I was currently standing in the VIP area in the club I was working in. My job was to sell coke and meth while watching out for cops.
This wasn't an ideal job, but I had done much worse for less money. My family friend Marcus had introduced me to the manager of the club. He was a man in his mid-twenties named Mike. He managed 4 clubs in the area. His dad opened them up last year when the cartel, who had the run of Phoenix, fell last year. Like many others, his father was a successful drug lord nearby who swooped in like a vulture as soon as the area was no longer controlled by the cartel.
My goal was to move higher up so the risk of getting caught wouldn't be so high. I had done it before with the cartel and I intended to do it again. Now that I was 18, I would have a record if I got caught and could get sent to jail. Mike wasn't my cup of tea, but he seemed fond of me, so I decided to play nice until I was able to meet with his father.
As I scanned the dance floor, I felt hands grab my waist. I turned around and it was Mike. I gave him a smile while I moved out of his hold.
"Why you always do this Lola, stop being so serious, and we could have some fun," Mike said as he wiped white powder off his nose.
"You pay me to work. Not to 'have fun' with you," I reply and walked away. I don't want to deal with a man who's high right now.
As I walk around the main floor, I sell to some regulars who I know. I spot a man with a beard watching me, so I go to the washroom and switch my stash. Once I come out the man approaches me, "Hey I was wondering if you knew where I could get something strong, like coke or whatever."
I give him a devious smile, "Why of course señor."
I reach into my pocket and pull out a baggy. Then he gives me a 50 and leaves the club. A few moments later the police storm in and begin to arrest me. I hear dogs barking; they must have brought the drug sniffing dogs. As I'm being read my rights, I see Mike running through the back door.
After the club is cleared out and the cops are unable to find Mike, I'm loaded into a police car. A man I know all too well sits in the driver's seat. When he looks back and recognizes me, he shakes his head.
"What would your father think of this Lola, he must be rolling in his grave," Brian says with a sad smile.
Brain knew my dad. They were on the force together. Brian had just started out when my dad died. He was around 28 now. He didn't really know my dad just the version that most of the world knew. A good guy who was strait-laced. In reality, my dad was as crooked and bad as they came. A handful on the force knew this but Brian wasn't one of them.
I sat there in silence while Brian drummed his hands on the dash. After a few more moments of silence, he spoke again, "Why were you even in a club? Your 18, who let you in there. You know we don't want to charge you; we want your boss. If you give us something on them, we can help you."
They couldn't help me. When I was 10, I told a cop what Evan-my father was really like. He laughed and said I was too creative. When I was 12 and my mom was too high to parent after my dad died, we got put into temporary care for a month I told the cops what was happening to my brother. Once again, they did nothing to help, they told me my brother had to come forward. Now they want me to rat, but I won't. They won't help and then I'll be a rat with a target on my back.
So, I stayed quiet.
A few moments later another man got into the car. As he turned around, I felt a shock run down my spine. It was Will, my dad's former partner. He was crooked and evil. And on top of that, the man hated me.
"Nice to see you again Lola, I see you are once again making Evan proud."
I glared at him the whole drive to the police station.
Once we arrive Will told Brian that he could handle me by himself. He opened the back door and dragged me out hitting my head on the roof in the process.
"Oops didn't mean that now let's book you. I'm going to have a lot of fun with you tonight." He said to me. I felt myself get nauseous and start to tremble. I hoped I could get someone to intervene before he could get me alone.
Once I had been booked Will told me he was going to strip search me. A woman was sitting at the desk, so I spoke up, "Aren't I entitled to a female? I mean the building is full of female cops, I'm sure it's no problem."
As Will started to drag me the woman stood up and said she could perform the search. Will told her that he didn't trust me, so he wanted to be present just in case.
So, there I was being strip-searched while a 50 something-year-old man who has known me since I was born watched.
“Squat and cough,” the female officer instructs while Will smirks at me. I do as instructed and get redressed when told to.
I was then taken to a cell where they held me for a few more hours. I was allowed to make a phone call. I called my lawyer Jim who said he was on his way- thank god at least 1 thing would work out.
As I was waiting for Jim to show up, I was brought to a questioning room. Brian and a man who I had never met were inside. They started to ask me questions and tried to get me to rat. I sat in silence.
"Why don't you just cooperate Lola, we can help you. We are the good guys. Please whatever trouble you are in we can get you out of." Brain says as the door opens.
"What are you doing questing my client without me. Get out of here!" Jim yells and he walks inside.
The two cops leave, and Jim and I are left alone. I've known Jim since I was 11 and needed a lawyer for the first time. Since then, he has been my go-to whenever I get in trouble with the law.
"So, let's get down to business. They had tested what that man bought from you. It's was not drugs, as you know. They are keeping you since you are 18 and were in a 21+ club. The only problem is that you took the 50. But don't fear I can get you out of this with no reparations." Jim tells me.
"Sounds good! Thanks again, Jim." I tell him as I squeeze his hand.
"Don't thank me it was all you. He really taught you well." Jim said as he got a far-off look in his eye.
He's talking about my former neighbor/ mentor. He was a retired cop gone hitman for the cartel. He moved in next door when I was 10 and took me under his wing. He taught me almost everything I know about being a criminal. He was killed last year during the chaos that ended with the cartel failing. I missed him a lot. Jim was also his lawyer, and I could tell he missed him too.
After an hour or so I was released. Jim and I walked to his car.
"I can give you your retainer if we swing by Diego's," I tell him as I put my seatbelt on.
Diego was Marcus's older brother. I grew up with the two of them. Our moms were best friends. Diego was 27 and high up in a local gang. Marcus was 20 and was into partying and drugs. That’s how he met Mike. Marcus was in the same gang but not as high up.
Their mom was currently in jail. She had been there since I was 14, so 4 years now. She got caught buying food stamps off customers and claiming that they used them to buy food. She was trying to make enough money to pay for college tuition for Diego. But it backfired because Diego ended up having to drop out of college to look after Marcus who was 16 at the time.
To support Marcus and their grandmother, Diego joined a gang and worked his way up.
We pulled up to Diego's and I got out. I went up to the door and knocked three times. Some blonde woman who was wearing only a bathrobe opened the door.
"Who are you?" She asked me.
"Is Diego home?" I answered.
As she was about to make a comment Diego came behind her, "Katie go get cleaned up and go home."
Katie's retreated into the house while I stood on the porch with a raised eyebrow.
"We can't all be perfect like you Lola. Anyway, it's 6 am on a Sunday, what do you need?" He said as he motioned for me to follow him inside.
"I need some coke, I got picked up last night and I got to pay my lawyer," I said as I walked into the foyer.
"I wish my lawyer worked for coke, I'll go get you some, want to go for breakfast?" He asked from the living room.
"Sure, but not too long I didn't get any sleep and I have Tomás' preschool tour today," I tell him.
"1:30, why?" I ask.
"We could go get him and I could babysit while you nap. Then we could go together." He says and he places a few baggies in my hand.
"Sure, that would be nice." I said and then went out to give Jim his 'retainer'.