“Yeah, hah. Look, I do enough. I don’t have to be with him every minute.”
“So you can talk?”
“Yeah. What’s up?”
“He’s almost ready to do it. He wants you to keep an eye on him and the sister.”
“OK, I can do that. You need anything else from me?”
“Not right now. He’ll be getting out soon. He’ll be in touch.”
“I’ll be ready.”
“Yeah, well, don’t fuck this up. There’s a whole lot riding on this, including your ass. And mine.”
“Don’t worry, I know the plan. Just let me know when.”
“OK. And oh, tell Ace I said, ‘Hello’.”
Reporter was out of prison, thanks to Pimp Dealer and Do-Good. Funny what can get done when there’s a 6’8” 300-lb. man on your doorstep. Parole hearings go real smooth.
The team had come together easily. Reporter had been talking to Producer for a while. He just wanted to remind him of what was at stake if Pimp Dealer ever found out what Producer’s role had been in getting Twin away from him. Setting up that hiding place in NYC and all. That would be bad.
Then Reporter had wanted to know about Lover’s family, so Producer had sent him over to the “Washington Journal Tribune” to see his Ace over there. That guy knew a lot about Anacostia. He should, he’d grown up there. He’d heard the stories. He knew who was who.
Ace was a cokehead from way back. He and Pimp Dealer had done some “bidness” together back in the day but, as his career started to take off, he’d backed off from going over there to pick up the stuff himself. Instead he wanted to hire a guy to do that run for him.
Runner came out of college with hopes of being a marketing executive. He’d majored in it and his grades weren’t too bad. The only problem was that they weren’t outstanding, either. He wouldn’t have made a decent account manager, much less a boss.
One of the things he’d hoped to do was go to graduate school and get his M.B.A. He wanted to intern at one of those big marketing firms either in L.A. or New York. When the ones in L.A. turned him down (including Lover’s) he decided to stay on the east coast and see what he could do. He ditched graduate school; it was a pain, anyway, so it wasn’t like he was missing anything. Plus he already had all those student loans to pay off.
He figured that with his charm and better-than-average looks he could get into somewhere that paid a decent salary. So what if he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the drawer? He looked good, represented himself well and was an OK copywriter, even better when he was inspired by some decent money. But there was an over-supply of copywriters in New York. He decided to try his luck elsewhere.
D.C. was calling. All those politicians and lobbyists and agency managers who needed somebody to write for them. Much more opportunity there.
A friend invited him to this party one weekend. There were a lot of journalists there and the friend thought Runner could make some contacts. He made one, alright, but not exactly what he’d hoped. “Ace” at the Washington Journal Tribune was looking for someone to hire for this ongoing “job” he had available. He was willing to do it and one thing could lead to another.
Runner was still having some trouble getting his work in front of the right people. In exchange for the “favors” (in bed and out) he was doing for Ace, his writing started to get noticed.
He didn’t mind hanging with Ace. A little extra cash, a little extra coke, a little extra “extra,” what was the harm? So when Ace told him he had another job for him, he was all in.
It didn’t hurt that Pimp Dealer had taken a liking to Runner. Pimp Dealer liked closeted gay men; it was something to hold over their head should anything go wrong. He’d seen guys smarter than Runner, but he wasn’t too bad. He got things quickly once somebody else laid them out for him. That was important because Pimp Dealer usually didn’t have a lot of time to be fucking around with shit. He was only so patient.
Pimp Dealer told Runner this was “a long-term kinda thing” in New York but that the cash was good ($10K/month under the table) and he’d get to meet the right people.
It was perfect that, after a few months of “dancing” around each other, the target had started nursing a broken heart. Runner was there to help it heal. Things had fallen into place for Pimp Dealer; in fact, he’s the one who’d picked Runner for the job in the first place. The young man knew his way around the city, his career was a good fit and he had “talents,” Ace confirmed. For the right price, Ace could even set Runner up with some people who would vouch for him, like a Producer and his pals. The target would never see it coming.
“Hey, baby, how was the shower?”
“It was good, good. Would’ve have been better if you’d been in there with me.”
“Well, I just thought I’d give you a little ‘alone time’, you know?”
“Oh, uh huh, being generous and all that.” He smiled, turning to dry off the other side. “Hey, did I hear you on the phone or something?”
“Oh, yeah, it was just room service wanting to know if we wanted anything special for breakfast.”
“Come over here. I’ll give you a special breakfast all right.”
Runner smirked and walked over to where the man was laid out on the bed, the towel on the floor, his hands behind his head and his legs crossed while he watched Runner slowly take off the robe and kick off the slippers. Runner spread his legs and climbed up his body for some tongue-kissing action before making his way back down. He didn’t care that this was a job. Some extra cash, a little extra coke and a lot of extra-good “extra,” so what did he care? He’d been cultivating this guy for months for Pimp Dealer and the payoff was getting closer and closer.
Reporter had coached him on how to cultivate someone real easy and slow AND NOT GET CAUGHT.
Exec arched his back as “Partner” used all his tricks to make him happy. He even threw in a few “I love you” sighs and got a few back. After all, it was gonna be worth it. And the man treated him well. So what if a couple of people had it coming to them? So what if there were kids involved? He didn’t care. He was getting to know some real power people, billionaires and stuff. They were beginning to call him when they needed some copy written or a speech that they could claim was theirs. Some of them even considered him a friend. Or at least “a friend of a friend.” It was all good as far as he was concerned.
There was only one problem (isn’t there always?). Remember when Producer had set up that hiding place for Twin and Niecy when they’d run from Pimp Dealer? Well, guess who helped Producer set that up? A young copywriter just starting out in New York City. Reporter had paid him $20K to find the last place Pimp Dealer and his Crew would ever look for Twin and her little girl. And Partner had done it, right under Exec’s nose, by stashing them in Producer’s condo in the same building where Exec lived. That made it easy to bring in food—all he had to do was be buzzed in by Doorman (who was being paid by Pimp Dealer to watch Exec and his occasional visitor, Lover), take the food up to Producer’s place, leave it there, and then go on up to Exec’s.
They didn’t count on Pimp Dealer having eyes EVERYWHERE, like watching the elevator stopping on Producer’s floor for a few minutes before it went up to Exec’s. The only reason Partner made it through that little faux pas about hiding Twin and Niecy was that Pimp Dealer needed him to seduce Exec so he could keep tabs on Lover.
He was being helpful, though; so what if one day Partner would get what he had coming? Pimp Dealer was planning on it.
Tomorrow in “Promises of Starlight”: The plan goes into play