Relationships, part 3: The Prostitute

Raven picked me up – her boyfriend, “Johnny”, driving. I crawled into the sprawling Escalade and was promptly handed a flask full of vodka. I took a swig and leveled her with my eyes. “I’m not awake, yet.” She took the flask back and drank from it, not acknowledging that I’d said anything.

I leaned my head against the cool window and stared out into the darkness. The trees and quiet of Sherman Oaks soon turned into the hum of open early morning highway as Raven laughed and blasted music and talked animatedly with Johnny. She occasionally directed statements my way, but I ignored her. I understood the value of making money, comprehended completely what my job was and why it was important to be accommodating in order to make money, but I really wanted to be back in my bed. She tried to make a joke and I snapped at her. I was too tired to engage them and only more than happy to have them know it, but then I felt her reach back and put something into my hand. It was a tab of ecstasy. I took it with another pull from the flask, then closed my eyes and let out a deep breath to free the tension. She was watching me, so I offered a smile. She laughed, inviting, so I propped myself up towards them between the driver and passenger seats to be friendly and help them navigate while further partaking of their booze.

After almost forty minutes of driving in the wrong direction after I told Johnny exactly how to get to the address off Pacific Coast Highway, we finally arrived. The ecstasy was working on me and the vodka was making my face and belly warm as we poured out of the gigantic automobile and stumbled towards the door of the beachfront house. We were greeted at the door by a slender, dark-haired man with a thick Italian accent. A paunchy man broke past him and greeted us with a big smile. “That’s my drug dealer,” his voice boomed. “We don’t need to bother him. Follow me!” He walked us up a spiral staircase to the top floor, past a short hallway that broke into a bedroom framed by a large window that ran the entire length of the room. A moonlit ocean filled the space behind the glass. It was breathtaking. As we were led further inside and ushered into the sitting area, I could see another breathtaking view. A large round glass table sat center amid leather sofas, completely covered in every drug known to man. I sat down slowly as our host introduced his brother, also a friendly-faced, paunchy man, and then introduced the drugs just as cordially, pointing them out as he went, “We have ecstasy, wine, rock, coke, weed, gin…,” he went on, but his voice trailed off as I sat looking at the spread. The brother had sat down next to me and was staring intently at my face when I turned to greet him. I smiled, “Hi.” “Hello, how are you tonight?” he asked, being polite. “Well, so far so good, and it’s looking a lot better now!” I said eye-ing the mess on the table. He laughed warmly and began asking me questions about myself.

Turns out his brother was a drug addict (would never have guessed that), and he was having one of his usual last hoorahs before a stint in rehab. I could tell it helped him to talk about it and make conversation about himself, me, Los Angeles and small things. He seemed content to just talk. At some point I started to get bored, so I moved to undress when Raven gave me a sharp look and hissed, “Not yet! We can get more hours…” ‘More hours?’ I thought. How could four not be enough! I was still pondering that thought when the brother got up, engaged in conversation with our host. I stared at the table and a tall bong in the middle. I picked it up. It was long and heavy. The brother offered, “That’s got crack in it. Help yourself.” They both walked out of the room, talking. Raven sat caddy-corner to me, playing with her PDA. I sat the monster-sized bong on the floor between my feet and lit the bowl. I’d never smoked crack before, and while it was never something that I had aimed to do, I almost never passed up an opportunity to try something new that I could incorporate into my personal resumé of experience/description/commotion. I watched as the bowl burned bright, then filled the chamber with white smoke, released the carburetor and pulled the bowl stem away, clearing the air passage so I could get the last of it into my lungs. This guy did not buy cheap shit. I felt immediately lightheaded, like my body had just been transformed into a cloud. On the exhale, I fell backwards, slow motion into the soft cushioned leather. My entire being felt light, like a vapor mist. I took another hit and fell back again. The darkness, the high, the view… I turned and stared out into the water, intoxicated and overwhelmed, watching the moon’s light dance on the waves, trying to hold the moment with my senses, wondering why all of this was happening to me, but not angry or sad, just musing at it all. I wanted to give it some meaning in my mind, but it was not at all possible. I’ve always been gifted with the ability to handle being high, if you can call it a gift. Some people go from reality into the abstract and become fearful of what they can and can’t see. I could appreciate the illusion of escape, knowing that anything that happens is just the result of the drug, but always happy and ready to come back, too. You never want to get too lost in a drug. You’ll lose your mind entirely. Four hours passed with almost no thought at all.

Several hours later I was running through the upstairs level, sun spilling through every window between the first bedroom, the hallway and an adjoining bathroom and second bedroom, bouncing from one spot to another, high and giggling as Raven and the brother sat up in bed in the second bedroom watching me and laughing. “Look! I’m a squirrel!” I’d run really fast into the other room and then come back. “Look! I’m a cat!” Same thing. I knew I wasn’t actually a squirrel or a cat, but I was very high and had to 1) get out the excess energy, and 2) amuse myself. We were eleven hours into our stay and the only company I’d had for most of it, were the drugs. And I did a lot. I did a lot of drugs!

