Rodney and I settled in to wait for the boss, or at least the rental boss. I had time to assess Rodney in full daylight. He walked with just a slight almost unnoticeable limp. He was not quite six foot tall and probably one hundred and eighty pounds. He was the color of coffee with just a touch of cream. There was some white in his gene pool for sure. His hair was too short to be in the least curly. As I think I said earlier he looked like he might have been a gym rat.
Joan Pacer arrived along with her staff of three women, at 2PM exactly to the minute. They spread out over the empty offices like a swarm of locust. Rodney and I were amazed at their organization. Within minutes it looked like they had been there for months.
After Joan claimed her desk she turned to me. “Sylvia?” she asked.
“That’s me, so you are Joan. You seem to be a force to be reckoned with.” I admitted.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said smiling.
“That is how it was meant, but you can take it anyway you like, since you are the boss,” I said to feed her ego.
“Good that we have that straight, so what have you done so far,” She was either testing to see how competent we were, or she wanted to know about the security of her performer.
“Well, we checked the office complex first. There are only two ways into the complex of offices. We talked to the track security manager and he agreed to have a uniformed guard on the doors during the time Coca Cola is in the office for the conference.” I said. “Oh yeah we went to the dressing area there are only two ways in or out of it. Same thing tonight there, uniformed track security people.
Rodney and I will be on the inside door to the dressing room. Until Coka Cola goes to the stage. When he does, we will go with him and stand at the bottom of the stage facing the crowd till he finishes. We will then accompany him back to the dressing room till the crowd leaves. That is the way it is done usually.
After the performance and when he and the performers are on the bus, we would ordinarily call it a wrap. Now if you have something different in mind speak up now, or forever hold your peace.” I said
“It sounds good except I want you in the dressing room whenever he is there,” Joan said.
“Not a good idea for us both to be in there. Best to catch a threat earlier than that.” I replied.
“Okay one in and one out. You be the inside man,” she said without batting an eye. “I think Soda would be less likely to complain than if it were Rodney.”
“Alright, but we work on a non sex discrimination policy in job assignments. You do understand that. No racial or sexual discrimination. Somewhere along the line, he will have to understand that as well.”
“Alright, but not right now please.” Joan said.
“If you two will excuse me, I need to use the latrine,” Rodney said and rushed out of the room.
“Is he gonna’ be alright,” she asked.
“Just something he ate,” I replied. “He should be okay any minute.”
“Why don’t you take one of the network radios and go to the parking lot. Let me know when the tour bus pulls in,” Joan said.
“No problem,” I said taking two radios.
“I’m going to be in the parking lot when you feel up to it,” I said into the men’s room as I held the door open. I’m not shy that way either.
I was standing the the parking lot filing Joan Pacer in my memory, when Rodney came up. “How you feeling?” I asked.
“I’m okay I guess. You knew I was going to have the GI shits, didn’t you?” he asked.
“I knew it was possibly. That sandwich had thing on it you probably never eat. So it was possible. That little bit of information comes from a year of being a deputy sheriff. Pretty hard to deal with diarrhea, when you are in a patrol car miles from a public bathroom.”
“Point taken, nothing but burgers and fries on a work day,” he said with a weak smile. “So you think Joan Pacer is a dyke?”
“Why you ask that, because she has a take charge attitude, or because her staff is all woman?” I asked.
“Because she talked to you and ignored me even though I am obviously in charge,” he said with a big smile.
For thirty grand and all expenses I don’t give a rats ass who is in charge,” I said.
“Roger that,” he said. “She is about our age so to get this job she must be pretty smart. I doubt a fat Lez chick fucked her way into it.”
“You do know, you are a pig,” I said.
“Cause I called a fat chick, a fat chick. You noticed it too. Don’t tell me you didn’t. You weigh what? a hundred pounds. You know, she would make more than one and a half of you.”
I don’t think twenty five pounds over weight makes her a fat chick. I also assure you there are lots of men that prefer her body type to mine.” I looked to the entrance and added, “Heads up.”
I saw the bus pass through the gates of the huge parking lot. “The bus is here,” I said into the blue tooth headphone set of the radio.
“On the way down,” Joan answered. I want a word with them before they get off the bus.
“Roger that,” I said smiling at Rodney.
The bus pulled to a stop and I stood by the door. “Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated till the craft is at the loading unloading ramp.” by the time I finished my little speech Joan was there.
I ignored her speech to the captive audience. I waved when she introduced me otherwise I tuned her out. The really large black man stood when she called for TJ. “TJ this is your personal bodyguard. Now I know you have your own people friends from the hood, but she is the professional we are assigning to you. While you are on business for us, she will be by your side. If you dump her, we will dump you. One day you might be a big enough star to no longer need us, but for now you do. Now do we understand each other?” she asked.
