"BATTLING THE BLESSINGS"
From Chapter - 17
|20 YEARS IN THE MAKING
2 YEARS TO WRITE
OVER 50 YEARS OF HISTORY
"GOD HAS TRULY BLESSED ME"
|Author : Terry Fulgham
|Life time membership as a UAW member,
Supporter of all Unions.
" Together We Stand Divide We Fall "
|Excerpt From Chapter - 17
|Chapter - 17
Chili Bowl Pimp
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permission of the author. Last modified: July 5,2013
Author Terry Fulgham
The worst thing you could do in the streets was run your mouth and not be able to back it up.
Street life is all about being honest with your-self and, of course, don’t get caught lying about what you can do.
If you say you are going to do something, you damn sure better do it.
This is especially true if it has anything to do with money. I guess you can say I had two full-time jobs. One was
working at one of the automobile factories in Flint, and the other working the streets after I got out of my factory
I had quit my job at the medical center to start working in the shop for more money and better benefits.
I loved the street life. I worked a steady job and still had time for the street life.
Both lives can be full-time jobs; the funny thing about working a full-time job and hanging out in the streets is that
you have to be able to keep them separate.
One of the most important things I learned about hanging out in the streets, which began when I was a teenager,
was not to talk about my education or employment.
This was a no-no.
Most of my street friends didn’t know that I had graduated from high school.
I just didn’t put my personal life out there in the street. The less anyone knew about me the better. It was better for
my family and me, just in case I ever crossed someone up. I was hanging out in the streets, hustling and talking.
During this time, I ran across all kind of hustlers, drugs pushers, so-called players, hoes, and pimps; but the
majority of street people are just playing someone else’s part by being a trick.
There are a lot of people who are just acting. Like in Hollywood, it’s all show until they get caught up in a trick
bag. To be honest, street life wasn’t my main job. I was making good money building cars on the assembly line at
the automobile plant. Making a living selling hot items, drugs, or pimping wasn’t something that would be a great
career move for me.
I also used drugs too much and too often to sell them. I was always my best customer.
Selling hot TVs, record players, and clothes was hard because everyone in the streets was trying to sell the same
things. Drugs were easier to sell; whether it was cough syrup, weed, or pills, I could sell them as fast as I let
someone know I had them.
Heroin and cocaine were the only drugs that I didn’t sell, mainly because I didn’t use them at the time. Pancake
and I would front our money and buy enough drugs for us to use and sell.
The only problem was that we used all of our drugs that we should have been selling to make more money, to buy
more drugs. Being a drug dealer didn’t last long for either of us.
Then there was pimping. Most of the pimps that I knew were called “chili bowl pimps” and I sure didn’t want to be
one of them.
They were called chili bowl pimps because every time you saw one of them, they were waiting in this restaurant on
Industrial Avenue called Ms. Kate’s doing nothing except waiting for their hoe or hoes to bring them two or three
dollars. We called them “two-dollar hoes” because this is all the money most of them were making, just enough to
say they turned a trick.
There were some hoes who knew how to make money, but they were very rare. Most of them only made enough
money to buy their pimp a bowl of chili.
Thinking back, it seems like all these pimps were out there on the corner. There were more pimps out there on the
corner than hoes.
Hoes couldn’t work because the pimps had taken over the corner, you would have thought that the pimps were the
ones turning tricks.
The truth is that pimps were watching each other. There’s no honor among poor pimps. They were always trying to
steal each other’s hoes. Most of the time, they would just sit there in the restaurant all day long, eating chili.
There were a few pimps out there making money.
These guys had about six and 10 good hoes making good money. Pimping Leroy was one of them. Leroy wasn’t
just pimping; he had his hands into everything.
Pimping Leroy was a musician who played the organ. He played at most of the local clubs in Flint. He was also a
drug dealer and an artist. And when it came to pimping here in Flint, Leroy was the man. Pimping Leroy had been
a pimp ever since I was a kid.
Even though he was a lot older than I was, we were cool and he was a friend of mine. Leroy would say to me,
“Blood, if you are going to pimp, you got to pimp hard. You can’t be soft; only hard niggers can pimp. Pimps ain’t
born. They’re made.”
One day after getting off work, Bernard knocked on my apartment door.
“Reggie, my brother,” Bernard said, “let’s go to this new club on Carpenter Road. Some Mexicans just opened it
up and man, they’re jumping every Friday night.”
“That sound like a winner to me,” I said, “let’s go.”
When we got to this Mexican joint, music was playing loud and there was wall-to-wall people dancing and having a
good time. I heard someone call my name. My eyes were still getting adjusted to the dark club, so I couldn’t make
out who was calling me.
Someone put a drink in my hand and people were coming up to me saying things like “What’s up, Reggie” and
“How you doing, man?”
The best comparison I can make is that I was being treated like a ranking officer, not just a soldier. Most of the
people were falling all over me to please me. I had sold them drugs, given drugs to them at one time or another,
kicked their ass or had their ass kicked. I was thinking it was a small world.
As my eyes started to adjust to the darkness, I saw that most of the people in the club were people I knew. I felt
someone pulling on my arm; when I turned, it was this fine-looking, dark-skinned black woman. I looked at her
and, somewhat shocked by how attractive she was, I said, “Who are you?”
“Reggie,” she said, “you don’t know me?”
Before I could say anything, she said, “I am your wife.”
“Who?” I said laughing.
She said again, “I am your wife.”
I looked at her and then I smiled.
I started to remember something that my sister Ranae said years ago. It was about a little girl who had a crush on
“De-De,” I said, “is that you?” I stood back and took a real good look. “Damn, girl,” I said, “you sure have grown
up. Weren’t you locked up in prison for awhile?”
“I’m still locked up,” she said. “They let me come home for my uncle’s funeral.”
“They do that?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “I will be going back tomor-row.
I only have three more months to do. Then I will be home for good. You know that I stabbed that girl because of
You owe me some time now, nigger.”
“I guess you are right,” I said. “I am yours. You want to dance, De-De? You sure do look good, girl. Let’s go on
over here on this dance floor and do something.”
As we were slow dancing, this dumb-looking nigger came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “My
“Your turn for what?” I said.
He said, “My turn to dance with my woman.”
“Oh, this is your woman?” I said with a laugh. “Looks like it’s open season on your woman, brother man. You
need to tap somebody else on their shoulder because this is my woman now.”
Right then, I felt pain on my head. “God damn,” I said. This motherfucker hit me in the head with a wine bottle and
De-De was hitting him for me.
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