One Day In the Life..

“The most important thing’s to stick together. Ain’t nobody here for us girls but us.”

I nodded, nothing more, keeping up my facade of nervous anticipation. Neff and Aiko had paired off to work the far end of ‘our’ block while we took the north corner. Our pimp, Jacques, was a small-time player and his girls all worked a set of streets centered on a hotel he owned through his mother, the kind of place that rents rooms by the hour and charges an extra three dollars if you want clean sheets. It was just after noon and there were already cars cruising the block, looking us over.

She seemed steadier now. Back at the apartment I had watched as she slipped a needle into a vein in her left arm, that act followed by nearly half an hour of eye-fluttering incoherence as she lay trembling on the couch. Neff told me not to worry, that this was her way of making the day tolerable, but I could see she was hovering on the brink, her body only barely able to tolerate what she was doing to herself.

Part of me, the cold and rational being that made up the center of me, suggested I face reality and let her finish destroying herself. I had seen many such episodes in my life and why should this one be any different than the others? What made me sit by her wiping the spittle from her mouth when there were others in this place just like her who would be left to fend for themselves? As she settled down, her body becoming bonelessly relaxed I could see something, that very same vision I had had the day I first saw her- through the drug-induced haze there was a burning core of anger, the only thing that kept her moving through one day and into the next.

Now, out on the street, she was all in control. Numbed against the reality of her trade she could ply it wearing a facade of indifference and as a late model Chevrolet drew up beside us, its driver beckoning with one hand, she sauntered up to the passenger side and rested her hands on the door as she bent down to look the driver in the face.

“You lonely, baby?”

I watched her haggle with the man, a middle aged fellow from Montana according to the license plate. He was experienced, that I could tell, and it was clear she understood this too, but after a few minutes she turned her head, looking over her shoulder at me.

“Both of us? Now that’s what I like, a man with a real appetite. Forty-five, and you pay for the room. Angie! Let’s go!”

Suddenly she was excited, the energy of that moment sweeping aside all other considerations as I strolled to the curb.



He had a name, but what could it matter? We took him to the hotel, her pouring obscene incantations into his ear as I groped at his groin, massaging the growing bulge in his pants. She was a superb actress, swallowing her disgust, her outrage and her anger as she tumbled into bed with him, the two of us swarming the man, eager to bring this episode to an end as quickly as we could. For one hour we gave up ourselves to his desires, surrendering all we held precious for mere money. Such degradations rolled off me, too familiar to raise my ire as I chose to be there in that way for a purpose of my own. For her it was as another nail in her coffin, another irreplaceable piece of who she was chipped away and irrecoverable.

He tipped us, paying ninety dollars, enough to cover the nut for the night, but she insisted we return to the corner and so we strolled and strutted, dragging down one warped soul after another. Sometimes we were together, other times we worked it alone, but we followed up with each other, our concern for each other the only insurance we had against the stinking depravity of the life we led.

I had vowed never to whore again, yet I slipped so easily into the role that by the end of the night I nearly lost myself in it, feeling the old resentments such labor would sow within me. When she emerged from the back seat of yet another car she was smiling and laughing until it pulled away, then her cheeks hollowed as she worked her mouth and spat, trying to cleanse herself of the taste of it. She nearly told me to get back to work, but then her eyes softened, glistening with the barely contained agony roiling inside her and I saw her shake with it.

“You look like you’ve had enough,” she finally said, her face settling into her preferred scowl of disapproval. “Let’s go crash.”

We turned in our latest earnings to the ?doorman’ at the hotel, one of Jacques’s thugs, and then went looking for Neff and Aiko, finding the two of them loitering in the shadows of an alley. Aiko asked how I was and I gave her a wan smile, but my partner told her I was a disaster and lucky she had been with me or I might have earned a beating my first night out. The four of us wandered back to our rundown apartment, stepping over the drunks passed out in the doorways and halls until we closed the door behind us, shutting out the world as the sky turned grey with the coming dawn.

Pay for me
Have your way with me
Don’t dare think you mean anything to me
Now I got a hundred dollars all my own
So you can just fuck off and leave me alone

Impermeable Shield of Stupid
Hera- 1964

2 Responses to “One Day In the Life..”

  1. Was it really like that? just cold and aloof? all an act.

  2. I admit it looks that way from this retelling. I know you are reading this. I know how you feel.