Part Two: The Angels (6/7)
September 23rd, 2010
New York City - The Streets
Can you believe that it was my birthday two days ago? Did I do anything special? Of course not. I was out on the streets, selling my body, and having sex with strangers. However, I’ve never expected women to also be in this kind of business. She even paid me more than usual, calling herself a “Sugar Mommy,” whatever the hell that means. Whatever.
Guess what; I’m 18 now. I’m legal . . . well, not in the sense of selling my body, but hey. At least people don’t have to worry about fucking a minor, right? Tsk...as if they stopped to ask, or if it even bothered them.
Regardless, the evening is here, and I’m working a bit extra to meet the quota for this month. Last month I learned that some lowlife pricks out there. Because a couple of guys tried to take the money I’ve earned. Luckily I was able to fend them off. I suppose they couldn’t handle a tall girl like me. What am I now? 5′10"? 5′11"? I haven’t been able to measure lately but, I’ve been having a couple of growth spurts lately.
Well, anyway, I only bring this all up because, well. I have a pocket knife with me now. Incase some asshole tries his luck with me. I may be a whore on the streets now, but I’m not letting you take what I’ve earned. Over my dead body. So, in my purse, I carry my pocket knife, a wallet, my cellphone, some water because shit gets tiring and dehydrating after a while, and...well.
Condoms. I’m not going to allow some random prick to just raw me. I’m not risking pregnancy or getting any STDs. If they don’t comply, I’ve kicked in a few faces. People underestimate me, don’t they? In my free time, I’ve been learning . . . what is it called? Mixed Martial Arts? Or just self-defense stuff.
As I lean against a light post on this street, looking down at the cement sidewalk, I’m doing what I’ve learned to enjoy. Wait and have time for myself. Even IF I would rather be at my place with Smokey, I have to meet my quota. Purse is always in reach when it hands from my shoulder. I’m cautious and always on alert. Even when customers pull up or walk up, I swear I jump out of my skin a bit because of how on edge I am.
You may be wondering why I’m so calm and settled about this life. Well, ever since I was a teenager...well, younger, I was dealt a bad hand at home, more specifically because of my...mom. Thinking about those memories caused a sudden chill to go down my spine. There’s this off sense of nostalgia, yet, fear and anxiety I get whenever I think back to those times. . . anyways, my situation was terrible, so I adapted to it.
Because those who can’t adapt to what happens in life will surely succumb to that pressure and stress. You get used to having sex with strangers and selling yourself out for perverts after awhile. You might as well make the most of it because if you don’t enjoy what you’re forced to do, you will hate it more and hate life more. Adapt, Overcome, Prosper.
And moreover...Uh...what was I talking about..?
Uh oh . . . I feel it again. As I lean against this light post, I’m starting off to nothing. I know cars are driving by; there are random people just walking beside me, not acknowledging me. This city never sleeps. But, despite all of that . . . I . . . I’m dissociating. It’s as all of the noises are going away, and I’m just staring blankly ahead of me.
There I stand, staring at whatever the hell it is in front of me.
BANG BANG BANG... I hear gunshots. Cries and screams. Who are these . . . ? Where are they . . . as I continue staring off to this place, everything around me feels . . . fake. Like none of it is real. Reality itself doesn’t seem real. How long have I been here? Where am I? Who am I? Why am I wearing this skimpy outfit? Why . . .
I hear something . . . I think. I’m starting to get a hold of myself again. What...is going on? I slowly blink as I continue to stare off -- I think I’m staring across the street, with another light post there. Why am I looking there?
Why do I feel like I’ve heard this voice before? Wait, is someone below that street light? They weren’t there when I looked earlier. I try to focus this on this figure, but no matter how hard I try, it seems...fuzzy or blurry. Who is it? Who are they, and why are they just standing there, looking at me? Wait...me. I’m me, of course, I’m me. I’m coming back to it. . .
