It had been a sucker move to come to Mama. Fortunately she had moved from over the beauty shop. She now lived in an almost all-white neighborhood. Here I was with four idle whores in a closed town where I had fallen three times. It was the point of origin for the white slave rap that the copper-hearted runt had crossed me with. There were a couple of sneaki ten-dollar houses in town.
I stayed inside the house at Mama's. Every joker in town knew me. They all had diarrhea of the mouth. I couldn't put my action in the street in this hot town. They'd had an easy go in Ohio. They were soft.ii I could put them down only in a town where I had a fix. I knew that none of them, if busted, could stand up under the clever grilling of the F.B.I.
I had a ten G bankroll. I was housing and feeding four whores in an expensive hotel.iii I was a pig for banging speedballs.iv No fresh scratch was coming in.v With only a ten G stick I knew I would soon be in trouble. I had to make a move fast. It was bad for morale of the stable to keep them on their asses.
After a week of confinement at Mama's house, I slipped out of town to cop H and C for myself, and gangster for the girls. While in the city I looked up Sweet. I was careful because all the heat in the neighborhood knew me.
Sweet insisted I give him all the details of my escape. He shook his skull in awe when he heard them. Miss Peaches had died of old age. His eyes were sad when he told me about it. Glass Top was still out West in Seattle. Patch Eye did a little bookie business for him. Sweet had lost his glory. He looked a hundred years old. His backbone was the old white broad who owned the building.vi
Sweet had just beat a murder rap. He had killed some pretty jerk from St. Louis who had insulted him in the Roost. The poor chump had called Sweet an ugly, gray-ass bastard. Sweet had drawn his pistol on him. He prodded him into an alley. He made him kneel and then he pissed on him. This was too much to take, so the kid lost his temper. Sweet shot him through the top of the head.
Sweet was laughing, in a good mood as he told me about it. It had cost him five grand to beat it.vii He told me he got a wire that Red Eye got life for croaking a whore in Pittsburgh.
Sweet had a complete answer to my problem. He said that since Serena hadn't beefed I should go back into Ohio. No state was better at the time for house or street. Before I left I went to his johttp://trilema.com/cutekittens/the-snows-of-ten-years-ago-almost/#selecthn. The door had a padlock on the outside.
He looked at me, grinned, and said, "Pal, my crapper is out of order."viii
I went downstairs to the john in the bookie joint. On the way out I asked Patch Eye why Sweet didn't get his toilet fixed.
The old ex-pimp, without looking up answered, "Shit, ain't nothing wrong with the crapper. That cold bastard has his two whores locked in there for fucking with his scratch. They been in there three days."ix
I walked toward my car. I wondered how long Sweet would keep them there and how long the whores could live with just water.x
I got back from the city. I stopped downtown at Rachel's suite. I stayed for the night. I outlined the move. The next morning I was looking out the window down on the street. There was a stooped white-haired joker dumping barrels of hotel garbage into a huge truck. It was Steve. I'd know him in hell!
A hot-flash shot through me. I don't know what happened after that. Rachel told me I snatched my thirty-two from my coat pocket in the closet. I ran to the service elevator in my pajamas. She followed me all the way to the street. I didn't say a word. The truck had pulled away when we reached the sidewalk.
She got me back upstairs. It had been a sucker play for a fugitive. Lucky for me no rollers showed on the scene. I dressed and told Rachel I'd be back later and I wanted the rest of the stable in her joint.
I stopped at a leather-goods shop and bought a small valise. It was about the size that a doctor carries. I stopped at several banks and cracked some of my big bills into enough singles to fill the bag. I went to Mama's to prepare the flash. I filled it almost to the brim with singles. I put the remaining big bills on top. I was getting ready to ship my stable. With my plan I could ship them without a strong fix. Even new whores think twice before leaving a rich pimp.
