Chapter Five (Part Two)
“Where the fuck have you been?” Mowgli scowls at me from outside Vandalia’s apartment. “I’ve been waiting for you for a fucking half hour. Time is money, chiquita, in case you haven’t heard.”
“Come on in,” I say, ushering Mowgli into Vandalia’s place. “Want something to drink?” I move to the kitchen and manage to find the tea kettle.
“Uh, hello? Did you not practically order me over only to stand me the fuck up?” Mowgli has his hand on his hip and his lower lip thrust out. Oh great, he’s doing the pissy queen act which is really not pretty on so large a man.
“Get over it, Mowgli. I had something I had to take care of. I’ll try not to let it happen again.” That’s the closest I get to apologizing, and Mowgli lets it drop.
“Tell me what you got, girl.” Mowgli drops into a chair while I rummage for something to munch on. Vandalia has a righteous stash of Doritos, Keeblers, M&Ms, and other assorted goodies guaranteed to give a dentist nightmares. Not to mention a nutritionist. As I tell Mowgli what I found out from Rock, I dump some snacks on the table while waiting for the water to boil. “You trust this Rock?” Mowgli asks me, his voice level. “You sure he’s not hustling you?” At my request, Mowgli has never been with me to The Savage which is a sore point between us. He doesn’t understand my need to keep my job and the ritual I’ve created separate from him.
“Yeah, I’m sure. He knows I’ll rip his balls off and stuff them down his throat if he’s shining me on.” Like any guy, Mowgli instinctively crosses his legs at my words. “Besides, he wants to fuck me again. He knows that won’t happen if he lies to me.”
“I thought women weren’t supposed to use sex as a weapon any more in these post-modern feminist times,” Mowgli playfully scolds me.
“Nah, we’re just not supposed to admit it any more,” I reply, handing a cup of Earl Grey to Mowgli while sipping on black tea myself. I bet the Earl Grey is just for Mowgli as it seems too tame for the likes of Vandalia. “The PC thing is to say that we assertively bring up our complaint, then discuss it, then make a mutually-satisfying decision.”
“Uh huh.” Mowgli shoots me a look that says he doesn’t believe me. “And what’s playing on reality TV?”
“You don’t get none if I don’t get what I want,” I say simply. “It’s not my fault that men are controlled by their dicks.”
“Girl, don’t I know it,” Mowgli says with a knowing grin. “A blessing and a curse all rolled up in one.” We share a brief snicker at the fallibility of men before I get serious.
“I want this motherfucker,” I say abruptly, slamming down my mug. I slop tea on the table, but I’m too focused on the matter at hand to notice. Mowgli grabs a rag from the sink and wipes up my mess. “Nobody plays Trip Wire for a fool, but nobody.” A little boy in first grade with chubby cheeks and an angelic smile campaigned to turn the entire class against me because I had slanty eyes—his words, not mine. Once on the playground, he stuck his foot out as I was walking by, and I tumbled to the ground. I can still remember him and his cronies snickering as my dress flew up over my head and showed my ruffled underwear to the world. Two things happened that day—I beat that boy until the school monitor pulled me off him, and I informed my mother that I was never wearing a dress again. The boy stayed away from me after that, but I was forced to concede on the dress thing when I was on the streets.
“Girlfriend, you really should leave this to the cops,” Mowgli begins, but stops when he sees the look on my face. He knows when to press me and when to back the hell off, and I’m grateful that he usually follows his instincts. “OK. What’s your next plan of attack, and how can I help?” He pours us each another cup of tea so we can do some serious thinking.