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.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"She Liked Imaginary Men Best of All..."

Ling-Ling: I’m sending you a client—

Me: Thanks. That’s so nice—

Ling-Ling: Not really. You sent me two last month. I sorta owe ya.

Me: I sent you two?

LL: Yeah the one guy and the other guy.

Me: What guy and what other guy?

LL: Don’t you remember?

Me: I don’t think I sent you anyone in a while.

LL: Yeah, last month. God you got a memory lapse girl.

Me: Which guys?

LL: The one guy with the really big nose and the whiskers all spraying out from his nostrils?

Me: Who?

LL: C’mon. Don’t tell you don’t remember that guy! How could you forget a guy like that?

Me: What was his name?

LL: How should I know? I don’t remember shit like that. The guy? With the bulbous-y nose and the spiky whiskers? Ugh. Don’t you ever look at these guys?

Me: Not from a distance.

LL: Well you sent him to me.

Me: Was he nice?

LL: He was okay. And then the other one? The one with the gray teeth who thinks he’s God’s gift to women?

Me: Was he a Doctor?

LL: I think so.

Me: Oh yeah. I don’t see Doctors anymore.

LL: Why not?

Me: I don’t like the way they make me feel. There’s usually no connection—

LL: Who cares about a ‘connection’? They got a dick and a wallet—connection enough for moi.

Me: You are so weird.

LL: You are! You don’t even look at your clients! How could you miss this guy? His nose was like his entire face? And what do you mean ‘you don’t look at ‘em from a distance?’

Me: I don’t know.

LL: How do you look at ‘em?

Me: Microscopically I guess.

LL: So you look at this guy’s nose through a microscope?

Me: No! I think I just see each feature individually and notice what’s interesting about it instead of seeing it as how it fits or doesn’t fit into the whole package.

LL: You are so weird.

Me: I know. So are you. Who are you sending me?

LL: This guy—

Me: What’s his name?

LL: I don’t remember but he’s okay. No conversation, so just give him an hour, in and out.

Me: You know I don’t do one-hour’s.

LL: Believe me, with this guy, don’t even try. He barely even say’s ‘hello’.

Me: Why not? What’s wrong with him? Is he a Doctor?

LL: No. I think he’s a—I don’t remember what he said he did. I don’t think he even told me. He never smiles. He doesn’t talk. Just wants to do it and go.

Me: Why are you sending him to me?

LL: He wants variety.

Me: Ha! That’s crazy. How different can anyone be with no conversation, no connection, no anything else. Pussy is Pussy after awhile, isn’t it?

LL: Are you asking me? Do I even pretend to know how these guys think? He’ll probably call you tonight.

Me: Alright. Thanks love. I’ll let you know if he calls.

LL: Yeah. Let me know how it goes.

Me: Will do.

LL: Trust me. Only book him for an hour. You’ll thank me.

Me: We’ll see.

LL: You’ll be sorry.

Me: I can’t do an hour.

LL: He’s like pulling teeth. He’ll bore the tits off your chest.

Me: I got some to spare.

LL: Give it up. You can’t connect to everyone. Just connect with his wallet.

Me: Oh Ling--

LL: You are so weird.

Me: I know. You too.

LL: Love you.

Me: Love you too.

Ling Ling is right.
On the phone he’s monotone ice.
Never-the-less, I insist on my two-hour minimum.
Reluctantly, he agrees.

Rodney Russell.

Anorexically thin, his belt wrapped almost completely around his waist using extra holes he seems to have made himself with a scissors through the leather, he sits slumped, mum on my sofa.

"Can I get you something to drink? I have white wine, Champagne, sparkling water and still."

"Still what?"

"Still water."

"What’s that?"

"Water without bubbles? Agua sin gas?"

"Oh I thought you meant ‘still something’. Like still as in ‘and still…"

"Oh. No. I meant—still as in 'still waters run deep'."

No smile.

"What would you like?"

"Nothing. I’m fine."

"Nothing? How ‘bout some oh, say, water? You never know. You might get dust in your throat and then you’ll be glad to have some water—"

"Is there lots of dust in here?"

"Not generally but what I meant was—oh look at your tie. That’s so nice. Grapes."

