YORK BOUND PUBLICATIONS
CAN’T KNOCK THE HUSTLE
BY: LOUIS LEACH III
YORK BOUND PUBLICATIONS
No parts of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission of the author.
All rights reserved (C) York Bound Enterprise 2022
I GOT WORK TO DO
“What’s all this shit Mark?”
Champagne asked as she looked around her basement that was suddenly full of boxes and other assorted things. Mark had been here all of 30 minutes, and her beautifully finished basement was looking like a tornado had hit this joint. Champagnes’ younger brother, Mark was only going to be here for two days while his house was getting fumagated, but it looked like enough stuff in the basement for him to survive a few weeks!
“My bad sis. Don’t even worry about it Champ. I got a little work to do, I’ll clean all this stuff up in a minute. Don’t even worry about it!”
Mark said as he smiled at his big sister. Champagne and Mark were only separated in ages by 3-years. They had always been pretty close. Well, close enough, that Mark staying here with Champagne for a couple of days wasn’t a problem. Champgne loved her brother. Mostly because they were just alike. Natural born hustlers who refused to do the 9 to 5 thing for a living. That was the unbreakable bond between the two. The life of the “serial entrapeuner” had the types of ups and downs involved with it, that the average working person couldn’t even begin to comprehend. Yes, the ups were nice, sometimes really nice! But the downs….well the downs were the thing that made people say things like “maybe you need to get a job”, or “when are you going to start getting serious about life”, or my all-time favorite “what you have is not a business, it’s a hobby”. However you slice it, what most people have to say about a serial entraprenuer who hasn’t struck it big yet, is not something a serial entaprenuer wants to hear. Especially not from someone who has no idea why a person would do weeks worth of work and not make one single dollar in profit. Mark and Champagne understood this struggle. They’d both lived their entire adult lives in this way. Trying to maintain and grow until that one big ass, life-changing, lick pops off! Little did Champagne know, baby brother had the blueprint to get to that big life-changing lick!
Champagne smiled as she shook her head. Mark was full of it. He wasn’t going to do shit about the mess!
“Yeah whatever!” Champagne said playfully. “Anyway, I’m about to run to the store real quick. You need anything?”
“As a matter of fact I do! Can you grab me a couple of bottles of Degreaser from Wal-Mart, and I’ll hit you off a little later after I make this paper.”
Champagne frowned after her brother finished speaking
“Greaser. Degreaser. It comes in a container that’s shaped like the jawn they sell anti-freeze in. You can’t miss it. Right over there where the car supplies and stuff be at.”
Champagne put one finger up and began to open her mouth. She quickly thought better of it. The last thing a person wanted to do was ask Mark about something. That always turned into a long ass story that never really explained what you asked in the first place. Basically, it was a waste of time. Mark had always been like that.
“I ain’t even gonna ask.” Champagne said as turned and headed up the stairs.
“You’ll see soon enough!” Mark laughed as he yelled up the stairs to Champ.
Champagne pulled into the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Columbus Boulevard about a half hour later. There were Wal-Mart stores closer to her house, but Champagne had always preferred this one. Especially on the weekends. This seemed like one of the only Wal-Mart stores that never seemed to run out of anything. Plus…..the bul Biz worked there. Biz was short for ” Business”, which people always said Biz handled with care. Well, whatever care may have been needed in a particular situation. Anyway, Biz was someone Champagne knew pretty well. As a matter of fact, they worked at the Target store on the Boulevard together last year, when Champ picked up a lil part-time gig, so she could stack a few extra bucks for her vacation to Hawaii. Yes, Biz used to work with her at Target, and he now worked at Wal-Mart. That didn’t phase Champ in one way or the other. Champ was a hustler. She’d always been a hustler. It was all she’d ever known. Getting money, or at least trying to. Champ had never been the type to be into what a person had or could “bring to the table.” Hustlers don’t think that way…….unless the person their acting interested in, is the hustle!
