My phone rang fairly late one evening
during the summer of 2000. I was in bed, but my son was still up. On the
phone was a nurse from the nursing home in Vevay, Indiana. My mother
was staying there recuperating from knee surgery — her left knee. She
had her right one replaced a year earlier.
September 22, 2013, around seven o’clock in the morning, I smoked my last Pall
Mall cigarette. It was the last one in my pack and the last one I ever intended
to inhale and exhale. I was going to give up tobacco for good.
Walking home, I remembered being in a decent mood before I
entered the store and now I felt pissed off. I’m in that damn Walgreens
at least three times a week spending plenty of money. Why the hell
would a cashier try to squeeze a little bit more out of me? And what
business is it of hers if I want to drink Diet Coke? If I wanted to
drink a gallon of Tide detergent, that’s my business and not hers.
As luck would have it, or maybe it wasn’t luck at all,
right across the street from the office was a bar called “Chuck’s
Rockin’ Ranch.” But I never went to Chuck’s or drank on Thursdays. That was Seinfeld night. I didn’t want my head to be all fuzzy watching that show. It was always the highlight of my lonesome week.
All of these women have
different stories to tell and each are selling their bodies for their
own personal reasons. I could simplify those reasons and say it’s all
about money to get drugs, but that would be too easy and would only be
scratching the surface.
I have laundry facilities in the basement of the apartment building where I’m now living. At 8 a.m., I thought I was getting
an early start but there was Eve down there in the laundry room sitting
at a table reading a book. I thought it could have been a Bible, but
wasn’t sure. She eyeballed my two trash bags of dirty clothes.
The elevator wasn’t moving. I looked at the digital sign
in it. It kept flashing ‘7,’ then ‘G’ over and over again. I pressed ‘7’
again. Again, the elevator didn’t move. Stuck. I finally figured out I was stuck.
Patsy looks too young to have a small son. In fact, I didn’t know she did. I
met him one afternoon two weeks ago. I wasn’t supposed to meet him at
all, but I’m glad I was the one who was here to look out for him when he
found himself with no family members around.