I woke up. The sun was noon bright. I heard a squad of rats or something in the direction of the closet. I turned and looked. It was the runt. She was on her knees in the closet scraping and pulling suitcasesi and shoes around. The back of my skull was sore and throbbing.ii I touched it, and felt a crusty cap over the bump.iii
I thought as I watched the runt's rear end, "What the hell is she doing?"
I said, "Damn bitch, can't you put a damper on that racket? I gotta aching skull. I wake up, the first living thing I pin is the rusty black ass of a dizzy whore. She's digging a ditch in the closet. Now there's gotta be a prettier way to start a day."iv
She snapped her head around and said, "I'm looking for the reefer. I feel low. Where did you stash it? I couldn't find it last night when I came in."v
I got up and went to the closet. I ran my hand into the coat pocket stash. I separated my stuff from the reefer inside the pocket. I gave her the can. I saw two lonely saw bucks on the dresser. I went back and got into bed.
I said, "Bitch, I take an outside stash, where else? I don't wanta come home some night and greet a roller. Wouldn't it be a bitch if he had that can of one to two in the penitentiary in his mitt?vi Christ, your scratch for last night is shitty.vii What happened? Some joker stick you up? That reefer ain't making you lazy is it? A double-saw take for a young freak bitch is outrageous. Shit, you broke your luck for the double saw with the lover, Sugar Blue Eyes. You musta shot a blank the rest of the night. I'll murder you, bitch, if I find out you freak off all night with your tricks for a double saw."
She was licking at the sides of the joint she had rolled. She sat on the side of the bed next to me. She rolled her sassy eyes at me.
She said, "Daddy, I'm your girl. If I ever stop loving you, I'm gonna quit whoring for you. If you don't croak meviii I'll get another black man when we're washed up. Right now I'm in your corner all the way. White tricks don't move me. I want to vomit when they paw and slobber over me.ix I baby talk them, but I hate them. Daddy, I just want their scratch. I get a thrill with them all right. It knocks me out that here I am, a black nigger bitch, taking their scratch. A lot of them are clean-cut high muckty mucks in the white world. Some of them show me pictures of beautiful wives and cute children. It makes me feel greater than those white bitches living in soft luxury. Those white broads got nigger maids they laugh at. They think we ain't good for nothing but clowning and cleaning. It would give them a stroke to see their trick husbands moaning and groaning and licking between a black whore's thighs.x I know I ain't got no silky hairxi and white skin. I'm damn sure hip those white men ain't leaving Heaven to come to Hell every night just for the drive. They coming because those cold-ass white broads in Heaven ain't got what these black whores in Hell got between their legs. Black and low as I am, I got secrets with their white men those high-class white bitches ain't hip to. Now Daddy, we rap so little I got earned away. I ain't nobody's fool but yours. I wanted to rundown to you this morning about last night. You put me on the dummy remember? After I turned Chuck at the Martin, I got a roust. Two white vice coppers picked me up. They rode me around and felt over me. One of them was a mean, nasty bastard. The other, blond nice one, was sorry for me. Nasty said, 'I know this black bitch is a cinch ringer for those eight larceny from the person beefs.xii We oughta take her down and put her on a Show Up or two.xiii What the hell Carl, we know she's a whore.' Blondie said, 'But Max, she ain't no hard leg.xiv She's just a beautiful young sexy kid with a mother to support. You know how tough it is for bootsxv to get three squaresxvi and a roof in this town. Let's give her a break and cut her loose. Jesus Max, this broad has got a pair of thighs on her. She's soft as kitten fur.' Nasty said, 'Carl, you sure got a weak spot for spades. This broad says she's broke. That black ass of hers ain't enough to buy a pass from me. If she ain't too shy to show what her derby's like, maybe, I say just maybe, I might give her a break.' I'm driving into this alley. Carl, you test her lid and snatch. If you ain't raving how great it is upstairs and down when you finish, I'm gonna wheel outta this alley and toss her black ass in jail... I'm gonna book her on those eight counts of larceny. If she's lucky she'll get a deuce.' Daddy, Blondie pushed my head down to his lap. Then I got on the back seat with him. That freak bastard, Max, turned around and kept his flashlight on us the whole time. I made Blondie holler. I finished with Blondie. Max got back there with me. For a half hour he called me filthy names. He punched and pinched me. I'm sure sore all over. Blondie begged him to stop. My ass feels like he split something back there.xvii I had a rough time. Finally they let me out. Max told me to never let him see me again. I was scared so I came in. That's why the scratch is short. Max will bust me if he sees me again. You gonna have to find me another street to work."
