Written by Alexander Greco
May 24, 2019
I was new to this. It was
my cousin who got me started. I told her I needed money, and couldn’t find a
job. Instead of giving me any of her money, she taught me how to “fish”. She
taught me how to pick up clients—how to present myself, how to tell which guys
were likely to be clean, and which guys wouldn’t beat on me. She let me borrow
her, um, toys and, well, practice—which is good, because I wasn’t very… practiced.
I was afraid of all the
men at first—afraid of what they might do to me, of how this could go wrong, afraid
of who they might all be—but none of them were ever mean, or abusive, or malicious
in any way. I suppose I was still always afraid of the men, but they were
mostly blue-collar workers who couldn’t find a girl who wanted them back, or
white-collar men who had wives and children they didn’t want to think about for
a night. They were almost all balding and quiet, and unsure and fidgety, and
nervous and quick. I was only so afraid of them for so long.
Well, anyway, after
almost a year of doing this, I met this Man at a bar. I dropped a few hints,
just how my cousin taught me, and I had him hooked quick. I was surprised. He
was handsome, and looked well-to-do—not the kind of guy I’d expect to, you
know, be with girls like me.
So, we went to his hotel
room. I sat down on this Man’s bed. He gave me a glass of water to drink, and
said he needed to use the bathroom. I nodded and thanked him for the water.
While he was gone sipped at it pretty conservatively. I was a bit nervous, and
really only drank it to be polite. However, after ten or twenty minutes of him
being gone, I’d finished the glass
I looked around the hotel
room looking for anything to distract my nerves while I waited for the Man. My
eyes fell on two bottles sitting on a table next to the bed. One had a red
label, the other had a blue label. I picked the red one up, but couldn’t
recognize the name—or even pronounce it. The other one, the blue one, was some
sort of Benzo—I had known guys who liked them, and a few who had tried to give
I set the blue bottle
down just as the Man came out of the bathroom. He walked toward me, and
gestured to the bed. I sat down. He sat down next to me and pulled a small,
plastic bag from his pocket. I recognized it—Cocaine.
The man pushed the two
bottles aside, and laid the bag on the table. “Come here,” he said, excitedly.
“No, thank you,” I
“Come on,” he said,
opening the bag, “you ever done it before? You’ll love it.”
I hadn’t done it before,
and I didn’t really want to try it. His tone was still cheerful, and I hoped he
would stay agreeable with me if I refused. “Please,” I said, “I’d really rather—“
The Man whipped around to
look at me. “I said, come here.” The cheerfulness was gone. His eyes were cold.
He didn’t care about me at all. He was just here for fun. So, that’s what I’d
have to give him.
For a moment, I
hesitated, not knowing what to do. Then, I got up and knelt down beside the table.
The Man had poured some of the powder onto the table, then pulled a dollar bill
from his pocket, and rolled it into a small tube. With his finger, the Man made
a small line of powder. He leaned forward, put the tube into one of his
nostrils, put a finger over the other, then inhaled the powder into his nose
with the dollar bill.
“Ooh, damn,” he said, leaning back, “oh, shit.
Here, try some.”
The Man handed me the
dollar bill, which I took. Then the Man sectioned off another line of powder
for me. As he did this, I noticed my body feeling strange. Something felt…
changed. But then the Man was done. “Come on,” he said.
I figured the strange
feeling was just my nerves, so I leaned forward, put the end of the dollar tube
up to the powder, just as the Man had done, and inhaled. I sniffed only a small
amount of the powder, but the sensation took me so off guard that I pulled away
instantly. I sneezed, blinked, and shook my head. The Man laughed. I didn’t
like his laugh.
“Come on, girly, finish
it up,” he said.
I complied, hesitantly. I
leaned forward, and inhaled the powder as quickly as I could. Same as last
time, I pulled away as soon as I was finished. I felt buzzed almost
immediately. Everything was a little lighter. I was happier, my nervousness was
gone. I felt wide awake, happy to be here, and energetic, like I had just drank
a few cups of coffee. The Man was laughing again. This time, I did like the
sound of his laugh.
