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 20, 2004

Someday her Prince will Come


I don’t take many jaunts these days into the ‘real world’. I long for it, but I don’t dare attend.

The other day, I went to see a long time friend that I haven’t seen since I started working underground. Not because she had any judgements about it, just that our schedules were so different.


My friend is not a working girl. She is tall and blonde and keeps in great shape. She is every man’s fantasy. Especially the tall, blonde part. When we’d walk into a bar together, I became invisible. I was never jealous of her individually, but I have been envious of her type—her look. She is what men are told they are supposed to want. The mannequin; the arm-piece; the trophy. If she were in my business, she would automatically receive a higher fee.

She has a high paying job selling in the fashion industry. Yet she is always in debt. Over the years I have lent her thousands of dollars, all of which I know I will never see again.


On the other hand, she is so outlandish, so hedonistic, so energized in her passions, so frank and always so surprising that it’s difficult not to love her. She smokes joints like they are cigarettes, smokes cigarettes by the carton, drink tumblers of scotch and still manages to function. She is thirteen years older than me and I have known her thirteen years. I’ve always been the more mature one. Also the more boring one.


The last time I saw her, we were shopping together at Bergdorf Goodman’s where she had a very bad hysterical reaction upon seeing an old beau there unexpectedly. At that time, she swore off men and dating forever. The other night she called, pleaded with me to come by and meet her new beau. I assumed she felt embarrassed by our last outing and wanted to show me ‘everything’ was all right now.


In the taxi on the way to her apartment, I’m feeling a bit pout-y. I’m glad she has a new boyfriend. I’m just sad I don’t. And won’t. I hardly think about it anymore, but when I do, I get so green about the normal life non-working girls get to have. I know it’s my choice. But sometimes I hate my choice.


I wonder what he’ll be like, this new guy. She sounded fierce about him, saying he was like a great King. I tell myself, as I climb the stairs to her flat, that I’m lucky. Lucky to have a job that I love at least 80% of the time. Even if that job keeps me from a love life.


When I ring the buzzer, she is there at the door waiting. She wraps her long fingernails on both sides of my head, grabbing me to her, kissing both my cheeks.


"Kiss kiss. Come in, Wait! Let me clear off a space."


Her apartment is an ocean of clothes she wades through. I follow her footpath stepping only in the places she’s stepped. We reach the sofa and she tosses a bundle of shoes making room for me to sit. I look around. Where’s the guy?


"So hi love." I say. "Is he here?"


"Wait. Wait. Do you want a scotch? A good scotch? Balvienie?"


She sings the word like a teasing little girl holding a chocolate cake under my nose.


"Single malt?" she tempts, winking and nodding her head.

Her energy is that of a Jaguar engine, racing, humming, and purring while in neutral. It is constant and I can feel my heart speed up in harmony with her vigor.


Before I can answer, she clomps some ice in a waiting glass and pours the scotch until it overflows the rim.


"Oops. I, of course, have already started! Surprise right?!" She says, followed by a throaty, low-toned, hoarse snigger. "Ha! On my way to ‘Scotch Heaven’ all right?!"


I laugh with her and bend over to sip off the top.


"So, how are you?" I ask. "On the phone you sounded---"
"You wanna smoke a joint?"
"No thanks."
"No?"
"No. You know how I get. First I get boring. Then I get stupid. Then I get paranoid. Then I eat three bags of potato chips and then, of course, fall asleep."


That is how I get.


She laughs. I love her laugh. It’s a good sturdy, hearty laugh. Reminds me of bubbling mashed potatoes.


"Well it’s here if you want it later." She puts the joint in the ashtray then promptly snatches it up again. "Of course I’m gonna have it hit right NOW!"
She lights it, sucking in a huge whistle air, talking while holding in the smoke.
"I am so much BETTER."
She exhales finally. I hold my breath against the cloud, not wanting to get a ‘contact high’.
"Better better better! Since the last time I saw you."
"I’m so glad." I light a cigarette and blow my smoke into hers.

"What’s going on?"
"Are you still in that business?"
"Yep."
"I guess that’s a solution."
My eyebrows raise up. I’m not sure what she means, so I wait. She takes another hit.


"Let me tell you. That’s a solution, but I have found (she whispers) thee solution."


I’m a bit confused but she always confuses me.


