Courtney’s thick eyelashes fluttered open, and she nearly screamed when she saw Duncan’s face merely an inch away from hers. She gasped and rolled of Duncan’s torso, then scrambled to her feet.
“Well, good morning to wewe too, Princess,” Duncan says, “You know, your rude awakening really hurt me. It hurt right here.” He grasps the left side of his chest and calmly stands up.
Courtney’s jaw was hanging open, staring at him in disbelief. But then she regains her composure, smacks him on the shoulder, and glares at him. “What did I do this time?!” Duncan demands. Instead of answering, Courtney just crosses her arms.
Duncan rolls his eyes and leads her back up the stairs. He flicks the lightswitch off, and shuts the trap door behind them. “Hungry, darling?” Duncan asks, walking out of his bedroom and walking down the main staircase. Courtney opens her mouth to reply, but her stomach let out a huge growl. She slaps her hands onto her stomach, trying to cover up the noise, and her cheeks blush a dim pink. Duncan chuckles. “Well I guess that majibu that.”
They walk past the living room and into the kitchen. Duncan opens the fridge and bends over, inspecting the contents. His black hair falls into his teal eyes, and he flips his hair back into place with a mwepesi, teleka flick of his head. “Alright, do wewe want? We have some vodka, whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, ale, bourbon, and scotch,” Duncan rattles off, grabbing some vodka for himself.
“Alcohol? For breakfast?” Courtney gasps.
“Um, yeah. We kinda smuggle liquor for a living, so we drink it pretty much all the time.”
“Well, do wewe have any water?”
“Unless wewe take a glass and fill it with the water from the shower, then no.”
“Um, okay, what about some Coke?” Courtney asks. Surely gangsters would have a bit of soda-pop around.
“Whoa, you’re a morning person! We usually sniff cocaine zaidi around evening, au late afternoon at the earliest. But if you’re up for it…” Duncan replies, shutting the fridge door and scratching at his five-o’clock shadow. The gray stubble snaked from right in front of his ears, down to his chin, and back up to the other ear.
“No!” Courtney exclaims, stomping her foot. Several shot glasses clink together on a shelf on the dusty wall. “I am not talking about cocaine! I am talking about Coca-Cola! Don’t wewe even have something for a girl to drink? Something that won’t get me drunk first thing after I wake up?!”
“You expect us to drink soda-pop?” Duncan asks. He starts laughing so hard that he has to hold on the ukuta to keep from falling over. Courtney just stands there with her hands on her hips, taking it all. Finally, Duncan composes himself, “Don’t wewe think soda-pop is a bit childish?”
Courtney glares at him. Afraid of being slapped again, Duncan breaks down. “Fine. How about some wine?” he offers, pulling a large bottle of red wine from a wine rack.
“That’s zaidi like it,” Courtney says as Duncan pours the blood-red liquid into a tall glass with the thinnest stem Courtney has ever seen. She gently picks it up and takes a kiti, kiti cha in a kinyesi at the bar counter, which completely wrapped around the kitchen. Suddenly, the grandfather clock in the corner struck seven a.m. Barely a few dakika later, dozens of gangsters flooded into the living room and kitchen.
They started bumping fists, making eye contact, and nudging each other’s ribs once they saw Courtney. “Hey, babe, what’s your name?” a brown-haired guy asked her. He was leaning against the bar, right inayofuata to Courtney.
“My name is Courtney Pembrooke,” she replies, keeping a straight face. Courtney lifted the glass of wine to her lips and took a dainty sip. The tart taste of fermented zabibu juisi swam across her taste buds and njiwa down her throat.
“Well, Courtney Pembrooke, what does your daddy do for a living?” asks a different guy. They were surrounding her now, like she was a new attraction in the county fair. “Wait, wait, wait. Let me guess: he buys and sells stocks on ukuta Street?”
“Actually, yes, he does indeed.”
“And what do wewe do for a living? Apart from being sexy, that is,” a guy behind her asks. Courtney doesn’t even bother to turn around to look at him. Somebody that crude doesn’t even deserve to make eye contact when spoken to.
“I do not have a job,” Courtney tells them, straining to not spin around and slap them silly. I bet that would teach them some manners, she thinks.
“Are wewe a parking ticket?”
“What?” Courtney asks.
“Because you’ve got fine written all over you.”
Courtney nodded. Now she understood what they were doing. They were all just practicing their pick-up lines on her. Like that would make her like them. But she wouldn’t like a criminal like them, anyway. Not in her life.
“Damn, if being sexy was a crime, you’d be guilty as charged.”
“Hey, I Lost my phone number. Can I have yours?”
“I Lost my teddy bear, will wewe sleep with me?”
“If wewe were words on a page, then you’d be what they call fine print.”
“If I told wewe that wewe had a beautiful body, would wewe hold it against me?”
Courtney hops out of her bar kinyesi with her now-empty glass of wine. The pick-up lines just kept coming. Courtney weaves through the ever-growing crowd of gangsters and places her empty glass in the sink, in the pile of dirty dishes. Duncan slides easily through the crowd and grabs Courtney’s hand. He pulls her towards the stairway, leaving behind his friends.
“Sorry about them. They can act like assholes sometime,” Duncan tells her as he leads her into his room. He shuts the door, and Courtney sits down on his bed. Courtney nods in agreement. Duncan digs through his dresser for a white shati similar to his, and a black tie. He tosses these onto the kitanda right inayofuata to Courtney.
She rubs the fabric between two fingers. “What do I need with these?” she asks as Duncan tosses a short black skirt, upindo on the bed. “And why do wewe have a skirt?”
