The third tab of acid was completely unnecessary, and my apartment turned on me in response. The walls shimmied, the carpet shook, the TV shouted like a strung-up cat. Midnight in Los Angeles. No question I needed a whore. I called the first escort service listed in the phone book.
“I need a whore fast.”
“I’m sorry Sir. We don’t do that here. But if you’d like some companionship for the evening…”
“Fast, fast I tell ya! Send Jesse fucking Owens! I don’t care if she’s got three tits and a beard, just get her over here!”
I hung up the phone and quickly rearranged my furniture. You can never be too careful with these whores. Can’t forget what happened in Bangkok.
Half an hour later, the bell rang.
“Did you call for an escort?”
I introduced myself. “Julius Fischman. Writer. Actor. Footsoldier of the revolution. Friends call me Fish.”
“Nice to meet you, Fish.”
She stood about two yards tall but sank half a foot when I made her take her shoes off.
“Can I get you a drink?” I asked. “A cigarette? Some acid?”
“Come on, live a little!” She was a young one. Nineteen, maybe twenty. She had white hair with dark eyes and the stink of a perfume I recognized. I wondered if her corpse would fit in my hatchback.
“Where you from?” I asked, attempting small talk.
“Show me your ass!”
“Do you mind paying first?”
“Sure,” I said. “What’s the damage?”
“Depends what you want.”
What did I want, and what made me think this strange woman who arrived at my door after no more than a phone call could provide it? What had happened to my lofty goals and ambitions, my dreams, and pet terrier? Was I drowning myself in near-lethal doses of illicit hallucinogens in order to escape the path that had been cleared for me from the time I was born? Was I nothing more than a spoiled cynic, a wannabe anarchist, disdainful of the American dream because its realization would be an admission of my complicity with and conformity to the very society that had branded me an outcast in my formative years?
My God, she really did have three tits!
“How much for the whole deal?” I asked.
I scrambled around the apartment looking for cash.
“Take it, take it all!” I screamed gleefully as I pulled off my boxers and did a mule kick off the ottoman.
“You want me to suck that for you, baby?”
Her words sounded forced and rehearsed. I checked the closet to make sure no one was feeding her her lines. It was a big closet. Dark and spiritually peaceful. I figured I’d sit in it for a while. Gather my thoughts. Ten minutes later, she knocked.
“Are you all right?”
I emerged from the closet wearing nothing but a ski jacket when suddenly it dawned on me: this woman was a prostitute. Her future held any number of horrors. There would be beatings, rapes, abortions, venereal disease, botched plastic surgery, a job in The White House Press Corps. But God had brought us together that I might save her. For the world was not, as I had believed, a cruel and hopeless place governed by big oil and a wealthy cabal of conspiring Zionists. No! There was meaning in it. There was hope. And as usual, God had sent a whore to reveal it to me.
I sat down on the couch and took her hand in mine.
“I love you.”
“Aww,” she smiled and put her hand on my thigh. “You can cum on my tits if you want.”
I took a copy of Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man from the bookshelf and asked if she’d read it. She said she hadn’t but seemed curious.
“The whole system’s gone to shit,” I explained. “You’re nothing but a slave to a system which strives to dehumanize your labor. Where are your benefits, your living wage, your protection from early termination? What kind of compensation can you expect if, God forbid, you should ever come across a madman on the job?”
The girl sighed. She’d heard this union talk before, and pussy never likes to organize.
“Look, I can’t be here all night.”
Was she kicking me out? It was getting late. I thanked her for a lovely evening and headed for the door. I had already left the apartment when she came running out.
“Where are you going?”
“Please,” I begged. “No more of these metaphysical questions. Isn’t it enough that I suffer?”
“You’re not wearing pants.”
I thought of the acid I had taken earlier and wondered if it had something to do with the stigmata on my hands. But if I were Christ, I wouldn’t be wearing a ski jacket.
“The son of man lived in the desert!”
The neighbor’s lights went on and I dove for the bushes. By this time, the whore was running for her life. With six-inch heels and a coat draped over her shoulders, she resembled some winged stallion dragging forth the apocalypse.
My neighbor approached the window. “I’m calling the police.”
“That’s a good idea,” I said. “I can show them my closet.”
My cock was hard and my door was locked, so I decided to crawl through the window. Halfway through, the zipper of my ski jacket caught on the aluminum siding, and I found myself stuck with my clothed half dangling over the air conditioner and my naked nether regions exposed to the world like an existential statement. With the sirens approaching, I gazed over my apartment with its dimmed lights, burning incense, and a book shelf replete with all the half-read works assigned to me in college, now standing as a baited hook to young actresses looking for a man “who reads.” And then it appeared to me. The horror. The true breadth of my repugnance. My heart made a sound like an eight-year-old with a pillow in her face. There’d be no explaining it this time. No mercy or forgiveness granted. It was Bangkok all over again and worse.
She had taken the Marcuse.