Johnny picked us up, finally. I raced to find my sunglasses, the light hurting my eyes. “How long were we there?” I asked Raven. “Eleven hours,” she said. She didn’t seem any different. She didn’t seem phased at all. For a second I thought to ask how long she’d been ‘hooking’, but I let the moment pass. “Wait, so I made eleven thousand dollars? To just hang out and do drugs?” I couldn’t believe it. I’d just been paid an astronomical amount of money to get high in Malibu, watch the water, pretend to be a squirrel. That was the moment I sobered up, actually – having that thought. It seemed so absolutely absurd! I started laughing. I’m sure they thought I’d lost my mind, but it must have been infectious because they started laughing, too, and we all clowned around the entire drive back to her house.

We piled out of the Escalade and fell into the living room. I don’t remember exactly why I went back with them and didn’t get dropped off at my apartment, which was on the way, but it didn’t seem very important at the time. They went to her bedroom and I started to fall asleep on the floor next to the couch, but Johnny kept calling for me to come into the bedroom. I suspected some sort of looming ménage à trois, or something sexually similar, but I was still too happy from hitting the jackpot to care. And that’s not to say that I am against things like that, but I prefer one-on-one situations, and I’m not into having sex with my female friends, or my friends boyfriends. I would never entertain the thought. And yet, he kept calling, “Hey! Julie… come look at this!” ‘Come look at this,’ I thought. ‘Your penis?’ I sighed. Who cares, right? Maybe this sort of thing is called for after an eleven-thousand-dollar night and no sex. Maybe I should relax a little bit…

I went into the room and *gasp* … they were fucking. So I sat on the bed and watched as if they were a featured species in a Discovery Channel episode. It was not thrilling. So, I started to go to sleep where I lie. Then she suggested we have sex. Why? She was tired and he wanted to finish. I had seemed to obliterate so many walls and boundaries in only a year that it seemed such an inconsequential line compared to so many other things. My first “girl/girl” experience was with an overweight wife who laid on her back and forced a barely audible moan for her husband’s pleasure. I started doing cocaine to wake up, and drinking to relax, and ecstasy to feel, well… ecstatic. It might not have been such a roller coaster ride but I was heartbroken. I was responsible in my job and responsibilities before divorce, I kept my head together, I knew how to handle and carry myself, and for the most part I still did, but I was seriously confused about where my life was going because I was attached to someone who was proving to be very bad for me. I do better in relationships despite my ‘female power’ ramblings to the contrary. Relationships keep me stable. And, as I said before, I thought I was in love with Stephan – a child. A thirty-four-year-old child. I was a real mess.

Having sex with Johnny for five minutes was uneventful and uncomfortable. Raven just lay there propped up in bed, staring that ‘I’m summing you up’ stare. It was unnerving to feel under a microscope like that, so I said I needed to sleep and crawled under the covers and tried to do just that.

I woke up at some point and Johnny offered to drive me home. I said yes as non-enthusiastically as I could muster to not look desperate to get the hell out of there. On the drive home he said that Raven told him he could see me if ever she weren’t around or just not in the mood for sex; that he could call me for a hookup, and that’s when I got it. I felt pretty stupid. I don’t like being played, and she had been playing me. She was playing him, too. I should have seen it coming. I like to shoot guns, so she had suggested one day that I go to the firing range with her ex-husband because he had every kind of arsenal at his disposal and could teach me how to shoot the proper way. I did go to the firing range with him, and we had a pretty decent time, but afterward I got the distinct feeling he was waiting for something more. Believe me, I’m no stranger to someone expecting sex “just because”, but it was different. It was like he was waiting for the inevitable, and when I went to leave, he looked confused. It was odd. It was that same odd feeling with Johnny. Like some unseen person sat at the route of it, poised behind the steering wheel, orchestrating our lives for their pleasure, through the guise of ‘for our pleasure’. Red had warned me in her own way, as well. “Julie, whatever you do, do not see her customers when she suggests it. I made that mistake and ended up spending two hours with this creepy American-Indian guy who was completely vacant and calling me names. He wanted to slap me and I said no. I wanted to cry it made me feel so bad. Don’t see her customers.” I said, “What did she say when you told her what happened?” “She said, ‘Yeah, so? It’s just like a scene, right?’ Huh… No scene I’ve ever done.” “Nor I!” I said, mortified. The pieces fell into place. She had no boundaries at all. Her friends could sit for twenty minutes while she talked dirty to a customer in her car in the Starbucks parking lot. Her “boyfriends” were drivers/lovers/playthings for her girlfriends/hired help/who knows what else. I can be open, but I have to have boundaries. I needed a friend when I wasn’t working, not a friend to work me.

I was very polite to Johnny, but quiet and thinking. I excused myself noncommittally from the conversation and any talk of a future “hookup”, bade him farewell and retreated to the quiet of my little Sherman Oaks apartment. A week later she asked me if I would see her American-Indian friend and I said, “No. Red told me about that guy, and I don’t do scenes like that.” She just stared at me. Waiting for the punch line that never came, I guess. Weeks after that she built me up on our going to see a male review on my birthday. She canceled an hour before because she got a call from a customer to work. We weren’t friends after that.

…to be continued…

31810cookie-checkRelationships, part 3: The Prostitute

Relationships, part 3: The Prostitute

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