Prologue : The Affidavit of Grace Valez
They told me to start at the beginning. Cliché, I know, but this is the government we’re talking about; they don’t have any vision. As my best friend Mikey always told me, cops are here to enforce the rules, to keep everyone in check, to keep society in line, and when they’re investigating the really big fuck-ups, the colossal ones that throw them for a serious loop, they always start at the beginning. In case you haven’t put two and two together yet, according to the State of New York, I am that colossal fuck-up. So I suppose I’m duty-bound to start at the beginning.
Here we go: 5 AM. That’s the time I woke up every morning to get on a piece of shit subway train, to get to a piece of shit job where my piece of shit boss told me, multiple times a day, just how insignificant of a piece of shit I am. That was my life, and I was sick of settling. It was supposed to be what we all dreamed about as kids, riding around playing princess in a tower or white knight on a horse. But instead of growing up and getting what we want, we’re told to get off that idealistic horse, get loans, get credit cards, get into debt, get a job and – the kicker – just shut the fuck up (for the record, I’ve never been good at that). And the worst part of it all is what everyone asks you right before your life supposedly ‘begins.’ Right before everything goes horizontal.
When I was a freshman in college, with an undeclared major and a party habit, the University guidance counselor - Mrs. Finkelstein - sat me down in her office for a nice long chat. It was a pretty dull one, too, from what I remember, but there was one particular thing she said that stuck with me all these years. She asked me what I wanted to do after college was over, and so I answered honestly. I told her: “I don’t know.” Then Mrs. Finkelstein looked at me with the sappiest, saddest look I’d ever been thrown in all of my then-nineteen years and asked me, dead serious: well…
My meeting with ol’ Finkelstein was fairly fruitless, and her question didn’t really affect me – not then, anyway. It wasn’t until years later – until one fateful day last January, to be precise – that I really got to thinking about the what of it all. That is, what, precisely, do I enjoy? See, they trick you, those sneaky bastards, into thinking that your life and your career are about enjoyment, but of course, as you all know, enjoyment and pleasure couldn’t be further from the truth of our quotidian reality. The fact is: rarely do I enjoy myself. I don’t enjoy eating, I don’t enjoy sleeping, I don’t enjoy shopping, I don’t enjoy talking, I don’t enjoy crying, I don’t enjoy laughing, I don’t even enjoy spending “quality” time with anybody, really. Actually, that isn’t entirely true. To be fair, sometimes that - quality time - really can be nice. If I’m being really honest with myself, sometimes, I do enjoy those things. But not as much as I enjoy sex.
That’s right. I said it. Someone’s got to. Not like you lot are gonna say it, but I will. I did, and I still do. I love sex. And so I vowed back in January, back before everything became the mess that it is now, that this revelation was going to be the start of the beginning of the rest of my life.
I should probably note that my lawyer did a lot of advising; he advised me on how to write this, what to say, what to include and exclude strategically, but in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m pretty opinionated, and I do what I want. What I realized pretty recently is that what I want, more than anything, is to be true to myself. To make myself proud. I think that’s what I’ve always wanted. I guess this testimony is my attempt. It may not paint me in a perfect light, and honestly, I’m okay with that. I’d rather be right than be bathed in some perfect light. So when I tell you I fucked up, believe me - I fucked up.
I just didn’t know how big of a fuck-up it would be at the time.