Showing posts with label hookers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hookers. Show all posts

04 June, 2018

It's all casual along the dirty, sacred river

Mick Parsons, writing, Louisville, violence
I spied the end of a sex transaction while walking to the coffee shop. As I rounded the corner from my street to the main artery, I saw a young man trying to simultaneously pull up and snap his jeans while walking nonchalantly. He did neither of them very well. The girl he was with was short, blond, and far less concerned about being seen than he was. Then again, her clothes were in place and walking seemed far less of an issue.
The young man noticed me and tried even harder to look like nothing was happening... at one point, even trying to put his arm around the girl, who, to her credit, could have cared less about the appearance of things. They continued to walk together, but it was hard to imagine them being a couple. He was very tall and dressed like an extra from a late-90's gang movie. She was very short by comparison.
And except for his failed attempt to look like she hadn't just serviced him near a busy street corner in between acts of the torrential downpour, I probably wouldn't have noticed were it not for the fact that, at a distance, she looked underage and it was a little early for the street walkers in my part of town to be out and about. 
I'm being unfair, I know. They COULD be in a relationship. But the fact is she was far more interested in her sucker than she was in him -- and in my experience, even a quick oral cop in the late morning between consenting adults will most likely include just a little post-glottal tenderness. 
This wasn't the blog I intended to write today. I had something else in mind, something having to do with this dog issue on my street. One of the houses on my street had a husky tied out without shelter all day yesterday -- a day with weather ranging from hot and sunny to torrential downpour. After trying unsuccessfully to find anyone home --or, at any rate, anyone who was willing to answer the door -- I called the city, which, with its usual bureaucratic ineffectiveness, did not come.  At points the husky was pulling on the VERY short tie out she was on and making that high pitched whine that only Huskies and German Shepards seem to make. 
Casual cruelty and abuse offend me more deeply maybe than intentional cruelty and abuse. At least when someone is intentionally evil, deliberately cruel and abusive, the direct action to correct it seems just. There is an intelligence -- albeit a disturbed one -- at work when cruelty is committed in a deliberate manner. I could even make the case that cruelty in the name of passion -- maybe not deliberate, but focused and full of evil purpose all the same -- is at least understandable, even though it is abhorrent. 
But casual cruelty is not deliberate. It's rooted in ignorance, and the educator in me still likes to think that ignorance can be educated and eradicated. And I know enough about this neighbor in particular to know that there is nothing deliberate in the aforementioned cruel behavior. Some people just don't see dogs -- big dogs especially -- as anything other than a soulless animal, something maybe pretty to look at, but in the end, not human and therefore not entitled to being treated with love and dignity.
At some point in the afternoon, some of the neighborhood kids checked on the Husky. Not long after, she disappeared -- and so I thought maybe either the city came and picked her up -- she would have found a home in no time -- or maybe the owner thought better of his or her cruelty.
The husky was back out early this morning. At an appropriate time I once again walked over to try and talk to someone at the house. Once again, no one was home - or no one answered.  I once again called the city. Sometime later the husky was gone again. And I hope to God that someone came and retrieved her.
There's no accounting for the humanity or lack thereof here along the dirty, sacred river -- or anywhere, really. One of the things I love about living in Louisville is that when you strip it to the bare bones and look at how it functions -- and in some cases, doesn't function -- this town is just that. It's a small town with some tall buildings and the growing pains of a mid-sized Midwestern City in the process of redefining itself. 
But when you look at the bare bones of a place like this, it's hard not to notice that while many of the things that make it a small town still exist, there's a malignancy growing there, too.  Live here long enough and you start to find odd connections between the seemingly disparate people you know because they either went to the same high school or grew up in the same part of town but never knew one another because they were bussed to different schools. Locals give directions based on non-existent landmarks.
But that casual cruelty -- which isn't absent from small towns, either -- grows on the bones and spreads with startling innocuousness. 

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22 January, 2009

Minnie the Moocher

Eddie, an old guy in one of the second floor rooms moved her in – just brought her home from the bar one night like a stray. She was a short, skinny woman with straight greasy dark hair and sallow, olive looking skin that, had she taken better care of herself, might have been lovely. Her eyes were large, round, and midnight black. Whenever she looked at me I felt uncomfortable. Like prey. I liked the old guy well enough. He was nice, a little goofy. Prone to drink. Some evenings when it was cool outside we’d sit on front stoop and share a bottle of cheap wine or drink a couple of 40’s and talk – about how expensive cigarettes were getting, about the government, or about how the Saints could never seem to catch a break. New Orleans offered plenty things for a couple of guys to sit and shoot the shit about, even if it was the man-sized roaches that strolled down the street at sunset like aristocrats. Eddie was a good guy who’d lived a long time in flop houses and homeless shelters, but had settled out after he was old enough to draw social security. “Not much money,” he told me once, “but it’s enough to keep me in this place. And in booze and cigarettes.”

But he was also lonely. I tried several times to make him feel better about it. It was a topic we spent entirely too many of our stoop sitting sessions on.

“There are plenty of girls around,” I told him. “Just ask.”

He scowled at me. “I don’ want no WHORE.”

“What?” I asked. “All I’m saying is, you can probably walk four blocks in any direction and find a little companionship. What’s wrong with that?”

He shook his head.

