– THE PARASITE –
By Edward L. Binkley
I walked into the neighborhood strip joint for a four dollar beer and, I could say some scintillating conversation but who’s kidding who. There at one of the tables off to the side but still in a good position to see both active stages, was a shortish African American man in the brightest white sweat ensemble I think I have ever seen and a white baseball cap turned sort of to one side. You know the look I’m sure. To cap off the whole thing he wore silver athletic shoes that must have cost him a pretty penny as well.
I initially figured him for a drug dealer (which, in fact, may have been a sideline of his) but this guy, who was not all that good looking, seemed to have a thing with the dancers. Not all but some were giving him money and this little so and so had quite a wad. I’m thinking Pimp.
Now, I’m not insinuating that any of these young ladies are trollops, ladies of the evening, you know prostitutes that would be unfair. Maybe he’s an agent or manager or something like that but Pimp still sticks in my mind.
I asked a couple of the girls who he was and got a very clipped response from both. They would say he’s a friend to all of the girls and a really nice guy while they had that deer-in-the-headlights look going on. Then they both turned and walked away like they were afraid to talk about him. It was genuinely weird.
Being the type of guy who doesn’t like a confrontation and believes in leaving well enough alone, I decided to walk over to his table, invite myself to sit down and ask a few innocent questions. I’ve had a few beers by this time you see. It went something like this……..
“Hey, how’s it going? See anything you like?”
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Name’s Ed and yours?” He just stared. “Not important I guess.”
“I couldn’t help but notice that wad of cash you’ve been waving around. Business must be booming, huh?” “What kind of business might you be in, by-the-way?” “It couldn’t have anything to do with these girls could it? I noticed a few of them handing you cash. I thought that a little odd, wouldn’t you say?”
“Hey listen man, he said, why don’t you just move on? Who are you anyway, a cop?”
“No, I’m no cop, just a frustrated writer who came in to have an expensive beer or two that’s all. That is until I saw you.”
“What do you mean by that, until you saw me?”
– 2 –
“Well, to tell you the truth, I was trying to figure out what a flashy dresser like yourself with wads of money who’s not all that good looking might have that so many of these girls might want.”
He didn’t look all that happy with my description of him but, I continued anyway.
“Yeah, at first I figured you were a drug dealer and thought that maybe, among other things, you just might be but I finally settled on a Pimp. You look the type to take advantage of women and girls.”
He started to get up and then said, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” I told him I had no idea.
He told me, “I have friends that could ruin your day.” I told him that my day was pretty much ruined all ready just talking to him.
“Hey listen, I said, let’s get right to it. What made you want to become a parasite anyway?”
“Parasite, what the hell’s a parasite?”
“You know, someone who preys on women and girls for profit.”
“I don’t pray to women or girls.”
‘That’s not what I said. I said preys on. P-R- oh what’s the use. You probably can’t spell anyway. It would just be a waste of my time and your limited brain power to try and explain it to you.”
“You know man, I don’t like you. I think you’d better leave now.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I’ve enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand too.”
I noticed one of the girls I asked about this creep over talking to the manager of the place and she was pointing in our direction. It was time to call it a night but, I had one more parting shot before departing.
“Say listen,” I asked the man in white, “I just have to know. Are you a drug dealer or a pimp or both?”
I never got my answer because the manager arrived just then and placed a guiding hand on my shoulder. I did get another cold, silent stare though so all wasn’t lost. At that point, the manager thought it was time for me to call it a night as well. There will be other nights though and other opportunities to push the limits. What’s life without a little stirring-of-the-pot now and again?