Dr.Dre’s ‘Next Episode’ pumps out of the small stereo in the corner of the living room. The Lebanese guy sitting across from me, watching my every move. Running his eyes up and down my body. A quiet dominion radiating from him. I swear he’s recording every breath I take. Every awkward twist of my hands, the quick nervous movements of my feet. I look him in the eye with subtle defiance. Knowing that if I were to say and do what I really wanted to at this point, he’d grab me by the hair and smash my face into the nearby coffee table. I know this, because it’s what he told me would happen, and I believe him. He has the same look in his eye that Babyface has, except his, is peppered with a raging violence. You can smell it off him, the searing vicious heat. The kind of guy, who relishes intimidating women. I’ve seen him do it before, downtown in front of a coffee shop. Grabbing this poor girl and throwing her up against a wall by the neck of her shirt. His face in hers, so close, you could see the drops of spit hitting her soft,pretty face as he erupted. I’ve always been scared of him. From the moment I first saw him downtown a couple years before. A street hustling, heavy. Frequenting the main strip often, surrounded by his entourage of hip hop dressing thugs. Look at him the wrong way in passing, and he’ll beat you down out in the open, just to make a point. When we came through the front door earlier, and I saw him there, my heart stopped. Panic welling in my gut as the door closed behind me and I realized I was trapped in this house with him. My foreboding coming to a reality, as he tells me to sit in this chair and not move. She is in the back bedroom with Babyface, smoking crack. I had been there with her minutes earlier, warning her not to smoke the little yellowed rocks, and it had pissed him off. So he kicked my ass out, She staring up at me, eyes glazed and high out of her mind. It took all my strength to walk away and shut that door on her. Leave her in that room, the tall black pimp hovering over her.

A private conversation, Leb says, and I need to mind my own business, keep my mouth shut and do as I’m told. Looking at the sturdy coffee table, I listen, and imagine how much it would hurt to have my head driven into that hard corner. I’m still wearing my jacket and leather boots, hoping I’ll find a way to get out of here, but that’s going to be hard. He went out of his way to,casually, lock all the doors and windows. Purposely making a scene out of it. Just to drive the nail in the coffin. Cocky asshole. I’m wishing I was a man right now, or at least a woman with a gun. I’m not a coward by any means, but sometimes, your just shit out of luck. I knew if I reacted on him, he would show me who’s boss without a second thought. He’s pushing me, to get a rise. Because he wants to hurt me. He gets off on this kind of shit. He wants me to be afraid, and I won’t give it to him. What I am doing, is sitting here wishing I could get She out of that bedroom, and get the fuck out of here. Knowing that Babyface is in there, filling her little body with ten piece after ten piece. The hot, yellow, poison smoke, filling her lungs. The stink of melted rubber traveling through the house,crack, the worst smelling drug to ever hit the street. I’m wondering what he’s saying to her now, ten minutes have passed since I was last in there. Is he still talking prices with her? has she changed her mind?

Leb’s still sitting quietly across from me. Hat backwards, drink in hand, resting on his knee. Dre blaring out of the speakers, the base reverberating on the walls. I’m thinking about Tyler, and how he’s never really there for me, when I truly need him. Hey Tyler, I’m being held hostage at this crazy pimps house, can you come pick me up? No such luck. All I have is his set of keys, gripped tightly in my clammy shaking fist. I’m asking myself how we got here, and what the fuck I can do about it. Searching the room with my eyes, and I remember that Leb probably didn’t lock the back bedroom window. The room She is in, being molested by cocaine and a wise talking pimp. I hold onto that thought like an owl grips a mouse in the night, claws wrapped tightly around it’s twisting rodent body. It’s my only out. Now I just have to find a way to get back in there, and get greasy, lanky Babyface distracted. Never mind the violent Leb sitting across from me with those vindictive, drunk eyes..


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