by Kesia Alexandra @kesialexandra
This is an excerpt from Eating Off The Floor
When she had collected all her money, she walked off the stage. As she made her way out of the VIP section, she felt one of their large hands on her arm, just as she had anticipated.
“Hold up, redbone.” Marsha turned to find it was the shorter one. His bald head shined with sweat. His teeth looked like dentures and Marsha realized they were fake.
“It’s Marsha.” Her lips were usually no longer red by this time of the night, but she could pull a man in with her green eyes alone.
“Marsha.” He nodded. “You ain’t got no stage name?”
“You tryna roll with us?” This came from the taller one who had made his way over. Everything he wore was fitted: his hat, his shirt, his jeans. Though his clothes were fresh, his skin looked faded, like he was supposed to be darker than he was but had lost some color to stress. The loaded bags under his eyes supported this possibility, but his pupils were bright and alert, suggesting that maybe the fatigue was only physical, not emotional.
“Who y’all?” she asked. They both chuckled. She crossed her arms and stuck out a hip. “I mean… I know I seen ya’ll faces before but…”
“Where you from, shawty?” The tall one squinted at her.
“Yeah, I thought so. I’m from Boston too. I recognized that accent.”
“I’m Crush Boundaries,” the short one said. Hooking a thumb over his shoulder, he added, “That’s my DJ.”
“Smith,” the tall one said, extending a hand.
She shook it. “Marsha.”
“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.”
Marsha smiled. “She was the fine one.”
Smith laughed, throwing back his head. “I didn’t expect you to get that. She was the fine one. True that.”
Crush looked between them, brows lowered. “What y’all talking ‘bout?”
Smith’s laugh tapered off and he smoothed his small beard with his hand. “Brady Bunch.”
“Man, don’t nobody give a fuck about no Brady Bunch. Marsha, you rollin’ with us or what? You ain't the only pussy in the building.”
Marsha tilted her head back to face Crush. She squinted at him then widened her eyes. He shifted, and Marsha heard him swallow hard.
“I’m rollin’,” she said.
“Cool.” Crush sighed. “You wanna bring some friends?”
“No.” Marsha turned from the men. “I’ll meet y’all outside.”
“Hey, new pussy.” This came from a blue wig-wearing dancer with even lighter skin than Marsha. “You goin’ with Crush Boundaries and them back to their hotel or somethin’?”
“Who?” Marsha adjusted her bandeau top over her large breasts and reached for her leggings.
“Dude you was just talking to.” The girl peeled off her blue wig and reached for a black one. “One of the hottest rappers in the world right now…”
A few of the other girls had turned toward the conversation. Marsha saw in the mirror that they were checking her out, sizing her up and, of course eavesdropping.
“Oh, yeah. They want me.”
“You going by yourself?”
“He said they only want one.” Marsha shrugged. The other girls turned away.
“You gotta be careful with them type of fools,” Blue Wig said. “Come here.”
She reached into her purse and took out a kitchen knife. “I know you kinda new in this city...”
Marsha smiled. She reached into her own purse and pulled out a pink hair brush. Pulling on the handle, she revealed a sharp blade.
“Well, damn.” Blue Wig laughed as Marsha replaced the weapon and put it back in her bag. “Make sure they pay you good, girl.”
Blue Wig held up a hand for Marsha to slap.
“Oh, I will.” Marsha gave the girl a five. “I can’t keep my son fed off strippin’ alone, if you know what I mean.”
“Girl, I know.” Blue Wig waved an arm around the room. “We all eatin’ off the floor. Gotta do what you gotta do.”
Once inside, Marsha feigned awe at the hotel’s décor. She had been inside these types of hotels frequently with her ex-husband. The chandeliers and dimly lit restaurant with crystal glasses was nothing new to her. But she knew she had to be viewed as an outsider to this world, familiarity would be unbelievable.
The first thing Marsha noticed in the room was the little bottles from mini-bar strewn everywhere. She knew Crush had had several drinks at Hustler’s Delight. She hadn’t noticed Smith sipping on anything. She figured since he had driven he was probably sober. He seemed like the responsible type.
Marsha usually tried to make it a quick in and out deal, which was generally feasible because most of these celebrities hired drivers that picked them up and dropped them off, allowing them to drink as much as they liked. Her drug only worked with the combination of alcohol (a kink she had yet to figure out), and so inebriating Smith was necessary. He was a big guy and Marsha figured it would take several drinks to make the thing work.
