|Publisher:||Open Road Distribution|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Odie Hawkins
Holloway House Publishing Co.Copyright © 2012 Odie Hawkins
All rights reserved.
Elijah Brookes stood under the awning in front of the Stickhall, his hat tilted down stylishly over his left eye, his right foot acting as a buttress between himself and the wall behind him, a toothpick casually wobbling from one side of his mouth to the other, as he listened to the man everybody called Monkeydude tell obvious lies to him and two other men.
Monkeydude's latest lie about having been George Raft's bodyguard back in the forties made Elijah smile sarcastically. Who knows what Monkeydude had been? George Raft's bodyguard? Well, he was ugly enough to have been anybody's bodyguard. But, goddamn! Why would he always have to be telling lies that were really so unbelievable? Especially to the cynics who hung out at the Stickhall.
Brotherman, a top-flight cynic, egging Monkeydude on, asked him, with a sly wink to the others, "Did George Raft let you get off into any of that Hollywood pussy he had locked up, Monk?"
"Did he!? Shiiii-it! Lemme tell you ... mannnn ..."
Elijah blotted out Monkeydude's high-pitched voice and the presence of the men around him, as he stared back at the two young white women waiting for the light at the corner to change.
The look that they exchanged was well understood.
Yeahhh, I know what you jive bitches see, Elijah curled his lips down with hip contempt ... ain't but four of us out here but I bet y'all see a whole bunch o' niggers hangin' 'round outside a poolroom, heehawin' 'n wastin' time.
His curled-down lips altered to form the essence of a smile as the light changed from red to green and back to red again while they stared.
No, it wasn't Monkeydude's story tellin', hoppin' around, diggin' in his ass and laughin' at his own lies that held them His smile flared slightly.
They were looking at him. He tilted his head back a little giving the bright afternoon sun a better angle to glance off the smooth planes of his face, and slowly assumed a straddle-legged Shaft-in-the-Ghetto stance so that they could see that he didn't have any shorts on and that he was well hung.
The driver flushed red and suddenly remembered that she was an attractive, young, white brunette driving her girlfriend through the heart of the Southside.
They zoomed off with the next change of the light, trying to re-assume the conventional stiffness they always maintained when driving north on Indiana Avenue, and especially 'round about 47th Street.
Elijah squinted after their car and turned back to the end of Monkey's story.
"Yeahhh, man ... George Raft was a sho' 'nuff righteous dude."
Elijah shared the indulgent smiles of the men who had graciously granted Monkeydude some b.s. time. What else could you do? There was no way to stop the man from running his mouth, from telling one lie after another.
Brotherman leaned toward Elijah and whispered, con style, "Here come Dee Dee, brotherman."
Elijah winked in reply and threw his toothpick away. A few quick calculations led to one logical decision. What the hell, why not? I won't be meetin' Nick downtown 'til five.
The other men, having spotted Dee Dee Wilson's slow, lush, summer-heavy approach, paused in their actions. Knowing that she was Elijah's thang they didn't want to seem overly interested, but she did have an ass on her that required attention, if it was glanced at from off to the side.
He measured her approach by the surreptitious looks in the eyes of his circle.
Monkeydude, so called because that's what he most closely resembled, took the pregnant pause as an encouragement to begin another embroidery.
"Yeah suhhh, the West Coast, back in the forties, was a pure idee dick head, y'all hear me, a pure idee dick head!"
Elijah took in the full picture of her passing him by, being cool, before he decided to speak.
A hot, sultry Chicago-Southside at 47th and Indiana Avenue type day ... 38-24-38 ... Dee Dee Wilson, the best pussy in the neighborhood.
"Where you on your way, Miss Lady?" he slurred at her above the noise of cars honking, record shop music playing and the stream of motherfuckers that spilled from a sucker's mug after being trapped by a shark inside the Stickhall.
Dee Dee turned with an elaborate but graceful movement ... I'm black and beautiful and I know it.
"Uhhh, oh hi, Elijah."
He felt the impulse to burst into a shrapnel of laughter. Sarcastic. Evil. Cruel. Bullshit. "Uhhh, oh hi, Elijah." Ain't this some shit!?
"I see y'all later on," he signaled to his group and strolled over to Dee Dee, her left hip flexed, their slow movements jelling with the first few steps taken together.
"Damn! I thought you was gon' just shine me on for a minute."
She took a few more steps, negotiating a few familiar cracks in the concrete before answering, wistfully, "You know I wouldn't do that."
"Well, I was just wonderin'," he came back at her smugly, "you act so funny at times."
She gave him her special understanding smile, content to let him spool his little game out.
"How's Leelah?" she asked slyly, after ten more quiet steps together, knowing that she had him for a few hours of this particular afternoon anyway.
"She's awright, I guess," he answered casually. "I haven't seen 'er in a few days."
"That's not what I heard."
Elijah curled his lips down in a familiar expression of disdain. Damn! It sho' would be nice if motherfuckers stayed out of my business. "What did you hear, baby?" he asked, cooling out his urge to leave her with her useless insinuations and go on back to the Stickhall, but ... what better way could be found to kill off a few hours than with Dee Dee?
