Kathouse Part 3 - Black Barbie
So many thoughts were running through my mind. Starting with how the fuck does Carl know Michelle’s name and why is he following her. Regardless, my main concern was her safety. I know that I should have said something about what I heard at his house, but I honestly thought I was high and tripping. Though I had a plan, I wasn’t 100% ready to execute it. My late grandmother always told me ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.’ That’s why I always had a PLAN B for emergencies. It’s a must to survive this world and definitely in this business or both would suck the soul out of you.
“Cancel all of my appointments for tonight and call Kat in to work the phones. Shelly’s going with me.” I instructed Tony and started to go upstairs.
“Shitting me! She’s working her shift and you are damn sure going to your appointments. I’ll send you out with Ronald. He’ll make sure that you are well protected. We got money to make bitches.” Tony responded. I stopped in my tracks and turned to walk towards Tony.
“I basically just told you that crazy mother fucker probably had a human screaming help from the basement, exposed Shelly’s identity, and possibly stalked her all day, and you think I’m still going to service him? Are you fucking crazy?”
“That’s the life of a hoe. You knew the risks when you signed up!”
“Babs, No!” Shelly called out to me as I charged Tony with all my might.
“Bitch ass nigga, you got me fucked up! You heard exactly what the fuck I said. I’m not Kat. You do that shit with her, not me! Now call her or let the phones answer themselves. I don’t give a fuck but me and Michelle are OUT!” I spat out my mouth like fire without even taking a breath. I grabbed Shelly’s hand and lead her upstairs to my room. I locked the door behind us and turned on the radio. After turning the volume all the way up, I put my finger over my mouth signaling for Shelly not to talk. I went to my closet and pulled out a few shoes boxes before coming across my Timberland boot boxes – only it didn’t contain any shoes. C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang blasted as I pulled out the knots of money and started packing them in my duffle bag between my personals. After pulling out two more money boxes, I handed the task to Shelly. I grabbed my suitcase and started packing some clothes as well as my lockbox that contained all of my important information. After gathering everything and putting my room back in place, I nodded my head to Shelly that it was time to go. She grabbed my duffle bag as I pulled my luggage and purse. As soon as I cut the radio off, someone started banging at my door. I knew it was Kat. I took out the money I had for her and secured my purse before opening the door. “This is two thousand dollars,” I started as I gave her the two stacks of rubber band wrapped money. “That should cover the agency fee of all the cancelled appointments. Plus, an extra thousand to pay Darryl to work around the clock until you find someone because we quit. I’ll be back to get our things this weekend.”
“Babs, think about what you’re doing.” Kat begged me to reason while following us down the steps and blocking the front door with her body. After asking Shelly to go pack a duffle bag with her belongings, I responded to Kat.
“I have thought about it, Kat. In fact, it’s all I have thought about for a while now. This isn’t my end game. There has always been a deadline. You know that. It just came sooner than later. That’s all. As far as Shelly, I know how hard it will be to find a quality replacement and I sympathize but, I’m not leaving her here.” I almost felt bad as I looked into Kat’s sad pretty eyes. She didn’t say anything as she moved out of the way of the door. I loaded the bags into my trunk and waited for Shelly. Once Shelly came out front with her two duffle bags, she looked at me blankly. “What’s up?”
“What now? Where will we go? What’s the plan? I still have school to finish.” Shelly said as she panicked lightly.
“No. No. No. No. No. Not here. Okay? Calm down. I need you to trust me.” I reassured her as I held her face. “I promise you that I got us! Don't I always got us? Put your bags in my trunk. Get anything you need out of your car and come on.”
“We’re leaving my car?”
“Yes. You don’t need it right now.” I responded as she did as she loaded her belongings in my trunk. We got in my car and hopped on 95 North.
“Where are we headed?” Shelly questioned.
“Philadelphia.” I responded and put on some music. She laid back and went to sleep while I drove. Just as we reached Delaware, my gas light came on. Fuck! I hated pulling over for gas in the evening and I definitely hated pumping my own gas. I grabbed $20 out of my purse and shook Shelly. “Do you want anything out of the store?” Still sleepy, she responded that she didn’t want anything without even opening her eyes. Feeling someone staring at me, I looked up to see the gentlemen at the next pump looking me dead in the face. Damn! I need to tint my windows! I hopped out and walked towards the gas station. As did my admirer.
“Hello Beautiful! May I ask your name?”
“Damn! That name is very fitting Barbie Doll!” He raised his voice in excitement as he held the door open for me.
“Thank you handsome but it’s Black Barbie.”
“Yes Ma’am! I’m Greg. Nice to Meet you Black Barbie. Can I take you to dinner?”
“I’m not from here so this will probably be the last time you see me.” I responded uninterestedly. I was tired and just wanted to rest. “Twenty on pump 7 please.” I said to the teller and walked swiftly out the gas station back to my car.