That afternoon they were all in Rachel's plush suite. She was the boss bitch. They had twenty-five dollar a day, neat rooms on the same floor.xi I walked in. They were smoking gangster and eager for my speech.
They were anxious to get back on the track. I had loosened the catch on the bag. I casually hurled it onto the table before them. A bale of hundred-dollar bills jumped from the bag. Reefer enhances what you see. I saw on those whores' faces that they were seeing every dollar of the mountain of greenbacks they had given me for the years I had been their man.xii
Confidence flooded their eyes.xiii I finished my briefing and my instructions. I had built my shining castles in the air. Brother, I could have sent those whores to Siberia, in bikinis, in the wintertime.xiv Keeping her wife-in-lawsxv and my scratch straight up there in Toledo was the first acid test for Rachel as a bottom woman.xvi
I stayed around Mama's for a week. She was bugging me to embrace the Holy Ghost and the Fire. She begged me to square up and repent my sins. No, it was a little late for that. I moved onto Ohio again.
Cleveland was only a short hop to Toledo. I set up a mad apartment in the larger city. Cleveland was jumping. I was ready for the best pimping of my career. Kim ran off with a wealthy white trick but I didn't miss her. Both towns were crawling with young fine whores. The name of the game was still "cop and blow."
Within four months I had the three girls in Toledo and five in Cleveland. I was pimping good. I had a connection for stuff. All was perfect except for one thing. Rachel's name was ringing. Every pimp, con man and rich dope-peddler was shooting for her. They offered soft, irresistible propositions.xvii
Her head was getting as big as a pumpkin. I didn't want to lose her.xviii I had another more serious reason for wanting to hold her. If I blew her, she might pull a runt on me and go to the F.B.I.xix I got it through the wire that a slick con-man out of New York was using his beautiful jasper white girl as bait to cop Rachel. The same wire said that Rachel was getting weak for the broad.xx
I went to Toledo one early morning to Rachel's. Sure enough there they were, the three of them in Rachel's bed. Believe me they hadn't gotten in there to recite bedtime stories. I was cool, icy as always. I let her con me that it was a party, all business of course.xxi That wire had described that bastard con player and his freak woman.
I was in trouble. If it had been any other bitch in the stable except Rachel it wouldn't have been worth a fleeting thought. I couldn't lose Rachel, my bottom woman, in this shitty fashion to some ass-hole con player.xxii
It could kill my career as a pimp. The news would flash in a dozen states.xxiii No, I couldn't afford to lose her. I still had that expensive friend riding with me, that monkey on my back. Sweet would have had the solution to this tough problem right off the top of his head. Sweet, the week before, had shot himself in the temple. He left a bitter note, "Good-bye squares! Kiss my pimping ass!"xxiv
I felt nothing when I got the wire. I left her apartment and drove out into the country. I spun the wheels in my skull. I got the key to the riddle. It was cruel but perfect. If it worked I'd never have to worry that she'd blow or cross me with the F.B.I.
Rachel called me the next day. She told me she had just sent me three bills. She got them for the party I had crashed. When she cracked I knew I had to go through with the cross. The three bills she was sending had to be scratch she had been holding out. That con bastard was too pretty and slick to spend three fat-ones with a whore. I had to make an honest whore of her from now on.
I faked excitementxxv when I told her about a sucker who was visiting Akron. It's a small town, thirty miles from Cleveland. I told her I got a wire that the sucker had hit the numbers for twenty G's. He had it all with him in his hotel room.
I sold her that she could take it off smooth and easy. She said she would be down the next day to get briefed in detail.
I had already driven to Akron and set the stage for her. I had rented a hotel room in a fair hotel. I contacted a dignified looking old ex-slum hustler down on his luck. He spruced up a wino friend of his for the play.
The whole arrangement: clothes, room, and a bill apiece for the actors, came to a half-grand. The slum hustler was to wait in a pool room nearby for my call.
Rachel got to my apartment at three P.M. We got to Akron around six.xxvi I told her one of the bellhops had told the sucker she would be there before seven. He was waiting for her.
