As long as I can remember, I've been able to read the minds of men. Mostly men, although some women also yield themselves to me just as readily as they do. When I was in my mother's womb, I could sometimes hear her singing to me. She'd rhyme my name with big words like soliloquy and annuity and anonymity. But my name was no accident. My mama knew I could hear her, which is why she used to tell me how strong and beautiful I was. I was her Ubiquity. My daddy was one of the only men whose mind seemed hazy, or perhaps even too complex, for me to read clearly. The only other man to stump me is that wicked good-for-nothing shyster the Reparations Man. But that's a story for another time. This now, this here, this is my time.
My mama knew I had a destiny, and I knew it too as soon as I popped out. I think she might have been the only person in the entire world -- at least the world of Soul City -- who wasn't afraid of me. My daddy, on the other hand, now he was petrified. He walked out of the room when the midwife helped me out. I locked eyes with him and he knew this was not going to be an easy ride. Daddy had girls on the side; I knew that and I knew that fearful look in his eyes. He knew that I knew. And he also knew that I had that power over him, to use and wield as I please. Information is more powerful than any weapon a man can yield. I am the Queen of Information, a title that no one in Soul City knows about but me.
I have no friends. But I'm never lonely. Does that make me insane? God did gift me with the crazy power of being able to be everywhere at the same time. I just close my eyes and will myself to be somewhere, anywhere that I want. I am, after all, Ubiquity. Ubiquitous, mental Succubus. Know that. I know a lot about you already even though you haven't met me yet.
Most people in Soul City don't get me. That's why I have no friends. They're afraid of me. It's like they think I can steal their soul. Ain't no way I can do that. As far as I know, only the Devil can steal souls. And I was thankfully born not to care what people think. Do I look like I care? I'm about twice the size and half as pretty as most of the women in Soul City, but you don't see me moping around the house. I carry myself like I was my very own Louis Vitton. When I see ladies crying their eyes out at whatever is the latest emotional crisis, I thank my lucky star that I wasn't born that way. Ubiquity has equanimity, baby.
What do I need friends for anyway? They'd just worry that one day I'd stab 'em in the back. Well, no siree, not me. In possession of their finest secrets (none of them are that fine, mind you), I might come to blackmail them one day. That's true. Use my power for personal gain? Well, what else can I use this for anyway? I certainly was not blessed with the bombshell good looks some Soulfuls have. Dream Negro, hah! Yeah I think she's a sexy one alright, but she looks even prettier when I drop my gossip bomb all over her bright beautiful braids and her shining eyes and her Plumtastic lipstick smiling as her plump lips like to do. With tears rolling down her cheeks, though, that's when Dream looks real kissable. So the way I see it, she should thank me for keeping it real, for keeping her real.
My Ninasimonemobile is my sanctuary, much more than the church! What use is the Good News when I've got all the news and not just what's fit to print. Who cares about the Soul City Defender when I can single-handedly uncover the truth just by sashaying my ass into a room. It ain't my fault I was born this way, so why does everyone hate me so much? Especially that monster who stole my money. But I don't wanna talk about it.
Let's talk about biscuits instead. How good are those biscuits at the biscuit shop anyway? I just have to keep going back to find out. One day I was sitting there eating a box full of 'em with the Mama brigade, and I could read the minds of every single one of those overaged biddies. One of 'em had the nerve to say that she could make biscuits every bit as good as these, if only she weren't so lazy. Another one said pretty much the same thing, that if only she could get her hands on the same type of butter they used at the biscuit shop that hers would be better, and that she'd be a successful businesswoman in Soul City. About to cry foul and remind the forgetful old mama that her first husband left her because her cooking was so bad, she looked right over at me. I could swear, she was trying to stare right through me, but I just wouldn't let her. I stood my ground, as I can do like no one else in this town. I tucked in my chins and held tight, continuing to chew on my sumptuously savory, slightly salty buttermilk biscuit. I could hear then, loud and clear, her saying Well no wonder you're so fat, Miss precious Ubiquity Jones. You just keep eating and you make up for your being so fat by being so mean so that no one else can get close to you.
Well, that did sting, just a little. I kept on chewing my cud, listening to her inner monologue for juicier tidbits of information. Out loud, I said "Tell me something I don't know, Mama Sunflower!" She just cowered when I said that, so I tipped my hat to the group and said my goodbyes. But not before I overheard one of them saying that Vinylman got in a new shipment that included, among other things, Lionel Richie, Miles Davis, and Bette Davis.
Walking home from the biscuit shop, I passed Chickadee and overheard her thinking about her poor brother and sister in law who had to stay at the Copasetic Hotel over on Cool Street. Is there any more of a misnomer in Soul City than the Copasetic Hotel? Everything is not Copasetic at the Copasetic, unless you like renting rooms by the hour. It turned out that Chickadee talked to her brother, who was recognized by one of the women at the hotel from an encounter they had several years before. Of course, his new wife was not pleased to see the curvaceous young woman wink and grin at her man. Their stay was less than copasetic. Did it give me any new gossip? Unfortunately not. I had not a drop to digest. Today I was coming up rather dry in terms of the dirt I relish digging. Down Irie Way, I inhaled deeply the tea a-brewing, that tea that always somehow subdues my senses and prevents me from being as ubiquitous as I'd like. But, like Bliss, the peppery leaf did make music come alive. Reggae beats oozed out of the walls on Irie Way, where I temporarily lost my way. A man about 6'5" with dreadlocks down nearly to his taught round rear end gazed at me as I walked by, and it took me a moment to realize what just happened. I couldn't read a thing. He was a blank, blanker even than that shyster from the Reparations department. This riddim-givin, irie-feelin, Babylon-blastin big man had stolen my power? I stared at him, and he stared right back at me, a smile forming at the corners of his mouth and in his eyes.
"I like your hat," he said. "Tis yellow the color of the sunshine." Listening to him was better than listening to anything the Vinylman had in his collection. I felt the blood entering my cheeks. He approached me slowly, sauntering down the steps. He stood right in front of me, so that I had to look way up to see his eyes. My neck strained, stretching out my chins. I must look thin like this, I thought. He leaned down, about to kiss me. His scent was unbearable. I closed my eyes ready to pucker up when I heard him whisper, "Wanna buy some Bliss, lady? Only four for sixty."
"Get outa my face!" I yelled. Two other people turned their heads to see who had managed to rile up Miss Ubiquity Jones. I heard them snicker and snarl, and snapped back into my consciousness of being everywhere at once. Digging deep into my arsenal,…