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This content is for readers who are 18 years and older.

Meet three additional characters in Love Me.  Get to know them.

Chapter 4

JIMMY HID BEHIND THE dumpster in the alley, breathing through his nose and mouth.  His mouth was opened wide.  It allowed him to breathe quieter.  But he could not breathe that way much longer.

The putrid smell of garbage, urine, rotting vegetables, and vomit filled his lungs.  He gagged several times but held it back.  The slightest sound could end his life.

Not far behind Jimmy were men talking.  Footsteps were coming down the alley toward him.  Maybe they would not hear him.  He prayed they would not.  He did not know if he had enough left in him to run any farther.  He just needed a few minutes to rest.

He was on foot.  The men had chased him in a car.  He had cut through parking lots.  He had hidden behind stores.  He had ducked down on patios that had low privacy walls in front of them.  Each time the owner called the police.  When the police car blocked the only entrance and exit out of the neighborhood where he was hiding he climbed over a fence.

The cops stood on the other side by the fence yelling for him to stop.  He ran across a busy street and disappeared into the alley.  A minute later the men who had chased him into the neighborhood were now in the alley.  The headlights from their car lit up the alley.  How could they have gotten there so fast? He wondered.

“Jimmy,” a man said.  “Jimmy.  You’re just making it worse.  You better come out and man up.”  Trash cans hitting the ground made loud noises.  The trash cans were behind stores and shops.  They belonged to the stores and shops.  Jimmy had tried to open a few of their back doors.  But they were locked.  “You have to give back what you stole.  Maybe he’ll take it easy on you.  But you have to man up.”

Jimmy was not about to listen to Kino.  Kino was the man talking.  He was around five eleven and well over two hundred and sixty pounds.  He was maybe thirty-eight.  Half of those years had been spent in prison.  Jimmy knew if Kino got his hands on him he was going to get a brutal beating just for running.  Then he would get another beating for winning the poker game that he was accused of cheating in.

This was why Kino chased people.  It was why he would visit your home.  Someone would have hired him to cause you pain.  There would be no talking.  Talking was not part of his job.  Beating people was his job.  And he was good at it and seemed to like it.

The other man with Kino was Bruce.  Bruce was a few inches taller and about thirty pounds heavier than Kino.  Bruce was known to anyone who gambled underground.  He was a debt collector.  He was tattooed from the top of his head to his ankles.  He was not the person you wanted to be mad at you.  He, too, had spent most of his forty years in prison and in gangs.

Jimmy, weighing around one hundred and sixty pounds, with few fighting skills, was no match for these men.  That is why when they caught up to him at one forty-five a.m. at a bar known for gambling in a secret back room, he tried to explain the poker incident.

He had not cheated.  The ten thousand was his.  He had won it fairly.  His explanation almost worked about how he outsmarted the other players.  But the man who had setup the illegal poker game had had cameras watching all the players.  That included Jimmy.  The cameras recorded him cheating.

Although Jimmy did not owe the ten thousand dollars, he did owe the owner of the game three thousand dollars and an additional three thousand dollar penalty.  The owner of the game had been calling Jimmy for a week.  On the seventh day the owner sold Jimmy’s debt.  Bruce and Kino were the collectors.  Jimmy did not know who the new owner of the debt was.

“Jimmy!”  Bruce yelled.  “You little shit bag.  You’re pissing us off.”

Jimmy looked up.  Bruce was right over him.  But he had not seen him.  If he had he would have grabbed him.  That part of the alley was dark.  He could wait them out until they were gone.  He just needed—

“Gotcha,” Kino said and grabbed at Jimmy.  He had a hold of Jimmy’s shirt.  Jimmy ran and jerked away from him.  He felt his shirt rip down the middle, leaving Kino a handful of cloth.  He was gone.  “Get your ass back here!”

Jimmy ran down the alley.  Bruce and Kino were huge.  But he was fast.  There was no way they would even come close to catching him.  And by the time they got to their car he would be some place else.  Two idiots were what they were.  Dumb and big were all there was to those two.

As his lungs burned Jimmy ran faster.  He thought about laying low at a friend’s apartment for a few weeks.  He needed to get off their radar.  They would not forgive his debt.  But they would move on to other debtors.  He would not be their top priority like he was now.

Jimmy looked over his shoulder for headlights.  Something like a large tree limb hit him in the chest.  His head jerked forward.  His feet left the ground.  Air shot from his lungs.  He was almost unconscious before he hit the ground.  He was barely breathing.

His semi-unconscious body was jerked off the ground.  Then he felt himself slung across the shoulder of someone.  He was disoriented and could not get his bearings.  He only knew his body was floating.  Then he came down hard onto something.  His legs were thrown about.  Suddenly the light disappeared.  A loud thud followed.

Jimmy’s body bounced around.  He tried to move.  But he could only move about a foot on each side.  It took him a few minutes of getting knocked around before he knew where he was.

He was inside a trunk.  He needed a game plan.  When the car came to a stop he needed to be prepared to bolt from the trunk.  He did not know where they were taking him.  He just needed to be ready.

The car slowed and stopped.  Minutes went by.  Jimmy’s heart pounded in his mouth.

The trunk opened.  Jimmy quickly lifted up.  A fist connected between his eyes.  It sent him back down on his back.

Jimmy woke up to Kino, Bruce, and Eddie D. standing around him.  He was tied to a chair in the middle of an old warehouse.  He tried to jerk himself free.  But he was not moving.  He knew about these places.  Abandoned warehouses were where people were taken to be talked to.  Talked to was another way of saying the person was going to be severely beaten.  Even if the person paid the debt immediately, or promised to pay more money, they were getting a beating.

Eddie D. was the worst person to be in debt to.  He was the one who bought Jimmy’s debt.  Eddie D. was six two and around three hundred pounds.  An animal was more human than Eddie D.  He was a bouncer at a strip club.  He always had one or two scams going.  He had been in prison for extortion, manslaughter, attempted murder, fraud and so many other things.

Eddie D.’s newest scam was to have dancers sleep with men for three hundred an hour.  Some of the dancers were doing this before Eddie D. got involved.  The problem was many times they were getting ripped off by their clients.  Some clients refused to pay.  Some paid less than they owed.  Some who did pay took more than they paid for.

A couple of dancers approached Eddie D. for help.  His solution was he would take twenty-percent of all sessions to provide each dancer security.  It worked.  Then Eddie got a better idea.

Why not extort money from clients when they became bored with sleeping with the dancers.  Eddie D. secretly had photos taken of the men having sex with the dancers.  When the men told the dancers they were done seeing them Eddie D. asked for six to ten thousand dollars to end the relationship.  Most men paid it as opposed to having the photos go public.  Most had good jobs and families.

Some men balked at paying Eddie D. anything.  That is when Eddie D. got physical with them.  They quickly came to their senses.  Eddie D. was not a person they wanted coming around their home.  They normally paid.

“If you let me call my sister she’ll bring the money to you,” Jimmy said.

Eddie D. looked at Jimmy and laughed.  “You’re a pathetic little shit,” he said.  “You’ll bring your sister into this.  And if she comes down her without the money, which she probably will, you know what that means?”  Jimmy shook his head.  “Yeah.  You know.  She pays for your crime.  And then you pay again.  If I had time, believe me, I’d have you bring her down here.  And when we were finished with her she’d never talk to you again.  But as luck has it I don’t have time.”

Eddie D. took off his shirt.  “You’ll have to pay for this one alone,” Eddie D. said, putting on gloves and walking up to Jimmy.


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