red lincoln – part one

1 Nov

Welcome to Lolita’s

Nothing interesting happens at Lolita’s House of a Grind, at least during daylight hours. Of course your definition of “nothing” and “interesting” might vary somewhat from my own personal definition. Not that I have seen it all, more than most, less than some, but it takes a great deal to meet my criteria of “interesting.” A one legged little person stripper (I am told that I can no longer use the expression “midget” or “dwarf” or “fucking tiny little person”) can be interesting. A 6 foot blondnwith fake 38 DDs and an addiction to violent men, cocaine and cash no longer qualifies. A part-time cop that deals dope during his off-the-cop-clock hours? Definitely interesting. Hookers turning tricks in the bathroom of a strip club? Let’s see…b-o-r-i-n-g. During the last three years working the front door of an out-of-the-way, minimal compliance to laws, rules and regulations of modern society, God and the less than great state of California has left a bit cynical. As I said, during daylight hours, nothing interesting happens, but at night the rules change. Most days I can be found at Lolita’s, either working the front door, bouncing lowlifes, getting crunked in the men’s room, breaking up fights between the girls and the clients, bribing cops, connecting buyers and sellers, sweeping up or smoking. When I agreed to work there the boss told me each night would be different. Again, it comes down to definitions. In the big picture, nothing every really changes, day in day out, at Lolita’s House of Grind. The first night I went into the dancers changing room and found 6 relatively attractive women in various stages of dress and undress, I thought I had the perfect gig. But now? Three years gone? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love tits and ass, but the club burns out 50 to 75 girls a year. Few stay more than a month, about ten last a year and one or two have been here all three. I would be lying if I said Lolita’s is something special. It’s not. Just a shitty like joint in a shitty little town in a shitty part of an increasingly shitty state.

Lolita’s House of Grind sits on a scrape of dirt just off California Highway 13, in the foothills just south of the Salton Sea, in a unincorporated town called Toad Suck. Named after its more famous cousin in Arkansas, Toad Suck has a permanent population of 27, depending on the day of the week, time of day, and season. Of course, the desert has two seasons: when it rains and when it does not. And as it rains an average of 4 days a year, I should probably define seasons by temperature. Again, that would be two: warm and fucking hot. No in-between. Temporary citizenship jumps to a couple of hundred when Lolita’s really swings and fills with a steady flow of cross country truckers, Marines from nearby 29 Palms, lost tourists, lowlifes, drug dealers, and speed freaks. Our town is a study in contrasts. We have four churches, two motels, a general store/diner, post office, bar & grill, and an auto repair located within the proper city limits. All of them seem to prosper. Our part-time mayor, which happens to be me, loves to boost about 100% employment. Then there is the other side of the coin. Fourteen meth labs in and around the town, most of them remote or well hidden, but a few obvious ones, especially one operated by a former soccer mom from Orange County, Lindsey Lovelace. Skinny as a crackwhore, smarter than Bill Gates, Lindsey used to be able to make a blind man see, but we all just look the other way now. There are at least two whorehouses that operate out of single-wide trailers higher up in the hills off a dirt road. Some say everyone is an addict in Toad Suck. That may be true, but I imagine that everyone is addicted to something in their own perverse way. It may not be drugs or pussy or food, but we all have uncontrollable needs. Closer to the highway, about two miles north of Main Street, Main Street being the only street in Toad Suck, sits Lolita’s on its scrape of dirt. For years it sat by itself, alone and forlorn, but not forgotten in any way. Over the years other establishments came. Within five miles we have nine gas stations, two liquor stores, three MacDonald’s, a Wendy’s, two Taco Bells and Grandma’s Fast Food Boutique. One might wonder where the employees live and I can tell you it is not in Toad Suck. Most live in Coopersville, four miles south, or Granite City, three miles north. As we have no schools nor a desire to establish one, families tend to move on. But thanks to unique and well greased zoning laws, neither Coopersville nor Granite City have gas stations, convenience stores, churches or strip clubs. Toad Sucks found fathers were criminals from the start and controlled everything along the highway. You could live and go to school in surrounding towns but for just about everything else you had to go to Toad Suck. As it should be.

Another economic advantage Toad Suck enjoys is our relationship with the Hell’s Angels. What we cannot produce locally we can import via the Hell’s Angels. That and a close proximity to a major smuggler’s route from Mexicali one could easily get anything one wanted, legal or otherwise, in Toad Suck, and the first stop is always Lolita’s and the first person asked is your story teller, Jack Henry.

