Tricks of the Trade

Loose laws have turned Denver into an easy place for hookers to do business, but the fun's about to end.

It's midnight in Denver, and Kid Rock the pimp is checking his traps. Cruising down East Colfax Avenue, he keeps one eye on the three pagers clipped to his alligator-skin belt and the other on the sidewalk traffic scrolling past the tinted windows of his metallic-gold Lincoln Continental.

As always, his mind's on his money, and his money's on his mind.

"There we go, right there," he says, wheeling his ride to the curb of a 7-Eleven parking lot at Colfax and Steele Street. A plump platinum blonde wearing blue vinyl go-go boots glances both ways and then saunters over. Kid Rock powers down his window, and the blonde, who calls herself Dominique, leans into the car. She looks at least 35. Kid Rock is probably ten years younger.

"Hi, Daddy," she says.

"Hey, bitch," he answers, running a finger down her cheek in a gesture of affection.

Dominique arches her back to expose her cleavage. Her pimp roughly pops a button on the tight vinyl blouse that matches her boots, then reaches between her breasts and withdraws a wad of cash. Dominique's eyes lock on the money she earned the hard way. "I'm hungry, Daddy," she whines, like a child in a grocery checkout line. "Can I just have a little something to get me some fries?"

Kid Rock slaps her lightly on the same cheek he just stroked. "I told you once, bitch, I told you a million goddamn times, no French fries. They make your ass fat. We need to keep your ass lookin' real fine, now, you hear me?"

Dominique nods, chastened.

Shifting tactics, the pimp slathers his voice with butter. "Now, you just get your stroll on, break me down three or four tricks, then hit me on the hip [page me], and we'll go get you a salad and some chicken wings or some shit, all right?"

Eyes down, Dominique murmurs, "Yes."

"Watch your titties now," Kid Rock says, triggering his window switch. Dominique hops back as the Lincoln pulls away. The hooker stares after the big gold car as it arcs through the parking lot and turns east onto Colfax.

Inside, Kid Rock expertly counts his money, rubbing it between his right thumb and pointer finger. There are five tens, ten twenties and two hundreds. Four hundred and fifty dollars. The pimp's face splits into a gargoyle's grin. "She only been on the track five hours, and she got a few more to go yet," he says, pocketing the bills. "And that's just one ho. This is gonna be another fifteen-hundred-dollar night, for sure."

Kid Rock has three hookers on his string. Dominique is a "hand-me-down ho" he bought off another pimp for $5,000 in 1999. His second veteran, Twilight, he "peeled" from a competitor in Denver last summer. The pimp's third and newest recruit is Asia, a "fresh turnout" he picked up a few weeks back during a swing through Arizona. "I'm still breaking her in," he says. "She's still doing a little too much thinking for herself, you know what I'm saying?"

Take tonight, for example. Asia knows full well that each of Kid Rock's hos is supposed to check in with her pimp at least once an hour by pager. Each hooker's report is to include the following information in numeric code: where she is at that moment, either on Colfax or with a trick; which corners have been good for soliciting business; where the cops are hanging out; and always -- and most important -- how much money she's made.

Just now, as Kid Rock was collecting from Dominique, Twilight paged him to say she'd arrived with a customer at one of the plethora of cheap motels lining Colfax for a mile on either side of Yosemite Street, the city line between Denver and Aurora.

It's been three hours since Asia's last page, and at that time, she didn't have any money for her pimp. Finding her and disciplining her are high on Kid Rock's agenda right now.

While he searches, he holds forth.

"I been a motherfuckin' pimp since I was seventeen, meaning I got eight years in the game. I got a Ph.D. in pimpology," he says, biting a line from San Francisco's king of pimps, Fillmore Slim, as delivered in the popular 2000 documentary American Pimp, Kid Rock's nominee for "best movie in the motherfuckin' universe."

Aside from the gold rings on eight of his ten fingers and his ostentatious automobile, with its polished wire rims and jacked-up suspension, there's little about Kid Rock to suggest the stereotypical fur-coated, feather-in-a-velvet-fedora-sporting pimps of 1970s blaxploitation classics like The Mack. Instead, with his neatly cornrowed hair, baggy Karl Kanti designer jeans and oversized Versace black silk shirt, Kid Rock looks more like a member of NBA all-star Allen Iverson's notorious entourage of semi-reformed thugs than he does Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Kid Rock brags that he's been known by many names on the streets of many cities (his car and his profession, if not his legal identity, are certainly known to Denver's vice cops). He says he's from Detroit originally and rechristened himself Kid Rock in 2000 in honor of the Motor City pop star of the same name who scored a huge radio hit with "Cowboy," a rap-rock fable about a pimp on an epic road trip.

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