Trolls And Bridges

Entry by: percypop

30th March 2017

The first time I saw Troll was at a bar under the Brooklyn Bridge on 54th Street. He grabbed me as I left.
“Too slummy here for an Uptown Princess?” He smirked and the neon light made his face orange like a Jaffa.
“Too many creeps like you!”
I pulled free and pushed past him, click-clacking up the stairs, cursing my aching feet.
“See you later,” his voice followed me onto the street.

The second time was worse. I went down to the bar below the bridge to meet Monroe. Life had been easy till Monroe came up with his new idea.. I had worked the best bars with him and we made a good turn with our routine scam. Me, to catch the punter and M to roll him when we got him outside. Worked like a charm. Then Monroe had a new idea.
“Goes like this,” he said, “with a player inside, he can steer the mark your way and Banzai!” Jap films were Monroe’s fad. “--a guy like Troll.”
“Why do we need him? He’s gross!”

I looked across the dim lit room with its faded plush seats and worn carpet. Troll was perched on a bar stool, gut bursting out of his white tux, smiling at the cigarette girl Maisie. She kept her distance.

“We can do big things, Angel, if we expand.”
He called me Angel when he wanted my support. “You want to make big dough don’t you?”
I missed the red light. If I’d looked in his eyes, I’d have seen the message writ large; the flickering eyes; the sideways glances; the pleading stare; but my attention was on the greasy Pillock combing his lank quiff and eyeing Maisie. Maybe cash dazzled me. I had a small habit to feed and an apartment uptown owing three month’s rent.
“Come on,” he wheedled, “give it a try.”
“Ok, one shot at it and we’ll take it from there.”
I heard my voice saying the words but could hardly believe what I heard.

Monroe beckoned Troll over. He slopped off the bar stool and sashayed over to us-Jack Palance in a fat suit.
He pulled Troll close and whispered his message. The piggy eyes glistened and looked my way.

“Sure! Let’s give it try. Might move a better class of mugs your way. How’d that suit you, Princess?”

I turned away as if I hadn’t heard him but he grabbed my arm and poured garlic and cigar breath into my ear.
“We should be friends -- make a great team.”
My stomach gave a lurch and I pulled away.
“This is strictly test time,” I said, “Nobody mentioned team tactics.”
The bum sniggered and went back to his perch.

Later, I was set up in the dark end of the bar, legs twined round the stool and one high heel dangling from my toe, when he brought a punter to my spot. Looked like an ayrab or a techie Asian from Silicon Valley.

“Like you to meet Yussuf, he’s in town for the Congress, Likes a good time.”

I gave him the usual spotlight treatment --bright eyes, big boobs, legs crossed. Troll left me to do my mojo and I flagged up Monroe from the corner of my eye. He moved out of sight and I knew he‘d gone up to the street. Within twenty minutes, my new lover was keen to see the sights with me and we left the bar climbing up into the dark street.

Monroe hit him so hard; I heard the crunch as he dropped him. We grabbed his wallet and watch then pushed him out of sight behind the garbage. Slick as a whip, we went back to my place and stayed there. A good strike; nine hundred dollars, a black Am -Ex and a Breitling watch. By the time M had bled the card and fenced the watch, we had grossed two and a half big ones.
“What’s Fatso’s cut?” I asked.
Monroe studied me, eyes narrowed. “Do we have to cut him in? Maybe he needs a lesson in good business practice? He’s gotta learn!”
I liked it. The Grease Ball fancied himself and we could not go back to the bar under the bridge for several months anyhow.
“Maybe a trip to Atlantic City would suit you?” He smiled and nodded.

It was February before we scouted the bar under the bridge again. We sent in Billy Weasel to check it out. No sign of Troll.
“Bar tender says he’s gone down for pimping, nine months in Albany.”
That night, I tripped down the steps ready for work. The lights were dim and the red plush dustier than I remembered. I took up a seat down the end of the bar and waited.
Monroe sat near the door and played with a small beer. A Chocolate coloured girl sang a few songs as if she wanted to be elsewhere and gave up after a few minutes. The place was definitely short on customers.

Looking round, all I could see were a couple of roughnecks up from New Jersey with a week’s wages in their pocket and big ideas about what they could get for a hundred bucks. Then I caught sight of Billy W, squeezed into a booth at the dark end of the room. He raised a finger in salute. What the Hell was he doing here? Within a second, he’d skipped upstairs.

I looked across to Monroe, he bit his lips and shrugged. Before we had the chance to move, a curtain twitched and the ugly shape of Troll stepped out into the bar. His thick overcoat gave him the bulk of an angry grizzly and his fat mouth roared.
“You shitty roll artists --you come back here with your cheap routine? I’ll have you!”

I stepped down from the bar stool like a ballet dancer on speed and kicked my heels away. This wasn’t the time for glamour: I legged it to the fire door and fumbled in my purse. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the two rednecks jump on Monroe by the door. But my mind was on Troll as he rushed at me with a baseball bat in his hand.

At last I found what I was looking for. Troll stopped in a skid. His eyes bulged and he swung the bat at me. I fired two shots quick; one after each other and backed up against the door. He came on like a bus with no brakes and slammed into me, then dropped slowly into a heap on the floor. The two stopped pounding Monroe and looked wide eyed in my direction. I held the little snub nosed out in their direction just as the noise of a distant a siren floated down the stairs. They took off.

Monroe crawled to a table and raised himself from the floor.
“Maybe we shldn’t have come back?”
I love the man: what would he do without me?