Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Foot in Mouth Syndrome

I had all the symptoms: Wore the same panties twice in a day. Didn’t call back potential bookings. Got snippy with my clients. Time for a break. I had come down with Working Girl BurnOut.

I posted a message on my website: "Away for a week. See you soon." And headed down to a health spa for some R&R.

The first two days I didn’t speak just sighed a lot. By the evening of the third day, I was considerably revived, actually longing for conversation.

I find him in the spa’s main lounge area. A beautiful black man, reclining on one of the sofas, an open book propped up on his stomach. I pass him on my way to the water cooler.


"Hi." He doesn’t look up from his book.

I place my pitcher under the tap and press the tab. In the silence of the room, the water hitting the bottom of the empty pitcher, sounds like rapid gunfire. I look over at him and grimace.


He nods.

The noise subsides as the pitcher gets fuller. Then suddenly, an air bubble rises, making an explosive ‘glug’ sound. I feel like I just farted.

"Sorry." I suppress a giggle.

He looks over at me, then back to his book.

"No problem."

The pitcher now full, I replace it’s lid one way, then another. I’m stalling. I’m aching to chat.

"Did you just get here?"


"Where did you come in from?"


"I love L.A. I used to live there. I lived in Venice." (Beware of Courtesans. They can make conversation out of anything. Just throw me a bone.) "I moved there just two days before the riots. Want to hear how egocentric I am?"

He closes his book with his finger marking his place and stares at me.

"Before I moved to L.A. everything was fine out there on the left coast. After I moved there, within two days there were the riots, then the floods, then the fires, then O.J., then the earthquake. I’m pretty sure it’s my fault."

"You’re that powerful huh?"

"No, not me. I have this partner that follows me around. Murphy."

"Murphy’s Law?"

"That’s the one. You know him?"

"I’ve made his acquaintance."

"So what do you do in L.A.?"

"I’m writing a book at the moment." He says.

"You’re a writer?"

"Of sorts."

We smile at each other.

"And you?" he asks.

"I’m a woman. Of sorts."

"I suppose that’s a career unto itself."

"That’s why I’m here. I needed a break from it."

"Me too." He answers.

"You needed a break from being a woman?"

"I needed a break from women."

That was the diving board statement. From there we dove into his current relationship that had gone awry. This soon led into his frustrations about women in general and before I knew how it happened, we were debating the issue of women and men’s relationships in today’s cultural paradigm. A subject I can get pretty heated about not only because I am a woman, but also because I am a woman who is forced to live underground in a supposedly enlightened society. I feel the injustice of it on a daily basis. True, I choose to do what I do, but there should be nothing illegal about that choice. In my opinion of course.

This subject soon tangents into the injustice of the oppressed on all levels. He is sitting up now, his voice is raised and we are sparring using words as rapiers.

The door to the lounge opens. We fall silent and watch as the massage therapist of the spa, passes through.

"Hi." She says.

"Hi." We answer.

The door behind her closes and the battle resumes. Truly I can’t recall how we got there, but we did as I find myself bringing up Martin Luther King.

"I’m sure you know about Martin Luther King. But have you really read about him? What he wrote? What he believed? What he said? ‘Cause if you did, you would understand what I’m trying to say."

"Have I read Martin Luther King? Is that what you’re asking?"

"I’m asking if you understand him."

"I believe I can say, quite affirmatively, I do."

"Okay. In that case, you should get what I’m saying. I know you’re a black man. But understand that women are in the same position. Maybe not the same, but similar in many ways. We are oppressed. We are so oppressed that many of us don’t even know we are being repressed. Instead we are made to hate each other and battle against one another and repress ourselves. I idolize Martin Luther King. And I don’t mean to offend you, but if you really understood what he was saying, not just on a race level, but in general and metaphorical terms, you would not only get what I’m saying about women, but you would understand what he was really saying on all levels."

"I hear what you’re saying. I just don’t agree."

"Because you’re a man and don’t want to see it. But think about it. Really think about it and tell me if you can’t see that what Martin Luther King stood for, applies to women in our American society as well."

"It doesn’t."

"Then you really don’t understand Martin Luther King."

The air between us is dark and crackling. I smile. He smiles. Neither smile dissipates the tension.

"I should go to bed." He says. I say. We both say. There is nothing more to say.

The next morning, I am lying on the table of the same massage therapist that crossed through the room the night before.

"He’s nice, isn’t he?" the massage therapist says as she strokes my shoulders.

"Who?" I say to the floor as my face is in encircled in the padded headrest.

"The guy you were talking to last night."

"He was interesting."

"You know who he is, right?"

"No. Is he famous or something?"

"Sort of."

"Who is he?"

"You don’t know?"


"He comes here a lot."

"Who is he?"

"He’s the oldest son of Martin Luther King."

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. I’m sure you know.

At that moment, Jackie Gleason’s famous bellow came to mind: "Me and my BIG MOUTH."

Post on my website the next day (written with my tail between my legs):

"Back earlier than expected. Hope to see you."


At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folllowing Mother's Day, I'd hope Corretta was pleasantly surprised by a more enlightened son calling her, or perhaps even asking..."Mom..tell me more you and Dad.

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