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, April 03, 2005

I'm a bit Tzippy--Or Tzippy is a bit Me?

From St. Bart’s to Hallandale, Florida for a brief decompression before New York and nose-to-grindstone.
(Or rather nose-to-pole) (hee-hee)
Why Hallandale?
My Parents are ‘wintering’ in that illustrious den of ‘alter kochers’.

Stretched out on the Condominium’s pool deck under the cloudy Florida sky, I watch from ground level as the visors, bathing caps, and canvas sun hats drift from one side of the shallow end to the other.
Floating heads.
Chatty floating heads.
God’s waiting room.
Pigeons in a pattern.
It’s as if breadcrumbs have been thrown on one side of the pool and all the heads move that way. Then to the other side.
I close my eyes. Try not to think of St. Bart’s.

So of course I think of St. Bart’s.

Catch snatches of the passionate debate emanating from the heads. Condominium politics.
Please don’t let this EVER be me.

A voice, louder, closer becoming more persistent.
Squeeze my 'ground'-eye, pop open my 'skyward'-eye to see and yes, indeed she is talking to me--standing above me, like a stereotypical character from a comedy sketch about New York Senior citizens in Florida.
Blond coiffure glued in style with hair-spray, held tight by an ‘invisible’ netting, white-framed sunglasses with two large square lenses from forehead to mouth, anorexic body covered neck to ankle in a flowing caftan, feet wobbling on high-heeled sandals, she is speaking to me in a thick New York accent.
I catch her words mid-paragraph.

"Because, and don’t get me wrong, I like these shoes, but the ones you have, now these—these are yours?"

I lean up on one elbow to see her examining my shoes.
I nod.

"You shouldn’t leave them on the ground—"
"Sorry, I—"
"There are bugs on the ground. Bugs could get to your shoes. Better to put them on the chair. Of course if someone wants to sit on the chair, you would have to take them off. Pool rules. I used to be the condominium President. Not any more. Not any more. Not since my husband passed."
"I’m sorry—"

She doesn’t hear me or need to. It’s a running monologue.
She’s actually so surreal it’s a bit funny.
I sit up all the way to participate as ‘audience’ as the tape recorder in my head clicks on.

"It was too much work and the people would slam their doors in face. Can you imagine that? So I said ‘no. I said No. I don’t need this. I’ve been in the building 29 years. My husband and I. Until he passed. Can I try your shoes on? Do you mind? These are what I’ve been looking for. Where did you get them?"

"New York."

"Oh. New York. What size are they?"

"36 and a half."

"Huh? 36? What size is that? Is that some sort of Europe size? 36?"

"It’s like 6 and a half here."

"Are you from Europe? You look like you’re from Europe."


"Cause you got the features of a European. Are you single?"

I nod.

"You’re beautiful. Look at that figure. Oh my son would love you. He would LOVE you. I gotta a son. Oh. He’s a Doctor. He’s a single doctor in New York. Do you live in New York?"

"I do."

"You do? You do? Oh my son would love you. He’s a Podiatrist. But he’s too soft. Girls take advantage of him. He’s too nice. Are you divorced?"


"Oh, you should call my son. Look at you. I have another son who lives in New York. He’s got a girl. Oy. Not for long. But that one’s not for you. But my oldest—you want to call him? What’s your name?"

I don’t answer readily a) because I’m not sure if she is going to take a pause for the answer and b) because I don’t want to date a Doctor and c) I am a Courtesan.

"What did you say? I didn’t hear."

"My name? Persephone."

"What kinda name is that? Greek? Are you Greek?"


"I can’t even pronounce it. Is it Jewish? Are you Jewish?"

I nod.

"And Jewish! Oy! He’ll love you. What’s your birthday sign? I’m a Pisces but my husband was a Sagittarius. I know I know. Not so good. But we managed. 53 years we were married. He had a hot temper. But my son, he’s gentle as a lamb. A Doctor. Very bright. He was dating a girl that looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn. I told him, don’t put all your eggs in that basket. Not so important that the girl be so pretty—find ‘nice’ too. And you know what happened?"

I shake my head.

"Just as Mother said. She turned out to be anorexic. Didn’t I say? My son doesn’t need that in his life. And the next one—he calls me and tells me everything. We’re very close. I should be talking to him right now but I’m here so, (sigh) well, when I go back upstairs I’ll call him. You’re not anorexic or anything like that are you?"


"What sign did you say you were?"


"My son too! That's perfect. See! My son is November 6th. What are you?"

"November 13th."

"And you’re single." Her eyebrows stay up.


"A good-looking girl like you? You have a boyfriend?"


"Because I don’t want to go through that again. My son was so angry with me. You should have heard."

"What happened?"

