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America Essays Pt XVI
America Essays Pt XVI
America Essays Pt XVI ‒ The Prostitute's Apprentice
I rolled into Los Angeles in the early afternoon hours. The sun and warmth had thankfully returned. Having no plans as to where to go or what to do there, I parked on the Sunset Strip and began to walk the streets, which were surprisingly empty. Most of the shops were closed. The storefronts included lots of sex shops and clothing stores for trannies and strippers.
The scene was certainly less glamorous than I imagined, but it was also less exciting and electric than I expected. In California even the decadence has less energy than in New York City.
As I walked the streets I was feeling a bit grimy and road weary. I stopped in a dingy little pizza shop and ordered a slice and a paper cup full of coke. As I sat down in the booth the president came onto the screen of a small TV that was sitting on top of the soda machine in the corner of the pizza shop.
It was his first address to the nation since 9/11 so it carried a lot of weight. In the days to come people would rave about what a moment of leadership it was. Myself, I didn't see it. I think people were just so starved for leadership that the slightest hint of it was clung to without question by people desperate for something to pin their hopes on.
While President Bush didn't stumble over his words as he was apt to do, the speech was hardly impressive. He mouthed the predictable; "America is great, we'll get through this, we'll get the bad guys, we must stay united and strong." Beyond that there was nothing insightful or inspiring, nothing to change my opinion of him as a dimwitted daddys boy.
But then nothing seemed impressive in that moment, not the greasy pizza or the dingy décor, not the worn-out glamour of Sunset Boulevard, and certainly not the words of this spoiled frat boy that somehow found himself the most powerful statesmen in the world. It was all mediocrity, all superficial, all a joke so bad it brought tears to your eyes.
In Plato's monolithic work The Republic he argues that the ideal leader is he who doesn't want to be king, yet takes the responsibility out of a sense of duty. In America our leaders routinely lie, cheat, and steal to grasp the reigns of power. The countless millions they spend in order to gain our votes is all tainted money, blood money, all the wages of our own bondage.
For the sake of those millions, by the time one of the criminals is actually elected they've already sold their souls. Democracy goes to the highest bidders. Gandhi himself would have been corrupted by such a system.
Now to protect our democracy, to protect our right to cast a vote for the best looking corporate stooge, our commander in chief would soon send our young men and women to fight and die in far off places where we neither understand their language or their customs. A time of war was inevitable. 9/11 was our generation's Pearl Harbor, but in this war there would be no V-day. It just wasnt in the cards. That sad fact was apparent from the word 'go.'
That evening as night began to fall I prepared for an adventure into the LA nightlife. After perusing the options in a local entertainment newspaper I decided to visit the legendary Whiskey-A-Go-Go club. As I dressed I felt a surge of testosterone flow through me. I dressed all in black; black jeans, a black dress shirt, and a black leather jacket, topped with a silver bolo tie I bought from some Indians in Arizona.
Looking back I realize that in LA this is a costume sure to make you look out of place, but it was my first night in town and didnt know any better. It felt right, and that was what was important in that moment.
Before locking up the car I slipped the knife into my jacket pocket and massaged it with my right hand as I walked. Like some sort of talisman, the blade again inspired a strange sense of confidence in me that enhanced the cocksure spirit that had taken me. A spirit that was the exact opposite of the low feelings that had engulfed me on my drive along the coast.
Walking the streets of Los Angeles I felt life flowing through my veins. I felt hungry. I felt the aggression that drives man to take on the world. When this spirit takes me it feels like I am being possessed. My walk changed, my posture changed, it was completely transforming.
The strange smell of the warm California air filled me with the urge to breathe deep and fill up my lungs. The alien sights and sounds that greeted my eager senses were invigorating. Here I had no past, I had no connections, I was a newborn seeing the world around me with fresh eyes.
I thought I might have problems getting past the doorman at the Whiskey with the knife in my pocket, but it was no trouble at all. Inside I slid up to the bar and ordered a vodka and seven. The room was a large cavern with a balcony that looked down on a stage that sat in the opposite corner. The place was full, but hardly crowded.
