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Twisting all the bad things into good

Oct 31, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, Part 12: Sons and Daughters of the Dark Morning Star

"Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward".
   Joseph Campbell


            At some point on Monday afternoon, not only had I become totally oblivious to the concept of time, but  also to that of space. My mind no longer bothered creating even the most absurd  explanation of how I got from one place to another, from one state to another, and soon, from one life or death situation to another. If I could not remember specific moments so clearly over a year later, I would have thought it was just a nightmare. I have found it unfortunate that even the best of dreams fade with every passing moment after waking, while the worst of waking nightmares and hallucinations can be remembered as if they really happened.

           Physically, I can only guess and hope that I was in my room. Mentally, and without explanation, I found myself in  Philadelphia. I was sitting in my aunt's house, even though she had not lived there since I was a child. I sat on the sofa while she spoke to my mother about my father's death. I was beginning to sweat and could feel my body starting to rapidly detox. My cousin looked at me in a way that indicated he knew exactly what was happening to me. "Yo, Jim, let's go get a beer around the corner", he suggested and stood up. I told him that I thought we were getting ready to leave. "Just 15 minutes, let's go", he says. I agreed to go for one beer. Maybe it would help take the edge off.

            We took the elevator in their living room down to the lobby.When we got outside, their were about 8 girls in short skirts and high heels smoking and conversing with each other. They were obviously escorts. I wouldn't go so far as to say they were classy prostitutes, but they didn't look like the hookers that stood on street corners in bad parts of town or even the French one with a light mustache who approached me in a Vegas casino a few years back. None of them looked like Pretty Woman or anything, but some were hot in a dirty "I would pay her for sex if I didn't know that I'd feel ashamed of myself about 20 seconds after I was done" kind of way. 3 of them ran up to my cousin and started bitching about hooker, I mean, escort drama. He immediately told them to shut the fuck up. They did. He said he already knew about whatever they were so worked up over and that it was going to be taken care of. There was a steady stream of girls coming and going from the lobby. Some were getting dropped off by their driver. Others were exiting the lobby area and saying good night as if they were leaving after a day at the office. I stood there trying to act like this was nothing out of the ordinary. Once the girls stepped away, even though I knew what was going on, I asked my cousin what he had going here. He said that he was a driver amongst other things. I indicated that I understood and that I had been around the block a few times myself, never this particular block, but I still knew a hooker when I saw one, or at least after they offered to have sex with me in exchange for money. He seemed to be glad he didn't have to try to explain it to me in terms like "manager" or "dates" or in any way that avoided saying,"I am a pimp and these women are prostitutes".

           A police car came and pulled up. The officer in street clothes seemed to step out of the car before it had even come to a stop. He acknowledged me with a look that indicated he would get with me in a minute. The escorts who had been bitching ran up to him and started their shit again. He also immediately told them to shut the fuck up, and again, they did. Then he told the one to tell him what the problem was. I don't remember what she said, but it was in a fashion typical of your stereotypical movie prostitute. This made sense because that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge in the way of the hooker. Since whatever she was pissed off about was all a creation of my mind, and I have never cared to fathom the inner workings of a whore, it is safe to say that this problem I had created in her mind had something to do with either a john who got violent or ripped her off. Once she stopped her hysterics, he said he would take care of it and reached into his front pocket and handed them each a vial of cocaine. They both immediately tap the coke out of the vial into their Wolverine claw like pinky finger nails and snorted as if they were being timed with a stopwatch. He then asked if they were good, as though it was not written all over their make-up covered hooker faces. Whatever was bothering them so much a few minutes ago, they were clearly over it. It was no longer their problem. It was going to be handled and they knew it. Witnessing this display of codependency and the general nature of  interactions between this group of men and women, I thought to myself how truly absurd it was that I had ever even once been referred to as a "pimp", either by myself or by a friend. I almost found a little comfort in the fact that I was not wearing my belt that said "PIMP" on the buckle. It all of a sudden seemed clear there was as much of a chance of an actual pimp wearing a belt that said "pimp", as there was of an actual "prostitute" wearing a top hat that indicated her profession. Even if I had worn it for what would have turned out to be the last time, neither of these true pimps or their working girls would have been fooled. There was no hiding that I was as out of my element as one of the 2 coke head hookers would be at Calvary Chapel's 10AM Sunday service. This corrupt cop/pimp/protector/enforcer/drug dealer turned his attention towards me. I tried to act like this pimp game was nothing new to me as he approached. He looked at me with obvious disappointment as he shook his head and said,"Jimmy, I'm sorry about your dad". I reached out and gave him one of those handshakes guys do that turns into the kind of hug where you don't have to wrap both arms around another man, even if  is your cousin that you've known your entire life. I said,"Thanks, man."