I said, "You square-ass stupid bitch. You think you're a brain because you're hip that white men sneak through the stockade to lay black whores. Ain't a nigger sealed in here that don't know that. It don't make you great because those white sick fools leave that fine pussy in Heaven to find your stinking black ass in Hell. You chicken-heartedxviii bitch. You got a roust. They conned you to believe they could slap a bum rapxix on you. You're too dumb to know I'm gonna raise you. You rammed your funky finger in your sore ass.xx You took a powder from the track with a lousy double saw. You let those peckerwood coppers fuck you front, rear, sideways, and across. You simple bitch, I'm gonna find you another street to work? Now [that] you got like a license to hustle this one?xxi You ain't got to worry about Max and that other roller. Bitch, you can work it forever just so you don't get cancer of the cat or lockjawxxii. Bitch, if you don't get outta my face I'm going to the chair for slaughtering you. Get your clothes on. Get in the street and hump up some scratch. Bitch, don't come to that door unless you call me first. I ain't going nowhere."
She had been taking sucks on the reefer while she was rapping. She was high when I gave her the rundown on how she had been conned by the rollers. She leaped off the bed and went to the closet. She dressed and jerked her head around the whole time.
She knew I was angry. She was maybe afraid after that slaughter crack that I might goose her in the butt with my knife. She got out fast. I had Silas bring me some food and take my shirts and things to the cleaners. I ate and snorted some girl. Later I banged some.xxiii Except for the bump on my skull that still ached a little I felt all right.
I remembered Satan and the Demon wanting to see identification. I called Silas. He told me where to go. I could get a driver's license without a test for a saw buck under the counter. I dressed and made the trip. Sure enough I copped. I was back home in an hour.
I pulled a chair to the front window. I had my spy glass. It was still daylight. I didn't see the runt on the street. I spied into the greasy spoon across the street. The runt was sitting at the counter talking to a big black stud in overalls. He had trick engraved all over him. I saw them leave together and come across the street toward the Martin Hotel.
The scarfaced horn tooter who lived in four-twenty-two across the hall came out behind them alone. He got into a battered Ford and chugged away. It gave me an idea. After all, I could blow the runt. I picked up the phone and asked for connection to apartment four-twenty-two. The pretty yellow ex-whore "helloed." I was glad old Silas had given me a rundown on her. I could tailor my pitch.
I said, "Now try to control yourself baby. I'm the tall stud with the dreamy bedroom eyes across the hall in four-twenty. I'm the guy with the pretty towel wrapped around his sexy hips. I got the same hips on now that you x-rayed. Remember that hump of sugar your peepers feasted on?"
She said, "Maybe, but you shouldn't call me. I don't want an incident. What do you want? A lady doesn't accept phone calls from strangers."
I said, "A million dollars and a trip to the moon with a bored, trapped, beautiful bitch, you dig? I'm no stranger. I've been popping the elastic on your panties ever since you saw me in the hall."
She giggled. I could hear the thrill in her voice. The horn blower had taken her off the track, but the whore was alive and thrashing inside her.xxiv She had class. She had done more than screw on the fire escape at high school.xxv
She said, "I don't drink and besides I don't know you."
I said, "You met me in your first hot dream, remember? You know that pretty joker in your little girl dreams that always faded when you woke up wet between the legs. You waited and wished. You lucky bitch, I've stepped out of your dreams. I'm alive and real across the hall from you. Get over here, I'm gonna turn you on. Don't worry about the watch dog. I saw him split out of the greasy spoon ten minutes ago. Baby, I'm gonna have to make one of my whores bake you a cake with a saw in it."
She said, "You're not married to one of them? I don't want my throat cut. I don't want to break that old habit of breathing."
I said, "Yeah, I'm married. I'm married to the whore game. You're still a member of the club yourself. You just ain't paid any dues lately. Maybe if you ain't full of shit I can put you back in good standing. Now get over here!"
She said, "I'm raw.xxvi I'll have to slip on something. I'll come over for a minute. You're not a hype? I'm not hip to anything but grass."
I said, "No, sugar, I'm a lover and a beggar. I got black gunionxxvii, baby. You hip?"
I hung up. I went to the dresser mirror and powdered my face. I brushed my hair with a damp brush. My mop was black, bright and curly. I went to the closet and slipped on a wild yellow lounging robe. I had bought it the day before Dalanski busted me at the dance.
I had peeped at her hole card that day in the hall. I knew she was a freak. I remembered her eyes chained to my crotch. Now I didn't have on any towel. First chance I got I'd flash her into a boil, through the split in the front of the robe.
Maybe I could shoot some cocaine into that yellow virgin arm. That would open her up for sure. I might even steal her from scarface and put her back on the track tomorrow.