The creatures of the night were a cast of colorful characters. Beautiful women could be seen in all directions. I meandered about the club taking in the scene. The first to catch my eye was a black woman in a white dress and a white fur coat with a pimped out dude on each side of her. Her sexuality verged on vulgarity. Just the sight of her made my pulse quicken.
I lurked about the place, cool and detached on the surface, but underneath seething with lust and violence. I don't know if it was the man-in-black costume, or something in my demeanor that made everyone look at me, either way, everyone I passed was making eye contact or giving a little nod of the head as if they recognized me from somewhere. Even the musicians in the band came over and said hello when their set ended, perhaps thinking I was some kind of music biz exec that they are always hoping will show up at their gigs to tell them how brilliant they are.
Up on the balcony long limbed girls dressed in high-fashion sat at tables emptying their drinks. Everyone seemed to be waiting for something to happen. No one seemed content with were they were or what they were doing. Everyone was looking for some excitement that wasn't there, some change of pace to come and take them away from their boredom.
The next band to take the stage was a generic grunge/punk band. Their music sent all the boys onto the dancefloor for a session of slam-dancing. While the boys beat each other up the girls watched from the sidelines with boredom written all over their faces. They seemed to be wondering why the boys were more interested in beating each other senseless than paying attention to them.
I leaned against a cement pillar to the right of the stage, trying to feign interest in the music, when all I really wanted was to check out the girls. My attention was taken by a tall blonde girl who was leaning against another pillar and watching the proceedings with a look of annoyance on her pretty face. She had a simple, wholesome beauty. Not overly hip, definitely not slutty, but fashionable enough to turn heads.
I came up behind her and whispered in her ear, Why is the most beautiful women in the room standing alone?
I thought I was being shot down when she gasped, Get out of here, but she turned towards me with a warm smile and explained, This really isnt my favorite kind of music.
With her back leaning against the pillar she looked up at me coyly, but confidently. With her blues eyes and soft white skin she looked as fresh-faced as a summers day. It only took a few minutes of conversation to see that she was likely more mature and intelligent than whatever guy had abandoned her in order to roughhouse on the dancefloor. It always strikes me as comical how often men are busy showing off for a woman while another man is giving her the simple attention she really desires.
As we chatted about the mundane details of our lives I thought 'sometimes just being in the presence of a beautiful woman revitalizes a man's will to live. Ahh yes, ..now I remember, this is I why I get out of bed each morning. This is why I fight for my place in the world.'
Looking back, I don't remember her name, but I certainly remember her face. I certainly recall how her knee bent just below the edge of her dress as she leaned against that pillar. In that place she seemed like a daisy in a dustbin. Not to say that she seemed frail. She seemed strong in character. Here was a woman you could take home to meet the parents. A good woman who you could trust to share your life with and pin your hopes and dreams on.
As the band began their last song and her date would soon be returning to claim her, I prepared to take my leave.
Why arent you married? Or are you? she asked.
No, never been, I assured her. Without asking myself what the truth really was, I tried to deflect her question with humor, I dont like contentment, I joked.
To that she crinkled her nose slightly and an odd look came into her eyes.
Perhaps I wasn't so different from the boys bashing it up on the dancefloor while the girls watched from the sidelines with disinterest.
I often joke that young musicians pick up guitars in order to get girls. But what was I doing at this point in life? At this stage of the game it wasn't about conquests or one night stands. Somewhere in the back of my mind I believed I was trying to make my mark on the world so I might be worthy enough to win a woman like the one standing before me. Yet it was all a farce. After all, here was a dream of a woman standing here ready to be taken. And there have been a hundred more who have passed through my life. Yet I am off fighting a battle of career and money while I allow the prize to slip through my fingers time and time again.
In that moment I felt so lost that I didn't have clue who I was or where I was going. Perhaps I had been looking for something else, something that I couldn't quite find, and somwhere aling the line had given up without even recognizing it.
I took her hand in mine and said goodbye before setting my half empty glass on the bar and heading out the door. The hour was late and the streets were emptier. Still it didn't feel dangerous. Even the Prostitutes and small time drug dealers that haunted the shadows had a lazy, laid-back air about them.
I meandered through the streets with a hunger that was now tinged with desperation. After weeks on the highways I felt as if I didn't want to sleep alone tonight. Yet to suggest female companionship seemed laughable when everything is about sex; scoring sex, selling sex, preserving sex. A man can't say a word to a woman without sex hanging in the air.
