My day usually starts well before the sunrise with an impromptu phone call to interrupt what little sleep I do get.
I yanked my sleep mask up from one eye, listening to the basic ringtone in the dark room before groaning.
If I answer this call, there’s no turning back. I already know what it's about and–––
Wednesday morning. Sun isn’t even up but here I am.
“Aye Cole, you know I hate bothering you but this nigga isn’t budging...You know how he gets after a show.”
“It’s my only night off Alex, my only night off–––”
“Where the fuck is Nicole at, bruh?!” I heard David yell out in the background, “where is she?! She out there….fucking with somebody else?! That’s my bitch! That’s mine!”
“He over did it this time. I told Ian not to let him touch the shit, but–––”
“Say no more,” I groaned, pulling myself out of the bed, “I’m on my way. Keep him close to a toilet. Maybe by the time I get there, he’ll be done throwing up.”
After the interrupting phone call on a day I’m supposed to be off, I usually got myself together with my outfits already planned. I made space in my apartment in the spare bedroom for my client who just happened to be an up and coming rapper named David Godfrey. Stage name, Davi Jones or DJ as I called him. The job paid well but when your client was on every pill, drug, powder, whatever known to mankind on any given day, it made my job that more difficult.
God, it wasn’t even 4 in the morning yet. Clubs were probably winding down with whatever straggler was left. I pulled out of the parking garage, waving to the attendant who I was certain had a crush on me.
“You heading out this early?” Rahmel asked as I pulled up to the glass box where he stood in his black uniform and smiled down at me. He hasn’t asked me out but the look was always there like he wanted to, and I would have said yes...if he just asked me out already.
“Yeah, I gotta pick DJ up,” I said, searching for my key card, “I was supposed to be off but you know…” fingering my soft fro back as the curls bounced back in place. “My job is never done.”
“I bet,” he said, checking the system like I didn’t live here, he was stalling for time. Cute. “You uh...you got plans this weekend?”
“I probably do,” I answered truthfully before recovering, “but I always know how to schedule and make room for something...never goes as planned so I’m open...Why?”
He handed the card back to me and smiled.
“I’ll ask you when you get back.”
We both grinned as the security bar rose up and I pushed through into the early night.
Then comes the impromptu phone conference about the state of Davi Jones where somehow I was taking on the weight of this man.
“Can you get DJ in the studio for his session by 9?” Ian asked as I slammed my hand on the wheel with frustration.
“Why is it always me? Huh?! Why can’t you self proclaimed homeboys help him out for once?! Why does his shit always fall back on me and whether I can get him to act like a decent human being for once?!”
“Nicole, this isn’t the time. You know he’s at the turning point in his career–––”
“And I’ve told you countless times he needs help! He’s always needed help, therapy and so much gah damn more but yall steady push him!”
“Who is yall?” Amber asked as she spoke into the phone. “I told Ian I was sick of this...You know how many times I have to pay the damn blogs off or these birds that sneak into the car with him, or find their way into his hotel room trying to dig up dirt on him? I’m sick of it too–––”
“Oh please, I bet you wish you were one of those girls–––”
“Ladies?!” Ian snapped angrily, “now isn’t the time! Can somebody just grab DJ before he self destructs?! We’ll figure out everything else when we get him sober for the morning. Right now, just get him Nicole before he does something stupid. He barely held it together at the club. Why didn’t you come? You’re the only one that can reel him in–––”
“Because I want to have a life too! My entire life has been wrapped around this man! Since we were children! I didn’t even ask to be his assistant!”
“Well trust me, we’ve been trying to find someone to replace you but….”
“Replace me? Since when?”
“This is a pointless conversation. I’m going back to bed,” Amber said as she hung up.
“Can you just grab him and we’ll talk about this another time? Please? Have him at the studio cleaned up by 9. I know you’re not my assistant but it's a known rule that you’re the only one to get to him. You’re his soft spot, his weakness so just…”
I sighed as I made a turn towards the packed club further down the street.
“I’m almost there…”
He hung up without so much as a thank you as I turned into the parking lot of the club. Everyone was still here and I could already smell the burnt wings, the old blunts, and alcohol lingering in the air. I could see familiar security as I walked in through the backway, being led straight towards the stage as the rest of the club continued on like church wasn’t in a few hours. I was the only one dressed in joggers, a concert shirt with DJ’s shirtless face on it, screaming into the mic from one of his hits songs and slides as I gripped my car keys tighter and turned the corner, ignoring the stares. I wasn’t worried. Part of this job meant I was protected by his entourage just as much as he was. Part of this job also meant that I had to pick up his mess whenever he made it like tonight. He was leaned over the railing with double cups in his hand, eyes barely there as I watched phones from all over record his high state. His dark complexion glistened with sweat, and the heavy gold chains around his neck and wrist looked to weigh him down as his head wavered from side to side. One blunt propped between his fingers holding the cup, he stood up right, almost falling back just as I stepped forward.
“DJ?!” I yelled over the music, “DJ?!”
His eyes were blank, spaced out as I gripped his arm to keep him steady.
“Gang gang in this bitch…” He muttered, lyrics to his song that played throughout the club as he swayed, and threw up his sign, prompting everyone around him to stand at attention. From the blue durag hanging over his fade to the bandana hanging out of his pack pockets, he yanked his lower lip down, exposing the gold grills to me before laughing as I grabbed his arm.
“It’s time to go–––”
“Where the fuck you was at? Huh?” he demanded. “Huh? Where was you Cole?”
“I had a day off like you told me to–––”
“Nah, never a day off from me though,” he slurred as his security began to move with us. “You was with somebody else?”
“Please, stop recording!” I yelled out to the anxious girls waiting for him to pass by, I held my hand up while protectively keeping in front of DJ, “stop recording! Nothing to see here!”
“You was with somebody else? Why you not answering me?” he demanded, coming up behind me with his drink spilling all over the place with each step.
“Because I don’t have to answer you, DJ! It’s none of your business–––”
“Since when is this not my business–––”
I gasped, feeling his arm wrap around my waist before his hand aggressively slipped into the sweats to grab between my legs. I turned around just as he backed away with a laugh while holding that same hand in the air with surrender.
“Oh you must of forgot!” he laughed with a nasty tone, “you forgot–––”
“I didn’t forget shit!” I yelled. “Don’t you ever put your–––”
“Aye, aye! Not here! Not here, Cole!” Joe yelled, pulling the two of us apart, “we ain’t called you for that! Just get him out of here!”
You couldn’t get us out the club and into the car fast enough when I laid the hardest slap against DJ’s face to the point where the cup officially spilled out of his hands and onto my seat.
“Aye!? Shit! D––DJ?! Don’t–––!” Joe screamed, trying to hold him back as he grabbed my arm in a drugged out rage. “NICOLE?!”