Book V 1998-2000
Eunice had taken the Greyhound bus from Montgomery to Birmingham then up north to Memphis.
She wasn’t disguised like someone on the lam but dressed purposely drab without makeup. She wore beat up sunglasses, a shapeless top and a sloppy ponytail.
Looking out the bus window Eunice felt like she’d been plunked into another world, the last one had been science fiction. A heat wave had finally ended so gardens and lawns were burnt yellow. It still looked like America with franchise chain stores and the same flag but it seemed foreign to her.
She had no idea what the outcome of the shootout was and didn’t dare ask anyone. She would try and catch some news when she got to Memphis. A part of her wanted Memphis to be a fresh start, maybe a reason to never look back. However, the city was most famous for the musician Robert Johnson who made a deal with the Devil in exchange for his success. Was that what Eunice had to do for her freedom?
In the past she’d had the ability to erase bad things like arguments, mistakes or dropped friends. She waited for a sign to rid herself of hopeless thoughts of Montgomery.
The bus crossed into Memphis city limits by mid-morning. Along the highway she read the brightly colored posters and billboards advertising live soul, blues and jazz. How she wished she was arriving fresh out of Musicology Camp so she could erase what happened in-between.
Eunice was capable of doing just that.
She closed her eyes and concentrated so her mind wandered to her childhood dream of being a singer, allowing herself to pack away her current predicament. The bus rhythm helping her focus. The image of her on a dark stage except for a single spotlight and mic stand came to mind. She saw herself as a youthful Edith Piaf in a Paris theater.
A warm comfort came over her. Deep down she was already thinking forward. If she had the gumption to fight for justice and get on with things, certainly she could do it again and again. Justice for the hard done by and for Daddy would have to wait until she got her power back. Her ambition to succeed needed to revolve around herself right now. She had to put her own oxygen mask on before going back to save others.
Eunice stepped off the bus and took in the fresh Memphis air realizing the bus had reeked like an afterhours canteen.
In the town center she found a transit map on a bus shelter wall and used the bus depot as reference.
“Excuse me Miss. Is this where they stone people?” a small bald man in an elegantly tailored tuxedo asked. He grinned warmly and pointed toward Beale street.
Eunice had never been good at impromptu conversations so was tongue tied. Lucky for her he didn’t require a response, “My newspaper man told me the trains were down here. That’s why I’m going bra less today actually,” with his rhetorical statements she got away with a smile.
“I just love this city. There’s a new story around every corner. Of course I’ve never been here before,” he said. His childlike manner defied his senior appearance.
“It looks like it’ll be beautiful today. Perhaps not so hot,” she said.
“My name is Irrelevant, what’s yours?” he extended a manicured hand, “Fear not young lady I’m always like this. It’s something connected with my alien death,” he said, with a pensive look on his face.
She couldn’t help but laugh aloud at that one. She’d never heard such bizarre yet interesting phrases in such a short span of time. He could’ve been a stand-up comic. He was a welcome distraction.
“I certainly hope you find what you’re looking for,” she said.
“Thanks. I hope I figure out what that is,” he said.
If he was an indication of what Memphis folk where like she was in for it.