I slipped a small vial of mineral oil into her palm. I told her it was Chloral Hydrate. Only two drops would knock the sucker out. I told her I would be waiting in the hotel bar for her.
She stopped at the desk. Sure enough he was expecting her. She went up. She came down within an hour nervous and jumpy. The sucker was out cold. She had searched the room. She couldn't find the scratch. I went back to the room with her. I went through another search. The wino was lying there motionless. We gave up searching. We moved toward the door. I looked back at the wino.
I said, "Say baby, he looks bad to me."
I knelt beside him blocking her view with my back. I wiped my brow and turned my face toward her. My eyes were wide in alarm.
I said, "Baby, he's dead I think."
Most women, even whores, are terrified of dead bodies.xxvii She stood there paralyzed.
I said, "Don't get panicky. Shut that door. I've got it! I know an underworld croaker here in town. Maybe he can bring him to. I know he will keep his mouth shut for a price, even if..."
She knew we couldn't leave a murdered man here. She had stopped at the desk first before coming up. She was painfully aware of the big gap between theft and murder. I picked up the phone and got the pool room. I gave the fake doctor the hotel and room number. He came within five minutes carrying his empty bag.
She couldn't see into it. I had told her to hide in the closet. Too many people had seen her already. He stooped down beside the wino. He fumbled with his pulse, his eyelids.
Finally he stood up and said, "He's dead. I can't help him. I'll have to call the police."
I could almost hear Rachel's heart booming in the closet. We haggled for her benefit for ten minutes. Finally we had a deal. For five bills, he would keep his mouth shut. He would also contact a hoodlum who would get the body out of there and dispose of it. He left. Rachel and I got out of there fast.
Driving back to Cleveland, Rachel was in a trance. She squeezed tightly against me. I kept telling her she had nothing to worry about. After all we were together for life and her secret would always be safe with me. She found out about the hoax years later.xxviii
Rachel straightened up with that murder pressure on her. Toledo was on fire and in one month my three girls got nine cases between them. I pulled them out into Cleveland. Cleveland was lousy with pimps and whores and boosters from all over the country.
The mob of hustlers set the torch to Cleveland. By nineteen-fifty-three the streets were so hot a whore was lucky to stand up a week between falls. I was a fugitive. For almost a year I never left my apartment.xxix I couldn't risk arrest and a fingerprint check. I was down to four girls. That year in the apartment was cramping my style.
Mama had hit a romantic and financial jack-pot. She had moved to Los Angeles. She called me every week pleading with me to visit her. She wanted me to meet my new stepfather and stay for a while. I kept stalling her. I had heard that the smack in California was only six percent.xxx The pimps out there were only half serious. This makes for bad pimping conditions.
Several Eastern pimps had gone to the coast in good shape. They had returned torn down. They said the Western whores were lazy and were satisfied with making chump change. The Western pimps had spoiled them.xxxi
I gave myself logical arguments against the move to California. Why should I expose my well-trained whores to that dangerous half-ass scene out West?xxxii What if I blew my family out there in the hinterlands?xxxiii
I was thirty-four now. In any square profession I would have been in my prime. As a pimp I was getting elderly. I was stern and strict on my women.
Rachel wired me that a stud with a stable of boosters was in town with a load of wild Lilli Anne suits and Petrocelli vines at twenty percent off retail. She got me his number the next day.xxxiv
I called him and got an appointment to look his stock over. I only left the apartment for important reasons. I decided I would cop a piece of stuff and a fresh outfit before seeing him.
He was staying at a crummy hotel on the East Side. He let me into a cracker-box three-room apartment. He sounded me down to make sure of my pedigree.
"So, you're Iceberg, huh? I was in your town not long ago. Philly sure is hot."
He knew me by reputation and that I was from Chicago.
I said, "Yes, I'm Iceberg from the Windy."
