Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pimping My Ride - Part 9

One of the whores, a rotund white one with incongruously thin legs, had a name so convoluted and full of apostrophes that I’d made it my practice to address her first as babe, and then, as I became better versed in the vernacular of the profession, either Miss Thing or girlfriend. While we chatted at Carney’s, I noticed that she was very fastidious in her eating. She never actually put her hot dog down. After every bite, she would carefully rotate it about 30 degrees clockwise. After every spoonful of chili, she would carefully pat down to flatness what was left in the bowl. In this, she reminded me of my dad, who, after every forkful of food, would very carefully nudge everything on his plate back into its respective sector. If it gave him some sort of comfort, it was fine with me, but I don’t think I can remember a single dinner of my childhood during which my mother didn’t holler at him at least once for making so much noise. It was very much a case of the pot accusing the pot of blackness, as she indulged in multiple obsessive behaviors of her own. Though I am, in the words of Lester Bangs biographer Jim (Backstabbing Little Scumbag) de Rogatis, “a jittery neurotic,” I can honestly tell you that I am OCD-free, though I do occasionally wonder, as I drive toward the gym, if I remembered to turn the burners on the stove all the way off. I think the whores liked this about me.

We finally finished our meal and headed back to our corner, the one at the top of the La Cienega hill, at Sunset Blvd. It appeared to me as though a small crowd of prospective “johns” had congregated there in anticipation of the girls’ return, but Miss Thing — whose whore name made Sha’quaw’naa seem like Sue in comparison — found them very much more sinister, and her apprehension spread like wildfire to the others. On seeing the big goofy grin with which I have customarily expressed perplexity nonverbally, Sha’quaw’naa — speak of the devil! — snarled, “Ain’t you know nothin’, fool?”

I could see now as we grew nearer that the fellows on the corner all carried clipboards. Roselle explained that they were identity thieves. When a passer-by approached, hopeful of passing by, they would descend on him en masse, pretending to be market researchers, saying that they had “just a few questions”, his answers to which would make him eligible to win an unspecified Valuable Prize. From those answers, which they would extract in an order designed to arouse minimal suspicion, they would be able to empty the poor guy’s bank account and even, if they were feeling especially vindictive, annul his marriage and have his spouse deported. And they were vicious. One time several months before, when they’d co-opted the corner, a group of might-have-been NFL offensive linemen thugs hired by a coalition of pimps had descended on them, intent on dispelling them. Wielding their clipboards and pencils as a North Korean martial arts wizard had taught them to do, they’d instead routed the thugs, one of whom remained in a vegetative (broccoli, one of the girls asserted) state months after the battle. I was to understand that several of the thugs had wept like little bitches.

I did what I felt I had to do — told the girls to wait while I, unknown to them as a pimp, distracted the identity thieves, and lured them off the corner. Several of the girls expressed the view that this was the most selfless thing they’d ever heard of a pimp doing, at least since I’d allowed myself to be serially sodomized at the police and firemen’s orgy two evenings before.

The identity thieves (hereinafter ITs, not to be confused with information technologists, but the distinction should be easy enough to make, as information technologists are either Indian, Sri Lankan, or Pakistani, in many cases identifiable by surnames that take as long to say as the alphabet) reminded me, with their suffocating friendliness, of Mormons or Scientologists.

What had I gotten myself into?

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