A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

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“Do you love me enough to do this small thing for me?” he said. “Only you can save me.”

I made a huge mistake. I moved from Chicago to Cleveland to live with my boyfriend Leo and his childhood friend, Isabella. They would help me get my big break to become a model. That was the awful lie I believed.

Once I arrived in Cleveland, I found that Leo was screwing everyone over. Every damn body. I was in a strange city, almost broke, alone, estranged from family and friends, I was in deep trouble for real.

At seventeen, I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. After all of Leos’ deceptions, I still believed he loved me.

I was living in a house with four Ladies of the Night. Leo did not live with us. Everyone worked for Leo; I was slated to be the fifth girl in the stable. Isabella was the bottom bitch, the one in charge of all the girls.

I avoided being intimate with Leo since our first night in Cleveland. I didn’t want to face the fact he was a P. I. M. P.

Leo told me I needed to produce $100 every day. If I didn’t, he would return to Chicago, kidnap my kid and get the money from selling him. The day I could not provide the $100, I would become a paid escort to get his money.

My hidden advantage was that Leo did not know I was the granddaughter of an infamous grifter, Magic Marlo. Leo knew I was that I was the daughter of a Chicago policeman and a housewife. He believed I was a nice lower-class girl.

I never told him about my grandfather, Marlo. Grandfather had taught me how to grift and hustle money at an early age. He would tell my parents we were going to the park, but we went out to beat suckers out of their money.

Grandfather used me to make our grifts seem innocent., who wouldn’t trust a man taking his little granddaughter out for a walk? I learned a lot of rank BS at my grandfather’s knee.

To meet my $100 requirement, I got two jobs. I was an on-call phlebotomist and a temporary day laborer. Both jobs paid daily.

I hustled the rest of the money. I brought cheap jewelry and sold it door to door in the projects. I walked to the grocery store and brought fruit and veggies which I sold on the street.

I made money throwing dice, running 3-card monte and playing poker.

I retrieved bean pies for the Black Muslims, so they stayed put on the corners they had staked out for the day; I ran paid errands for the other ladies. I washed their dirty panties, dried folded and put them away

Every day, I handed Leo $100.

I had made friends with Patti. I told her where Leo was keeping her son. Leo controlled Patti with drugs (she was an addict) and by keeping information about her son from her.

Patti came into my room early one morning. She whispered in my ear, “Tonight is the night. Believe nothing he tells you. It’s all lies.”

She pressed something into my hand.

“You will know when to use this. Hold it until the right moment. You are causing a problem. No one else could produce the $100 without selling themselves. We were going out within a week.”

She gave me an interesting look.

“You are making the rest of us think.”

The item in my hand was a wad of money. It surprised me. Where had Patti gotten the money? Didn’t she give all the money she made to Leo? I guess not.

Later that day, Isabella told me Leo was taking me to a party.

I didn’t want to go out on a date with him. turning in my one hundred dollars a day. I was working my ass off, but I had not figured out how to make my getaway.

I showered and put on the dress and shoes Bella gave me to wear. She fixed my hair and did my makeup before handing me a matching purse. I stuffed my lipstick, and the six hundred bucks Patti had handed me into the little purse.

I was waiting outside when Leo pulled up. He said, “You look great. We’re going to go to a party at a friend of mine’s tonight.”

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It was a nice party. There were musicians I recognized. TV show personalities were engaged in casual conversation. Everyone seemed to be a lot of having fun. I relaxed and enjoyed myself.

I made conversation and was feeling normal again, even if it was only for a little while. Maybe this was only a party. Maybe there wasn’t treachery involved.

Leo ruined that illusion as he approached me with a shady looking gentleman by his side. The gentleman was white, but with attractive dark features. At over six feet and I would guess about two hundred and fifty pounds, it seemed odd he had bodyguards with him. He looked across the table at Leo and said, “Yes, this one.”

Leo turned to me casually and said, “Hey, I need you to do me a favor.”

I looked at him, “Oh, a favor?”

He said, “Yeah. I left my wallet at home, so I don’t have any money on me. I owe Ed here five hundred dollars. Ed said if I don’t give him his five hundred dollars right now, he will have his two guys take me out back and beat the living shit out of me until they get five hundred dollars’ worth.”

Even though Patti had told me something was coming, I was flabbergasted by what Leo was trying to do.

Once you perform a sex act for money, you are a whore, no matter why you did it.

My grifter grandfather had called this one the “You a Sucker” scam. It worked well as long the sucker thought they were saving a loved one from a horrible fate. The scam took many forms, and Leo was playing his version out well. I guessed he had successfully run this scam a hundred times.

I asked, “What does this have to do with me, Leo?” I played the clueless mark.

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“Well, Ed thinks you are one sexy woman. He said if you would give him a blowjob, he’ll write off the entire five hundred dollars. There’s a bedroom upstairs. You and he can go in there. Once you give him a blowjob, he will forget about the five hundred.”

I said, “Leo, I want to make sure I understand. You owe Ed five hundred dollars?”

“Yes, I owe him five hundred dollars,” Leo said.

“You don’t have the five hundred dollars with you?” I asked.

“No,” Leo said.

“But I’m certain we have five hundred dollars back at the house. I’ll go get it.” I responded.

Leo didn’t miss a beat. He said, “Yes, but Ed is not willing to wait. He wants his money now. So, give him a blowjob right now.”

Leo looked deep into my eyes and he said, “How much do you love me? How deep is your love? Are you willing to see me hurt over a single, lousy blowjob? After all, it’s just oral sex.”

I winced, thinking about how ashamed I was to be in this situation. My grandfather would spin in his grave.

Leo took my wince to mean he had gotten to me — that he was winning this game. He pressed on. “How much do you care about me? If you cared for me, you would do this for me.”

I stared at the floor. I could feel any love I had for him draining out of my feet and out onto the floor like a living thing. I was a sucker to this man, nothing more.

Leo thought he had me. His voice was sweet. “Ava, you would make sure I don’t get hurt. You would be my girl. You would be my savior. It’s only one lousy blowjob.”

I said, “Yes, you’re right. How much money do we owe him?”

He confirmed the debt was five hundred dollars, and then he smiled that beautiful hundred-watt smile at me, knowing I was about to agree.

I stood up when Ed did. Ed reached for my hand. I did not take his hand. Instead, I reached into my purse. I pulled out the money I had stuffed in with earlier. I had six hundred dollars. I counted out five hundred dollars for Ed. I handed it to him.

I looked at Leo and said, “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

At that moment, I knew that I was one blessed woman. I had struggled with telling Patti where her little boy was. I was so worried about the consequences if Leo or Bella had found out. But I was also a mother.

My heart told me what I knew to tell Patti, so I did. Her heads up regarding this situation had prepared me for something unusual. Her money let escape the trap… this time.

I could hear my grandfather’s voice in my ear. Once granddad identified a mark, he never let them go without getting what he wanted. Leo wanted another money-making girl. I was the identified fool. Leo would try again.

I knew that if I sucked even one dick for money, I was in the prostitution game. Once you are in, it is almost impossible to get out.

I had survived one more day as a non-whore because of my decency. I was living one day at a time by walking carefully through hell.

When you are going through hell, keep going. Don’t stop to suck a dick.

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