Here I am again.
She’s sitting there, slowly counting through dollar bills, her long nails in stark red with the gold jewels glued on, the slight clacking of the charms on her many gold bracelets, that look of concentration in her kohl-lined, false eye-lashed eyes, hair all done up, tits in some tight shirt. Counting money. That’s right. Count my money. Her cigarette dangles off the edge of the ash tray, the cocaine glistens on the mirror in the middle of the table. Me? I’m just relaxing in divine repose, likewise done up and dressed down in lingerie and red lipstick. Business as usual.
I took the time to gaze out the window, because even in a heaven like this, there’s still the world to watch outside. It’s just the same old streets, slicked down with the sweat of slight rain and the people plodding by. This street is always gray, even when it’s bright and sunny middle of summer. This neighborhood is always dark, which is for the most part a reflection of the demeanor the people who live here. Cars whizzed by. Time marched on.
This shit, as usual. Not that there’s anything profound about counting money. Or that there’s anything very deep or fascinating about what I do in particular. I just do what I do because – well what else am I supposed to do? I haven’t worked a day in my life, or, at least, not in the traditional sense. Sitting down all covered up in Sunday clothes for some job interview that only pays minimum wage – not my thing. Not now, not ever. So there’s different paths to take in life, and that’s what I did, and it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it might bother some people, but I don’t talk to those people, so it doesn’t bother me at all.
So, back to my beer. Back to my mundane, nothing interesting at all day. My lipstick leaves traces on the collar of the beer, which is cold, and rather than put it back on the table, I hold it between my thighs. Because I like to feel something between my legs.
I can hear him pull up to the building from a block away. It’s time.
“Put that shit away,” I say to her. She bundles it up, hands it over. I throw it in the safe and wait for the knock on the door.
He comes in, tilting the energy in the room from distinctly feminine to unglamorously masculine. We don’t speak much, and she just sits there obediently, which is how I like her. He doesn’t say anything as he walks in, surveys our sordid scene. In my eyes, the apartment is everything I want it to be: slightly worn around the edges, brocade fabric on the couch, vintage decor and a swath of ash around almost everything. In his eyes, there’s judgment, which piques me because who is he to judge me. Well, I guess he’s someone, and maybe I should care a little bit more about, well, not his judgment but at least our so-called relationship because it works. It’s a working relationship, and even if it’s all business, it’s easier to be easy than full of friction.
He pulls the key out of his jacket breast pocket and with a thud it lands on the table. Still Wrapped up in plastic and bound over with tape.
“Want a drink?” I ask, swigging back on mine as I splay myself across the couch. I can’t really help it. Sex sells, which is why I sell sex, and even if I’m buying drugs I still can’t help myself.
“I’m cool.” I eye him icily. He is cool. He is very cool. Which is why I do business with him and not many other people. That’s the thing about drugs – people get so chatty when they’re in this business. And that’s not really what I’m looking for. I’m looking for efficiency. I’m looking for someone who minds his own business. Someone that seems like I might be able to trust him after another fifteen years of doing this. Because I don’t really trust people.
His shit is good, and his shit is consistent, which is why we’ve been riding for this long. I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about him, but he rides that motorcycle and his prices are fair. He’s probably the type of person who could go straight if he wanted to – he has a work ethic that translates and his personality isn’t overtly tainted with crime and sin. He could wear a suit. He’d look good.
“That guy is out there again,” he informs me. I bolt up and push back the curtains to peer back out the window. Him again.
“Oh, that’s the landlord,” I say. “He’s harmless.”
He bristles a bit but says nothing. It’s true. He knows I’m not lying. I don’t have to go into more detail to convince him. I don’t have to let him know that the landlord is just some young weirdo whose dad gave him this property to manage. I don’t think the landlord has many friends. He tends to sit in his car outside of the building a couple times a week, usually playing on his phone. He probably has to pretend to be busy, but it doesn’t bother me. He’s weird, but he’s no creep, and I can handle weird. I can handle the landlord’s teeming male insecurities that allow him to stare at me slack jawed whenever I come around but don’t allow him to cross the line into actually saying something. He knows I’d crush him. Which is a good sign, really. When a man can’t pick up what I’m putting down, it signals a dearth of social skills, and the inability to socialize with other people – well, now we’re on the path to psychopathy, and those motherfuckers are capable of anything. Trust me. I’ve seen it.
I look back at the dealer. He’s still standing there, so square and tall in the middle of the room. He’s looming. I know what this means. He’s waiting. For the payment. And it’s not that I’m lagging, it’s just that, well, this is business. So I pull out the cash and toss onto the table next to the drugs.
“We gucci?” I ask.
“We gucci,” he says. And with that, he leaves.
Back to work.