"Do you like grapes?"

"I do. Squished."

I giggle at my own joke.

He just stares at me, raises his eyebrows to himself and looks at his hands.

"Well, I’m gonna have some Champagne. Would you like some?"

"Is it a new bottle?"

"It is. See? I’m gonna open it."

"If it’s a new bottle, okay."

I laugh full and round thinking I get what he means.

"Are ya afraid I might slip ya a Mickey. Wink Wink."

His gaze tells me that’s exactly what he thought.

"Now why would I want ta ‘Mickey’ ya? I like my boys awake and alive! I think the ole ‘slip em a Mickey thing’ is only in the movies."

No smile.

"Have you ever been ‘slipped a Mickey’?" I ask just in case. Who knows!


I pour the Champagne.

He doesn’t to ‘toast’ with me but takes a swig, emptying the glass and sets it back on the table.

I refill it.

"So where are you from? Ling Ling didn’t tell me anything about you?"

"The Northeast."

"Where? In the Northeast? It’s a big Country." Sweet smile.


"Oh. Massachusetts. Where in Massachusetts? It’s a big State." I lean in to kiss his cheek.

He leans further away.


"Oh Boston. Where in Boston?"

"Do you know Boston?"

"I do." I say playfully.

"Outside of Boston."


"Near Boston. But outside."


"Do you know the Boston area?"

"I do."

"You wouldn’t have heard of it. (Pause) Lowell."

"Lowell? I know Lowell. I know Lowell oh too well."

"How do you know Lowell? You don’t know Lowell."

"I do. Lowell: The birthplace of Bette Davis. Lowell: the place Jack Keroac ran from? Lowell: the City that gave birth to that great man, Rodney Russell? Wink Wink. That Lowell?"

From that one, I am rewarded with a teensy grin.

"How do you know Lowell? No one knows Lowell. Were you there once?"

"I was there too long."

"Any one in Lowell even for a minute is there too long."

We share our first laugh.

"There is a theatre in Lowell called ‘The Merrimack Rep. Theatre."

"I know it. I’ve seen a play there before."

"I used to be an actress and I was in a show there. So I came to Lowell for about three weeks of rehearsal and about a four-week run of the show. I saw some of the most bizarre occurrences in Lowell—like for instance, Lowell has like, what? Fifty or so huge clocks hung off of buildings that I think were donated to the town or something?"

"They were."


"I don’t know."

"Me neither. But that’s not the oddest thing. The oddest thing was that not one of these clocks was actually set to the correct time. It was like being in the Twilight Zone. I mean, I would walk down one street and a clock would say 2:15 and then turn the corner and the next clock would say 8:35."

"Imagine what it was like as a kid growing up there."

"I can’t. I’m amazed you made it here on time on the right day! Oh and you know what else I noticed in Lowell? Maybe you can answer this one for me."

"I’ll do my best."

"Cause this one was really a Mystery. I’m walking down the street on the way to the Theatre one day and I see a man with no nose. No Nose. Just two holes on his face."

"Oh that’s strange."

"And not only no nose but he’s wearing glasses!"

"How do you wear glasses with no nose?"

"I know!"


"I know! And not only that—the next day I see a lady with no nose too."



"Don’t tell me—"


"She’s wearing glasses too?"

"She is. But actually, all in all, I liked Lowell. It was one of the strangest cities I ever played in. But it was kind of beautiful in it’s own strange way."

"What was beautiful? It’s a failed industrial town with hollow Mills everywhere—"

"That’s what made it so haunting. Like ghosts still wandering, there were all these abandoned empty Mills left over from the Industrial Revolution. I would love to walk by them. It was like I could almost feel and hear the history of the lives that occurred there. I used to imagine what it was like to be a young girl, a Mill worker, living on a dollar a week working eighty hour weeks, how hard life was. When you lived there as a little boy, did you ever think about stuff like that?"


"You did?"


"Wow. What did you imagine?"

"Just stuff."

"What kind of stuff?"

"So are we gonna go in the other room? Oh I forgot—" He removes an envelope of money for me and places it on the table.

"Rodney Russell, you are not going anywhere until you tell me what kinda stuff."