“There you go, good
girl,” he said.
I smiled when he said
that. I don’t know why, but I liked it.
“A little more,” he said,
dividing some more with his finger, “before we get the show started.”
While he was sectioning
off his little portion, I noticed the strange sensation again. It wasn’t
nerves, I knew that now, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I liked the feeling—though,
I liked everything at that point. It was just that… Well, something was
different. I don’t know—I don’t know how else to describe it. Something was different about everything, but there was only a slight
The man finished his
line, and had already divided one for me. He handed me the bill, and I was far
less hesitant this time. “There you go,” the Man said, “chase the rabbit.”
I did what he said. I
reacted almost the same—it was disorienting inhaling the powder, and it didn’t
feel right going in my nose—but now I was growing far more energetic. Hyper, I
was hyper. And happy. I don’t know if I had ever felt happier. I felt almost
like a child.
At this point, the
strange feeling I had noticed before seemed to lurch forward from the corners
of my perception, and began filling my body. First, it was some sort of
euphoria—like the feeling you get when you’re outside, on a hill or in the
woods, and a cool breeze blows by. You forget for a moment where you are, what
your worries were, and something about this breeze is the most beautiful thing
you’ve ever known.
I turned and looked at
the Man, and he seemed to far away. I knew he was looking at me, and I could
feel his hands on my body. They were herds of sensations, like herds of
antelope or bison, running across my body—if my body was a field, or a savannah
in Africa. He smiled at me, and my thoughts laid down in a field—I could feel
grass, bushes and flowers at the back of my thoughts. I smiled back at the Man,
and something indescribable flowed through me.
When I smiled, it was
like the moon had been melted into a cup of glowing fluid, and poured into my
veins. I thought the sun started setting in the room, or at least that it was
twilight. I don’t know why. It might have been the light, or the colors. But it
also felt like summer. It was warm in here, I could feel everything in my body
without thinking of it, it was just there. But that’s not why it felt like
summer. It was out of school and down the road. It was somewhere we were
The Man was kissing me, I
realized. I thought our mouths felt like whales swimming in the deepest oceans,
except it was Summertime still, even in out oceans. But I had never felt whales
before, how would I know? I was moving—a sky full of stars proceeding across a
hundred years of nights. Then I think my dress came off my body.
The breeze passed and
calmed down. The flowers went away for a moment. The warmth was uncomfortable
now, clammy and humid. I looked down, and the man’s hands were beneath my bra,
groping my chest. He was on his back, I was straddling him. What was I doing? I
looked down at his hands, and it all looked wrong.
Something soured, and
whatever music I had been listening to before went cold and sharp. The air
clouded with violent fluids, racing through my thoughts. I looked at the man’s
half-undressed body. He was some sort of animal, I thought. And I didn’t know
him. I didn’t know this person at all. Why was he doing this to me? There was
nothing human in how he touched me, nothing but an animal in his eyes.
He shifted his body, and
I realized he was already inside of me. I hadn’t felt him enter me. I didn’t
know. But there he was, to the hilt.
The Man smiled again. It
was all wrong. His smile was too wide. His teeth weren’t human. His eyes opened
up like sinkholes at the same time they shrunk into black pebbles. He laughed,
and the air cracked like splintering wood as a house fell around us. “Having
fun?” he asked.
Fun. He wanted me to have
fun. He wanted me to enjoy this.
The Man has his way with
me. He gives me money, and he leaves. I buy my food—or else I starve—and then I
come back to the Man for more. He has the money: he has me. And I’m supposed to
enjoy it. I’m supposed to love it. I’m supposed to let him smile at me and let
his stranger’s hands crawl across me like herds of cattle and swine, and I’m
supposed to smile back.
Was that what he wanted?
His smile grew wider, and
his face distorted. His eyes sunk into dark pits, and his grin threatened to
consume me. His smile wanted to eat me, eat my skin, eat my thoughts, eat my
I pushed myself off of
him, and jumped off the bed.
