It's Raining Benjamins

It's Raining Benjamins

by Deborah Gregory

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Now that the record company is going to give the Cheetah Girls a test single deal, Chanel and Galleria duke it out for control of the group. At last they compromise and write a new song together, “It’s Raining Benjamins.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497677197
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 08/12/2014
Series: The Cheetah Girls , #6
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 89
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Deborah Gregory was born in Brooklyn, New York. When she was only three years old, her mother was institutionalized, and young Deborah was put into foster care. As a teenager, she started designing her own clothes and fantasized about a singing career. At the age of eighteen, she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She graduated in 1986 with a BS in cultural studies from Empire State College. After graduation, she found success as a model in Europe.

Gregory has written for various magazines including EssenceMoreUs Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly. In 1999 she penned the book series the Cheetah Girls. The books were adapted into a series of original movies by Disney Channel starting in 2003. She also wrote Catwalk and Catwalk: Strike a Pose.
Deborah Gregory was born in Brooklyn, New York. When she was only three years old, her mother was institutionalized, and young Deborah was put into foster care. As a teenager, she started designing her own clothes and fantasized about a singing career. At the age of eighteen, she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She graduated in 1986 with a BS in cultural studies from Empire State College. After graduation, she found success as a model in Europe.

Gregory has written for various magazines including EssenceMoreUs Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly. In 1999 she penned the book series the Cheetah Girls. The books were adapted into a series of original movies by Disney Channel starting in 2003. She also wrote Catwalk and Catwalk: Strike a Pose.

Read an Excerpt

It's Raining Benjamins

The Cheetah Girls, Book 6

By Deborah Gregory


Copyright © 2000 Deborah Gregory
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-7719-7


Unless it's raining alley cats and Chihuahuas, everybody at Fashion Industries East High School hangs out in front of the school, blocking the whole sidewalk. It's a real mob scene most mornings before classes start. Sometimes la gente—peeps—can get kinda rowdy, too.

That's why my crew—Dorinda "Do' Re Mi" Rogers; Galleria "Bubbles" Garibaldi; and myself, of course, Chanel "Chuchie" Simmons—always meet inside, by the lockers.

Dorinda is already waiting there when I arrive, forty minutes before school starts. Most of us at Fashion Industries East—which is not to be confused with the other Fashion Industries High, where the less coolio peeps go to school—come here by subway from other neighborhoods, and you have to allow for time, 'cuz the subways—well, you know how the subways can be. So if your train happens to come on time, you can get to school real early, está bien?

Dorinda is crouching with her back against a locker, happily sipping her Goofy Grape Juice. "Wazzup, señorita?" she yells when she sees me.

"Nada, that's what," I moan, swiping a sip from her pint-sized container—which I do almost every morning, and she never complains. "I wish they sold this stuff by my house."

"So move," Do' Re Mi shoots back, shrugging her shoulders. "Hey. Where's Galleria?"

"Yo no sé," I mumble. "I can't even get decent café con leche by my house. Not like the kind they sell near my Abuela Florita's."

"I remember her," Do' Re Mi says. "She's phat."

"She is not fat!" I say, misunderstanding.

"No, not fat—phat!" Do' corrects me, and we both crack up.

My Abuela (that's "grandma") Florita lives in "Dominican Land," better known as Washington Heights. It's kinda far norte—right before Manhattan turns into El Bronx.

"I'm going to be seeing my abuela on Saturday," I tell Dorinda. "It's Pucci's birthday."

My little brother's birthday is a very big deal around my house—mostly because it means our dad comes home to visit. I can't help being excited to see him, and neither can Pucci. He doesn't visit much, not since he left home for good five years ago.

See, he and Mom used to fight all the time—to the point where they needed a referee. They're both happier now. Mom's got her rich boyfriend, Mr. Tycoon, who lives in Paris, France.

And Dad's got his new girlfriend, Princess Pamela, who is la dopa, and like a second mother to me. She runs Princess Pamela's Psychic Parlor, right around the corner from my house. I go see her there, whenever I can get away without Mom knowing. Sometimes, I even see Dad there. And once in a while, I visit them at their apartment uptown. But it's different when Dad comes home. And with Abuela coming, too, it'll almost feel like we're a whole family again.

