From good guy to a life of organized crime.
He always plays by the rules.
But this time, all the rules are going to be broken.
Sick of being overlooked, underpaid, and unappreciated, Brian Jackson, decides he’s done playing “the good guy” and is ready for a ride on the wild side. But this ride might be a little more than he ever bargained for….
After a night at a seedy gentleman’s club and an encounter with a sexy and uninhibited stripper, Brian finds himself in a world of danger and deceit. Instead of running back to his safe world of button-downs and khakis, Brian delves deeper into a life of crime, infidelity, and lies. Now it’s time for the newfound badass to take the reins and right a few wrongs.
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I REMEMBER IT being exactly 10:00 p.m. inside that building when it all started. We called it the factory, but it was a half-assed piece of a company that some douche bag’s daddy handed to him when he was old enough to have his balls drop. I was there with Megan—a slim, brown-haired young hire for the company—and she was assisting me in gluing together a few prototypes. It was the standard grind for a Wednesday night; our absent-minded owner had called me earlier, telling me that I had to present to a client at 7:00 a.m. the next day. Motherfucker. The job already felt like indentured servitude, but ole boss man had to drive the point home with late notices, mandatory overtime, and—let me not get into how he spoke to us.
He was a small bastard, this boss of mine—nothing endearing about him. His hair was dark but dyed blond (more like orange if I’m being honest), and he hadn’t seen a gym since the last time he walked past a Muscle and Fitness magazine. It didn’t bother me that I worked for a worthless piece of shit like Rick Adler, but at times like this, when I hustled for overtime—man, did I want to choke him.
After an hour had passed in silence as we worked on the decals, Megan came over and placed several of them inside of my hand with a smile on her face. In moments like this, I couldn’t help but objectify the hell out of her because, well, because it’s how it was. There were eleven women in that factory of forty, and while one was an absolute fox, Megan was the one here, and she was a solid seven on the ten-point scale. Let me tell you something: in a factory full of dogs, she was what we called “office hot.”
“Nice work,” I said to her as I took in her gray eyes and her smile, which I would have considered too wide and slightly unattractive if it wasn’t 10:30 p.m. and if we weren’t alone in a massive factory. What else would I be thinking about as a young, twenty-six-year-old man? I wanted to throw her up on the table and reenact a Cinemax movie scene. Something like a 1950s film, with me being a private detective in a trench coat and fedora, and Megan the desperate damsel in distress. Those men always got a nice advance on the investigation—if you know what I mean—and the damsels were always hot—like Megan.
She had completed the work that I asked her to do, and her smile was more like a puppy’s—when it retrieves a ball that you sent it to go fetch—than a sexy seductress hinting at an “in” for some nastiness. I watched her as she exited the room, noticing that her rump was a little rounder than I thought it was, but making her hot in my mind was still an exercise of artistic license.
I looked down at the decals and frowned as they were not quite up to standard. Frustration took me over as I thought about the meeting coming up, but then when I looked over and saw the short-cropped brown hair that stood miles above the slender shoulders of Megan, the only thing that I could think about was running up those miles in slow motion with my tongue. These will have to do, I thought, as it was now closing in on midnight, and I wanted to leave. The girl was not qualified for the job. She wasn’t the best artist, did not have the steady hands needed to cut vinyl, and she lacked confidence. What she was, however, was the owner’s type. She was short, slim, not too voluptuous, and laughed with much gusto whenever you gave her the time of day. As her manager, I felt as if I was stuck with a blunt instrument, trying to use it to chop wood, and I wasn’t allowed to throw it away and get a sharper one. But I liked Megan; she was a pretty cool chick, and she was actually bright—beneath the giggly exterior that she presented to the world—and I think she knew that I knew this about her.
We boxed up the decals and then stored them in an area in the back. It was pitch black outside, so I walked her out to her car to make sure she would be safe.
“Tomorrow at eight o’clock—right, Megan?” I asked, and she nodded at me with that smile of hers, making me wonder what the suave players on Cinemax would have done at that moment. “Drive safe,” I said as she got into her crummy old Volkswagen beetle and sped off into the night. I watched it go for a time, wondering if her smile was some sort of female signal that indicated interest and I wasn’t picking up on it.
I went back inside the old movie theater—turned factory—and set the alarms and locks to prevent any decal thieves (as if any even existed) from sneaking in. When I walked outside it was a quarter past midnight, and surprisingly, I wasn’t tired. It’s times like this when a man’s mind wanders—like, why am I here? Rick was home with his horny wife, who probably had her legs in the air at that very moment, while I stood here like some sort of trained chimpanzee, locking up for his owner. People in my circle called me successful—I couldn’t see it. Success to me was a multi-level house, a gang of movers and shakers at the end of a call, and a badass mistress that was two points over a dime. No, this was me being a chump; this wasn’t success. This was bull!
