TEN MILE ROAD - Page 6
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I holler to Marcia “Skip to the finale” while I pant and try to catch my breath.

She’s rigged a swing that drops from the rafters. I jump onto it and rap while

swinging over the heads of the audience handing out chocolate cookies baked by yours

truly. I don’t spot anyone who looks remotely like a promoter, especially one from Asia.

Maybe that’s for the best, considering the night’s events. When we hit the last note the

entire dancehall is rocking. We exit the stage, leaving on a loop of repeating music

playing for the crowd to dance to. I feel my eye swelling up. If it turns blue I guess it

will match my costume.

Upstairs, I change my clothes then sit back and let Marcia remove my make-up

and tend my eye. She has removed her Ninja suit and put on some old sweats. Phil

Jacobs, the club owner comes in with a concerned look. I’ll bet he’s thinking lawsuit.

Worrying about it. Not my style.

“Look, Phil. Daddy2Cool’s a baby. He isn’t worth the time of day. I don’t want

to spend one more minute thinking about him. Let’s just not put him on any bill with me

ever ever again. And I mean that. Never ever again. He’s no artist – just some thug.” I

don’t have to convince Phil. He’s with me on this one.

I take my cut of the door. After I pay Marcia it’s enough to get me through the

week even if Richard stiffs me on my allowance check again. I feel like I’m stuck in one

of those repeating music loops myself, waiting for another chance to break out.

“You want a ride home, honey?” Marcia asks, looking at the puffiness shutting

my right eye.

“Naw. As long as Jane starts I can make it north of Ten Mile in no time. I might

try slapping a steak on this eye. I’ve always wondered if that really works. Although

slapping it on the grill sounds better to me right now.” I realize that I’m hungry and

thirsty and deflating quickly. Time to hit the road home.

The twenty-minute drive north goes quickly. I’ve barely walked in my door and

thrown my bag on the floor when the phone rings. It’s Marcia.

“What’s up now?’ I ask. “You just can’t stay away from me, is that it? Or do you

want to come over and have steak dinner with me at 3 in the morning?” There’s noise in

the background. Obviously she hasn’t gone home.

“Shirley, he was there! The promoter was at the show. He wants you. He wants

you to tour Japan.” She stops speaking for a moment. I can’t believe it. My lucky

night. This is great. It’s like a crack opening and I can bust in, I just know it. Finally.

“There’s a catch though.” and she pauses again, waiting for me to ask.

“Money?” I ask.

“Nope. There’s plenty of that. You’ll never guess. Sit down.” She waits a

proper length of time.

“Ok – ok. I’m sitting. What is it?”

“Shirley, he wants you BUT..... he wants you with Daddy2Cool. The whole

show. Choreographed, like tonight.” I can’t speak. “Shirley, you there? Goddamn it,

say something. You ok? This is for the big bucks, honey.”

“Wait a minute, give me time to think.” I sit there and imagine wussy Richard

standing in the doorway, writing me another check and whining all the while. “Bimbo

needs new clothes. Bimbo needs a trip to Vegas.” I imagine letting him write the check.

I stare at him with my icy blue eyes and draw myself up tall, inches above Richard. I

take the check and let him watch as I shove it in my mouth and eat it, chewing ever so

slowly, never once losing eye contact. I can’t resist this picture.

“It’s OK, Marcia. It’ll be OK. Let’s do it.” Bring it all on. I am the Biggest, the

Best and the Baddest ready to roar out of Motown. Look out, Japan.