Anyway, Dad says he's gonna drive up to Abuela's early Saturday, and bring her with him to the party. Abuela doesn't take the subway by herself anymore. See, last year a guy tried to snatch her purse on the subway platform. Abuela reached in her purse for the can of mace she carries, but she spritzed the mugger with her bottle of Santa Cría cologne by mistake! Gracias gooseness, the mugger ran away anyway—probably because Abuela sounds really scary when she's cursing in Spanish!

"How old is Pucci gonna be?" Dorinda asks.

"Ten—and an even bigger pain in the poot-butt," I groan—looking straight at Kadeesha Ruffin, who has just walked up to a nearby locker and slammed it shut for no reason. Then, on top of it, she gives me a look like I'm a hologramma—you know, a ghost—before continuing on her way down the hall.

"She thinks she's cute. Qué bobada. What baloney," I mumble.

"She's just green with Gucci envy," Dorinda says, still sipping, and unfazed by the intrusion.

"Yeah, the Jolly Green Giant," I moan. Kadeesha is kinda tall—over six feet. I'm not about to start messing with her. But why's she got to mess with me? What did I ever do to her, está bien?

Most of la gente at Fashion Industries East are kinda cool, because they're into a lot of different things, and they even have jobs after school. My crew's claim to fame is that everybody knows we're part of a singing group—the Cheetah Girls—who are headed to the top. There are five of us—me, Do', Bubbles, and the fabulous Walker twins—Aquanette and Anginette—who were born and raised in Houston, Texas, and go to school uptown, at LaGuardia Performing Arts High.

Lately, la gente have been taking notice of our adobo down style—especially since the Cheetah Girls got flown out to Los Angeles to perform at Def Duck Records' New Talent Showcase! I still can't believe Def Duck paid for us to go to the City of Angels, where record company executives drive in limousines on the big, fat freeway of deals.

To tell you the truth, I was also happy to get away from my mom and my brother, Pucci, for a few days. They were both driving me crazy, more than usual. That week, I would have followed the Cheetah Girls anywhere, even right into the lion's den. Well, almost.

Anyway, ever since we got back, the whole school's been buzzing about us. A few people, especially Kadeesha, have shown definite signs of Cheetah envy!

Everyone wants to know if we got a record deal. It's frustrating to have to tell them we don't know yet. But it's the truth. The peeps at Def Duck said it might be a while before we heard anything. And it already seems like a long while, even though it's only been a few days.

"It's gonna be tan coolio—so cool—wearing our new Cheetah Girls chokers together," Dorinda says, ignoring Kadeesha. "That is, unless someone tries to put a leash on us!"

This whole Cheetah Girl choker thing happened faster than making Minute Rice. See, while we were out in L.A., Bubbles bought a cheetah-print suede collar for her dog, Toto. He is so cute—I wish I could have a little dog, too. But I guess I'm never gonna have one. Not if my mom has anything to say about it—which she does. She's allergic to dog hair, and even more allergic to getting dog hair off the couch and cleaning up puppy poo.

Anyway, the collar Bubbles bought Toto was la dopa, but it was way too big for him. So Bubbles gets the great idea to wear it herself! That's Galleria for you—when she gets an idea, she doesn't ask anybody's opinion, she just goes for it!

Bubbles wore it to school the next day, and some of the peeps here ate it up like puppies! Five or six people asked her where they could get one. That gave Galleria another idea—that the Cheetah Girls should make some money while we're waiting for Def Duck to call!

Well, why not? We all need duckets—especially me. I still owe my mom plenty from the time I maxed out her charge card. (What can I say? I'm a recovering shopaholic that already happened!)

Anyway, making and selling Cheetah chokers seemed like a good idea to the rest of us. We've had a couple of orders already—and we needed to make ourselves chokers, too, so we could be walking advertisements.

