(25/32) “The other dancers weren’t too happy about my success. A lot of times they’d go out together after a show, but I was never invited. I didn’t really fit in with them anyway. No offense—all of them were gorgeous.  But they all had problems. I don’t think any of them wanted to be doing what they were doing, so they were always drinking and snorting cocaine. My only friend in the community was a girl named Ronnie Bell. She was drop dead gorgeous.  I mean next level.  With or without make-up. All the other dancers were jealous of her—I’m not sure Ronnie realized it, but they were. Because she stole the show whenever she worked. This girl would have double gigs some nights.  One show at eight.  One show at ten. And the moment you saw her, you understood why. Ronnie had a tough childhood. She grew up in New Orleans, but she ran away from home at the age of fourteen to join the circus. Then she saved all that money and put herself through medical school. During the day she worked as a registered nurse. Ronnie never had to do any of it. She lived in a big house out in Queens. She only danced because she enjoyed it. That’s why we got along so well—neither of us took ourselves seriously. We used to work a theater together outside of Fort Dix, where the black soldiers trained. I was always the feature. The promoter would lie and say I was ‘Ms. Black Universe’ or something. Ronnie and I used to meet at my apartment and drive out there together. As soon as we got on the Jersey turnpike, we’d take off our shirts, and wait for a big rig to come by and see us.  It never took long because Ronnie was stacked.  And I mean stacked.  We had one of those CB radios in the car-- breaker nine or whatever.  So we’d egg them on.  And next thing you knew we’d have a convoy of tractor trailers escorting us down the highway. And when we finally got off the exit for Fort Dix, they’d all start honking their horns.  TAH TAH TAH.”

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