benito wore his striped vest like a two-foot hair from the mole of a man far removed from the competitive nature of southern california glamour. a huge fan of country music, he didnt notice that i was stealing his sister away for the evening because he was busy with Garth Brooks performing live on television. benito was proudly singing along beneath his cowboy hat in the duplex that they shared in Encino.

you say tomato, i say what the hell am i doing seeing not one, but two professional nba cheerleaders? i have no car, no rich uncle, below average looks, and an extremely low-paying and dangerous career.

plus my legs were sore from running a full 17 minutes on the treadmill in the basement of our downtown secret hideout. normally i would jog through the dirty and surprisingly busy yet dark streets of forgotten los angeles, but with the sudden appearance of winter and with the heavier traffic, due to the rise in attendance in Clippers games, i chose to take advantage of some of the generous gifts a handful of our patrons had left us.

an assortment of free weights, nautilus equipment, an 8-man whirlpool, boxing equipment, lifecycles, stairmasters, and a variety of treadmills, the most complex of which was the one that i chose monday, thanks to my utter bad luck, because now i could barely walk without a limp and i was to go to to another salsa lesson with samantha, my friend's friend, and current la clipper girl.


fortunately all samantha wanted to do was smoke weed and quiz me in the back of benito's chevy nova as we ate taquitos in the parking lot of Lucy's. she had silver pants, a fake diamond studded belt, clear stripper shoes - heels - and a black choker with a image of a very sassy cat's head embroidered next to the buckle.

did you really want to go dancing with me tonight? she asked after dipping the remains of her first taquito into the small plastic cup and swirling some green salsa onto her greasy treat.

not at all, i admitted.

then why did you want to hang out with me?

i'd do anything to check you out for a few hours with some good music playing and latina girls all around in stretch pants.

samantha liked that answer and fed me a forkful of refried beans and asked if i knew anything about finance and i said of course and she said how would you get america out of this recession. i said, first i would stop calling it that. just like how it's hard to stay hard when you keep talking about sad things, and then, of course, i would legalize weed. it would cost about seven cents a joint, sell packs of 20 for $10, and legislate that the growers need to split the profits with the government for the first ten years. figuring youve got about $7-$8 profit per pack, i'd say america would be out of the recession before britney loses her cherry. and for that i got a little bit more than a bite from a taquito and the moonlight glowed through the slender foggy back window.

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