I drove a 2000 Honda Civic; it was black, and it had a sound system—one that I spent a whole paycheck on in order to impress a chick I once dated. It was an awesome car; it was fast, reliable, and very sexy. I got in and drove the length of the long dirt road that led from our job to Highway 301. I wish I could say that my intention was to go home, fall asleep, and wake up to do it again, but Megan had primed the pump. It had to be a stripper’s night, so I took a beeline to The Villa—a gentleman’s establishment that I had frequented over the years.
I really liked the Villa. It was classy. I’m talking about red carpeting, plush leather couches, and beds for bed dances—yes, bed dances, as in those girls laying you down and taking care of you. I walked in and handed my twenty to the blonde with too much makeup on at the door. She flashed me a fake smile and let me in and I walked to the back, past all the resident perverts and losers to where the tables were set up and I wouldn’t be solicited every second. I watched the pole dancers from a distance, admiring one particular girl that reminded me of my favorite porn star. Before I could settle in to order a drink, I heard a familiar voice and turned to see a tall, caramel-colored beauty with her breasts naked to the world—except for two well-placed pasties that covered her nipples. She wore a tight black G-string, and a pair of clear six-inch heels adorned feet that held a neat set of toes, French manicured to perfection.
I looked up to see the familiar face of Jada, aka “Passion,” as she marched toward me to assume her role of stripper-wife. Strippers latched on to two sorts of men who frequented the clubs. There were those who hemorrhaged money to get off on the girls—but I didn’t have to tell you that. Then there were those who had a little something extra going on that could either cure their boredom (laughter) or eventually save them by way of a relationship. Being a dope dealer could get you a lot of attention too, but that, again, should be a given. Now, Jada was into me, but I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t hemorrhage money, I didn’t do much by way of conversation, and I wasn’t a drug dealer. All I did was give her my attention—not that it was hard; she was the hottest black girl in there, a certified fox.
For many months—since the time she started working at the Villa—I would have light banter with her, pick at her playfully, and buy a few dances. We had developed a sort of rapport with one another that I couldn’t understand. I loved the attention, so dwelling on the “why” was not something I did; I just assumed that Jada wanted something else from me.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming in, Brian?” she said to me excitedly, and I grinned at her while wondering if I would be stuck with her for the remainder of the night. Jada was fine as hell, and being one of only three black women in that club made her stand out like a goddess, but she had given me over thirty dances over time and I knew way more about her body than I really should have. Men come to the strip club for strange women; a familiar woman is someone you date, marry, or live with, right? Jada was worth my time, don’t get me wrong, but I had come in trying to get a chance at someone that looked more like Megan.
“How was I supposed to let you know, goofy? I don’t have your number.”
“I got your goofy. You should have my number by now; you’re in here enough. Here, give me your phone!” Then she mounted me and took my cell phone—in a way that the bouncers couldn’t see her take it. Then she opened my contact list and added herself. It was an aggressive and brazen move, which made me wonder if she was testing me. It was bad enough that I let her lock me up whenever I came into the club, so who knew what was going through that girl’s head concerning our thing?
I recalled a night when I had come in for my birthday with my friends Jimmy and Steve. They paid a Korean beauty a few hundred dollars to rock my world through a series of dances. She was mixed-race and toned—but thick in the right places—and had a honey complexion with beautiful almond eyes. I thought that I was in heaven. During what had to be the tenth dance, I caught a glimpse of Jada as she shot me icy daggers with her eyes from a distance. She later admitted to me that she was jealous. Of course, she was. Some strippers are crazy, and although I knew this, I liked her being jealous. She had never allowed me to stray again after that day, so whenever I would come in when she happened to be working, she would stonewall the other girls and virtually lock me up.
“I don’t always answer, so you may be better off sending me a text,” Jada said as she began to gyrate her hips to the sound of “Magic Stick” by 50 Cent. She rested her arms on my shoulders and rubbed against me hard. It was not possible to keep my cool as she started doing it in slow motion and then forced me to make eye contact with her as she did so. “You should take me to the VIP,” she said, in between her singing the lyrics and smiling with the devil in her eyes. Lil’ Kim’s verse of the song came on and she threw her head back to recite them loudly, which caused me to experience a moment of embarrassment as the other strippers—within earshot—looked over at me being ridden.