Friday, March 6, 2015

A Fine Romance- Details on Dating a Hooker Part III


                                        III.
Late one night, on a day we weren’t supposed to meet, I got a phone call from an unknown number. I almost didn’t pick it up, but I got a strange niggling sensation in the back of my brain that this was something important. So I took a dare and answered the phone.
It was Tabitha. There was a problem. It seemed like there was always a problem. “I hate all my clothes. I need new ones.” “That guy looked at me funny. I think he wants to kill me.” “I’m out of pills, now I need to go back to those stupid doctors.” But in this case the urgency was immediately clear. Her voice was shaky and sounded like she was on the verge of a hysterical fit.
“C-c-can you come and get me…. I-I-I really need help here.” 
She gave me some stammering insane directions, which were revised several times in-between sobs.
“No here…No wait… Go this way… Oh God.”
Finally I had it nailed down and jumped to go get her. It was at a gas station in the sleazier half of downtown, near the puke ridden college bars and the moldering working man’s saloons. Something very bad had happened. We never met outside of the small area between the Waffle House and her motel room.
Twenty minutes of speeding later, I managed to find the place. As I pulled in, I saw her sitting on the concrete base of a streetlight with a man and a woman, smoking a cigarette. She saw my beat-up red Honda, roughly grabbed her purse, and walked over. I could tell that she was barely holding herself together. The purse swung wildly about her shoulder. She got in without saying a word. I pulled out of the lot and headed back to the motel. For the entire trip, she kept her face turned away from me.
It was a quiet night for downtown. A few lonely streetlights gave an illusion of safety from the evil night. There were a couple of stray cars here and there, but mostly it was dead. We didn’t say a word, just enjoyed being in the moment. I could tell that she wanted to delay the explanation for as long as possible.
Eventually we reached the motel. She jumped out of the car, mumbling “Thanks,” and rushed to her door. I was irritated, who wouldn’t be? But I knew that there was something, beyond the ordinary, wrong with her and debated whether to go after her or let her tell me in her own time. She stopped at the door and was just standing there. That made up my mind. I went up behind her.
“What’s the matter?”
“My key won’t work.”
She tried it several more times.
“Could you go get me another one please?” She said in an almost robotic tone, choking back tears. She threw the key card behind her. “Please? Please? PLEASE?” She slammed the palm of her hand on the door repeatedly.
I went to the office and asked the guy there for a couple more cards. The clerk wasn't very good at his job. He didn’t ask for any proof that I was staying there. He just yawned, scratched himself, and gave me two new ones. I pocketed one on the way back. You never know when that would come in handy.
I let her in and she tried to shut the door behind her, but I shoved my way through. It might’ve been selfish of me, but I had to know.  She angrily flung her purse in the corner and laid face down on the bed.
“I’ll fix us a few drinks.”
“Okay thanks…,” Was the muffled reply.
I could hear her sobbing, as I poured the booze. A feeling of dread crept all over me. It was time.  I went back in and handed her the Jack-n-Coke. She took it, face still down.
“All right,” I said, “What the fuck’s going on? Show me.”
She shook her head.
“Sit up and show me!”
Reluctantly she did. I threw my drink against the wall.
The right side of her face was beaten all to hell. It was bruised and bloody and raw. Her right eye had swollen up like a bloody knot in a tree. There was no way she could see out of it. The left side also had some nasty scrapes and brush burns from being kicked to the ground. My vision went red.
 She burst into tears when she looked at me and started to piss herself. I quickly took her into the bathroom, I had to support her most of the way as she had started trembling horribly and could barely walk. As I stripped her down, she screamed in pain as several of the wounds on her body stuck to the clothes. I laid her down in the off white tub and ran a bath and saw more bruises on the right side of her body from kicks. Her legs were scratched up and there was a lot of bruising around her vagina. She wailed in absolute despair. My heart broke over and over again with every cry, and a rage boiled inside of me. I had to go outside for a moment and punch the wall to maintain myself. 
