Archives For fucking up my life

 

It was 102 degrees the day the air conditioning crapped out on our tour bus. Mid August, somewhere between West Virginia and North Carolina.

20 writers trapped on a scorching hot bus. We drank to block out the oppressive heat. We were off the next day, so we showed no restraint. Not that we ever showed the slenderest thread of restraint.

It was the 90’s. We were in our 20’s. Do the math.

 

In the mid-90’s, spoken word poetry was HOT. The in-your-face nature of it, attacking gender, racial and economic social inequity, was perfect for that time. Which is why Perry Farrell decided to add a Third Stage to Lollapalooza for spoken word.

 

Slam Poetry

Slam Poetry is spoken word on steroids. A brutal poetry competition where judges quantify your talent with numbers on cardboard signs.

The New York City slam venue was a ruthless arena. You were heckled mercilessly the minute you stepped on stage, and if you wanted to stay on, you’d better be good.

I was.

Skinny little girl with a big fat mouth. I was featured in a documentary about the NYC slam scene and won a highly coveted spot on that ‘94 tour.

 

Lolla’s 1994 lineup was stellar. Nirvana. Green Day. Beastie Boys. George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars. Cypress Hill. A Tribe Called Quest.

In April, Kurt Cobain put a shotgun to his head, and Nirvana was replaced by The Smashing Pumpkins.

A massive let down.

 

Tequila at Twelve

We opened the Third Stage at noon, blasting War’s “Low Rider.” I got things going, dancing onstage in my Lolla uniform, daisy dukes and combat boots. By 12:30, I was pouring bottom shelf tequila into the mouths of teenage babes from the jug I kept behind the sound booth.

We performed several sets of poetry a day. Our teen audience, enraptured by the spoken word scene, stalked us between sets, asking for autographs. It was heady stuff.

 

The downside was, the Third Stage was sponsored by MTV. We were expected to run moronic crowd participation skits, like “The Dating Game” and “Oprahpalooza.”  As our youthful rebellious response to the commercialism of MTV we decided to jack up the skits.

 

Girl-on-Girl Porn

I ran the Dating Game.

I’d pick an extremely hot, intoxicated Lolita to be the “Bachelorette” on stage, along with three guys. Right before she chose one, I’d yell, “Forget these losers! Pick ME!”

Then I’d start making out with her. I had a built-in radar that always found a girl who dug it. We’d end up rolling around on the stage, grinding and groping each other while the audience went completely bat shit crazy.

Word got around that there was live girl-on-girl porn on the Third Stage at 4:00. By mid-summer, it was one of the hottest tickets on the tour.

Thank God there were no responsible adults around.

 

 

 

Rock Stars and Poets and Bears, Oh My

The cool thing about Lollapalooza is that everyone, musicians, roadies and poets, milled about backstage together, ate together, partied together. Gradually, most of the musicans came to the Third Stage to check us out. As the tour wore on, some of us collaborated. A horn player from Parliament Funkadelic dug me and my poetry. He would come to the Third Stage to accompany my performances.

The dark, rich sounds of his trumpet wove around my words, letting the audience feel both the story in my poetry, and the story of how he and I felt about each other. Those seductive, late afternoon renditions of my spoken word were the pinnacle of my performing career.

For many, for most, it was the summer of love.

 

Okay. It was a total fuck fest.

On tour, everyone’s single. You never knew which musician would wake up on our bus, crawling out of the coffin-like sleep bunks. I won’t name names. I’m a star-fucker, not a name-dropper.

 

 

Some of my favorite tour moments took place after we closed the third stage at 6:00.

Every evening, I raced across the venue to Main stage to catch Parliment Funkadelic and worship at the altar of George Clinton. Clinton was an icon who dominated my R&B project girl childhood. I don’t get stupid about musicians, but I’d watch the P. Funk All Stars from backstage and fangirl the fuck out.

 

After, we’d, head to the Beastie Boys’ trailer where they set up a basketball court outside and played as their pre-show warm up. My horn player played against them every night. The Beastie’s were dope white boys from Queens, and I was fond of them, but I took perverse pleasure in watching my horn player stomp their asses across the court.

