flaking away from what appeared to be cinderblocks. In a corner of the small entry separating the booking area from the receiving room were a painters wares: a drop cloth to spread across the floor, a paint pan, a roller, a scraper, and a bucket of white paint. More dingy white paint, I supposed.
My mind wandered as I removed my belongings from my person: earrings, necklace, bracelets, and a toe ring. The officer who “received” me said that I would need to take off my lipstick if I didn’t make bail. Apparently Urban Decay and orange jumpsuits didn’t mix.
I hadn’t spoken to my beloved in three days. He would be furious with me after he heard about this.
Fine by me.
Presently, I had been spending a great deal of time with my beloved, Martineau. Martineau King. Martineau along with his brothers owned a marketing company. They did everything to make a business or brand successful including, but not limited to: coupon mailers, business cards, signage, posters and billboards.
That’s where I come in.
Bayou Kings Marketing, Inc. (Martineau’s company) installed a dozen bulletin boards on the campus for the school where I worked. Bulletin boards were new for Hedon Elementary. The principal didn’t particularly want them on our campus at first (being a neat freak and all). But, a ladder-climbing, overzealous colleague convinced her of the benefits of them.
Most school campuses are littered with bulletin boards boasting everything from announcements to mood lifters. Done right, bulletin boards can be very beneficial to the educational experience. In many cases, however, they become the former…litter.
With teachers being overloaded and aides being stretched too thin, many principals have to assign bulletin boards to teachers based on the number of boards on campus and often, the teacher’s or aide’s workload.
This could leave the bulletin board situation in peril, particularly if the teacher or aide was on, say, a leave of absence or just plain shirked that responsibility. Ms. Michaels avoided that rot by not having bulletin boards outside the classroom at all.
In any case, after agreeing to the bulletin boards the principal wanted every teacher on campus to partner with another teacher and choose one social cause to champion for the entire school year. Each nine weeks, we were to design and build a different bulletin board with the same theme and the same message, but with a different design and tag lines.
It was perfect.
Martineau was the art director at Bayou Kings. He designed all four boards for the entire school year. For me and my partner teacher for free. I gave him a theme, information on a perspective of the theme and Voila! a new bulletin board appeared. I supplied the materials and a timeline. He did the rest. This went on for two years before we got into the thick of things.
We began networking and building other businesses together. When we met, I was selling home-style sausages to specialty markets throughout the city in addition to teaching. His business, of course, was communication. He had grandiose dreams of branching into new ventures. His idea was to take a premier role in building and developing his own entities apart from his brothers.
Together, we built four entities: a production company, a television show, a preschool and a nonprofit.
We’d attend events, dinner parties and host soirees for persons vital in helping us build our brand.
We complimented each other’s strengths and encouraged each other where we felt weak. After a while, our good chemistry began to feel like magic, like the kind you see on television. That good chemistry led us into a lot of good situations.
Things became, well, serious.
There was only one problem. He couldn’t drive. He didn’t even have a driver’s license. He said that splitting his time upstate where he honed his graphic design skills took away from his resources. There, he didn’t need a car. At home, he could get anywhere on the kindness of the people around him.
“No problem,” I thought. He makes decent money. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s smart and creative. He mostly lives alone. His kids are grown. Him not having a car wasn’t big deal. Until it was.
Her name was Renee’.
I loved to hate that bitch.
I turned my head away from the stain underneath the mattress of the top bunk toward the direction of the click. An officer opened the door slowly and informed that it was time for me to be fingerprinted. At the fingerprinting station, she told me my charges: attempted murder, attempted vehicular homicide, and battery. The officer who fingerprinted me and swabbed my mouth told me that she was in critical condition. In my mind, I shrugged a shoulder. In front of the officer, I took a deep breath.
Fine by me.