I love reading and writing dialogue, from Jack London and Ernest Hemmingway, to William Faulkner, Elmore Leonard and Eudora Welty. To me, dialogue places one IN the scene. Often times, when dialogue is extremely well written, I can HEAR the characters talking to me. And so, I've tried to emulate these writers by attempting a special piece consisting of almost all dialogue about a black pimp being interviewed by a young lady from the local newspaper.
I wuz hangin' out over at Silvey's Pool Emporium; you might know the place. I wuz just killin' time before my bidness hours kicked in. It musta been, oh, 'bout four in the afternoon; which is where I usually am at that hour, being that I owns the joint.
Just a few minutes earlier, I wuz tellin' 'Tator, ' my bartender, that I wuz in the mood for some stimulatin' conversation, 'stead of fending off the usual crackheads and other deadbeats, who usually bother me about debts and other matters, all of which is related to money, which I have, and they don't, when this here skinny white bitch wanders into the joint, and presented herself to me.
"Hello," she says, with this nervous smile, "would you be Mr. Liston?" Her voice wuz cultured like she'd gone to some Ivy League place, maybe Vassar. I jus stared at her as if maybe she wuz from another planet, such as Mars, or is it more correct to say Venus? With her being female and all, I don't know myself.
She jus stood there looking at me and waitin', shifting her weight from one foot to the other while I ignored her. But I got to admirin' her, standing and waiting patiently for me to acknowledge her presence. And, after a minute or so, I put my newspaper down, and looked her right in the eye.
"Err, umm ... Mr. Liston?" she said, using this eye contact as her opportunity to start a conversation. "The bartender pointed you out to me. I'm Margaret Haynes, from the Newark Star Ledger."
So, she wus a reporter! Normally I'd a kicked her scrawny white ass out of my place and been done with her. But like I already said, I wuz in the mood for some conversation, and most assholes stop in here got a better grip on their cue sticks then they'd ever had on their dicks; never mind using their brains. So I decided to humor her and listen to her pitch.
"I am," I sez to her.
Out the corner of my eye, I see "Tator" smirkin' an I give him a first class scowl, which he don't pay no mind to; but he does pick up a towel and starts polishing some beer mugs. I finish my Dewar's and water, and give her my complete attention.
Now, you should understand I got a lot of attention to give. I'm not sure, but I'm maybe, 6' 3" and some 230 pounds. Not too many know I work out at Gold's Gym maybe three times a week. Assholes 'round here think I'm born with these muscles. Anyway, my size always helps when I gotta calm a ... let's jus call it a situation ... yeah, when I gotta clam a situation down.
Anyways, I answer her with a question of my own. "Hanes, like in ho's?" I do this so as to reflect indifference to her person; meantime, I'm undressing her with my eyes. It's a neat trick, which was taught to me by a woman some years ago. Women -- they got this knack of giving someone the once over so quick-like, that the other person, usually a male, don't pick up on it.
The Bitch had herself a pretty face ... no unsightly blemishes, not too much make-up. Nice perky lil' tits, and a small, firm lookin' ass -- nothin' like Zelda's or Noreen's; but there be plenty of mutts wantin' to rub against it, she give them half a chance, which I won't – not while she's with me.
Thinkin' I can't see her, the Bitch rolls her eyes like she's exasperated with me, but recovers quick enough not to insult me, and says, "Ummm, no, Haynes, that's H-a-y-n-e-s. I'm a reporter with the..."
"I read the paper every day," I says, making sure to put some gruffness in my tone. Then, adding even more bark, I says, "Jus what the hell you want from me?"
Now that served to make her a little nervous. For the first time the Bitch shows me that she's thinkin' she may have made a mistake waltzing in here. And that's where I want her. Don't wanna scare the shit out of her ... just give her kind of nervous tickle, because I like my bitches like that. The fact is Bitches ain't nervous 'round you, they likely to figure you out; 'cause bitches, they always analyzing you, and shit like that. They got these photographic memories what play back every damn word you say to them, two -- three weeks later, and I find that damned irritating when they do it to me.
So the Bitch loses the exasperated expression and blurts out, "I ... err ... I'm working on a feature story, umm ... on prostitutes and..." She falters some, then she regained her composure and goes into her delivery.