We drove through the night to the next city. No showers, no sleep, no exercise, no healthy food. Touring was grueling, so we bolstered ourselves with alcohol and drugs. We only checked into a hotel if we played the same city for more than a day. Then we had the luxury of a shower, but still, no one slept. With all of us set loose at a hotel for the night, neither did any of the other guests.

I chronicled the tour by talking into a hand-held tape recorder which I carried with me everywhere. I have the entire experience on tape. I recently moved, and unearthed the whole collection of cassettes.

I can’t bear to listen to them.

 

Returning Hero

I came back to New York victorious.

Clips from interviews and performances had been splattered across MTV. We had crossed over, melded performance poetry with rock and roll.

One MTV news clip was 10 seconds of me, my flaming red, 90’s hair bigger than my body, standing on the Beastie’s basketball court. All full of myself, and lots of tequila, I proclaimed “Spoken word is ROCK AND ROLL POETRY!” At the moment, my horn player stole the ball from Ad-Roc and made a running layup, and I screamed, “That’s what I’m TALKING about!”

It was played repeatedly.

I had offers to do articles. Books. I had performances scheduled. My phone rang incessantly. Managers wanted me. Agents wanted me.

Unfortunately-

I had acquired a bad habit. Without the tour, without the whole carnival of lights, sound and music…

My 10 seconds of fame so overwhelming, I could not handle it…

Or knew I couldn’t sustain it?

Something.

I lost myself.

 

I missed deadlines. Blew off performances, or showed up so high on smack, I’d stumble through a shit show and think I was spectacular.

I pulled the phone out of the wall, for days at a time. Heroin makes you antisocial.

A popular female journalist (I’m not going to say her name; she’s still around) interviewed me for a downtown New York City weekly newspaper (yes, that one). I showed up high, junkie girlfriend in tow. To the bemusement of the journalist, we spent the interview nodding off, waking up to bicker about my writing, the meaning of art, and who used up the last of our drugs.

The photographer snapped a picture of me asleep at the café table, coffee cup raised to my lips. Instead of writing about the spoken word movement, the journalist focused on downtown druggie nihilism masquerading as art. She made me the poster child for 1990’s drug-addled self-sabotage in a hatchet piece called “How to Destroy Your Writing Career.”

They never ran that story. I faded, mercifully, into obscurity.

 

Most of the poets I knew from that tour are successful writers.

I never discuss it. People who know me today don’t even know it ever happened.

Maybe it didn’t.

 

 

When I first wrote this story in 2013, I ended it with an homage to the genius of Kurt Cobain. I quoted “All Apologies” and loftily asserted that I needed to forgive myself for squandering my opportunity.

Five years later, I see the truth. The story that journalist wrote IS my story. I am a master of self sabotage. I fear success more than failure.

There is nothing else in the world that I want to do more than write, yet it brings up every fear I have about not being good enough.

I wrote an essay about mental illness, and when I was honored for that essay at a writing conference, I was ironically so anxiety-ridden I never left my hotel room.

Paradoxically, I see myself as both magnificent and inadequate. If I achieve any level of success as a writer, it creates such cognitive dissonance that I need to massage my psyche back into alignment with drugs, with sex, with bad decisions.

I am the Queen of Bad Decisions – I may go down, but it will be in beautiful fiery flames of my own making. I get to control my own failure, rather than let it blindside me.

The book that lives inside me goes unwritten. Surely I would be exposed to the writing community as a fake. The belief that I am a fraud is called Imposter Syndrome. It (along with massive Daddy Issues) has bought my therapist her beach house, but I’m certain it will be rooted in me until the day I die.

 

Here I feel safe. Here, I have a small, fiercely devoted group of followers, and your love for me and my words does not scare me. It’s a sweet miracle that every time I hit “Publish,” there you are.

Thank you.

Talk to me.
All this self-awareness has given me a giant migraine, but I’m listening.

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I want to write about sex.

I want to write about the glorious way it feeds my creativity, and how deep pleasure is balm to my soul. I want to capture the absurd dichotomy of my existence as both single mom and sexual being, in long wet delicious sentences.

