Donna, a young black prostitute stood a moment at the entrance to an alley off the high street and lit up a cigarette. As she inhaled smoke into her lungs, she suddenly heard a low moaning sound, and feeling nervous she walked a little further into the darkness and suddenly spotted Lilly laying amongst a pile of black rubbish sacks.
Lilly was also a prostitute, 25 years old, white, curvaceous, with long curly dark hair, and was holding her face in her hands.
Donna asked, “Is that you Lilly?”
Lilly peered up, struggling to make out Donna’s face in the darkness. Then when she recognised her, Lilly said, “Yeah.”
Donna walked closer to Lilly then saw the swelling around Lilly’s left eye, “Are you alright Lilly? What’s ‘appened?”
Lilly grimaced, “I’ve just been attacked.”
“A punter…I just had sex with him an’ when I asked for the money he just laughed and punched me in the face. My head is poundin’ man.”
“Ah Lilly. I’m sorry to here that. What did ‘e look like?
“A short stocky geezer. Tanned with black hair.”
“Don’t ring a bell.”
Donna walked closer to Lilly and held out her hand, “I’ll ‘elp you up.”
Lilly grabbed Donna’s hand and got unsteadily to her feet, then she smoothed down her mini skirt slightly with her palms, then touched her face again and asked, “Is it swollen?”
“Lets get out the alley and look at it properly under a street light.”
They stopped beside a lamp post and Donna stared at Lilly’s face and said, “Looks naughty. Your face is all swollen round yer eye.”
It was nearly 10 Pm when Lilly buzzed the intercom at the bottom of a tower block in Penge, South East London. Moments later Baldy, a Jamaican crack and heroin dealer with a bald head spoke, “Yo.”
“Yeah Baldy, its Lilly…You ‘olding?”
Baldy buzzed Lilly in and she stepped into the tower block and pressed the button of a lift. As it opened, John, a white guy who spoke black and his girlfriend Lisa stepped out.
“Yo gal,” said John, “Wha ‘appened to yer face?
“Punter,” Lilly replied.
John smiled flashing a gold tooth, “Wha you couldn’t satisfy him?”
“Your funny,” Lilly replied dryly, “Can any of you lend me forty quid? Last punter I ‘ad ripped me off. Mug didn’t pay me.”
“Did ‘e do that to yer face?” asked Lisa.
“seriously,” asked John, “Wad ‘e do it for?”
“Dunno. I’d just ‘ad sex with ‘im an’ when I asked ‘im for the money ‘e just laughed an’ punched me in the face…nearly knocked me out.”
The three of them paused a moment, then Grace continued, “Can any of you lend me that money. I really need a lick. I ain’t ‘ad a stone since this afternoon. I’m cluckin’ man, an’ my heads poundin’.”
“I ain’t surprised,” said Lisa, “E must of whacked you proper ‘ard to do that to yer face…I ain’t got money though. John bought our stones.”
Lilly looked desperate and asked, “Can you lend me forty quid John?”
“When can you pay me back?”
“Tonight. When I’ve ‘ad a rock an’ some brown I’ll go out graftin’ an’ find some more punters.”
John pulled a wad of notes from his pocket and said, “You know what gal yer in luck. I clapped a yard today. Right posh ‘ouse in Dulwich. I got two Rolexes and a Cartier, an’ sold ‘em fer eleven ‘undred quid.”
John peeled off two twenty pound notes and handed them to Lilly. And Lilly said, “Ol thanks John. Yer a diamond. I’ll pay you back in a couple of hours. As soon as I’ve earned I’ll pop by yer flat.”
“Don’t worry Lilly,” John replied, “Me feel sorry for ya. Juss keep the corn.”
“Ol thanks man. Yer a star. Gimme a hug.”
Lilly hugged John who pulled away slightly embarrassed and said, “Rah gal. Don’t go gettin’ all soppy wi’ me.”
Lilly looked at Lisa and said, “You got a right nice geezer there Lisa.”
“I know,” smiled Lisa, “Thass why I’m with ‘im.”
They all smiled at each other then Lilly pressed the lift again which opened and Lilly said, “I’ll see ya both later.”
“Yeah laters,” said Lisa.
“An’ get some sunglasses,” said John still smiling, “You’ll frighten the punters.”
Lilly got out of the lift on the eleventh floor and walked to a door with a metal gate in front of it. She pressed the bell and moments later Baldy opened the door and stared at Lilly through the security gate.
“Rah, what ‘appened to yer face?” Baldy asked.
