Cover image for Atlanta live
Title:
Atlanta live
Author:
Green, Carmen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington D.C. : BET ; London : Turnaround, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
245 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781583142936
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Status
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Riverside Branch Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Best friends since college, Jasmine, Evelyn and Malone are the popular hosts of a cutting-edge talk radio show. Their hard work and clear vision have brought them fame beyond their wildest dreams, but now they face obstacles that could sever their strong bond. Sweeping changes at the radio station and in their own lives will force them to question their ambitions, their friendship and their faith. Searching for the strength and courage to overcome their problems, they must realise that the future is up to them, if they are willing to trust themselves...and each other.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Jasmine Winbury maneuvered her silver Mercedes Benz through Blacktown: the armpit of Atlanta, Georgia, where the poor lived to die. She hadn't lived there for nearly ten years, but that didn't stop bitter childhood memories from reaching back and slapping her like the stench that permeated from the streets. Jasmine blamed a lot of people, but mostly Adelia. Mothers were supposed to protect their daughters. The five hundred dollars Jasmine had tucked in her mother's panty drawer was an intentional bribe to keep the woman, and the rest of their beggin' relatives, out of Jasmine's life. As she sped away from the black hell, her anxiety lessened. Jasmine didn't stop taking sharp breaths until she hit the radio station parking lot and pulled into the space that everyone knew was hers. One hour later, Jasmine had settled comfortably into her role as radio personality Dr. Jasmine. But the caller, Nancy, was causing her to lose patience and she had to restrain herself from disconnecting the call. "I want a committed relationship," Nancy said. "But I'm always attracted to married men. I just can't seem to get excited about the single men I meet." "Know why?" Jasmine offered. "Why?" "Because you're a ho." Malone laughed and Evelyn gave Jasmine a disgusted stare. Evelyn's hair spilled over her shoulder in a wavy black curtain as she leaned into her microphone. "No, she's not. Nancy's seeking forgiveness, Jasmine. She doesn't want to want another woman's man. She wants to know how to get single men interested in her." "I'm so glad you understand me, Evelyn," Nancy added. "You're such a Dorothy." Jasmine eyed her best friend, a real bleeding heart. "Sometimes I wonder how you made it out of Oz." "Ha!" Malone laughed again. "That's for damn sure. How did you get all that out of her admitting she likes sleeping with married men?" "I, unlike you two, see that Nancy is searching for alternatives." "How about a man that's not married! Since love ain't got nothin' to do with it," Jasmine challenged, "why not give that a try?" Evelyn's twenty-nine platinum charms, one for every birthday, tinkled on her wrist when she pointed at Jasmine. "You don't believe in love, so I don't expect you to agree." "I do believe in love," Jasmine refuted. "But not in this case. Back me up, Malone." "Evelyn?" he said. "Yes, dear?" she answered just as sweetly. "She's a ho." "And a bad one at that," Jasmine added. "How can you say that?" Despite herself, Evelyn laughed. "Wake up, Atlanta," Jasmine yelled. "Nancy doesn't want the drama of marriage, kids, bills, and trying to figure out whose turn it is to change the kitty litter. She wants to do what she wants to do when she wants to do it. When her lover gets flaky, she cuts him loose and finds a quick replacement. All I'm saying is if she's gettin' it like that, be happy and get more." "I'm not going there." Malone dismissed Jasmine and folded his arms on the console. "You've been married and divorced, so I don't blame you." "How the hell did this turn into something about me?" "It didn't, Malone." Evelyn bared her teeth at Jasmine and received a wink for her effort. "Sweetie, I'm sorry I mentioned your divorce." "Yeah, I can see how sorry you are." He addressed the listeners. "Y'all, she's got this slick grin on her face, and all these braids hanging down, looking like a flea market rattlesnake." The trio burst out laughing. "You're always preaching about women gettin' theirs. Women are queens of the universe. Get your orgasm, sista, and all that crap. How is she a ho if she's doing what you preach every day of the week?" "Nancy isn't sorry. My motto is `If you want to play the game, don't cry about the rules.' If she can't handle sleeping with a man that wasn't hers from the beginning, get him the hell out of her bed. But don't call here looking for sympathy. "This is Dr. Jasmine, Evelyn, and Malone, hosts of Atlanta Live , baby, and we tell it like it is! We're sitting in for J.P. on this early Friday morning. He's got a cold so we offer him our get-well wishes. This is WKKY 104.9." The commercial cued into the silence