Authors: Mike Sanders,Nuance Art
Tags: #Thirsty, #Wahida Clark
A Novel by
Are you ok?” Justice’s father, Tyson asked her while looking at her as if she’d lost her mind. Her shrill screams echoed throughout the room and he had to cover his ears to keep from bursting his eardrums. Unbeknownst to him, he had just revealed to her that the man she had been living with and had ultimately gunned down was her long-lost brother!
Justice couldn’t focus. Her throat felt as if it were closing up and her eyes were clouded with tears of shock. Never in her life had she felt such pain. She sat on the edge of the hotel bed with her head buried in her hands, shaking uncontrollably. Her father had rushed to her side to try to console her but he had no idea of what was going on. “Justice…baby, are you ok?” He cradled her head in his arms and tried to pry her hands away from her head because she was ripping out clumps of her beautiful tresses. “Baby, please talk to me. What’s going on?”
Justice could not respond if she wanted to. She felt the contents of her stomach rush to her throat as she shook free from her father’s grasp and made a mad dash for the restroom. She barely made it before vomiting all over the toilet. Tyson stood in the doorway and continued to try to get Justice to respond but it was to no avail. He decided to give her a few minutes to get herself together. However, there was no way he was leaving her alone in the state she was in. He closed the bathroom door, leaving a small crack so he could keep a watchful eye on her.
After a few long minutes, Justice finally emerged from the restroom, looking pale and disheveled. It seemed as if all the blood had drained from her face and her hair was in disarray. She looked nothing like the woman that had let him inside the room hours earlier. Justice walked past her father and plopped back down on the bed still in disbelief from what he had just revealed. After all of the frivolous pleading, Tyson came to the conclusion that Justice was not going to talk to him any further until she was ready to confront whatever was disturbing her. He stayed with his daughter for another hour, trying to comfort her and catering to her needs but she still refused to discuss the issue.
After promising to never lose touch again and making plans for dinner in a few days, Justice watched Tyson walk out the door. Once the door was shut, she lay upon the large bed and covered her face with a pillow. She vowed not to tell Tyson or anybody else about what she had done. It was a secret in which she would take to her grave . . .
Justice, we got a problem in the dressing room.” Toni’s high-pitched voice broke her train of thought for a moment. She was standing in the doorway to Justice’s office with the heavy oak door half-open, allowing the loud music from the club to pour in. Justice was seated at her desk tapping away at the keypad on her laptop. The office had expensive looking cherrywood furniture with photos of Justice’s family and her best friend, Sapphire, adorning the walls.
The thing that stuck out the most was the wall directly behind her desk adorned with a large family portrait of her, her deceased mother, and her deceased younger brother, Monk. Absent from the portrait was her father, Tyson, the only living member of her immediate family. Tyson had been estranged from her life since her early teenage years, but they had subsequently made amends two years ago in that hotel room when she’d first returned to Chicago from Charlotte, North Carolina. Tyson’s photo sat alone on her desk next to the floral arrangement he’d sent two days ago for her birthday.
“What is it now?” Justice asked without looking up from her computer. She wasn’t the slightest bit surprised at Toni’s statement. There was always some sort of problem or another in the dressing room. Twenty-five girls running around in a confined area clad in nothing but bras and G-strings, sometimes even less,
cause occasional problems.
Toni shifted her voluptuous five foot two frame through the door. Her honey-blonde dreadlocks and apple-bottom ass swung in unison with every step. She closed the heavy door behind her, muffling the roar of Luda’s latest stripper anthem, “Thicka than a Snicka.” Leaning across Justice’s desk, Toni huffed, “The girls you flew in from Memphis are complaining about Virgin and Precious.”
Justice finally looked up from her monitor and sighed deeply as she pushed away from the desk and sank back further into the leather Queen Anne. Purely out of habit, her toned arms went up over her head and her slender fingers intertwined before coming to rest atop her silky mane of jet-black hair.
“Toni, if I ain’t mistaken, you’re the manager here last time I checked.” Her sarcasm was hard to miss. She looked at Toni with a frustrated scowl. Sometimes dealing with Toni made Justice feel as if she was dealing with a child instead of a grown ass twenty-eight-year-old woman. Toni rolled her eyes at her boss and folded her arms across her ample bosom without replying.
“How many times have you had trouble with Virgin and that bitch Precious?” Justice asked, her jaw clenched tight and her eyebrows knitted.
Toni hesitated as if she was actually trying to calculate the numerous times those two had caused problems at the club.
Without waiting for a response, Justice ejected, “Exactly. Too many times to count. Every time I bring in new girls from outta town to dance, them two bitches start. You know what . . . fire them bitches.” Fire rose in Justice’s tightly slanted eyes.
“Just like that?” Toni asked as if she couldn’t grasp the finality of Justice’s statement.
like that. Tell them to keep their tips from tonight, gather their shit, and get off my property—better yet, go get ‘em. I’ll do it myself.”
Justice was fed up with Virgin and Precious. Those bitches were nothing but troublemakers.
Toni left Justice’s office with an “ooooh, somebody’s ass is in trouble” expression glued to her face. For the same reason, she was also relieved that she didn’t have to be the one to give the girls the boot.
Justice untied her ponytail and shook out her long tresses while exhaling a deep-rooted sigh. She rubbed her temples to relieve the slight migraine that was gradually building. For the past two days Justice had been under tremendous stress because the anniversary of her brother’s death was quickly approaching. Every time Justice thought about her brother it brought about a brain-throbbing headache.