"I’m telling you...thee solution to Singleness! It has saved my life. It was almost like---(she kisses the cross on her necklace)--finding God! (She looks up to the heavens and gestures to God.) "I mean, I’m sorry." She says to God. And then to me: "But it was!"
"Wow. What is it? Tell me ‘cause I think I may need it too."
"Wait. Don’t make me rush the story. I mean, after we left Bergdorf’s that time?"


She takes a dramatic pause to put out the joint and drink half her glass of scotch.


"With the guy and the shoes and the water weight and oh god, it’s so embarrassing, so embarrassing. Don’t remind me."
"So what happened?" I’m trying to keep her on track.
"Afterwards, I was walking around, I was sober right, because I wasn’t in the mood to drink the emergency cheap scotch so I started to feel this achy feeling in my feet."


I laugh remembering she had borrowed my shoes that day.


"Well Clarisse," I remind her, "they were too small for you."
"It wasn’t the shoes-- ok? So I didn’t know what it was because I never felt it before. I never let myself stay sober long enough to figure it out, right? She snickers at herself.
"You never had sore feet before?"
"So I realized, and I’m not being L.A. about this, what I was feeling was this huge ball of disappointment and it was lodged in my feet, ok?"


I want to say ‘Huh?’ but it’s no use so I just nod as if I get it.


"I mean, what did I do that was so bad that I deserve to be treated this way and left alone at forty three years old. And you know me! It’s not like I didn’t try."
"No, you were out there."
"I was, ok? But the ‘dating scene’, I mean at my age is just getting to be too painful. You should be grateful you have your business and don’t have to go through this any more."
"I don’t know. Lately, I’m feeling like I want to go through it again."
"May I remind you? A typical date right? Forget what it takes just to get him to get brave enough to ask you out. Let’s say he finally does."
"Okay."
"Getting ready. And I mean, you know; washing the hair, blowing it dry, the eye makeup, figuring out what to wear, is like an hour process itself; then the accessories… Shaving the legs, just in case, right?"
"Right."
"You go to dinner. You drink. You get drunk because you can’t possibly feel sexually toward this person unless you were, and you’re probably just needy so you get drunk because you want SOMETHING--subconsciously--I mean it’s not even a conscious thing. I think. Ok, the end of the date, you hold off from having sex even though you want to get laid just as much as he does, but for different reasons ok? Or maybe you don’t hold out. Either way. Then the day after: he doesn’t call so you think: ‘did he really not have a good time with me? I had a good time. How could he not have?’ I mean he’s not even a Prince but you CARE! Because he’s there and you’re wanting something so you’re giving him qualities he doesn’t even possess, you know what I’m saying here?


"I think I need another scotch." I say, and I really do.


She loves that I ask.


"Come up and join me in Scotch heaven." She sings as she pours me another tumbler-full.
"Thank you."


"The day after that. He doesn’t call. Self-debasement day, right? You start thinking of all the things you could have done wrong or been that was wrong. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have drank that much. Yeah, but he drank too. Maybe I shouldn’t have slept with him. Maybe I should have slept with him.’ Blah blah on and on until he’s God and you’re a turd."


The ‘turd’ comment almost makes me choke on the scotch coated ice cube I’ve been sucking.


"The day after that. He still doesn’t call. Now you’re making yourself think: "Hey, if he doesn’t like me, maybe it’s better I found out now. So fine, right? I’m glad he didn’t call." Slowly attaining human status again. But, the next day? He calls. Bastard."
"Bastard?"
"What do you say: "Yes I’ll go out with you again?"
"Why not?"
"Why not? God you have been out of the real world for a while now."
"So why not?"
"Because if you go, you now feel like a ‘mercy date’. I mean he’s pushed you to stir up all these shitty feelings inside you about yourself that YOU made up to excuse HIM for not calling YOU! So anyway, I’m tired of that ok?"
"O-K."

The scotch is hitting me, relaxing my shoulders. I’m picking up her rhythm.


"So, I’m walking away from Bergdorf’s and I turn onto a side street because I’m delirious, right?"
"Right. Delirious." I giggle. She’s just so oddly, passionately, dramatically, loveable.
"And I walk into this shop, and thank god I did (she kisses her cross again) because it changed my life forever! For-ev-errrr. I’m telling you, I’m in love."
"I know. You called me. So where is he?"


To the tune of ‘Let Me Entertain You’, she sings as she goes to the table by the sofa, knocking the scotch bottle but catching it just in time.


"Let me introduce you… let us make you smile…" She sings, tittering at her own secret joke.
"Now this is his secret hiding place."
"He’s in a drawer?"
"Shhh. Shh."
"He’s in a drawer?" I whisper.
With great vocal fanfare she says, "And here he is!"


