When I woke up I first thought the runt had scalded me with hot grease. I was in a flaming sweat. My ticker was smashing inside my chest like a wrecker's demolition ball. That cunning joker playing God had conned me once more, I had whipped my poor mama to death again. The runt's frightened big eyes almost touched mine. She was still bare, her wrists and everywhere covered in the night's marks. She had her heels on though, I guess she must've put them back on after coming out of that soak. She looked so good like that in bed I felt like rolling her over right then and there, but I didn't want to.
She was saying, "Daddy, Daddy, you all right? It's your baby bitch Phyllis." I looked at her, my mind slowly gathering itself together. She caressed my face. "Damn, you had a bitch-kitty nightmare." Then with a mischevious grin, "Was the heat chasing you or something?"
I said, "No baby. That wasn't it. As a matter of fact, you were in trouble. You had done a stupid thing out on the street. You let a nigger pimp con you into his hog. He was a crazy gorilla." She gave me a sly look. "Oh yeah ?" She reached for my wood, cupping it in her palm and squeezing it light but insistent. "What was the bad nigger gorilla doing to me ?" I grabbed her by the hair on the back of her head, not tight enough to hurt her. "Everything I did to you myself. Only, you didn't dig it." She looked at me, still smiling. "Mhmmm..." she purred along. "He was going to cut your throat. I saved you before he croaked you." She said "Thank you very much!" She was going to say more, but I maneuvered her head so her face was in my prick. She got the idea and kissed it. I went on. "Dreams often carry warnings." She purred her "Mhmmm..." again, and kissed it again. "So bitch, stay out of those pimp's hogs." I said to her. She didn't say anything, just focused her hot lava lips and the lizzard living inside of them on setting my wood ablaze. I'd say she did that alright, and lickety-spit, too.
When she was done with her work she lay on her back, holding my deflating rod over her well coated face, using it to draw strings all over. "What now ? Are you going to take me out again ?" she prodded while licking the goo off her lips. "Sunday ? I don't think so, baby." She slid some off her chin and into her mouth with her finger. "You religious or something ?" I snickered. "Naw, bitch. Just lazy." She blew a bubble, like it was gum. "I'm not lazy. I was going to get breakfast, too! But..." I pulled my dick away from her and stood up, on my way to the bathroom "But what, bitch ?" She ran past me to the sink, nearly falling over in those heels of hers at the speed she was trying for. As she was washing her face she motormouthed "I have a list! First off, you told me no clothes. I have to be naked. Right ? Right. So I don't want to dress. But if I go out on the street I think I'll get arrested. Second, if I get breakfast without paying for it I think I'll get arrested too, but to pay for it I have to get money and I don't want to touch your money without askin permission. But I don't know if I have permission and I'd better not wake you up. Third, you told the clerk he'll fuck me in the morning. I could go out there and put my ass on his counter, but I don't know if you meant it like that or not and it's not my kitty to put out without permission."
"Jesus." I just looked at the crazy nigger broad burbling her face in the sink. She toweled off "I just want to do the right thing". I shook my head. I went over to the closet, got her roll out of my pocket, peeled a ten from there and went to the bathroom. Once I was done I said to her "C'mere and suck my dick clean. Bitch." She ran over and went on her knees. I spat on the saw and stuck it to her forehead. "Here's what you do : you go down there, and sit your whore ass in his lap. Get his dick out and just sit on it like that, up and down. Put his hands on your itty bitty tiddies if he don't have enough sense to grab hold himself. Then when he's done you tell him we want breakfast. If he asks for money you give him the ten, if he don't you can keep it."
She shot out of there like cartoon lightning. By the time I was out of the shower she was coming in the door. She handed me the ten. "Here Daddy, I made you ten dollars." She was beaming, all smiles. I asked her where did she pick that up ? She told me the man at the desk told her to tell her daddy he's got fifteen keys for him any time he feels like, she doesn't know what that means. I asked her why didn't she ask him what it means ? She gave me a look and said she's just a dumb bitch and it ain't any of her business. She said she just makes with the kitty. "I thought you're a lady", I said to her. She laughed and said "No siree Bob, no lady here. Just the freak bitch whore Phyllis the Runt". I shook my head. "What's the rent on your lady pad back there ?" I quizzed her. "Two fifty." she shot right back. "Due when ?" She giggled at the question. "Monday morning." It figured. "The scratch you had on you, where'd you get it from ?" She started "My Da..." but then stopped herself. "My father gave it to me." I laughed heartily. "You fake bitch, you hanging out the 711 with your sucker Daddy's rent money ?" She nodded her head, eyes on her toes.
