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.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Remebering on Memorial Day


Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? Martin Luther King?
I am too young to answer.


From 1999, since returning from L.A. and re-planting my feet back into the New York City concrete, through most of 2001, business was better than I’d ever remembered it being. The Internet had already taken off, but the Review Sites were at the height of their swing causing a naughty excitement among patrons. Suddenly they weren’t alone with the Yellow Pages ordering escorts, harboring their shameful, delightful secret. Instead, they were chatting to one another on message boards, wielding power by writing reviews, relishing the vast array of choices, ‘holding hands’ with their new ‘hobbyist’ buddies.


From my side of the sofa, bookings were solid two months in advance. On the occasion of my birthday in the year 2000 my apartment looked like an Italian Funeral Parlor, there were so many flower arrangements.


On the other hand, the buzz in the hive of my apartment was so loud and busy that my landlord’s suspicion meter was on high alert. He consistently refused to give me heat or fix anything in the apartment, including my always breaking phone line, giggling with a sheep’s grin,


"Oh, you have-a too many visitors ah you apartment. You no like, you move. I fix nothing. You no like, I have you evicted."


I wake up at 8:35. I remember it clearly because I was supposed to wake up at 8 but had pressed the snooze button too many times. The roster that day was full. First a three hour appointment with my favorite client who although I loved him, exhausted me because I loved him. After him, a short break, then a two hour and a two-hour with two new clients.


8:58 I lift the receiver to my phone to call the hairdresser to say I will be a few minutes late. No dial tone. F#ck! Still in my nightgown, I storm down the one flight of stairs to my landlord’s apartment below. Knock. Gonna tell him about this darn phone line--AGAIN.


Door opens. In back of him, the TV on. CNN playing a news clip of a plane exploding into the World Trade Center.


"Hi John, Sorry to bother you but my phone is down again."
"Oh probably because the plane."
"What happened?"
"A plane fly into the World Trade Center."


Oh my god.
I stand in my nightgown in the hallway. He stands in the threshold, the door open. Together we stand frozen watching and listening.


It’s not a private plane. It’s a jet. It’s a commercial airliner.


I go back upstairs, turn on my TV.
Within the next hours the horrifying infamous nightmare unfolds.


I am on the airplane. I am on my cell phone on the airplane, trapped, no way out, calmly but not so calmly calling my parents to say good-bye for the last time. I can’t believe this is the end. This is how I am to die. There is no way out. I am in a tin can and this will not be sudden. I must know, be aware of my fate. I want to vomit. To shit. To wail. To pray. I have children. I have parents. I have siblings. I have hopes and dreams. How is this the end?


I know people in the building. I have clients who work in that building. I have clients who work next door. I am in the building, shocked, heart-pounding, trying to be non-chalant, taking the stairs two-by-two, unsure of what is really happening. People above the impact hold hands jumping for their lives to their deaths. The building crumbles. The world watches in disbelief. As it becomes smoke and particles we know how many souls are being crushed inside the disintegration. No air will fill lungs. Not theirs. Not mine.


NO cell phones. NO land lines. NO communication with those who need to know you are alive. Can’t find your car. Buried under rubble if you work downtown. All bridges and tunnels closed.

'By the way', CNN reminds us New Yorkers, 'Manhattan is an Island. We may be the target of a war.' No one else hears this. It is only broadcast locally in New York. I hear it. Over and over.

We are in a war zone. Will car bombs start detonating sporadically all throughout the city, they ask, in that ominous newscaster tone that ends on a low note no matter the sentence?


Oh my god.
Stay in your homes. Manhattan is under siege.
Images of all the stories I’ve heard from A. during her years in the war in England. WW2. It could be true. We are an island. Easily cut off. Easily attacked and destroyed. Will Militants soon storm my little apartment? Will a bomb go off on my street? There is no where to go. There is no where to hide. There is no escape from New York.


Images of people in suits, both men and women, running through an unimaginable cloud of destruction toward anywhere.

