It’s noon on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Not a conventional shopping day for everyone . . .

Matt’s brother and sister-in-law are coming over any minute and I’m taking some stuff that’s been cluttering up the bungalow outside to hide in my car. I hear a woman outside the gate yell, “Bitch, I will kick your ass!”

“Yeah, bring it,” screams another.

Their voices are close, I can see movement on the other side of the gate. My car is parked at the curb, helping to create a natural alcove made up of trash bins, large palm trees, the sidewalk and the entryway of the neighboring apartment building. Because this semi-enclosed area is a relatively isolated pocket right off the street, it can be a magnet for derelicts. However, most vice activities like your average crack deal or bringing in a trick usually take place in the darkness of night. The two large young women have moved their tiff into the alcove near my parked car. I toss the stuff in the car and I’m watching, but trying not to be obvious.

Seconds later, on the corner of the block, a run-down 1970’s Buick pulls up and screeches to a halt right in the middle of the intersection. A dude in black baggy clothes and a tilted hat jumps out of the passenger side of the car and walks down the sidewalk, dragging one foot in a ghetto gait. One of the girls runs toward him, screaming, “Boss!”

books.pngI went in for another load of stuff. Matt has read the book Pimp by Iceberg Slim and as a joke, keeps it on his bedside table. I figured if anyone could appreciate a pimp presence, it’d be my man, Iceberg Tyler. Plus, I’ve been trying to show him a good time here in SoCal. This was a golden opportunity for him to get the authentic Venice experience.

As the two of us walk toward the gate the second time, we hear more yelling, “I told you, I’ll kill you, bitch!” one of the girls yells. She’s walking back down the sidewalk past our gate. I know if I open the gate right as I get to it at my normal speed, she’ll be walking by right at that same moment and I’ll see her face-to-face.

I open the gate, sure enough, right as she’s walking by. She’s a pasty, pudgy girl with long, stringy red hair and a bad dye job. Her arm waves in the air, pointing,  I assume, at the other ho. She sees I’ve opened the gate and turns to completely face Matt and I as she continues to walk by. She curls her mouth in a wide smile, puts her arm behind her back and exclaims, “Happy Thanksgiving!”  and then moves on down the sidewalk without so much as a pause.

Matt and I toss more stuff in the car, but our eyes are locked on the scene just on the other side of the car. The pimp is sitting on the neighboring apartment entryway steps, head down, talking to the other girl, the black girl with the innocent face. He’s so quiet we can’t hear what he says. The black girl approaches Matt and says, “Sir, I am so sorry about all of this . . . ”

As we finish at the car and close the doors, the ho’s continue their disagreement in more subdued tones and we only hear a final loud whisper of ” . . . Well, we’re in front of their house . . .”

When we got back inside, Iceberg Tyler gave his professional opinion of the scene. “Man, just judging from his clothes, that guy definitely was a low-level pimp. And Iceberg Slim never would have tolerated that kind of display between his bitches. It just ain’t good fo’ bizness! I know these things. I’m Iceberg Tyler!”