COLUMN FIFTY-FIVE, JANUARY 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
(A True Story Embellished)
ANOTHER NOTCH ON THE POLE
stands on the corner, switching from one foot to the other to fend off the cold.
Cars drive by slowly, the passengers ogling more out of curiosity than
smiles at the men driving alone. They
take her in as if she were a road sign. She
bends over every once and a while to give them a peek at her large cleavage
poking out through the top of her rabbit fur jacket.
the cold rain that’s falling, she wears what her pimp tells her.
Tube top. Stretch mini cut
just below the buttocks. Knee-high white bitch boots with six inch heels that make
walking almost impossible...
pimp let her wear the jacket, but only after she begged.
He refused at first, but after she sucked him off, he relented and even
gave her a pack of Winstons.
is his biggest money maker, but she gets no special treatment. Out of the fifteen women working for him, she is the oldest
at twenty-one. Rumor has it he
kills them at twenty-five, or sells them to a slave ring in San Francisco.
She tries not to think about it too much.
the oldest, she is in charge of keeping tabs on the girls.
The pimp has made her train girls as young as twelve to deep throat
without gagging countless times. She
does it without complaint. The
alternative is to hold the girl while he whips her with a red hot coat hanger.
they run away, it’s her job to find them and bring them back for punishment.
If she doesn’t find them, she gets the beating instead. The
pimp tells her that if she ever gets busted and rats him out, he’ll tell the
pigs that they’re in it together. There
is no escape...
lights a cigarette, then spits. She
can still taste pimp semen in the back of her mouth.
man approaches her from Yates Street. He’s
average height, balding, has glasses. The
face doesn’t ring up with the bad trick list compiled by other prostitutes on
the strip. She blows smoke in his
direction and smiles.
for some company tonight?” she asks.
he says quietly, looking at the sidewalk. “What
- how much are you charging?”
Oh God, another one of these, she thinks. The quiet ones are always the worst. Once back in the hotel room, they became sulky or belligerent. Some cried after. One trick just like
'Blows are a hundred and fifty, straight fuck is three bills. You want both, it’s four hundred, but you gotta be done in half an hour. Backdoor action will cost you an even grand'
this guy had wanted her to make him a diaper out of a towel, put him
in it and let him call her mommy over and over again, while he masturbated
through the terry material as she stood over him naked. She did it. It
wasn’t like she had a choice...
are a hundred and fifty, straight fuck is three bills. You want both, it’s four hundred, but you gotta be done in
half an hour. Backdoor action will
cost you an even grand. I don’t
do the pain shit, so don’t ask. Does
that about sum it up for you, sweetheart?”
much is it to just go somewhere and talk?” he asks, still examining the cracks
in the pavement.
okay to look at me,” she says, butting the smoke out on the sidewalk.
“That’s what I get paid for.”
looks up at her. One hand comes out
of the pockets and pushes the glasses back up on his nose.
“Okay,” he says. “Can
you go - talk?”
you wanna fuck me, baby?”
no, nothing like that. I just need
someone to talk to.”
pretty busy tonight,” she says, turning away to nod at a passing car.
driver waves. She blows him a kiss.
The driver flips her the bird, squeals his tires and is gone.
can pay you for your time, miss,” the trick says, pulling a wad of bills from
inside his jacket.
that shit away!” she hisses at him fiercely.
She scans Government Street and the sidewalk behind him for signs of
police. Thankfully, the only
traffic is another trick picking up Martha, the only other prostitute on the
fuckin’ heat-score! What are you
trying to do, get me busted?”
sorry,” he mumbles. The money
disappears. His eyes go back on the
she says, disgusted.
looks away, pretends to be waiting for a cab, for anything besides the freak
standing next to her. Five minutes
pass. He doesn’t go away.
She turns on him, raging.
she demands, pulling her cigarettes from her purse.
shrugs and for a brief moment, their eyes lock.
His eyes are green and red around the rims.
a fuckin’ crybaby?” she asks, lighting one of the cigarettes. She blows smoke in his face.
He looks back at the ground.
look like a fuckin’ crybaby,” she sneers.
“What’s your name, crybaby?”
Look at me, Gerald,” she says, painting his name with a wide swipe of
looks up at her, meek as a five year-old. She
owns him. For once, she feels the
power. For once, it won’t be her
getting shit on.
you don’t want to fuck, huh, Gerald?”
eyes never leave the ground.
don’t want to get some pussy, Gerald?” Again the name drag.
I uh, just want to talk. That’s
it,” he says, looking up quickly, then back down at the pavement.
it,” she says, stamping her foot.
looks up at her. His moth hangs
open when he breathes. She hates
you don’t want some pussy, Gerald. Say
uh, don’t want some...pussy,” he says, forcing the last word out of himself.
good, Gerald. Now say you’re a
fucking bitch who can’t get it up around a real woman,” she says, leering
and blowing more smoke in his face.
he asks again, uncertain.
you deaf, or just a complete fuckin’ retard, Gerald?
You need someone to talk to, so say it now, or no fuckin’ deal.”
is near to laughing in his face, money or no money.