"Don't that beat all! Alright you dumb oreo broad, here's what you do : take your Ford up there, get all your junk in it that's yours and bring it back here. This is your home from now on, you got that ?" She nodded, excited like a little kid hearing the first time about a camping trip. I handed her the car keys. "Am I going like this ?" she asked, sheepish. "Naw. Too early on the Lord's day. There may be something to that arresting business. By the way : if you get busted, your name is Mary Jones. Remember that. If you forget it I can't raise you fast." She nodded. "Mary Jones, yes Daddy. I'll remember." I looked her up and down. She sure looked a million bucks, naked whore standing to attention in that rat trap. I meant to squeeze it out of her one way or another anyway, the whole million to a buck. "What are you waiting for ?" Her eyes turned to groveling, like in my dreams. "Daddy, you said don't go like that but I don't have anything else. My dress from last night was in the car when you made me take off everything, remember, but then you told me to use it to wipe. Should I go there like this and put it on like that ?"
One of the guys I let on June her first night that had no money offered up instead a dozen cheap dame vines. Nothing as bad as the twenty-five cent dress Vera broke the street apart in, but not much to write home about either. They were all sizes, June fit a couple of them, I figured it's a cinch something in there might fit this one, and sure enough, once I got the pile out of the closet and dumped it on the bed she slid herself into something much like the glove she originally had on, only fifty times cheaper. Before splitting she gave me a look and then made with her mouth. "Daddy... how come you've got a bunch of dresses all different sizes in the closet ?" I laughed. "Oh, think nothing of it. Some guy owed me some dough he couldn't pay, that's all." She gave me another look, much slyer than before, and went "About... say maybe twenty dollars, was that it ?" I waved my hand at her like judges wave their hands at DAs without a case. She took a step towards me like she was going for a fight. "How many whores have you got ?" I smiled sweetly, "Baby... I ain't got no whore at all. Before I copped yo dumb ass I was blown whoreless, and fresh outta girl. Now that you're starting to get the wax outta dat ass and shake a little scratch here and there maybe I can go about fixing that." She looked at me, trying to keep up her strong cop front but crumbling inside fifty ways to Sunday. Eventually she broke out, "What's it mean, girl ?" I laughed at her. "Snow, baby. Blow. C for cocaine, you know ?" She mouthed "Oh", but didn't say anything. Then she laid into me with "How old are you ?"
I always lie when I tell the truth. I lied to her that way too. "I'm seventeen" I say, and if I kicked her hard as I could right in the belly she'd not been winded like that. "Seventeen!", she said when she could say anything. "My little brother's twenty-three, and he's a wuss." I laughed. "God damned oreo family you've got. Where did you grow up, in some preacher's house ?" "Father's a professor at the university." I nodded at her. "Same thing. And your mom's a sufragetty, no doubt about it." Her eyes turned to water. "Mama's dead." she said at lenght, cold as a gravestone. "You're gonna be just as dead as her if you don't get that ass in gear and outta here." She left crashing the door behind her. I wondered if I just blew a whore. Then I wondered if I'd ever give a shit. I figured I'd blown Vera for much less and missed her a lot more, anyways.
While she was gone I figured I'd go to Mama's parlour and let her in some advanced warning. They still worked mornings on Sunday in those days, open till noon. She was expecting me to show up with June for lunch, but with June out of the picture I wanted to figure out if I bring her the runt to poke at or just let the whole lovergirl angle drop altogether. On the way out I dropped four-fifty on the clerk and picked up all the keys. He pushed one of the fifties back. "What's wrong, Jack ?" He looked at me like I was the owner. "Boss, I know the score. A whore like that, a body's to be plenty lucky to lay into for just a twenty." I looked at him sideways. "Didn't you buy breakfast ?" He nodded. "What gives ?" He shook his head and said "Two dollar breakfast. Boss, you come in, I make a hundred. That's fine. What do I do with the hundred ? I take it over to the red lights, buy myself a bit of fun. Maybe I get myself clipped. Maybe I get conned. Odds are if I find a broad it ain't anything like that freak you came in with. Lettuce's nice but pussy's better. This way I take your hundred straight to the bank, no care in the world. This way it's better than the other way, believe you me."
I nodded at him. "You're a smart operator. I'll keep you in mind." The whole place was mine now, and I'd be damned if I didn't mean to fill it up as soon as possible. I was gonna get me a mahogany desk just like that joker had, and give lectures to people from behind it. Except my people'd all be whores and the disgrace to my respectable institution'd be something the hell else from what everybody everywhere was always doing. You can make a half buck doing what all the other dummies do, but you ain't gonna be having any fun doing it, that's for damn sure. I was gonna have the whole house fulla naked bitches, bunk them two and three to the room and get some frozen steel spikes from somewhere.