He said, "Say Jim, how 'bout old Red Eye? I saw him in New York last month. He's pimping a zillion. Surely you know him."xxxv
I gave him that look, like I had caught him frenching a sissy.
I said, "Listen carefully, Jack. I don't have time for bull-shit. I knew Red Eye. You saw him last month, Jack? You better see a head-shrinker. You're flipping your top. Red Eye caught the big one in Pittsburgh five years ago. He's doing it all."
He gave me a grin like he had swallowed a bottle of snot. He got the sizes from me. He said to cool it in his pad. He had to go to his stash across the street to get the merchandise.
I glanced into the tiny bedroom. There was a naked broad lying on the bed.
I said to myself, "I wonder what kind of dog that is."
I went to the bed and looked down at her. She was drunk, stoned. It looked like the runt, but this broad was buxom, almost fat. I knew one way to be sure. I had lashed the blood out of her with that hanger whipping years ago. She would still have the scars. I flipped her over on her belly. There they were.
I stood there looking down at her. I remembered that tough bit in Leavenworth. Here at my mercy was that stinking bitch, Phyllis. Just the sight of her made me crazy.xxxvi
I grabbed a cologne bottle off the dresser. I jerked the big top off. I got my bag out. I dumped enough of the twenty percent stuffxxxvii into the top to croak a sick junkie. She was clean.
I spotted a bottle of mixer water on the floor. I filled the top and struck a match. I held it beneath the top. I rammed my gun into it. I drew up her reckoning.
I stabbed the outfit into a vein just back of her knees. Her red blood streaked up into the joint. I was just about to press the pacifier bulb. I looked out the window. I caught a glimpse of the joker darting across the street. He had a steamer trunkxxxviii headed toward the front door of the hotel.
I froze, jerked the spike out of her. I thrust the loaded outfit inside my shoe underneath my instep. I pinned the bag to my shorts between my legs. I collapsed into the living-room chair just as he came through the door. I was sweating like hell. He was suspicious. He kept looking from the corner of his eye at his broad.
He thought I had been riding her in his absence. I wondered how long he'd had her. She was a wrong-doer. He'd cut her loose when he got hip to what he had. Sooner or later someone would pull his coat. He'd find out the runt had sent me to the joint. I was getting what I wanted from the merchandise. He slipped into the bedroom and checked her cat out.
I leftxxxix with the dozen items I had bought. I knew I had bought going-to-California clothes. I had quizzed him about his plans. He was going to stay in Cleveland for weeks. I had to leave town. Now.
Phyllis was sure to get the wire from him that I was in town. I knew she wouldn't hesitate to drop a dime in the phone to the heat. She had to know about the escape.xl I drove away. I tried to picture the expression on her face when her man cracked to her that Iceberg had been up there alone with her while she was stoned.
I got a flight that night for L.A. It's fabulous when a pimp's bottom girl can be trusted to handle his scratch and his whores. She was welded to me by that murder cross.xli The stable would drive out later in the Hog.
Mama was radiantly happy out there and my stepfather was a wonderful square. They lived in a big house. L.A. was worse than the reports I had gotten. I got around in Mama's Coupe de Ville. After the second night I went into the whore and pimp stomping grounds.
I stayed around Mama for another week then went up to Seattle. Glass Top's name wasn't ringing. In fact he was almost unknown. One stud told me Glass Top had croaked.
I copped a gorgeous hash-slinger up there. I turned her out that week. Lucky I did. I lost a girl back in Cleveland. Her appendix burst.xlii I pulled the three left into Seattle.
After I had been in town six months, fate dealt me one off the top for a change. My bag was empty and the stuff in town was around six percent. I had to shoot three spoons to stay well.xliii The girls were humping up a storm, I was getting no inside grief.
I was sitting in the Hog one day. An old withered stud walked past me. He came back and stooped down looking at me.