"So I make a match with a nice young girl such as yourself and my son, he calls her and you know what she says to him? She says she can’t go out with him because she has a boyfriend. Boy did I get the business from him. Now he won’t call anymore girls. That wasn’t very nice of her. She should have told me she had a boyfriend."

"She should have."

"So you’re single, not divorced, no boyfriend, not anorexic—what’s wrong with you?"

I laugh.


It’s her first breath. She can’t quite piece it together.

But she’s right. She knows there’s a missing link. But poor thing will never know that that piece, is what it is.

She forgot one question in her interrogation: "Are you a Prostitute?"

I won’t give her son a call so I won’t give her the opportunity to add it to her repertoire.

"They fit. They’re nice. Where in New York did you get them?"
(She’s back to the shoes which are now on her feet.)

"No. I got them so long ago. I don’t even remember where."

"Oh. Too bad. Can I buy them from you?"

I am laughing.
"No. I like them. I wear them all the time. I’m, sorry."

"Too bad. Shoes like these are hard to find. Do you smoke?"

"I do."

"Do you want to smoke?" She pulls a cigarette, a pack of matches and a pen out of her bag.

"Not right now thanks."

"How old do you think I am?"

"Sixty one?"

"I love you. I love you. 79. Yeah. Yeah. So here."

She hands me the matches.

"That’s my son’s number. Promise me you’ll call him. His name is David. And I’m Tzippy. Our last name is Zana. Will you remember that?"

"I will. But Tzippy, I’m not gonna to call David."

"Why? So why? You don’t want to meet a nice Jewish Doctor? Do your parents live here in the building? Do I know them? Should I talk to them?"

"My parents are just subletting for the winter."

"Oh. Snowbirds. Yeah. Where do they live? Which apartment? What floor?"

"I think the third or the second floor? I’m not sure."

"Do I know them? What’s their names? Does your mother look like you? She must be beautiful your mother."

Just then, I see my father coming down the walk toward the stairs to the pool area.
"There. That’s my Dad. That’s my dad there."

"Oh Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen them before. 3A. Your mother is a redhead. So? How did you get to be blond? Bottle?"

"Sun, I’m afraid."

"You a natural red-head?

"I am."

"You have to call my son. He adores redheads. You know what happened with his last redhead? A shame. A real honest to god shame. My son. He tells me. He takes her on a date. He likes her and wants to be respectful. Like Al Gore. My son. My son looks like Al Gore. You like that? The way Al Gore looks? So you should call him."

"I’m not going to call! If he wants, he can call me. He’s a big boy."

"Not a boy. Not a boy. He’s a man. A doctor. But after the redhead. So she goes back to his apartment after dinner, goes to the bathroom and comes out—buff. Nothing on. Naked. So my son, well, what is a man supposed to do? So he does it but you know. He wanted to respect her. You understand. You don’t do that do you? Sleep with a man on the first date?"

"No!" (not unless I’m working!)

"Because you know what they say right? ‘why buy the cow?’

"Umm hmm—here’s my dad."

My father pulls up a deck chair and sits.

"You know you have a very charming daughter here."

My dad looks up and says in all sincerity:
"Do I?"

A silent brick hits my head.

"Yeah. She’s beautiful and charming and real kind. I can tell."

"Thanks a lot dad."

He realizes what he’s said and jokes to backpedal.
"Dad? Who’s her dad? Not me. I never saw this woman before in my life."

"Oy a real prankster you are. So tell her to call my son. My son the Podiatrist."

"My daughter? Sorry Tzippy. My daughter is stubborn. I can’t tell her anything."

"I’m not stubborn. It’s not your fault Tzippy. My parent’s one time tried to fix me up with the son of their friend’s and it ended in a bit of a disaster I’m afraid."

"Why? What’d you do?"

"No. Not me. He was a very angry person. I never even met him and he started calling and threatening me. Years later they found out that indeed he was psychologically imbalanced and had to get him some pretty serious help."

"We didn’t know that." My dad says.

"No. They didn’t know. But anyway, I’m not so anxious to be matched up."

"Well with my son, he's not crazy. He's a Doctor. So, you know. Would it bother you if I smoke?"
Tzippy waves a cigarette in the air.

"I do." My dad says simply.

"He’s one of those. Okay. Okay. Look. I’m going waaaay oooover here." (She scrapes the chair across the pool deck towards the back wall near the bathrooms.) See, look how far away I am. See?"

I smile at my dad. He smiles back.

"She’ll be back." I say as I lay down.

"To try again for her son?"

"No. She wearing my shoes."


At 1:27 AM, Blogger Skarlett said...

Wanted to send you a direct email, and don't know how :(
Just saw the film 'Closer' and wondered how you felt about it-


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