On the way to Mama's I ran into a young con. In highschool he was a year older than me, and we didn't talk much. Then when he got out he was mixed up in something I never figured out. They said he was with a crew of cats breaking into empty houses at night and playing communist out there in the dark. It's a lot easier to do than you think, especially if you're the poor, and the rich ain't there with you to do anything about it. His mama said he was just the fall guy for a gang of mean bad men. For what that's worth, my Mama'd have said the whole thing with June was that evil girl, dragging her poor son Bobby into sin with her vile lures. Poor June, she'd make three whores of Babylon smashed into one, by Mama's reckoning. Not that she was anything else, but it's not like she'd have ever figured it out all by herself either.
I was with him all of five minutes when we saw a funeral procession. It affected him something terrible. I asked him if he knew the stiff. He was surprisded. "You don't remember Oscar ?" he asked me. Turns out I did remember him. He was a fat nigger sitting next to me back in high school. He was a dedicated member of the Holiness Church back then. I'd never gotten friendly with him, on account of his only interest at the time seemed to be his church and the god-damned Bible. Most old people won't shut up about it, but this was a kid and worse than ten of thems. He didn't smoke, swear, chase broads or gamble. He could've been a rock-ribbed square, if only he wasn't fourteen years old. His name was Oscar, anyway. Apparently he died a square, and before he was eighteen. The ex-con opened up. They were at the reformatory together, the Wisconsin Green Bay reformatory for boys they called it. He said to me, "They call it a reformatory, but believe me it's prison for real."
It wasn't, though. I didn't know back then, but reformatories are worse than any prison. The thing of it is, kids are made of mud and plaster. They're chickenshits, to the last boy among them. A real prison is tough alright, but in a different way from any reformatory. In a real prison, the cons are older. Many of them murderers, tough guys, hard as coffin nails and with the life sentences to prove it. They'd never put up with the kind of petty tyranny that's standard issue in a reformatory. The food's much better. There's industries, a con could learn a trade if he wanted to. I don't just mean plumbing and carpentry. A con could go into the yard during recreation hours and learn other trades and skills. The heist men stick together, yakking all day about new, more sensational robberies. The fruits and punks lay on the grass in the sun, romancing each other. The pimps and con men stick together, two groups with much overlap. They talk each other's ears off like unemployed actors "rehearsing" their bits. Real prison's all about the cliques, all about bloody vendettas.
Meanwhile at the reformatory, like the punk said, they didn't even have latrines. They shat in buckets, in their cells. Imagine that, all Summer long. The food was all worm castles and crap no plantation nigger back down South would eat. The kids take one good look at those high slate grey walls on their way in and reel from it their whole six or twelve or eighteen months bit. The walls loom grimly in their mind, like a giant fist slugging them silly and then, once they're good and winded, headed straight up their ass. It's anything but home to them, they lay awake in their cots at night crying for their ugly Mama. Reformatory kids never seen screws before, never tried to walk in chains even for fun, the time the jailhouse croaker tells them to take off their duds it's the first time they've been naked with people for half or two in three of them.
The way he told it, there was a warm welcome. After the croaker saw them, and they showered and put on the jacksuits they were lined up in front of the warden, himself and Oscar and some other fruits. The warden gave it to them straight : "Well Sambo, you sure got your black-nigger ass in a sling, didn't you. Get one thing straight. We didn't send for you. You came down here by yourself. You ain't welcome here, that's why we didn't invite you over. What we do here is punish you smart-aleck bastards. Most other kids your age can figure out on their own that they ain't welcome any in this here place we've got. Some's too dumb to figure it out on their own, but that's okay. It's fine, I say. We'll figure it out for you. So, if you fuck around, two things can happen to you. One's that we got a hole here. That's the hole that we bury tough punks in for trial, as it were. Dress rehearsal, see if they're ready for closing night. The way we got it, it's a stripped cell. No light, twenty feet below ground. Down there, two slices of bread and a pint of water twice a day. That's it. Then for the real artists, we have it fixed they go out that North gate, in a box. It's a nice box. You'll be making them yourselves, so you'd better make them nice. Take this rulebook and study it like your life depended on it, because guess what Sambo ? Your life depends on it. Now get your rusted black asses out of my face."
