(9/32) “When you go to the clubs every night, you start to see the same people. They’d buy me drinks. They’d ask me to dance. It was like a make-believe family for me. I never knew much about these people. Maybe they had real families. Maybe they weren’t alone as me—but they never made me feel that way. They accepted me. They called me ‘Black Stephanie.’  I got along with everybody: the pimps, the hustlers, the drug dealers, the mob guys. Especially the mob guys. Every single one of them had a black woman on the side, so they’d flirt with me all the time. And I had no problem with it. They dressed their asses off. They talked romantic. It wasn’t long before I was hanging with a whole crew of Italians. And they started giving me little side jobs so I could earn some extra cash. My steadiest work came from a guy named Joe Dorsey. He was the best thief in the city, but he didn’t look like what he did.  He looked like Wall Street.  His fingernails were always perfect. And his wife was an upscale escort who wore designer clothes. Joe had one of the best hustles in town.  Back in those days, rich women would keep their jewelry and mink coats locked up in storage until it was time for a big event. Then they’d always go to the beauty parlor and start bragging about their fancy parties, and all the nice things they were going to wear. Joe was paying off a hairdresser at the nicest parlor on Madison Avenue. And the moment these women started jabbing, she’d sneak away to call Joe Dorsey.  All he ever needed was an address. Because Joe could get past any doorman, since he dressed like Wall Street. And he could pick any lock. So by the time these women got home, their whole place had been looted. My job was to sell the mink coats. I’d wear them to all the clubs and wait until I got a compliment. Then I’d unload it. Joe gave me a commission, plus I always added an extra ten percent to his price.  So I was making money on both ends.”

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