Okay, girlfriend. Let’s get serious here. Tonight’s gotta be the
night. Time’s runnin’ away from me.
She jammed her eyes shut, swallowed hard, and blew out a prolonged
breath. Tonight could be rough. Or impossible. Her heart thumped in
expectation of finding the right person to accompany her in the train
wreck of her life.
She had no choice, but to make it work.
Her life depended upon it.
Before she could overthink it, she grabbed the pink paisley duffle bag,
which held her outfit for the job, off the Queen Victoria chair that
graced the corner of the hallway. The entire getup could fit in her
jeans pocket but she had to go fancy. She zipped up the black patent
leather stiletto heeled boots, hesitating for a moment, contemplating if
she was getting too old to wear them. After a last minute once-over in
the full length mirror on the adjacent wall, she reconsidered. Nah, not
with her knockout bod. Women half her age didn’t look so good. Not
even any laugh lines around her eyes to give it away. She winked in the
mirror and her emerald contact lenses twinkled back.
She eased the door closed to her ritzy Manhattan apartment at one a.m.
with her right hand on the knob and her left palm on the door, guiding
it to the latch so that her ears alone heard the soft clicks of the
Can’t wake those old geezers next door. Otherwise, I’ll just have to
do what I do best.
Chills of anticipation snaked through her as she traversed the darkened
hallway to the elevator all the while listening for footsteps in her
neighbor’s apartment. The elevator door opened. She slipped in.
All was good.
They got to live another night.
Undulating her body on stage, she made the most of the techno and house
music in Zodiac, the dark and dingy strip club on the lower west side of
Manhattan. She encircled her legs around the glistening pole as if she
was the giftwrap for a valuable prize for the men watching her. Very
expensive giftwrap. The embroidered red dragon on the outer side of her
right boot reflected in the glaring lights as she raised her leg and
arched her firm midriff. She held onto the pole with her left arm as she
extended the right. Her impressive breasts popped out of her skimpy top.
Standing upright and feigning embarrassment, she put her hand over her
mouth. After a few moments to entice the enthralled men, she cupped her
breasts in the palms of her hands sliding her thumbs over her nipples
and they slithered back into the cups. She bent over and gave a flirty
wiggle to make sure the girls were back in place. Wearing a Lucille Ball
flame-red wig, and so much makeup, with bright emerald contact lenses,
she camouflaged her true self. She wouldn’t want anyone to see her
true self. She didn’t want to see her true self.
While she danced to the hard and fast music, keeping the rhythm and
gyrated her hips, her gaze wandered around the room, focusing on some
shirtless men whose bodies weren’t worth a second look, and then down
the stairs. Then she saw him.
The bum who was older than the rest.
The bum pushed people aside on the dance floor to get through the crowd
on his way to the stairwell. His ratted knapsack swiped against two
twenty-something guys in the middle of an E exchange who were too
engrossed in what they were doing to notice him. But she could read him.
She could tell he was the type who would go unnoticed. Medium height,
medium build. She’d wait to make her decision when he got closer.
Ignoring everyone, the bum walked steadily up the stairs to the second
floor. The black light illuminated the astrological signs painted in
neon on the wall behind him. Those going up and down the stairs needed
to squint from the glare. Blindness and burning eyes from the artificial
smoke overwhelmed them. The bum clung to the banister, banging his knee
on the top step, the steepest one.
Good. He’s getting too old for this. Perfect.
The bum settled on a bar stool in front of the rack. The stripper
preferred to acknowledge it as Pervert’s Row. Her stare was glued to
him as he took unhidden slugs from the bottle of whisky he pulled from
his knapsack. She saw him as a ruined man, haggard and wrinkled beyond
his forty-five or so years. His nicotine-yellowed fingernails helped to
give him away. Smoking must have been the culprit, adding wrinkles of a
much older man. He probably survived by ignoring his tattered clothes
and receding hairline, though he’d let his blond hair grow long around
his ears and longer in the back. Gray roots over dark brown had emerged.
He needed another bleach job.
Dancing in front of him, she enticed him with her narrow waist, slightly
wider hips, and strong defined legs to match her moves.
“Hey, baby, how about giving me some of that?”
The stripper gave him the up and down. “You’re not green enough,
“I can share this with you,” he said, holding up the bottle. The
haze of despair in his eyes reflected in the bottle of whiskey. She
often had that same look.