Now, the Bitch wasn't up there with Satchel Paige when it come to pitching, but by the time she finished, I'd have to say she ranked up there with the likes of Big Newk. That's Big Don Newcombe, wuz the mainstay with the old Brooklyn Dodgers back in the fifties. Now that wuz when they really played the game. No molly-coddling the mother-fuckers then!
I gotta laugh; way she buttered me up with that delivery of hers. First she serves up what I figure got to be a fast ball; tells me I got a big reputation in Newark. That I'm the main man, it comes to prostitution. Then she tried to catch me off guard with a slow curve. Would I tell her how I get the ladies to spread their legs for any man happens to have enough money. Well, she used some fancier language, of course, but that's what she meant. Hee, hee, hee ... got to admit that wuz pretty good, pretty good.
I found myself pleased with her presence. But I don't let her know this.
"Why you askin' me 'bout them Ho's?" I said. "Go axe the Ho's theyselves. They'll tell you 'bout the biggest cock they ever seen; they tell you 'bout VD. Oh, excuse me, STD. Hee, hee, hee."
"No, no you don't understand..."
"I unnerstand! Now answer my question."
"Well, the fact of the matter is..." She rolled those pretty eyes again, only this time she wuz struggling to make her point and keep her temper; which if she lost it, would get her thrown out of my place, and the bitch sure enough knew that.
"Err, how can I put this plainly?"
She talking to herself now, so I try to help her. "Somebody give you my name?"
The Bitch seemed almost grateful for the help, and nods her head vigorously like, says, "Yes, yes, that's exactly it. I ... I'm told that you are a man of ... certain influence. A man who, um, knows a great deal about the workings of prostitution."
I know them Ho's won't work if you don't put a size twelve up their ass every hour on the hour," I said, and finished off my drink. Now the bitch is staring at me. Maybe I shocked her; can't read her eyes so good yet, so I give her another minute. People can't stand silence. Even reporters who should know better. They got to hear something, even if it's their own mouth running. I wait on people a lot, and I learn a lot from it.
But time passed, and she kept gaping at me; and I come to understand she's playin' the game too. So I says, and not unkindly, "So, talk to me."
I just wanna get her going again, you know?
"Well ... in my story," she's now biting on her lower lip, "err, of course, I won't use your name. I ... err..." I let her consult wit her notes because I know reporters need to have they notes so they can quote you correctly later on.
"Well, the fact of the matter is that your cooperation would be very much appreciated, Mr. Liston. Oh, and I'll pay you for your services."
"Like a Ho?" I said, right in her face. I know I showered her with some of my spittle, but I didn't mean too, and that shook her up. Bitch almost fell out of the chair.
"No, no, no, no. I'm asking you as one who is an authority on whores."
"How much green we talkin' about?" I asked in a more reasonable tone, as I like to change direction on people. I find it keeps them off balance, and that makes 'em easier to deal with."
Bitch bit her lip again, made her face into a frown, and says, "Umm, how about one hundred dollars?"
I moved my thumb across the first two fingers of my right hand, just under her nose, and watched the Bitch flinch; like I'm maybe about too smack her, or something. She wasn't much of a negotiator, cause then she blurts out, "The highest I can go is four hundred dollars!"
I see tiny beads of perspiration forming on her brow and upper lip. "Good," I says, 'en give her my Ipana smile. "Now we can converse."
The Bitch relaxed some on hearing that, but I figured I'd get my money up front, and held out my hand. She reached in her purse, and pulled a roll out, and started counting out four hundred into my paw. That left her with about forty bucks, and I decided to let her keep it.
"Okay, now what?" I asked.
Bitch took out a recorder, and crossed her legs, which pulled that dress even snugger then it wuz before. Now I could make out them long stems of hers; pretty good one's at that. I kept lookin' at 'em until she turned the recorder on, and says, "August 22, 1995, this is Margaret Haynes of the Newark Star Ledger. I'm sitting here with Mr. Liston..."
"Hiatus Liston," I said, interrupting her. "Umm, yes, thank you, Mr. Liston ... that is Mr. Hiatus Liston." She wuz wiping her face with this lil' hanky as she said it.
I fixed her with another Ipana smile – and let the diamonds in my teeth sparkle some.
"I'm with Mr. Hiatus Liston. We're in a bar and billiards establishment here in downtown Newark. Mr. Liston is reputed to be a ... umm, procurer of feminine services and as such..."
.... There is more of this story ...