Toward Uptown.

Away.


Images of lines in front of the one working payphone in New York. Lines hundreds long.
Dust-covered human beings boarding the one bus in service. Walking statues in coated in concrete, filling the Avenues of New York, in absurd and unusual silence. Not a sound in the streets. No taxis. No words. Manhattan has never been so tongue-tied. Just a quiet moving exodus walking en masse uptown toward ‘safer’ ground.


"Don’t leave your apartments." CNN instructs. "This may only be the beginning. Manhattan could be at war."


There could be building bombs. Car bombs. Store bombs. Bridge and Tunnel bombs.
Again and Again they play the clip of the co-workers, man and woman, who hold hands as they plunge out of the one-hundredth floor.


I am still on the plane. I am terrified to fly anyway. The thought of being trapped in what I know to be certain death, won’t take its horrible fatal grip off my heart and throat. I am not weeping, I am sobbing so hard my body spasms but no sound will come out.


My doorbell rings.

Huh?

My doorbell rings.

Huh?

Couldn’t be.

Who would be ringing my doorbell?

I am still in my nightgown. My hair is up in a ponytail. I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet. My face is red and swollen.

Glance at the clock. Surely it is not a client?


I buzz the door anyway. (We have no camera so I have no clue who it is.)

Open my door and watch as the security door below opens.


A man.

Any man.

Everyman.

In a suit.

Covered head-to-toe in cement, walks slowly up the stairs apologizing all the way.

The only flesh I can see is two long stripes beginning at his eyes, trailing down past his chin where his tears have worn away the dust. The stench is pungent, almost unbearable. Something chemical, unnatural. By the top step I realize he is a Client of mine. One I’ve only seen twice.


"I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry." He repeats, rasping.


I have no words.


"I didn’t know where else to go. There was no place to go. Everything is closed. I can’t find my car. All the bridges are closed. I’m so sorry."


"No. No. Come in. Please. Don’t worry. But let’s take your clothes off here."


He undresses in the hallway. Goes into my shower. Wraps himself in my robe.


"I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry." He keeps saying.


"No. I’m glad you thought to come here."


"I guess I could have gone to the lobby of some hotel…"


"No. It’s good you came here. Sit down. Come here. Let me hold you."


And he does.


Together, silent on my sofa, the sofa we used to sit and flirt upon, we watch the news as it unfolds.


Approximately a half-hour later, my bell rings again. I buzz. Another client. Not covered in dust but just as shaken. Works in mid-town East Side. His building was cleared out.


"Didn’t know where else to go. Can’t get home. All roads out of Manhattan closed."


"It’s okay. Come in."


He notices I have a visitor in a robe.


"Oh Jeez. Sorry."


"No no. Please. Come in."

(Later, when I revisit the scene, I remind myself of the character of Belle, the Prostitute in 'Gone With the Wind.')


Three of us huddle together on the sofa watching CNN. No one speaks. All have silent tears running down our faces.


2pm. The time of my first booked appointment. Doorbell rings. Notice the time. Couldn’t be. Couldn’t be my client showing up for his appointment—would be too absurd.

Buzz.
It is.

It’s the client I love with the 2 o’clock appointment. Watch him climb the stairs.


"Hi?" I say.
"Hi. I didn’t come here because we had—I had no where to go—couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. Knew you would take care of me. Felt safer here."


I begin to sob, fall into his arms. Close the door behind him. The embrace winds down as he notices the ‘full house’.


"Oh sorry."
"No. It’s okay. Come in. Please."


The afternoon wears on. The worst is over. For the moment.

The men begin to talk. Exchange business cards.

The man in the robe, it turns out, is in the same business as the last man in the door.

CNN announces the bridges are re-opening.


The man in the robe has no clothes now. The man who came in last has clothes in his car that may fit him. They decide to exit together. Will walk to the car, share clothes and attempt to get home.

We kiss goodbye although my heart can almost not bear their parting.

