The man sitting in front of me is rubbing his lips with ugly greasy looking fingers.
“So, you’re really telling me you did the work? You are Sweet Billy’s girl? I didn’t know he liked dark meat.”
I want to hit him in the mouth; instead I let him continue trying to see up my skirt.
“Look. I’d appreciate you not wasting my goddamn time. You want the merchandise, I have it. Make up your fuckin’ mind.”
He leans back, his gaze moving from my thighs to my breasts and back.
“I do love me a girl from the hood. Okay Beyoncé show me what you got.”
I dig around in my bag and hand him a shiny red gift box. He grins at me. I really wish I hadn’t stopped by on my way out to meet my wife, hazards of the business I guess.
“Gift wrapped too? Ain’t you a pea-?”
He trails off. A block of Lucite slides out of the box. Suspended inside is the carefully preserved bloody red tongue with a trademark, large gauge tongue stud of the biggest snitch in the game. It is so raw, I know it looks faked.
I give him my sweetest smile.
“Sweet Billy said you like modern art.”
I rifle through my purse and toss him a stack of pictures that show my work. He looks at me over the top of them.
“Don’t call me fucking Beyoncé. My name is June or you can even call me Junie. You can pay me now or I can take my shit to the next highest bidder. I’m sure you are perfectly aware that there are at least five other people who’d pay top dollar for that.”
His small office is dead silent for a full minute while he looks between me, the tongue and the photos.
I watch him turning the Lucite block over and over in his hands, peering at the tongue, shaking it.
“So how do I know this is what you say it is?”
I glance at my cell phone and then up at him.
“I have video but it is an extra ten thousand and you can’t download it or keep it. I’m sure you understand. Are we gonna do this? My wife is waiting and if I’m too late she’s going to be pissed and I don’t wanna deal with that tonight. I’m trying to get laid.”
He laughs, shakes his head and finally looks me in the eye.
“What size shoe do you wear?”
I smile at him, a real one this time.
“I take a seven and I like ‘em black and shiny. Red bottoms or forget about it.”
Turning the Lucite encased tongue over in his palm he picks up the phone with his free hand. He looks back at me and this time his eyes are soft, his gaze stays on my face and away from my tits.
My mentor Sweet Billy always says, it will always be my tits that get their attention and my work that’ll get me paid. I text my wife that I’m on my way and to start popping bottles, another successful job wrapped up.
“Hey, numbnuts bring the lady her money. And bring some of them fancy shoes up from the warehouse. And some flowers out the cooler, nice ones.”
After he hangs up he offers his meat hook of a hand. His eyes are on mine and I know I got him.
“Real pleasure to work with you Sweet Junie, you tell your wife she’s one lucky lady.”