I feel myself breathing harder, just bit by bit. As if I’m panicking or something. Why would I be panicking? There’s no reason for me to be panicking. I’m normal, I’m healthy . . . maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep?
...Lucy Ruuska. Lou-see Rou-Ska. That’s my name. Lucy Ruuska is my name. How long have I been standing here, staring at nothing? I ask myself, as my eyes drift off somewhere else for a moment before I focus on that street light again. However, there’s nothing there. And now, there’s a lot more sound around me. I hear it all again: The cars, the people, walking, the noises of the city. Reality is back to normal. It’s...normal once more.
“AH!!” I let out a genuine, startled yelp in terror as I felt something poke against my arm. I quickly got up from my leaning position against the street light and took a few steps back. There’s a man in front of me. He’s not reaching for me or anything . . . and for some reason, I get a weird sense of calmness and familiarity from this man.
But before I do anything, I scramble to my purse and bring out my phone to check the time. Twenty-five minutes?! How long was I just standing there, absent-mindedly staring off to whatever the fuck who that person was? And how long was this guy here? I uh...should talk to him. He’s probably really, really weirded out right now.
“Hehe, sorry, sir. I’ve must’ve been in dreamland, haha!” I say in my fake, extra-feminine, and ‘blonde’ voice I make whenever I speak to customers, only to give a sense of attractiveness. Even if I never really talk like this in actual conversations. Before I could continue with what I usually did . . . I felt my heart drop to my stomach.
“Lucy Ruuska, is that you?” the man said to me in a concerned voice. Where have I heard that voice before? Why am I avoiding looking at him? Why -- it’s freaking me out. A deep breath as I forced myself to raise my head from looking at the ground to then look at the man in front of me.
And I can feel my eyes widen in shock and myself taking a couple of steps back. A hot wave of shame and embarrassment washed over me, because of all people to see me like this . . . why did it have to be him?
“M-Mr. Dean . . .” I say out, in such a shaky voice, still in shock from meeting him here -- of all places, why is he here? This city and surrounding areas are enormous -- how can I meet someone that I knew before here. The chances are -- well not impossible but so improbably, I--
“Lucy...it is you. What on Earth are you doing here? And why are you wearing that kind of clothing? Don’t tell me you’re...” he said, adjusting his glasses, looking me up and down. I instinctively grab my coat to try and hide, but he soon spoke up once more.
“No, don’t worry. I’m not here to...you know. I was just visiting some friends here in these parts and happened to be walking by. I’ve heard that you haven’t shown up to prom or the graduation ceremony? What happened? Where are your parents?” He said as both hands raised at his chest, waving them as if he was trying to reassure me.
“I-I...” I couldn’t comprehend my thoughts or words that I wanted to say. Why the mixed feelings? I’m happy to meet someone familiar, but -- I... am no longer who I was those months ago. I shift in place, looking off to the side. What do I even say to that? This is so nerve-wracking. A sigh and I look back up, finally facing him.
“My family is dead, Mr. Dean. I’ve missed out on Prom and Graduation because...I was forced to join the rising gang, The Angels. And here I am, selling my body and -- having sex to make money to meet a quota.” I said with such bluntness. I...would’ve never spoken these words to Mr. Dead. What’s going on with me?
“That’s why I’m wearing this crop top, shorts, these boots, this jacket, and makeup. To look appealing to others and make money. Because my life, specifically, my old life, is dead and gone.” I could see it on his face—the shock and terror. To hear me unload so much information at once. What he’s feeling is NOTHING to what I felt to have all of that stuff happen to me.
“L-Lucy, I...” He said, I understand. That’s a lot to take in. Especially coming from your previous student. He seems...flustered. Not because of what I’m wearing but because of all of this information coming to him at once.
“The Angels? How--why. I...” He said, before stopping himself, taking a deep breath, bringing a hand to the back of his neck, rubbing at it. He lets out a sigh...did he finally compose himself?
