“Gah damn it bitch you better watch your fucking tone when you talk to me girl. Woooh! Girl you gon’ feel all five a’these knuckles against that cocksuckin’ face a’yours. You think you know what busted looks like? Do ya?”
“Five knuckles? Whatta you gon’ do Tony, hit me with your thumb?”
Tony raised his hand in a tiger paw, demonstrating his thumb’s prominence in his old pimp hand. He was nodding.
“Come ‘ere bitch, let me change ya life.”
She just looked at him. She and the other girls were standing on a raised, harshly lit platform. Tony stood on the street below in a musty crimson suit.
“I tell you what, listen, hey, look at me when I’m motherfucking talking to you!”
“Shut the fuck up Tony” Another girl called. “You’re scarin’ away the customers.”
“Clarissa that you? Bitch I will kick that fat ass of yours down these stairs. Y’know what your problem is? Diabetes? Yes. Asking for payment in fries? Yes. But what’s really gonna kill you, what I will give my assistance to by giving you a light shove with my foot, is gravity.”
“Yeah fuck you too.”
“Now Shirley, listen, you’re gonna go to the store, -”
“Alright that’s one slap for interrupting.” He counted this with his thumb. “Go to the store, and get me something befitting of my status, something classy and refined, but big, I’m hungry. Depending on how appropriate your purchase is, I may spare you a few broken limbs.”
“Tony I would shit in my hand and throw it at you but I’m too much of a lady. You aint even worth shit no more. Hah!”
Tony had opened his mouth. He blinked his narrowed eyes, emphasising to all, including himself, that he could not believe what the fuck he had just heard. He adjusted his tie by its knot and started up the stairs.
“Tony…Tony you can’t come up here! Louis! Louis!”
The other girls all began screeching, clamouring for Louis.
As he reached the platform, the large figure of a man appeared from around the corner and stood in front of him. He dwarfed Tony. Tony was faced with the broad chest, the crisp white jacket of young Louis Farigno.
“Tony…” He purred. Tony looked up at a grin. “What are you doing?”
“Did you hear what that bitch Shirley said to me?” He rubbed his palm along his knuckles. “She disrespected me Louis, ME!”
“I know, I know. I heard the whole thing.” He consoled him with smooth gravel. “But I can’t have you harassing my girls.”
“They were my girls!” He pointed a finger at them. Then he turned to look out across the intersection, sunken red under the streetlights, the warehouses, Franky’s bar on the corner, the coke hustlers leaning in the shadows, those ugly squat palm trees on the island of dead grass, his sight almost reaching to the next block along. “This all used to be mine.”
He felt Louis’s heavy hand on his shoulder.
“Watch the suit.” He mumbled.
Louis kept his hand there and walked him further around the platform, away from the girls.
“What’s the matter Tony, you need some money? Huh? You’ve been wearing this for too long, it’s starting to stink. I gotta dispose of things that stink on my turf, you know that.” He spoke softly, pleading to his sensibilities. “If you come around here causing a stink, I’m gonna have to dispose of you.”
Louis pulled Tony around to face him. Tony looked slack and hollow under the light.
“I respect you like a father.” He tugged Tony’s lapels straight. “Get a new suit.”
Tony descended into the street and walked off in darkness. He heard one of the girls, probably Clarissa call out:
“Yeah fuck off Tony.” The statement was punctuated with a loud crack, then a tumble.
“That’s gravity bitch!” He exclaimed, his smile fading bitterly, his footsteps sinking away down the maroon sidewalk.
Gah damn, he was hungry!