I walked into the White Spot cafe and slipped onto the nearest stool. I was hungry and tired, my feet hurt and I had called it quits for the night. It seemed like the cops were everywhere. Not reall good for business so I decided to catch the bus and get a bite to eat. I look around the cafe for someone I know but the faces aren’t familiar. I notice an older guy sitting near the back, drawing so I wander back and sit across from him in another booth. He nods and smiles at me as I sit down. I watch him draw a while before I strike up a conversation. We talk as I’m eating and I notice he’s not eating anything, only has a glass of what looks like coffee.
“Not hungry?” I ask. He laughs rufully and shakes his head “No money” I frown and ask him if I can buy one of his pictures. They ARE pretty good after all. “Come pick one you want” He says, smiling. He has a sweet, easy smile and eyes that sparkle like a pair of polished sapphires. I look through his drawings and pick one, paying him double what he asks for it and get up to leave. “thank you, young lady” he says as I get up. I laugh and shake my head “No lady here, Sir. Unless you talkin bout lady of the evenin” He chuckles as I walk off to pay my bill. I doubt he’ll get anything to eat so I tell my waitress to get him something and slip her a twenty. Feeling happy, I wander off toward my apartment.
As I walk up the alley, I’m confronted by a large tom cat. He’s a huge animal with a torn ear that’s dangling crookedly. I pet him gently and took him home with me. I clean his wounds and feed him some tuna. While he eats, I get a shower and slip into bed, exhausted. I fall asleep with him cleaning himself contentedly at the foot of the bed. I guess I have a new roommate.
I sleep for a few hours then get up to start my “day”. I let the cat out and he scampers off into the night. I smile because I know, he and I have a lot in common. I think about him as I head off in the other direction. I stop at the 7-11 and grab some coffee, chat with Lawrence like I do every day and head down Colfax, past Kittys and the Argonaut liquor store. I walk fairly slow and watch the traffic as I drink my coffee. It looks like the cops have thinned out a bit, good. Maybe tonight I can get done early.
I drop my empty cup into the trash can and lean against the wall, watching the cars and smiling. It’s early yet but I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting night. I stay at the corner for a bit then start my prowl, headed East with a seductive roll to my hips. I know how to lure the guys and by the time I hit the third street, there’s a man waiting for me in a red sports car. He calls to me as I cross the street and I get in. We discuss prices, conduct our business and I’m back on the streets within 10 minutes.
Somewhere around my 5th trick, my little brother hops off the bus and stands there, frowning at me. “What are you doing out here sis?” I have to laugh and hug him tight “you KNOW what I’m doing! How’s mom?” He grumbles like only a 14 year old boy can “You know her, sis.” I sigh and nod “Yeah, I know. You holding on ok?” He shrugs and smiles “Yeah, I’m all right. Hey, you got some money? I’m hungry” I hand him a twenty and smile as I ruffle his hair “Get something bro. I gotta work” He looks at me worriedly and smiles “I miss you sis. Take care of yourself” “I will bro, I will” I hug him again and kiss his forhead. As I hug him I slip th rest of my money into his pocket. “Now scoot before I lose customers” He laughs and trots off toward the Churches and I head off once again.
My heart is heavy for the rest of the night and even my regulars notice. One tried to talk me into going home to my family, another asked me if I was ok. I finally said fuck it and went home. The cat was there, looking like I felt so I picked him up and went inside where I sat on the couch and cried. I missed my family. I hated myself for what I was doing. I hated everything but the cat and, given time, I’d probably hate him too. I named him Dwayne.