Usually, if a guy calls himself a pimp, he's using a frat boy Urban Dictionary term for how he's, like, totally good with the ladies. But when Big Red drops those four letters, he's talking about the ten-plus years he has spent soliciting females' bodies for money on the street. This past summer, New Times wrote a profile about this oddly charismatic -- but unflinchingly ruthless -- Overtown hustler. A homeless entrepreneur of the ghetto, the wooly-chested, perpetually shirtless alpha male carried a machete-size knife, sold clean needles for three dollars each, and told stories about his days as a hit man in Miami. He also swore his criminal days were over.
Then last week, we got a call from him. "It's Red. Just got out of jail again. Wrote a book while I was on the inside," he said, handing the phone to one of his "hos." She filled us in on the rest of the details. (Records show he was arrested for assualt and battery earlier this month.)
The next day, he came to the office to drop off an encyclopedia-thick autobiography he wrote in ballpoint pen. On the front page, in pencil, he scrawled the title: Lawless to Legit. The sometimes offensive, pretty much coherent writings offer a glimpse into Miami street crime through the eyes of the criminal. This week, we'll share a few of Red's entries, beginning with his early days.
(Read an excerpt after jump.)
Big Red writes:
Bonita finally showed up.
"Damn, bitch where you been?" I said.
"Getting the car, alright?"
Bonita was my heart. She never got mad about other bitches. I loved her
for that. I did not have to hide one woman from another. That's Red's
law. She cussed like a sailor, spit like a sailor, and fought like one
as well. But she was all woman. Tight ass, small waist: 36-22-39. One
hell of an ass. I measured it myself with my own little tape I carried
around for a conversation piece. Short hair and a short temper. But
never short on ideas to hustle. Coco brown; almost too fine to escort
or sell her goodies. She'd say, "Sell it, don't shell it." Meaning don't
shell it out or give it away. Get paid. However, she had class and you
could take her to a cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce dinner and stop at
the ghetto pool hall on the way. She'd fit in anywhere.
I told her, "We low on cash, baby, and I need a pistol. Better go to
see my old man." We kept our best clothes at his house so they would
stay fresh. Sometimes Bonita had high-paying modeling contracts, too.
We arrived at the old man's and nobody was home. "Good," I thought. "I
can get some clothes and chow down without hearing the old man's
mouth." I got me some pork chops.
I was in the basement when the phone rang. It was Dad. "Listen, your
uncle needs you to work at the bank in the morning. I already told him
you'd be there. And on time!"
"Yeah dad, but one little thing," I said." I'm going to need an
advance, if you don't mind: your pearl-handled Smith and Wesson."
"That pimpin' shit got to go!" he yelled. "You can't run with the
rabbit and turn around and hunt with the hounds, boy. It's bad enough
you working at a night club with all them gangsters. Pimpin' during the
week; gangster on the weekend. You gotta get smart before you get
slick. And don't bring that hooker girlfriend of yours around. Leave
her in the car."
Then Bonita said she had to go by the club. She had a regular to
meet. So I headed there. I had a lot of good times there -- I was the
nigga in charge! When we got there I went through the double doors and
poured me a drink. I had met some cuties there, working part time. There
were four giant bars, longhorn style, like Dodge City on "Gun Smoke." I
was head bouncer there and on VIP nights they paid all employees with
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
It was not unusual for a bouncer to sneak off for a quickie or a
jump start on a hotel room for the night, which was right next door.
Taking off to get their pickle tickled was cool, but taking off for too
long made me look bad. I could only cover so long and the boss, my
cousin, would get to missing you. One night, I had to tell my cousin
about a bouncer. He did not get paid that night and he was hot. He
confronted me the next day. He said he knew I told on him and he just
wanted to hear me say it. I heard him mumble, "That's why I hate red
To teach him a lesson, I waited under a bed in the hotel room while
he and Bonita did their thing. When they finished she left and he goes
to take a crap. Now I ain't going to fuck a man up while he's taking a
shit. So I waited till he was done and put a wire around his neck. He
just got off the stool but he starts pissing again cause he's scared. "Don't kill me!
There's money in my wallet!" he says.
I pushed him down and said, "My cousin just wants you to leave her
money alone." Sometimes it's better to give a man a warning. But when
you warn him make damn sure he knows you're DEAD serious or it might
backfire on you. Make him fear death, respect death and he will
definitely heed the warning. This would not be the last time I would
use this tactic.