She has never seen a trick this pathetic in all of her eight years as a
opens his mouth, then shuts it. His
lips purse in anger. She sees his
brow knot. She blows another puff
of smoke in his face for good measure.
he says, flatly.
no deal. Fuck off.”
turns away and looks back at the street lights, turning red, green, then amber.
The finished cigarette goes in a puddle, hisses out.
A brief stream of smoke, wafts away from the dirty water.
is still standing there.
I have to call my man, Gerald?” she asks, still watching the passing traffic.
mumbles something, then starts examining the concrete again.
did you say?” she asks angrily, turning back to him.
a bitch and I can’t get it up around a real woman,” he repeats, tears
forming in his eyes.
know,” she says, faking sympathy. She feels no guilt for causing his tears.
“Here’s the deal, Gerald. Are
you listening to me?”
off, you cut the tears bullshit. You don’t know what it means to cry.
Second, it’s five hundred dollars for an hour of my time. Third, you
buy me anything I want, wherever we go. Got it?”
sure,” he says wiping the tears from his eyes.
go then, big spender.”
takes his arm and leads him up the street toward the all-night diner. A car load
of teenage boys cuts them off on Broad Street.
FUCK THAT HO, BO-YEE!” one of them yells.
car peels a strip off its tires as it pulls away. Laughter blends in with the
music coming from the night club down the block.
sorry,” Gerald says.
what?” she says, watching the car head up Broad to View.
them, uh, saying those things.”
him toward an
them. Forget it,” she says as
they arrive at the all-night joint. “This place okay with you?”
Before we go in, gimme the five bills. You’re officially on the clock,
Mr. Man,” she says, sticking her hand out.
hands her the five hundred. She makes the money disappear into her coat. They go
in and get a booth near the back. The restaurant is busy for its size. Out of
ten booths, four are full. She wonders how the place stays open as a seasoned
waitress approaches with two menus in her hand.
the waitress asks, chewing gum.
an’ can I get a menu?” she asks, giving the waitress a look.
How about you, sir?”
coffee,” Gerald mumbles, now staring at the Formica table top.
waitress drops a menu on the table, makes a face at Gerald and walks away.
want food? It’s not bad here, I
mean, it’s not like fancy, but they make a half-ass attempt to churn something
out,” she says to him.
you go ahead. That’s the deal
him, she thinks looking for something expensive to order.
the waitress returns to the table five minutes later, it’s exactly like she
left it. Gerald is still staring at
the table top. The waitress pours
coffee into the cups already on the table.
to order?” the waitress barks.
I’ll have the steak and lobster,” she says, looking up at the waitress with
sure you’re used to a much higher standard of living,” the waitress says
with a snarl on her face. “I’ll
be sure to tell the cook that Princess Ann is here.”
mention it, doll,” the waitress says, as she walks away.
have steak and lobster here?” Gerald asks, pouring a creamer into his coffee,
as she busies herself with tearing a napkin into thin strips.
what they try to tell you. I
don’t believe it,” she says, dumping two sugars into her coffee.
silence follows. He stirs sugar
into his coffee as she lights another cigarette.
that your name? Ann?”
is your name?”
pause from Gerald. “I guess
sips his coffee. It’s hot, tastes
fairly good. He tries not to think
about how many junkies and street bums may have had their lips on the same cup.
don’t you give me a name? Tricks
do it all the time,” she says, then takes a drink of her coffee.
“Call me whatever you like, honey.
It’s your money we’re spending here, right?”
sips the coffee and then goes back to staring into it.
His mouth hangs open. She
wants to smack it shut. What a
checks her watch, then stares at the other people in the restaurant.
A group of cops eat sandwiches and tell jokes.
A few junkies sit nervously watching the door, waiting for the dopeman,
then look over to the cops to see if they’ve left.
he says, snapping her attention back to him.
Were you actually talking to me?” she asks.
about...Gina?” he asks, looking up, hopefully.
“Sure, like I said, it’s your money,” she says, blowing another plume of smoke in his face.
do you wanna talk about? Sex?
Dope? Death? Sports?
Huh? Talk, goddamn it! You’re
paying me to talk, Gerald, so fuckin’ talk!
I’m sick of your shit, so either you talk, or I’m sticking a fork in
very lonely,” he says. “My
friends have all abandoned me. I’ve
lost my job and my wife left me. Plus,
I think that I’m dying. Does that
about sum it up for you, Gina?”
notices that he adds sarcasm to her name like she is doing to his.
that what he needs
What you need is a backbone, Gerald,” she says, stubbing the cigarette
out violently in the ashtray. She
lets a moment pass. “Whataya
mean, you’re dying?”
Inside. It’s hard to
explain. It’s like I’m
suffocating, or drowning. Nothing
matters. I want to die. In fact, I’ve pretty much lost my will to live.”
your wife leave you?” Gina asks, as the waitress shows up with her food.
you go. If ya don’t like it,
we’ll special order something from the Empress,” the waitress says.
yeah,” Gina says, impatiently waving her away, without looking up.