           I had not seen either of my cousins in several years. Both were a few years older than me. They both grew up in Philadelphia. Neither of them would go looking for a fistfight, but they would have never considered walking away from one, and it always sounded to me like they may have even enjoyed it. Even when we were kids, it was pretty evident that they were about as impressed by their 10 year old cousin's  Black Belt as they were with his beloved Michael Jackson jacket(s).  Whether it was on purpose or not, their street smarts and general attitudes always served to remind their cousin in the suburbs of what a pussy he really was and how neither "that karate shit" nor a Black Belt would mean anything in a street fight. I really couldn't argue with them, not due to lack of debating skills but because either one of them would have individually probably liked to prove their theory, so there was no telling what kind of damage they could inflict as a tag team. If I had even joked that my Black Belt meant I could beat them in a fight, the fact that we share the same last name would not have prevented a beat down for the ages. Only one of our moms stepping in could have saved me from certain death at the hands of my cousins who I always loved, and since this beating never went down, I still do.

           Somehow, these 2 maniacs grew up without killing me or anyone else, as far as I know (I moved to Florida when I was 11 so I got lucky, can't be sure about anyone else). My older cousin would become a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and serve 2 tours in Iraq, where he also developed an operations program used to train Iraqi Military and Police Officers. Besides being a bad ass soldier, he is also a highly decorated Philadelphia Police Captain. He has received so many Police, Civilian, and Military awards and citations that I would never use his name in association with these crimes, even if they only took place in the delusional mind of someone suffering severe psychosis. The corruption, drugs, violence, and prostitution that occurred in my hallucinations on this day  had absolutely nothing to do with my cousin and everything to do with me watching all 7 seasons of The Shield in a row a week earlier. Since I was broke and had no cable, I would go to the public library and take out entire seasons of TV shows, and since I could not sleep, I would usually watch one DVD after another until the season was over. In this particular situation, I watched 88 episodes of The Shield in a row. That works out to 3 days straight. I guess it made an impression, because as a result, the cousin of my delusions made Vic Mackey look like one of the Super Troopers.  
           For some unknown reason, he decided to take me with him to handle whatever problem the hookers were having. We walked around the corner and got buzzed into a first floor apartment. Inside, we were greeted by an overweight black pimp/drug dealer, two of his thugs, and the most obnoxious ghetto ass prostitute ever, who was no doubt pimp daddy's bottom bitch. She was definitely not one of those classy whores that worked for my cousins. This one I could have definitely seen working the street corner at Hell and Damnation, which is right around the corner from Why The Fuck Did My Cousin Bring Me Here Boulevard. I'm pretty sure she was the black actress who was type-cast as the prostitute who berated Colin Farrel in Phone Booth and would later verbally abuse Terence Howard in Hustle and Flow until he kicked the bitch out... along with her baby. Not a very pleasant scene, but neither was this. The place that this knock off Gucci Crew occupied wasn't really even an apartment. It was nothing more than a very small living room. Not even 1 bedroom in case you wanted to spoon a 20 dollar whore. No bathroom for shooting heroin in privacy. No bathroom meant no toilet to flush drugs down if the po po were closing in and no sink for brushing after every meal. No shower or running water meant nowhere for a hooker to wash her vagina in between johns. Lack of a closet meant no proper place for storing drugs or the dead bodies of rival dealers, not to mention out of town white guys who had no business being there. There wasn't even a kitchen for cooking crack or Thanksgiving dinner in. Either they were minimalists with no concern for hygiene, or this room was no more than a one stop spot for drugs and whores. I would have have called it a den of iniquity if there was any place to indulge in one's chosen iniquity, and if I knew what exactly an iniquity was. I think it either has something to do with immorality or the the market value of a property versus any claims held against it.

            I decided to skip my usual routine of introducing myself and shaking hands while repeating each person's name back to them as my own way of not immediately forgetting it. I stood there in silence while admitting to myself that the more appropriate place for me right now was back at the kitchen table drinking coffee with my mommy, aunt, grandmom, and pretty much any family members who were not men.

            I'm not going to make up some bullshit dialogue since I don't remember exactly what was said. Again, since this was all created by my own mind, it had be the kind of banter typical of any movie that had scenes of great tension between dealers/pimps and dirty cops who were arguing about drugs, prostitution, and how the cops were being cheated out of the agreed upon profits from both.  It was obvious that my cousin had never heard about the concepts of fear or death. I, on the other hand, was quite familiar with both. By the end of the night, I would be the Stephen Hawking of fear and could only hope that I would not also find myself confined to a wheel chair with no ability to speak. Every time the pimp/dealer spoke, I tried not to tremble in fear while thinking,"I can't believe he's threatening a cop like this. Does he not realize this guy would not think twice about killing him?". Every time my cousin spoke, I tried not to piss my unLucky jeans in fear while thinking,"I can't believe he's threatening a drug dealer like this. Does he not realize this guy would not think twice about killing him...and then me?" Although we had just met, I didn't get the feeling that this dealer/pimp seemed the type to follow up my witnessing of the 187 of both a police officer and family member by telling me how he was so sorry that things just got so out of hand. Even if I did  not demand from him this much deserved apology, I still didn't think  he would just tell one of his thugs to drive me home and to take a few dollars out of my dead cousin's wallet so we could stop at Rita's Water Ice, where we would discuss existentialism and then promise to find and friend each other on FaceBook.