Smith and Crush had started over to the bar, but Marsha reached for their hands. “Let’s play maid-service.”
“She don’t waste no time.” Crush grinned as Marsha led them to the bed. On her way back to the bar she checked out the closet. Based on the size of the clothes, she figured this was Crush’s room. Perfect.
She poured them two Henny’s and Cokes. She lay down between them and pushed for them to talk about themselves. Crush, who didn’t need much persuasion, bit the bait. Marsha allowed him to run his stubby hand across her breasts and between her thighs while he sputtered on about his life in the industry. Getting Smith to talk took a little more push. He hung off to the side of the bed, seemingly trying to separate himself from the scene. Eventually, after the third Henny Coke combo, he joined in. Marsha didn’t listen. She didn’t want to think of them as people. That would just make her job impossible. She only made them talk to keep them from asking questions about her.
It was on the fifth drink that Marsha decided they had enough in their system for her to get moving. She took out her Zip-Loc and dusted a little of the powder into both drinks. She stood in front of them, watching as they guzzled the cocktails down. Unintentionally, she made eye contact with Crush. His eyes spazzed and Marsha realized it was an attempt at a wink.
“Strip for us, Marsha,” he said.
“Okay, baby.” Marsha leaned over and cupped his face. He closed his eyes and grinned widely. “But first, let’s get you better seats.”
Marsha took one of the chairs from the other side of the suite. She placed it in front of where the men were sitting.
Crush didn’t move. Neither did Smith.
“I said come here, baby. Don’t you want me to strip?”
Crush’s face wrinkled. He blinked a couple of times. Smith bit his lip.
“I can’t….” Crush continued blinking.
Marsha crossed her arms. “You can’t what, honey?”
“I can’t get up.”
“Now you asked me to come here. Don’t tell me you can’t get it up.”
“I can’t get up, what the fuck? I ain’t playing. I’m tryna move and I can’t.”
Smith snorted. “Shit, neither can I. I can’t move.”
“Fuck, why can’t I move?” Crush’s eyes began to water. “What the fuck is going on!”
That was Marsha’s cue.
She turned to the closet and began taking out designer suits and sportswear. Crush was weeping by this point.
“Fuck is you doin’, bitch? I can’t move.”
“It will wear off.” Marsha took the first of her selection to her bag and stuffed it in. She went to the bureau and began selecting jewelry pieces. In the first drawer she found rolls of money Crush famously bragged about carrying around on all of his songs.
“Marsha.” This came from Smith. Marsha didn’t turn around.
“Do you actually think you gonna get away with this?” Crush demanded. “Hoes try to rob us all the time. What you think happen to them? Ain’t nobody sad about a dead stripper.”
Marsha surveyed the room. She had everything she needed.
She returned to the two men.
“What did you do to us?” Smith said.
“It will wear off soon.” Marsha began unbuttoning Smith’s pants. She stripped off his boxers. Marsha realized the drug hadn’t hit him as hard as Crush. He could still move his neck and he watched her wordlessly. It seemed he was no longer trying to figure it out. He had accepted that this was happening to him. Crush, on the other hand, continued to mumble “what the fuck” over and over as Marsha undressed his lower half.
She went back to her bag and pulled out her cell phone. She placed Smith’s hand on Crush’s penis and placed Crush’s hand on Smith’s.
Crush had stopped talking. Tears simply streamed from his eyes. Marsha snapped a photo then lowered the phone to her side.
“If you try to call the police, if you try to send anyone after me, this picture will be on every blog, every website in the country. Your career will be finished. Your entire existence will be a joke. Do you understand?”
“If you show anyone that shit I will kill you myself,” Crush said. Marsha turned to Smith. His head was still hanging down but he looked up at that moment.
“Why you doing this?”
“You think I would make better money as a secretary?” She tilted her head.
“Your name isn’t Marsha. Is it?”
Marsha turned. She grabbed Crush’s leather jacket with the sweatshirt lining. She put the grey hood over her head, picked up her bag and walked out the door.
Outside of the hotel, Marsha hailed a cab. She heaved the bag in the back, climbed in and gave the driver the motel where she would stay the night. She still held the phone in her hand. She saved the photo to a password protected folder called “Jobs”. The folder was full of images she never wanted to see again.
She leaned on the window and closed her eyes, trying to block out the sound of “Crushin’ em to the Bank” which was playing on the radio. Or maybe only in her mind. She couldn’t tell for sure.
This is an excerpt from Eating Off The Floor