Breakfast Special, #29, “Treats and Tricks”

“Treats and Tricks”

Esther poured the hot golden tea into their cups. The older children in the next room were occupied with the large books containing high gloss photos of wild animals that Lily had brought upstairs with her. The younger children were down for a nap in the darkened front room area. Rosa sniffed the applesauce spice bread she had sliced up, tasted a piece and  nodded. “Muy bueno. This batch best one yet.”

“Esther, did you get it?”

“Oh I got it alright. I’m becoming a regular pick pocket queen. It’s almost too damn easy lifting things from that man’s coat even when he’s in it. Maybe it’s a sign he got nothing to hide. Or he don’t care who find what. I don’t know which yet.” Esther glanced warily at the children nearby then quickly handed the little grey book to Rosa. “I don’t get why Anton won’t say anything about it except that it’s not Sarge’s. If it’s not Big Man’s book then what’s the problem, so I’m thinking.” Esther dipped her slice of bread into her tea and ate while she and Lily watched Rosa explore the book’s contents.

After a few minutes of intense study, Rosa waved the little book at Esther and Lily. “This a pimp book. That what this is.” Setting it down on the table she took another bite of bread.

“How you know that for sure, huh, Rosa? What in there tell you that?” Esther looked at Lily who was frowning as she looked at the book over her cup of tea.

Rosa opened the book with the fingers of one hand while keeping it flat on the little table. “See the marks for the names. Like code. One mark for cost. One mark for what do. One mark for something else. I don’t remember todo. But I see this kind book before Juan die. Juan amigo steal from pimp. Make him pay mucho dinero get back. Risky business Juan say when pimp book got legs. You know what I mean. When it open for others see how he work his women.” Rosa shook her head in frustration with speaking only English.



“I read what you’re getting’ at, Rosa. I read loud and clear. Pimp man got all his prime real estate in his book. That intel he don’t want shared with anyone.”

“Anton told you to tell me this is not Sarge’s book. Okay. Why does he have it at all then?” Lily looked at Rosa. “I think maybe Juan’s friend was blackmailing the pimp he stole the book from. Maybe selling it back to him a little at a time?”

“Si. Yes. That’s the word, Lily. Black mail. Very risky.”

“Dangerous way to raise the rent.  Those folks are not people anyone want to piss off unless you willing to take a lot of major heat.” Esther sipped her tea. “Now I know why Anton don’t want to talk about what he figure after he see book with his own eyes. Pimp work is some evil nasty shit. He know I ain’t gonna like hearing that tune.”

Lily rubbed the edge of her cup against her chin. “What is Sarge doing with a pimp book?” She looked at Rosa then at Esther. “Sarge seem like a pimp to either of you? I’ve never met a pimp. I don’t know how you would know if a man is one or not.”

“Pimp a sly nasty piece of man work, Lily. Some got plenty of sweet talk to get a woman in their nest. Some just use their fists to make women mind. Some use drugs to keep a woman on their line. They all about control. Mind, body, soul. They eat it all. Keep a woman in a box tight. Women good for just one thing—sex. That’s how they raise their rent and the rest. Now your Sarge like that? I don’t think so, ladyfriend. Do you? He been actin’ different when we all out of sight? He been a mean boy? Hmm? He sweet talk you into doin’ what you got no interest in doin? That bread he been baking got something extra in it we don’t know about?  If so, then you better kick his ass to the curb right fast.”

Lily looked from Esther to Rosa then shook her head sending her loose hair waving down her back like a fish tail. “Nope. I have no reason to kick Sarge’s ass to the curb, fast or slow based on that intel. What else can you lay on the table?”

“Esther got it all. Si. Maybe Sarge do risky business. Maybe that why he got pimp book. He play hard ball game. But I kick my ass, if Sarge be a pimp. That take a special kind of man. He not that kind. He a funny man, sometimes little loco, but that not the same. No way, Rosa say. He don’t got that look in his eyes.”

