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1. I’m just a businessman

2. History is not a novel

3. Hey! You can’t park here!


Saturday night again. The downtown streets were beginning to feel the crush of all those nine-to-fivers who needed the weekend break, and the cops drove around in their air-conditioned cars hoping for nothing worse than a little petty theft to interrupt the shift.

Sheila sat in her tiny bathroom in her tiny apartment on 37th St. and wished for the millionth time that just this once she could stay home. At least tonight she was going to pin her hair up, no matter what the man said. 102° today, the news said, and it wouldn’t get really cool all night long. The hell with him.

“Guys like long hair,” he told her again and again. “You wear it down and that’s that.” 102°. The hell with him.

She pulled a bright purple tank top from the second-to-bottom drawer. It wasn’t quite clean, but she was pretty sure no one would notice. Thigh high boots with stiletto heels—the red ones, tonight—and those shorts, shredded at the edges.

By the time she finished her makeup and clipped her long hair up off her neck, it was already past the time the man wanted her on the street. He’d be annoyed, she knew, but she’d get around it. So far, she could still do that.

Sheila walked the half block to her usual spot near the 7-11 store at Barchester. Phyllis was already there, griping as usual.

“Hey, Sheila,” she said. “You picked a lousy time to be this late. The man’s on a rampage.” She took a long draw on her smoke and glanced around her before she went on. “Some guy punched out Monica earlier, and that new broad was stupid enough to get busted again, so he noticed you weren’t here right away.”

A car pulled up and the driver made it halfway out the door before Phyllis yelled, “Hey! You can’t park here!”

“Says who?”

Phyllis flicked her cigarette end at him. “Listen, I’m just a business girl and you’re interfering with my customers. Isn’t there a free trade law or something?”

Well, I had to give her points for originality.