A Pimp Named Slim
(The following took place about 8 years before my brother’s suicide. I was fifteen years old, and my boyfriend, who would soon become my first husband, was twenty. He introduced me to gang bangers, prostitutes, car thieves, and a pimp named Slim. I quickly lost my innocence).
I sat across the kitchen table from a tall, black, big hulk of a guy named Slim. He was a pimp in southeastern Los Angeles. I was fifteen years old. Five, twenty-something white prostitutes sat side by side on a tattered couch like so many forgotten pieces of fruit left to rot on a weathered windowsill.
Slim was an acquaintance of sorts. My boyfriend Don had introduced me to him several months earlier. This particular day, a particularly sweltering day in July, Don had dropped me off at Slim’s apartment, and then fed me his usual line of tommyrot. Insisting he was just running to the liquor store, he left me there for several hours. I sat with Slim and the girls in uncomfortable silence. I sensed glares coming from the couch and hitting me on the back of the head. There was little in the way of girl talk. This surprised me. Slim had been kind to me but I wondered if the girls were afraid of him. I sat very still, hoping for invisibility.
There was a quick rap at the door of the dingy apartment. A man walked in without waiting for someone to answer. He was white and seemed to be in his mid-thirties. He had black grease on his hands and I got the impression he had come straight from pulling an all-nighter in a gas station 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, then turned and 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 weapon and quickly backed out of the apartment.
I pictured myself as a prostitute. Is this going to be my life? I thought. Am I going to end up sitting on a filthy couch one day, satisfied with a five or a ten? I felt helpless, alone and afraid. I just wanted to go home. But I felt invisible and afraid at home as well. Don, who would become my first husband when I turned sixteen years old, had become a father figure.
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.”
I got up from Slim’s dining room table and without a backward glance, made for the door.
“See ya,” I said. “And thanks.” I walked quickly down the street and sat down on the dirty curb in this questionable neighborhood, and waited for Don to come back.
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. Christ, and how He would change my life is always in the back of my mind. He has healed me so thoroughly, it’s almost like this stuff happened to somebody else. Keep coming back as I share more of my story of life and how Jesus healed me from emotional and physical trauma and filled me with such love and forgiveness for my parents.