When I first came to be a permanent citizen of Toad Suck I bought Big Bill’s Speak Easy Tavern, then called Mother’s Bar. Apparently “Mother” died and a broker listed the establishment for sale on line. Unlike most men that get destroyed by divorce I walked around with a couple hundred thousand dollars. Get the fuck out of my life money, as my ex called it. Around that same time my employer, a large chemical company with a production facility just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, gave me a check to go away. They called it the same thing. Being familiar with the town as well as a few key employees at Lolita’s I jumped at the chance to own a little something. I changed the name of the bar in honor of a friend that way a low-rent drink-to-get-drunk facility in downtown Los Angeles. He found himself dead one morning in a botched robbery by two crackheads I actually knew. After pointing them out during the trial a change of location became an obvious next step. So I took. After three months of running the bar, a task I had no skill at and no real desire, I turned over the reins of operation to a retired Homicide Cop, Dennis Tucker, who received his own get the fuck out of our life retirement from the LAPD. Accused of various misdeeds, all of which were true, but not something the general public nor the reputation of the LAPD would gain from, Dennis took the money and ran. His second call went to me and I set him up as the boss. The bar didn’t make money nor did it lose any. I bought it for a song, had a sweet arrangement from the Angels to keep it stocked with high-jacked booze, traded customers with Lolita’s and quietly found myself addicted to speed and generally bored with just about everything.

“Hey baby, how’re you?” Lupita Sandoval, owner/operator of Lolita’s walked up just as I did for another 3pm to 3am shift.

“Good, you know? ‘Bout the same as always.”

“Good to hear.”

Lupita, a skinny Mexican beauty with a passion for pussy and her own unique relationship with amphetamine, asked me to play bouncer at the club after tweaking and drinking with me on a four day binge. If my cock worked when I hit the shit I would have fucked her, but I never did and, according to Lupita, I had the wrong blend of chromosomes to eat pussy. She tried to give me head, but when I failed to cooperate after an hour we ended up in bed talking. Four days straight. The offer came out of that and I took it.

“Another Thursday.” She said.

“Is it Thursday?”

“Yeah, Jack. It is. You know hitting that full time will fuck you up. Rot your teeth.”

“You keep saying that.” I popped out my top set of dentures, waved them at her. “And I keep telling ya, that’s not an issue.”

“Well that brake fluid and acetone will drill a hole in your skull.”

The denture trick never fazed her.

“Maybe if you took a break that cock might work.”

“Yeah, sure. Ya fucking tease.” I lit a cigarette, held the door for her, watched her ass as she went. Lupita filled tight jeans as well as any young, twenty-two year-old might. To perfection. Her tits were perfection as well but I had a thing for her ass. Always did. Even when I met her three years back, learning the business from her father, Miguel Sandoval. Her old man caught a knife trying to break up a fight between two knuckleheads just before closing around the same time I showed up. The guy that gutted Miguel lasted about three more minutes. A clutch of Miguel’s colleagues, all associated with the Mexican Mafia, scooped him up, dragged him out the front door, and into the oblivion of a hot desert evening.

“How’s that girlfriend of yours working out for you?” I said as I stood blocking the doorway. Lupita looked back, a snarl snapped to her face.

“Pretty fucking good.” She took one step back toward me. “Maybe I should take that strap-on to you the way she does to me.”

“You keep promising.”

Lupita softened, smile returned. I walked up to her, smiling as well.

“Maybe I should. You with that worthless cock. I wouldn’t mind fuckin’ you.”

“You know where I live.”
Lupita kissed my cheek, spun away and kept moving toward the bar.

The interior of Lolita’s wouldn’t win any design awards. A large, elevated dance floor with a prototypical gold bar at the center. The dancers didn’t hit it until 6pm and being Thursday that meant third tier quality. Fat Nancy, her sister Belinda and a new girl, Katie Something, would rotate through three shifts. Each would make about a hundred bucks, depending on the crowd. Fat Nancy had a clique of fans, a geek patrol of chubby chasers. If the mood hit her she might turn a few for another two or three hundred. Belinda worked both as dancer and waitress. She did better with tips from the drinkers that the pervs. And the new girl, Katie, I had not met. An unknown quality. New girls generally did pretty well on the first night, but they needed a gimmick or a look to make anything. Or a willingness to sell their skills an hour at a time.

I went up to the bar, took a long drink on the beer Lupita left set up for me. Except for Old Walter and one of his cronies, the ten spots were empty, as were the booths on the far wall.

“Hey Walter.” I said.

“Jack. How’s things?”