“Punter.” Lilly replied.
“Yeah,” answered Lilly, “I know.”
“That looks bad,” said Baldy, “Bad fer business.”
“Yeah. I’ll still find punters though.”
“Yeah, you still got a fit body, no matter what yer face looks like.”
Baldy smiled slightly and Lilly Didn’t answer, then Baldy unlocked the security gate and Lilly stepped into the flat.
There were another two criminals in the living room. One of them Tony, nodded at Lilly, whilst the other one Jay was smoking crack on a pipe. Baldy then asked Lilly, “You wanna stone yeah?”
“Yeah, an’ a score Joey.”
Baldy reached into his bum bag and pulled out a small rock of crack in a piece of silver foil and a twenty pound rap of heroin. He handed them to Lilly, who then gave Baldy forty pounds. The flats intercom suddenly rang and Baldy smiled, “More customers, more money.”
Baldy walked back into the hallway and Lilly sat down on one of the sofas next to Jay. She picked up a pipe from the coffee table, made from a plastic water bottle, half filled with water and with a straw poking out the side and silver foil with pin holes on top of it. Lilly looked at Jay and asked, “This dead?”
“Yeah,” Jay replied, “Use it.”
Lilly looked at Tony, the other criminal, who’d just smoked a bit of rock, and Lilly asked him, “Can I use some of yer ash?”
“Yeah, sweet. ‘Elp yerself.”
Lilly used a small piece of cardboard from a cigarette packet to scrape some of the cigarette ash from an ash tray with two half burned cigarettes in them, then tipped some of the ash onto the foil on top of the crack pipe. She then undone the foil from her rock and used her long thumb nail to cut a third of the small rock and placed it on top of the ash on the pipe. She then picked up a lighter from the table and looked at Jay and asked, “This yours?”
“its mine,” said Tony, “Use it.”
Lilly then flicked the lighter and run the flame across the rock of crack whilst she sucked through the straw in the side of the bottle, inhaling the smoke above the water half filling the bottle. She held the smoke in her lungs a few seconds, then slowly exhaled. Jay and Tony smiled at her, and Jay asked, “Good lick?”
“Yeah man…Pucker. I’ve waited hours for that.”
“Yeah man, so have I,” Jay said smiling, “I went out drummin’ this afternoon an’ couldn’t find one ‘ouse to burgle. In the end I snatched ‘undred quid off some geezer about half hour ago who’d juss got it out of a cash machine.” Jay laughed and continued, “Mug chased me all up the high street an’ through Packworth Estate. The geezer weren’t giving up an’ I was gettin’ knackered. In the end I stopped runnin’, picked up a bottle, smashed it on the kerb an’ said, you keep chasin’ me you mug I’ll rip yer face open.”
Tony asked, “What ‘appened then?”
“Geezer backed off,” said Jay, “Didn’t bother chasin’ me after that…I’m a bit worried though. There’s cameras all along the high street an’ I only ‘ad a baseball cap on. Didn’t ‘ave nothing covering my face.”
“You know they’ve got cameras on Packworth Estate now,” said Tony.
“Yer Jokin’,” Replied Jay.
“Nah, straight up…They’ve got ‘em fixed to the sides of a couple of tower blocks.”
“Shit,” said Jay, “I snatched a woman’s hand bag on that estate the other day.”
“You wanna be careful man,” said Tony, “You might ‘ave been on camera.”
“Shit…Mind you it was at night again. The resolution on those cameras ain’t that good, so even if they did see me it might not ‘ave been clear cos it was dark.”
“You dunno man,” said Lilly, “them cameras are gettin’ better. They can zoom in on yer face an’ blow up the picture. They’re gettin’ right clever with technology these days.”
“Don’t say that man,” Jay said starting to look worried, “Las thing I wanna get nicked for is hand-bag snatchin’. An’ I don’t wanna get nicked for that snatch earlier. I’m already on bail fer burglary. If I get nicked again, I definitely ain’t getting bail…Straight remand in custody.”
Tony looked bitter and said, “There’s cameras everywhere these days. One day you won’t even be able to wipe yer arse without some mug spying on ya.”
Baldy came back into the room with Tina and Tom, a mixed race couple.
Tina said, “Alright Lilly. Alright Jay.”
Jay nodded at the new arrivals and Lilly smiled and said, “Alright Tina. Alright Tom.”
Baldy looked at them both and asked, “Wha’ yer both want?”
“Just a couple of rocks for later,” said Tom.