I thought, "This fine bitch is my speed. She's not a hard-leg dog with a million miles on her. She's no more than nineteen and sexy as the rear end of a peacock. I'll play it cool and quiz her. Maybe some asskicker booted her off the track. Maybe that's how scarface copped. I'll stay in the pimp role, but I'll sweeten it with a little highclass bullshit. Maybe I'll rap some of that gigolo garbage I overheard the white pimps in the joint rapping. I better call Silas. I'm not ready for trouble with Scarface. I went to the door and unlocked it. I picked up the phone and got Silas.
I said, "Listen Jack, this is important. I'm gonna be rapping to the big-butt yellow broad who lives in four-twenty-two. I'm gonna give you and the broad on the desk a fin a piece. You gotta wire me here when Scarface shows. I'm not ready for him to wise up. Got me?"
Silas said, "You lucky young sonuvabitch. A faggot in a Y.M.C.A. shower room ain't no luckier. You got salt and pepper, kid. We'll wire you. I'll stall the cage on the way up with him. Can I peep a little, kid, huh?"
I hung up. I felt a cool puff of draft on my ankles. I went into the living room. She had slipped into almost nothing. She was crossed legged in the chair at the window. She turned her head from the street and looked up at me.
She had on a thigh-long black negligee with pink butterflies sewn on. A pair of white silk panties gleamed through the black gauze. She curved inside it like a yellow Petty Girl.xxviii Her ebony hair was steepled on top of her skull like a black satin crown. I saw a frantic tic jerk at a corner of her melon-red mouth. If she turned out to have entasis, I swore I would give up whores and get hip to the sissy game.
She said, "Hi. I ask myself why I'm here?"
I said, "Baby, don't drag the party. Don't ask yourself stupid questions. You can't escape that freak, desperate spark. You know baby, that awful sweet electricity that makes a farm boy kiss a ewe. The same power that yowls a hot torn cat in the alley. You hip to it? Now just relax. I'm gonna roll you up a bomber. Baby, your luck has changed. You've hit the jackpot. You found me. Oh yea, my name is Blood."
She said, "'Blood' it's nice to meet you. I'm Christine. Chris I like better. I can't stay long. I have to be careful. My old man is very jealous."
I said, "Chris, you are gonna find out I'm a wild groove. You may stay a lifetime thinking it was only an hour. All we need is an understanding. All you need is a man."
Over the top of Chris's head I saw the runt flash her eyes up at the window. She was just getting into a white trick's car. Twilight was sweeping away daylight with a deep purple broom. I went to the bedroom. I loaded an outfit and tilted it spike up in my pocket. I rolled two bombers. One with reefer, the other in cigarette tobacco. I snorted a thumb tip of cocaine. I got a towel and put it next to the gap under the front door. I lit some incense.
I gave Chris the bomber. I lit it and my dud. With a package like Chris, reefer might confuse me. I might wake up swindled. If she had been Garbo, I still wanted scratch before snatch.
I got another chair. We sat there facing each other in the twilight. I waited for the reefer to fill her skull. The bomber in her hand was now a roach. I cock-tailed it for her. Her eyes were dreamy.
She said, "Goddamnit sweetheart, I'm high. You know Blood you're going to laugh when I tell you something. Guess what I was thinking when I saw you the first time in that towel?"
I said, "You thought, 'Oh my itching cat! That pretty brown bastard looks like a pimp. I wish to hell I was still whoring. I sure would like to kiss "Mr. Thriller, the killer" under that towel.' Am I right, sweet freak?"
She giggled and scooted her chair flush against my knees. She slid her back down in the leather chair. She put the heels of her pink shoes on the seat of my chair.
I was sandwiched between her big yellow legs. The street lamp came on, spotlighting her. She was still giggling. I fingered the ready jolt of cocaine in my robe pocket. I took it out and hid it against the side of my chair. I saw bluexxix veins pulsing on her inner thighs.
The cocaine had me strung on an icy rack. I raised her right leg and rubbed my cheek against it. I crushed her knee-cap between my teeth. She moaned. I gazed deep into her eyes. She had laughed tiny pearls of tears that clung to her long, silky lashes. Under the street lamp her face was innocent and soft as a yellow fawn's. I felt old as Methuselah.
She said, "Don't look at me like that. I know you can read minds. You give me the creeps with that look. It's like you're Svengali or that crazy Russian Monk I read about"
I said, "Chris, you're gonna be my whore. We gotta share things. That reefer was just an appetizer. Reefer is for low-class skunk broads. Heroin is for chumps bound for the graveyard. Cocaine is for brilliant, beautiful people. Chris, banging cocaine will spin a magic web of music and bells inside your skull. Every pore in your body will feel like Daddy's jugging his swipe in all over you. It will torch off a racy secret fire of life inside you. It's a miracle, Chris. You get all that thrill and no habit. I know you ain't chicken shit. Are you game to try?"