and Jasmine stretched. "I like this audience much better than the afternoon crowd." Evelyn sipped her coffee, not yet awake. "These early hours would kill me. How are we doing, Lee?" The producer of the show, Lee Fitzgerald, stood on the other side of the soundproof glass, controlling calls and handling fifteen other things at once. His bald head shined, his glasses on the end of his nose. He gave them a thumbs-up. "Good. Quit preaching so much and give some advice, Jasmine." "Screw you, Lee." "Promise?" he said, bored. "What the hell is wrong with you two?" The red in Malone's Atlanta Falcon tattoo matched the tint in his eyes. "Nothing." Jasmine turned away from the booth and situated her headphones over her microbraids. "Good radio isn't always about spouting advice, and good producers don't get in the way of real talent." Lee pressed his third finger to the glass, leaving a lasting imprint. Otherwise, he ignored her. "Lindsey on two wants to talk about a mistake. Control from inside the booth, the system is heating up in here. This thing is as old as me. Damn. You're back on, three, two-" He pointed. "Welcome back to Atlanta Live . It's seven forty-five and I'm Dr. Jasmine along with Evelyn and Malone, and we're here to set you straight! We have Lindsey on the phone, and she wants to talk about a mistake. Go ahead, Lindsey. What did you do?" Jasmine fired at her. "Thank you for taking my call." The young woman sucked in an emotional breath. "You're welcome. What's the mistake you called about?" "Dr. Jasmine, it's hard to say aloud." Jasmine waited. "I'm pregnant." "Now we're getting somewhere. So, is the problem with you having the baby, keeping the baby, or what?" Lindsey sighed. "I can't do this. Maybe it'd be better if I wasn't here." The room grew hot as if the thermostat had just been turned to one hundred. Malone swore softly. Jasmine mouthed "Did you get that?" and Lee nodded, waving his hand for her to continue. "Clarify what you mean, Lindsey." "You know what I mean," came back the watery reply. "I'm not putting words in your mouth. How old are you?" "Seventeen." "Certainly old enough to tell me what you're talking about." "She didn't mean anything. She's looking for help." Evelyn's usually soft voice resonated with firmness. "Don't," Jasmine barked at her sharply. "Let her tell us. What did you mean, Lindsey?" "I want to kill myself." Evelyn rushed to her feet and moved as far from the console as she could as Lindsey began to sob. "No, you don't." "Evelyn, you don't know my life. I can't do this to my family." "You can't do this to you ," Malone said finally, his gruff voice hoarse. "This situation can be dealt with. You know what I'm saying?" "I can't have a baby. If I'm not here, they'll at least forgive me, one day." "Is that what this is all about?" Jasmine pushed. "Is this just a cry for everyone to feel sorry for you?" "No, Dr. Jasmine. My boyfriend and I were just experimenting. We didn't mean for it to happen." "But you knew it was a possibility." "It was one time! I swear," she cried in broken sobs. "I'll be labeled a slut. My parents will hate me." Persistent rapping shook the glass between their booth and Lee. "Shut your mouth!" he told Jasmine. She sat back, pissed. Who did he think he was talking to? She was doing her job. Lee gave the lead to Malone and Jasmine's blood began to boil. "I have a son," Malone said. "I was just a few years older than you when he was born. He's everything to me." "He is?" Lindsey sounded hopeful. "Yes. Even if you can't think about keeping the baby, why not adoption?" "My life," she whispered, "isn't conducive to having a child out of wedlock." She's rich , Jasmine thought. "Why did you call, Lindsey?" Jasmine asked. "What do you want from us?" "Absolution," the girl said, hope winging on the end of the whispered word. "I'm not the most religious person, but I know you'll have to live with the consequences of your actions. Are you prepared for that?" "Jasmine, you're pushing her too hard," Malone snapped. "She wants to finally hear the truth, right, Lindsey?" "Just because I need to hear what you're saying," she admitted, "doesn't make it easier." Jasmine lifted her head, victorious. "That's one of the roads you learn to navigate as you grow up. You're rich, aren't you?" "My parents are." "Do you have brothers, sisters?" Jasmine said. "Two brothers, one sister. All older than me." "You didn't go to any of them, did you?" "I can't." Lindsey broke down again. "Why? They'd beat you?" "No." "Turn you in?" "No." "Then why not turn to a family member instead of calling a live-broadcast radio show?" Jasmine demanded. "What did you hope to accomplish?" "I don't want them to know what kind of person I am." An animalistic tug of war took place in Jasmine's chest. "What kind of person are you?" she demanded softly. "Are you good? Or are you bad?" "Jasmine, stop it right now." Evelyn yanked on the cord of Jasmine's headset. "Help is on the way, Lindsey." Jasmine held on to her microphone for dear life. "I think I know, Lindsey." "I don't like you, Dr. Jasmine." The young woman sounded so immature and young, Jasmine smiled. "Linds, let us help you," Evelyn coaxed