I was bent over, my face buried in the gravel. My body radiating pain. My self-respect diminished.
How many times had I played with fate?
I faded in and out of consciousness, wondering if I had finally gotten what I deserved.
CHAPTER ONE: CAN'T TAKE THE GUTTER FROM THE GIRL
When I was younger, I wanted to be a ballerina. It was mostly for my mother's benefit because she wanted to be one when she was younger. Nevertheless, I was eager to please her.
I imagined myself long-legged and graceful, revolving beautifully on a giant stage. My twirls would have been flawless. I would have looked like a swan. And my performance would have earned me a standing ovation.
When I was younger, I thought I would be wearing ballet slippers, not monstrous red high heels on the streets of New York.
I wasn't used to these heels. They were tall and strappy and squeezed my pinky toes until they blistered and the blisters popped and the disgusting liquid inside squished underneath the balls of my feet. But Ronnie needed me to wear them for his sales.
No, better yet, I needed to wear them for my sales. I needed to do this for me and for the only person I've ever loved. We were both getting sick.
I limped. I stumbled. I slipped in a rain puddle and almost fell over, grabbing onto a light pole for support. Two years of prostituting and I still couldn't walk in a pair of heels. Pathetic.
"Roxie! You 'kay baby?" My fellow coworker Sandy called me by my street name from the inside of an alleyway. She was taking a smoke break, which wasn't approved by Ronnie on most occasions, but I would never rat her out.
Sandy's wild black curls were a mess in the rain, submitting to the moisture and causing her mass of hair to frizz. She told me men liked it, but I couldn't say the same for myself. My hair was stringy and straight. Ronnie made me curl it, but it usually fell in the next hour. The rain most certainly wasn't helping.
"I'm okay!" I yelled back, straining to speak over the roar of the storm. I needed a customer quick. I was getting soaked and cranky and sore and I needed my smack.
I pushed off of the light pole so I was fully balanced again and began to walk, swishing my non-existent hips back and forth. I paced down the sidewalk of Rosa's Italian restaurant and O'Malley's bar, passing a few other buildings along the way, before pivoting and walking back.
An old, beat up mustang pulled up beside me and the window rolled down.
I stepped up to the window, poking my head in and grinning sweetly.
"Can I help you?" I asked, all the while inspecting his appearance and attire for any signals of being a police officer.
He had a beard and was pretty good-looking. He wore nice clothes too, but I obviously couldn't indicate whether he was a police or not by those attributes.
My stomach tightened at the thought of the risk, but by the look in his eyes, he didn't look like he caught me, he just looked horny.
"How old are you?" The man asked me, his eyes running over my body suspiciously as he smoked a cigarette.
"Twenty-one," I lied, my gaze on him unwavering.
I was seventeen.
He nodded and smiled, staring at my chest. I wore a push-up bra and a tight fitting tank to create the illusion of bigger breasts.
"How much are you?" He asked me, his gaze flitting back up to my eyes.
I closed and opened my eyes slowly, trying to look at him as sexily as I could, when I actually just felt sick. From my disgust, from my withdrawal.
"Depends on what you want," I said.
He was thinking.
"Do you want to be fucked?" I asked, my stomach flopping when I heard the words leave my mouth.
He grinned, blowing the smoke out from between his lips. "How much money?"
"Eighty-five," I said. "May I come in?"
He unlocked the door and I climbed into the passenger seat. He trailed a finger down the side of my arm and I tried hard not to go rigid.
The man said, "Let's move somewhere else," and drove into a parking lot closer to the alleyway where it would be harder for us to be seen.
He put his car in park, flicked his cigarette out the window and turned to me. "Where were we?" He said, holding my hair between his fingertips.
I smiled at him and said as sweetly as I could, "Gotta pay first, baby."
He froze. Then, frowning, he dug into his pocket, pulled out a wallet and handed me my money.
"Thank you," I said, pushing the wad of money into my skirt pocket.
My stomach turned as it always did when I let customers touch me in ways I wished only Adam, my boyfriend, had.
I sometimes pretended that I was with him instead, but I knew that couldn't be. He would never touch me roughly like they did.
I squeezed my eyes shut.
Think of Adam. Think of your next high.
I could smell the slight vinegary smell of the smack now. The transcendence once I hit it. The happy.
"That was great," the customer said once it was over, pushing his shirt back into his pants.
I agreed almost inaudibly, pulling my underwear back on from where it had been thrown on the dashboard.
Without another word, I stepped out of the car and waited for him to drive off before kneeling into the street and vomiting. When I was high, it didn't usually bother me as much. Smack took care of my emotions for me. However tonight, I was withdrawing, so it was a different story entirely.
I held my stomach as I was sick over and over again. Then I watched as the vomit washed into a gutter nearby, trying to gather my bearings. Someone came up behind me.
I whirled around and was relieved that it was only Sandy.
"Oh, honey, it's been two years and you still get sick?" She reached down, rubbing my back.
I wiped at where my makeup had run under my eyes. "I know, I guess it's just that I haven't had anything for days. Neither has Adam."
Sandy looked at me with pity. "No, I mean after every time you have sex with a customer babe."
"I don't know," I mumbled.
"Come on, let's take you to Ronnie."
I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS THE RIGHTS TO THIS BOOK. PLAGIARIZING IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW AND IT'S ALSO A VERY PATHETIC ACT. ALSO, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE JUST COPIED AND PASTED WORDS TO BE PLAGIARISM. STEALING SOMEONE'S IDEAS IS ALSO DEFINED AS PLAGIARISM. I'M NOT AFRAID TO TAKE ANYONE TO COURT. GET YOUR OWN IDEAS.......Thanks! (: