by Balls Malone
Hedda eased back into the Mercedes’ well-worn, custom leather front passenger seat and let the warm, night sea air bathe her through the open window. The joint she had just shared with the car’s other two occupants was sitting marvelously with the light dinner she had allowed herself. Hedda was feeling good.
She opened her eyes to take in more of the night. The sea and the beach with its boardwalk and attractions flowed by her window in a wash of light, color, and sound. It was Saturday night and the heavy traffic on the seaside drive was moving slow, with people in no hurry to get anywhere but where they were.
The car was getting old, and was not running quite as smoothly as a luxury vehicle should, but it was still a lovely accessory for the evening. It’s owner and driver was Rupert Cornelius, acclaimed glamour and fashion photographer. His girlfriend, Ariana, was seated in the back.
Hedda knew exactly why Rupert had invited her to sit in front. It did not take him much longer to get to it.
“You know what I was thinking I’d like to do? I’d really love to go dancing? Do you ladies want to go dancing?” he asked.
Hedda smiled out the window and left Ariana to answer affirmatively from the back.
“Thing is, I’m all out of blow, and dancing just isn’t the same without it. Don’t you think? Say, Hedda, you don’t know where we could score some blow, do you?” Rupert asked with all the practiced nonchalance of a total cokehead asking someone they barely know for a hookup.
Hedda had known Rupert and Ariana just a few days. He was the photographer on her latest modeling job: the biggest she had booked yet. Hedda was not sure if Ariana was actually his girlfriend, or just the model he had chosen to fuck for the duration of that shoot. Either way, he had paid Hedda next to no mind until the day before when he discovered she had cocaine.
That her cocaine was straight-up fucking right meant he was really into her from that moment on. The shoot had wrapped that afternoon and Hedda had consented to be targeted by him afterwards. He was, after all, Rupert Cornelius: glamour and fashion photographer.
The restaurant he took her and Ariana to for dinner had been nice.
“I could like a dance,” Hedda finally said. “But I have no coke now.”
She sat in silence and let that sink the mood in the car for a while before she relented and continued:
“But I can get some. My boyfriend, he gets. It’s no problem.”
Hedda ignored Rupert’s verbal massage of her over this suggestion and got her phone out to track down her boyfriend, Lance Johnson. It turned out he was not far away at all.
“Okay, we meet. He’s at Family Mart just back in road,” Hedda finally said.
“What, the Family Mart at the Old Pier? That place? Really? Uhhhh… yeah… Okay!” Rupert responded.
The convenience store they were talking about was located right down at the dodgy end of the seaside drive, before it drifted inland into skid row. The cruisers who liked to drive up and down the strip to check out the vehicles and the girls tended to use the parking lot as their turnaround. The site was also a hotly contested gang spot and a known drug corner. Shootings were common there.
Rupert pulled into the lot and parked opposite from the squad of gangbangers clustered around two lowriders and three sports bikes taking up way more parking spaces than they ought to.
Hedda tapped the screen of her phone a couple of times. “Okay. He come.”
Rupert and Ariana barely had time to panic properly before Lance emerged from the crew around the lowriders and prowled his way towards their car.
That night Lance had on his vintage early-70s Adidas tennis outfit, all white with red piping: tennis shoes, socks pulled up to just under the knee, short shorts, and really tight tee. The ensemble was rounded out with fuzzy head and wrist bands. Pristine white all. He was also wearing his mirrored Ray-Ban aviators and had blow-dried his hair into a puffy miracle.
“Hey, baby! What the fuck! I didn’t expect to hear from you tonight! You’re lucky I aint gettin my dick sucked over here!” Lance said as he leaned down to peer through Hedda’s window. He grabbed the massive bulge in his short shorts and gave it a squeeze and a shake to punctuate his last point. He went on:
“But now that you’re here, I guess you’ll be able to take care of that for me. Isn’t that right, baby.”
Lance pointedly eyeballed Rupert across Hedda as he spoke. As he did, Lance put his left arm on the Mercedes’ roof and stretched low with his right hand on his hip. This gave everyone in the car a good look at his marvelously sculpted upper body. Both of Lance’s chiseled arms were covered in full sleeves of prison gang tattoos; some actively incorporating his many scars.