“You’re not looking for a girlfriend, are you?” Eddie was a nice guy… but he was also old enough to be my grandfather. And there weren’t many geriatric single women around aspiring to squeak by on a measly monthly check living in rooming house that had once been a prominent crack den— before it was closed down by the city and sold to a developer that slapped on a new coat of paint and started renting out rooms at $80 a week.

“Don’ want to be alone,” he said, all sullen. “Tired of being alone.”

Not long after that, he brought her home. She was much younger than him; I think she was younger than me. It wasn’t hard to see what the deal was; she carried most of what she owned in large bag of a purse. She probably wandered into whatever bar Eddie was in looking to turn a trick, saw Eddie and smelled blood. When he introduced her to me, his chest was all puffed out and he was standing straight as a telephone pole. He smiled a wide, semi-toothless smile that looked all wrong on his face. I shook her hand and watched Eddie follow her back to his room.

Once, I tried talking to him about her – to try and warn him – but he wouldn’t hear of it. “I got a right to be HAPPY,” he told me.

I didn’t push it. Anyway, I told myself. He seems happy enough.

That she borrowed things didn’t bother me at first. I try to be neighborly. Not only is it a nice thing to do, but you never know when you’ll need them to return the favor. A cup of sugar. A fork or a spoon. I gave her coffee. I lent her a few bucks here and there – though it took me a while to notice that she only asked right after I got paid. I never figured out how she knew, since I wasn’t an extravagant spender.

I learned the sound of her knock. It was a quiet knock. Quiet the way a hungry dog scratches on the back door. When she knocked, a knot formed in my stomach. There was a point where I wanted to tell her no – but there was Eddie to consider. Somebody had to be around for when she got into one of her moods and yelled at him. She even hit him a couple of times, though nothing ever came of it. He wasn’t going call the cops and he wouldn’t have forgiven me if I had. It got to the point where she was knocking on my door every other day, and on the days she didn’t, he did. “Taking time to cool off,” he always said.

“Yeah,” I’d say. “You don’t want to go and lose your temper.”

He never understood the tone; or if he did, he ignored it. We’d drink a little and he’d hobble back up the stairs to bed after she’d passed out.

The second to last time she knocked on my door, she wanted to borrow a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Those were her words, too. I didn’t want to get into exactly how one borrows a sandwich, or the fact that I had no interest in her returning it to me when she was finished. While I was getting out the bread, the peanut butter, and the jelly, she looked over at the milk crate that operated as my bookshelf.

“Do you like to read?” she asked, looking impressed.


“Oh!” She clapped her bony knobby hands together like a small child. “I like to read too! Can I borrow some books?” She didn’t ask so much as tell me as she was grabbing a couple of my books. Lending out books always made me nervous, and at that point I had very few because I didn’t want to worry about how I was going to move them around. I mumbled, “Sure,” while I made her two sandwiches. At least, I told myself, Eddie’ll get something to eat, too. She never returned anything she borrowed, even if it was something that COULD be returned. So I expected not to see my books again. But I didn’t like having her in my room, invading my space. I didn’t look at what she borrowed until after she left. She stayed away from the poetry – no surprise there. She took my copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet, which I had finished the previous week. The selection was odd. I assumed she picked Thompson because she had seen the movie (probably snuck into a theater), and I figured she nabbed De Quincey because it had opium in the title. I could only assume that she thought Genet would have pointers and tips to help her be a better mooch. I wasn’t happy about it, but it could have been worse.

Two days later she knocked on my door again with my copy of Genet in her hand. “Do you know what this book is about?” she asked me. I could tell by the sour expression that she’d gotten at least past the first 10 pages.

“Yeah,” I said. “Of course.”

She squinted at me. For a moment, I thought I could see her teeth glistening under the dim hallway light. “Oh.” Then she smiled again. “Can I borrow another?”

“Why don’t you finish the ones you have?” I answered, taking Genet out from between her fingers. She was holding it like a dirty diaper.

She shrugged. “Ok.” I thought she was going to turn to leave. She kept talking to me instead.

“Can I ask you somethin’?”


She pointed upstairs. “Eddie and I haven’t been getting along,” she began.

“No? Really?” I tossed the book on my bed and leaned against the doorframe, blocking her path into my room.

She nodded. “Yeah. I mean, he’s a nice guy… when he’s not drunk. But he’s always drunk.” She drew herself closer. “He gets MEAN” she whispered. “Sometimes he hits me. Makes me do… things….”

I didn’t interrupt.

“I just… I need to get away,” she said. “Can I move in here with you? I promise I’ll get a job and help pay rent.” She smiled in a come on kind of way that made me want to throw up. “I could maybe even …”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I answered, pulling away from her and getting ready to shut the door. “I know Eddie drinks, but I’ve also seen some of the bruises you leave on him. Where are yours?”

“Faggot!” She hissed at me. “I knew you were a fucking faggot. Reading faggot books about faggots! FAG. Cock Slurper…”

I just looked at her. I’m not gay, but I wasn’t going to lower myself by trying to prove it. She hissed at me some more and walked off, still spitting and hissing.

The week after that, she disappeared. Eddie was sad for a while, but eventually, he got over it. About a month later, we were sitting on the stoop one particularly comfortable evening. He was drinking Steele Reserve. I was drinking Mickey’s Malt Liquor. There was a slight breeze. There were a couple of street walkers across the way who looked like they were just getting started. Eddie looked over at me.

“You think I could get one of them girls to come upstairs with me?”

“Anything’s possible,” I answered.