“...Have you reported this to the police? Surely you can leave that gang if you go to the police. They’ll help you relocate and--” I suddenly cut him off.
“And what? I rot in a jail cell for months, if not years? Because guess what, Mr. Dean. No matter what you think --” I point my finger in a random direction, but it was pretty much implied I’m talking about the police.
“They don’t give a SHIT about me or others like me. All they see us as are CRIMINALS. Because prostitution is ILLEGAL, no matter the situation or circumstances. They won’t look at me and notice that I was taken from my life -- and take sympathy on me. NO. They’ll look at me like some common whore on the streets, committing a crime. They don’t CARE about my story. They only care about my actions!” I almost yelled to him -- I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s as if I’m venting to him...and it’s after that, I fall completely silent, looking down to the ground, breathing heavily.
And there he stood, listening to me, and surprisingly, he didn’t back up or anything. He nodded his head as if he was acknowledging what I was saying. And when I finally finished, he simply took a step closer before placing a hand on my shoulder. “I...don’t know your entire situation, but. You’re a grown woman now, and I can’t force you to do anything. But, if you’re so certain, I’ll trust you. You were -- and still are a smart girl, Lucy. I would know because of the time in my class. I know you’ve thought out every option, and right now, you’re here because to you, it was the most logical and right choice to make.”
He said before holding out a hand that had money in it. “Here, take this. As much as I would love to help --you’re right. Reporting this to the police... won’t do too much. They would already know about The Angels, and if you come forward, they’ll probably just arrest you for prostitution.”
I look down at the hand that was offering money. I see a couple of bills . . . and reluctantly, I reach out and grab it before shoving it into my purse. I stand up, look off to the side, and adjust myself. I could feel this weird pride in me was hurt after taking the money from Mr. Dean’s hand.
“As long as you understand...listen. If you meet any of the other teachers or whoever the hell... don’t bring up my name. As far as I’m concerned...the old me and that old life of mine...is dead. I am who I am now. A common whore on the street, trying to make money...” that too, hurt that pride of mine.
“I see...” replied Mr. Dean, before patting his hand onto my shoulder a couple of times.
“Well, regardless, I’m glad you’re still alive -- I would love to do more for you, but unfortunately, I can’t do much. But I hope that money will come to use,” Mr. Dean said before nodding his head.
“I won’t tell a soul...please, be safe. Keep using that brain of yours. Not only for academic smarts but...street smarts. I feel that’ll be very important given your line of work now.” he said before finally walking off.
“...” I couldn’t say much. I feel shaky. I feel sick. I hug myself before walking home. I...had enough for tonight. Mr. Dean gave me two Benjamins. That man...was always so nice.
I arrive home, lock the deadbolt, drop my purse onto the couch, and just make my way to my bedroom. Plopping down onto the bed, I just lay there, facing up to the ceiling. Why...did that happen? The chances were so slim. I hate it. Sigh...
The neighbors are at it again. Yelling, throwing shit around, and breaking shit. Sigh...I hate it when they get like this... I shift in my bed, soon laying on my left side. Facing my closet. ‘Mew,’ I hear Smokey down by my bed. I reach my hand down to scoop him up and then place him down next to me. I pet him and rub my fingers against him.
At least... I have him. I’ve always loved cats...and having him helps keep my mind stable enough to keep going. He’s my little guy. And if anything were to happen to him, I don’t know what I would do.
As I lay there, I feel myself falling asleep. However, a phrase from my past went through my head....what was it? I said it to my brother, right...? “We don’t belong on the curb,” haha... how ironic. Here I am, always on the curb, waiting for people to take me for an hour or two for my body...
Tears well up in my eyes as I slowly close them to get some well-needed rest. It wasn’t long until these tears spilled over and began to leak down my cheeks. I can hear Smokey mewl a couple of times. He must feel that I’m upset... you’re my special little guy... let’s get some sleep, Smokey. You need to rest so you can grow up healthy.