Baldy reached into his bum bag and pulled out two stones and Tom reached into his pocket and pulled out forty pounds and gave it to Baldy, then Tina looked at Lilly and asked, “’Ere Lilly…You fancy comin’ to a rave with us?”
“A rave. Where?”
“Ministry of dance. We’ve got a spare ticket. There’s three rooms of sound there.”
Lilly raised her eyebrows, “Three rooms?”
“Yeah. There playing house in one room. Garage in another. And drum and bass. Should be wicked…You wanna come?”
“I dunno,” said Lilly, “I might have to go out later an’ earn some money to get some brown to come down with after I’ve smoked the rest of this rock.”
Baldy looked confused and said to Lilly, “You already bought a score joey off me.”
“Thass for someone else,” Lilly replied, not really knowing why she’d lied.
“Ol come on Lilly,” continued Tina, “Should be a laugh. I’ve got a couple of valium in me bag. You can ‘ave ‘em. They’ll ‘elp you come down from the rock.”
“Go with ‘em gal,” said Baldy, “’Ave a night off. Enjoy yerselt.”
Lilly thought for a moment, then said, “Oh…Alright then.”
Tina then suddenly noticed Lilly’s eye, “Wassa’matter with yer face Lilly?”
“Got hit by a punter,” Lilly answered.
“Looks naughty,” said Tina, “I’ve got some sunglasses in me bag if you wanna borrow them.”
Tina took the sunglasses out of her bag and gave them to Lilly, who put them on.
“Thass better gal,” said Baldy, “You look a bit like a model now.”
Lilly, Tom and Tina had been in the club about ninety minutes and were standing at the bar and the DJ suddenly put on the 90’s club classic ‘I love you baby.”
“Tune man,” said Tina and she grabbed Toms hand, “Lets dance.”
Tina then looked at Lilly and said, “Come on the dance floor with us Lilly.”
“Maybe later,” Lilly replied, feeling slightly subdued from taking the valium Tina had given her.
“Ol come on Lilly,” Tina continued, “It’ll be a laugh.”
“Nah, seriously…I might come later.”
Tina and Tom walked to the dance floor holding hands and a guy called Jerry stopped by the bar beside Lilly and smiled at her, then asked, “Can I buy you a drink luv?”
“Forget the drink,” Lilly replied, “Gimme thirty quid an’ you can shag me.”
Jerry looked shocked and said, “Cor mate…You don’t waste time do ya?”
“You wanna shag me or not?”
“I dunno what to say.”
“I’m not askin’ ya to make a speech. You wanna shag me or what?”
“Sorry luv,” Jerry continued exasperated, “I’ve never paid for sex in my life.”
Jerry then walked away from the bar and another guy Toby stopped beside Lilly, smiled and said, “I couldn’t help overhearing. I’ve got twenny quid. I’ll shag you.”
“Twenny-five,” Lilly replied.
“Fair enough. Where?”
“I know one of the bouncers,” Lilly continued, “He’ll let us use a room. Gimme the money first an’ I’ll speak to him.”
Toby took twenty-five pounds out of his wallet and gave it to Lilly, who took the money and put it in her purse and then put the purse in her little hand bag, then she said, “Wait there.”
Lilly walked across the club and spoke to two bouncers, Mick and Tony, then she pointed at Toby who was looking towards them smiling.
“That geezer juss tried to sell me an E,” Lilly said.
“Who?” asked Mick, the biggest of the two bouncers.
“The geezer at the bar.”
“The one smiling?” asked the other bouncer Tony.
“Cocky little sod ain’t ‘e?” said Mick, “We’ll soon put an end to ‘e’s fun. Thanks for telling us luv.”
Mick and Tony walked towards Toby who was still smiling when they stopped beside him.
“So you gonna let us use a room then?” Toby asked.
Mick and Tony grabbed Toby firmly by the arms and Toby looked confused.
Mick said, “The only room you’ll be using is a police cell.”
“I don’t understand,” said Toby, “What you talkin’ about?”
“A young woman just told us you tried to sell her an E,” said Tony, the second bouncer, “We don’t tolerate drug dealing in this club.”
Mick and Tony started walking Toby to the back office, while Toby tried to tug away from them, then he said, “Bitch…She’s just ripped me off.”
Lilly hurried out of the club and past two bouncers at the entrance. One of them said to Lilly, “Night luv.”
Lilly nodded at the bouncer, looking anxious, then she hurried along the street. She took out her mobile phone from her handbag and dialled Baldy’s number. When he answered she said, “Yeah Baldy. Its Lilly. You still ‘olding stones?”
