Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pimping My Ride - Part 3

When I heard that some of the other girls’ pimps wanted to meet with me, I was naturally apprehensive, my apprehension only slightly tempered by the inclusion of the preposition. Call me old-fashioned, but the prospect of meeting with someone is somehow less ominous, more...corporate, than that of just meeting him.

In any event, they had two suggestions — Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n’ Waffles in Hollywood — where hip hop stars who were forever threatening on record to sodomize one another with baseball bats liked to meet to laugh at the gullible white kids who bought the records — or Maurice’s Snack ‘n’ Chat, the celebrated soul food place on Pico Blvd.

I’m abashed to confess my surprise on discovering that only half of my two fellow pimps, Antawn, was Afro-American. The other, who called himself Dusk, seemed to be Filipino-American, or possibly even Indonesian-American. Neither was dressed flamboyantly. Antawn wore a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, Dockers, and loafers, without socks. I was pretty sure his glasses were Liz Claiborne, as I’d nearly bought a pair just like them myself a few weeks before. The diminutive Dusk wore a navy blue blazer with large gold buttons over a gray turtleneck. But for the small diamond in one of his front teeth, and the scar from Antawn’s left earlobe down to just above his laryngeal prominence (or Adam’s apple) I don’t think anyone would have imagined either of them to be anything spicier than an accountant.

We started off with lighthearted small talk. Antawn, originally from Oakland, had had to drop out of UCLA’s MBA program when indicted two years earlier for human trafficking. He enjoyed tennis and believed himself to have one of the most notable collections of Louis Armstrong recording and memorabilia in the country. Dusk, on the other hand, had spent most of his professional life in the hospitality industry, starting as a concierge’s “monkey” at a three-star hotel in Quezon City and later working his way up to being manager of a Quality Inn in Costa Mesa. I wouldn’t have imagined him to be much past 35, but he’d just become a grandfather, and proudly displayed a photograph of a little girl who’d been born too recently to look very pretty yet, though of course Antawn and I assured him she was the most gorgeous baby either of us had ever seen. A lot of people don’t realize that it takes a few days for a newborn infant to cease looking strangely squished and otherworldly.

Once having replaced his photographs in his billfold, Dusk told me if I tried to steal any of his bitches he’d cut my motherfucking heart out with a putty knife, and give it to neighborhood children to play soccer with. His calm, measured tone was that of one saying that a delivery of door hinges was likely to be 24 hours late, but I was nonetheless discomfited. Seeing which, the conciliatory Antawn patted my leg reassuringly and chuckled, “I’m afraid my learned colleague has a penchant for overstatement.”

“Just try me,” Dusk said, his tone no less measured, but his eyes molten lava now. I involuntarily shuddered, and a waitress arrived to take our order.

Antawn didn’t share Dusk’s concern about my luring his “bitches” away. Indeed, he turned out to hope I might be persuaded to take the truculent Sha’quaw’naa off his hands. I laughed nervously as my smothered chicken was placed before me and said that, though I was sure Sha’quaw’naa was a lovely person once you got past the truculence, I, novice that I was, had my hands full with Jeanette, Babs, and Temp’Este. He beamed at me, shaking his head as though at an adorably errant child. He addressed me as "motherfucker" and pointed out that he was tellin', rather than axin'.

[Many of my books are now available for download from Amazon. They include The Total Babe & Other Wine Country Yarns, Lentils on the Moon (aka A Message From Jesus in Braille, aka A History of the Jews in the Hudson Valley), Self-Loathing: An Owner's Manual, Third World USA, The Mona Lisa's Brother, and, for baseball nuts, Foul Balls and Alpha Males. You need neither a Kindle nor an iPad to enjoy 'em; simply download (free) Kindle software for either Mac or Windows, and enjoy them on your laptop or other computer!]

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