I started to treat her wounds, very gently, and little by little I got a story out of her. Though she still stuck by her old standard of not talking about her profession around me. The story rambled a bit and it changed a couple of times as it was being told, but it seems the basic facts are:
There were three of them, college punks. All white. One had sandy curled hair, tall with a chin. The second had dark hair, semi-long with rough light scraggly facial hair. The last had short dark hair in a conservative style and was “pretty” (I guess that meant he didn’t need to rape to get laid. He just did it for fun). She didn’t know any names. Their clothes were “normal.” She met these guys while "out” and they went into an alley by a bar down in the Vista. One of them made her blow him, while the other’s laughed. When she was done, another one kicked her in the side of the face. They pushed her up against the wall, covered her mouth, and took turns raping her. Then they laughed, knocked her over, kicked her a few more times, and left. Dredge as much truth from that as you can.
Going to the police was out of the question. They were more likely to arrest her (prostitution and possession) than anyone else. She was a complete mess and there was nothing to be done about it. Just a battered girl and a lifetime of hate. At that moment, retribution had to be put off. I focused on taking care of her. I gently picked her up and brought her to the bed. I tucked her in and stroked her hair until she went to sleep.
Talk about feeling helpless. I wanted to grab one of these smirking punks and strangle the life out of him. My blood still boils and my fingers get twitchy at the idea. I could see him now hanging about some frat party, no doubt bragging to his friends about what he did. But I had nothing to go on. No name. No real description. I found myself hanging around in bars in that area, just hoping that I would find the guy. Figuring maybe I’d see one of them and somehow, mystically, would know. It never happened. They’re all such obnoxious arrogant shits at that age that it could’ve been anyone of them. All I did was spend money that I shouldn’t have on a pathetic revenge fantasy. Still it felt better than just doing nothing.
A couple of people have carelessly said to me, “Well she should’ve expected stuff like that if she was going to be a hooker.” I defy anyone, anyone, to look at her bruised and destroyed body and say that. No one deserves what happened to her.
For days after she would barely communicate. She just curled up under the covers and zombie out on TV. I would bring over a bag of food and she’d sit in silence, quietly munching and drinking tap water. Or else she’d be completely zoned out of her mind on pills. That’s the only time she’d laugh or giggle mindlessly, then latch onto me and then pass out, unconsciously drooling all over my chest.
This went on for weeks as she slowly healed. Physically that is. Mentally she was worse than ever. Now she didn’t want to leave the room at all. She only wanted to lie in bed and let the world outside drift by without her.
She started to run out of money quickly and more importantly, to her, out of pills. How she managed to stay in that place I had no idea and really didn’t want to know. Still I could tell she was just holding on by the skin of her teeth, and apart from moral support, there was little I could do to help. I briefly mentioned that she could come live at my apartment (which I’m sure I would have regretted) but she shot it down, saying that my place was too small, or something. She had a nervous tick when this came up and would scratch violently at her wrists.
Ever since the rape, she had been taking twice as many pills and getting even loopier. She must’ve had a friend drop off the pills (or had a pharmacy deliver) because I don’t see how else she got more, but her increased dosage meant that she was eventually going to be caught short. I tired to get her to cut back with this bit of wisdom, but she couldn’t control herself.
It was a Friday when the inevitable happened. The place was even more of a mess than usual and she was agitated. All of the liquor we had drunk didn’t help her mood either. She was pacing back and forth and scratching furiously at her torso. I was slightly drunk and trying to relax on the bed. Just looking at her I knew, I knew, that she was going to be unbearable all night long.
“I need…” She said.
“What?”
“You know. You gotta get it for me.”
“I don’t know what and I don’t know where.”
“I need it. Come on. I love you.”
“Nothing I can do.”
“WHY NOT? I NEED IT!”
“Sorry.”
“YOU HATE ME!”
“No I don’t.”
“I FUCKING HATE YOU!”
“No you don’t.”
“YES I DO. I HATE THIS WHOLE SHITTY PLACE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT.”
I had tried to be patient, but that only works up to a point, then you have to put your foot down. I got up. “SIT DOWN AND CHILL THE FUCK OUT! IT’LL GET BETTER LATER!” She slapped me across the face and I pushed her back. She fell against the dresser and grabbed an empty Jack Daniel’s bottle. 
I was raised (if you can call it that) not to hit women, but if there was ever an exception to the rule it is when one is screaming hysterically and trying to crack your skull open with a sturdy liquor bottle. What would you have done? I punched her in the face. She landed on the cheap motel bed and then flipped over, smacking into the floor, dragging most of the scratchy bed sheet with her. I felt bad about it later, but at the time it was almost an autonomic response.
