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.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Standing On My Head


I will tell you this story,
and lots more similar,
just don’t ask me to explain it.
I am qualified only as an expert witness.
Not as a Therapist.


Typical Day.
Escort in L.A.
1997.
It doesn’t matter the month as all months in L.A. are the same to someone from anywhere else that’s not L.A.: Cheerful bright warm sun, unblocked by clouds or buildings too high.
Cool dry breeze from the Ocean keeping temperature moderate.
Swaying palm trees.
The scent of Jasmine lolling in the air.
Bird’s song unceasing,
Even during the drive-bys.
I love L.A.
9a.m
Phone rings.


"Are you awake?"


It’s Madeline. Madeline is a Madame, and as similarly mercenary as Ellen.
I was lucky enough to her meet when I went back into the business.
She has a big gig sending girls to Brunei,
supplying the Sultan with cargoes of fresh All-American flesh on a monthly basis.
Thanks to the Sultan, she now owns a home in Beverly Hills and a mansion in Santa Barbara.


But Madeline is an addict.
She’s addicted to money for money’s sake. She loves the zeros. She’s hooked on ‘closing the deal.’
Thus, she still runs girls to her regulars in L.A.
The girls she has left.
The ones who are not in Brunei.
The ones who just returned and still want to work.
I fall into the ‘one of the ones she has left’ category.
She cannot send me to Brunei to make $100,000 dollars in one month.
I am not their type.
They prefer young young young.
23 years old max.
They prefer All-American Cheerleader.
I debate that I am indeed All-American and was a Cheerleader for many years,
But the discussion ends with Madeline stating plainly,
"You know what I mean. Gorgeous. Natural Beauties."


"I’m awake. What’s up?"
"How fast can you get to a call?"
"Right now?"


I hate mornings. I’m not a ‘morning person’. Which is why this job is good for me.
Usually I work all night, when I am fresh and raring to go.
I hate seeing clients in the daytime when
a) I’m not ‘in the mood’.
And b) the sunlight is so bright it burns away all mystery, revealing the hideously large pores on my face.
How can a girl feel attractive under glaring lights, a magnifying glass over her face?


Also, I like to save my days for myself.
To go on auditions. (So far I am still an actress. Still have an agent. Still working. Hope still intact.)
To write.
To work out. I train seven days a week now.
(In great part to keep my mind off the recent fall-out with Philip G.)
Yoga. Spinning class. Swimming. Weights. Machines. Stairmaster.
On the outside, I am in the best shape I’ve been in since I left gymnastics.
On the inside, I am crushed and disfigured with a spirit that seems doomed to be forever quadriplegic.


"As fast as you can. He’s just on Wilshire."
"Oh Madeline. (Sigh) It’s gonna take me at least an hour just to get ready. Can’t you get someone else?"
"He won’t care what you look like. Just brush your teeth and go."
"He’ll care. He’ll just send me away."
"He won’t care. He just needs a Babysitter."
(Translation: he’s doing coke and pretty out-of-it.)
"Isn’t there someone else?"
(It’s not good form to turn down a call from a Madame. Too many ‘no’s’ and she stops calling.)
"All my best girls are in Brunei and the ones that just got back are tired and they’re so pretty, I don’t want to waste them on a party call."


(Nice.)


"Natalie." (My working name in L.A.) "Just get up and go. I have another girl there since last night and she’s losing it. I have to send a replacement."
"Ok. How much is he?"


(Translation: In L.A., as opposed to NY, the rates charged vary depending on the client and what can be negotiated. I need to know how much to collect and what to give Madeline as her split.)


"$400 per."


(Translation: $200 dollars each hour for me.)


‘Quick like a bunny’, as Ellen would say, I’m up and out the door in fifteen minutes.
Lower the top to my little, no-one-would-ever-steal-it cherry red, Chrysler Le Baron Convertible.


Light a cigarette. Turn up the radio. Catch a morning tan on my face as I wait at the lights.
A lovely, quiet Boutique Hotel just off Wilshire in Westwood. Only ten minutes from my house.


Walk past the desk clerks to the elevator. No one raises an eyebrow. Couldn’t imagine I’m here for what I’m here for. 9:30 in the morning? Doesn’t cross their minds.


Knock.
Wait.
Knock.
Wait.
Knock harder.
No answer.
Dig out my cell phone to call Madeline and check the room number.
Door opens. As if by a ghost. No one in the doorframe.


"Hello?"
"Shhh! Shh!" A hand from behind the door reaches around grabbing my arm, pulling me in.
The Hand eeks the door closed, jumping in fright when the lock clicks.


"Shhh! Shhh!"
"I’m Natalie."
"Shhh."
"Is there another girl here?" I whisper.


The man, bent and curled in on himself, shakes his head tip-toeing to the dresser, urging me with grand sweeping motions of his arms, to follow.
I tiptoe too.
We both tiptoe on the thick shag carpet.
He will remain on tiptoes for the entirety of our meeting. This I know.