He sat up in bed and
stared at me. He said something frustrated, but the words danced into shapes I
I backed away from the
bed, and looked around for my clothes, but nothing was familiar anymore. It was
all the same—it was all right there—but it was all something different too.
The Man was trying to
calm me down, but I doubt he really cared. Two other men stepped out from the
bathroom and started walking towards me. It didn’t understand it—had they come
from Nowhere? I saw one of them step next to the bed and grab the blue bottle. Some
gear far inside my mind clicked into sense. I didn’t hesitate. I turned around,
opened the door of our room, and burst out onto the walkway outside.
I was only wearing a bra,
but that didn’t matter. I heard footsteps coming after me. We were on the
second floor of the motel. In front of me there was a metal rail, then a wooden
fence down below. Beyond that, trees and bushes. There was only one way forward
that I could see.
The men were coming to
the door, I had a couple seconds at most. I leaned onto the rail, put my feet
on top of it, and kicked forward with my legs.
The men were yelling
somewhere behind me, but I didn’t understand or care. My torso cleared the top
of the fence, but my legs didn’t. My shins slammed on the top of the wooden
boards, I tumbled forward into the branches, and crashed through a bush to the
ground. My body hurt all over, but it wasn’t a normal hurt. It was a storm of
sensation—lightning crashed all over my body, and a dull thundering throbbed
through my body.
I got up off the ground,
and something told me to run, so I began tearing blindly through the trees and
the brush. My body was wracked with pain—my shins screamed at me with each
footfall—but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t even be bothered to care that it hurt.
An animal—a dog maybe, or
bear, or an ape; something big and heavy and warm—was sitting in the back of my
thoughts. It was making some sort of noise at me. It was barking, grunting, or
roaring at me, but it was silent at the same time. From its mouth came branches
of a tree, covered in vines and lichen and moss, and from each branch, small
twigs like arms with searching hands.
It was the thing in my
head telling me to run. I trusted it, so I ran. As I ran, I could hear it
whispering things to me. I trusted it, so I listened. As I listened, I could
feel its warmth spreading through my body, soothing me. I trusted it, so I
embraced a rushing sort of calm.
These trees I ran through
were no more than a small patch of woods—maybe a half mile deep—that emptied
out behind a few square miles of suburban maze. I could hear the men far behind
me as I approached the other side of these trees. In the corner of my eye I
could see the rapid bobbing and swaying of their flashlights through the trees.
Though it was night, I
thought I could see everything clear as day. No, seeing wasn’t the right word.
I just sort of knew, like my eyes
were telling my arms and legs secrets, even if I couldn’t see what the secrets
were. I knew where everything was, or maybe everything put itself where I knew
it should be, and I didn’t trip on anything or run into a single tree or bush.
Once I made it to the
edge of the trees, the men’s flashlights had closed half the distance to me.
There was an open field that stretched two or three blocks to my left and right,
and across the field were homes. I turned left, and ran across the edge of the
field, just along the tree line. I kept looking behind me in my peripherals,
and as soon as I saw the flashlights emerging near the edge of the trees, I
came to a stop, and stepped back into the darkness of the trees.
Two men emerged from the tree
line, with two flashlights. Together, they formed some sort of monster with
wild, disembodied eyes that illuminated the ground around them. They split
apart, and the one monster became two. They each turned their own direction
down the field and began walking—one down the right side, and one toward the
left side, toward me.
I watched the man coming
in my direction. As I did, the whole air seemed to hum—quiet at first, then
louder and louder. The night sky above all the houses seemed to shimmer, like
the air was made of indigo spider’s silk that a million painters brushed over
the suburbs. From my peripherals, I saw movement all around me. Green trails of
trembling sensation—sensation I could see in front of me—snaked through the air
and through the trees, and small marbles of red and yellow thought rolled
through the air and down the trees. However, I didn’t turn to look at these. I
kept my eyes fixed on the Man.
The air around him
shimmered with a blue color. Then it got darker, and turned into a violet. The
violet closed in on the Man. The violet charred and congealed onto the man’s
body like a new skin. This violet light turned into an oily black suit,
encompassing the Man’s body. A new body grew from his back, with hind legs so
he could pad along on all fours.
