When Martha entered the scene it was only a matter of time before they teamed up. Martha, in case you don't recall, had been sent to rehab seven times by her parents and relapsed each time. She had hooked up with a guy i casually knew, Clem, one of the guys on the periphery of the ska/indie band set that bought weed off me. They had an apartment and a habit and the with Mags and her man formed a little junkie crew for a minute or two. Ultimately Martha and Clem would get clean, so would Maggie's man. The odds that Maggie made it to the present day i'm wagering are slim. She disappeared from the scene only to sporadically show up always looking worse for wear. In the end Clem and Martha would split up and Clem would get smoke from me now and then, he said it helped him stay clean and off the shit and though the pull to use again was strong he said he never wanted to go through withdrawal again. He stated what William Burroughs once said about hashish and strong weed, that they were the closest to the junk feeling one could get without all the baggage junk brought.
In the present day of the Wilderness Years a new version of the Glimmer Twins had appeared. While i had always been a regular at the two strip clubs in my neighborhood, with the new found connection and expanding business i had even more spendable income to spread among the working girls and bartenders of my hood. While each week i squirreled away cash i also began to have more in my pocket. And one must enjoy the fruits of their labors now shouldn't they? The bartenders of my hood loved me, usually supplying me with free drinks and me usually tipping exceedingly well in return, especially in the two places i worked out of. Down at the strip club i was a face as they'd say, a known local who always seemed to have money and knew how to get things. I never advertised and rarely did business in the clubs, i knew where the cameras were, no use trying to wheel in a place that might be forced to turn over the tapes to the fuzz if some nonsense went down. Besides it was the place i went to decompress and relax. These days it was where i went when business was finished for the night and i could kick back. I was also a favorite among the girls, if i was sitting at the bar it didn't take long for one of them to come and join me. What i learned later was that i was a highly thought of guy by the women working the place. I was respectful and cool and didn't seem to be looking to date a stripper which apparently made me all that more attractive to strippers. Who knew?
The Glimmer Twins were two of the girls working there at the time, for posterity we'll use their "stripper names" less one believes strippers use their real names and that naming your daughter Dakota resigns them to a life stripping. Brandi, or Little Blonde, as i called her, was a petite girl, maybe 5'1, she had tiny breasts in and industry known for gigantic fake tits and yet was a club favorite. She oozed sex and was a complete trainwreck, another girl who loved cocaine and ecstasy, at 21 she already had two kids who seemed to spend most of their time with their grandparents. She grew up across the Allegheny river in an old mill town. Her cohort and partner in crime was Veronica. A doe-eyed brunette straight from the small towns of northwest Pennsyltucky, she was almost 20, one of a half dozen kids, she had left her little town to move to the big city and was learning fast how to survive. Like any young lady she liked to stay out all night and take ecstasy, she was learning fast how to survive in the city and was already dating a local kid. One of the Bloomfield Yinzer set, he was the type of kid who would probably never leave his neighborhood, a guy who'd consider the eastern shore of Maryland an exotic locale. He worked as a cook and a dishwasher with the hope of someday moving up to bartender.
Of course i'd always been a sucker for brunettes and not much for blondes but the fact was Little Blonde was such a wreck i couldn't help but be attracted to her. Then again Veronica had a natural beauty, an easy and beautiful smile, a sweet naivete combined with budding street smarts. At heart she was a kind soul and the more i watched her and talked to her the more i wondered if she'd survive the human meat grinder of the strip clubs. It had more than a tendency to chew girls up and spit them out. By this time Marilyn, the tricking stripper who turned me down one night while i was tripping my balls off, had already transitioned into full time tricking and a rampant coke habit had left her looking exactly like what you'd expect a prossie with a bad habit to look like. The odds were that Little Blonde would end up in the same boat except it turned out she was a daddy's girl and daddy did his best to keep her off that path, meaning he gave her money when she blew through last nights tips. Veronica had told her family back home that she was a waitress and bartender. It was sort of like how i told my family i worked in a warehouse when i really worked in bars slinging weed. Distance can keep secrets or at least help keep them.
Since Veronica was dating a local boy from the hood they were always out and about. He'd help get her into the local that i worked out of, for most of the regulars it was common knowledge what i did in there and by this time with things taking off i had begun to divert more of my smaller clients to the Little Corner Bar. Little Blonde and Veronica would be in there for sporadic moments before shuffling off to a club, Paddy aka Veronica's boyfriend, was quite proud of the coup he'd staged by pulling a girl as attractive as Veronica. He was hitting above his weight as they say, and he was riding a wave of respect among the local riff-raff and hoodrats. Of course that didn't extend to myself, at this point, as things were expanding the respect i got on the street was not to be fucked with. People saw me with ranking hoods and understood the white guy was an equal, i had clout as the kids today would say, and the bartenders at the local would toss you if i gave the word. Paddy and his crew always gave me an my boys the proper respect but were particularly deferential when it came to El Kono. Like any budding kingpin i'd buy rounds of drinks, sometimes for the whole bar, i kept it cool and didn't cause problems and my presence and business became commonplace.
I spent most of my time playing foosball and selling weed and getting half the bar stoned on the back porch. I was low-key with Little Blonde and Veronica, i spent more time talking to Little Blonde, not that she was one for deep philosophical conversations, but the fact was Veronica was taken and while i didn't necessarily have to respect Paddy, i did. It wasn't lost on him that i found his girlfriend attractive but with most of my attention being paid to Little Blonde i think he felt a bit better about things. Needless to say there was a lot more chemistry between Veronica and i than the Little Blonde. Then again i wasn't looking to marry the petite blonde, i just wanted to take her for a test drive, there was something about her reckless and unrefined character that was ridiculously sexy, not to mention the fact she was so small and petite that my imagination would go wild with all the things i wanted to do with her. But for now i was just laying low. I was the tall, polite, ranking hood and at this point that was all i needed to be. (to be cont.)