She said, "If it won't scar me or hurt me. If it hurts, promise you'll stop. Don't give me a lot, baby. Where you going to put it in?"
I took her left leg and put it on the arm of my chair. I saw a fat line high up on her thigh. I eased the spike into it. She flinched. The dropper flashed red. I pressed the bulb slowly. Her eyes widened. Her white teeth bit into her bottom lip.
I emptied the dropper. I pulled out the gun. She sat there stiffly. She took her leg off the chair arm. She rubbed the inside knobs of her ankles against my sides. I saw her Adam's apple spasm.
I remembered how I puked the first time. I slid my chair back and raced to the bedroom to get the wastebasket. I just made it back. She dumped a load into it. I flushed the mess down the toilet and rinsed the basket out. When I got back to her she was smiling and stroking her legs.
She said, "I'm sorry I did that naughty thing, daddy.xxx Oh! Oh! But now I feel heavenly. Baby, I'm so glad I came over and got this feeling. Aren't those bells something? Baby, you got a lot of this? I want to do this every day. Stay like this every minute. Let's lie down. I want a formal introduction to Mr. Thriller."
I said, "Bitch, when you come to me as my whore I'll keep your skull mellow. Now you gotta be joking about Mr. Thriller. He won't have anything to do with a broke bitch that claims a square horn blower as her man. Let's go over there while he's away and get your clothes. You're not married to him are you?"
She said, "How many girls do you have? Maybe your stable is too big for comfort. I get salty standing in a long line for my loving."
I said, "Whore, answer my question. What are you, a roller or something? When you are my whore you don't worry about anything but your own ass and scratch. Now answer my question."
She said, "Blood, I didn't want to answer because I am married to him. Leroy, that's my husband, saved my life really. He's been wonderful to me. He used to be good looking. He didn't get so insanely jealous until after his accident.
"We've been waiting over two years for a settlement. Blood, honestly, you are my kind of stud. My life is so screwed up. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to tell you. Would you believe that you're the first fellow I've talked to in over two years? Blood, I don't love Leroy."
That cocaine had her speed rapping. I couldn't cop her tonight unless I croaked Scarface. My plans had to change. I had to unhook her from Leroy soon. She'd make bales of scratch. Maybe I could work an angle to get her and a slice of that settlement. Of course, I couldn't wait forever. If I had to, I'd cop without a slice of the settlement.xxxi
I knew Leroy was going to blow her. He didn't have a chance to hold much longer with that ugly face and that jealous bit. I had to find out if she would level with me all the way. Silas had told me she was an ex-whore.
I said, "Chris, give me a fast rundown of your life story. I'll have all the answers for youxxxii when you finish."
She said, "If you let me sit in your lap."
I nodded and she climbed onto my lap. She hooked an arm around my neck. Her cheek was against my ear. The cocaine thudded her ticker against my breast. Out of the side of my eye I saw the runt go into the greasy spoon. I was hoping she wouldn't use the phone just inside the door and interrupt the rundown.
I felt her balloon bottom blasting heat to the throbbing cup of my lap. Too bad I worked so hard at the pimp game. Mr. Thriller was playing stiff con on me. He was just a fool at heart. The poor chump wanted to sucker out in that bed with this luscious doll. Good thing he had me to stand guard over him.xxxiii
She said, "I remember nothing but good until I was twelve. Then my mother died. My father had been a kind, good man, until then. He always worked. He was a good carpenter. He changed quickly after Mama died. He took my bed down. He said he wanted me to sleep with him. He told me how lonely his bed was after all those years with Mama. Nothing happened at first. One night a month later I had a nightmare. A wild ferocious animal was sucking my breast. It was terrible. I woke up. It was Papa. I screamed. He slapped me hard. His face was all twisted and hateful. He looked like a crazy stranger. I blacked out. When I came to Papa was crying and begging me to forgive him. After a while I would just lie there, numb, and let him use me. I hated his guts. In school I had the crazy feeling the students could see and feel my shame and filth. By the time I got fifteen I was a skeleton. By now he had me doing everything to him. I'm glad he's dead in Hell. Papa, the beast, was killing me. I was so nervous I couldn't wash dishes. I broke dozens. I wasn't eating enough to keep a bird alive. I collapsed one day coming from the grocery. I woke up in a hospital. My system was shot and I was pregnant.xxxiv I stayed in the hospital a month. I stayed at Papa's a week after I got out. I took some money while he slept and left Wichita with the clothes on my back. I came here and got a waitress job. A young pimp named Dandy Louee started picking me up when I got off. I thought he was a millionaire. He dressed me up and turned me out. He was a cruel black bastard. He liked to beat me, and then screw me.xxxv He worked me in a house run by one of his whores. He kept his foot in my ass. Funny thing, I made money even when my belly was stuck way out. A lot of tricks who came there wanted a pregnant girl. I lost the baby while turning a trick. Dandy got five years on a white slave rapxxxvi two months later. I got a bar-maid job and met Leroy. He was playing a gig in the spot. I was a sick girl. I fell out twice while serving the bar. The doctor said I needed rest. He said I couldn't expect to live long unless I rested. Leroy nursed me back to health. He was good to me. I needed someone who cared. I married him when I was just four months shy of seventeen. I went with Leroy on a string of one-nighters in the Midwest. The group broke up in Youngstown, Ohio. We were stranded. Leroy got a job in an industrial cleaning plant. The second week a boiler exploded and you've seen his face. His lawyer says we can expect a ten-thousand dollar settlement any time now. Leroy is driving me crazy with his jealousy. I don't mind hustling. I'd be your girl, Blood. I go for you, Blood. Are things clearer now? What should I do?"
