Saturday, November 12, 2016


Back in the day (early 90s), I'd been publishing in the lit zine scene for 4 or 5 years, had a few chapbooks out w/ press runs that you could count on both hands, and was generally just living large on $250 a week and free meals at whatever restaurant I was cooking for.

One day, this skinny little high school senior shows up at my apartment door, says she's seen my work in a zine in a local bookstore.  I'm not sure if I was in the phone book then, no idea how she tracked me down.  Turns out she was one of those smart but too-smart-for-own-good types w/ some rebellion issues against her mother and stepfather.  She took a shine to my roommate, who was luckily smarter than you and me both.  He had no interest in statutory rape, or in the jail time that tends to accompany it.

This girl would show up every now and then, we'd try to hustle her out the door.  Apparently, she stopped by one day when I was at work in a way-too-small t-shirt to show my roommate how her breasts had gotten bigger, she claimed, since she'd been on the pill.  Not sure about the science behind that one.

As luck would have it, my roommate's future wife was over that day, and was less than impressed.  This incident put me on her shit list for life I'm pretty sure although, again, I'm not sure how the math on that logic worked, since I wasn't even there.  I think it was the old "blame the poet" ploy.....

About a month after that, the girl showed up again, late one weekend night, drunk & stoned, dressed in short shorts and a cropped tee and, from what I could see, covered entirely in obscene magic marker graffiti.  Apparently, whatever assholes she's=d been hanging with had gotten what they wanted from her and dumped her off somewhere and she'd found her way to my place.

So, she spent the night on the couch, didn't puke, woke up the next morning hungover but cheery, and I hustled her back home.  I don't know if she had no memories of the night before, or if nothing horrible had happened, or what, but she seemed her usual self.  Not even pissed at being covered in misogynistic magic marker insults.

That was the last time I saw her.

About a month after THAT, tho, I came home from work one night to find a message from her irate mother on my answering machine, asking if I'd seen her recently (again, how were these people tracking me down?!).  The next day, I received a call from both her stepfather and the cops, asking me the same thing.  No idea where she'd disappeared to, but I hear she showed up again at some point, only to disappear from my life into the mists of time and space.  Hopefully she grew up and got her head straightened out and didn't become some ragdoll party girl.

Generally, it was all a very depressing experience.  I foolishly figured it wouldn't be repeated, and I could write without crazy people finding me.  Hah.

Even more depressing was the fact that, at that time, I knew at least 2 dozen women around my own age who all seemed to be in the same mental place as this girl.  It definitely shaped my writing at the time, and also marked the point where I realized that, if a person doesn't want to be helped, you are not going to be able to help them. 

I had already realized by this point that people generally sucked,  but that lesson was permanently carved into my psyche during this part of my life.

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