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The apartment smells of straightup catpiss and cigarettes when I walk in.No wonder; Selma sits at the tattered kitchen table cigarette in hand petting one of those d*mn filthy cats of hers.
She starts at me bleakly through a haze of smoke. When she speaks her voice comes out like a cracked croak.
"Where's the money?"
This is when I like to play my Game.I look at her innocently, making my already large brown eyes appear bigger than life.
She snarls at me, hatred written all over her face.
"You know d*mn well what money I'm talkin' about. Now whwere is it?"
I begin to act like somthing suddenly appears to be very interesting on my sweatshirt.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
Slema's patience wears thin and she slams her bony fist on the table.I'm surprised it hasn't colllapsed under the impact.
"I sent you out today to make me some money. Don't you sit here and play games with me you freakin' brat!"
I finally look up at her.
"I was supposed to make money today?" Its taking all my willpower not to laugh in her face right now.
She suddenly stands up knocking her chair on the floor and scaring her dirty cat away.
"Give me my MONEY!Or you're gonna find yourself out in the streets again."
I know for a fact all of this is bull. Selma would never kick one of us out; she needs us for her little "business".Without us, she would be getting no money in. Not to mention the money she gets from the taxes she collects on us every year also provide her with a very satisfying income.One of the perks of being a foster parent,I guess. Maybe the only one.But even though I'm not at all frightened by her threat, I hve to act at least a little intimidated.Because even though she never kicks us out, she does come up with punishments that to me seem a whole lot worse than leaving this condemned building.
I reach my hand in my sweatshirt pocket and pretend to be feeling around.
"Ummm, I think I might have what you're looking for here, if I'm not mistaken.."
I continue to take my time, loving the way Selm'sm face continues to turn bright red, anger building up inside her.I finally pull out the wad of cash I made that day.
"Oh here you go. Thought I lost it for a sec."
I gave her a big fake innocent smile as I toss the money on the table.
Selma throws me a black look and back down to count the money. I fidget in the doorway impatiently as she does so. This one of Slema's many rules:No one who pays her is allowed to leav her sight until she counts the money they gave her. This way if she doesn't think you made enough that day, or that you kept a portion for yourself, she can beat you with the switch she keeps locked in the cupboard above the fridge. And then, no matter how late it is or how tire you are, she sends you back out to make more money.Welcome home.
She finishes counting the money and pops another cigarette in her mouth.
"125 dollars. Not bad, I guess for one night." She glares at me as she lights up the cigarette. "Although you know I expect more form you."
It's true that for some reason I tend to make more money than the other girls do. But I am older than all of them, so I guess it's for being in the business so long. Whatever hte reason ,it makes Selma happy, and when she's hapy she buys booze and that shuts her up for a while. She's a big fan of Coronas; me, I'm a more of a Bud Light chick. Nice and simple staight beer.Selma would kill me if sho found out I drank. She doesn't want any of her girls messing up the bodies they're gonna need to use when they go to work.
Selma dismisses me and I hed to the rundown bedroom I share with Trina, a sweet looking Haitan girl and Cassidy, a platinum blonde. When I walk in Trina's in bed, wrapped tight in the one thin sheet Selma provided us. She looks at em with a big question in her eyes.
"Do you know where Cassidy is?"
"Do you knmow when she's coming back?"
Agian I shrug.
Trina tkaes her cue and turns and faces the wall.WHen she's not looking I pull out the fadded picture I always carry around.
A gilr who looks exactly like em except withr ed hair smiles back. It's my sister Heavenly. And I aim to find her.