Don't got to be grown

Jimmy sat down heavily on his bed taking off his shoes and socks. He lay down on his bed looking up at the ceiling. Today had been a rough day, Slim Jim called off work and he had to drive one of the cabs himself because they had gotten so backed up with calls. When Jimmy got back to the office there was a note on his desk saying that Detective Richardson had stopped by again and to call him as soon as he got back.

“Sissy!” Jimmy yelled as he flopped down in his chair behind the desk.

Sissy rushed into the room with a bottle of RC Cola in her right hand and a hotdog in the left. She took a big swig of the drink and a bite out of the hotdog and sat down in the chair in front of the desk, placing the bottle of pop on the desk and taking another bite of her hotdog.

“Man, it has been a hell of a day here without you! This is the first time I got a chance to eat my lunch, which is now dinner. This is the third time Slim Jim has called off in two months. You need to replace him boss man.”

“What time did that cop come by here?”

“Oh, about the time I should have been taking my lunch. So that would have been about noon, or a little after. That brother is a fine brother. Oh yeah. Now in my younger days, I would of tried to rap to that man, sure would of, and he wouldn’t of had a chance, not a chance of resisting me.”

“What did he want?”

“For you to call him.”

“He didn’t say anything else. Ask you any questions?”

“He asked to see our call logbook from around the time that man was murdered.” Sissy took another swig of her pop to wash down the last bite of her hotdog. She pulled out a napkin from her skirt pocket and wiped the mustard off her lips.

“Did you give it to him? Did he have a warrant?”

“No warrant. I let him look at it. Did I do wrong?” Sissy didn’t seem too concerned about doing it wrong as she took out her compact mirror and lipstick, refreshing her mouth with the red berry color.

“What did he say after looking at it.?”

“He said, ‘Thank you’ and asked me to have you call him. Then he left, and now I’m leaving.” Sissy took a last look at her face, closed her compact, put it in her pocket and stood up to leave.

“Thanks for holding down the fort Sissy. Slim Jim said he will be back tomorrow, so I won’t have to jump in and leave you here alone and Betty will be here shortly for the second shift. Go home to your family.”

After Sissy left, Jimmy looked at his logbook to see if he could figure out what Richardson was looking for before he returned his call. It took him a few seconds to find it. A week before Smooth’s death, Slim Jim called off and Jimmy had to cover for him leaving Sissy alone in the office. Smooth called for a cab at five pm and Jimmy picked him up on the parking lot of St. Anthony’s Hospital on Taylor Avenue.

Jimmy pulled up and waved to let Smooth, who was standing with a woman, know he had arrived. The woman’s back was to Jimmy, but he could tell by her body movements that she was angry. She pointed her right index finger at Smooth’s face several times. Smooth just looked at the woman with a blank stare on his face, moving his head back out of the reach of her hand when necessary. The woman wasn’t yelling so Jimmy couldn’t hear what she was saying. After about five minutes, Jimmy blew his horn and motioned for Smooth to get into the cab.

Smooth stepped around the woman and walked towards the cab. The woman turned and Jimmy saw her face and immediately dropped his head, turning it towards the street so she couldn’t see his face. He couldn’t believe what he saw, it was his ex-wife, Mary! He found her, or at least where she worked. He figured she worked at St. Anthony’s because of the hospital uniform she was wearing. Jimmy kept his face turned away from her as Smooth entered his cab.

“Look, I said I was sorry. I didn’t know how old she was, and I haven’t seen her since you told me. And I don’t plan on seeing her again. Alright! Now leave me alone before I press charges on you for threatening me, again, with a knife!” Smooth got into the cab and slammed the door shut.

Jimmy immediately drove off, looking in his rearview mirror at Mary standing on the sidewalk glaring at the cab.

“Where you going, man?” Jimmy asked Smooth as he started the cab meter running.

“Colony Club. Man, can you believe these sisters out here today? Can I help it if they raising daughters that lie about their age and look like grown women?”

“Well, they may lie about their age and look like grown women in the body, but if you look at them closely in their faces and talk with them for a few minutes you can tell they just babies. At least I can.”

“Ain’t nobody got time for all of that talking, especially when all they need to do is just boost and sell product. What’s to talk about? You can be any age for that in the streets. Don’t got to be grown.”

“If that’s all they doing, maybe, but they still kids. Still minors. Which makes them jailbait. That would make any mother angry, don’t you think?” Jimmy pulled up in front of the Colony Club and stopped the meter.

“Yeah, well, that particular mother is making a mountain out of a molehill. Her daughter had a crush on me, and I did kind of let it go too far.” Smooth pulled out his wallet.

“How far?” Jimmy felt himself getting angry and tried to control his temper.

“Far enough for her to think that she was my girl. I mean come on man, I like grown up women, not young teenagers. How much I owe you?”

“What the girls name?”

“What difference does it make to you? You know that crazy woman?”

“She looks like someone I know. What’s the daughter’s name. Don’t tell me you not only didn’t know how old she was, but you don’t know her name either.” Jimmy raised his voice and turned to face Smooth in the backseat.

“Hey man, get a grip! I don’t owe you nothing but cab fare. Here, take two dollars and keep the change.” Smooth threw two dollars over the front seat and jumped out of the cab slamming the door.

Before Jimmy could respond, Sissy’s voice came blaring through the radio with another pick-up for him on the Hilltop. That was his last run of the shift. He didn’t call Richardson back after Sissy left, instead he turned over the shop to Betty and left for the day.

All Jimmy wanted to do now was to go to sleep and get some rest. The call could wait until the morning. It would give him time to think about what he would tell Richardson. As Jimmy closed his eyes, he heard Jean running up the stairs to her bedroom and he wished it was his daughter running up the stairs toward him.