Hustler’z Code #BackStory Character: Raven (Patricia Leogrande)

 

    In the streets of New York there are many storytellers. Many of them are very skilled at weaving tales of fiction and non-fiction. Some reach a level of storytelling mastery. Matteo Leogrande was such a man. He was also a man of high value by any metric of today or yesterday. He commanded a six figure income which placed him in the top ten percent of earners. Well traveled and cultured, exposed to many experiences traveling around the world twice before his 40th birthday. Confident but not cocky, attractive but not pretty, wise and inquisitive man of the streets who was no gangster. He was a salesman. He was a damn good salesman. He worked for General Electric selling CT Scanners to hospitals around the world. GE would fly him out for a week and he would be home for a week. He would alternate his time between New York and Miami. One week he would spend at his home in Miami and the alternate week he would spend at his sister’s house in New York. His sister’s name is Arianna. Matteo and Arianna were very close and very fond of each other growing up only 10 months apart in age. Their youth consisted of a strict mother and father who were raised on many religious beliefs and convictions. These beliefs and convictions had Arianna’s mother disown her when she became pregnant as a teenager without a husband. She was kicked out of her home and effectively abandoned by her parents. Matteo (10 months older) refused to disown her the way his parents did. A clever young man at the time, he vowed to take care of his kid sister and the child that would become his favorite niece “Patricia”

    

When Patricia came of age, she would was allowed to play cards with her favorite uncle and his friends whenever “Uncle Matt” came in town. Arianna worked the graveyard shift as a nurse but she did not mind her her daughter Patricia hanging out at the gambling spot with her favorite uncle. Arianna trusted her brother with her life. Matteo was all she had after her parents abandoned her. Her brother put her through nursing school and paid her bills until she got her degree. He even got a lawyer to hunt down Patricia’s father and made him pay child support. So Arianna never denied her daughter the male influence that her brother provided. Matteo treated his niece more like a cousin. He had a “live and let live” philosophy. When he would take his 20 year old niece to the gambling houses, he noticed that he would win big on nights Patricia dressed provocatively. The clever man that Matteo is, saw the opportunity that was obvious in his nieces beauty. He took all of his spare time to teach Patricia how to play poker. She absorbed his knowledge like a sponge absorbs water. She loved that her favorite uncle never tried to tell her what she should or shouldn’t do. She loved that Matteo allowed her to express her sexuality without being weird about it. She loved all of the money they made together form the distracted men at the gambling houses. Patricia was young, beautiful, loved and rich.

So much so that her mother became resentful of her daughter’s success, feeling like she had become spoiled because life became way too easy for her. This led to arguments and fights between Arianna and her daughter, and Arianna and her brother. Reaching a breaking point, the now 22 year old Patricia moved out of New York and stayed at Uncle Matt’s home in Miami. Patricia became even more spoiled like her mother feared she would be. She thought she could support herself by playing poker for a living but she was wrong. Very wrong. So wrong in fact, she borrowed money from a lone shark on the strength of her uncle’s name. The debt was too great and she could not repay it. Her favorite Uncle was never heard from again. She believes he lost his life because of her and so does her mother. She moved away from Miami but not before trying to survive on her own as an exotic dancer. Patricia was an amazing dancer who was great at being one. One of the stories Matteo would always tell at the poker tables was the story of “Simony Chiavary” A mythical femme fatal who was the hustler to beat all hustlers. She was a goddess to exotic dancers and had many on her payroll that worked in the underworld for many powerful men. Patricia was obsessed with Simony’s mythos and she became more obsessed with her after the real Simony and Patricia shared a kiss. As a matter of mere happenstance, a young Simony came inside of Patricia’s place of employment (The Foxy Lady) on business. The two shared a booth as well as each other’s lips. Patricia wasn’t into girls but she was into Simony. Simony was just as beautiful as Uncle Matt’s stories said that she’d be. Patricia has moved back to New York and is tireless hustler in the so-called “city that never sleeps”

She still does not speak to her mother,

she still is a skilled poker player,

she still works as an exotic dancer

and she still is obsessed with Simony Chiavary.

Not much has changed but she herself has changed a great deal.

Patricia now calls herself “Raven” and she is ready to rise to level of her obsession.    

 

Footnote: The Husler’z Code is the 4th book in the “Poet’s Pursuit of Pleasure” series. I have learned so much as a writer since I began this journey over a decade ago. Making plausible and realistic characters that served to push a compelling story forward was my ultimate goal. Refining the art of the “backstory” was the way I found that I could make that goal attainable. See you guys soon.

– LaMont Anthony Wright AKA GB