“Let me pump your gas pretty lady.” I looked back to notice Greg jogging after me. I hopped in my car and allowed him to pump my gas. I looked at him through my driver’s side mirror. He was cute, well groomed, and a complete gentleman. Wrong timing. I reminded myself. As soon as I saw him tightening my gas cap, I started my car. Before I had the chance to pull off, Greg came and knocked on my window, gesturing for me to roll it down. I rolled my window down just enough to be able to say,
“Thank you. Goodnight!” I pulled off immediately after and snickered as I looked at him through my rearview. He smiled as he threw his arms up. Something was strange about his smile, or was it? After the day I’d had, it was normal to think anything was weird. I shook it, turned the music up and continued on my way. Once we reached our destination, I closed my eyes and let out a sigh of relief. I was exhausted and could not wait to sleep. I woke Shelly and we grabbed all our belongings from the trunk of my car.
“Where are we? What are we doing here?” Shelly asked surprised and amazed as she canvassed the West Philadelphia neighborhood with her eyes.
“Come on. Let me show you.” I said as I began to walk up the steps to the front door. I made sure my car was secure before turning the key to the house. After getting my belongings through the door, I stepped to the side and let Shelly take in the place. She stopped in her tracks amazed.
“Babz, this is. . .” she stumbled over her words.
“This is . . ." I smiled widely. "This is our home. I wanted to finish the décor throughout and allow you to graduate before we moved in but after the current string of events, I knew it was time for us to go now. There are some things that I have to get still but for the most, it is comfy and most importantly, it’s ours.” I said as she moved around our living room space, running her fingers over the different canvas sized prints that displayed some of our fondest memories together over the years.
“Babs, this is so beautiful! Let me know how much I owe you towards everything so I can pay you.”
“You are my sister. The only thing you owe me is to graduate. That’s it. You don’t pay a single bill in here until you secure a job after graduation.”
“But,” She tried to debate.
“But nothing! Let’s go check out your room!” I said as we struggled to take our bags up the steps to the second floor. I put my stuff in front of my door and led Shelly to her room. I decorated in her favorite colors. She explored everything from the plush rug to the queen size pillow top full of pillows like she loves to her full-length leaner mirror to her full computer desk area to her full walk-in closet. She opened what you thought to be another closet and found a full bathroom whose décor matched her room’s assemble.
“Babs, I don’t even know how to thank you. I’m so grateful!” Shelly said through tears.
“Aht! Aht! This is a no crying zone bitch. This is the next chapter. All we do is laugh, eat, and get money around this bitch. Them sad days are behind us!”
“This shit is like a luxury resort. Bitch you should do this for a living; interior decorating, styling, etc.”
“Maybe but I’m working on some other shit right now. Well, explore and enjoy your space. I’m about to call it a night.” Deciding to unpack in the morning, I slid my luggage in the corner of my room. After I laid down, I went to check my phone which I noticed was dead. Realizing I left my charger in the car, I slipped on some pajama shorts and a t shirt and went to retrieve it. I came back in, secured our home's alarm, checked on Shelly who was knocked out snoring, and plugged up my phone. As soon as my phone charged enough to power on, I had so many notifications. The first one I noticed was last message from Tony that read Somebody took Kat. The second was from a number I didn’t recognize that read Give me Michelle & I’ll give you Katherine. You have 24 hours. I looked at the message’s time stamp. It was 11pm and I had 21 hours left to figure out how to make my next move, my best one.
“Shelly, get up!” I shook her as she jumped out of her sleep.
“What’s wrong?” She asked scared and concerned.
“Someone kidnapped Kat.” I said as my voice broke.
“Is there a ransom?” She asked.
“Yes,” I responded and put my head down. “They want you in exchange.” I looked up at Shelly who was pacing the floor.
“Fuck It. What do I have to live for? Take me and exchange me for Kat. That's your blood sister!”
“Don’t ever let me hear that shit come out of your mouth again.” I said while shaking her. “I got this! All I need you to do is stay here where I know you safe”
“You are fucking crazy. You’re not going to meet them alone.”
“I damn sure ain’t going to them with you in the car!”
“I know what to do. Come on Babz!” Shelly assured me as she grabbed her jacket and shoes and started making a call on her phone. I threw some money in my purse while grabbing my keys, sneakers, and jacket. I tossed Shelly the car keys as we walked out the door.
“Okay, cool. That’s like 1 hour away from where I am. See you then.” Shelly said wrapping up her conversation on the phone. “I have a police friend and he’s gonna help us.” She started and I instantly thought this was a bad idea. “He’s going to meet us at the Delaware House Travel Plaza, which is a rest stop on the way. Then, follow us the rest of the way down.” She started the car, and we were in route. I leaned over to assure we were good on gas. We would make it to meeting point, so I didn’t see a reason to stop at all but before we got on the road, but Shelly needed her coffee. So, we stopped at Dunkin and hopped on i95.
I dozed off and it seemed as soon as I got into a good sleep, I felt a large bang. Someone had crashed into us and I felt my car flipping over a few times before reaching a large final thump that made me hit my head on the side of the door panel. It took about 10 seconds for me to regain my consciousness but when I did, I felt the car moving. A large person dressed in all black pulling Shelly out the car as she moaned in pain. My body was in pain, but I strained to free myself because I had to help Shelly or die trying at the very least. That was the plan. I felt for my door handle and looked out the window as I attempted to free myself from the car. Once I finally got the door open and pulled myself out, someone hit me hard against the head. Once I hit the ground, I heard a familiar voice.
“Now why would you cancel our appointment, my Black Barbie?”
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