“Strapping young thing, ain’tee?”
“Yessir I must concur.”
“Got em ata buckeighty. Class act’ee is.” He smirked between pulls of a Parliament.
“How’d you get’em so low? Ain’t never seen one under ’bout four’er’five.”
“Fuck you ain’t ever seen one under? When ya seen one at all? This slick son’bitch came round three days ago lookin’ for a room. He had’a cage withim, bigger’en anything, with a blanket over it. I was curious’er than a sonovabitch, so I said ‘Ay friend, it ain’t none my business or nothin’ but whats’ya’got in the cage there?’ “
“This slick son bitch looks me up’n’down and leans in, he goes ‘I’ll letcha know if you don’t say nothin’tuh’nobody.’ So of course I ain’t the type ta be doin’ somethin’ like that, so he pulled the blanket back and I saw this guy. Ain’tee somethin’ else?”
He flicked his spent cigarette onto the floor in front of a cage, his boot crushing out ember; his eyes never leaving his bargain.
“Ay, it’s a great story’n all, but it still don’t explain how you got the bargain?”
“Ayfuckya, I wasn’t finished sayin’ yet, ya necky bastad. So I see this guy’ere and of course I ain’t ever seen’em before, shit. I just thought this stuff was a rumor. Slick bastad knew I was in love with the little guy,” His boot rattled the cage a few times, his bargain retreating to the back bars.
“Oy, come’re then little guy, you’re a sweety’en, ain’tcha?” He leaned over, looked into the cage, grunted, and resumed his story.
“He looks at me and’ee goes, ‘Ow much you want for’em.’ Brotha I was stillin shock, wasn’t even thinkin’. I just said ‘a buckeighty’ cuz it was the first thing I thoughta, and’ee said ‘he’s yours’.
“Fuckya! just like that?”
“Ain’t a lie. Said’ee couldn’t hold onta it. Said there was a price on’is head for just havin’ ‘im.” He nodded towards the cage while lighting another cigarette.
“Said’ee had enough to get by, maybe this was too hot for ‘im. And so I said ‘ay nobody’ll think twice ’bout ‘im bein’ here. Nobody’ll know’, I told’im. That slick son bitch was quick to exchange and so we did, ‘n that’s how I got this fine fella here.”
They both stood by the cage, waiting for something to happen, but the bargain stayed quite near the back of the cage—away from the two men, snuffed out cigarettes, and their conversation.
“Wonder’ow much’ee paid for ‘im.”
“He said five.”
“Sounds like a son’bitch, don’t know ’bout the slick bit.”
“He was slick as a necky, alright. In the 3 days I had this pretty guy, he hasn’t done nothin’ but be pretty in there. Dunno whatee’s supposed’ta do anyway, but it ain’t much fun to watch by yourself.”
“Heard you can train’em to talk.”
“I ain’t tried yet, but didn’t need no trainin’ to cry and carry on. Saved this little guy from shit life and all’ee knows how-tuh-do is complain. Can’t ever win.” He smashed another cigarette under his boot and shook the cage with vigor, trying to force entertainment.
“He’ll come around, gotta let’em get adjusted. Little guy’s probably had quite-a-journey.”
“Fuckin’ better.” He blew out the smoke from his last pull.
“Anyway, I’ll give’em a week to right ‘imself out, otherwise this fine little fella’s journey ends in a hole out back.”
“You can kill’em just like that?”
“Ayfuckya, judge off. He’s’ere for a purpose, and I paid good money for’im. If he don’t comply, he don’t live with me. I ain’t gonna make a dime offa the fancy bastad if’ee don’t do a goddamn thing for nobody. He just don’t know’is role. But’ee better start learnin’.”
The two stood for a minute more, listening to the whimpering from the cage.
“Ay! Stop yer hollerin’ or I ain’t gonna feedya again today. I tried bein’ nice but ya don’t like that, so fuckya.”
He pulled a blanket back over the cage.
The two men turned out the light and proceeded upstairs, where they enjoyed instant coffee and biscuits. Downstairs, the blanketed cage whimpered and cried for home.