“Yeah,” Baldy answered, “But I’m goin’ a sleep now.”
“Can you juss wait up a while,” Lilly asked sounding desperate, “I can be there in less than an hour.”
“No can do Lilly. I’m knackered. Gonna switch off my phone in a minute an’ crash.”
They both paused a moment in thought, then Lilly asked, “You think Mary’s ‘olding?”
“Didn’t you ‘ear? She got raided yesterday morning. Bullman found twenny stones an’ some brown. She got remanded in custody.”
“Shit. I didn’t ‘ear that. Where can I get stones this time of night?”
“What about Leroy,” Baldy asked, “Is ‘e still sellin’ stones?”
“’E’s stopped for a while. I saw ‘e’s brother Delroy the other day an’ ‘e said that Leroy ain’t sellin’ stones cos ‘e thinks ‘e’s under surveillance.”
“I dunno what to say then Lilly. All I know is I’m mashed. I gotta sleep. I took two Tomazies about half hour ago an’ I’m crashin’.”
“Fair enough. I’m juss really cluckin’ for a stone.”
“Come in the mornin’. I’ll sort you out then.”
“Alright then,” said Lilly, “Laters.”
Baldy suddenly felt a bit confused and said, “I thought you were at the club with Tina and Tom.”
“I left early. I’m cluckin’ for a stone.”
“Come in the mornin’. I’ll sort you out then.
“Ok,” said Lilly, “laters.”
“Peace. I’m outta here.”
Lilly walked around the streets, not knowing where she was. She walked around a corner and saw two homeless guys, Jim and Jacob, laying in a shop doorway. Lilly asked them, “Do you two know where I can get a stone?”
“What, white?” asked Jim.
“Gis a fiver an’ we’ll tell ya,” said Jacob, the other guy.
“Two quid,” Lilly replied toughly.
“Three quid,” said Jacob.
Lilly sighed, “Ok.”
Lilly took her purse out of her handbag and took out three pound coins and handed them to Jacob. And Jacob said, “There’s a cab office five minutes up the road near the zebra crossing. Ask for a guy called the big chief. He’s a cab driver who sells crack.
“The big chief,” said Lilly, “Is this some kind of wind up?”
Jim the other guy said, “Straight up luv. The big chief is an African with tribal scars on ‘e’s face and ‘e wears lots of gold. You can’t miss ‘im.”
“Ok thanks,” Lilly said slightly giggling, “I thought you were takin’ the piss for a minute.”
“Sounds like we are,” said Jim, “But we’re not. The big chief is a real person.”
Lilly walked down the road, still slightly unsure that it was a wind up, but then she spotted the cab office. She walked in and the cab controller looked up and asked, “Can I ‘elp you luv?”
“I’m looking for the big chief.”
“’He’ll be back soon. ‘E’s juss done a local job. Take a seat.”
Lilly sat down and moments later the big chief walked in and the cab controller smiled at Lilly and said, “Quicker than I thought,” the controller then looked at the big chief and said, “The young lady wants to see ya.”
The big chief then smiled at Lilly, flashing a mouthful of gold teeth and asked, “You wanna see me?”
“Yeah,” answered Lilly, “Are you the big chief?”
“Yeah…An’ who might you be?”
“Lilly. Someone told me you sell stones. Is that right?”
The big chief scowled slightly and said, “Yeah, but don’t go talkin’ so loud about it.”
Lilly looked from left to right and lowered her voice, “Sorry.”
“Thass ok,” said the big chief, “Come with me into the toilets.”
Lilly followed the big chief into the toilet at the back beside a room with half a dozen drivers in it. The big chief then took some rocks out of his bum bag that we’re wrapped in small slivers of silver foil, then he asked, “How many ya wan?”
“Juss one,” said Lilly, “Twenny quid alright?”
The big chief handed Lilly a stone and Lilly took twenty pound out of her purse and handed it to him. Lilly then asked, “Do you know if any night buses round here go to Penge?”
The big chief smiled and said, “I’ll take ya to Penge in the car.”
Lilly looked slightly embarrassed and said, “I ain’t got much money. I can’t afford the fare.”
The big chief put his hand on Lilly’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll take you there for free. This time of night it will only take thirty minutes. There’s a twenny-four-seven Mcdonalds there. I wanna get someting to eat. I ain’t eaten since this afternoon.”
Lilly perked up a bit, “If you don’t mind. That will be brilliant.”
The big chief smiled again, “No problem.”
TO BE CONTINUED