The house was almost empty these past few days. I enjoy the quiet, but I know the chaos these quiet spells can bring. Something is going on that has Ed’s full attention. Closed-door meetings, late hushed conversations, and panicked outbursts usually meant bad things were coming soon.
We, girls, know to make ourselves scarce when Ed is in a mood. With his diverse business enterprise, it could be anything. He sells people to the highest bidder, runs whores, illegal guns, and protection for drug traffickers trying to make their way out of the city. Anyone of those avenues could be upsetting him.
The building we live in sits close to an elevated train and gets a great view of the street below and the areas beyond. It is Ed’s personal castle, and we are his courtesans. The house is actually filled with six old whores and me. I suppose one day I would be an old whore too. As stupid as it sounds, I’m happy to be here. It’s so much better than where I was before.
Ed took me from my family home when I was thirteen. That was almost four years ago. So much has changed for me since then. I kept up on my mother’s life by reading the newspaper. For a while there, I saw reports on the news of how she was searching for me. As the years went on, I’ve seen less and less, but I follow her career. She made some new laws regarding the abduction of minors. None, but none of them would help me or anyone like me for that matter. Ed explained to me in great detail how slowly he would kill my mother if I ever tried to contact her. Since I saw him slit my father’s throat, I believed he would make good on his promise if I crossed him.
I thought to try and see her once. She was in the city for some summit. I figured out an elaborate plan to sneak out to her hotel room. Knock on the door and tell her he would be coming for me and that we would have to run. I thought better of it in the end. She wouldn’t recognize me. I probably would have ended up in jail, and then Ed would have beat all the other girls as I watched. That is his favorite thing. He makes it your fault that he beats someone else before he beats the hell out of you for good measure.
She remarried another lawyer like her. I could see why she did — widowed so young, one missing child, and one little boy in diapers. She probably felt she needed a man to protect her and keep her safe. He looks like he could too. He’s good looking and some kind of senator or a congressman. He has something to do with the government. I don’t pay much attention to any of that shit, none of them help me, my life goes on whether there’s a government or not.
One of the girls, Mar Lyn, got to be too sick to fix. She was real bad off. The doctor came in and looked her over. She didn’t wake up that next morning. Ed took her down to the river, tied a cinderblock to her waist, and rolled her in. Suppose that’s how I will go. Someday when I’m old, and there is no more use for me. I’ll get rolled into the river too.
She wasn’t all that old. She needed more heroin than she was worth, though. They start you out slow, but you need more and more until finally, you can’t get enough. She told me once that she was from a little town right outside Las Vegas called Pahrump. She was getting high in a friend’s trailer, and all of a sudden, she was out cold. She never did find out what happened to her friends.
Ed sells most of the girls that he steals. Gets a good price for ’em too, but he’s kept a few of us over the years. Some girls he likes to keep for himself. He sold me off once, but he brought me back. I suppose he saved me from somebody even worse than him.
Initially, I felt grateful that he brought me back. I think it was just the fear of constant beatings being removed from the day that made me thankful. It took me almost a month to heal up. I looked terrible, all bruised and scratched. The doctor took care of a few other problems. He did a good job, and I feel fine now. There won’t ever be any babies in my life, but that might be a good thing. As the years go by, I realize that this life is not worth breathing in and out for most days.
I can still remember how good my life was before Ed. I remember my father and my mother and Lisa, our nanny. She was there more than my mother—we all loved her. Ed slit her throat right after he slit my father’s. I’m sure he took me because he could get some money for me. He was going to kill my baby brother that night.
Jeffrey was so cute and small and pink in his little playpen. I remember his pajamas had a fluffy lamb with a light beige face. He smiled while I hovered over him. I begged Ed to leave him alone. I didn’t even know Ed’s name at the time. He made me a promise. If I walked out quietly and got in his car, he would let the baby live. I did it, of course. I walked outside without a sound and got in his long black car. I was still in my ballet uniform.
I got dropped off that night from class and went running into the kitchen for dinner. I found Ed and two of his guys standing in the laundry room arguing with my father. Lisa tried to shuffle me back outside quietly, but one of the men caught me just as I grabbed the front door handle. It all ended pretty quickly from there. It seems like all that happened a lifetime ago. It actually seems like it happened to a whole other person, like a movie I watched or something I read. It doesn’t even feel like it happened to me. I’m a different person now. I’m something lesser than the little girl I was before would have grown into.
My name is Lacy, but Ed likes to rename every one. He says once you are sold, your owner can rename you. Like a dog from the pound, I guess. He calls me Balle. Most people think it’s a casino or some shit like that, but it’s because I came to be in his possession wearing a pink ballet uniform. He kept most of my clothes even after he sold me.
Ed claims not to like little girls. Claimed he wasn’t some degenerate pedophile like his clients, but he does like little girls. At least he wanted me. I was with him most nights and lived in his room for some time. Now I have my own two bedrooms, and he gives me to his friends. He keeps Tina with him these days. It will be some other girl next week.
We get a room for ourselves and a room for business. The building was an old hotel. Some of the rooms are joined in the middle by a bathroom. That’s the type I have. It’s nice, all painted beige and new looking. The other girls decorated the walls in my room in pink butterflies and big purple swish marks.
It is getting close to mealtime. We all sit together at night like some twisted traditional dinner or a religious cult. We have a meal and discuss whichever guest we were supposed to entertain, or we would be sent to the kitchen to help clean up. My client was coming in from Connecticut, some enforcer for one of the traffickers. I assumed he would be dark and silent and brooding. Like the killers in the movies, just sane enough to take orders but too crazy to know how to act right. Who knows what he will be like? Probably some asshole like all the others.
Ed gave me special instructions for my visitor. I wasn’t to talk about house business or my real name or my age or any such private information. He was connected to some big shot called the Greek, and Ed seemed genuinely scared to have him in the house. He wanted a full report after the guy left.
Ed sent a few guys to secure the weapons crates, and he removed most of the contraband from the living areas. The dining room was much larger-looking now that the usual containers of guns were gone. A few of the girls got tasked with cleaning the windows and mopping the stone floors.
We live on the fourth floor. Ed has extra security for his weapon shipments on the first, and there are large meeting rooms on the second floor. The third floor is being renovated after a small fire took out a wall. The rooms were in bad shape with peeling wallpaper and rotting carpets. During the week, you can hear work crews with their machines cutting and nailing and making a racket. None of us know what he’s planning for the third-floor, and none of us want to ask.
I really didn’t care what was going on. I just wanted to get back to my books. The book I’m reading now is a fantasy and full of vampires and werewolves and other such crap. The heroine’s biggest problem is whether she should kiss one of these creatures or not. To have such stupid problems.
I’d kiss them all for fuck sake it’s not like they’re beating the hell out of you or forcing drugs in your veins. I like to complain about how stupid the plots are, but I still read them all from the first page to the last. So far, I love novels about angels and demons and strange religions. They keep my mind entertained.
A couple of the guys bring me books and magazines. They are all pretty good to me in exchange for the occasional blowjob. One of them even brought me an iPod.