It’s the middle of the week and Blacktress is downtown at The Edison.  Her friend and former roommate Terrence Clarke, is slumped over on the barstool next to her.  It’s happy hour, but Terrence isn’t smiling.  He has become romantically (meaning sexually) entangled with Hollywood heavyweight, Sasha Brown, a successful actress.   Sasha also happens to be, not so successfully married to Keyvon Brown, a Hollywood featherweight.

“It’s a sin,” Terry says earnestly between gulps of his Cabernet.   “It goes against all my beliefs.”

Most of the people Blacktress meets in LA have long abandoned their childhood religious beliefs, in favor of practicing something more exotic, like Buddhism, Spiritualism or Narcissism (that is if they aren’t Scientologists.)  But Terry remains joyfully devoted to his Christian faith; a faith that, up until now, has always guided him down a righteous path…  Even if that path veered around golden career opportunities.

“I won’t trade in my integrity for an IMBD credit,” Terrence once told Bilal Patrick, an independent filmmaker.  A few months back, Bilal was desperate to cast him in the highly offensive role, “Monster Thug” in his movie, Hood Niggaz: Da Untold Story.

“I can’t ask the Lord for Holy favor if I give life to such a wicked character, totally absent of redemption.   Jesus is my homeboy.  I don’t stray from him.” Terry said then totally straight-faced.

Terrence’s face is now crumpled with torment; his moral compass cracked.  Blacktress gently rubs his back.

“If it bothers you that much, just tell Sasha that it’s over,” she instructs.

“I can’t.   She won’t let me,” he manages in a wisp of a voice.

Blacktress understands why Sasha would want to lay claim to Terrence’s body…  It’s heaven sent.  She remembers her own reaction to seeing it, the first time she caught a glimpse of him shirtless.

“Holy, shit!” she said aloud.

The sight of him buffed up and in the buff made her feel closer to God.  His smooth chocolate skin pouring over sculpted hills and valleys.  Blacktress would have tried to lay claim to that body herself if she didn’t have a sneaking suspicion that Terrence actually harbored latent homosexual desires, but that’s a whole other column…

“If you want to get out, you can. Yes. You. Can!” She says; Obama campaign rally style.

And then Terry slowly fixes his mouth to get to the real heart of the matter.

“But…Sasha says she is working on getting me a guest spot on her show.  Something recurring…”

Blacktress immediately warns Terry about a friend Noelle, who dated a showrunner for six months banking on the same promise.

“The only recurring spot she got required a really strong ointment,”  Blacktress reveals.

“Yikes.”  Terry squirms on his barstool. “I’m breaking it off.”  He says half-convincing.

Blacktress pops him across the back of his head.

“I don’t believe you, and I really want to.”

Blacktress begins to get worked up.

“And not because I’m into your whole scary God who keeps track of your sins and whatever.  Or because I think the whole torrid cougar affair is even that big of a deal.  I mean really this is Hollywood, right? Open season for open marriages or whatever.   BUT TERRENCE, I SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT-BECAUSE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MY ONE FRIEND OUT HERE UNTAINTED BY HELL.  A.”

Blacktress’ sermon reaches a crescendo.  She’s waving around a cocktail napkin, in full on Baptist preacher mode.   “You are in church three days a week. Do not let them change you. There’s no point in you making it, if along the way you unmake yourself.”

The last point, Blacktress read on a bathroom wall in Silverlake a few weeks ago and had been dying to use it.  Although not as poetic as scripture, it proved somewhat effective.

“You are absolutely right,” he says 3/4ths convincingly.

“Of course I’m right. Plus you don’t want to be the guy who fucks his way to the top.”

“You can only fuck your way to the middle.  To get to the top…  that takes a miracle.

On that note, Blacktress rolls her eyes, fans herself with her cocktail napkin, and orders another round of “Jesus Juice.”

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