Rupert started to respond, but Hedda cut him off:
“We don’t want a fuck now, Lance. We want blow and then to go dance.”
“Yeah. I guess I could sort ya out. Ya got the money?” Lance asked Rupert, who enthusiastically assured Lance that he did.
“Cool. Cool. That’s cool and the gang. Yeah, I can sort ya out. No prob. I’ll join, huh?” Lance said.
“Oh, yes please, baby,” Hedda said, before Rupert could say anything to the contrary.
“Kay. Hold up. I got my bitch holding my shit down,” Lance said. He wandered back toward the lowriders and gave a shrill whistle. After exchanging some words with one of the gangbangers, he came back to the Mercedes.
Lance knocked on the back passenger window to get Rupert to unlock the door and then climbed into the back seat next to Ariana.
“Pop the trunk,” Lance said to Rupert.
“Pop the trunk, bitch! My boy is gonna put my shit in there.”
“Uhhh… I don’t know if… Okay. Alright.” Rupert popped open the trunk and one of the gangbangers ran over with a vintage Adidas nylon tennis bag. When that was shut in the trunk, the guy came around to the driver’s window and leaned down.
“Tell him what ya want,” Lance said.
“Wait, that wasn’t the stuff he just put—” Rupert started.
“No. I told ya. That shit’s mine. He’ll sort ya out. And don’t worry, the shit will be right. It aint what they usually slingin here, that’s fer fuckin sure. And he’ll be givin ye the friend price, so don’t be a bitch about it.”
Rupert handed his money over to the gangbanger who wandered off and had a youngster run the cocaine over to the car. While they were waiting, Lance turned to Ariana beside him and looked her up and down with a wide leer.
“Hi, baby!” Lance said to her.
“I’ve been called feral!” Lance said.
“What’s that mean?” Ariana asked.
“It means that I’m like a wild animal.”
“Like, on the dance floor?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, right, the dance floor. Yeah, or in a parole hearing. Some shit like that.”
“No parole for me, right?” Lance went on. “No! They never pinned a fuckin body on me. But they still violated my ass plenty for every other fuckin thing they could. So I did the full ten years, straight up! Fuckin pigs got nothin on me now, right? No parole officer getting up in my shit. No piss tests. Just walk out the fuckin door free and clear after doing the time straight up like a fuckin man. That’s the fuckin way to do it!”
Once Rupert had the cocaine, he pulled out of the parking lot and they were back to driving the strip.
“Okay, then, dancing,” Rupert said. “Where do you want to go?”
“Nowhere south of 60th,” Lance answered. “And no metal detectors!”
They settled on a club called the Purple Onion: a nice compromise between the higher-end clubs, where Rupert would not want to be seen with Lance, and those too far down the spectrum, where a lack of metal detectors would definitely be an issue.
The Purple Onion was a just a little off the strip in a semi-industrial area. They parked in an empty lot almost across the street and spent some time getting in the right frame of mind with Rupert’s newly acquired cocaine. Of the four of them, Lance barely partook. Rupert, however, was into it enough for the both of them.
“This is,” Rupert went on excitedly between snorts, “exactly the shit I hoped you could hook up, Hedda! You are a god! And Lance! What can I say? This shit is right! Your shit is right!”
In the club, things went predictably marvelously. Much as eggs, sugar, butter, and flour can be combined to create something wonderful, so too did the four talented and beautiful people combine with the electronic music in the dark crowded club. (Of course, the drugs didn’t hurt.)
Mostly, it was Hedda and Ariana dancing either side of Lance, with Rupert watching from the shadows and taking pictures of them with his phone. Within an hour, Lance had thoroughly familiarized himself with Ariana. Once he had, Hedda took the lead on the three of them working out a rhythm together.
Watching things develop, Rupert stayed in his lane as their audience. It was all very sexy; with nothing but open road ahead that looked sure to take them somewhere very marvelous indeed.