He shouted, "Ice, my old pimping buddy."xliv
I took a close look. It was Glass Top. He got in. He patted the scraggly processed hair on his nearly-bald head. He'd done a long bit in the state joint. He wasn't pimping. An old square broad was feeding him. He was a drunk. Until I left town I bought him bottles and rapped with him. He croaked two days after I left town.
I ran into the croaker who aborted Helen. He had lost his license and done a short bit back East for an abortion. We started rapping a lot to each other. He knew most of the hustlers I knew so we had much in common. He kept telling me how bad I looked. He told me how handsome I'd been when I brought Helen to him.xlv
He needled me. He expressed doubt that I had the guts to kick. He was game to help me kick if I was game to kick. I decided to let him help me. He warned me I would have to follow his every instruction. He had a house in town. He still took a fast buck from his old hustle.
Rachel was the only girl in the family who knew I was hooked. None of the rest knew. I was going to stay at the Doc's to kick. They thought I was out of town.
He used the system of reduction. We reached the tearing, puking, none-at-all stage. Let me tell you that beautiful croaker bastard was immune and rock-hard. I tried the raving, crying con on him. He would jab a needle into me to tranquilize me so he couldn't hear my bleating. I tell you, if you have ever had the flu real bad, just multiply the misery, the aching torture by a thousand. That's what it's like to kick a habit.
It took two weeks. I was weak, but with an appetite like a horse. In another two weeks I was stronger than I'd been in years. The Doc will always be my man. If he hadn't come to my rescue, and I had kept that habit until nineteen-sixty, I would have been a corpse within a week in that steel casket waiting for me.
- Unfixed. [↩]
- As opposed to hard. [↩]
- So why not take them on an extended trip through Europe, then ? Spend thusly an amiable year or so, they've probably never seen it anyway... Don't worry so much about the packing, you can buy there whatever you need or want anyways, now as twenty years ago. Go for yet another tour of the world, it's been almost a decade, it's high time. Right ? At least once every decade, like wanna-be yous go to the big house (or even further), you go on world tours.
Oh, but he don't speak no languages, he don't hold no currencies. Maybe it's the Third World ; or maybe it's his first time around. [↩]
- This dope bullshit is for gangsters exactly what watching TV is for squares. Get da fuck offa da pig, all of youze louses, you're not fucking anything, you're just daydreamin' about it. [↩]
- Basically the whole "pimping skull game" is early consumerism-lite for (randomly chosen) sons of the ghetto. [↩]
- Funny how that works, huh. [↩]
- This guy uses five grand to beat a murder wrap, that guy can't get out of a lousy "white slavery" pinch for four grand... mayhap straight money isn't everything. Mayhap money goes furthest the crookedest it is. [↩]
- What, he has one single bathroom ?! For a multiple (as in... 4+ ?!) bedroom layout with trick-turning actively ongoing ?! I thought junior here got his first real headbang in a stall, wtf. [↩]
- Do you suppose they skimmed more than three days' yield ? [↩]
- Coupla weeks or thereabouts. [↩]
- I don't think it's healthy for family girls to never share beds. Long term sharing of a room is less than ideal, even if tolerable in case of need ; but alienation such that they don't ever familiarily touch... that's poison. [↩]
- From experience speaking a million dollars doesn't quite fit in a small valise like a doctor carries ; and five whores over ten years even discounting inflation and dropping the C/nite standard still come to well over a million. [↩]
- This is so fucking sad. [↩]
- Not as hard as it sounds, they're warm-blooded creatures after all.