I’m sure my mouth is open. She takes from the drawer, a thick rectangular box that reads: The Great King. She points to the words and says in awe and complete sincerity:
"He’s actually called The Great King! I mean that makes it even better all right? Am I right? I mean they didn’t make this up."


(Yes they did, I think to myself, but don’t have the heart to say it.)


"And the name, you understand, was part of the intrigue--you have to understand this! I thought, ‘Anything that dare call itself a King has to be absolute Top-of-the-Line."


She motions with her hands as if to say: Am I right?

I just nod slowly, still in shock. Not sure of what exactly is in the box, but guessing.


"I mean, I knew when I bought it, if it was a hit, it wouldn’t be just a minor hit, it would be a major league hit!"


She sits next to me on the sofa with the box on her lap.


"OK. So. Now. ‘Let him do a few tricks, some old and some new tricks, he’s very versatile!’


She chuckles at her rendition.


"Look. At. This."


Out of the box, she pulls an enormous fleshy pink dildo/vibrator--"The King": A large phallus with an Indian face on it’s head and a baby beaver protruding off the bottom of it. Attached is a long wire and a control box.


"This is the guy? The man you are in love with? Are you joking with me?"


She doesn’t hear me.


"Look at this. High Speed. High Speed!"

The Great King buzzes loudly around in a chaotic circle.

"Isn’t that incredible?"
"Are you saying you’re in love with a dildo?"


She is in her own world.


"And I mean look at this guy’s face on the head of this! Hysterical! His mouth is like: (She mimics the face of a very shocked man.) when he’s disappearing up there."


She’s laughing now both from the thrill and the pot.


"AND you can do them one at a time: either just this part:" (She rotates the phallic part then stops it.) "Or just this little Beaver nose that goes like this: (She mimics it’s vibrating motion with her finger on her nose.)
"Or you can do them both together!"


She is pure glee. I am frozen.


"I mean what guy could do that to you all right? Am I right? Yeah yeah yeah...hmmm..."


We are both without words, mesmerized watching the King hum, rotate and spin. Finally, she turns it off, then, puts her finger about an inch above it.


"Although, I still think it’d be better just a little longer…"


I can only raise my eyebrows.


"Unfortunately, there is one minor problem...is that this could become…" She turns it on again full speed and leans into my ear, sotto voce): an addiction. Ok?"
"I suppose so."
"I mean, you could become dependent on this and not even bother to go out, you know? This is a fact."


She turns it off and the King goes to sleep as she replaces him in his box.


"Clarisse? Are you serious?"
"But I mean, at least you don’t have to worry about him calling you the next day, or him being unfaithful, or abandoning you right? Or you getting too old for him, am I right?"


She re-lights the joint and offers it to me. I decline.


"And… also…" she exhales. "You can always get laid whenever you want right?"
"Yes, you can." I say.

I know what it feels like to need to live in a fantasy world. I know enough to leave her bubble alone.

She is quiet, focused on the ash of the joint.


"Unfortunately, you can’t really HUG anybody, you know?"
"Um-hmm"
"You can’t, Give. Love."


For a moment, she looks sad. She stubs out the roach. We are both quiet. I can hear the ticking of second hand of the clock on the table.

Then suddenly she bounces off the sofa.


"But you can fantasize --I mean the things you’d be afraid to do because you’re afraid of how they might come off in front of someone else--right? And also, he can’t criticize you or leave you for a younger woman, right?"
"All true." I raise my glass to her discovery.


"So my life is much, much much much much much better. Much MUCH, do you hear me? Much Better! I found a Great King! Not even a Prince! Bypassed the Toads AND the Princes and went straight to the Main Man! OK? If Cinderella had this!!!?? Forget it! Change the fairy tale. And the wicked stepsisters? Not wicked anymore. Believe me, they’d be in a much better mood. No. I mean this is thee secret: to Singlehood, Singleness. And total Hap-pi-ness. To happily ever after ok?"


She slams her glass into mine for a loud toast.


"Am I right?"


My heart is breaking for her. I lean in to embrace her, but she pulls back.


"Am I wrong? No. I’m right."

Ice cubes clink as they tumble forward hitting her top lip as she empties the remains of her glass.

Suddenly, I’m calmer about my choice to remain underground.


1 Comments:

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what happened to her that was so bad that made her fall in love with a dildo? ??

 

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