Duncan chuckles at her last question. “You need to put those on, since I’m bringing wewe rum-running. And I have a black skirt, upindo since I kinda had to dress up as a girl one time,” he tells her.
“You? Dressed up as a girl?” Courtney starts laughing.
“Hey, I got away with it,” Duncan smirks. “Now wewe better hurry up and get dressed, since I’m coming back in three minutes, whether you’re still in your bra and panties au not.” Duncan shuts the bedroom door and Courtney immediately gets to changing.
She slips the blue dress over her head, and she takes of her knee-high tights. She leaves on her white tank juu that was underneath her dress, because Duncan’s white shati looks pretty thin. Courtney slips the white, cotton, sleeve kwa muda mrefu, kola muda mrefu shati on and slowly starts buttoning it up. Then she slides the tie around her neck and she wrinkles her nose. I’m not a guy. Why do I have to wear a tie, like the rest of them? She leaves the tie a bit loose, due to her dissatisfaction. Then Courtney bends down to reach the skirt, upindo off the floor. But right as her fingertips touched the fabric, she heard the doorknob jiggle. Afraid of being seen in her underwear, Courtney just pulls the skirt, upindo on.
Duncan strides into the room, hoping to have seen her in her bra and panties. Instead, what was standing right in front of him seemed to be the most gorgeous girl he had ever seen. She wasn’t pretty like a flapper-slash-prostitute, but she was pretty like she wasn’t even trying. The black skirt, upindo only went down half her thigh, midway between her butt and her knees. The white shati didn’t reach all the way down to the juu of the black skirt, since Duncan had aliyopewa her a shati that shrunk in the wash -- he thought it might fit her better than any of his big shirts. Between the juu of the skirt, upindo and the hem of the white shirt, a strip of tan stomach was peeking out. The white shati was tight over her torso, but not too tight, judging kwa the few wrinkles. The juu few buttons of her shati was unbuttoned, inaonyesha the tiniest bit of cleavage. Duncan doubted Courtney knew it was showing. His inayopendelewa black tie was dangling from her neck.
“Hello? Are wewe just going to stare at me all day, au can we get going?” Courtney asks, crossing her arms and cocking a hip.
“Uh… right. Let’s go,” Duncan tells her, waking up out of his daze. They go down all the way to the first floor, and Duncan grabs a black fedora off the coat-rack. He spins it in the air and places it over his head. The part of his hair where it flips up sticks out from under the hat. “Guys, me and Princess are going rum-running real quick. We’ll should be back in a half hour. If we’re not, come with backup,” Duncan calls to his comrades.
“Mm-kay,” they call back in a monotone. Courtney gulps. How could they be so ‘blah’ about this, if backup might be needed? And what the heck is rum-running anyway?
Duncan leads Courtney down the cement-block steps that led to the front door of the apartment building. She hears a dead-bolt lock behind them. “So… what are we doing?” Courtney asks.
“Well, what is rum-running?” she demands, attempting to keep pace with Duncan so that she could look at his face while he answered. The short skirt, upindo was making that difficult, however, as she kept having to tug it down so it wouldn’t ride up. After all, no way in her life had she ever worn any vazi that showed her legs like this. Duncan led them down the sidewalk and into an alley on the side of the building.
“Rum-running is when I deliver liquor to a speakeasy here in Chicago. It’s really easy, except wewe have to out-run the cops. That is, if the cops even onyesha up,” Duncan explains as he opens a large wooden gate. Sitting on the cracked pavement was a 1920’s Rolls Royce. Courtney’s jaw dropped open. Not even her Daddy could afford that.
“Wha-- How-- Hmm?” Courtney sputters as Duncan climbs into the driver’s seat.
“We spend all our money on cars and liquor,” Duncan explains. He reaches over the kiti, kiti cha and open’s Courtney’s door. She climbs in inayofuata to him and slams the door shut. Duncan slides the keys into the ignition and the car… it silent.
“Uh, is it not working right?” Courtney asks nervously, glancing over at Duncan.
“Of course it working right. Actually, it’s zaidi than right. We tricked it out so that the engine is merely a purr. Take a listen,” Duncan tells her, pointing to the dashboard. Courtney hesitates, but slowly lowers her ear to the dashboard. Duncan was right… there was a slight rumbling going on, but it was hardly noticeable until wewe got within an inch of it.
“Whoa!” Courtney exclaims, pulling back from the dashboard and smiling at Duncan. “That’s amazing! How did wewe do that?”
“I’d tell you, but you’d probably fall asleep. After all, wewe are a girl,” Duncan teases. Courtney rolls her eyes. Then Duncan pressed a button, and the roof started to fold back. Courtney grabbed the armrests and squeezed until her knuckles turned white.
“Duncan, stop, you’re breaking the car!” she cries.
“Calm down, Princess, it’s the first-ever convertible, kubadilishwa car. Now we can drive around with no roof,” he explains. Courtney looks at him like he’s crazy.
“Well, what’s the purpose of that?” she asks.
“You’ll see,” Duncan says. He grips the steering wheel, barely taps the gas pedal, and they zoom out of the parking space. Courtney slaps a hand over her mouth to muffle her scream, so as to not attract attention, as Duncan spins the wheel and the tires slide as the car turns. Then he rockets down the street, wind whipping Courtney’s hair back. He blasts through a red light, much to Courtney’s protesting, and speeds on down the road.
“Dunnn-cannn! Slowww downnn!” Courtney screams, but her voice is Lost in the wind.