God that woman had ball. You had to love that. TJ Soda dominated her in size but not in spirit. “Nobody talks to me like that,” he said.
“I guess you better find you own way home then TJ,” She said turning to leave.
“Hey, I was just joking, I’ll let the bitch stay. My boys will take care of me, and she don’t look too much like a cop. I can introduce her as my white bitch,” he said.
“I don’t give a fuck how you introduce her, but believe me you don’t want to piss her off,” she said smiling at me.
“Why somebody done fucked her up,” he said looking at the bandaged hand.
“The guy that caused that is dead, you dumb fuck,” I whispered . “You feel you need to prove something, you do it with somebody else.”
I waited until he walked past me and out the door of the bus. Joan looked at me and smiled, then said, “You and me are going to get along fine.”
“I guess it’s a good thing you are the boss and not him,” I said with a wide smile.
I followed Soda off the bus and introduced him to Rodney. “That’s one smart assed bitch you partnered up with. She thinks she is some kind of bad ass.” he said to Rodney,
“Well man it’s like this,” Rodney said. “How many gunfights you been in?”
“I been shot at a few times,” he said.
“Sure you have, well she’s been lit up twice and she killed the shooter before the cops got there each time. You might want to remember that,” Rodney said. He had obviously read my file.
Soda just wasn’t gettin’ no respect at all from the home team. He went straight up to the office. He was about an hour early for the press conference. They put him and his crew in one of the spare offices. I had to stand outside their door with Rodney and listen to the crew kiss his ass for almost an hour. He was no celebrity but he was a musician on the rise, so he rated some specialty media coverage.
By the time the press conference started, his crew had pumped him up to the point he thought he was a star. I listened to him answer stupid questions for about twenty minutes, then I walked with him to the dressing room. I stayed close so I could step between him and a bullet. I was a little pissed that I hadn’t taken the time to put on my vest. It was still in the half duffel inside the company car. Then again this guy wasn’t going to be any trouble. Nobody was going to want his ass dead bad enough to go up against Rodney, me, and his crew.
Rodney opened the door and motioned me aside. “We have a problem. These rapper types are really a big deal with gangs. The gangs have their favorites and the some they don’t like at all.”
“Anybody not like coca cola here enough to lite him up?” I asked.
“No nothing like that. They want to pose for picture with him. It seems he had direct contact with the gang and arranged a meet.” Rodney said.
“You got to be shitting me,” I said.
“Not in the least,” he replied.
“How did you find out?” I asked.
“The gang showed up outside,” He said.
“Gee give a girl time to think, why don’t ya?” I asked.
“I told Joan the minute I did what was going on, She and the race track security team is out there talking to them,” he said.
“Double fuck me. This could be serious,” I said.
“You reckon,” Rodney replied.
“Sylvia would you come to the parking lot please,” Joan’s voice came over the blue tooth device sticking in my ear. I wondered why I hadn’t heard Rodney’s report first hand.
“Roger that,” I said.
“Rodney here is going to hang out with you guys. That isn’t a request,” I said to Soda and his crew.
I hustled to the parking lot to find Joan surrounded by young men in tee shirts and old men in rent a cop uniforms. This could get out of hand quick, I thought.
“Looks like the gangs all here,” I whispered to her.
“Yeah, you know what we are negotiating?” she asked.
“Yeah and it’s a fucking stupid idea that soda pop had,” I said.
“I know, but we are where we are now. So how do we get out of it?”
“If you do this here, there will be a gangs in every town you play. All of them will want a picture with that idiot, He will agree cause it’s good for his portfolio.” I said.
“I know, but can we stop it, without them trying something to get even.” Joan asked.
“I got no idea. You want me to talk to them?” I asked.
“I have no idea what you can do, but sure give it a try,” She said.
“Who are the other players here in town,” I asked the racetrack security chief.
“Mainly it’s there guys and the el-lobos,” he said.
“It’s always the fucking el-lobos,” I said.
“Guys I’m going to have to ask you to hang out till the El Lobos get here. See it’s a photo op. You know how TJ Soda’s music is more powerful than hate.”
“You are kidding me puta,” he said.
“Not at all, they should be here in a few minutes,” I suggested.
“Then we are fucking leaving. You tell TJ his music ain’t that good anyway.”
“I will do that. Have a good one now hear?” I said.
What if they had called your bluff,” Joan asked.
“Then we would find out how good the company insurance is, I guess.” I replied.