The Man was something new
now, an oily, black creature with a single, shining white eye, which beamed
light from the end of a bent and craning neck. Its skin bubbled and churned
like boiling tar. Its limbs swung like frantic cat’s legs across a roaming
pocket of void.
Where it walked, the
ground moved to avoid being trodden on by the one-eyed creature. The
brushstroke skies seemed to lift themselves up where the thing passed, and the
grass and dirt disappeared around its feet. In this way, the creature walked
across Nothing, and its pitch body could only be seen against the suburban
houses, because Heaven and Earth refused to touch it.
Soon, it came by me. It
was never closer than thirty feet, even when it was right in front of me. A
ringing noise came from the thing’s body, and at the same time I felt invisible
hands clawing at my thoughts. They all came from the thing, I knew that, as if
I knew it in a dream, and they were the ringing noise—though it didn’t make
sense, I knew it to be true.
As if in defiance, I felt
the branches of all the trees around me crowd into the back of my head. I heard
them whispering things—though they were not whispers in a language as we knew
it. They spoke in words made of shapes—edges, bodies, and curves—intonated with
shifting angles, and articulated with spiraling geometries. These branches were
crowding my thoughts—a whole tree, perhaps, was inside of my head.
The branches pushed away
all of the creature’s hands, and cleared my head from all its ringing. The
creature kept walking, never noticing me, and went further and further down the
field. For a moment, it was just the tree and I. It was still speaking to me,
and now I thought it was speaking in colors, colors that vibrated and climbed
through your head like ladybugs and crickets climbed through leaves and twigs.
For a moment, something
much larger than both I or the tree seemed to fill my body. It sort of came
from the tree, but it was more than the tree at the same time. They were
hundreds and thousands of glowing worms, or snakes, or roots—it was an entire
forest of them, an entire glowing forest—but they all formed one cohesive
feeling, one cohesive body.
Then, the tree retreated
from my thoughts. It slowly climbed out through the back of my head, back into
some wilderness, and I was left alone at the edge of the trees. I looked to my
left and to my right, but I didn’t see either of the men. I looked around at
all of the houses. A few had clotheslines in their back yards. I thought I
could see a white dress in one of the nearer ones. I looked around once more,
to make sure I didn’t see the men anywhere, then I sprinted across the field to
the backyard of this house.
The men didn’t come out
of hiding from anywhere, and I don’t think anyone saw me. I stepped up to the
clothesline, and saw that there was indeed a white dress hanging outside. I
grabbed it, and pulled it over my head and down my body.
When I’d finished, I looked
around the yard to make sure I was alone. Then I walked carefully between the
house I had stolen the dress from, and the house right next to it. On the other
side of the two houses, I checked to see if the streets were clear. They seemed
to be. I stepped carefully out between the two houses, through their yard, onto
a sidewalk, and across the street.
I knew there were some
more woods on the other side of this suburban area—much larger than the small
strip I had passed through. I could take a shortcut through those woods that
would take me only a few blocks from my house (I knew my way around, having been
invited to several of these houses on nights when mothers and children had gone
out of town).
After I crossed the
street, and stepped onto the sidewalk of the next block, an odd sort of calm
came over me. Everything in my head was quiet, except for this cool stream of—I
don’t know—existence? Being? A small, clear pool of living, and that was all I
could hear. Around me, the incandescence of the streetlamps and the colors of
the night sky seemed to form this landscape of light around me.
Black and white
contrasted in dancing tableaus. Reds and yellows blended in rivers running
across the road, up the trees, and across lawns. Then, like a lord of these
colors, the indigo sky descended upon them with rich blues, violets, grays, and
blacks. From the windows of some houses, I saw lamps inside their windows, and
these lamps were like small angels beaming out white-gold, electric ecstasy in
every direction through the night.
It was like this for
quite some time—though I couldn’t tell you how long quite some time lasted. A
few blocks down, I could hear a small storm of chirping. Then, further down, I
saw a tree that had grown up alongside a streetlamp, so that the light of the
street lamp cascaded through the branches of the tree. In this tree, and a
smaller one next to it, there had to have been at least a couple hundred small birds,
if not more. I was close to the woods now, and, though I didn’t know where the
two men were, I felt safe here, so I decided to stop.
