It's backwoods fun gone concrete style. Compadres of the underground kind are hangin' out back of a low-end gym well past closing time. The kinda place where bets outweigh pvssy 10 to 1 and the odds of taking home a winning ticket are lost on crooked bookies and bugs crawling down the walls.
The guy she's verbally battling is brazen and she hasn't decided if she likes it but allows him the violation when he snags her cigarette.
"I ain't got enough faith left, so if you think you know me," lazy finger wagged between 'em, "from this charming tete-a-tete, then more power to ya." Girl pinches the filter, toggles it once to check for lip spit on her paper. Satisfied he’s a dry smoker, she inhales with the squint of an eye.
Shae was forced to sometimes hang where the paupers became kings. Underground heavens that crowned glory for way more than just sins. A boxing gym where the hood’s prime talent lurked hoping for that pot 'o gold at the end of a rusted rainbow.
Girl was a lurker. A voyeur. That dirty note taker. And she didn’t linger long before she was wandering ‘round the dank corner for a back entrance to Cadaver’s for a nightcap and a hustle—ya just never know what you’ll find where the roaches come to feed.
Mighta been the crunch of gravel under the Dark Dame’s heeled boot when she makes the corner, but it was the start of a very unexpected meeting.
"Wouldn't go in there if I were you, you got another fan taking a contract out on you," he exhales a cloud of smoke. "You getting’ sloppy, Shae, that's the third a**hole in one week."
“The fvck, Joaquin?” she grumbles with irritation lookin’ up to him and stopping in her tracks. “You scared the fvck outta me. Jesus Christ.” He always looked like a warlord coming for his bounty through the lazy linger of a smoky haze. "You keepin’ tabs on me?" Stretched her neck to loosen the tension he was causin’. "An’ we both know that’s a crock." About her getting sloppy. Too long in it to be getting soft. Chin up, exhale was s m o o t h e.
"Something must be brewing, though, for you to come to spy on me.” Filter pitched to a puddle. “Or, did you just miss me?”
A Marlboro red dangles precariously in his inked fingers. He’s used to the look of irritation on most women, so it doesn’t move him, but he is alert in case she throws one of her hooks at his jaw. He’d been witness to her fits of rage when drunks or sluts didn’t know when to back off. Failing to keep a straight face and the smoke in, he coughs painfully.
“My bad,” he quips with sarcasm like the last round in a six-shooter. Joaquin’s feverishly bright blue eyes give her the once over, she’s looking rough but then again everyone looks rough around these parts at this time of night.
To the common eye she looks nothing more than some tart aiming for a come up, but to Joaquin she is a calculating minx who uses beauty as the bluff. The come up was nothing more than a temporary fix to the bigger picture that lurks in the pits of their gut. Ambition is often a wild whore never satisfied with its pay. The suckers who fell for her hustle had it comin’ in his opinion and he didn’t feel a lick of pity for them. She was a fvcking predator.
There is no quick response to the boldness her tongue spews out, its automatic and he knows it. One thing he learned about the auric haired hustler is that she has a quick mouth. He was a man of action, and she was well-versed in the art of deception. To challenge her could be frustrating.
“Dez is dead, remember her?” he says with a lean in her direction like it might intimidate her. “Word on the street is she got a little too greedy with some dealers. They fvcked her and cut her to pieces. I fronted her some money and now my investment is going up in flames and I need that money back. Problem is I don’t know where the hell she lived, and I was hoping you knew something about it?”
And this is where the underworld separates the practiced from the peddlers. “Nah.” The run of her tongue across front teeth is a wolfing test. Shae knows that Joaquin is marked. Having moved inside, a nod to the bartender calls for the usual.
“Not what I hear.” The pitch in his voice touts knowledge, but her glance over is so irritably indifferent he digs deeper. “I hear Dom was fvckin’ her. Maybe that’ll jog your memory.”
Bile brews deep and so does her impatience for this renegade. So, she took a sip of the long neck and set the dark bottle back with a robust tap. With a harlot’s twist at the hips, she wings an elbow to the bar to lazily square up with him. “You ever here the saying truth fears no trial.”
His silence was the problem with America’s education.
“Look it up and then you’ll understand my position.”
[TO BE CONTINUED]