“One call to Jimar, and we’re ready.” I took my phone out and tapped my foot until he picked up. Pops looked cool as a cucumber. I was sweating. Maybe it was having him there. I didn’t usually have an audience.
“I’ve made the deal. I’ll have 100 girls for you. You can pick up 10 at a time. I’ll need half up front in cash.” I had to talk very loud to be heard, as usual with Jimar.
“No way. I get 10 girls, you get seventy-five thousand bucks? You must be crazy. You do realize that the average cost of a slave world-wide is only ninety dollars?” Jimar was screaming over the music blaring from his speakers, so I knew he was in his car. I also knew that his regular supplier had been arrested. He had to be desperate for a new dealer. I kept my mouth firmly shut and waited him out.
“Thirty-seven five. That’s my final offer.” He sounded like he was pouting.
I didn’t say a thing. Pops stared at me. I stared at the phone. The silence was deafening.
“Fifty.” He really didn't want to bargain with me, and I really didn't care.
“Seventy-five, and that’s my final offer. You know me. I’m good for the girls. It’s just too much to move more than ten at a time. You can even use my van. I’ll have ten loaded, you can see the others at the warehouse. Deal or no deal?” I closed my eyes and held my breath.
“Deal, but you better have good merchandise. My ass is on the line here.”
I knew good and well that he wasn’t worried about his ass as much as he wanted a great deal. The guy was money hungry. I wondered how much he’d been lying to me before. How much he said he made per vehicle that he split with me. He’d probably robbed me blind and laughed behind my back while doing it.
“Bring it in cash. I want nothing larger than a C note. Get a Metropolitan Courier briefcase from Coach. I want to keep the case. It’ll go with my new shoes,” I said.
“You’re shittin’ me now.”
“Do you want to deal or are we going to do this all day? I’m bored.” I watched a big smile take over Pop’s face. He nodded his approval. My nerves were settling down. I was coming into my stride. I always calmed down during a deal.
We haggled some more, but I got essentially everything I wanted because he was in need, and I knew it. It’s a good thing to know when your adversary is in dire straits. I figured he’d promised some child pornographer more than he could deliver. Those people are not to be trifled with, even if you’re Smokin’ Pokin’ Low Ridin’ Jimar Dupree.
When I hung up, Pops and I went next door and had our over-rehearsed conversation standing near Mrs. M’s television speaker where we’d moved the wire-tap. That would set the ball in motion. I went back to my apartment and took a long look around at what I’d be leaving. Not much, I wasn’t a sentimental gal. Besides, we’d already moved the valuables to a safe location. Pops left to pick up the girls, and I made one last stop before heading to Starr Street. When I got there, the girls Pops had hired were milling around and smoking dope. He’d done a good job setting the place up. Bedrolls lined the walls and stoned girls were sprawled out in various states of undress. I had to admit, the old man had a good eye. These girls looked like teenagers. I sure hoped they weren’t.
“Listen up,” I said. “No English. Got it?”
A chorus of unenthusiastic voices rang out, “Si, si.”
“Great. Just act as stoned as you are. When I bring the guy in, act like you’re scared out of your wits. Can you do that?”
Several of them gave me their best stares. They were pretty good little actors.
A horn honk alerted us to Pop’s arrival with the van, so I went over and opened the garage bay door to let him in. He left me to load the girls up. He didn't need to be around for the hand-off.
“All aboard,” I said. I need ten of you. Several girls got up and climbed into the van. I handcuffed a couple at the back, so they&rsqu...