They were all chirping
together. There was no real rhythm to it, no pattern I could extract, but something
about it fascinated me. I walked up to the tree, and stared at them. It was
beautiful—the light piercing through the branches, and the birds flapping
energetically in the dark—but it was the sound that entranced me. The bird’s chirping
consumed me—it was all I could think. It was all I could feel, and all I knew.
The sounds churned in my head, and something rose out of it.
On the edge of my
thoughts, I swore I could understand what they were saying. There was something
meaningful about the noises they made. They were all talking to each other.
Maybe not how humans talk to each other, but talking to each other nonetheless.
Some melody, some song, some harmony they were forming in unison that spoke
back to them all—the voice of the flock speaking back to each bird, as each
bird joined in articulating the voice of the flock. What were they saying?
Something broke my train
of thought. Out of some instinct rather than logical thought, I turned and
looked down the street to my right. There, I saw not two but three men. My
lover had reunited with them.
As we saw that we saw
each other, they broke into a run after me. I turned and began running as well.
I was only a couple blocks from the woods, and the men were still almost an
entire block behind me—if I could just make it to the forest and to my
apartment, I would be safe.
Tonight, I felt as though
I could run faster than I had ever run before. My body didn’t get tired, or
maybe it didn’t care. I was scared, I suppose, but I felt this fire inside of
me as well—something brave and fearless, naked and free. I soared across one
block, and the men had hardly made any ground on me. I soared across the next
one, and then ran through someone’s yard, past the other side of their house
and out into the woods.
How beautiful it was—like
a wall of living truth and growth. The darkness between the trees reached out
to greet me, and I fell into its grasp. I couldn’t tell you if I ran or not—I
seemed to soar more than anything. My body and my thoughts fell into a
kaleidoscope of branches and leaves, of colors reaching out from the night, and
music playing in the darkness.
The cool breeze I had
felt came back, and it lifted me like air beneath a bird’s wings. The
whispering of the tree came back, except now it exploded like a symphony of
music from my chest. I leapt over roots and rocks, and felt the ground carry me
like a parent carrying a child.
Something went wrong,
however. I couldn’t quite understand what had gone wrong until I crashed into
the ground. I must have tripped over something, I suppose, but nonetheless I
had fallen, and fallen hard. I couldn’t breathe—the wind must have been knocked
out of me. I crawled up to a nearby tree, and leaned against it. There, I
waited for my breath to come back. My right ankle hurt horribly, I don’t know
what happened to it.
After a short while of
panic and pain, I could breath again. At first, I gasped in air, but then it
slowed, then slowed, and slowed some more until I was calm again. My ankle was
wracked with pain, and it felt wrong.
I sat up, and tried
putting my weight on my feet, but my ankle hurt too badly. I collapsed to the
ground, panting and terrified at first, but then I calmed down. Something in me
accepted it all. Something in me understood it all. Something in me saw it all.
When the men finally
found me, the song in my chest had started playing again. I looked at the men,
and the song told me who they were. It told me about the lights they held in
their hand. It told me about the guns at their sides. It told me who I was, and
it told me why that was okay. I could only halfway hear the men, because I only
halfway cared about them. “…we don’t have to… …right away, do we?”
“No, no. I… …she’s
contained… …won’t be mad if we take our time.”
I was a deer in the jaws
of Man. I was a doe being masticated by a crop thresher. I was a prey animal in
the salivating mouth of a machine.
I heard a belt buckles
clatter, and a new reality descended upon me like a pack of wolves.
And I didn’t care.
I don’t know what they
had done to me, I don’t know what they are doing to me, I don’t know what they
have yet to do to me, but my song was playing in the wind in the trees in my head.
Whatever has happened, whatever is happening, whatever will happen, I became what
is becoming what will become fearless. I am that has, I am that is, I am that
will, and I am another tooth in the mouth that eats me.