A ’Toast’ From the “Book of Life”
By Iceberg Slim
Memorized, Typed, and Prefaced by:
Gary Washington – Birth Name
Michael Thomas Venegar – Adopted Name
In 1975 I was in Oakland County Jail on my way back to the penitentiary. The cells we lived in held 8 prisoners with bunks welded to the wall. There were two sets of two bunks, upper and lower, on one wall, and another two sets of two welded on the wall directly across from the first set of four. In the center of the cell was a metal table with two long benches on either side welded to the floor where we ate and played cards, chess, etc.
The front of the cell was made of iron bars and an electronic gate where prisoners entered and left the cell. And the rear of the cell was a shower in the middle and a toilet and sink on either side.
Late one night, when we were all lying in our bed trying to sleep or reading a book, the electronic gate opened. Our attention was drawn towards the gate, wondering what the person that entered would look or be like.
Suddenly this guy appeared in the doorway. He was the strangest looking guy I’ve ever seen. He was a light-skinned brother with long, curly hair. He had green eyes although he was an Afro American. He had long, manicured fingernails. His skin was flawless, and he walked like he had a limp or something in his legs. He put me to mind of an old-time pimp, and his walk was what was called a “pimp walk” back then.
We all secretly stared at him in curiosity. When he walked in, he put his bedding down on the only empty bunk and sat down. I know he couldn’t help but feel the stares as he looked around the cell.
After about 5 minutes, he got up and sat on the table. Then, as if he was tired of the stares, he made an announcement to everyone in the cell. He said, “I see all ‘yall’ staring at me, so let me tell you a little bit about myself.’ He then asked all of us to come sit at the table. One by one we all crowded around him to hear what he was about to say. ‘This better be good’ we could feel each other thinking. Some of us was thinking he was gay. He looked too much like a woman. But as he began sharing this story of how he wound up in jail, we were all amazed and in awe. So, almost word-for-word this is what he said:
Now some of you guys might be surprised
at what I’m about to say;
and say who is this lame that says he knows the game
and where did he learn to play?
Well I’d like to tell of how I fell
and the trick fate played on me;
so, gather ‘round as I run it down
and unravel my pedigree.
It was Saturday night the jungle was bright
the game was stalking its prey;
the code was crime in the neon lime
and the weak was doomed to pay.
When crime begun when daughter fought son
and your dad he lay in jail;
as your mom lay awoke with her heart almost broke
cause the pad was up for sale.
Where blood was shed for the sake of bread
and drunks rolled for their poke;
by the sleighish hand of a murphy man
or the words that a con man spoke.
Where addicts prowl with a tigerish scrowl
in search of that lethal blow;
and the wino cringes from the canned-heat binges
and finds his grave in the snow.
Where bellies of vice sell love for a price
and even the law is corrupt;
as you go down trying you keep on crying
“man, it’s a bitter cup!”.
Where the jungle’s creed says the strong must feed
on any prey at hand;
I was branded a beast and sat at the feast
before I was a man.
In the gaudy display of the midnight ray
lit up like a Christmas toy;
I made my play for a female prey,
at the time I was just a boy.
I was young and prancy, pot was my fancy,
I was known as the adequate male;
but I cursed the day I made my play
for that sidewalk Jezebel.
She was brown-skin moll like a Chinese doll
walking up and down in sin;
back and forth she’d trod with a wink and a nod
to the nearest whorehouse den.
Now it wasn’t by chance that I caught her glance
cause I intended to steal this dame;
and I smiled with glee and said golly gee
its time for the kid to game.
Her eyes shown bright in the neon light
and from them a teardrop fell;
when I asked her why she began to cry
and tell me this bitter tale.
About some guy who blacks her eye
and takes all the dough she gets;
and how she lays in jail and he won’t go her bail
and dares her to call it quits.
I said, bitch dry those tears and have no fears
for the kind lover is here;
and I staking my claim for a piece of this game
and vowing I’d have no peer.
Jim! the bitch looked at me like a slave set free
and said then daddy I’m your girl;
and her man didn’t stir as I split with her
and we made it all over the world.
She caught on fast as the months rolled past
she played it to the bitter end;
no better hoe I’ve yet to know
although dog is man’s best friend.
She was a three-way winch played jasper in a pinch
took ‘um around the horn;
no Jean or John this whore couldn’t con
cause that trick was never born.
She was a good shot broad, a pro at fraud
drag, she played like a vet;
she played stuff like an ace, never lost a case
put many a mark in debt.
She ranked with the best in the east and west
when her boosting hand came down;
she’d steal knots out of knees and Fido fleas
she stole out many a town.
Now I heard hoes cry of the wind being high
and the law being on their tale;
about snow and sleet being asshole deep
and the tricks can go to hell.
In the greasy spoon or that juke saloon
you can find them killing their time;
crying hard-luck tears and sucking up beers
and the pimps ain’t getting a dime.
Turning half-dollar tricks to make a fix
with the pussy doing the pimping;
man, they’re just ruining the name of a helluva game
cause the pimps are doing the simping.
Now they’re ducking and hiding, slipping and sliding
sucking those part packs;
and nodding so tough from fucking with stuff
‘till the bitch can’t even see her tracks.
Monday morning for sho’ you can’t find this hoe
cause some rookie cop has caught her;
so, you pawn your shit to get her a writ
and the bitch ain’t made a quarter.
In a month or two when the rent’s over due
and the landlord’s hopping mad;
she slides ‘tween your sheets with no receipts
talking ‘bout daddy the night was bad.