"I heard that you all had gone back together, for one thing."
He ignored her comment for a few steps, waved coolly at a sometime hustlin' partner across the street.
"Heyyyy, looka here, Dee Dee, if you dumb enough to believe everything people say ... well ..." He shrugged and smiled a deliberately cute li'l smile at her with the corners of his mouth.
Dee Dee melted with the smile and threaded her arm through his. "I don't really pay too much attention to what people be sayin' about you, you know that."
He swept his eyes around in a sneaky review of the streets. Be just my fuckin' luck for Leelah to catch me out here with this bitch hangin' onto my arm.
"I thought you had better sense than to be lettin' people tell you what to think. Remember what I told you ... believe nothin' that you hear and only half of what you see."
Having tightened it up completely, they continued strolling, both of them knowing that the eventual destination was her apartment.
"Where your kids at?" he asked suavely, yards away from the entrance to her building.
"They over at my mother's place, that's where I was just comin' from," she replied, her eyes down.
Good, he thought, it won't be necessary to make Leonard and Tischie go out to play.
He nodded, ever so slightly, to the dope fiends sitting on the front stoop. Best thing to do is maintain, no tellin' when one o' these fucked-up motherfuckers might come in handy sometime.
Dee Dee led him up to the third floor, past the topless garbage cans, the blaring soul music, the heavy piss smell and the children playing noisy games in the halls.
"You wanna brew?" she asked him as she unlocked her door.
"Yeahhh, yeah, that sho' would be nice," he mumbled and gracefully slid himself onto the beat-up sofa to the left of the door.
He lapped at Dee Dee's lush behind with his eyes as she walked through the small, cramped apartment to the kitchen. He found it almost impossible to keep a straight face, knowing what was about to go down.
In the summertime they made love sitting on a chair, she draping herself across his lap, or they got it together on the sofa, or went into her small, junky, funky, cluttered bedroom. In the wintertime they always went to the bedroom, especially if she was between boyfriends.
He took his hat off and ruffled his manicured fingers through his semi-curly hair. What the hell was Dee Dee to him? he asked himself as she held the can of beer out to him. A good fuck, he decided easily, watching her settle herself beside him with her own can. But, aside from that, what? A good friend? Yes, that too, if it meant that good friends loaned you money whenever you needed it and you never had to worry about paying them back.
"Why you lookin' at me like that?"
"Like what, baby?"
"Like you lookin'."
He pulled a long sip from his can for effect before answering. "I was just thinkin' some pretty things about you, that's all."
"Like what?" she asked with practiced shyness.
"Put your beer down and come closer 'n I'll whisper it in your ear."
She took a big gulp, attempting not to seem too anxious, sat the can down beside the sofa and eased closer.
Elijah looked at the curvings of her ear and thought, wowwwww! It's really weird how square some grown-up women try to be. Now here we are, the onliest thing we ever do whenever we get together is fuck ... and now, here she is, pretending that she wants me to whisper something deep into her goddamned ear.
He gently rimmed the outer ridges of her ear before he allowed the tip of his tongue to slip into the core. Her involuntary shiver told him, once again, that he had touched the money.
He stood up slowly, carefully unbuttoning his shirt.
"Mind if I take off my shirt? It's awfully hot in here."
She surreptitiously checked the doorknob, to make certain that it was in the locked position, and nodded slyly, yes, yes, yes ... to whatever he wanted to do.
Elijah checked his watch as he bent over to unlace his shoes, shirt and undershirt neatly arranged on a nearby chair. Three o'clock ... beautiful ... just enough time. "What about you, Dee Dee, ain't you hot too, baby?"
She rolled her eyes at him, neither affirming or denying that she was "hot."
He straightened up and suddenly realized that his approach to things had been just a wee bit abrupt. Even if they had been doin' it since high school, on and off, she still expected to be romanced a bit, at times.
He sank down beside her on the sofa, carefully tightening his thirty-year-old stomach.
"I asked you, ain't you hot too, baby?" he whispered as he fondled her breast and kissed her.
"Uhhh huh," she affirmed and stood to take off her skirt and blouse.
Elijah slumped on the sofa and slid his pants off as he watched her striptease.
One thing that was really groovy about Dee Dee, he thought, you never had to bullshit around with her ... if she wanted to git it on, that's what y'all did. If she didn't, you could run a red-hot poker up her pussy and she wouldn't quiver a false eyelash.
She held her hand out to him with her panties draped around her ankles. "C'mon, let's go in the bedroom," she spoke in a low, clear voice.
Elijah eased into his shoes and tried to make his way out of the bedroom without making any noise.
As usual, he failed. The metal natural comb at the dresser's edge caught his thigh and clattered to the floor.
Dee Dee slowly rolled over onto her back, the sweat-wrinkled sheet draped across her stomach.
"Yeah, baby," he answered casually, bending to pick up the comb, hating this part of it all. Damn!
"Why you lie so much?'
He negotiated the few steps around the haphazardly scattered shoes, dirty clothes needing to go to the laundromat or the cleaners, and sat on the side of the bed.
