“Which one of you is Lolli?” I ask, scanning the girls clustered under the light. It is three o’clock, and the girls are showing their wear-and-tear. I used to hate this time of night because you’re dead tired on your feet and still have another hour or so to go. Everything is snapping your last nerves, and if you’re on drugs, you’re aching for a hit. Plus, the johns who use the services this late at night are usually the real fucked-up, psycho-types. The kind who decide to off a whore just for kicks with nary a qualm about it. This is also the time the sad sacks manage to creep out of their hidey-holes, and sometimes, I hated them worse than the psychos. All that emotional pain rolling off their bodies. Pathetic.
“Who wants to know?” A hard-eyed redhead who was definitely not on the right side of twenty snaps her gum at me, her hip thrust out provocatively. I narrow my eyes and take a step towards her.
“Aw, Trip, chill. She’s just messing with you.” A girl with dyed black hair whom I knew slightly turns to the redhead and retorts, “Back off, Yo-Yo. You don’t know who you be messin’ with. That be Trip. Ever hear tell of her? Story goes she took a chainsaw to some yahoo from Florida who thought he be the man. Well, he be the eunuch after she was done with him!” The gathering burst into appreciative guffaws at the story, but the redhead isn’t amused.
“So? What she got to do with me? Why she gotta be asking about Lolli?” Yo-Yo thrusts her face into mine, baring her teeth.
“Back off, Duncan,” I hiss through my own teeth. I’m not amused by the story, either, and the girl telling it didn’t even get it right. “I got no beef with you, but I can sure find one in a hurry.” Even though I don’t move a muscle, something in my eyes must warn Yo-Yo that I’m not playing because she backs off.
“I’m Lolli,” a small voice says from behind the crowd. The girls move slightly to reveal a girl who is nothing more than a child. She is everything M.L. says she is and more. Her face is devoid of anything but the merest trace of makeup, and her ears are not pierced. She is wearing tiny, cut-off overalls that barely cover her butt cheeks over a white, long-sleeve t-shirt that cuts low and is cropped just below her flat chest. There is a mournful look in her eyes that zings straight through you. She is the picture of innocence except for the five-inch stilettos on her feet, white of course.