gently. "I'll help you. Please, can I?" "Thank you, Evelyn, but I know what kind of person I am." There was a moment of silence, then a gunshot. Chapter Two Evelyn heard herself screaming. Her mouth went dry as her throat was stripped of its humble southern charm. She took the Lord's name in vain in rapid succession, until her brain directed her to calm down. Even then, Evelyn felt herself winding up again. Lindsey had shot herself. We're in trouble, we're in trouble rattled around in Evelyn's head until she could do no more than mumble the young girl's name. "Lindsey? Please, God. Lindsey." No response. "Lee, somebody, help her." Inside the booth, the control panel smoked. Lee was gone. They were all alone with an injured girl on the other end of the phone. Evelyn didn't even know if they were still on the air. Rigid, Jasmine stumbled out the studio door, her face a mask. Evelyn prayed for her sake she didn't come back. Malone had taken over the telephone lines and stabbed the flashing buttons repeatedly. "Listen up," he told the callers. "Clear the lines. We have an emergency, and we need to keep these lines clear." Malone prompted Evelyn with a wild gesture, then covered his microphone with his hand. "Say something. You've got to keep talking." Evelyn swallowed convulsively and coughed. She wanted to cry as she had so many times in her life, but she couldn't, wouldn't. She grasped at the only will her body understood. "This is Evelyn Smith Howard of the Atlanta Live talk show, and we had Lindsey on the phone. There's a possibility that there's been an accident." To her own ears she sounded calm and reassuring. "We're trying desperately to get help to Lindsey and I'm confident we can, but we need your help. We're experiencing much technical difficulty, so we need you to hold your calls." Malone nodded and encouraged her on. "Lindsey? Lindsey?" Evelyn repeated. "Can you hear me? Malone, are we still connected to her?" "I don't know. The whole system could go down at any moment. Hold your calls," he barked, but with each call he disconnected, the buttons flashed again. Except for line one. It stayed brightly lit. Malone protected it like a mother bear. "I'm Evelyn Smith Howard," she repeated, "and this is WKKY. We're in a state of emergency, because we believe one of our callers has injured herself. Lindsey, if you can hear me, say something." Two seconds of unbearable silence passed. Suddenly Lee's bald head appeared in the booth, a dark angel emerging through the fog, the chief engineer at his side. Evelyn could hear snatches of their conversation, but wasn't picking up everything through her headset. Obviously her line to Lee was affected by whatever was overheating. Malone continued to reassure listeners as Lee scrawled on a piece of paper and slapped it on the window. "We have an update," Evelyn told everyone. "They've traced the call, and police and EMTs are due to arrive within five minutes." Time seemed more precious than gold. Even as relief flooded Evelyn's body, her heart raced anew. What if they were too late? What if Lindsey was already dead? And what about her unborn baby? Malone tilted his head in a way that told Evelyn he could hear Lee. "We have confirmation that we're still live with Lindsey's number." Evelyn reached for that one grain of hope. "The EMTs are minutes away from a caller who felt there was no way out of her situation besides taking her own life. Let me tell you something. There's always another way. If we have the chance, we want to prove to Lindsey, and anyone that may be struggling with consequences that seem overwhelming, that there is a way out of no way. "Lindsey? Can you hear me? Help is on the way. You're important to us. We've all made mistakes." Evelyn conversed as if they were sitting beside each other. "There are decisions we all wish we could take back, but nothing is worth taking your life over. I like to think that although tomorrow seems like forever, the next minute is a chance to start new." "She'll come through this, Evelyn." Malone's eyes were as serious as she'd ever seen them. No cocky grin covered his face and no flippant words raced out of his mouth. "I'm praying." Evelyn shook her head. "We won't give up, will we?" "Never." "Good, because we're not mad at her and we're not going to judge her. The professionals are almost there. Lindsey, just hang on, honey." Evelyn kept looking from Lee to Malone, waiting for word that help had arrived. She denied fear access to her mind because she knew if she didn't have hope, she'd break down completely. "Please, honey, talk to me." Seconds of silence passed, and nothing. Evelyn pushed on. "I have the power to help people and so does this precious child on the phone. Your life is so much more valuable than the one mistake you made." "ETA, one minute," Malone said. "Thank you, Lord," Evelyn said into her microphone. "Almost there," she told everyone. "The community has people that are skilled to deal with crises. Reach out. Continues... Excerpted from ATLANTA LIVE by Carmen Green Copyright © 2003 by Carmen Green Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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