"I ain't lyin', sweetthang ... I have got to meet Nick at five. I told you that, remember? A li'l while ago."
She turned her face to the window, trying to arouse his pity, and mumbled skeptically, "Yeahhh, uhh huh, okay whatever you say."
He stared hatefully at the side of her face for a few seconds, feeling the urge to slam his right fist into it. Why did she, why did women always have to pull this ... this ... act?
He softened at the sight of her beautiful brown eyes watering up in the deep afternoon light. He leaned over and shoveled her shoulders up into his arms.
"Dee Dee, don't be this way, baby ... you know I wouldn't leave if I didn't have to. You know that, don't you?"
He frowned over her shoulder as her arms gripped him around the neck and smeared tears on his shirt front.
"I know you have to go, it's just that ... it's just that I don't really get a chance to see you 'cept every now 'n then."
He held her back from his shirt front, feeling compassion in spite of himself. "I know, baby ... I know. But you know how it is, thangs'll be movin' so fast sometimes that I don't really have too much of a chance, sometimes ... to be doin' what I really would like to be doin'."
Dee Dee nodded agreeably, knowing that it was all bullshit, designed to ease his exit and give her something to hang onto for next time. He kissed her and pulled himself out of her embrace a few throbs away from getting back into bed with her.
"I gotta get on my job, baby ..." he whispered with a definite move and stood up.
She blew a kiss at him and cocked her right leg lasciviously as he turned to take one last look at her from the bedroom door.
"See you later on," he signed to her and retrieved his hat from the sofa on his way out.
Closing the door softly, he almost sighhhed ... beautiful, I got away clean.
He checked his watch ... 4:18 p.m. ... groovy ... just enough time.
He froze off the attention given him by his friends as he walked quickly past the Stickhall.
"Awww, you don't know us now, huh? ... now that you done gone 'n got yo' nuts off."
He felt no need to reply to Brotherman's comment, what was ahead was more important and he was already wheeling his attention around to it.
On the El heading downtown, his consciousness flickered, as it often did when he was going to run a game, from the game to what he had just finished doing.
He smiled at his reflection in the El window. What could be better preparation for anything than fuckin'?
He held his hand out in front of him slightly, studied it and smiled again. Pussy calms you down.
Dee Dee Wilson. We could've really been into something if she hadn't got herself all fucked up. First, one accident, then another accident and finally, some fool says "Ahhh luvvv you, baybeee," and you off to the races again, minus his love and support because after he had gotten his "luvvv" thang satisfied, he was off to new fields. Yeahhh, Dee Dee, I can understand you trying to hang around my neck, if I had had as many bitches break my heart, as you've had dudes, I think I'd try to hang on too.
Elijah snorted and sucked phlegm down his throat. Damn ... wish I had some more coke ... that was some nice girl Monkeydude had. Maybe Nick'll have some.
He popped up at his stop, pleased to see the early birds, the fifteen minute to five guys, rushing onto the El, anxious to get back to their necks of the woods.
Yeahhh, the more the merrier.
He took the steps to the streets two at a time, feeling full, masculine, hip, happy, in a way, to be on his job.
He strolled the block to the first place he and Nick the Geech planned to do, studying the shapely bodies passing him by, the square clothes draped on the flabby shapes of the white businessmen.
Nick stood off to one side of the entrance to the department store, checking his watch four times as Elijah walked up. "Dahm!" he muttered in his sometimes thicker 'n than other times Jamaican accent, "it's aboat time," as they pushed their way through a traffic hour, five o'clock horde of consumers. They separated after entering, two brown-skinned, medium tall, slender, well-dressed black men.
They moved in a counterclockwise fashion, casually taking note of the most crowded sales places, where the clerk salesperson was catching hell.
With a simple glance, to indicate where the action was going to come off, Elijah eased into the small group herded around a harassed salesgirl at the lingerie counter.
He picked up two pairs of sheer black panties and a pair of panty hose, edged up into the small crowd around the salesgirl and, insistently but pleasantly, held his purchases out to be charged for.
Nick, meanwhile, taking note of Elijah's buy, picked the same set of items and circled to the opposite side of the counter, pushing himself belligerently in front of several ladies who were doing some pushing themselves. He timed his impatience to the moment the salesgirl touched Elijah's purchases.
"Goddamn, Miss! Am I gon' t' ever get waited on?! I been tryin' t' get your attention for the last ten minutes! What're you tryin' to do? Ignore me or something?"
The women around Nick bristled up. They were middle-aged white ladies and afraid of black men, period ... and didn't want to create a scene.
The salesgirl, younger and more positive about her attitudes, chewed on one corner of Nick's ass with a brief, cold look and gave him some advice.
"Hold your water, Mister, I only have two hands and no pots."
Elijah thanked her as she gave him his change from a ten-dollar bill, smiling at her sympathetically and at the putdown Nick had just received.
Excerpted from Chicago Hustle by Odie Hawkins. Copyright © 2012 Odie Hawkins. Excerpted by permission of Holloway House Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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