Why you could cop her lid for the lowest bid
you could set her ass on fire;
you could dig in her cunt for a solid month
cause she was the cheapest hoe you could hire.
But know the price when you deal in a vice
you know it’s a steady grind;
but a bitch has to go and be a real good hoe
to beat this triple bitch of mine.
She dropped many of bug on many a mug
too numerous to call their name;
many of sap got caught in the trap
by the lure they call the game.
For a lip and lap of her mellow cap
the tricks would fight a dual;
while all the long bread was made with her head
this bitch was a real jewel.
She had a good round-eye and that’s no lie
how the trick house door would swing;
many a nut got busted in her but
‘cause the rag didn’t mean a thing.
Anywhere she’d follow that righteous dollar
to hell if she had to go;
and be there waiting to trick with old Satan
man, I had a money-making hoe.
Like a sex machine she’d walk between
raindrops, teardrops and hale;
and stand on hot bricks to lure the tricks
come cyclone, blizzard or gale.
She tricked with Frenchmen, torpedoes and henchmen
to her it was all the same;
with japs and Jews, apaches and Sioux
and breeds I can’t even name.
With Chinks and Greeks with Arabs and freaks
she tricked in the house of God;
no son-of-a-gun would this hoe shun
who could pay to use his rod.
Why the sun didn’t set when her cunt wasn’t wet
and my pockets were heavy with gold;
many a trick with a weekend dick
got took for his entire roll.
Now I laid and played off the stuff she made
from the Coast to old Broadway;
my game was strong ‘cause my money was long
I made this business pay.
But the trouble began when I ranked my hand
and stopped blowing and started to hit;
why Jim you know I blew that dough
faster than any one hoe could get.
I blew my shack my Cadillac
my rug up off the flo’;
I sold my Ice for a pawn shop price
and shot up all that dough.
I stole from Maw, I swindled from Paw
I sold my pedigreed pup;
I pawned my threads, and sold my bed
and shot my TV up.
But the deadliest blow came when the hoe
took sick and couldn’t gin;
the Chinaman spoke and it wasn’t no joke
for I knew this was the end.
She had bleeding piles, inflamed bowels
for a month she couldn’t even pee;
I was shot to hell when her ovaries fell
and things looked bad for me.
But believe me friend when lockjaw set in
the china man took his toll;
her head was dead her ass was lead
the lips of her cunt were cold.
So down I fell to the depths of hell
for I had put myself in a cross;
as my habit grew tall my money grew small
everything that I had was lost.
But I wanted to be fair and, on the square
I didn’t want to buck the saw;
so, I said what the hell since this bitch ain’t well
I’ll get her a wife-in-law.
There’s that cute little bitch with the whorehouse itch
that I can latch onto;
or that red-headed hoe that rearing to go
If the deals ok with you.
‘Cause there ain’t a bitch in the game with your kind of name
for kicking the mud you kick;
So, lay on there till you’re feeling fair
and we’ll see can we make this click.
Now, a bitch like this is a good man’s bliss
she had everything that it took;
but she had one fault when she got caught
she couldn’t shake loose the hook.
“Hell no!” she said, I’ll see you dead
before I let you go;
the black coach of sorrow will pick your ass up tomorrow
if you step beyond that door.
I blew my health in a bid for wealth
so that you could play your bit;
but naw – you went hophead and blew the bread
now you talkin that stable shit.
I ain’t going for no bush, or no bum whores rush
I know that’s what you plan;
talkin’ real slick with all that bullshit
motherfucker you ain’t no man.
I’m hip to the way you pimps try to play
and the lugs you drop on a frail;
but if this shit don’t cease, I’m gon’ to call the police
and bury your ass in jail.
I packed my shit firing to split
and this is what I said…
bitch! if that’s the way you want to play
go make your own damn bread.
I can’t cop no swag with no swaybag nag
whose thoroughbred days are past;
I’d look pretty dam silly putting a cripple as philly
on a track that’s much too fast.
I was gon’ put you in charge of a trick house lodge
and give you some girls to rule;
but you spoke of hell and sending me to jail
bitch you must be a goddam fool.
Cause a bitch can’t shit without a good man’s wit
and one monkey don’t stop no show;
why in an hour or two I’ll have me a slew
of bitches out there to hoe.
So, step aside I’m fixing to slide
I mean get the fuck off my back;
my ‘loot’ is low and I need me a hoe
who can run that speedy track.
Now while lying back in another hoes shack
about to make my plea;
I heard a thunder that the door shook under
and wondered what the fuck this could be.
A “roller” walked in on his face was a grin
mined with a deadly expression;
he said if you’re Bud the pimping stud
all we want is a signed confession.
My woman stood there with her finger in the air
that’s him she cried with glee;
that’s the sonuva bitch with the con man pitch
who made a hoe out of me.
A crashing blow sent me to the flo’
I sank in a black repose;
when I awoke my nose was broke
and blood was all over my clothes.
I played it strong but it wasn’t long
for they took me to court;
man, you should see the shit the bitch had writ’
In the books of the police report.
Which goes to show that the strongest hoe
can give in to that female simping;
this bitch was born with a female scorn
that got me five counts of pimping.
Now here I lay in jail, in my eight by twelve cell
watching the sun rise in the east;
as the morning chill the jungle’s still
I think of that slumbering beast…
Farewell to the night to the neon light
farewell to you one and all;
and farewell to the game may it still be the same
when I get done doing this FALL.