Champ mostly knew Biz as Barry, which was how he introduced himself to everyone theses days. That Biz character that he used to play in the streets of Philadelphia, was a lifetime ago. Barry Walter Portney Jr. was a law abiding, tax paying, productive member of society, these days. The 180 degree turn Biz made was something Champ had heard about through the grapevine. Biz had never brought up his old lifestyle in the multiple conversations Champagne had with him. Biz had never brought up much of anything personal when they talked. Biz did half-way try to come at her one night at work, bit he never followed up on his work. And that had been last year, because shortly after that night at work, Champ quit working at Target. She hadn’t seen him since then….until she saw him working here one day she was shopping. He didn’t see her, but she saw him. Champ had been inside of this Wal-Mart store four times since the first time she saw Biz here. She always saw him. She always, also, made sure to never allow Biz to see her. There was really no reason to hide from him. But, that was what she had been doing, even though she’d been purposely coming to this Wal-Mart just to see if Biz was here. Go figure? Anyway, Champ had plans on changing things up on this afternoon. She was going to holla’ at Biz and find out if he was interested in her or not, once and for all!
Champ looked at herself in the window of her red Grand Cherokee as she stood in front of her whip taking a last look at herself, before she began her mission. Champ was dressed casually for a Sunday trip to Wal-Mart. Casual was a word that was unfitting of Champ’s appearance though. What she called casual, still managed to carry an aire of sexuality along with it. That was Champ though. Sexy without even trying. Champ put a “little extra something” into her walk as she seemed to glide into the store. Champ decided to take care of the shopping she was supposed to be here to do, before she began her search for Biz and her other reason to be here today.
After about 20-minutes of shopping, Champ had filled her shopping cart with everything she’d came her for….and a few things she hadn’t. Champ had not seen any sign of Biz in this joint. Champ shrugged as she headed for the checkout area.
“Maybe next time.”
Champ found herself saying aloud. She hadn’t even meant to, it was just one of those things she did sometimes.
“Maybe next time what?”
Champ heard a deep voice ask from behind her. She didn’t even need to turn around to know who the deep voice belonged to. Champ knew the sound of that deep voice from anywhere! It was the same voice she thought about when she pleasured herself as she lay in bed in the dark, on those lonely nights. Fucking Melvin!
Melvin was a dude that Champ knew from a lifetime ago. In fact, Melvin was Champ’s very first love. They had a two year relationship back in high school. It was good too. Even when they decided to end things, it wasn’t on bad terms. Champ had always thought of Mel as “the one that got away.” Champ turned around and ran into her former lover’s arms. They both laughed as they hugged and looked at one another. It had been awhile since the two had seen one another. But not so long that they’d forgotten about each other. Champ and Mel broke up around two years ago, but every month or so she’d run into him around town somewhere. The first time they ran into each other after the breakup was a little awkward. But, every time they’d seen each other since then had gone mostly like this time. Champ and Mel stood there talking as they took a trip down memory lane. The little trip down memory lane gave Mel the opprtunity to drop a little bombshell on her. Mel wanted her back!
Champ walked out of Wal-Mart in a little bit of a daze. The conversation with Mel had thrown her whole thought process for a loop. So much so, that she’d forgot what she’d come here for. She didn’t forgot the groceries and other products she’d come to get, Champ had forgotten about her other mission at Wal-Mart this afternoon, Barry A.K.A. Biz. Champ though about that and laughed as she pushed her shopping cart through the parking lot.
“Well, maybe next time.”
Champ said aloud as she giggled at the same time.
“Maybe next time, what?”
Champ looked to her left when she heard the voice. She was already embarrassed that she was saying her thoughts aloud again, but the fact that Biz was the person who’d caught her this time made her want to look for a place to hide!
Champ had not seen Biz when she was in the store, but he’d seen her. He had definitely seen her. As a matter of fact, Biz had been waiting to see Champ again. He had a few things that he really wanted to say to her!
Biz had been on Champ from the first night she began working at the Target store he worked at. Biz thought Champ was the prettiest woman he’d ever seen in his life. On that night, Champ had her hair in a Bob hairstyle. She was rockin’ that muthaficka’ too. Looking like a real jawn and all that, and she knew it! She carried herself like she knew she looked good. Champ had always been a pretty little jawn, but that hairstyle had been getting her some extra attention lately. Which was probably the reason she got her hair done the exact same way, three times in a row last year. Champ had been told that she looked like Nia Long on mutliple occasions. Biz definitely agreed with that assessment. He was in love from the moment he laid eyes on her…..and that was before he’d even got a look at that nice rump-shaker Champ was dragging around with her! The thing that amazed Biz about Champ the most though, was the confidence she carried herself with. To Biz, Champ didn’t have that “I know I’m a bad bitch” type of confidence. She had that “I know what I want out of life and exactly how I’m gonna get it” kind of confidence.