On the whole, I still can't quite come to terms with this dude's utter, ingrained disbelief that women will do precisely and exactly what you tell them to. Why's this so difficult to accept ? He keeps treating it like some kind of untenable exception, it's the most naturally trite thing, what gives. [↩]
- Wait, what ? Is this an euphemism for the other girls ? Or is Rachel actually from Toledo and her fambly is trying to stage an intervention, or what is he on about. [↩]
- Wait, I thought by this point she had been the boss bitch for quite a while. [↩]
- How's this a problem, it's precisely an' exactly as it should be. [↩]
- The fucking bureaucratic infantilism of all this -- so they're special, you get it, these "pimps"/morons, they're better than the "squares". Some random kid, poor, stupid, unread, inexperienced is still better than some other equally poor, equally stupid, ignare, ignorant, clueless other kid, because this one's [self]labeled "pimp" and the other one no. What's this label consist of ? Oh, they totally wreck their amorous relationships, they "don't care about the bitches". Women, you know, they don't care about women, that's what makes them special, they're like the monks of yore except castrated otherwise, in some "novel" way, which is what matters, the form of their particular brand of castration. Not the substance of castration. They're still special because wilful infirmity. Excepting of course there's a special other label to be applied to women -- if it's not a simple "bitch" but a "bottom bitch" then it's okay to not want to lose her. God help you though if you don't want to lose just some lowly bitch, then you're not a pimp ; you gotta not want to lose bottom bitches which are top boss etc, that's what a real pimp does.
Is your head spinning yet ? Do you feel twelve years old yet ? Did you have enough of special pleading, circumlocutionary circular bullshit and all the rest of the Herpy McDerp's gonna ad-hoc a philosophy altogether, ethics, morals, metaphysics, divinity and theory of knowledge on a shoestring, without having of course read the state of the art because Chicagochuka writer, not reader... [↩]
- Yes, yes, you're excused for having liked a girl, what a grevious sin, horror of horrors. You didn't want to, she made you do it, you had no choice, the fbi exists to force mentally infantile faggoty boys into relationships they "didn't otherwise want", herp. [↩]
- And the wire was signed "Anonymous". [↩]
- Then she had to con the man that this ugly janitor who just popped into the bedroom uninvited is not malicious, dangerous, or of any consequence. Just a little slow, mentally. He thinks himself "a pimp", nobody knows why, but it does seem to pacify him... [↩]
- Awww. How the fuck does the raggity scarecrow nigger even get a speaking part in this set-up ? The rich "asshole" with the competent lezzy gets whatever the fuck it is he says he wants. [↩]
- Yesh, the dozen states have nothing better to do than keep track of some nobody's hallucinations of the self. If he spends a year in
Europethe clincher nobody remembers him to the point he can go about sticking up players (or whatever bumbling approximation thereof), but those "young new jokers" carefully read the newsflash every morning, and methodically construct and reconstruct the world tree as excluding them but including him. Like if it were all a movie, where they don't even have a part, it's all about him. Here's what the Georgia really is, remember those idiots going "I live in Georgia and there's no Russian tanks ???"
Why precisely is it this dork thinks he owns Rachel, anyways ? Anything specific ? Anything personal ? It's entirely possible she doesn't even know about it, judging by how boyhood works. Maybe as far as Rachel's concerned she's one day met a kinda-funny old black dude that speaks kinda garbledly but otherwise does the dishes on his own initiative and usually shows up with pot, so she's not about to ask him to leave (it not being the kind of thing she feels comfortable doing anyways). [↩]
- Traditional manhood's a tough racket, eh. [↩]
- I thought any emotion whatsoever was out of character ; or were all those iceberg references rather in the vein of "you know me, Al". [↩]
- What do you suppose they did, three hours in the car. Did they talk ? What about ? Did they just sit and stare, saddled with their own thoughts, two lonely, aging people living the incommunicable fantasy of a fantastic life apathetically together though practically apart ? [↩]
- Which is why you force yours to get over it. You want the best there can be, whatever there is, and so instead of using their weakness "against" them (and therefore yourself), to "control" them by it (in the sense of keeping them, and with them yourself, small), you instead stomp it out and... whatever, let the bitchips fall where they may. Or... no ? [↩]
- Which is why thirteen rather than fourteen years, is it ? [↩]
- The corners the "inspired" dorks keep working themselves into. Seriously dude, private jail you pay rent to be in ? [↩]
- Cut four times, yielding 16:1. [↩]
- Free love is about to explode in Cali. [↩]
- Why would one hesitate to bring well trained pros to amateur night ?! I mean besides the money not being there, of course ; but that's not what he's saying. [↩]
- Contemporary proles like to think California was always a big deal ; but for most of the 20th century it counted for less than Ohio. Inconceivable, I know. Yet, true. [↩]
- Da fuck, 20% off is a thing now ?! You don't need a stable of boosters for that, just get your sweetheart to work at the mall. What the fuck highschooler bullshit is this. [↩]
- If this guy isn't a cop, he sure vibes just like one. [↩]
- Oddly, the fact that she's still wearing his marks isn't doing anything for him. Wouldn't you like a chat with the bitch ? "You got those because Sweet schooled me, little bitch dog. He's dead now, killed himself." maybe. Don't you think she'd like to know ? Or for that matter "Sorry for the jaw, bitch. I wish I knew a better way to hold you in line." maybe. No ? Nothing ? "Hey, wanna laugh together at them who take nothings seriously, wanna cry together at how seriously we took nothings ourselves ?"