But then I would be a sex blogger. And I’m not brave enough for that.

 

I want to write about the tug of war going on in my brain, my anxiety and depression and PTSD and Imposter Syndrome.

But then I would be a mental illness blogger. I don’t want to be mentally ill, let alone write about it.

I’m inflamed with unexpressed ideas. It feels like sickness. Tender, feverish, swollen.

I want to bite off more than I can chew and chew longer.

I want to navigate the jagged edges of all my experiences, dance among the wreckage, celebrate the joy and the hideousness of every mistake I’ve ever made.

I want to write about the grief and anger that are spinning out of control, that feel like ground glass shredding me from the inside.

Instead, I am a phony.

 

 

 

Long ago I learned abuse and neglect as love. I am addicted to feeling never good enough, and the sweet momentary high when I’m mining for love and hit right into a silvery vein of approval.

Because in our first exchanges, you either criticized or ignored my writing, you felt like home. But this time, I WOULD be good enough. If only. If only.

If only.

 

I was new to the online world. And didn’t know that unwanted attention is part of the experience for many women.

You said it was because I had a sex blog. And that no one would take me seriously.

 

I turned to Brenda at Burns the Fire. Two years later, I have not forgotten how she saved me.

She told me, LOVE. Just, LOVE.

Yes, you are provocative, she said, and what’s wrong with that? Just LOVE.

 

I’m disconnected from what ever it is that people feel when they read me. When I sit at the keyboard all I feel is fear. The blood pounds in my ear so loudly all I hear is a verbal dance of madness.

 

I want to write stories of horrific post partum depression, the kind that makes you want to drown your own child. And how I crossed over to a love so deep, I’m the one drowning now.

But how tiring it is, that I need to share everything, down to the last blood cell.

I’m not funny on Facebook.

My rock tees are silly.

Bad things happen to me because I seek pain.

My beloved project was only popular because misery loves company. I left it over a year ago and once an arrow shot into the heart, it bled out.

 

I’m not a writer. I’m simply part of a cult that writes little 1000 word essays for other WordPress bloggers.

Yes, that is what I am. I have no evidence to the contrary.

Is that a bad thing?

*dances in a cult-like fashion around a WordPress statue*

 

I only use profanity because I’m a lazy writer. Yes, it’s an easy way to get a cheap laugh. Suck my dick.

 

I want to breathe fire into these keys and tear apart every fucking idea about what a blog should be

I want everyone to know that I’m crazy, and find it thrilling because it means I’m doing great things.

I want to Write Free!

Freedom feels like a walk along the ocean’s shore, accompanied by the cry of sea gulls and the briny smell and the wind blowing cooler than inland.

Freedom feels like a month in a loony bin inpatient treatment center getting electroshock therapy to burn this out of my brain, for once and for fucking final.

 

The wrong person at the wrong time can build a nest right inside your insecurities and confirm for you that you are, in fact, nothing.

 

I have learned the hard, soul crushing way that writing your deepest tragedies leaves you open to pain almost as fierce as the tragedies themselves.

When someone you cherish asks for the fourth time why you moved out of NYC. Or asks you how your beloved brother died, when you spelled these things out in technicolor horror on posts they, in fact, commented on.

I learned the painful way that some of the people I love most don’t read what I write, and that sometimes, people leave comments to keep up appearances.

Which is like, inviting you to my brother’s funeral, and you showing up in a clown suit.

 

My posts are too long. I violated the formulaic 700 word rule. What’s the point in tapping out this sentence when everyone stopped reading by the time I wrote “sentence”?

 

This will be another story that I won’t publish, part of the daily bloodletting.

I write daily but publish infrequently.

I fear being ridiculed again, hearing you sneer that not everyone writes about shoplifting and heroin, you know.

Yes.

I know.

Here. Here’s a recipe.

Vanilla Chai Frozen Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla chai protein powder
  • I frozen banana
  • ½ cup almond milk

Put everything in your smoothie maker thing. Turn that shit on. Eat it.

 

There.