There she was drug sick, curled up on the floor, a ratty blanket around her, tears streaming from her eyes mixing with hot droplets of snot pouring out her nose, and making a whining “ugh ugh ugh” noise. She didn’t try to rise again. I’m convinced that this wasn’t the first time she had been in that position. Then there was a knock at the door.
“Police.”
Oh shit!
What a cliché I must have looked like. A large guy, the scent of alcohol about him, a trashed motel room, empty liquor bottles scattered about, and a crying woman with a bruised face picking herself off the floor and assuring the cops that “everything was all right.”
I was taken aside by some swaggering Southerner with a shaved head and a bushy gay-porn mustache, who seemed to enjoy sticking two fingers into my chest while he talked. His partner went inside the room to talk to Tabitha.
“We’ve been hearing that there’s a fuss here. What going on?”
“Well sir, we were just having a disagreement.”
Southern police always react better when you called them “sir”. Especially if you’re originally from the North and your accent immediately betrays that. It shows  that you’re respectful and not some loudmouth uppity Northerner who thinks he’s better than everyone (even if you actually are). Galling perhaps, but if it saved me money on tickets and kept me out of prison, I figured it was worth a little cowtowing.
“I’ll say you were having an argument. We could hear you down the other end of the motel.” He dug the fingers in a little deeper. Definitely trying to provoke me.
“Sorry about that. Didn’t realize we were so loud.”
“You hit her?”
“No sir, I did not.” I said this in my most level, straightforward, and hopefully convincing tone. Demonstrating exactly how serious I was about that statement.
“You sure about that?”
I almost said something really sarcastic here, but I sucked it back in, causing me to stammer. “Uh huh, yeah.”
“Uh huh. Well we’ll see what she says about that.”
“Okay.”
“How’d she get that bruise on her face?’
“Uhhh.”
Suddenly, luckily, there was a screaming outburst from inside the room. We both turned quickly. The cop reaching for his piece, out of instinct I guess. “NO NO NO NO NO!” Tabitha was yelling. The other cop said something indistinct.
“JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!”
She was standing like an errant child; head tilted forward, hands over her face, and sobbing very noisily. Then she hit her own face twice and ran into the bathroom, tripping over a pair of old sneakers on the way.
The other cop came out of the room. “Okay. What the hell’s the matter with her?” Jerking his thumb behind him.
“She’s got some uh emotional problems.”
“No shit.”
“She’s schizophrenic and has a bipolar disorder.” That sounds good. Those are real things.  I don’t really know what they mean, but it sounds about right. “Sometimes she gets out of hand and hurts herself. I don’t know why. They’re still adjusting her medication and I think she just had a bad reaction to it.” I’m not Mr. Slick or Captain Grift, but it’s amazing how fast your mind can work under a burst of adrenaline.
“What kind of meds is she taking?’
“I don’t know. Some word that I can’t pronounce.”
A chuckle from them. Keep ‘em laughing. Keep ‘em laughing.
A cop went in and grabbed one of the few pill bottles still in sight. Mentally I was patting myself on the back over having the foresight to throw the rest of her paraphernalia in a drawer. He stared at it, as if it would suddenly yield some ancient mystery to him and nodded his head.
“Are these them?” He said.
“Ah, yes sir. I believe that there’s two types that she’s taking. I think the other one is in  the bathroom.”
He nodded and looked around some more at the mess and wounded soldiers.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be mixing alcohol with this stuff either.”
Scratching the back of my head, elbow up, I sheepishly had to admit that they were right. They finally asked for my ID and ran it to make sure I had no warrants or anything. When everything came up cool, they told me to keep the noise down. I agreed.   
“You got this?” One said.
“Yeah. She’ll calm down in a little bit and I’m going to take her back to the doctor’s tomorrow.”
“All right.” The other said, “We don’t want to have to come back out here.”
I went back in and banged on the bathroom door. “They’re gone.” I heard some muffled weeping and something being knocked over. The adrenaline rush wore off and a wave of exhaustion crashed over my body. “I’m gonna take off too. I’m beat.”
“NO.” She yelled and rushed out.
She grappled me in a surprisingly strong hug and stuck her face into my chest, sniffling. My shirt got moist, I’d like to assume from tears. She repeated, “I’m sorry,” Over and over and over again, whispering it into my pecs.
I’m such a soft soapy bastard.

   A Fine Romance will be concluded in part 4.