As she watched Toni’s thick frame sashay its way out the door, Justice mumbled, “I need to be firing
incompetent ass.” Then on second thought, Justice surmised that Toni had been there with her from the beginning of her legitimate endeavor. She had been there from the very moment Justice had first decided to legally invest some of the blood money she had almost lost her life over.
When she arrived back in Chicago she had no idea what she was going to do next, and that was when she confided in Toni. Toni had been a childhood friend that Justice stayed in contact with over the years. Toni had went to school, majored in business but could not find a job in her field. When she found out that Justice was looking to start her own business, Toni had been the one who suggested she open the strip club. Ever since Justice’s return, she and Toni had become as close as sisters. Toni was an only child who had been raised by both parents and to be labeled as spoiled was an understatement. She was used to getting her way and usually complained like a child when she didn’t get what she wanted. Justice always got a kick out of seeing Toni’s uppity ass try to act hood around her just to fit in. Justice never understood why a person would go to extreme measures and even dumb down just to be liked. Although she and Toni were like night and day in the aspect of personalities, their business marriage worked . . . most of the time.
Initially, Justice cringed at the idea of a strip club because she had never gotten along with other women, much less strippers with their asses on their shoulders. On top of that, she could not think of another woman who owned a strip club—that was always considered a man’s world and Justice didn’t see herself a part of it. Nevertheless, to her astonishment, Justice discovered that dealing with the girls who had come through the doors of her establishment for auditions had been easier than she had imagined. Mainly because she realized most of the girls were just as fucked up in the head as she was. Each and every one of them had a story and sometimes, Justice took pleasure in listening just so she could keep her own sanity in check.
Justice had always prided herself on being a good judge of character, so with the girls who had come to her for an opportunity to work she looked beyond the surface. Beyond all the D-cup titties, twenty-two inch waists, and porn star asses, lay insecure opportunists who were willing to bear it all for a quick buck. Justice looked for girls who were not just in it for the money, but enjoyed being on stage and entertaining an audience. She wanted girls who were of decent moral character—meaning they didn’t have a dick in their mouths every time she turned her back.
When Justice first opened Phire & Ice
downtown on Michigan Avenue in the heart of Chicago, she had no idea it would become one of Chi-town’s premiere spots for nightlife. The elite adult entertainment club attracted ballers from all around, especially local rappers and professional athletes. It was not unusual to see Twista or Derrick Rose in the VIP area; sipping Rosế and making it rain on a weeknight.
Most of the time Justice’s business ran smoothly without any problems. However, there were times when the estrogen level was at a boiling point and catfights were inevitable. Sometimes Justice felt like she had it all together and other times she felt as if she were running a circus like the late great Bernie Mac as Dollar Bill in the movie
At those times, if it were not for a caring staff, especially Toni, she felt like she would lose it.
“Boss lady, here they go.” Toni’s voice brought Justice out of her lingering thoughts.
Justice rose from her chair and watched as Virgin and Precious entered her office reeking of weed and fruity body oil
. I know these bitches ain’t been in the dressin’ room smoking again
, Justice thought. Looking at the two reminded Justice of why she used birth control. They were definitely a waste of sperm. Grimy bitches!
Precious was the taller of the two. She towered over Virgin by at least eight inches. Nevertheless, Precious’s height did not intimidate Justice in the least because if it were not for Precious’s heels, she and Justice would have been eye to eye. Justice had no idea where the pair had come up with their names because everybody in the Chi and the surrounding Metropolitan area knew the girls were anything
precious and virginal. It was even rumored that the two had used the VIP for occasional tricking. Turning tricks was a definite no-no in Phire & Ice.
After Toni left the office and closed the door, Justice stated, “Sit down.” She glanced back and forth between the two girls with equal amounts of animosity, so there would be no mistake about whom she was speaking.
Virgin took a seat on the leather sofa near the door while Precious remained defiantly standing for a few seconds. Finally, she sucked her teeth and reluctantly sat her Amazon-ass down next to her partner.
Precious adjusted the garter on her thick thigh, which was stuffed with bills—tens and twenties, only a fraction of the tips she had earned for the night. Both girls were dressed in bras and matching G-strings along with expensive pumps. Virgin was wearing her signature color of all white, which symbolized purity. Her auburn-dyed hair was fixed in tight cornrows, which made her defined cheekbones even more pronounced. Her creamy, peanut butter complexion was flawless without a trace of make-up. However, the glassy look in her eyes made Justice wonder if she was rollin’ on X
or jacked up on coke. There was no mistaking that she was high on something.
Precious wore fire engine red with gold-colored rhinestones decorating the nipple and crotch area of her two-piece outfit. This night she had her naturally short hair styled into a throwback Halle Berry number. Her ebony skin glistened with a thin sheen of perspiration from the lap dance she was so rudely pulled away from.
With the bodies both Precious and Virgin possessed, Justice hated to admit that they were two of the baddest bitches in the club. Between Justice and the dancers, the confidence level in this room was at a record high and so thick you could taste it. Justice strolled over to the picture window and glanced out over the crowded, well-lit parking area before addressing the girls.
“Do y’all know the definition of the word
?” She had her back to them and could feel their eyes boring into the back of her head.
“What?” Precious asked with a hint of attitude and slight frustration, as if she hadn’t heard Justice’s question correctly.