 

I often sob while I write. Out of sheer relief that comes with sharing my truth as transparently and vulnerable as humanly possible

Self sabotage is my comfort zone. I squander my life on drugs and terrible choices and people whose need to make me feel small meshes perfectly with my need to disappear.

 

I have been force-fed so many different versions of myself, there is nothing left but everyone’s idea of me.

 

He did not break me. I was broken when he found me.

He was just drawn to the glittering shards and could not help but grind them down into dust.

 

Please refrain from disparaging comments. Be encouraging. 
I need positivity. Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter . Or don’t. You do you. 

Beer_Drinking_Woman-500x335 4

I’m the party girl, the smarty girl, that arty girl

That rock and roll child, toured with Nirvana

Born to be wild, dressed up in style

Party with rock stars, cool kids, out laws, in the raw

 

I’m the cool girl, the hot girl, the “it” girl, human tilt-a-whirl

The popular girl, wild child, live on the edge, crouched on a ledge

The sexy girl, men want to screw

Super talented chick, don’t you wish it were you?

 

One two three drink

one two three drink

one two three drink

throw ‘em back till I lose count

 

Envy me, copy me, fall for me; worship me

Beg for me, plead for me

If they want me they bleed for me

I’m the girl who takes all the chances, who dies everyday,

is reborn every moment, I’ll lead you astray

 

Pour me a drink and I’ll tell you my life

your envy so thick it could cut with a knife

White hot

Independent

Drinks are for free.

My options got options, don’t you wish you were me?

 

Dressed to wicked perfection in Jimmy Choo boots

Black leather and buckles in three different heights

Bold and

brassy

Inappropriate

Carefree

Druggy misadventures with Beasties and Flea

 

The Limelight

The Tunnel

The Mercer Hotel,

Partied in Vegas

New Orleans

Nashville was hell

 

 

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

    I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist

 

 

I’m the girl who’s shaking now, what have I done, what have I done?

I’m the girl who’s sobbing now, gotta unplug,

Hair matted down on one side

“just get home” on repeat

 

All those friends were not real they were props on my stage,

painted in the shattered strobe light now they all fade

Stop judging me, hating me, coveting my life

The years slipped through my fingers, a fool’s paradise

 

She’s the makeup smeared girl in a bathroom stall

vomiting out daddy issues against the back wall

Cutting white lines on the closed toilet seat

without smack in her veins she feels incomplete

 

Dance with me, sing with me, you’ll present like a king with me,

steal with me, deal with me; you won’t ever heal with me

 

The party girl’s wrapped in layers of numb

anesthetized to the hilt with cocaine and rum

Escaping at dawn from a loft I don’t know

How did I end up downtown? Did all of us go?

 

Remember that time she was sectioned in Queens?

She thought it was Manhattan or some kind of dream

A cop picked up her up for not knowing her way,

or where she was, who she was, or even what day.

Commited for 3 days for being insane –

a half ounce of coke does that to a brain

 

The hot MILF, the cool mom,

loses custody of her kid.

So cop a little more scag,

drop off the grid

Hot-bodied flame-haired

girl from the hood

She’s homeless in 6 months

But damn she looks good

 

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes

    Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight

 

Ready to fuck like a porn star, wanna have a good time?

send me your email I’ll fuck you online

Check your respect at the door cause you’re here to screw

and fuck my best friend, don’t mind if you do

 

Play with me, stray with me, put yourself on display with me

Stay with me, stay with me, I can’t bear another day of me

 

Play with me

Stay with me

Stay with me

Please

I can’t be alone I can’t seem to breathe

Post- party heart- crushing comedown at dawn

when the drugs are used up everybody is gone

 

Play with me

pray for me

Play with me

pray for me

 

The life of the party, she quietly seeks death

You’ve helped her this far – why not steal her last breath?

Play with me

Pray for me

Play with me

Pray for me

 

pray for me

pray for me

pray for me

pray for me

 

Have compassion for the people who seem to be having the time of their lives. It’s an act.
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

The first time I heard this song, I thought Sia had peeked into my brain. 
The video is amazing. 