Biz had been watching Champ from afar as she shopped. After about 5 straight minutes of watching/stalking, Biz got up the courage to make his move. The moment he was about to go in, was the exact moment that Melvin had appeared. Biz was semi-crushed. The smile on Champ’s face when she saw Melvin was like a gut-punch to Biz. He’d seen enough after that. Biz volunteered to go outside to the parking lot and gather up shopping carts. He really wanted to go outside, smoke a cigarette, and slap himself silly for waiting this long to approach Champ! From what he’d seen inside the store, it was definitely too late now.
Biz was finishing up his cigarette, when he spotted Champ pushing her shopping cart, out of the corner of his eye. She was heading his way as she walked with her head down, reading something on her phone. Biz took a step back out of the street onto the pavement to get out of her way. Champ didn’t notice a thing as she began thinking out loud.
“Well maybe next time.”
Champ said aloud as she giggled at the same time.
“Maybe next time what?”
Biz said as he stood there smiling at Champ, who was finally raising her head up from her phone. Champ was alarmed, but she managed to smile widely. It was a genuine smile too. She was genuinely happy to see Biz right now. Then their eyes locked…….
Champ smiled as she pulled into her favorite parking spot right in front of her house.
Champ said loudly. This was a very rare occurence. This parking spot seemed to be the most coveted spot on the block, and for some weird reason, the shit was directly in front of her crib. Champ grabbed her bags, got out of the car, and headed toward her front door.
“Well this has been quite a day!”
Champ said aloud, as she had a bad habit of doing. Luckily, no one was around to hear the thoughs in her head this time. But Champ didn’t lie. She’d had quite the day! Most surprising was her conversation with Biz. He was totally different. There was something there, that had not been before. Or at least something she had not noticed before…confidence! After getting over the embarrasment of being caught thinking aloud for the second time today, Champ was completely blown away by Biz. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he acted like a man with nothing at all to lose. Biz didn’t act like he wasn’t pressed for her, but he kind of acted as if he was expecting “no” to be her answer to anything he asked…but still didn’t give a damn about being told no. That shit really turned her on! Just the thought that there was a mysterious side to Biz that she knew nothing about, was enough to make Champ’s lady parts wake up, and request to be offered. That definitely helped their ten minute conversation in the parking lot flow even better. Champ was glued to every word that came out of Biz’s mouth……and vice-versa. Champ left Wal-Mart with a date for Thursday night…..and a “who the hell knows?” with her ex boyfriend, Mel. Like I said before, Champ had already had quite the day up to this point.
Champ opened up the front door and headed to her brand new kitchen. Well, not brand new, just upgraded like a muthafucka! Champ’s last lick had copped her this. That was a couple of moths ago when her and Linda had come up with the bright idea to buy wholesale hair and sell $50 bundles of hair. There was crazy loot in hair, and Champ and Linda were getting at a lot of it too! The connect they had in New York that was selling them top of the line Remi and Brazilian hair, was giving it to them for such a great price, that they weren’t sure if charging $50 a bundle was too much….at first. Linda and Champ kept there thing going until the connect got busted for selling fake goods that came from China. Champ and Linda searched around, but never came close to a price their now incarcerated connect had been giving them. Eventually that business fizzled out for the ladies. But that was always something Champ thought about doing again. Maybe on a much larger level next time. Champ smiled as she thought about getting back into the hair game. Champ’s frown quickly turned upside down when she noticed a plate and glass sitting in the kitchen sink, like they were just waiting for someone to wash them!
“Oh he got me fucked up!”
Champ said as she grabbed one of the Wal-Mart bags full of items and headed toward the basement door. Champ climbed down the stairs with her mouth open and ready to remind her brother that he wasn’t at home, and needed to clean up after himself. As Champ stepped down the stairs her mouth got even wider, along with her eyes. Her basement was looking real unfamiliar right now! Champ walked over to Mark and shoved the bag into his chest.
“Here’s your debaser. Whatever the hell that is! And what are you doing with all of this shit all over the place?”
Champ asked as she looked around her basement at the assorted items of Mark’s that was now all over her basement. There was the printer, the multiple rotating fans, the bottles of hair mousse, the ironing board, and iron, along with a bunch of other random things that looked like they all had some sort of very important purpose.
“It’s called degreaser, Einstein! And let me answer your question with a question of my own. Do you want to make some mutherfuckin’ money?!?”