By Edele Winnie
Mean streets, wild dogs, crack house. Laughing on the front porch, guarding the stash, guarding the cash, guarding me, queen bee, Queen Sheila of Detroit. I may be thin and short but I’m covered in spikes that no one else can see. They call me Whip Lady because I have a real whip and I once strapped a junkie ‘til he was almost dead. Now everyone walks softly and smiles at me, cause they like happy times. But there’s always clouds, you know, and broken pipes and dirty grit that gets in your eye. You gotta deal with it best you can or go down, fall into the mud, and there ain’t no future with dirt in your mouth.
Jeff Nooper came to us in the summer, saying he’s looking for a safe house to sleep. A whole neighbourhood of empty boarded– up– houses and he wants to sleep at the Queen’s palace! Who are you Jeff Nooper? I ask but he just shrugs and says he’s a guy in-between. Like we all are. Except the queen’s palace isn’t in between– it’s a someplace, with electricity and water- both illegal but no one bothers us cause the queen’s guard sees to that.
Most of the guard are users who still have some life skills left, like walking and talking and shitting in the right places. The coke and the crack take that away from you so I ride them hard, making sure they’re my guards and not rainbow police grasshoppers that will jump away when trouble comes. That’s why I was suspicious when Jeff Nooper, who has been my boarder, sleeping upstairs in the race car room and paying me in bags of groceries, says he wants to join the guard. I know nothing about this schmoe. He smokes weed and sniffs a little, but mostly he keeps to himself and he’s always smiling. Never trust a smiler, ‘cause they know something you don’t. Nooper’s not a real name– probably slang for snooper and that’s what I think he is- some kind of a spy. He’s either blabbing to the cops or taking gum from another dealer who wants my neighbourhood. There’s no shortage of wannabees- Crimson Daddy, with his long red hair or that one armed guy everybody calls the Slot Machine. (more…)