 

heroin 2

I snapped a picture of my surroundings and sent it to him, so somebody would know where I was.

“Pretty,” he said. “Where is that?”

“Downtown Newark.”

Downtown Newark, New Jersey is anything but pretty, but nighttime hides a multitude of sins.

“Are you going to score?”

“Yes” I  texted.

“Don’t be a dumbass” he responded.

“If you don’t hear from me in an hour-there’s a problem.”

 

An hour later, the most magnificent church bells rang in my soul as I bathed in the warm golden sunshine of a perfect life.

 

I was jolted out of my reverie by an obnoxious beeping.

It it was coming from my phone. I squinted, got a closer look.

7:45? AM?? Fuck. I’m usually up at 6:30. Get my kid up at 7.

My heart, thudding in my chest, slowed a bit when I recognized the reassuring sounds of his spoon clinking against his bowl of cereal.

I splashed cold water on my face. I was pale except the dark purple circles under my eyes. My hair was matted to my head from sweating profusely. I had a set of scratches on both arms.

I looked like a junkie.

If the shoe fits…

My kid was sitting at the table, eating his breakfast and looking at his tablet. I’ve taught him to be independent in the morning. But not so I can sleep off a dope nod.

“Baby, why didn’t you get me up?”

He shrugged. “Don’t sweat it. Can you make my lunch?”

He didn’t say anything about me wearing yesterday’s clothes. He couldn’t smell the dried vomit on my shirt. I opened the refrigerator door and the light hurt my eyes. Slowly, with shaky hands, I made his lunch.

Mother of the year

This is the last time I get high.

—-

NYC, April 1995

“Where have you been?” I looked up sleepily at Debby. It was 5 am and she had just let herself back into my apartment.

“I couldn’t sleep. I went to cop. You want me to fix you?”

“What day is it?” I looked at the calendar. “No. It’s Tuesday, right? I work today.”

I watched her prep her fix. I loved watching her beautiful, delicate hands do this. Her skilled fingers, the neat flick of her wrist – raised prepping a dope fix to an art form.

“Frenchie just got this in. This shit is supposed to be fire.”

She dumped the contents of her packet into a spoon, flicking at the small plastic packet until all the power tumbled out.

She added a small amount of water to the dope, making it the perfect consistency. She held a lighter to the bottom of the spoon, cooking the mixture to the optimum temperature. She always got it right – hot enough to burn off some of the cut in the dope – but never so hot that it damaged the heroin.

She twisted the cotton off the end of a Q- tip into a tic-tac sized ball. She dropped the tiny puff into the heroin and it swelled up like a sponge. She pushed the tip of the syringe into the center of the cotton, which filtered out impurities.

Slowly, she retracted the plunger until all of the heroin was sucked in.

Using her index and middle fingers she gently slapped a vein right above the crook of her elbow. She never had to pull back the plunger, like most junkies did, to draw blood up the syringe and make sure she was in a vein.

She never missed.

I watched her eyes take on that faraway look of exquisite pleasure, as her brain rode the waves of that first rush. Her facial muscles slackened, her body swayed. She looked at me and smiled.

“I’m…so…high…”

Those were her last words.

 

Her eyes rolled back in her head. She slumped to the floor. Her lips turned blue, then purple.

All in slow motion.

I did nothing. I was paralyzed with fear. I could not bring myself to touch her. I called 911 and babbled hysterically.

I could actually see a faint pulse throbbing irregularly in her throat. Her breathing was shallow. Her skin was the yellow color of cafeteria cheese.

She was dying.

She was dying, and I couldn’t bear to watch it.

I ran out of my apartment and stumbled out onto the street. I had on no coat or shoes, and even though it was mid-April, it was only a raw, cold 40 degrees. I ran through the streets barefoot, wild and desperate, going nowhere.

The police and EMT workers arrived 11 minutes after I called 911. The 5th precinct was only 8 short city blocks away. But an overdose, on the Lower East Side? That’s how you clean up the streets. Human pesticide, as far as the police were concerned.

By the time we all got inside my apartment, Debby was dead.