When she disappears, Gerald continues.
left me for my tennis partner. We
were married for fifteen years. You
know what she said? She said that
she had never had an orgasm in all that time, because my cock didn't fill her up
and that if it hadn’t been for vibrators, she would have left me a long time
said that Steve---that’s my tennis partner---is hung like a horse and can go,
well...for hours,” Gerald said.
take it personally, Gerald. I’m
the same way. I fake every day of
my life,” she says, picking a piece of lobster off the plate. She tries it. Rubbery.
different,” he says.
you say so. I’ve never been
married so I wouldn’t know,” she says.
“Do you really have a small dick?”
didn’t think so,” Gerald mumbles.
big is it?” she asks, sucking butter off of her thumb.
did I just say?”
it too-small-skinny, or too-small-short?” she asks, smiling.
Gerald turns bright red. “You
can tell me, honey. I’m the
whore, remember? I see small dicks
all the time.”
yeah. I always tell them it’s
huge though. I’m always like,
`Ooh, is that for me? Ooh, yeah,
you’re sooo big, baby,’” Gina says, giggling.
“Stuff like that. I think
all women are like that. Men are
such babies when it comes to their cocks, don’t you think?”
dunno,” Gerald stammers.
too small,’ the worst thing you can say to a man.
If the man went to the doctor and he was told he was cancerous, he would
be all like, `I can live with that.’ Then
the doctor says, `Your dick is abnormally small, sir.
You have Small Dick Syndrome.’ The guy goes home and shoots himself.
God what’s with you guys? Get
saws off a piece of the steak, which is as tough as boot leather.
She gives up and lights another cigarette.
how’d you lose your job?”
was my boss. Can I have one of
those?” Gerald points to the cigarettes.
but why don’t you be a sweetie and go buy us a couple of packs?”
smiles tightly and goes over to the counter and buys two packs of Player’s,
the cigarettes he used to smoke in college.
He walks back over to the table and hands her a pack.
you boss was fucking you wife?” Gina
asks with excitement, as Gerald fumbles with the wrapping on the cigarettes.
“That’s rich. What’s your wife look like? I mean no offense, Gerald, but
you’re no prize. I’m sure she
was no goddess of desire, either. Did
she have big tits? Money?
Or is he one of those guys that likes older women?"
guess it was her body and her money. She
comes from a wealthy family. She
just married me to get more of it in her name,” Gerald says, taking a big
puff. He is careful not to blow it
lot of people fuck for money, then look down their noses at me. We’re no different, except no one takes most of it away at
the end of the night.”
tries her lobster again. It’s
cold, tastes like shit. She flicks
ashes on the steak.
nods to himself. “I’m thinking
I might kill myself tonight,” he says.
Is that why you hired me? You
think I’m gonna talk you out of it? I
won’t. I’m here for the money,
that’s all. If you were looking
for the whore with the heart of gold, you picked the wrong one,” Gina says,
butting her smoke out on the steak.
don’t care, Gina,” he says, looking her square in the eyes. “I’ve been thinking about it for the last year now, ever
since I found out she’s been fucking everyone she can.”
Who cares, Gerald? Huh?”
too much. Too much betrayal.
I can’t live with it,” Gerald says, taking a sip of his coffee.
fucked more than just the boss? Who
else?” Gina asks, genuinely getting into the story.
caught the paper boy
getting down on his wife
on the pool table
friend I had. Some of their wives.
The paper boy. You name it.”
paper boy? Lucky kid.”
caught them on my pool table. There
he was, with his face between her legs. A
fifteen year-old kid, eating my wife. She
saw me standing in the doorway and pulled the kids face in deeper.
I just turned around and walked out.
All the rumors I’d heard were true.
didn’t stop. I heard
her...come...a few times, then a big groan from him.
She left the condom on the table with her lip prints on it,” Gerald
says, butting his cigarette out.
you never left her?”
had a pre-nup. I couldn’t have
gotten a dime out of her. I
didn’t know what to do. Now
she’s gone and taken everything. I
just don’t care about shit anymore.”
watches him light another cigarette, then checks her watch.
The hour is up. Quickly, she
thinks of the pimp and gets up, grabbing her purse.
are you going?” Gerald asks.
up, sweetie. Listen, if you’re
gonna do it, get a pistol. Do
yourself a favor and take her with you. Throw
him in for good measure. That’s
my advice if you want it. Pills are
no guarantee and cutting yourself up is messy and painful,” she says.
grabs her arm. “Wait, Gina.
I have more money.”
not my name, Gerald,” she says, leaning down to kiss his forehead. “I make my money fucking.
doesn’t let go of her arm. She
pries his fingers off one by one. A
tear forms in his eye.
gun, Gerald. Aim for the temple,
it’s the softest spot,” she says. “And
for God’s sake, quit crying. Be a
stay...,” he starts, but she is already out the door, leaving him with his
takes a deep breath of the cool night air to clear her head. Quickly, she heads back down to her corner.
On the way, she smokes the joint the pimp gave her.
It’s loaded with cocaine.
man approaches moments later.
for fun, big guy?” she asks.
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