“No complaints, you know.”

“Sure. Speakeasy still working for you?”

“I guess. Dennis never complains and the books seem to be in tack.”

“Wouldn’t imagine Dennis would skim offa you?”

“Nah, he’s good people, more or less.”

Old Walter had the distinction of being Toad Suck’s oldest citizen. Born in 1938 in Palm Springs, Walter’s family took him Toad Suck before he turned one. His old man worked swingshift at a nearby silver mine for fifty-one years finally dying at 73 in a household accident, two days after his last shift at the mine. Walter’s mom lived another six weeks. At 15 Walter followed his old man into the mines, first as a grinder before eventually becoming a driver. In 1960 he joined the Army for a change of pace and ended up in Vietnam when the first American troops went over. He stayed until 1974, escaping just before the North Vietnamese hit Saigon. From that point on he returned to Toad Suck, becoming a permanent fixture at any number of bars that came and went. He had a healthy pension for his years in the military as well as a steady income from a new career as a key dispenser of illicit narcotics that filtered through town. He also worked part time as Sheriff.

“You know, Walter. I was wondering…”

“Way ahead of you. Behind the bar.”

With more excitement than a 45-year old should have, I raced around and found a thick envelope with my initials on it. I looked at Walter, he nodded. Done deal. I put another envelope in its place.

“Thanks.”

“Not a problem…You know you shouldn’t do that…”

Before he finished I made it to the men’s room, locked the door, and occupied the last stall. I found a bindle of crystal methamphetamine wrapped and tied in saran wrap. From my back pocket I retrieved a silver cigarette case I had found in one of the six antique stores that lined Main Street. It served a purpose. Inside it I kept empty button bags that served to hold the dope after I crushed it. I transferred the product, crushed it down to powder using a Bic lighter, rolled a twenty into a tube and took a hit straight from the bag. The drill bit hit my skull just as my right eye began to water uncontrollably and my left nostril began to run. I put everything away, sucked the last of the dope from my nose and flushed.

Unlike most motorheads I didn’t get hyper and twitchy
while on the shit. I mellowed considerably. During my marriage a shrink diagnosed me as ADHD and prescribed Adderall, which I discovered to be legal speed. It mellowed me as well, but not as much, and my dick still worked. Without health insurance I didn’t have legitimate access to Adderall, although I could get it, but the price made me wince. Speed did the same thing at half the cost. And I could get it on any street corner in the free world.

As I unlocked the bathroom door two CHP officers stood in the hall.

“Hey, Jack. Need to use the head.”

“Ah. Yeah. Sure.”

“Why’s the door locked?”

“Um…well. Had to plunge a toiler, you know? Fucking mess. Didn’t want to share it.”

“Oh yeah, good thought.”

I knew both cops. They frequented my bar but not Lolita’s, except to take a shit.

“Go slow, Jack.” Old Walter muttered as I raced for the front door.

Back in the heat of a mid-afternoon desert sun, I began to settle down. Dennis always had access to really good shit and this shit was really good. I stood frozen in place, kicked up against the wall on the shady side of the building. As my mind race then finally slowed my hands tremored. After a minute or so that slowed as well. The one major blow it twitch I couldn’t cover well kicked in and my tongue began to explore every nook and cranny of my mouth. I have several lesser blow-it signals but this one everyone saw and those in the know, knew. Even with gum my mouth moved. At the front door of Lolita’s I got away with almost everything. No one looked me in the eye, no one cared if I freaked out, as long as they got in, I could be struck dead by Christ himself and that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But two overly curious CHP Patrol Officers with little do in the middle of a shoe-melting 113 degree day might turn their attention the wrong way. And I didn’t need any more heat burning into me. But as grace would have it, and grace always seems to be on my side, at least in the last few years, the radio in both patrol cars chirped to life. A second later the two cops raced out the front door.

“See ya, Jack.”

“Yeah, good luck.”

“Okay.”

The tall cop with dark hair and a thick moustache grabbed responded to the radio operator:

“Roger, 11-80. I-10. Heading out.”

From various misadventures I knew an 11-80 to be a traffic accident of some sort. I couldn’t remember major or minor, but that didn’t matter. They left, kicking up plumes of dust and dirt and I relaxed.

“Fucking cops,” I muttered.

Propped up in my chair I lit yet another cigarette and watched shadows as they began a slow climb on various walls, rails and pillars. One-hundred and thirteen degrees. Not that bad, actually, for July or…October? I couldn’t recall.

(c) 2009 jck hnry heavy industries

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