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Tirani en Oppresshaun
Out of Town on Business in Harm City
© 2014 James LaFond
"Every woman is a whore, except for your mother; who was a whore before I married her."
-Big Nate's father
Author’s Note
This story is based on a real account related to me from a fellow grocer. I had no pen and paper on me and Dante and I never ran into each other again. I was able to recall enough of his account to check off an incident report in my violence index and include it in my study. But all I had for structuring an anecdote were these bare bones, and Dante’s feelings about the event, with no dialogue. Of the four people involved I only had one name. That makes Dante’s experience grist for the Harm City Noir fiction mill. The name of one character comes from the New Testament. The names of the other two characters come from WIC vouchers, courtesy of Miss Ezz, bookkeeper at a ghetto supermarket.
It was a cold winter night in this crappy town. Dante had always hated Cleveland and Philadelphia. Now he hated Baltimore too. He could not wait to get back to Indianapolis. But would he live to see his hometown; the company’s headquarters town; the hub of his ambitions? Dante was a smart, hard-working store director; manager of a standout operation right under the noses of the big wigs and honchos at corporate. If he could only survive Luke’s insane quest for ‘Hos’ he might be a district manager before forty—
He swerved nervously to avoid the homeless guy that was puking into the street, kneeling on the concrete median trying not to foul his cardboard sign, and consequently falling face first into the path of this poor handing rental sedan.
‘Jesus, that was close! We need to get back downtown to the hotel. This is just nuts.’
Luke, pasty white and dressed—like Dante—in the Mormon Missionary garb of a retail food manager, was screaming out the window at two black chicks walking with traffic, on the shoulder of the eastbound lane, “Hey sugar—got your daddy right here!”
The two women—not big, not small, not tall, not pretty—turned defiantly with their hands on their hips. The one with the straight hair said, “Say what?” as Dante pulled over as if the very hand of the Devil himself had willed it.
They were in front of some strip club called The Gentlemen’s Gold Club. The girl with the short afro seemed a little intrigued. The one with the straight hair made him nervous, with her untamed snarling red-painted lip. They were perhaps twenty, almost half his age, less than half Luke’s age.
Luke rolled down his window and leaned out almost in the girl’s face as she bent, hands on hips, as if she were inspecting them. “I just thought you fine young ladies would like to party with my friend Dante and I. We’ll get whatever you want at the liquor store.”
The girl turned to the other one and said, “Get in, up front here with your driving man.” She then pulled the door open—too confidently he thought—and playfully snarled to Luke, “Me en mister drinkin’ man can make nice in da back.”
‘Oh my God. This is not happening. Hookers are getting into the car that I rented with Cynthia’s credit card!’
The quiet girl slid into the seat next to him and nodded meekly, as the other one fairly dragged Luke into the back seat and started fussing with his belt. Luke then belched, causing the girl up front to twitch her nose in disgust and the girl in the back to laugh. Luke was so drunk it was embarrassing. But somehow, despite his misgivings, he drove on. The girls had light jackets and small purses with tight jeans and petite sweaters underneath. They seemed too lightly dressed to be pedestrians and not scantily clad enough to be hookers.
‘Oh God, they could be cops! Vice cops!’
“Where to?” he heard his voice quake nervously as he pulled off and kept heading east.
The one in the back spoke firmly as she unzipped Luke’s pants, “Oh, I ain’ havin’ no drunk fat man pass out on my ass. Foget da liquor baby. Pull up da way to da Duke’s Motel en ged us a room.”
He then watched in the rearview mirror with some disgust as Luke and the hooker began kissing—big slurping kisses. Luke then began pushing her head down and she slapped him and snarled, “I ain’t like dat bitch. I gots ta have a room—ain’t no back alley dicksucka!”
The girl next to him looked nervously at Dante. Dante—always one to smooth a situation over—smiled at her and spoke as calmly as possible, “Come on Luke. Let’s have some respect.”
The Caucasian Freight Train
Luke zipped up his pants and buckled his belt, then smiled. “I’m sorry miss. I think the Caucasian Freight Train can wait a few minutes!”
Both of the girls then laughed, and the ice was effectively broken. The girl up front smiled openly and turned to look at the mouthy one, who blurted to Luke, “Go on now, you got a name fo yo dick?”
Luke then puffed his chest out proudly, recovering his composure as he sunk into the bullshit artist mode of conversation that was his norm, “Ladies, you shall find out soon enough that it is a much deserved moniker.”
The mouthy girl then recoiled as the other smiled again, “It’s a monkey. You got some freak-ass monkey in you pants?”
Luke was now back on his arrogant ascent. “A moniker is a name, a nick name.”
‘I am not listening to another sentence about this idiot’s penis!’
Dante interjected, “So ladies, now that we are acquainted with Luke’s alter ego, I would like to introduce myself. I am Dante, and all of my body parts fall under that name. How about you ladies?”
The mouthy one in the back flicked Luke on the chin with her fingernail and spoke for both of them, “I’m Tyranny; T, i, r, a, n, i—Tirani. That my sista Oppresshaun, spelled Irish on da end afta our granddaddy who were a white dude. Dare it is Dante—da Duke’s Motel.”
Even checking in to one of these places was embarrassing. He had done it once when he had sex with Miss Gents, the ‘signage nazi’ from corporate. He was so glad Cynthia had never found out. It would have broken her heart, and had been such a big mistake. The woman behind the counter seemed nearly dead of boredom, and never made eye-contact. For $52 he soon had a room key.