 

A memorial service was held for Debby at St. Marks Church in the Bowery, the second oldest church in New York and a legendary performance space. Debby knew everyone, and everyone knew Debby.

Her memorial service was standing room only. Several of NYC’s leading punk musicians unplugged and performed acoustic songs.

Debby had introduced me to rock stars and gangsters, and heroin and lesbianism. She was the first and only woman I ever fell deeply in love with.

I wrote a spoken word poem, dedicated to her memory, and performed it at her memorial service.

It was the last time I ever performed spoken word in front of a live audience.

 

After the service I copped several dime bags of smack down on Clinton Street.

My boyfriend’s face, when he saw them, darkened with rage. He snatched the packets off the table.

“What?!” I demanded. “WHAT?? This is the last time I get high!”

Apparently not. He flushed the drugs down the toilet. He snapped my works in half and threw the pieces out of the window.

I kicked heroin cold turkey. There was no money for fancy rehab.

The plan was simple. My boyfriend would not let me leave the house.

The withdrawal was not so simple.

I had excruciating pain in every muscle of my body. For three days, I threw up violently, and had horrible bouts of diarrhea. I was weak and dehydrated but couldn’t keep food down. I suffered with severe flu-like symptoms; sneezing and sniffling and dizziness and fever. Sweat poured off of me constantly; I was dangerously dehydrated. Sleep would have been a welcome relief, but there was no way I could fall asleep. I had frightening visual and auditory hallucinations.

By the second day, my boyfriend had to call both his brother and his cousin – who played in a band with him – for reinforcements. It took THREE GROWN MEN to keep me inside that apartment and away from my dealers.

I turned into a snarling, cursing beast. In between raging bouts of excruciating pain and illness, I fought them with the strength of 10 men.

My boyfriend’s brother was a recovered heroin addict. I sobbed uncontrollably to him and said,
”This is what it feels like to DIE.”

He answered, “NO. This is what it feels like to LIVE.”

 

By the third night I was drained and exhausted, and managed to fall asleep at dawn for a few hours.

I awoke Sunday morning. My muscles had stopped spasming in pain.

My boyfriend pulled back the shades that had been drawn for days.
“Let’s get some air in here,” he said.

He opened the large casement windows. Just then, in the distance, church bells began to chime.

It sounded like life.

It was Easter Sunday morning. And like Jesus, I had risen from the dead.

All these years later, and sadness throbs through my body.

There is a price to pay for feeling broken.

I’m aware of how I’m perceived, but I can’t feel it.

Heroin renders me immortal. I am what all humans seek through religion and spirituality.

On heroin, I am my vision of myself.

I’m socially adept, moving fluidly among others instead of hiding in my room.

I’m the writer who inspires, rather than constantly crawling through the wreckage of her squandered life.

I’m a woman capable of love; of intimacy and relationships. Not someone who lets no one get close.

I’m the mother my child deserves, not the one who’s exhausted and impatient and irritable.
Not the selfish bitch who risked her life to get a fucking fix.

 

This is the LAST time I get high.

This IS the last time I get high.

THIS. Is the last time I get high.

 

What is, or was, your drug of choice? What finally made you stop?
Did you ever write a post you just weren’t sure you should write, but you did anyway?
Are you tired of your problems? Are you tired of mine?

Talk to me. I’m listening.

This is the most simple, most perfect, most beautiful song about heroin addiction ever.

0

 

Debby and I were now unofficially living together.

She often disappeared, sometimes for days at a time. At first I used to question her. But she always shut me down, and I soon realized I would have to accept this.

No doubt she was off nodding with her junked up punk friends.

She was deep into the hardcore heroin lifestyle. I was a drug dilettante at best. If I did indulge with her, I usually snorted it.

I hated that bruised inner arm look that junkies sported; always having to wear long sleeves, even in the summer.

Of course, years later, I would stop caring about those bruises – unless they signified a collapsed vein and a hunt for a new needle target on my body.

 

I really loved working on 51st street. This group of women became my little dysfunctional posse. It only took me a week before it hit me like Ike did Tina –

these women were THE poster children for “Daddy Issues.” They had enough absentee father issues to fill several Lifetime Movies of the Week.