I walked past dark store fronts whose metal grates masked their faces. I walked past convenience stores, donut shops, and late night motels. Now and again a car would pass by me at a slow pace, likely another late night prowler searching for something he can't find.
I came upon a beat cop at a red light and tried to make small talk with him. Just move along, he said, obviously not liking the looks of me.
Demoralized I began to head for the Blazer that was parked on a side street off of the main drag. A few blocks from the car I came upon two black women who were standing in a shadow along the road underneath some scaffolding. One was in her early thirties, tall and thin. She had a short dress on, but she didnt look sleazy. She could have went to church in it. The other was a young girl who I later found out had just turned 19. She was dressed in homegirl clothes: baggy jeans and an oversized sweatshirt. She had nappy hair and a little gap in her front teeth, but her face was quite lovely.
As I passed the older of the two ask me if I wanted a date. I said "no," but we struck up a conversation. I was glad to share a bit of friendly banter even though I realized that they had a service they were trying to sell and since I wasnt buying I was standing in the way of their ability to find customers who were. Although money was tight, as a gesture I gave them ten dollars for their time. I told them I was a writer and traveling across the US looking for inspiration.
By this time a chill had come into the air and the older woman asked if they could go sit in my car so they could get warm. We drove around the city a bit with the car heater running. With two ladies of the night in tow we took a scenic tour past the Hollywood sign and the famous Capital Records building.
I soon found out that the younger girl was thinking of becoming a Prostitute and the older woman was showing her the ropes. The younger girl sat in the back smiling nervously. The older one was very excited about the prospect of being a mentor. "This is so sweet, I remember my first night," she recalled fondly.
Suddenly the older woman turned to me and said, "So are you going to write a book about me?" Then as a means of showing off, she began to tell the younger woman the ropes of the business. "Dont date drunks. They never cum. Always use a condom. Its not your job to make them cum. Youre just paid to make them feel good."
The younger woman sat in the back nodding like a self-conscious schoolgirl. The older woman was really beginning to enjoy the teacher role and seemed to take great pride in her work and knowledge of the business.
To cap off the girl's lesson the older woman offered to give me a free blowjob to demonstrate her skills to her pupil. Before long she was down on me in the front seat as we sat parked along the boulevard. As she slid her warm lips up and down the length of my penis I peaked into the back seat to see how the apprentice was taking to her lesson.
When I looked at her she smiled at me sheepishly. She looked embarrassed and her
face had a deep sadness written on it. Without thinking I reached into the back seat and took her hand in mind.
I suppose it is the blowjob I should have been focused on, but all that I remember is how wonderful, warm, and soft the girls hand felt in mind. Soon I began to go limp because my attention was drawn towards the warmth of her hand instead of the front-seat fellatio.
I looked back again and the girl had my hand held close to her face and was staring out the car window with a far away look in her eyes. A wave of emotion washed over me. I tried to pull myself away from the woman in the front to get her to stop, but she became determined to make me cum.
The teacher did not want lose face by failing in front of her pupil so she sucked harder and began moaning, "I love hard cocks, I love it when they cum in my mouth."
Since I hate fake sex talk I became even limper. I could feel the young woman in the back squeezing my hand tightly. I turned to the back seat again and she was looking at me with her eyes moist and a pleading expression on her face.
In an instant I blurted out "stop," letting go of her hand and pushing the woman in the front away from me. All three of us sat there dazed by my outburst for a second. The older woman had no idea what had passed between the girl and I. After we regained our composure I drove them back and dropped them off.
As we drove I felt desperate to say something to the younger woman. Finally as they got out the car and grabbed her hand again and looked into her eyes, but couldn't find any words to say that would express what I felt. I wanted to protect her and save her from her fate, but who was I to save anyone from anything. She smiled and the two walked away into the night.
With my emotions reeling from the nights events, I drove to a quiet side street and parked underneath a palm tree in front of a swanky townhouse in a residential neighborhood. As I crawled into the back of the car and laid my head down on the pillow my mind was too tired to try to make sense out of any of it. Is this what they mean when they say someones gone Hollywood I thought to myself as I drifted off to sleep.