The last man left says he will walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge. A crowd of people seem to be on a mass hike doing the same and he will join him. Every cell in my body wants to beg him to stay. I cannot be here alone. But I embrace him and let him leave.


For two weeks, I lay on my sofa unable to sleep, to eat, to breathe, to answer my phone.
I am on that airplane. I am trapped on that first airplane, knowing there is no hope. Knowing I am to die at the hands of madmen. Knowing my family who needs me will never have my love and help again. There is no escaping the nightmare.


In an attempt to distract myself from the re-occurring nightmare visions, I decide to watch one of the Dvd’s I’ve collected but never seen before. Mistakenly I choose, "Fight Club", which, if you haven’t seen it, is basically about an insane man who hates Capitalism and in the end, blows up Wall Street and the World Trade Center.

Hysteria.

Inability to function for another two weeks.


New York City, once I do venture out, is dour, but not dour enough for my spirit. I hate anyone who has the audacity to smile.


A month passes. I check my voicemail expecting no calls but check just in case.

Hundreds of calls.

Anger.

What is wrong with men?! How can they think of sex at a time like this? I am furious. I return only one call—a call from a client I love and respect. He wants to make an appointment.


"You know I love you but I just don’t think I can right now." I try to explain to him.


"Geisha." His voice is solemn and sincere. "You can’t know how much I need a tender touch right now."


"A tender touch, I can understand. But I just don’t think I could have sex right now."


"But it’s what I need most."


"Sex?" I am almost outraged but trying not to let my distaste seep into my tone.


"Please don’t hate me for saying this."


"I won’t." I lie.


"For a man, or at least for me, sex makes me feel connected with life. I need to make love to feel life is okay. That it will go on. I need it to re-cover. Can you understand that?"


I don’t understand it at all because it is not what I feel at all. But what I do know, intrinsically, is that men and women are very different in this regard.
"Okay."


He comes over the next night. We make love and I cry as we do. I can’t help it. It is too painful for my body and spirit to affirm life when there is so much death and tragedy. It feels sacrilegious to my soul.
He holds me tight to his chest afterwards.
He asks and I tell him why I am weeping. I tell him about the day of September 11th. Who came here and what happened.


"So, yes." He says.
"Yes what?"
"You don’t see it? You don’t get it?"


I shake my head.


"They could have gone anywhere. A hotel lobby. A restaurant."
"Those places might not have been open."
"Hotel lobbies were open."
"What are you saying?" I am too emotional and confused.
"They came to you. They came to you. In the middle of the biggest panic in their lives, as they ran or wandered up the street, not knowing what to do, where to go, where was safe, where they could find comfort, shelter, they came to you."


After that day, for over a year, business dropped off significantly. Many girls in my business left town. Luckily, my neurotic fear of poverty had me stashing away much of my income throughout the past years of plenty instead of spending it on Prada bags, that I was able to hold on.


During that year, because of my visitors that day, a feeling of peace in regards to my business, infused my spirit, so that whenever anyone looked down on me for what I did for a living, I no longer looked away or made excuses. I knew that whatever I felt I had done or given translated to the hearts of those that saw me through my work.

And that was all I needed to know.


The two clients who exchanged business cards that day allied in a business venture forming a very successful private investing firm together.


All three are still regular clients of mine.















4 Comments:

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Jim Minte said...

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.

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Come and check it out if you get time :-)
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At 8:28 AM, Blogger Jim Minte said...

Life must be understood backwards; but... it must be lived forward.

I have a Phone Sex site/blog. It pretty much covers Phone Sex and Adult related talk.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Here is our number 1-900-336-8777

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger Jim Minte said...

What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print.

I have a Phone Sex site/blog. It pretty much covers Phone Sex and Adult related talk.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Here is our number 1-900-336-8777

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Jim Minte said...

There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply. Thanks for sharing your views.

I have a Phone Sex site/blog. It pretty much covers Phone Sex and Adult related talk.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Here is our number 1-900-336-8777

 

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