In the late 1960s, Rick Talley returned home from Vietnam. The New York City native had served his country with honor and had the medals to prove it. Two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and other awards for outstanding service to country were awarded to him by the U.S. government.
But none of those awards would put food on the table. Especially not on the impoverished streets of 1970s Harlem. So Talley joined another war. A war fought in the streets. A war without winners. To quote that great television series The Wire: “No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.”
For a while there, Talley made it big. Winning at every turn. Until he was caught and spent the following 17 years in prison for drug trafficking. Now he is making a comeback as an author. On August 15, Strategic Media Books released his memoir Prisoner of Dreams: Confessions of a Harlem Drug Dealer.
Talley was kind enough to share an excerpt of his book with the readers of Gangsters Inc. which you can read below. He will also be a guest on Crime Beat Radio this coming Thursday September 5 where he will discuss his life and crimes and how the book came about.
Enjoy the excerpt!
By Rick Talley
Rick (photo right) dialed the number and waited for the hotel operator to answer. “Yo Donny, I knocked a piece of snow last night, fine bitch. She’s staying at the suite. I was supposed to call her at one o’clock; I hope she didn’t break out. Yes operator, ring me suite 2454 please.”
“Hello,” Precious said in a soft sleepy voice.
“Precious, it’s me Rick. Everything alright with you?” Rick asked her.
“Yes daddy, I was watching some television and resting. I’m going to get with you in a few, have the hotel send someone up to do your hair and nails. Order yourself something to eat from room service and charge everything to the suite,” Rick informed her. “By the way, what size dress and shoes do you wear?”
“I take a 5/6 in a dress and a 6 1/2 shoe,” Precious answered.
“I will be there in a minute.”
“Okay,” she replied so soft and sweet.
“What’s up with that?” Donny asked once Rick hung up the phone.
“Ain’t nothing, I was sitting in the restaurant after I left you at the spot and this pretty little white girl fell in love with a fellow. She gave me 23 hundred choosen money. So, if she’s not going to be a problem, you know. If I don’t have to stay down on her then she can pay a fellow.”
“Here’s the list of what I put out,” Rick informed Donny. “It came to 20 thousand. I put half a key of pure in the safe with our money. Every time I look at that money it makes my dick get hard. That night I collected the 50 G’s; I took it with me to Shemika’s apartment. That money gave me a rush. I spread it across Shemika’s bed, and you know. The prettiest sight I have ever seen was Shemika laying naked on top all that money.”
“You’re a funny motherfucker,” Donny said, and they both laughed.
“Check this Donny, I’m going to wait for my sister to come home.
Hopefully she will be here soon. She’s at a rehearsal for a fashion show she’s going to do. I want to ask her about a good woman’s store where I can buy Precious an outfit for tonight. After that I going to the hotel and get some sleep before I take her out.”
“You can handle everything tonight. The dope is already cut, all you have to do is make up the packages. Everybody should be finished and ready for something new by 10 o’clock tonight. Anyway, that’s what time I told the workers to meet you at the bar,” Rick informed Donny.
Rick hadn’t thought much about the way he was dressed until he spotted the security team. They were white, one man, one woman, a loving couple that followed him around Saks Fifth Avenue. It was not that he was dressed poorly, white Pro-Ked sneakers, black pants, shirt and short black leather jacket, Harlem to a T. Rick knew if he were white and dressed the very same way the floor manager would be assisting him with his shopping.
Rick found the floor manager and asked that a sales person assist him with his selections. She was a pretty thing and richly dressed to match the décor of the store. Probably from Queens or Staten Island, Rick imagined.
Or maybe she was from out of town and just here to knock down the doors at one the modeling agencies, she had kind of look. Rick flirted with her as he made several choices in dresses, suede and leather jackets and shoes. Rick also picked out accessories to go with each outfit. Rick made several selections for himself, all the while, the security team kept a close eye on him. Rick made remarks of it to the sales girl who attended his needs, it turned her face red with embarrassment. The security team should have realized by now that he was not a booster. Perhaps fake credit cards kept them on his trail and they needed to see how he would pay for such expensive merchandise.
The cashier rang up 27 hundred dollars in total sales. Rick pulled a five thousand dollar roll of hundred dollar bills from the inside pocket of his leather jacket. Rick could see the anguish written on the faces of the security team as he taunted them with the sight of all that money. Rick placed a folded 50 dollar bill in the sales girl’s hand.
“I can’t accept this,” she started to protest.
“Look, I know with what they are paying you, you can use it. Besides, your charm and kindness goes beyond what the job calls for.”