Lily picked up the book and flipped through the pages. “Sarge said he throws freight for a living. I know that pays well because some guys from school do it part-time whenever they can for extra cash.  So I don’t think Sarge needs to blackmail some pimp for money.”

Esther leaned forward and put her elbows on the table as she drank her tea. “Why Sarge throw freight when he got all these mad serious skills with electricity, plumbing and such, that he been putting to work since he been hanging in your space? All that pay a hell of a lot more than even throwing freight.” She exchanged looks with Rosa as they both waited for an answer from the woman whose black eyes were slowly narrowing to thin slits as she stared into the open space of the rooms beyond.

“Sarge throws freight because he can make money working and stay out of his father’s reach. Rosa, where’s that big fat white pages phone book?”

“Wait. I think I know where Ricardo put it.”

“What you want more addresses for, Lily? Ain’t we got enough of them right there?”

Lily tapped her fingers on a page. “These are the names of women who work for the pimp, right?”

“Yeah, and?”

“Well, where is the address for the pimp? Where does he live? Doesn’t a pimp need a phone to do this business like any other business?”

“I see where you at. But, there’s no pimp name in that book that I can tell. We don’t know who the pimp be. Now, Sarge knows the pimp’s name. Got to, I think. You want that name for sure. You ask Sarge. He tell you if he dare.”

Lily took the white pages from Rosa then leaned back in her chair to put the phone book on her lap while starting to look through it. “I think he already has, Esther.”

“Oh yeah? Why do you say that?”

Lily looked up from the phone book. “What kind of man beats his son for telling the truth? Would that kind of man be the right kind to be a pimp?”

Rosa and Esther looked at Lily and stared. “Could be. Could be not. Depends on what that truth be.  But that could be a place to start looking.”

“Lily, be careful. Family be tricky business like Ricardo say.”

“That’s a funny thing to say, Rosa.”

“What is? I not laughing. Esther not laughing. How that funny, Lily?”

“I think it’s funny because prostitutes turn tricks for a living. You used the word tricky with family and business. Now my mind finds that ‘funny’. Not like, ha, ha funny. To me it’s more like, now that’s an interesting combination of English words because it makes me think all sorts of things.  I am freely associating random ideas in order to make connections I might not see any other way.”

Esther laughed. “Damn Lily. You got way too much goin’ on in your head when you talk like that.  But I think I read.”

“The universe operates in strange and wonderful ways, Esther. Let your mind play and you never know what you might see.” Lily found the page she wanted in the phone book, put her hand on it then looked from Esther to Rosa and smiled. “That’s one reason why I gave Sarge just a little chance when he followed me from Big Bob’s to ask for a date.  I saw the book he was reading while we were inside at the counter. Priest and I read it for fun and for the ideas in it. I figured if this big man is reading that book, maybe this is a sign I should not just give him a total brush off. So I gave him a chance to meet me at the Orpheum when I was already going to see Volpone with the ticket from Jake. When he showed up I figured that’s another sign. See? What are the odds of that happening?’

Esther shook her head and laughed a little. “You said that was just one reason why. What others were there? ”

Lily started searching through the names on a specific page. She replied without looking up, “My Gran would put it another way, but Anton’s way works just about as well. My bones started humming a certain way as soon as he sat down next to me. That does not happen very often as you both know. So that was another sign. Every little thing added up when we were outside looking at each other with the snow falling.  Oh my my, what have I found here.”

Rosa leaned to get a look at the page Lily was reading. “What you find?”

“O’Mara home and business addresses. Let’s see what’s in the yellow pages.”

Esther went and took the yellow phone book out from under the boy who had been sitting on it. “Okay what business we looking for in the yellow?”

“Try ‘construction business’ for a start, Esther. Let’s use Sarge’s skills for clues. Look for anything with O’Mara.”

“Now this kind of funny, Rosa see fine. Man use one thing to hide another thing. Play shell game. Tell you what. You two read books here with ninos. Rosa take a walk with pimp book. Get me some air.”

“Okay, Rosa. Why you takin’ the pimp book with you? You plan’ set up some red light work on the corner?”

