Cash Only: Chapter 1

Friday, 26 June 2009 10:19 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Cash Only: A Novel

Chapter One



cash only

“Where the hell have you taken me?” I look over at my girl Lynda who is just a little too okay with the man talking to her placing his hands on her inner thighs.

“Well, we’re in a club, and it’s happy hour—get happy Tracie!” Lynda laughs as this man kisses her on her neck before walking over to me.

“Oh, so you don’t know where you are?” he asks. I look him up and down, and I must admit, what I was looking at was nice—real nice.

“No, I don’t. But I do know that if you put your hands anywhere near my legs you will be drawing back a nub!” I turn to Lynda who has not stopped laughing.

“I repeat, where the hell have you taken me?”

“Hey sweetie, my name is Extraordinaire and you are too beautiful to be so mean,” says the nice looking, touchy-feely man.

“Extraordinaire?” I look from Lynda, to the man in front of me, to the bar where more than one nice-looking touchy-feely men are standing, talking to women and putting their hands in places that on any other day would cause a woman to smack the shit out of them.

I put two and two together. “Oh, hell no!”  

“Girl, I told you we were going out to meet men,” says Lynda. “Welcome to ‘The Cove,’ the home of the hottest male exotic dancers in Washington, D.C.!”

Extraordinaire is now standing behind me, playing in my hair. “You are so beautiful,” he whispers.

“And you are too damn close to me! Back up!”

“Alright beautiful, I’ll leave you alone, for now.” Extraordinaire takes Lynda’s hand into a kiss before walking to the back of the club.

“Lynda, you know I don’t do strippers,” I start. “I thought we were getting a drink at happy hour and hoping to meet a summer fling or two –– not men who go by the name of Extraordinaire. What the hell is that?”   

“Oh girl, lighten up!” Lynda takes a sip of her apple martini before continuing. “Look, we go to happy hour all the time and what do we end up doing?” Before I can respond Lynda continues, “Drinking and talking to each other about how wack all the men at the club are. I just figured if we’re not going to meet any men with potential and gossip with each other, we might as well do it surrounded by nice scenery – and girl you must admit, it is nice!”

I barely am able to register what my girl is saying as the finest man I have ever laid eyes on has magically appeared before me. Tall, the color of a latte with brown almond shaped eyes, dimples, a bald head, broad shoulders, rippled arms decorated with tats that told a story – a story I really want to read. He smiles, oh why did he smile…

“Hello, I’m Punisher and you look so out of place,” he laughs and takes a seat to my left. I am, well, stuck. No words are coming from my lips because this man keeps smiling and apparently this small action on his part renders me unable to form complete thoughts, let alone sentences.

“Punisher, this is Tracie,” says Lynda who can’t hide the laugh in her voice. “She’s really quite articulate and expressive as she’s an artist –– maybe you could design his next tattoo, you know how you love men with tattoos!”

Lynda tosses her head back laughing uncontrollably, her long black curls bouncing. I, on the other hand, am not amused, but Punisher seems to be, now also laughing.

“An artist, huh?” Punisher looks at me so intently that I swear my leg starts to shake. He smiles again before continuing, “I am looking for someone to design my next tat. I have this crazy idea that I can’t seem to put on paper. Do you think we could talk after the show? Maybe you’d let me take you to breakfast?”

I move my newly cropped hair behind my ear, a tell-tale sign that I am nervous. Somehow I remember how to speak. “Sure, we can discuss that, but we’re not staying for the show.”

“Yes we are,” interjects Lynda. “Girl, it’s not a sin to look at it!” Lynda’s nose twitches the way it always does when she’s irritated and her face is turning red – another sign that she is not happy.

“Can we have one night out with men that look and smell good and treat us like princesses, instead of chasing after trolls in suits at The Park who think they’re all that just cause they got a job or were admitted into some top-ranked program?”

Lynda downs the last of her martini, her hazel eyes full of water that threatened to become tears at any moment. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, a pre-med student at the University of Maryland, about three weeks ago. Not only did he break her heart, but on that same fateful day Lynda found out that she too had made it into the pre-med program.  However, she was on probation and had to keep a B average to stay there.

Since then, she has dragged me to every happy hour and party in the DMV trying to meet a “new” man to help her get over the old one and a drink to take her mind off the work that was waiting on her in the fall. I, on the other hand, don’t drink much and think dating is highly overrated. Plus, I don’t have time for the games that men play, and this one sitting next to me seems on top of his.

“Please, stay for the show,” says Punisher. “I think you’ll be surprised and I really do want to talk to you about the tattoo – strictly business of course.”

Strictly business my ass! Damn, he’s sexy. But I control me and if he thinks for one moment that those eyes, muscles and tats will make me lose my cool, he has another thing coming. I adjust my black halter-top and look at my girl who mouths ‘please’ to me. I guess a night of attractive men in various stages of undress isn’t a bad thing – they may even inspire my next painting.

“Fine, we’ll stay,” I say, turning my attention back to Punisher. “But breakfast depends on how late this runs. I have an early painting class in the morning.”

“Yes! I’m off to the bar! One Bacardi and coke coming up,” says Lynda calling out my signature drink as she practically skips to the other side of the club leaving me alone with Punisher.

“I understand,” he says. “Don’t worry. I won’t keep you out too late.” He smiles as he touches my arm, our eyes meeting and my leg again shaking. Why can’t I control my bodily movements with this man, and why must he keep smiling at me like that!



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*Photography by GMO Photographer, Billy Montgomery.

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


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