Read Uptown thief Online

Authors: Aya De León

Uptown thief (page 5)

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Chapter 9For a week after the benefit, the staff called Marisol “Make-It-Rain Rivera.” Then some younger clients said that was dated, and started calling her “Market-Rate Rivera,” from Thug Woofer's current song:Market rate. Market rate. I make money like the market rate.Marisol waved off the praise, but she found herself singing the catchy hook as she set up the call for Thug Woofer's private party.She had Tyesha, Kim, and Jody on her heist team, but that didn't necessarily mean they would all fit the clients' tastes. Thug Woofer had mostly African American women in his videos, so the first picture she texted to his manager was of Tyesha. The photo had her work name, “Candi Jones,” and she wore a lacy white merry widow with matching thigh-high fishnet stockings. Her feet nestled in six-inch Lucite stiletto platform sandals. She lay on her stomach, her ass bared in a thong, her breasts spilling out of the white demi-bra, and her long hair wound up into a beehive cloud, with a spiral vine of small white flowers cascading down around it. She was a rap star's video vixen dream, with her doe eyes, full lips, and slightly open mouth. Marisol typed:For the groom-to-be?The text had come back that she was a yes for Thug Woofer, but the groom wanted a white girl.Marisol sent a photo of Jody. “Heidi Honeywell” wore a black patent-leather bustier and matching low-rise booty shorts. Her long legs straddled a chair in thigh-high black leather boots with seven-inch heels. Her muscular limbs and six-pack would have made her look like an athlete, if not for the cleavage pressed up by the bustier, and the long blond fake ponytail. She was the über Amazon fantasy looking up at the camera with a lustful smirk.Marisol texted:The ultimate white girl.She sent a third photo of Kim. “Luscious Lee” wore a pink bra and ruffled hi-cut panties. Her jet-black hair swept down in two pigtails, and her eyes were heavily outlined in black. She wore pink patent-leather pumps, and held a matching pink lollipop just inches from her glossy mouth.Marisol had supervised the photo shoot for all three pictures to maximize each woman's strong allure and porn racial stereotype. She wasn't surprised half an hour later when she got a message:Yes to all three.Marisol texted the girls that Thug Woofer was a go. On her way out the door, she checked on Dulce.“I was just headed to Dr. Feldman's office,” Dulce said.“Smart move,” Marisol said. “She was my unofficial shrink when I left the business. I still talk to her sometimes.”Dulce's swelling had gone down, but bruises still covered a lot of her face.“She keeps asking what's my vision for my life,” Dulce said. “I don't fucking know.”“My vision for my life was to run a clinic for girls like me,” Marisol said. “And then take over the world. Mua-ha-ha.” She smiled and elbowed the girl.“Coño,”Dulce said. “Maybe I wanna aim a little higher than not getting my ass beat.”“Maybe you do,” Marisol said.* * *As Marisol walked out of the clinic, she absently nodded to the security guard who opened the door for her.“You need a taxi,guapa?” he asked.Startled, Marisol looked up from her phone at a familiar face.“Raul, what are you—?”“I'm volunteering,” he said.He leaned in for a hello kiss on the cheek, and her purse bumped him. Just as she moved it out of the way, he leaned back and her kiss grazed his shoulder.“What a surprise,” Marisol half-stammered, hitching up her purse.“In your speech you requested volunteers to protect the clinic,” Raul said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “So I'm here on security detail.”“That's—that's great,” Marisol said, suddenly wary. “Is your cop friend volunteering, too?”“The one you met at the gala?” Raul shook his head. “We don't socialize, just former colleagues. Hey, am I crazy or didn't this used to be a cigar store?”“Yes,” Marisol said. “Nobody else remembers.”“I knew it,” Raul said. “It's that—”“Smell,” Marisol finished his sentence.Raul nodded. “My uncle used to come here when I was a kid.”“The lady who worked here was really nice,” Marisol said. “A Cuban woman—”“—with a little yappy dog,” Raul said. “Señora. . . I forget her name.”