Like bookends holding up a single volume,
Squatman's bedmates lean, then cover their breasts with the sheet in
a reflex show modesty (that their streetwise looks belie) at
Willie's urgent, if begrudgingly granted, entry.
His politeness registers instantly
and appreciatively with the twins, whose smiles are
bashfully coquettish and utterly identical.
We found 'im.
Having shifted to a sitting posture,
back against the headboard, eyes still bleary from a
long-day's-night of pleasuring double-down whores,
Squatman takes a moment to extrapolate Willie's phrase; when
he does his smile grows
broader than the twin's on either side.
Marva, Maude, this man is William.
I don't think y'all have met. William is my wartime
peacetime right-hand man—long
on loyalty, a trifle short on courage—who has just delivered news; GOOD
news. Let's hope for more and better.
Do we have him?
All smiles freeze; Willie,
trepidatious, anticipates their thaw.
We know his whereabouts.
Lower Haight Street. Pays by the week. Some roach hotel.
He's on the top floor. Never goes out. Room six-O-seven.
Kimlee's Pizza. He's been livin'
on cheese and pepperoni; or so the take-out people claim. They got
some kid that runs the grub up to him nightly.
Who's the kid?
Dunno. The owner's son. Korean.
Swears to God the guy's our A-rab.
If it is, I want Kimlee's
on our owed-a-favor list. Spread the word. And
be sure to slip the kid a hundred bucks.
Will y'all excuse us? We got
business to attend to, gals. Bye-bye.
Without complaint, "The M&Ms" (their
stage and screen name) peel the sheets, arise from the
bed, collect their next-to-nothing clothes and sashay
out... their selfsame hips in motion like oscillating pendulums. Willie, chivalrous to a
fault, averts his eyes—though inhales deeply,
stealing a heady whiff of their post-orgasmic wakes.
What have we here?
Defondo Cantrell Shireson, pressing
his paunch to see his crotch, detects a crumbly glaze of
I'll be damned. Those gals got honeycombs
'steada snatches! Eat your heart out, Willie boy. Hey... Hey,
man, what's wrong?
Squatman climbs out of
bed and takes a solicitous step toward Willie—whose
half-turned features quiver with self-reproach.
You sick or somethin'?
Willie struggles to explain. He has to swallow several times before the
words break loose.
I let you
you talkin' 'bout; let me down? We got the A-rab where
we want 'im, don't we?...Don't we?
Yeah, I guess. I meant... before.
You know, in the loft? I shoulda rushed 'im, whupped his
ass. Instead, I ducked. You called it right; I'm "short
on courage." Damn. Damn. Damn!
His face becomes a wincing dumb show
of contrition. Shoulders stooped, head bowed, disgraced, Willie
discernibly wilts before the man to whom he owes life
itself—whose meaty arm now lends support, reinforcing
memories of a debt that, once again, has gone
Hey, forget it, man. Be a damn fool not
to duck, some dude aims a handgun at your head. What's
say we go grab us a little pay-back.