           Things just got worse as soon as the 2 dollar whore  threw in her 2 cents. Her yelling made a tense situation even worse. My cousin yelled back at her to shut the fuck up, which  was beginning to seem a pretty common request in just about every pimp-whore verbal exchange. Then she turned her verbal attack on me. She wanted to know what I was even doing there? Funny, I was wondering the same thing. She was yelling about me being nervous and how "this little bitch" did not belong there. I couldn't have agreed more. This whore was starting to make sense. My cousin said that I was family and to back the fuck up off me. Family was obviously not a value of hers because this emasculating verbal assault continued until I couldn't take it anymore. The time had come to try my trembling hand at pimp speak. "SHUT THE FUCK UP!", I yelled at her. My cousin must have been so proud of me. She gave me one of those "Oh hell no" looks, and then I immediately told her how sorry I was. My cousin must have been so ashamed of me. I couldn't even think straight anymore. I somehow stopped myself from breaking into tears and crying about how I shouldn't be there and that I just wanted to go home to my mommy. She thought I was wearing a wire so she demanded I raise my shirt. Her pimp thought that was a good idea. Thank God I didn't wear that stupid "Pimp" belt. I wanted my cousin to step in, but I think he was still in shock at my disgraceful apology, so he just watched like everyone else. Like Tupac, it was "all eyes on me". I lifted my shirt above my chest, exposing my vulnerability along with my fat belly. If I could have found any trace of comfort in that moment, it would have been that, unlike Tupac, I never got "THUG LIFE" tattooed across my stomach, as I had once considered after several games of dominoes that included too many Dutch Masters blunts and 40's of St. Ides. But just like the slain rapper, I too would probably be dead  soon. After it was clear I was not wired, I pulled my shirt down and just wanted to get out of there. This whore would still not let up about my presence, as if I wanted to be there. My cousin told her pimp to set her straight and that I was cool. I was never so uncool in my life and this bitch knew it. She said something like "if you so cool. why you shaking like a little bitch?" For some unknown reason, I blurted out, "I'm from Florida". A year later, I still don't know what kind of response I was expecting from that kind of quick thinking. Like she was going to all of a sudden smile and say," Really? You never told me you were from Florida. I love Florida. What part? My sister happens to be a whore in Miami". Unfortunately, we shared no common ground in regards to the Sunshine State, a place I would probably never see again. Instead of breaking into uncontrollable laughter, she pretended that my comment meant something to her and calmly said, "Oh, you from Florida". She looked at her pimp and his thugs and said,"He from Florida", as if they were going to tell me all about the time they took a week off from pimping, whoring, dealing, robbing, and killing to visit the Magic Kingdom. No such luck. It seemed that none of them had any love for Mickey, Florida, or my cracker ass. They were probably impressed to see the ease at which she was able to turn the tables on her usual role in the pimp-whore dynamic. She was definitely big pimpin' me. She was enjoying having the upper pimp-hand in this role reversal so much that she wanted to play new roles, which unfortunately, would not be a simple switch of our current ones. She was understandably not interested in going back to the role of whore, the same one she had most likely been playing ever since she dropped out of med school. Before she had become disillusioned by selling her whore ass for a $40 spot and sucking off strangers for a $20, even she must have had a dream that did not include gargling a gallon of mouthwash on a daily basis. I could only assume that her ridiculous and unattainable childwhore dream must have been something in the medical field because it seemed that we were about to explore the dynamics of a doctor-patient relationship. That would explain why she pulled out a hypodermic needle. Once again she would play the dominant role, this time of doctor. Unless she had something more sinister in her dirty hooker mind, I would reprise my role as the submissive. I'd be the frightened patient with a phobia of needles, more specifically, a phobia of being stuck with a dirty ass HIV infected needle in the hands of the same drug addicted whore who infected it in the first place and then saw no reason to not share it with every other junkie in Philly.

           She said,"So you from Florida", even though I thought that I had already made that clear. Since that is what I said last time I spoke, I was afraid of what may come out of my mouth if I opened it again. At least being at a loss of words prevented me from warning these criminals that I had my Black Belt in karate...that I got back in 1985. My Black Belt would have made them laugh harder than my Pimp belt. Both were equally indicative of the person standing in front of them.

           The Whore of Babylon was now holding her contaminated needle in a most unprofessional manner, very much not like the manner in which the nurse had administered my last flu shot. It was more in the kind of way a woman might wield a kitchen knife when catching her husband of 20 years screwing her prettier sister, the same sister who had stolen or just slept with every boyfriend she ever had. Maybe it was the unconventional style that the needle was being aimed at my jugular, but it was becoming pretty clear that this imaginary med school dropout turned filthy Philly whore never had any ambitions that would not require needles or knee pads. It was also evident that this whole doctor-patient role playing thing was just something I would only think of a year later when I was recalling and writing about this awful hallucination that seemed horrifyingly real at the time and in no way called for the use of witty puns or clever analogies. Why I was not hallucinating that I was People Magazine's 2009 Sexiest Man Alive hanging out at the Playboy Mansion the day a cure for every STD ever was announced to the public, I will never know. Why my psyche was putting me in these awful situations and what that says about me, I don't want to know.

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