The sound: Steppenwolf – The Pusher, Eric Clapton – Cocaine, Rev Gary Davis – Cocaine Blues, Velvet Underground – Heroin, The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper, Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb, Jackson Browne – Cocaine
“What the fuck was that all about?” I demand as we watch Greybeard and his men head to one of the other bar areas.
Robert turns to me as if first noticing me. He gives his big head a shake and then turns to WonderWoman…”take this little girl off to play somewhere”
“Inside or out?” she asks
“Oh definitely out” is the reply.
She nods at me and I stand up on the bench seat and climb over the back of the booth. Rosie and WonderWoman both walk me towards the stairs to the second floor. Both gripping my arms tight enough to leave bruises and Rosie again tells me to be quiet.
As we reach the bottom of the stairs I experience a moment of severe separation from reason and begin to yell. “What the fuck is up with you fucking people? What the fuck is going on? Why am I here? What is this all about? And when do I get to go home? Why am I being taken out?” “Whaddayameaninsideorout? WHATTHEFUCKISGOING ON?” I demand
Rosie slaps her hand over my mouth and pulls me into the shadows of a hallway. “Are you out of your mind little girl? Don’t you know better than to pull that shit out here where they can see you?”
She and WonderWoman tighten their grips on my arms and virtually dance me up the stairs to the second level. We head towards the pinball machine area as it seems the least populated.
“Sit” WonderWoman barks at me and kind of shoves me into a large leather club chair while she and Rosie flop into chairs facing me.
“Well?” I demand
“Loose the ‘tude kid” Rosie answers, “all good things in time”. I begin to sulk as a waitress comes over to take our orders. Rosie orders a round of beers and allows as I might as well get used to the taste of beer as I’ve got a lot of it to drink back at the house.
“Ok…” I begin once the waitress drops the round and leaves, “you both have got to understand my being freaked here…I mean…What the fuck?”
The ladies exchange looks and Rosie clears her throat. “First let me explain about this place” she says.
“Only if it includes why I’m here” I reply, I need some fucking answers or I ain’t gonna be so easy to get along with”
WonderWoman laughs “that’s right little girl, you go ahead and get all tough and shit and see where that gets you”
Rosie sighs, “Janis she’s just scared” she says and then turns to me as I look at her surprised. “I guess by now that you’ve figured out that we all have names other than the one’s we use.”
I nod agreement and she carries on. “I don’t know how it is where you come from…but we use these names to safeguard ourselves for all manner of things, rival clubs, the pigs, assholes that wannabee and even our real families…if ya can call them that. So yes, we all have real names, her’s is Janis, and mine is Phyliss, what’s yours?”
I pause thinking that this is a major show of trust on their part, and then immediately think… “But is it? Maybe it’s just an attempt at making me feel safe?”
“Karen” I reply.
“Ok Karen, here’s the deal. Robert is the president of the club; he has boys to enforce and boys to work. He allows the boys to keep us and we (most times) like to be kept. We do what we are told and we don’t ask too many questions. Capish?”
“But…but…but…” I stutter
“Robert owns the Dump” she goes on, “he’s a business man” she says with something akin to pride. “He gives us money to shop, eat, drink and get high if we want, and all we have to do is just do as he tells us when he tells us.”
“What if you don’t want to do what Robert tells you?” I ask
“That don’t happen.” WonderWoman replies.
“Oh, come on…I’m in business…I own a bar back home, I know what it’s like to have staff, it ain’t no walk in the park.”
“Jesus little girl, yer a little on the slow side eh? We ain’t staff, we’re his property, his ‘pride and joy’ he calls us…he lets everyone know we’re his ‘family’.”
Once again the mouth opens before the brain engages…”not fucking likely…nobody owns this girl”
“Drink yer beer” comes the reply.