Rick placed the boxes under his arms and held the shopping bags, one in each hand. He walked directly over to where the security team stood and addressed them. “You dime store detectives have been following me for an hour. You’ve watched me from the moment I came into this store. What is it with you two? Don’t you think a black man has enough money to shop in a store like this? You watched me and couldn’t see that white bitch in the mink coat loading up. There was no lady in mink,” Rick had just said so to add insult to their wounded pride. “Oh, before I leave don’t you think you should check the money I used to pay for this stuff, it may be counterfeit.” Rick said to further fuck with their heads.
Precious jumped up and down in sheer delight, then came over and sat on the bed next to Rick.
“Thank you daddy for all the gifts you gave me!” She got up and went to stand in front of the mirror again to admirer her new outfits. With rollers in her hair she tried on each outfit and asked Rick’s opinion on how she looked in each. Rick knew by her reaction to his generosity, that her performance at work would replace all the money he had just spent.
Rick understood from the way Precious had chosen him it must have been all work and no play with Pretty Ed. It was for sure that Pretty Ed did not take the news well that he had been knocked for his bottom bitch. When Precious had once again stripped down to her panties and bra, Rick called her to come and sit on the bed next to him.
“Look here Precious; it’s time for you to take a step up in your hoeing.
I know a thoroughbred like you brings ones’ and twos’ a night. Now that you are with me you’ve got to understand it not about playing a street game. It’s about what you and I are going to be to one another so that we can get ahead in this man’s world. I will show you life as you never dreamed it could be.”
Rick noticed the blushing red color Precious’ skin had turned and the far off look that had come to her blue eyes. Rick knew the look and realized the orgasmic state that now swept over her mental being and every fiber of her body. Rick knew her hopes as they called out to him.
“It is rare, Precious, that a man finds a lady that is indeed himself,” Rick whispered softly in her ear.
Precious brought her head to rest on his knee, he ran his fingers through her hair as he continued to speak. “It is in you that I see a reflection of all that life was ever meant to be. You were a lost soul that awaited the hand that would guide it. I want you to know Precious, when you chose me it was the right choice. Look at me, if you can see no further, than you will know that all I have said is true.”
“Look here Precious, I want to get some sleep and you’ve been in this hotel room since early this morning. If you want to take a walk or see a movie you go right ahead, but please be back so you can wake me at 10:30. All I need is four or five hours of sleep. When I wake up, I will take you out to dinner.”
“I don’t want to go out now, I will stay in until you are ready to take me out,” she insisted. Precious massaged Rick’s neck and back until he fell asleep. Rick awaken, slowly easing his eyes slightly open. Precious was sitting on the bed naked watching him, thinking he was still asleep. Rick did not move or give any indication that he was wide awake. He watched Precious as she stared at what she thought was his sleeping form. The expression on her face was like that of a mother who had just seen her newborn child for the first time. Rick turned on the bed as though he were doing it in his sleep. His hand came to rest on her legs, which were tucked beneath her. Rick stroked her thigh as he pretended to be coming alive from a deep sleep.
Precious slid into Rick’s embrace and he drew her close to him.
“I hope you are ready girl, because I going to show you the life like you have never seen it.”
“I’m ready daddy,” she replied.
Rick’s head was resting on the pillow at the back of the tub. The soap bubbles covered him up to his neck. Precious climbed into the tub straddling him. She washed Rick’s body with loving care, stealing a kiss whenever she thought her timing was right. Precious pulled the bath tub plug and turn the shower on. They both stood to rinse the soap off.
Rick was naked, laid across the bed and watched as Precious tried on several outfits to see which pleased him. Once he had decided which he liked best for tonight’s event, he got up and placed his black pleated pants across the bed. Rick looked at the black suede shoes with the gray lizard skin bow tie across the front that sat on the table next to a pair of black full alligator shoes. Rick also considered a pair of black and gray lizard skin shoes. Rick laid his jewelry out as Precious took her hair out of rollers. Rick chose the black full alligator shoes to drape himself in all black.
Rick knew his outfit would match the black mini evening gown and red fox jacket he had chosen for Precious to wear. Rick also knew these outfits would further claimed to the fact that Precious was now with him.
All eyes fixed on them as they walked across the lobby of the Americana Hotel. Precious turned in surprise and looked up at Rick as the chauffeur open the door to the Cadillac stretch limousine. “I told you Ms. Lady, it’s time for you to take a step up in life.”
They rode in the quiet splendor of the limo, the soft sounds of Sam Cook’s velvet voice eased them into a tranquil state of mind as he sang, “I was born by the river… in a little tent, and just like the river I’ve been running ever since. It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die… because I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky, but I know a change is going to come, o--h yes it will”.
Buy Prisoner of Dreams: Confessions of a Harlem Drug Dealer by Rick Talley here.
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