Friday, July 9, 2010

Pimping My Ride - Part 11

If I hadn’t realized by then that pimping was very much an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire proposition, I certainly realized it the night after the Night of the Identity Thieves, when the parents of one of my most popular whores, Roselle — who in fact wasn’t named after a past commissioner of the National Football League — showed up in tears, trying to persuade her to give up prostitution and return to the theater.

“It was our fault,” her father, who had thick hair but very bad skin, told me imploringly. “When she was a teenager, she wanted to act, but all we did was urge her to get a degree in a fallback field. Accounting. Interior decorating. Aromatherapy. Something like that.”

“From the time she was old enough to get her hand into a puppet,” her short, defeated-looking mother, in a shade of lipstick that didn’t suit her, and a bad haircut, said, “she was putting on little shows for us, and for whatever visitors we might have on any given occasion. “But we stepped on her dream, may God forgive us. We were only trying to protect her!” Sobbing, she buried her face in her husband’s Valvoline windbreaker.

“We knew how hard it is making a living in the arts,” he said over his wife’s trembly shoulder. “When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a singing waiter, and I was good. Goddamn it, I was good! I was!”

“Like Eric Carmen he sounded!” his wife turned to tell me, referring to the one-time Raspberries singer who went on to infamy as the composer of the American Idol standard "All by Myself", even though a substantial hunk of it was in fact Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18.

“High school,” Roselle’s father said, “she was in every production. Freshman year she was Blanche DuBois. The first freshman ever cast as Blanche at her school! Sophomore year, she was Godot in Waiting for Godot. You can picture the talent of this girl; they rewrote the play so that Godot actually showed up, and was a 15-year-old girl! They even wanted her for Shakespeare in the Park that summer. It wasn’t her fault the Department of Parks and Recreation’s funding was cut off! But she got rave reviews for her work in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.”

Now both parents was weeping, and it appeared as though Roselle was about to start blubbing too, not to mention a couple of the other girls. I tried to dispel the growing tension by asking whom Roselle had played in her junior year. She herself answered, raining all over platform shoes as she did so. “I dropped out,” she said. “Mommy and Papa were pushing me so hard to take an accounting, or interior decorating, or aromatherapy night class at the community college, but it would have meant not seeing my boyfriend.”

“That no-good louse,” Mommy shrieked, blood-chillingly.

“He got her pregnant,” Papa explained. “With twins! The next thing we knew, she’d dropped out. The twins were born, and the no-good louse ran off.”

“I had formula to buy,” Roselle sobbed, “and diapers, and those plastic pacifier things that you don’t really think are so important until you have kids. They’re a lifesaver! You stick one in a kid’s mouth and it shuts him up for a while. But they’re always losing them, and who was going to replace them? Mommy and Papa weren’t speaking to me.”

You should have heard the howl of anguish that came out of the two parents. It would have shattered Saddam Hussein’s heart, or Pol Pot’s.

“So I began acting in adult films,” Roselle said, sniffling, somehow willing her own tear glands back into latency even as her parents wailed even louder. “And being a featured pole dancer. And one thing led to another. Then I lost my looks and wound up out here with these skanky ho’s.”

Sha’quaw’naa demanded to know who she was calling a ho, and I thought about how putting an apostrophe after ho to pluralize it might contribute to the epidemic of apostrophe misusage that would sweep the English-speaking world in the 1990s, and continue unabated through the first decade of the 21st century.

Out of the frying pan. Into the fire!

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