They were strong, independent, tough talking but underneath, fragile. They either looked to men to validate them – or mistrusted and rejected men altogether.

Sounded familiar…

 

There were some repugnant aspects to the job.

We did receive our share of degenerates calling.  After all, we were advertising in Screw Magazine, the preeminent and spectacularly tasteless hard-core porn newspaper.

I learned to hang up on the heavy breathers, who were obviously calling so they could masturbate while I described “a leggy blonde with D cup breasts.”

And every few weeks, I received at least one heartbreaking phone call from a wife, denouncing me as a slut and a whore.

After calmly explaining that I was just a receptionist, I would suggest that this was an issue best discussed with her husband.

I tried to be as consoling as possible.

What woman wants to find out that not only is her husband unfaithful, but a whoremonger?

I reassured them that it had NOTHING to do with them and everything to do with the fact that men are dogs. And had I known he was married, I NEVER would have booked the appointment. (This part was a lie; most of the clients were married. But these women were usually crying.)

 

 

And then there were the customers who wanted to book a session with ME. Chiefly, because I WASN’T available.

He’d chat with all these sexed up women, who were pouting or giving him seductive eyes.

I’d ask, “Okay, so and so. Who would you like to see?”

He’d look right past Kathy, her D cup breasts spilling over a leopard bra that her tangerine baby doll dress barely covered, her long gorgeous legs clad in thigh high stockings that ended in leopard fuck-me pumps.

And look at me, In black jeans, baggy black Ramones tee shirt, Converse Hi Tops.

“You,” and point at me.

“I’m not available.”

“I only want to see YOU.”

Did I forget to mention the geeky glasses I wore?

What a perverse thing the male psyche is.

 

One busy Thursday, Kathy, Nicki and Gail were all on the schedule. Those were my favorite days, when all my girlfriends were working. The shift flew by, with us making wisecracks and acting silly in between the steady flow of customers.

A client who’d been there before came in to see Kathy. He was a big, beefy looking Irish guy and he brought 2 friends who I thought looked familiar. They had a drink in the reception area, and all three disappeared into bedrooms with a girl.

After a few minutes, Kathy came out.

“He doesn’t have enough money. He wants to go to an ATM machine and come back.”

“Tell him to put it on a credit card.”

“He doesn’t want it showing up on his card. He’s married.”

Most of them were. It’s not like the statement listed “51st Whorehouse.” It was a dummy entertainment corporation. Still, he wasn’t the first married customer to be skittish about using his credit card.

But no one had ever come in and left to go get more money.

I immediately became VERY nervous.

“Was he naked when you discussed this?”

“Yes! Of course!”

 

Although I gave rates on the phone, money was never discussed or changed hands until a client was “completely comfortable.”

Theoretically, undercover police officers are not allowed to be naked. It’s much easier to construct a case for entrapment if the police office is nude.

But now he was going to get dressed and leave and come back?

I heard him in the hallway. Now his two friends were out of their rooms, as well.

Did all three of them come inadequately fixed for cash?

Something was VERY WRONG.

My first thought was, I’ve GOT to hide the session log. I was shoving it in my bag when the three of them came stomping in the reception area.

 

“WE’RE THE POLICE, AND THIS IS A RAID!”

Could this be a practical joke? Please let this be a fucked up prank.

One of them flashed his badge at me and said,

“There was an offer of prostitution made here. You’re under arrest!”

I answered him,

“I didn’t make anybody any offer of prostitution.”

He answered angrily, “What do you think is going on in all those rooms?”

I answered, “Those are consenting adults.”

 

He became enraged and yelled in my face, “You’re under arrest! Now face the wall and SHUT UP!”

They stomped through the townhouse, snatching the women from the rooms.

They sat them in the reception area huddled together. Several of them were crying.

I would NOT cry.

I looked at Nicki. Her face was a dispassionate mask.

I set my face the same way.

 

An officer led me into the kitchen and handcuffed me. They interrogated the two clients who had been in session when the raid started. They were issued tickets and sent on their way.

