Monday, July 5, 2010

Pimping My Ride - Only One More to Go!

My dad, who’d worked at an abattoir before Hughes Aircraft, had always urged me to pursue a career in something from which I’d come home smelling nice. I’d briefly considered the perfume counter at a swanky department store, but department stores had always made me strangely claustrophobic. I thought of auditioning to be a cantor at a Reform Jewish synagogue, but remembered I couldn’t sing. I thought too of becoming a busboy at Cantor’s, an infamous deli on Fairfax Avenue at which rock and roll and other colorful types suffered the abuse of LA’s most truculent waitresses because it was open very late, but it would have felt like a step backwards. I’d been a busboy at 17 at Ted’s Rancho Restaurant on Pacific Coat Highway, which was open only until 2. I returned the next night to the corner of Sunset and La Cienega intending to tell the girls that I’d realized pimping wasn’t for me, and had decided to try to follow Temp’Este into aromatherapy.

When I arrived on the corner, though, the girls gave me a standing ovation. I suppose the standing part wasn’t that surprising, in view of there being no seating up there except the bus bench, which the girls seemed to view as off-limits, but the applause certainly was surprising. They all came over to kiss me in turn, and my cheeks were filled with lipstick of many hues. Word of my having been multiply sodomized at the impromptu police and fire department orgies had spread, and several girls expressed that it was the most selfless thing they’d ever heard of a pimp doing. I didn’t deserve the credit they were giving me — I’d acted solely out of fear and self-interest — but we Americans as a race dislike anyone who doesn’t snatch greedily at whatever praise or kudos may come his way, deserved or otherwise. It turned out that all the girls now intended to leave their present pimps when their existing contracts were fulfilled, and to sign with me.

It was chilly, and I was sore from the previous evening, so I said, “This calls for a celebration!” and suggested we all go have a hot dog at Carney’s, the (then-) new restaurant in a railroad car a couple of blocks east on Sunset. I was young and foolish at the time, and not mindful of the fact that, speaking of abattoirs, hot dogs are made of what’s scraped off their floors. I was naïve enough at one point to imagine that Hebrew National franks were somehow more salubrious than other kinds, though their kosherness probably had to do with the cattle whose bits were later scraped off the abattoir floor having been slaughtered in accordance with Jewish dietary law. It has long been known that visitors to the Playboy Mansion are encouraged to address the magazine’s creator as Hef; it is much less well known that those in the innermost of his inner circles address him as Ner.

Several of the girls contented themselves with bowls of chili because eating a hot dog would have made them feel as though on a busman’s holiday. Carney’s didn’t serve alcohol, so Ter’ree offered to share her flask of vodka. I thought that was remarkably selfless, given that I’d twice before seen her get the shakes when insufficiently liquored up, but it was no more remarkable a gesture than her colleagues all declining a sip. One hears often of honor among thieves, but only rarely of collegiality among whores. I won’t pretend I wasn’t touched.

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