“I got idea. You see. Adios amigas.”

Thirty-five minutes later, Rosa returned looking so very pleased with herself that Esther swore she was surrounded by a halo like that of the image of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe a street artist known only by his tag “got2” had painted on the side of a building.  “Hola amigas. Que tal?”

“What’s up yourself, Rosa? What are you so bright and shining about?”

Rosa walked very daintily and primly to the small table and laid the pimp book down on it. “No more pocket picking, Esther.” Rosa hugged a large envelope to her chest and smiled at Lily and Esther. Rosa giggled as she waved the envelope in the air. “We got our very own pimp libro.” She opened the envelope and showed them photocopies of every page from the little grey book. “Mrs. Ling found machine in trash at office building where she clean nights. She figure; there so many like it there that no one care if she bring broken machine home. So she did.  Mr. Ling fixed it. One thing machine do is make copies.”

Lily was laughing and clapping her appreciation of Rosa’s “idea” while Esther was looking at Rosa with new-found admiration. “Rosa, you never cease to amaze me. What else you got tucked up behind your mind sleeves? Hmm?”

While she said, “Nothing much,” her sweet little smirk said otherwise. “Your turn. What you do while Rosa play with Ling machine? Any luck with yellow book?”

Esther shook her head. “Not really.” She shot a warning glance at Lily to not laugh. “We got kids their cookies and tea. Now they all making pictures, writin’ notes and such for their moms and pops. We dead ended in yellow pages.”

Rosa’s face fell. “How can be? No O’Mara shell game?” She looked around at the children busy with their fresh number two pencils and paper torn from the Big Chief tablet. “Okay. No problem. We go another way.” She looked expectantly at Esther and Lily who were fighting hard to keep straight faces and failing. “OOOO you two she devils. What you got?”

Lily snickered. “Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Check this out, Rosa.” Lily opened the yellow pages to a full-page ad for  ‘O’Mara Construction and Consulting Services Available twenty-four hours, seven days a week. No job too big or too small. Our business is pleasing you.”

Rosa moved her chair to sit right next to Lily. “Dios mio! Jack Pot!”

“Wait until you see the rest. Esther has got some serious show and tell for you.”

“Come on already, Esther. Show and tell me!”


Breakfast Special #30


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  1. penpusherpen said,

    January 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Oooo your mind Eva, can I fiddle about in there? eh? 😉 Loving the Constructing Pimp connection, but Sarge? a Pimp? NO way, i nearly choked on my third cup of coffee. (straight, no additives!!) xPenx

  2. Jenell said,

    December 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

    3 smart women together figure out the secrets of life looking at numbers in a little book priceless

    • December 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      I hope this is a good break from all the serious issue reading you’ve been doing, “Jennell”. Nice to see you again. 🙂

  3. lesliepaints said,

    October 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Construction and pimping. Me? I never would have figured it out. You go girl!
    Big Chief tablet? You take me back. Do they still sell those? 🙂

    • October 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Leslie. Big Chief tablets, I think they’re still around in some form. Do note that there are no cellphones at this time, so it dates the story. I think certain things work better in certain times, don’t you?

  4. slpmartin said,

    October 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Ah…the book was what I thought it might be…once again you’ve got me waiting for the next installment….so are you going to turn this into a book?

    • October 10, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Oh yeah, I pretty much figured Sarge and Anton gave it away without giving it a ‘name’–especially with all those ladies of the evening strolling through the pages. )
      Dear Charles, this IS a book full score and being tweeked as we speak. The attention of your delightful imagination is most appreciated as always, slp. Merci.

      • slpmartin said,

        October 10, 2013 at 3:01 am

        So pleased to hear it will be a book…awaiting the next parts!

      • October 10, 2013 at 6:16 am

        Hey I’m glad I’m making someone happy with this project. )
        ooo your ‘un’ poem…ouchy ouchy
        Do you follow RAWA online via fb or twitter? It’s not looking good for the ladies in Afghanistan…not at all.

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