A Pimp Named Slim
One summer day when I was fifteen, I found myself sitting across the kitchen table from a tall, black, big hulk of a guy named Slim, and five, twenty-something white prostitutes lined up on the couch like pieces of fruit left to rot on a weathered windowsill. Slim was an acquaintance of sorts, one of the many I had been introduced to since I met my boyfriend Ron several months earlier.
Ron dropped me off after feeding me his typical line of tommyrot. Insisting he was just running to the liquor store, he left me to sit with Slim in uncomfortable silence. I was surprised by the lack of “girl” talk, and sensed glares coming from the group on the couch, hitting the back of my head. I sat very still, hoping for invisibility.
There was a quick tap at the door of the dingy apartment and a man walked in. He was white and seemed to be in his mid-thirties. He didn’t seem clean and I got the sense he had come straight from pulling an all-nighter somewhere. All five girls looked up expectantly. The man looked over at me and said, “I want that one.”
“She ain’t workin’,” Slim answered. I froze for a moment, then glanced around at the girls. They stared back, hostility visible behind blank eyes.
“I said, I want that one,” he repeated.
“And I said, she ain’t workin’!” said Slim, as he began to reach under the table.
The man lifted his hands as if surrendering to an unseen enemy and backed out of the apartment.
So this is it? I thought. I’m going to end up sitting on a filthy couch one day, satisfied with a five and a ten? I felt helpless, alone and afraid. I just wanted to go home.
Just a few short years earlier I had pictured myself greeting my future husband at the door in a dress, high-heels, and a pearl necklace just like June Cleaver, in the old 1950’s sit-com, “Leave it to Beaver.” What a joke.
I got up from Slim’s dining room table and without a backward glance, made for the door.
“See ya,” I said. “And thanks.”
Thinking back on some of the bits and pieces of my early years is kind of like looking into a kaleidoscope; pieces of jagged colored glass tumbling around in my mind. Most of the time they dance around in the background, but when I stop long enough to examine them, they fall into place, and I write.