They all followed him around to the back, where the room faced a small hillside that seemed to separate this way station of sin from a working class neighborhood. He had asked for a non-smoking room but could smell the stale smoke-fouled air rising from every thread of upholstery and drapery. Oppressaun stood meekly by him in the doorway while Luke and Tirani pirouetted in a groping lip-lock toward the lone bed.
Within seconds he had the makeshift door secured and turned to see Tirani ripping off Luke’s clothes. He then eyed a possible sanctuary and put his hand on Oppressaun’s shoulder and whispered, “You don’t really want to see this, do you?”
The Shower
The girl blinked in what seemed the affirmative and extended her hand so he could lead her to the bathroom. They stepped in, where he was pleasantly surprised to find a fair sized space and a stall shower. He motioned for her to have a seat on the toilet and then turned the sink faucet and the shower on. He pulled the shower curtain and stood with his back to it, adopting his most respectful tone, “I’m just taking my jacket off okay. We can sit in here and talk until your sister and my friend are done. Then I’ll drop you girls off wherever you want to go.”
He was now taking off his jacket and looking down at his neatly polished loafers wondering what he and this apparently mute girl where going to speak about. ‘Her goals! That’s right; make this a job counseling session.”
He looked up with a smile and looked right into the barrel of a .25 auto.
‘Oh God!’
Her small purse sat open on her lap. The small gun pointed at his face in her right hand. And in her left hand, she held a cocktail napkin inscribed with blood red lipstick—that would be Tirani’s lipstick, because this girl did not wear lipstick, just gloss—‘Strip’.
“Okay miss. I am getting undressed. I am unarmed. I am non-violent. I will give you no trouble.”
He heard a howl of pain from the main room. Then the most absurd thing happened. When he had taken off every stitch of clothing and stood naked before her, he was just worried that he had not been hitting the gym enough; that he had started to get something of a gut, and felt self conscious about his nakedness.
Oppressaun then flipped the napkin around. This side of the napkin read, ‘wallet, cell, keys’.
He fished his wallet, cell and keys out of his pants pockets and placed them on the back of the sink, ridiculously worried about them getting wet. He then heard a yelp and a howl of pain from the main room, and Tirani’s snarled words, “Bitch, now!”
He had to smile and say something. “I guess I got the lucky draw. What now?”
The silent woman then pointed past him to the shower as she rose and leveled the gun at his belly. He backed into the shower and stood in the warm stream of water. She then kicked the clothes aside and nervously stuffed his belongings in her small purse, which held more than one might have expected. She then dropped her purse on his clothes and shoes, and draped a white towel over the pile. Then she stepped toward him, grabbed the curtain with her left hand, and pressed the gun muzzle to his belly.
“Please miss, please.”
She closed her eyes, kissed his chest, looked up at him, and then pulled the curtain between them as she stepped away. There was an angry knock on the door and the girl then nervously gathered up the belongings, gun still in hand, and stepped out as the door was opened from the outside. Tirani’s defiant face then poked through the door and regarded him through the clear curtain with a smile, “Nice doin’ business with you Mister Dante—goodbye!”
He stood in the shower for some while, then thought ‘what the hell’ and got soaped up. He might as well wash the earthly filth from his body. Really, the water pressure was not bad. It was amazing how one appreciated the little things after a gun has been shoved in your belly.
After five minutes or so Luke began yelling for him, ‘Dante! Dante, get the fuck in here!”
‘To hell with you Luke.’
He turned up the water and got it nice and hot, almost scalding himself. Then, after perhaps five more minutes, he could hear Luke crying, “Dante, for God’s sake Dante!”
He took his time drying off with the washcloths and used the remaining towel to wrap around his waist. When he emerged into the room Luke, pasty, flabby Luke, was not on the bed, or cringing under the covers as he had expected, but laid out in an X on the floor, between the small table and chair, his ankles zip-tied to the table legs and his wrists zip-tied to the joints halfway up the leg of the old wooden chair. The vaunted Caucasian Freight Train appeared as impotent and dejected as his master. Dante could not help himself, and as he tore the bedspread off and cloaked himself in it for the walk to the rental office, he just had to pay some of this back, “You should not have made a big promise you couldn’t keep Luke. Those zip-ties look tight.”
Luke was beside himself with suddenly sober frustration, and jiggled a little when he spoke, “These things are killing me man. I’ll lose my hands and feet. Get me loose.”
“I left my case-cutter in Indianapolis Luke. I’ll get the cops, pronto.”
As he shut the door and stepped onto the cold concrete he could hear Luke moan.
‘I’m just glad to be alive; even glad to have this cold concrete under my feet.’
Editors of Venus
Fruit of The Deceiver
masculine axis
advent america
on combat
logic of force
honor among men
blue eyed daughter of zeus
broken dance
winter of a fighting life
your trojan whorse
the first boxers
on the overton railroad
the sunset saga complete
the lesser angels of our nature
the year the world took the z-pill
song of the secret gardener
the fighting edge
menthol rampage
the combat space
fiction anthology one
taboo you
when you're food
logic of steel
thriving in bad places
let the world fend for itself
america the brutal
the gods of boxing
dark, distant futures
orphan nation
book of nightmares
by the wine dark sea
son of a lesser god
the greatest lie ever sold
barbarism versus civilization
under the god of things
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