He looks to be about 6 feet tall, maybe once, a few short days ago, about 185 pounds.
Now, after his obvious two or three day binge, about 175.
On his face in the dark, there appears to be an overgrowth of moss where once he was clean-shaven.


The room is black-gray. He has done a thorough job at keeping the California sun from intruding.
The Hotel’s curtains are safety pinned down the vertical separation.
Under the drapes, along the floor by the window, magazines are lined up, pressing the fabric into the window.


The air is dank and stale, mottled with body odor, body fluids and cigarettes.
And the sweet, sick smell of drugs mixed with snot and saliva.


"Do you have any water? Anything to drink?"
"Shhh. Shhh."


Today is going to be a day of Charades.


"Any water?" I smile, whispering.
His head motions to the mini-bar.
I help myself to an Evian.


His hands run up and down, signaling me, like a Conductor gone bizerk.
I know what he means. I am an experienced ‘babysitter.’


Slowly, teasingly, I remove my clothes.
His hands flail faster. (Cut it. Just get naked.)
I do.


Conductor Motions: Rolling pin smoothing out dough. (Get on the bed and lie down.)
I do. All the way holding a soothing, ‘see, everything is okay’ smile on my face.


From a manila envelope, he empties a hill of white powder on my belly.
With a sticky credit card, he scoops a pile, dumps it on my nipple. Then my other nipple.
Cuts the little mountains into rivers.
Remembers he forgot something.
Eases himself, oh-so-slowly off the edge of the bed to locate whatever it was he misplaced.
"Shhh. Shhh."


I can’t help but giggle.
He spins around, faster than I’ve seen him move thus far.
Angry, "Shhh!"
"Sorry." I whisper.


Triumphant, his hand holds the missing, now found item to the sky.
His head nods an offer of ‘Thanks’ to whomever he thinks is up there and has helped him in his quest.


Back to me and the piles of white; tiptoeing all the way.
He places a crusty, damp and rolled hundred-dollar bill up his right nostril, holds his left nostril closed with his thumb and sucks. Hard. Sucks in through his nose like boys playing outside in the winter. No time for a tissue. The rivers disappear. Any molecules left he laps up with a slurping tongue.


He doesn’t offer me any.
I’m relieved.
I don’t feel like playing the: ‘Have some, no. Have some, no. Have some, ok. Fake snort.’ Game.


He tiptoes away from the bed, settling himself in the big armchair. Closes his eyes. Opens his eyes.
Conductor Motions: Pulling the Laundry in from a hanging line. (Come here.)
I do.


Conductor Motions: Softer, lower.
I get on my knees in front of him, nestling my torso between his thighs.


Conductor Motions: Sucking in smoke from a joint then nibbling something tiny and sweet. (Suck my delicious cock.)
I can’t.


I can’t find it.


It’s a terrified turtle.
A turtle whose head has disappeared into its shell.


I hold up a finger. (One minute. Be right back.)
I tiptoe to my bag, retrieve some oil.
Settle back between his legs.


Conductor Motions: Sucking in and nibbling sounds—fast tempo.
I nod. (I’m doing it. I’m doing it. Wait.)
Pour the oil on my fingers. Attempt to pry and coax the little guy out.
Nope. Scared is scared and he’s not going anywhere.


His hands press the back of my head down, forcing my face into his sweaty over-ripe Sea Turtle.
I push my head further down, then up and out of his grip.
"Sweetie," I whisper. "He doesn’t want to play right now. I’m sorry."
"Just try."


Wow. His first words all day.


"I am. See?" My fingers pull lightly until the mushroom cap of his head.
Nothing.
"Just do it! Make it happen."
Stroking, circling, coaxing.
‘Houston, we have a problem.’
"What’s going on?"
"Sweetie," my butt falls back on to my heels. "I think he’s just tired. What do you think? He’s had a long two days?"
"Shhh!" His head snaps to the windows. His eyes, wild and searching. White foam glues the corners of his mouth together.
"What?" I look but don’t see anything.
"Shhh!" he insists.


For a moment, I feel like I am a Scooby-do cartoon.


"There’s no one here." Softly, soothingly I stroke his thigh.
"Shhh!" He leaps up, tripping over my head, falls to the floor, then crawls on his belly to the window.
I can only watch. And try not to giggle.


Removing a magazine, he lifts the edge of the drape by the floor and peers out into the slash of sunlight now slicing through into the room. Drops the curtain.


Conductor Motions: Shooing gnats away in a jungle.
I move away, up onto the bed.


Conductor Motions: Higher. Lift the crane higher.
I stand on the bed.


He shakes his head furiously side to side.
Oops. Hmm. What did I miss?


Conductor Motions: Higher. Lift the crane higher.


Unsure what to do, I just stand, looking at him, a big fat question mark on my face.
Exasperated with this female simpleton, he quickly tiptoes to the bed, motioning me to sit.
I do.
With one hand he takes my both my ankles, pulling my legs up to the ceiling.
His other hand grabs my arm and anchors it so my hands can hold my butt up, keeping me in this position.