I said, "You've had nothing but heartache. I feel so sorry for you, baby. Now I know you've got to be my woman. I gotta protect you. I gotta give you affection and understanding. Don't worry angel, with me life will be smooth as the snow at Sun Valley. You'll be so happy you'll be out of your mind half the time. With our color combination we could make a sonuvabitching baby together after we get rich. Tell me, does Leroy plan to work the Roost for a while?"
She said, "Oh! I forgot to tell you. Last night was his last night. They want him for another six weeks, but he's going to drop the Combo. It's too much headache to get them to show for work sober and on time. He's out now with a booking agent. I think he might go with a big band on an East-Coast tour. I hope he gets it. Band leaders want band members' wives to stay at home. Daddy, please figure things out fast. I want to be your girl as soon as possible."
I was sucking her scented cheek. I flogged my skull for a quick plot to tear the yellow gold mine from Scarface. The phone rang. She got out of her nest. I rushed to the phone. It was the excited broad on the desk.
She said, "Forgive me for goofing. Four-twenty-two went up two minutes ago. I was having a hassle with a check out. I saw him come in. It didn't register until the second that I called you. You better clean house fast."
I ran into the living room. I snatched her from the chair. I pulled her to the door. I cracked it. We peeped down the hall. Scarface was twenty yards away coming down the hall. He had a big stack of papers, maybe sheet music under his arm. He shifted the bundle to his other arm.
A paper fluttered to the carpet. He stooped to get it. I saw her door ajar. I stepped aside. I slapped her on the rump.xxxvii She blurred across through her doorway. Scarface was standing with his mouth open staring toward his now locked door.
He was sure he'd seen her. His face was puzzled. I shut my door easy like. I stood with my ear against the door. A bomb of sound shocked my eardrum. Someone was punching his fist against my door. I ran into the bedroom and got my switch-blade. I came back to the door. I held the open blade behind me. I opened the door.
It was Scarface. He looked like Mr. Hyde all right. His orangebrown eyes were spinning counter clockwise. I saw the bundle of papers in a careless heap in front of his door. His right mitt was deep in his coat pocket. I saw the faint outline of maybe a skinny lead pipe, or a gun barrel. I gauged the moves for a heart stab to beat his mitt out of his pocket.
I said, "Yeah Jack, what is it? I'm on the phone with my bondsman. The court just raised my bond on a double-murder beef. I'm in a bad mood. I don't want to buy anything."
He just stood there like a scarfaced zombie staring at me. He looked down at the carpet in front of my door. I looked down. A pink butterfly lay there like a silent indictment.
He heaved his chest and took a deep breath. It was like his last one. He stooped and picked it up. The eerie bastard took his other hand out of his pocket. Tears rolled down from his unblinking orange eyes as he stared at me. His scarred cheeks were quivering as he shredded the butterfly into pink lint on the carpet.
He turned and walked away. I shut my door and got a beak load of cocaine. I took the lounging robe off. It was dripping sweat. I showered. I sat in Chris's chair at the window. Her sweet odor was still rising from it. For an hour I heard a loud sobbing whine across the hall. It was Scarface chewing out Chris.xxxviii Mickey said midnight. I hadn't eaten since morning and I wasn't hungry. Cocaine was a strong con for the belly.
I thought, "I hope that jealous chump doesn't croak her. It would be like making a big bonfire out of hundred dollar bills. If she wasn't his wife and I had a rodxxxix, I'd go over there and claim her."
