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.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Persephone N. Hades: What's in a Name?

I am a Courtesan.
And although you probably, are not, we are actually not so different, you and I.
I want, from my journey here, probably similar things that you want.
I want to love and be loved as a person, as a daughter, as a mother, as a friend, as a partner, as a lover, as a wife.
I want to be considered a good person who has performed many small and hopefully a few large acts of kindness and consequence.
I want to be successful using the specific talents God gave me.
I want health and protection and justice.
I want to have a family and a stable financial life that allows me to eat and drink and be sheltered and to build dreams.

There is not much autobiographically or biographically written about women of my profession now or in the ages past even though ironically, it is said to be historically the oldest profession. (Although I think it must be the second oldest as there had to be a profession that earned somebody some money to pay for the service, no?)

Perhaps this is due to the shame we are meant to feel about what we do.
Perhaps it is because we could have our lives taken away from us in various forms if we are found out.
Perhaps it is because some don’t have the words to write our adventures.
Perhaps it is because some have nothing nice to say.
Perhaps it is because it is so illegal and dangerous to speak of in our country of Peyton Place, that most don’t think it’s worth the risk to speak. (To that end, all names and identities in this blog have been changed and some persons combined with others to protect them.)

But in my case, although I took to the business in desperation, I came out the other end (so to speak) with the desire to tell the tale.

After all, like most of you, I wanted to live a life interesting enough to be read about in a novel.

(Don’t worry. This is a comedy.)

Question: Why is it illegal for two consenting adults to have sex for money, but it is not illegal for two consenting adults to have sex for money if the camera is rolling? Porno is legal, after all, isn’t it?

Because of this peculiarity in the law, and because of various, long-standing attitudes about women and sex, I must divide my life in twain: One part, being my business, must be lived ‘underground', 'below the radar'. And the other, my ‘real life’, the socially acceptable half, I think of as ‘above ground’.

And that is how my name came to be: Persephone N. Hades.
After all, what’s in a name?

The myth of Persephone in Hades
(the adult version)

Back in the olden days there was a God, the main God, the Gods of Gods whose name was Zeus. (Think of him like the President of a major country or the CEO of a major investment-banking firm.) Zeus had many wives and mistresses and among them was Demeter. Demeter too, had a full time job-she was in charge of the Earth and it’s harmony. Demeter and Zeus had a daughter named Persephone.

One day, while Demeter and Persephone were roaming the earth, Demeter turned around for a moment and when she turned back, Persephone was gone. Demeter called for her daughter but heard no reply. She began to search and soon her search turned frantic. Finally, after scouring the entire earth she made a call to her husband.

“Well, I’m sure she’ll turn up.” Zeus answered taking a long draw off his Cohiba while holding the phone away from his ear to lessen the impact of Demeter’s frenzied yowlings. When it seemed she had quieted down, he said, “Just in case, I’ll make some calls.” And he hung up.

Days went by and still no Persephone. Demeter, in heart-wrenching grief over the loss of her daughter, began to mourn publicly. The wind howled. The earth began to brown. The leaves fell of the trees. Her tears frozen with pain as they fell onto the earth, began to pile up into mounds of ice. The creatures began to hibernate. Zeus began receiving many phone calls of complaint that interrupted his life. So Zeus began to call around.

He called Neptune, the ruler of the sea, but he hadn’t seen Persephone. He called around to a few other of the main Gods, but they hadn’t seen her. Finally, Zeus called Hades, the God of the Underworld (also called Hades, named after himself). He had indeed seen her. Not only had he seen her, he had her with him in the Underworld. In fact, she was pretty luscious looking and he thought he might just have a few tastes of her.

“Listen Hades,” said Zeus leaning forward in his recliner, “you can’t do that. You got to give her back. My wife is going crazy. I’m getting calls.”

“I want her.” Said Hades simply. “I’m gonna give her a tumble and if I like her, I’m going to marry her and she will become Queen of the Underworld.”

“Aw Hades, man.” Said Zeus. “Listen, we have a golf date next Saturday and if you do that, first of all I won’t be able to go and second of all, there will be this icy stuff on the ground and we won’t be able to play. C’mon man. There’s plenty of other maidens around.”

“How ‘bout we made a gamble.” Said Hades, loving the sport. “How ‘bout this: we have a fruit here called a pomegranate. They’re real juicy, very tempting. If Persephone eats the pomegranate, then she’s mine. If she doesn’t, she goes home. Deal?”

“Deal,” said Zeus.

And they hung up.
And they waited.
At 7am the next morning, Zeus’ phone rang. Zeus, with a throbbing hangover headache groaned into the receiver.

“Hey, it’s Hades. She ate it.”
“She did?” Zeus sat up in bed.
“Well, she ate half of it.”
“Ha! Half!” bellowed Zeus. “That means she didn’t eat the whole thing. She goes back to my wife.”
“No. She ate it, she ate half of it and that means she’s mine.”
“Okay look,” said Zeus (he was used to the bargaining tables), “Why don’t we do this: since she ate half, how about half the year she stays with you as Queen of the Underworld and the other half of the year, she goes to roam the earth with my wife Demeter?”
Hades agreed.

Demeter waited at the gate to the Underground and saw first a beautiful Phoenix fly up from beneath the earth into the sky. A few moments later, Persephone joined her mother.

For six months, they roamed and frolicked and played together until one day, Demeter saw the Phoenix again. It circled around mother and daughter three times then dove straight down, disintegrating into ashes as it plunged headlong into the Underworld. They knew this was the sign and Persephone dutifully followed the bird into Hades.

Every six months from then until the end of time, Demeter and Persephone followed the cue of the Phoenix. After Persephone’s absence, Demeter would wait and watch for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes and when it did, shortly after, Persephone would follow.

And so it was that the six months that Persephone was with her mother, the earth was fresh and ripe and sweet-smelling and we have Spring and Summer. And the six months that Persephone is in Hades, Demeter roams the earth in mourning and we have Winter and Fall.

Of course, this is not the way you would read it in the book of mythology. But then again, this re-telling is not really about the seasons of the earth. But rather the journey and seasons of the soul.

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