Conductor Motions: Stay.
I do.
Upside down. Legs vertical. Feet pointing to the sky.
It’s too late. I have to giggle. I have to laugh. As I do, my breasts bounce, squashing my face.


"Shhh!"
I can’t stop. I am guffawing upside down.
"Shhh!"
I shoosh. I shoosh as best I can.


I tilt my head from under my breasts to the side.
He is laying flat on the carpet, one eye peeking under the slit between the floor and the drapes, mouth open, foaming, teeth grinding back and forth.
No sound.
I know better than to move.


I count the hours: "let’s see. I arrived around 9:30 and now its?" I look to the red numbers neon in the dark on the clock radio. "2:38. Ok, so that’s 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and probably ‘til 3:30 at least, so that’s 6 hours so far. So that’s 2-4-6-8-10-12. Wow. Twelve hundred dollars. Is that right? 200-400-600-800-one thousand, twelve hundred. Yep. That’s right. Wow."


Look over again.
He’s frozen in the same position on the floor.
Oh god. Is he breathing? Slowly I lower my legs.


His head turns.


"Shhh! No! Stay. Get up there!"
Hastily, I find my upside-down position.
"Now shhh."


I practice Yoga. Lift my legs, harden my thighs, and point my toes as far as they will bend. Hold it for a count of one, two, three, four, five…watch the clock. Decide to do one full minute in each position. Follow the red digital numbers.


"Hey." He whispers loudly at me.
"Hmm?"
"Conductor Motions: Come this way.
I hesitate climbing down, as I don’t want to get yelled at again.
When I see he means it, I fall to my hands and knees on the floor and creep over.
I’m Scooby. He’s Shaggy.
Or maybe the other way around?


We lay on our bellies looking out the window.
"What?" I ask finally.
"Shhh. Don’t you see it?"
Sweat streams down his cheeks. His eyes bulge. He is truly frightened.
"Sweetie," my hands smooth his hair off his sopping forehead. "Listen to me. There’s no one out there."
"Shhh!"
"There’s no one there. We’re on the tenth floor. Only birds or clouds. Really. There’s nothing out there to hurt you."
He looks at me like a little boy afraid of the night.
"I promise. Nothing is out there to hurt you. Come. Come with me."


For the first time all day, he follows my orders.
I lay him on his stomach on the bed.
As I get up, he starts to rise.
I motion him to lay back down.
He does.
I wet a rag with cold water. Come back to the bed; press it flat covering his back. Wiping the sweat. Mopping away the fear.


"Turn over."
He obeys.


Feel his heart banging too fast, a hummingbird chest.
Gently swipe the white muck from out of the corners of his mouth.
Rub the rag across his upper teeth, scraping away the built-up scum.
Then his lower teeth.
His lips. His chin. His neck. Careful over his Adam’s Apple.
Back to the bathroom to re-wet the towel.
Return to snoring. Loud, effortful, yet peaceful snoring.


Wash. Brush my teeth. Arrange my hair. Dress.
Now, my fee.
I’m not worried. I know how these things work.
I find it without trouble just where I sense it will be.
An envelope bulging with money sitting out atop the nightstand.


Let’s see. It’s 6:48. So that’s 9:30 to 6:30. I’ll donate the extra 18 minutes rather than charging him up to the next hour. So that’s? Nine hours, times four, equals= thirty six hundred dollars.
I count it out. Stash what I’m owed at the bottom of my purse.
There are still thousands of dollars left in the envelope.
It’s a shame, really. He’s lucky I’m honest.


Tip-toeing now because my feet have swollen with the sudden rush of blood, I close the door quietly behind me, waiting just a second to make sure I hear the door latch click.


Roll back the convertible top. Squint against the harsh sunlight as I turn my car back onto Wilshire.


Dial Madeline on my cell to let her know I’m out and the final total. Will Fedx her share in the morning.
We talk the ten-minute drive until I pull into my dingy garage.
He is a lawyer. A famous one. Did I recognize him?


Ha! In the dark, curled over with paranoia wracking his features, no.


And so rich. Comes from a blue-blood money family.


Oh. I guess he’d have to be rich to afford this kind of playtime.


To this day I cannot unearth a reasonable explanation as to why rich and powerful men put deadly substances up their nose to make them feeler richer and more powerful, especially when the effect of the deadly substance is just the opposite—they become poorer and wholly impotent.


I place the money in the safe under my desk.
Breathe.
Still have to work tonight.
Never know when all this will come to an end.

































5 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it will end soon............

 
At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Geisha...you seem to have an irrational fear of Wal-mart.

 
At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous #1:
I hope not. Not until I am financially ready!
To Anonymous #2:
Well, yeah! Don't you?!
xx
Persephone

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger ali said...

cocaine is god's way of telling you that you have too much damn money.

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger lightly-blended said...

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