The phone rang. It was Silas.
He said, "What happened, kid? Was she a whiz in the sack? Did the joker catch her? I been busy. I ain't had a chance to check with you until now. I was worried about you, kid. The broad told me she was late with the wire. I stalled him in the cage."
I said, "It was very close, Silas. I'm a pimp, I didn't stick her. I'll take care of you and the broad this weekend when I pay my rent. Silas, if you get any news on the broad or Scarfacexl wire me fast."
He said, "Yeah, kid, you know me. I stay hip to what goes on around here. I'll keep you plugged in, kid. Good night. I'm going home."
I hung up and lay across the bed. I wondered if Max and Blondie had the runt hemmed up in an alley again. I smoked a reefer. I fell asleep. The phone woke me up. It was the runt.
She said, "Daddy, it's your baby. It's after two, can I come home?" I said, "Bitch, what kinda lines you got?"
She said, "I got thirty slats.xli I'm beat, Daddy. My tricks have been spades. You know how cheap they are and hard to turn. Can I come in?"
I said, "Come on in. Take a bath. Watch your jib, bitch. Don't irritate me. I've got a lot on my mind."
She'd been working more than twelve hours.xlii She was beat all right. Within a half hour after her bath she was snoring beside me.xliii I was dozing when the phone rang. I switched on the light. I picked up.
I said, "Hello."
Chris whispered, "Daddy, I can't talk long. Leroy's asleep. He found a butterfly that fell off my negligee. He's been raving like a crazy man. He knows I was over there. I got bad news for us. The band spot is out. He called and turned it down.xliv He's going to keep the combo and go through Ohio. His agent has a slew of one-nighters booked for him. He's taking me with him. Daddy, I won't forget us. I'll keep in touch. Maybe he'll go out before we leave tomorrow afternoon. I may get a chance to kiss you goodbye. I love you, Blood. I'm going to dream about Mr. Thriller until I --"
I heard the drowsy whine of Leroy's voice calling her name the instant before she hung up. I turned and looked at the runt. Her big mouth was wide open. Frothy slobber ran down her chin. Her sour hair had started to kink at the edges. She needed to go to the beauty shop downstairs.
I thought, "What kinda breaks am I getting?xlv I'm sinfully good looking. I'm lying here with a lather-mouth dog.xlvi The ugliest joker in the world is across the hall. He's in the sack with a pretty bitch whose nose is wide open for me. Something's gotta be done. Maybe after I cop Chris, I'll have the brass ring in my mitt."
I didn't sleep at all after Chris called. The runt woke up at noon. She went across the street and got our lunch. At two in the afternoon she was in the street.
Silas called. He told me Chris was checking out. I saw Chris and Scarface put their stuff in the car and drive away.
The runt came in at two A.M. with only twenty slats.xlvii She was shying away from white tricks. She was leery of Max and Blondie. I couldn't shake her out of it. She would rather turn spades for three or five dollars. She was afraid Max would catch her with a white trick.
- Think if you will, this dude's got suitcases. Multiple, plural. And a closet his runt can be ~in~.
Do you live less comfortably than the starving one-whore pimp of a century ago ? [↩]
- Concussion fo sho. [↩]
- Wouldn't you expect the bedding's positively filthy ? [↩]
- Remarkably upbeat for a beat-up pimp woken up by noise. I'm... not nearly as friendly if imprudently awokened, even without a bump -- which, I've never had one, so technically this is just a guess. [↩]
- Holy sprinklers of disaster, this chick's taking her life in her hands. Or she knows her sucker, I suppose ; but let it in passing be mentioned that a woken up Master's the last thing slavegirl's gonna be anything but lovey-dovey worshippy with, forget about this casually pissy impudence. Actually, I don't recall an instance where I was sleeping and my girls had anything to do in that room, I think if an actual fire started they'd still be hesitant. [↩]
- They kept pot in metal cans, like shoeshine wax, because at the time the metal can offered the best seal available -- no such thing as a ziploc in the 30s.