She is his first, however "upset" or whatever the thought of it makes him. [↩]
- He's trying to prepare a hot dose for her, out of too much heroin, the metallic cap of a bottle of cologne and some water he's found in a bottle on a floor. [↩]
- Large wooden cases, intended to transport personal belongings atop steamers (steam-powered ships). [↩]
- Wtf was that Red Eye crack then ? Is this joker just talking crap he makes up on the spot or what the fuck. [↩]
- Yeah ? From whom ? From that joker she's shagged up with, who sees random people all the time in his rich imagination ? Maybe he also met the Lindberg baby turning tricks on the New Jersey Turnpike, maybe E. A. Poe was pimping up a storm back in Charlottesville. Maybe he had a beer with Jimmy Hoffa. [↩]
- See, it's not okay by the skullbook to think a woman loves you. It's okay however to think she believes you.
Pretty shitty book, it's way the fuck easier to love than it is to believe. It'd better be, too -- there's really not that much call for the latter article in the goings and comings of the world. [↩]
- The mother of all avoidable deaths. A girl, no doubt once young, I expect once pretty if not outright gorgeous, no doubt once a waitress, died. She died young, she died before reaching the end of the rainbow, before seeing what's there. She died before making it as a bottom bitch, before having to be straightened out, before getting to open the poke and see the cat inside, counting the bills in the valise... She died a different death from the rest of us, and she died without a name. Requiescat. [↩]
- Maybe it's time to kick this habit ? Dunno, jus' sayin'. Doesn't it eventually get old, all the self-ministration involved ?
If I were a junkie I suspect I could turn out the only junkie in the history of refined powders who quit horsing around because he was sick of the needlework involved, just got too lazy to bother one day and that was that. [↩]
- Apparently Glass Top also remembered Iceberg Slim, now and again, just as Iceberg Slim had in fact remembered Glass Top, now and again. He wondered, as he had wondered, "how is my old friend ?". A black man who once, in his youth, needed some mental health support for being dumped by some white chick, who spent some time thinking himself the best pimp "in the country" and dealing dope, who spent some time in prison and then some time "out West", one who had no hate, only love... A man he once knew, a friend of his from back in the day, from back when they were young, young still, the Spring still full of song and every tree yet ripe with joy. [↩]
- Phyllis the runt, then Christine, then No Thumbs Helen and now Rachel. That's four. That's all. Slim who had once been slim, and beautiful, and young. Slim who will die, peniless, diabethic, in a small dingy apartment, four decades hence, his wife and three daugthers around. Slim, who will for many years cling on to the car, that last bastion of an imagined self, holding on by a thread and a hair, desperate, distrustful, like a bankroll ever thinned, ever thinner, never replenished.
Slim, melting away. [↩]