“Me too,” Marisol said. “It's on the tip of my—”“Raul.” The receptionist at the desk waved him over to help a woman on crutches.“See you around,guapa,” he said.Marisol smiled and they managed to navigate a good-bye kiss on the cheek without incident.* * *As she sat in the cab to her midtown meeting, she felt a clutch in her solar plexus. She felt it every time they met. Not to mention a tingle between her legs. Raul? In her clinic? How was she going to concentrate on anything with him in the same building day after day? Not to mention his inconvenient status as an ex-cop and hers as an active thief.Yet part of her was relieved. She felt safer. For the first time since Jerry had shown up, she could go to a meeting without worrying that the pimp would burn the place down while she was gone.* * *A week after the gala fund-raiser, Tyesha waited for a cab in front of the clinic. Raul wished her a polite good night as he left for the evening.A moment later, Nalissa came out, looking up and down the street.“Which way did Raul go?” she asked.“None of your business,” Tyesha said.“What?” Nalissa laughed. “He's your man or something?”“Not mine,” Tyesha said. “But not available.”“I don't see no ring on his finger,” she said. “And I didn't see no other woman's name on the mailbox at his apartment.”“He invited you to his place?” Tyesha asked.“No, but I know where it is.”“It's not about his status,” Tyesha said. “It's about your status. You seem like you wanna advance in the business, so don't mess with the clinic volunteers.”Nalissa tilted her head to the side and surveyed Tyesha. “I know Marisol got two kinds of girls on her roster. There's you, Kim, and Jody, then there's everybody else. You three get all the good shit.”At the curb, a taxi pulled up with Kim and Jody in the back. Both wore full makeup, trench coats, and stiletto heels.“See?” Nalissa said. “You three got something going tonight.”“Now we're back where we started,” Tyesha said, stepping into the cab. “None of your business.”She slid in next to Kim and Jody, and shut the door.After they drove off, Kim asked, “What's with Nalissa?”“I don't know, but she's trouble,” Tyesha said. “You get my text?”“Yeah, but I must've misunderstood,” Jody said.Kim laughed. “It sounded like Marisol said to case Thug Woofer's apartment.”“She did,” Tyesha said.“What?”“His new video was playing in the lobby,” Tyesha said. “The hook is ‘all these hoes tryna take my money.' He says it like fifty times. I could see Marisol getting more and more pissed. Later, she said to case the place.”“But she always stresses to girls in the industry that there needs to be honor among sex workers,” Kim said. “Work smart and charge what you're worth. I thought Rule Number One is never to rob the clients.”“Although their corrupt CEO friends are fair game,” Jody said.Tyesha shrugged. “Apparently Rule Zero is don't go on and on about hoes tryna take your money if you don't want hoes taking your money. You know how she gets when clients are disrespectful.”Jody laughed. “Serves him right.”“But seriously,” Kim said. “Do you think she's desperate for cash?”“I been wondering the same thing,” Tyesha said. “She won't let me look at the clinic's books, but I saw some warning notices on the utilities.”The cab pulled up in front of the luxury apartment. Jody went to get their equipment from the trunk and pay the driver.Jody stuck her head in the cab. “Do you have cash for the fare?” she asked Kim.As Kim handed over a twenty, she turned to Tyesha. “See?” Kim said. “These hoes really are tryna take my money.”Tyesha laughed. “You hoes is crazy,” she said, as they got out of the cab.* * *Marisol had instructed them to do the “delivery” routine for this call. Accordingly, Tyesha opened the lobby door of the rapper's midtown penthouse apartment in a delivery uniform that hid her curves. She wore leather work gloves, and pushed two hand trucks with several large boxes on each one. Her cap covered heavily made-up eyes, and she wore no lipstick.A security guard sent her up in the freight elevator. The team had instructions from Marisol to find out whether there was a safe. Tyesha was becoming irritated with Marisol's inconsistency and secrecy. “Relax,” Marisol had said. “Let me worry about the financials.” But how could Tyesha relax while she was casing the apartment of a famous rapper?She rang the bell.