So what he's saying is that the can of pot is also a can of "one to two in the penitentiary", they're equivalent in context, and so should he come home and meet a policeman holding the can in his hand he'd be meeting a roller holding that can of one to two in the penitentiary in his mitt. Which'd be a bitch, perhaps, but not quite as much of one as the impossible phrasing he's rolling. [↩]
- In fact, between their assorted habits, the five dollars a day flapjacks and the hundred a week pad, either she's pulling thirty bucks a day or else they're eating up their savings. [↩]
- "Kill me", as in "please do". [↩]
- While she's not necessarily telling the truth, the fact is that most people aren't interested in exogamy. [↩]
- An' you thought you invented cunnilingus! [↩]
- It's not so much that white girl hair is silky necessarily, it's more that black girl hair is... well, you know, black girl hair. [↩]
- He thinks she'll fit the description of the perpetrator of eight purse snatchings or somesuch. Larceny from the person is minor theft in that vein, cinch is certain, sure, a ringer's a fit in this context and so on. A beef (unlike simply beef) is a complaint. [↩]
- It's called a line-up nowadays. [↩]
- Streetwalkers developed... well... if you spend all day walking your legs show it. [↩]
- Blacks. Literally because of bootblacking as an activity. [↩]
- Contraction of three square ("fair", no bullshit) meals. [↩]
- Police analinspection. They call it... well something or the other, these days. [↩]
- Cowardly, unvalorous. [↩]
- Bum raps were traditionally made-up charges to keep bums off the street (by keeping them in jail instead). The fact that they work reasonably well (both in the sense of discouraging bums from sticking around any town with active bum rapping, which satisfied the taxpayers, and also in the sense of keeping local jail traffic high, which gratified the cops by making them seem useful and important) enshrined them into current practice. The whore is not that different from the bum in a certain, squarely puritan worlview, and so the mechanism was readily extended to deal with them also, which is what drove whores to work for pimps : having someone on the outside asking questions nullifies a bum rap in practice, because its functioning is predicated on the bum having nobody in the world, as per the definition of a bum. As the remedy was socially useful (and thus tolerated) but not really legally sound, the courts weren't particularly keen to uphold it, so it didn't take all that much to push it over. This is then, from a "white world" / legalistic perspective, what the pimp actually was : the lowest class of bail bondsman, specializing in dealing with the legal trouble of a very narrowly specific class of client : streetwalkers picked up on bum wraps. Everything else is... well, coloreds' coloring of the matter.
Needless to say, the problem of the bum as here contemplated, and the formal manifestations thereof making these particular forms of social reaction "necessary" or at the very least the cheapest effective solution, belong in a specific gestalt, they're part of a complex, particular world, a post-rural, cvasi-industrial society torn apart by improved transportation (especially over railroads) but not yet captured by a sprawling, electrified bureaucracy. Between late 1800s and the 1950s at the latest, a relatively large contingent of low value, mobile white men posed some specific problems to settled society ; somewhere in a crack left between two imperfectly fitting planks of the period solution is whence the pimp with his stable was spurted, and it could therefore readily (as well as correctly) be said that if it weren't for the tens of thousands of white bums burning off their fat deposits a certain ineffectual way for incomprehensible reasons, the thousands of whores burning off their fats deposits another certain ineffectual way so the hundred of pimps here described could exist at all couldn't have existed in the first place. It is, ultimately but quite truthfully, white men that made Slim's life possible ; just -- not the white men he imagines.
To put the matter in social policy numerics, if out of a population of a hundred million there's fifty million employed males and ten thousand unemployable males because their own "romantic" notions / delusions of personality preclude them from obediently taking their place in the world, such as it is, because they think they're worth more than one-fifty an hour so they'll gladly take an average of eighteen cents instead, to cut off their nose to spite their face, then there's a Gross National Product of so-and-so billions, and nobody cares about the bums, they can all hang for all the difference it makes. Were someone to care about the bums for purely literary reasons, that someone could compute that ten thousand of them lose out a consolidated total of $32`000`000 per year. This bonfire of an anti-economic activity, where some people just decided to burn down 32 million worth of value (in the shape of their own life) each year because that's where their "artistic" take on life is pointing them, forces defensive expenditure on the part of society, in the vein of maybe a tenth that. Its inefficiency drives a further taxation opportunity, and so "the pimps in the country" (of which Sweet was no doubt the best) could gather about $320`000 a year in unearned rents, by exploiting the $3`200`000 social spending made necessary by $32`000`000 worth of antisocial activity. That Sweet realised perhaps a few percent of that total himself explains the only nigger with a Duesy ; and everything else. Let it not ever be said (as it is incorrectly said in, for instance, Travolti), that only the rich burn the products of industry so as to keep prices artificially elevated : the poor do exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reasons. [↩]
- I think she's saying she shouldn't have touched her fissure with a dirty finger, which is correct if unexpected. [↩]
- He has a point, the cops don't care enough for an encore. They are, after all, just men. They've already fucked her, and there isn't really anything else of interest to her.
The whole thing interlocks : the pimp, as a specialist streetwalker/notbum de-jailer, aims to optimize the efficiency of the girls, and drives them to productivity and quality of work, which is something they're too dumb, indolent and self-indulgent to develop on their own -- they're not capable of regarding themselves as mere objects, which completely prevents them from amounting to anything worth the mention.