We went to the factory in Brooklyn where Bubbles's dad makes all the clothes for her mom's boutique, Toto in New York ... Fun in Diva Sizes. Bubbles's mom and dad are my godparents—my madrino and madrina—and there's nothing they won't do to help us Cheetah Girls. Madrina—Ms. Dorothea, as the twins call her—is even our manager!

Anyway, we made some Cheetah Girls chokers out of suede strips, then glued silver metal letters on them that say GROWL POWER, to represent our kinda flava. So now we have these adobo down chokers. That is, Bubbles has them. But where is she? Homeroom starts in fifteen minutes, and we've got to find our customers before that!

As you can probably tell, I'm kinda anxious about these chokers. See, two students—Derek Hambone and LaRonda Jones—have already put in orders, and we've got to deliver them first thing today, está bien? I mean, I'm counting on this money so I can pay back my mom and be free again!

"There's Galleria," mumbles Dorinda, catching sight of Bubbles's head of wild-and-woolly hair coming our way.

"Finally!" I say, relieved.

Galleria is so occupada, writing in that notebook of hers, that she almost walks smack into a guy in the hallway! Ever since seventh grade, Bubbles has been writing in her Kitty Kat notebooks. She keeps them stashed in her bedroom, the way Pucci stashes Whacky Babies stuffed animals—like they're muy preciosas—very precious—in the jiggy jungle!

It's not like I don't already know Bubbles's secrets. And anyway, most of the time she's just writing another song for our group—in case we ever get to make a record. Even so, Bubbles never lets anyone see the words to a new song until she thinks it's finished.

That doesn't stop me, of course, from trying to snatch the spotted notebook from Bubbles any way I can. I've forgotten all about the chokers, 'cuz nothing's more la dopa than Bubbles's songs!

"Chuchie, lemme finish!" Bubbles screams at me, giving me a whack with her notebook. "I'm trying to come up with more songs, 'cuz I know Def Duck is gonna take a dip in the players' pond and let us cut a demo, you know what I'm saying?"

"Word. I heard that," Do' Re Mi chimes in, brushing dust off her jumper (our school is kinda falling down all over the place, and there's plaster dust all over everything, including the lockers).

Dorinda always agrees with Bubbles. It annoys me sometimes—'cuz I know that when Bubbles and I disagree, I'm right at least half the time.

I hope Bubbles is right on this one, though. She thinks we are going to get a record deal para seguro—for sure—because we were la dopa at the showcase in Los Angeles.

I'm not so sure. Performing in a showcase and getting a record deal are two different things. But like I say, I hope I'm wrong, and I guess I must be, 'cuz Galleria's mom agrees with her, and she's almost always right! Madrina says all we have to do now is sit back and "wait for the bait."

Bubbles is so talented—she always gets la dopa ideas for songs. But lately, I've been thinking that I probably could write songs, too, if she would just give me a chance.

"What's the new song called—or is that a secret, too?" I whine, still trying to get a peek at the Kitty Kat notebook. Then I start chanting a little rhyme Bubbles made up. "Kitty Kat, Kitty Kat, show me where the money's at!"

"This song is called, 'Woof, There It Is!'" Bubbles says proudly. "And you can see it when it's done!" Then she snaps her Kitty Kat notebook shut and shoves it into her backpack, without even letting us take a peek.

"Oooh, that's a cute title!" I say.

Gloating on her skills, Bubbles gets puffed up like Rice Krispies and says, "I got the idea for the song after I showed Mom the chokers. She said they looked like dog collars—and that grown-ups wouldn't wear them!"

"Where are the chokers?" I ask, panicking because I don't see the Toto in New York shopping bag Bubbles put the chokers in at the factory.

"Got 'em right here in this pouch," Bubbles says, patting the tummy of her cheetah backpack. She unzips it again, and pulls out a couple of the chokers. "Wait till Derek sees his." She giggles, stretching out the leather strip to reveal the silver metal letters that spell SCEMO. (It's pronounced "shay-mo.")