"You sure are bossy."

"I am. My house. My pussy. I’m the Boss."

"My Penis."

"True. I guess you could just ‘take your ball’ and go home. But I don’t think you want to. Do you?"

He shakes his head.

"So tell me. Is it bad? I won’t judge you. You should hear the things I imagine. And this was when you were little anyway."

He drinks his second Champagne flute in one sip again. I refuel us both.

"Why don’t you want to tell me? Rodney Russell, did you see a ghost?" I laugh.

He doesn’t.

"You did. Rodney. You did. You know what? This is great. So did I. I did. There was one in the apartment they gave me to live in and there was one in one of the Mills I used to walk by. Don’t feel weird. I really think Lowell was a town full of ghosts. I do."

"I think there was one in my house where I grew up."

"You do? What was it like?"

"The ghost? I think it was a man. Smelled like a man. But I’m not sure. I used to see this thing, like moving air but thicker than air and it used to sweep through my room at night. But I was a kid so who knows. Kids have big imaginations."

"I still do. There’s a ghost in this apartment you know?"

"Here? Now?"

"No. He’s not here now."

"It’s a ‘he’?"

"Yeah and he’s a wonderful ghost. First of all, he only comes when there’s someone else here, so he doesn’t leave me without witnesses. I think he was either one of my clients who passed away—"

I notice a suddenly startled look grip his face.

"I didn’t kill any of them! Rodney, you have got to get a grip—no ‘Mickeys’ and no murders!"
I kiss his lips. He allows me but doesn’t kiss back.

"Anyways, I think he just likes to come and hear the conversation here. Cause he never comes into the bedroom."

"That’s a relief."

"I suppose so. The first time I discovered him, I was sitting here just like I’m sitting with you, with another client and suddenly we both smell this smoke like from a tobacco pipe?"


"And so we both get up and start searching ‘cause neither of us were smoking; so we smell over by the door and the windows and the vents and there’s no smoke smell except right here. Right coming from this chair, rising up like in a funnel—"

"You could see the smoke?"

"No. We couldn’t see it but we could smell it like in a long tube and only from right here above this chair. That’s it. So I figure it’s an older guy who likes to just sit back, fill his pipe with good smoking tobacco and listen in on a Courtesan and her Client."

"And you’re sure he doesn’t come in the bedroom?"

"Positive. But you should. Ready? Let’s go."

Me: (Leaving a message on Ling Ling’s voicemail) Hi Ling. It’s Geisha. I just wanted to thank you for Rodney. And I wanted—(she picks up the phone)

Ling Ling: Hey!

Me: Hey honey.

Ling Ling: Sorry. I was just screening my phone. Didn’t feel like talking to any of the assholes today, you know?

Me: Mmm.

Ling Ling: So what were you saying? I missed part of it.

Me: I met Rodney. I saw him last night.

LL: Who’s Rodney?

Me: Rodney Russell.

LL: Who’s that?

Me: The guy you sent to me to see. (Pause) The guy—the really skinny guy—almost anorexic?

LL: Oh yeah yeah right. The one who never talks. You didn’t make him come over for two hours did you?

Me: I don’t do one hour. I told you that over and over.

LL: Oh God. What are you? A masochist? How bad was it?

Me: It wasn’t bad at all. We had a really fun time.

LL: No way. With the mute runty guy?

Me: We did! He was really nice. Very fragile.

LL: These guys aren’t fragile. You’re so gullible.

Me: We had some things in common so he was really interesting to talk with.

LL: You guys had something in common. Yeah right. What?

Me: Well, we both knew imaginary men.

LL: God I wish I did! I think I like imaginary men best of all.

Me: Me too sometimes. Anyway thanks for the referral. I owe you one.

LL: No you don’t. You gave me two and then another you gave my number to called me last night.

Me: Who?

LL: I didn’t see him yet.

Me: What was his name?

LL: I don’t know!

Me: How could you not know his name?

LL: How could you care what his name is?

Me: You’re so weird.

LL: You’re so weird.

Me: Next time I'll send you an imaginary client.

LL: Please do. But make sure his wallet's real. Bye.

Me: Bye Ling. Love you.

LL: You too honey.


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