Money walks down East Sixth Street like a move star.
She wears more makeup on her face than her body has clothing.
And all the street boys stop and stare.
Even white guys like me.
Most hope to catch her attention, and the glint of light in her dark eyes that almost seems to be part of the glittery eye shadow she wears.
I donít want her to look at me, but she always does.
And this scares the crap out of me and makes my pregnant girlfriend jealous.
Louise thinks Iím making it with Monee because I canít make it with her.
Iím scared to think maybe that is what I want and try to keep out of Moneeís way.
But sheís always on the street, marching up or down until someone has cash enough to take her up to her apartment.
She never gets enough of that stuff so sheís always arguing with her man about how much she owes and how he canít cut her off when sheís sure to find a guy who can deliver bit and pay it all off.
Iíve never seen her down. Others say itís ugly and recall a time when she tossed scalding water into one manís face when he wouldnít pay for what he got.
She loves us and always pauses to pat Louiseís belly before moving on, making us promise to make her our childís godmother when the time comes.
She says she canít have kids of her own after all the times she had to use that back alley doctors, and their rusty instruments. She claims sheís lucky to be alive, and says thatís why she parades up this street and not some uptown street where she could make more money off the tourist trade.
She says big bucks take big risks and she doesnít want to get busted and end up in jail.
Lifeís hard enough out here, she tells me, but itís hell in jail.
Then she moves on, looking and laughing, waiting for a man, black or whatever color, rich enough and brave enough to take her upstairs.
I dream of Monee sometimes, imagining me up stairs with her.
Yet each time I make lover to her in my dreams I only hear her crying in pain.