"Scemo—that means idiot in Italian, right?" Dorinda asks. But Bubbles has already told her a million times, so she knows. See, Galleria's dad is Italian—real Italian, born in Italy!—so she knows a lot of words in that language—even the bad words.

"Don't you think Derek is gonna go off when he finds out what scemo means in English?" I ask. "You know what I'm saying, 'cuz he may not be playing."

"He's too big a scemo to find out that he is one!" Bubbles says, then stretches her hand out for us to do the Cheetah Girls handshake with her. I don't feel good about it, but I do it anyway.

But I don't really care about Derek Hambone. I just wanna know what Madrina thought of the chokers. "Was Madrina surprised we made them without her help?" I ask. It's not that my godmother isn't really supportive of us and the things we do—except when I ran up Mom's charge card, of course—but sometimes she does too much for us.

"You know she ain't saying, but I think she was really proud of us," Bubbles says.

"I heard that," Do' Re Mi says, nodding her little beanie head to her own beat.

"As a matter of facto, she looked at the chokers and said they're off the cheetah meter, bay-beeee!" Bubbles screeches.

"Madrina thinks we can sell them?" I ask.

"Yup. Forget what Mr. Kumba-bumba-baloney said." Bubbles laughs, making fun of the name of the owner of the Kumba Boutique in Brooklyn, where we went last night to try and sell our chokers.

I guess it was a stupid idea, because Mr. Kumba thought they looked like dog collars, and that nobody would wear them. I was so glad to get out of the Kumba Boutique anyway, I remember, scrunching up my nose. "Lo odio—that strawberry incense he was burning—yuck!" I remind my crew.

"It smelled like a psychedelic voodoo shack or something," Dorinda remembers, laughing.

I laugh, too, and scrunch up my nose again, making a funny face like I smell something bad. That's when I really do smell something—and it's really, really stinky poo.

Bubbles says I'm prissy, but I'm not. I just don't like odors. My nose is muy sensitiva, and I can smell things that other people can't—just like dogs do. (I think that's why I love dogs so much—because we are a lot alike.) And speaking of dogs ...

"Bubbles, do you smell doggy poo?" I ask sheepishly.

"I smell it, too ... oh, no—don't tell me!" Bubbles looks down at her shoes, and discovers the root of the problem. "I can't believe it! I'm so over this!"

"Woof, there it is," Dorinda says, smirking.

I crack up, and Bubbles throws me an annoyed look. "I hate this city," she says. "Nobody cleans up after their dog except me, and I'm the one who winds up stepping in it!"

I try to console her by saying "We didn't see one pile of doggy poo the whole time we were in Cali."

"No, we didn't," Bubbles says wistfully. "You got that right."

"It's even worse in my neighborhood than it is here," Do' Re Mi moans. Do' lives way uptown, and her neighborhood is like el barrio, where Abuela lives. The people there have a lot of big, mean dogs, with ferocious fangs for protection—and just for stylin'. And those kinda dogs leave some big, stinky land mines on the sidewalk.

"I'll get it off for you, Bubbles," I volunteer. (That'll show her I'm not squeamish like she says I am.) "Come on—before anybody sees it."

"You mean, smells it!" Dorinda corrects me. She and I crack up, but Galleria isn't laughing. She walks on her tiptoes all the way to the bathroom, holding her nose. I walk on my tiptoes, too, like I'm wearing pointshoes—my ballet slippers.

A few people walk by, heckling at Galleria. "Sashay, parlay!" they call out, imitating her walk. Bubbles sticks her tongue out at them like she doesn't care, but I know she's goospitating inside. I know I would be—Yo sé!


The bathroom at Fashion Industries East High is right out of a prison movie—kinda dark and creepy-looking. I make Bubbles take off her Mary Jane shoes, then throw both of them in the sink and turn on the faucet.

Nothing comes out of it. "Oh, come on," I moan. The faucets at our school are broken more than half the time. At last, a little water spurts out—then suddenly, it gushes out, flooding the sink, and totally soaking Galleria's shoes!


Excerpted from It's Raining Benjamins by Deborah Gregory. Copyright © 2000 Deborah Gregory. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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