Tag Archives: Mona Lisa

Trip on This: Chapter Eleven

 Chapter Eleven

Trip sits in her car, decked out in black.  She has come home after a long journey, her clothes signifying a return to self.  The minute she strips out of the ridiculous clothes she’s been wearing all week and slips into her black jeans, black t-shirt with long sleeves, black windbreaker, black gloves and other accoutrement, she feels alive in a way she hasn’t since the first murder occurred.  Her hair is slicked down, and she is wearing no makeup.  If she only had enough hair to pull back in a ponytail, she would be completely herself again.  As it is, she’s feeling good as she sits in the car smoking a cigarette.  She has a notebook on the seat besides her, neatly listing her points of interest.  She is on the case, even if her client is herself and she doesn’t know what she’s repossessing.  If she is to be honest, the uncertainly adds an element of spice to the job that has been missing from her last coups.  Even though the ‘Freezin’ Seamen’ case held her interest because of the sheer oddness of the contents of what she was asked to repossess, the job itself had been fairly straightforward.

Trip continues to smoke, wondering what became of Gina Lattimore, the woman who had stolen the guy’s cum and stored it in her freezer.  Trip shrugs as she dismisses the question from her mind; none of her business any more.  She has more important matters at hand which require her complete concentration.  Though every nerve in Trip’s body is screaming for her to do something, she forces herself to sit in the car and wait.  This is recon to see if there are any cops patrolling the area.  After a half hour, Trip comes to the conclusion that any patrol is sporadic enough not to be a bother.  She slips out of the car and locks it before approaching the apartment building.  As she does, she flashes back to the last time she was here, then pushes that out of her mind as well.  There’s nothing to gain by freaking herself out with memories of Angelica’s dead body.  This time, Trip is not going to be greeted by a dead body sprawled on the kitchen floor.  At least, she sincerely hopes not.

She steels her nerves and reaches for the door.  Earlier in the day, she had come to the building purporting Sto visit a friend, and despite all the shit that has happened in the building, some knob let her in.  It probably didn’t hurt that she used a high, breathy voice much like Marilyn Monroe’s without a trace of an accent.  To further help her cause, she had worn short shorts and a tight top as well as a blond wig.  She hadn’t needed the get-up as her voice was enough to get her through the door, but it never hurt to be prepared.  She had jimmied the door not to latch, and it is still that way hours later.  She looks at her watch and sees that it’s nearly one in the morning.  Time to get this show on the road.

She glances at the mailboxes to confirm Blanche’s apartment number before trotting up the stairs.  There is not much activity, but Trip still treads stealthily.  She reaches Blanche’s floor and cautiously looks around.  There is no guard or tape blocking the door, so she assumes that the cops are finished.  Even if they aren’t, it wouldn’t matter to her.  She pulls out her handy-dandy set of lock picks from her bag and is in the door in record time.  Adrenaline surges through her veins as she slips into the apartment.  She still has the juice, baby, and it feels good to get back on the horse again after being thrown off it.  She closes the door and locks it behind her.  As an afterthought, she slides a chair under the door handle—just a little protection to alert her if someone else gets the same idea.  She takes another deep breath before turning on the lights with a gloved hand.

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Trip on This: Chapter Seven (Part Five)

Chapter Seven (Part Five)

“Hey, girls,” I say, pulling Mowgli’s blazer closer to my body.  It’s not

“What are you doing here,” Snow asks belligerently, sticking out her chin.  “Fucking bitch thinks she can just come here and get up in our grill.”  Some of the newer hookers look puzzled, but most of the older girls—the ones who didn’t like me because I was younger and prettier—are ready to back Snow up.  It’s clear that Snow is hopped up on something—probably meth—and spoiling for a fight.  “This ain’t your turf any more, China Doll, so beat it.”

“Where’s Mona Lisa?”  I ask, refusing to let Snow intimidate me.  I use to eat hos like her for lunch when I was hooking, and she knows it.

“That bitch is doing a trick,” Snow says, still not willing to back off.  I’m about to teach her a lesson when Mona Lisa comes sauntering down the street.

“Hey, girl,” Mona Lisa smiles, her eyes glassy.  “Who is this hunka hunka burnin’ love?”  She tilts her head to get a better look at Mowgli who is doing his best to blend with the scenery.  He isn’t succeeding, of course, as he’s big, gorgeous, and a male among whores.  “Hey, sugar, you like Elvis?”

“He’s the king, isn’t he?”  Mowgli answers easily.

“No, you’re the king,” Mona Lisa banters, licking her lips.  After the scum she deals with, Mona Lisa must look at Mowgli as a starving dog upon a steak.

“M.L., I need to talk to you again,” I say, cutting short the flirtation.  I don’t have time to deal with a strung-out whore’s ramblings.  “Same deal as before.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Mona Lisa says.  “Seems I should get more since it’s two-for-one this time.”  The other hookers snigger.

“You tell her, Mona,” a tiny black hooker cheers, raising her fist in the air.  “You ain’t nobody’s fool.”

“Let’s go, M.L.,” I say through gritted teeth.  I hate a whore who’s on something because she can turn mean on a dime.  I grab her by the arm and start herding her away.