Now they began to lay siege to the townhouse. They tore through the desk, through the closets where the girls kept their street clothes and belongings, flinging things every which way.

Watching them unnecessarily ransack our place made me more angry than scared.

I got mouthy. Demanded to see a warrant. Challenged them as to what evidence they had.

They ignored me and continued to tear the place apart.

 

A female officer accompanied the girls into the bedroom, where they were allowed to change into their street clothes. And then, we were led out, handcuffed in pairs.

I was handcuffed to Nicki. Thank God. She said “Well, if I have to be handcuffed to someone, I’m glad it’s YOU.”

I was relieved Debby wasn’t working that day. She’d never survive a day in jail, with her heroin habit.

 

The back of a police car is quite odd looking. There are no handles on the doors or any window mechanisms. There’s a grill separating you from the front seat.

It’s basically a cage on wheels.

We were driven to the local precinct, where they fingerprinted us, and took all our belongings. We had to remove our belts.

We were allowed our one phone call. I dialed my boyfriend’s number and got his answering machine.

Of course.

 

I was put into a postage stamp sized cell. I tried to stay calm, despite the close quarters. One officer had told us we’d be processed, arraigned, and probably out the next day. I wondered how I would survive the night in this tiny airless cell.

I needn’t have worried.

After a few hours, we were led outside and put into a van. We looked at one another questioningly.

Finally, I asked,”Where are we going?”

The officer driving said over his shoulder, “Central Booking.”

My head went numb.

Central Booking?

The Tombs.

This was a notorious detention center in downtown Manhattan.

People got KILLED in the Tombs.

 

Bianca, a petite curvy brunette, started to weep. I comforted her.

“Shh, it’s okay. We’ll be out by tomorrow.”

The officer sitting up in the front turned slightly, and said to me,

They will. Not you. You were just charged with promoting prostitution.

That’s a felony charge.”

 

My heart stopped.

Oh, dear God. I’m fucked.

WHAT?

These women were fucking 12 guys a day, and I’m a felon? I’m a goddamned receptionist.

 

At Central Booking, we were taken into a narrow courtyard, then led through a tiny armored booth, and then along a maze of concrete and poorly lit corridors.

We were led down one flight of stairs, then another, then another, then another. I was beginning to understand why it was called “The Tombs.”

 

The holding cell was a large room, about twenty feet long, fifteen feet wide. Along one side were metal bars. In one corner was a filthy toilet and sink.

A shiny metal bench ran alongside the rest of the perimeter. The walls were a putrid light green under glaring flourescent light.

 

It was filled with an assortment of 40 of the scariest looking women I had ever seen.

Some of them didn’t even look like women.

This was not like any female “sexy inmate” porn.

They were filthy, and beat up looking. They stunk like garbage. The other prostitutes were skanky streetwalkers.

There was one fairly clean, almost presentable woman in there.

I later found out she had been arrested trying to sell her baby for drugs.

 

After the corrections officer slammed the door shut, we stood huddled together while the Tomb’s finest looked us up and down.

The hard-bitten wise-cracking tone I’d adopted with the policeman disappeared, and was replaced by

 COMPLETE TERROR.

I thought I was such a hot shot, playing fast and loose with the law.

But now- I imagined myself beaten. Stabbed.

Just last week there had been an article in the paper about a woman whose face was completely shattered against the very bench I was now looking at. By another inmate of the Tombs.

The Tombs is a place with signs posted to visitors that say:

POSSESSION
OF
CONTRABAND
(WEAPONS)
RAZORS KNIVES SHANKS SHIVS BULLETS
And any other weapon capable of causing injury and/or
otherwise endangering the safety of the institution
WILL RESULT IN YOUR IMMEDIATE ARREST

 

Who was going to help me now?

Debby was probably off high, somewhere.

My boyfriend hadn’t answered the phone.

My family knew nothing of this job, and there was NO WAY I would ever each out to them.

I. Was. Dead.

 

Next week: The Conclusion! Phone Girl in a Whorehouse, Part 4.

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Have you ever gotten yourself into bad trouble? Or been arrested? 
Talk to me. I’m listening.