Not bad mouthing off for a Warden taking home enough scratch each month to pay a nigger pimp's breakfast, and raising on it a pretty little whore or two to get the nigger pimp that breakfast for him. Ain't that right ? This one reformatory had a big bad dummy screw in it, dazzling with brass buttons and gold braid on his navy-blue uniform. This screw didn't talk, he just slashed his lead-loaded cane through the air like a vocal sword.
They were all afraid of him because he croaked two white cons and four spades with that cane. They said he hated Niggers. The way the story went, that screw was called Fog Horn by the cons before his trouble made him a dummy. Back in those days his bellows could be heard from one side of the joint to the other. Then his wife killed herself and their crumb crusher, two years old. Apparently he didn't treat them so much better than two cons, because on her note she left him she said "I can't stand your hollering any longer. Good-bye." The head-shrinker of the joint figured when the broad croaked herself, it shut off his box. Now there was one thing this big bad couldn't stand even less than a con or a wife or a nigger or a funny man, and that something was a religious nigger. He never took it true, he always thought they're conning with it, which fair enough half maybe did, but half did not which still puts the nigger ahead of the white folks because I ain't ever seen the flock of them religious where even one in twenty was for real, let alone half.
Now Oscar didn't sit well with him at all, being a nigger like he was, and fat too. Ain't no nigger got a right to be fat by his figuring, not anymore than got a right to be rich, or be here at all in the first place. If it weren't for folks like that there'd be no strife in the world, just whoring and pimping all the way to Heaven. The ex-con said, that dummy screw keep following after poor Oscar day in and day out. The way Oscar had ended up in there in the first place was a one year sentence by that same hawk judge that asked me to go visit with him. It all came from that Oscar, the poor chump, had started going with a crippled Irish girl of seventeen. Some other kid saw them smooching in the dark of a downtown theatre, and sure as sweet potatoes he rolled on them to his parents, who ran over to the other parents, who ran over to the Irish cops, who ran over and booked him, all Irish temper and prejudice. Then it came out he had trespassed the forbidden valley, so the charge of statutory rape naturally offered itself and there was Oscar, up shit river with no paddle in sight. A fat religious nigger that raped a good upstanding Irish angel, and a cripple too, now that was the stuff of that screw's worst nightmares. He kept after poor Oscar day in and day out, until some time six months in poor Oscar lost his mind.
The way the ex-con told it, he just started painting with his own crap one day, his eyes wild and gone. They took him to the croakers, who then sent him to a lock-up for special cases. When he got out, maybe a year ago, his parents took him back in. They took him to all the churches and miracle men. All the croakers told them to lock him up, but they wouldn't do it. This went on for a year almost, until Monday morning. Oscar ran in front of a truck. He was in the hospital a brief stint, and now they were taking him to more settled arrangements. We walked behind the few dozen people a short while, but then I broke off and headed straight to Mama's.
She was pressing a young customer's hair. She turned the windmill on the moment she laid her eyes on me. "I have been worried. Where have you been ? Did you find a job?" I told her I think maybe I might be getting a clerk job with an office but jobs aren't as easy as all that these days. A lot of run-around most of the time. She nodded like I was preaching the gospel. She said "I hope, Son, you haven't been with Pepper." I looked down at the nut brown, shapely girl getting her hair pressed. "Pepper?" I said "She's too old for me. I like young pretty brownskin girls. Pepper's too yellow for me." The youngster flashed her eyes up at me. She smiled. I winked and ran my tongue over my lips. She dug it. She blushed. I put her on file. I said "Mama, you remember June ?" Of course she remembered her. What a nice girl that June. "Well mama..." I started, and she bristled immediately "What happened ?" I almost teared up. "She's done left me, that's what happened". I was growing indignant. "Some white joker whistled and like a dog she went a-running, Mama! Ain't nowhere in this world an honest fella can find an honest woman for himself ?" She all but went Amen, eyes high to the ceiling like in her prayer meetings. She'd know, too. The fresh package was bubbling inside of herself. She'd make a fine whore alright. I didn't feel like breaking the runt news anymore. Mama said "Well son, there's a roast going in the oven anyhow. Shut the gas off and eat. I'll be coming that way just as soon as I'm done with Miss Jackson here." I shook the young broad's hand. "Bobby Beck. Pleased to make your acquaintance." She was tickled pink. I knew that next I run into her she's set up for a cop.
I went to Mama's place and dug into the steak. Just by the time I was done she paddled up the stairs herself. I sat around in her yeakking for as long as I could stand it and then split. By the time I got back to the runt it was getting dark. The car was there, and the bitch inside, buck naked, doing her toenails.