Excerpt from King: The Early Years

Chapter 12

Child… now you know Redd rolling in his grave at the very thought of this,” Dekoven said in a pretentious effeminate voice. He was sitting in an office chair across from Sticky’s desk dressed casually in a Marc Jacobs leisure suit and wearing Lacoste loafers.

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“I know…” Sticky laughed, “but I can’t think of a better person for the job. These girls really need a makeover and—”


“Now you know these bitches need more than that! They need some NA, AA and Dr. Phil too, before I could ever do anything with them.”

Sticky and Dekoven both broke out into a fit of laughter. What he had just said was so true. Most of the girls that work in the club had battled addiction of some sort or another and had daddy issues. How Redd, or even Sticky for that matter, kept the place running was beyond anyone’s guess. Every night there was a problem; the till got clipped, someone went to jail, the police raided. All sorts of underhanded schemes seemed to unfold under the roof of Pooches. Despite it all, Sticky was determined to make it a first-class joint, and she knew she had to start with the girls.

“Besides…” Dekoven continued, “You know Redd wouldn’t want me in charge of nothing that had anything to do with this business. Let alone being put in charge of talent development.”


Sticky sat quietly thinking of how Redd never really accepted her brother. Dekoven was simply too much for him to process. Often, and especially on Thursday nights, he would show up at the club as his alter-ego in drag—Ms. Gina—who dressed in six inch heels and made more of a fashion statement than any other woman in the joint, including his sister.


He was so convincing in his appearance as a woman, with such remarkable grace, it never failed that some unsuspecting patron or male stripper new to the club would cozy up to him, and after things heated up, slip a hand under his skirt, only to discover his gumdrops. A fight would promptly break out, and all hell would unravel as the unfortunate soul would make his second mistake, thinking gay meant Punk.
Boo bop boo! Dekoven would transform into a Marvel hero defending gay rights. He would go from one extreme to another, drag queen to brawler, and quickly deliver a set of mixes and counterpunches, whipping most who thought that, just because he was a fag, he could not or would not fight.


“I never quite understood that boy,” Blue often said of him. Betty-Jean and he always fought about how Dekoven would play with Sticky’s dolls when they were children. “Just don’t understand it,” Blue would shake his head and feel guilty, believing his lack of presence in the boy’s childhood had somehow contributed to him being gay.

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With exception of his father’s absence and the dolls, Dekoven’s childhood was as normal as any boy’s. He had girlfriends. All the girls wanted to date him, be his girl and kiss on him, even the older ones, but kissing them didn’t feel right. He competed in some of the toughest bronc busting events. He fought with the other boys and won most of the time. However, by the time he reached his late teens he knew he was gay. He would go on to graduate at the top of his class as a hairstylist and develop an acquired taste for fashion that eventually built him a considerable Hollywood clientele. Often, he would fly out to L.A. or New York for one event or another to have some model or actor showcase his skills. He became a professional in his own right, which ultimately made his father proud.


“To each is own… to each his own,” were always Blue’s final words.

For King, growing up with such a flamboyant uncle was surprisingly the least bit of a hassle. From time to time some kid would crack a joke about his sweet ass uncle. He would often dismiss it without much fuss, and as time went on, and they came to recognize he was unaffected by their banter, the jokes all together came to an end.


Inside, however, he was affected. His uncle being gay had given him character beyond his years. Long before homosexuality was acceptable in popular culture, and state courts and legislators debated gay rights, Dekoven was the one person in King’s life who taught him to be himself and never try to live up to someone else’s standards.


Naturally, they did everything that uncles and nephews were supposed to do. They went fishing and hunting together, rode horses and bulls, and Dekoven even showed him how to fight. As a testament to his character, he always carried himself like a man while in his nephew’s presence.

After taking a few seconds to think about Dekoven’s comments, Sticky finally said, “I know, that’s why I spoke to Regina about recruiting some girls to work the club—”


“And what that bitch say?” Dekoven interrupted, still somewhat reluctant to accept the position.


“She would work on it. So what…, you in or what?”


“Well… I’m going to need about six months to clear my schedule. And—”


“So you’re in? I knew I could count on you,” Sticky smiled in excitement.


“Yeah, but I am… it’s only part-time. And Regina is going to have to deliver.”


“Now girl…,” Sticky said, knowing she was playing up to his alter ego, “You know she is. And when she bring them city hoes up in here these country niggaz go get to acting up.”


“Child… You ain’t never lied! Most of these niggaz grew up staring at the rear end of a cow or pig. And seeing them top-notch hoes Regina got, along with what I bring, definitely go get them chafe in the pants.”


They both fell out in a fit of laughter knowing what he had just said was so true. Life was but a stage for him in which performances played out in his mind like a XXX flick. With Regina’s girls and his talents and imagination, putting together a new stable of entertainers would be a piece of cake.

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