“I can walk by myself,” Mona Lisa huffs, pulling away.  I sigh and rub my forehead as we make our way to the Phoenix again.  This is becoming a habit I don’t wish to endure for long.  I hate reminders of my past with a passion.  I used to get along with the girls even after I gave up the life, but I’m finding that I have less in common with them as time passes.  Mona Lisa is stumbling on her heels, and Mowgli gallantly offers his arm.

“Madame, may I?”  He bows theatrically, eliciting a giggle.

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Trip on This: Chapter Five (Part Three)

Chapter Five (Part Three)

After working out, Trip is no more settled than she had been beforehand, so she decides to pay her old friends a visit.  She showers and changes into black jeans and a black long-sleeved t-shirt before covering that with her black trench coat.  It’s her work outfit, and that’s what she’s doing tonight—working.  She stops at her bank and withdraws five hundred dollars, tucking it into her pocket.  If she needs more, the girls know she’s good for it.  She has to be if she wants them to continue talking to her.  She has her Bowie knife with her, which she carefully straps to her calf and pulls her jeans’ leg down over it.  It’s a beaut with a six-inch blade—a girl’s best friend.  Trip knows better than to go to the ‘Loin without protection, though truth to be told, she rarely goes anywhere without her knife.

“Looks who’s here, girls,” a skinny white skank named Snow sneers as she scratches her arm listlessly.  “It’s Suzie Wong herself.”  Trip hates being reminded of her working days, but lets it slide this once.

“Shut the fuck up, Snow,” Mona Lisa, the one who used to talk about the Louvre, snarls.  “You just mad because Trip made something of herself.”  She’s white trash, too, but better-looking than Sugar with her white-blond hair done in a retro-eighties style and lime-green micro-mini-skirt.  Her makeup is a riot of colors that no sane person would dare attempt.  Pink and green eye shadow, silver lipstick, black nail polish.  Trip wonders how much Mona Lisa Lisa is raking in these days.  She’s had better days, and she looks ridden hard and put away harder.  Despite it all, though, she still sticks up for Trip.  It’s one of her better qualities—her fierce loyalty.

“You better step,” Snow says, flipping her hand at Mona Lisa.  The other hookers are pretending not to notice the altercation as they scan the streets for possible johns.  “I’m tired of you flapping your big-ass mouth at me like you was somebody.”  Snow’s eyes are ugly as she juts out her hip.

“Listen up, bitch,” Mona Lisa hisses, stepping closer.

“Hey, Mona Lisa, let it go.”  Trip reluctantly gets between the two women.  She knows fighting is part of the life, but she needs information and she doesn’t want to have to scrape Mona Lisa off the street to get it.  Mona Lisa can hold her own, but Snow didn’t get her name because she likes to ski, and like many cokeheads, Snow doesn’t feel the pain until after her high wears off.  Since that’s never for her, Trip prefers to keep Mona Lisa separated from Snow.

“Trip, you’re getting soft.  You know how it is on the fucking streets.”  Mona Lisa is not backing down, and neither is Snow.

“Do it later, then.  I have to talk to you.  All the girls.”  Trip stares hard at Mona Lisa, then Snow.  “I need some information, and I need it fast.  I need to know if there’s any word on the street on someone talking about me.”

“Yeah, they be saying they miss that ass,” a girl calls out.  The other girls whoop it up.

“Then they get a piece of this,” a tiny, Asian girl slaps her nonexistent butt.  “They forget all about you.”

“Have you seen this girl?”  Trip pulls out a picture of Sylvian at which few of the girls even bother looking.

“Hey, it’s Angel!”  Mona Lisa says, blanching.  She grabs the picture and shoves it in her coat pocket before anyone else can get a good look.  “Come on.”  She grabs Trip and drags her to the Phoenix Hotel.  “We have to talk in private.  Can you front for a room?”  Trip nods.  It’s the least she can do since Mona Lisa won’t be working while she’s talking to Trip.  The room is $79, and Trip hands over two fifties and her credit card number to Candace, the smiling woman behind the counter.  To her credit, Candace doesn’t even smirk as she hands back $21.

“Have a nice stay,” Candace calls out as Mona Lisa hustles Trip to their designated room.

“Tell me,” Trip says the minute they step into the room.

“I gotta drink something to talk about this shit,” Mona Lisa announces.  “Mind?”  It’s not really a question, and Trip doesn’t bother answering.  She sits on a chair and waits for Mona Lisa to situate herself.  When Mona Lisa is well-oiled, she plops on the bed, spreading her legs.  It’s an unconscious decision, but it makes her look cheap.  “Trip, they been talking about you.”  She has one of those miniature bottles of alcohol in her hand, and she gulps it down in one swallow.  “They saying you heading for a fall.  ‘Course, the girls are jealous because you’ve got it good now.”  Her eyes stare at Trip.  “That Cocoa did right by you, didn’t she?”

“Yes, she did.”  Trip doesn’t feel guilty for getting out of the life nor for her new profession.  She works hard, pays her taxes like a good American—consultant work, only skims off twenty percent—and owes nobody except Cocoa anything.  And Mowgli.  She can never repay what she owes him.

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