“Don’t drink on the job, baby.” She was there to make money and
she’d found her mark. Her attention followed the men tempting her with
the largest bill. She was determined to make, at the minimum, the two
hundred bucks she had to pay the club owner for tonight, plus an
additional ten percent for the server who catered to her customers.
Otherwise, all her bumping and grinding would leave her in the red. On a
good night, she pulled in over a grand. However, from the looks of the
crowd she surveyed tonight, she would have to work hard for anything
close to that.
If she had only gone to one of the high-end clubs in Chelsea that she
had worked in, she’d make five times that amount. But that wasn’t in
her agenda for the immediate future. She had more dough than she’d
ever need in off-shore accounts through other means, and ugh, her legal
day job, a real farce of a day job, but she wanted more than money, now.
Now she wanted revenge.
For the past twenty-two years, more than half her life, she craved this
revenge. It encompassed her mind, body, soul, and every cell within her.
Her body shivered at the thought. She lifted high toward the heavens. It
was her spirit lifting. She could taste it. She could smell it. The
scent of sweet mango teased her nose. Her universe gave her that scent
as a signal. She was on her way to getting what she craved.
She cringed on the inside and, at the same time, forced a smile at the
short, rotund, bald-headed man waving a fifty in her direction, coaxing
her to pay attention to him. “Com’on, honey, ignore him.”
Knowing very well he couldn’t afford it, but she would take what she
could get, she turned away from the bum. She blew kisses at the
bald-headed man a few inches above his head while snatching the fifty.
She let him rub his greasy unshaven cheeks between her bounteous breasts
for just a moment as she slid the bill into her boot. Then she pulled
back from him in a heartbeat. He smiled.
As she looked for another mark, the bum reached far up onto the stage
and grabbed her leg throwing her off balance. His first mistake. She
recouped and kicked him in the chin knocking him backward with a
strength that forced the onlookers to back away. “Fuck off, buddy,
you’re ruinin’ my act!” Her loud New York accent permeated the
He tumbled to the floor with a bleeding gash on his chin from her
pointy-toed, five-inch stiletto. He rebounded faster than she expected.
In an Irish Brogue, he said, “I’m not giving up on you, Sheila!”
She smiled as his comment struck a chord deep within her, unlike the
other losers, who merely whimpered away like wounded pups.
Sheila. It’s better than being called “bitch.”
“Try that again bud and you’ll wind up on the first floor.” She
resumed dancing around the pole, ready to strike again at the simplest
provocation from him or anyone else in the room.
A tattooed bouncer, with his biceps and six-pack outlined by his skin
tight black Zodiac T-shirt, grabbed the bum by his jacket collar to drag
him down the stairs. The bouncer had a firm grip on the bum, who
struggled and fell over the red velvet couch against the wall. Still,
held by the collar, he strained from the bouncer’s strength as the
glare from the swirling psychedelic lights blinded him.
“Clancy Davis. Remember the name, baby. We’re gonna become real good
friends, real soon.”
She trembled for a moment, and stood still, but this wasn’t new to
her. It went with the territory, almost every time and in every club in
which she worked. It made her hard and indifferent, but resilient.
She’d initiated her personal vendetta now. Nothing would thwart her.
No one would stop her. Ever.
She continued to dance, swaying her body to the music faster than
before, while caressing her now bare breasts. But something was
different about this one. Something different, yes—the aggression in
his dark brown eyes, telling her he was once someone special, who longed
to find his past.
Yes, Clancy Davis, we will become friends real soon. Yes, tonight was
the night. You’re just the type of creep I’m looking for. Then
you’ll be sorry you didn’t give up on me like everyone else. But you
can bet I’ll make you rich, before you die.
Hanging one leg around the pole and sliding up and down, she rubbed her
crotch on the shiny metal, floor to ceiling rod. She feigned moaning
with pleasure to entice the enthralled men.
Assessing which one would give her sugar next, she lunged back, holding
the pole with her left arm and letting her right arm taunt and playfully
touch the next unwitting fool.
All the while, she pondered her next move with Clancy.
Excerpted from "Gemini: The Sign Behind the Crime ~ Book 1 (Volume 1)" by Ronnie Allen. Copyright © 2015 by Ronnie Allen. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.