His needs of security and control drive stationary location. Yes they're a herd, the whores, but a stabled herd, they're always in the same place ; which dovetails neatly with the social pressures of the time and place to create awareness in the market -- the customers know where to find the custom they're accustomed to. And... well, there you go, a whole new strand of life errupted into existence from specific, narrow, particular pre-conditions you wouldn't have esteemed beyond a flick of the finger on a sore butthole. Yet this is what life is, truly and universally, and what "punctuated equilibrium" even means in the first place.
This is also why you find it enthralling, fascinating, why you're lapping up the bad prose coming out of this illiterate, antisocial lout : not because you hate women, not because "you're insecure", not because any of that crap. It's fascinating because it's true life, in its own way and looking like it looks but nevertheless -- life. True, authentic, breathing life. You're not asked to like it anymore than you're asked to like coral reefs or wolf spiders ; you are however asked to weep, for it's meanwhile extinct. All life dies through pollution, and this here life died through paper pollution. The expanding of the bureaucrats' domains produced immense piles, deluvional quantities of pure poison, and all that filth's claimed various meanwhile extinct species. Such as this one. [↩]
You thought earlier, "oh, what's the problem with touching your anal fissure with your dirty fingers", because you think "oh, shit comes out of there, it's dirty anyway". No, it's not : you can't get tetanus from your own shit ; but you can get it from the outside environment. [↩]
- He snorted and banged some girl. Doesn't it have quite the ring to it ? [↩]
- "All of this is just abuse", right. [↩]
- Why, what did you think your whore was doing in highschool ? [↩]
- I think this means naked. [↩]
- Very tarry marijuana. [↩]
- Girls drawn by George Petty for Esquire. Early cheesecake. [↩]
- Blue, as opposed to brown or black. Unused. [↩]
- The appelative was rather common at the time. "Beat me up daddy, nine to the bar" does't necessarily imply the piano player's their pimp, you know ? [↩]
- Which is a big part of it : the pimp's pretty much the only male in these girls' immediate environment to whom they are worth something. Not play pretend, illusionary-delusionary poetic "something", but quite concretely a something in dollars and cents. Who doesn't love feeling wanted ? [↩]
- Right ? [↩]
- We can surmise she likes this one a lot better than the other one from the circumstance that he's not discussing her obvious con in those terms. Or maybe it's just that he feels he has less to prove ; maybe it's that the time he spent on Sweet's rug cut through his "baby fat" of childish pretense children imagine nobody can see through and so he's no longer desperate to use certain words to show Teach he's done his homework. [↩]
- Speaking of which, don't you wonder what they did about pregnancy ? I mean, obviously no condoms, but nevertheless, a healthy woman's pregnant just a few doses later, what gives ? [↩]
- And who doesn't. [↩]
- This was the fashionable moral panic of the period. [↩]
- That's some choice protectin' right there! [↩]
- I imagine that must've been one helluva trip. [↩]
- You'd think it'd be high time for a 38, after all he's got everything else up to and including fake liquor store certs. The thing is, he's affraid of using it. [↩]
- A bit of an anachronism, I suspect. The movie must've made an impact on the iceberg. [↩]
- Dat pimp life's gettin tough. [↩]
- 2.25 an hour still slightly better than assembly-line work. [↩]
- I don't think I took half hour to fall asleep in my life, what the hell. If it ever takes that long I just give up on sleeping and go do something else. [↩]
- Because Slim's such a damnable coward. They could've invented anything, literally any retarded story'd have been better than the pubescent nuh-uh they managed to pull off. Even the plainest stonewalling -- let him go in, let him go back out. What's he gonna do, he's alone.
Go to the police and file a missing persons report ? All the better, they laugh at him, ask him to come back in three days ; meanwhile she goes back in after he's gone, takes a nap. When he returns she was maybe in the shower ? She doesn't know what he's about, she hadn't been anywhere. He must've missed her ? He has to simmer down ?
Or maybe he doesn't go anywhere, he just sits there, smokes, gets depressed and eventually what, shoots himself ? All the better. Put her on the street the next day irrespective. Let him run into her there, working. If he makes it through the night, let her run into her streetwalking. What's he gonna to, throw a fit ? Get really really angry and what, dump her ? Awww!!! What else, sue ? Who, the street ? Her ? For what, for divorce ? Oh noes.
Poor jazz player has no recourse and these two wiseguys act like they're fresh out of kindergarten. [↩]
- You're getting the breaks of not saying "Forget about it bitch, just duck out whenever he's playing, get on a bus, get your ass back here." [↩]
- God he's a hater. [↩]
- Cora the Red Prophetess. [↩]