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But what Mike really wanted her to do in Florida was hit a lick. She failed. The way Orlando police described it, two girls in an SUV with out-of-state tags stopped to talk to a man, Frederick Calloway, in a restaurant parking lot. The girls asked him if he knew a cheap place to spend the night. All three of them ended up at the Villager Lodge, a horseshoe-shaped hotel wrapped around a pool, the grounds dotted with leaning palm trees. Calloway ended up with a gunshot wound through the neck and out the back of his head.
The two girls panicked, taking nothing from their victim. Police found Calloway hours later, semi-conscious and lying on bloody sheets. He lived .
When Falicia got back to Atlanta, Mike told her he liked the tattoo. But he also sprayed her with gasoline and lit a match, threatening to burn her alive. "You say that you love me," he told her. "But you don't do what I tell you to do. You didn't bring me the money" .
Again, he ordered her to kill a john. She refused. This time, he stripped her, tied her up and stuffed her in the closet. He poured rubbing alcohol on her and set her on fire. "You owe me your life," he told her. Next time she failed to do as he said, he promised he'd take what she owed him .
A few weeks later, a friend of Falicia's, Ray Goodwin, invited her, Mike and one of the other girls, Pumpkin, to a boat party at Lake Lanier . Ray promised Falicia she'd be able to make some money. That would appease Mike, because if he didn't see an opportunity for the girls to earn, they wouldn't be allowed to socialize.
Falicia and Pumpkin did well. They met a few men, guys with money, entertainment industry types in some way connected to Ray, who worked as a photographer. One of the men Pumpkin ran into, though Falicia didn't recall meeting him, was named Claudell Christmas. Friends called him Doc .
However well the girls did at the party, though, they blew it a week later. Falicia, Venus and a third girl had a good night at the club, pulling in about $500 each. They were driving home, Venus behind the wheel, when Falicia dozed off. She woke to flashing lights. They had been speeding, and they had dope in the car - marijuana, ecstasy and both crack and powder cocaine . They were in deep. Not only did they blow their drugs and money, they had to pay a bondsman to get them out of jail.
Falicia and Mike agreed: The girls were costing them. Mike was tired of their screw-ups, tired of slow hustling. He wanted Falicia to hit it big. "I'm ready to go, me and you. So you need to hit a lick, and we're going to leave the girls here."
But it didn't happen the way Falicia planned. She'd been expecting a stranger, a man she'd just met at a club with whom she'd never had dealings. When Mike was ready, though, the victim turned out to be someone who'd pulled Falicia out of some holes, someone she would call when Mike scared her, someone who knew what was up.
Ray was her friend.
For the second part of "Learning to hit a lick," click here.
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