“It's unlocked,” someone yelled.She opened the door and backed into the apartment, taking note of the alarm panel just inside the room and the contact plates on the sides of the door. Turning around, she found herself in a high-ceilinged room with spectacular views. To the east, the apartment looked out on glittering city buildings. The view to the west was much darker, with strands of lights zigzagging across the flat expanse of Central Park.On the far living room wall were several huge reproductions of Thug Woofer's album covers. The largest one was the twelve-inch single “Backhoe Loader,” off his$kranky $outhalbum. The image featured a rural field with rows of plants that had hundred-dollar bills where cotton bolls should be. Thug Woofer wore a straw hat and had a wheat stalk sticking out of his mouth. He sat on a solid gold tractor with loaders on the front and back, each filled with women wearing bikini tops, thongs, and booty shorts, rumps in the air.In the center of the apartment was a sunken living room, where two black men lounged on couches. A muted 1970s mobster movie played in the background, featuring a man in a pin-striped suit shooting a machine gun into a restaurant.Tyesha recognized the two men on the couches as the cousin and the groom-to-be from the photos Marisol had shown them.“Hey, fellas,” Tyesha said. “I came to drop off some party drinks.”“Over there,” the groom said, pointing to the large kitchen area, which was separated from the living room space by a counter partition.Tyesha proceeded to wheel in two huge hand trucks, each with six boxes of liquor. “So do you need me to unload?”“What is all this?” the cousin asked.“Twelve cases. Six of rum. Six of tequila.”“Twelve cases? We didn't order no twelve cases,” the groom drawled in a Southern accent. He was tall and chunky, with his hair in short cornrows.“Are you Mr. Johnson?” she asked. “I'm supposed to get your signature.”“I ain't signin nothin.” The groom turned and looked over his shoulder. “Woof! You need to come on in here.”“What?” Thug Woofer came out to the living room, zipping up his low-slung designer jeans, a bottle of whiskey in his hand. He wore shades and several gold chains over a white undershirt, pulled halfway up to reveal a six-pack and gold-seamed boxer shorts.“Who ordered twelve cases of liquor? I thought this was just gonna be a private party,” the groom said.Woof was already calling his manager. “What the fuck did you order?” Woof slurred into the phone.“Congratulations on your engagement,” Tyesha said. “We'll give you a free bottle to celebrate.”Tyesha undid latches on both stacks of boxes and the false fronts fell forward, acting as a runway. Marisol had had them made by a theater designer, with tiny lights along the sides. Jody and Kim burst out from behind pink velvet curtains, wearing uniforms that matched Tyesha's. The tops of the boxes flipped up into speakers. Tyesha kicked off her delivery boots and slid into high-heeled pumps.Delivery, I've got a delivery for you . . .“What the fuck?” Woof said, but when the women began dancing to the low growl of the music, he hung up the phone.The women began by tossing their delivery gloves aside.Tyesha applied red lipstick suggestively, as the other two women ran their hands down along their bodies.Next, they each unsnapped their blouses and pulled off the sleeves, to make low-cut halter tops. At a climactic point in the music, the singer screamed out a high note, and with practiced choreography, each of the girls shimmied toward their dates.They pulled off the legs of their tear-away pants to reveal booty shorts. Garter belts peeked out from beneath the shorts, holding up fishnet stockings.Delivery, I've got a delivery for you . . .The three women led their dates to the couches and continued to dance for them.Delivery, I've got a delivery for you. Where do you want it, baby? Oh, how do you want it, baby?Slowly, the three of them undid the final snaps on their shirts, and revealed demi-bras and belly-button piercings.
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