This is my dream. Don’t get excited.
Red Charles of the Ritz lipstick looks lovely with a black eye. And a busted lip. My name is Dolly. Dolly Divine.
My cigarette tastes like blood and candy and I’m coming down off the cheap cocaine that the jake ass in the next room fed me to get in my pants. Haha. He don’t know that I have his wallet stashed in my pretty pink panties and no time to waste with 50 year old, small change used car salesmen who can’t get it up unless they’re beatin’ on a woman and cheating on their wives with everything in a skirt. So I grab my pink purse with the silver sequins and I hit the door. I’m down the stairs of this dive in a wink of the eye and out on the street again. The night air is cool and dry, but nice. It hides me and my bruises and my bad teeth and my bad dye job that I shoplifted from Walgreens. My heels are too high and they hurt my feet so I take them off and go barefoot. Barefoot and pregnant. That’s what Daddy said. I got raped last year and I told my Daddy that a man done it while we was at the fair up in Memphis. That ole horse doctor that Daddy hired to examine my privates said that babies was out for me after that, and Daddy beat me extra bad that night for bein’ so temptin’ to mans and such. Twernt really a man that raped me though, and it wasn’t in Memphis neither. It was my brother Buford and it was behind the hog lot, but I lied and told Daddy it was a man so he wouldn’t shoot Buford, cause Buford’s a mongoloid and didn’t know no better noway. So I came to L.A. All 85 lbs of me with a duffel bag and a dream. I wanted to be a movie star. Just like Marilyn Monroe. Little did I know that there wasn’t much need for movie stars anymore. At least ones from Mississippi. That’s what that man in the white limousine said. He said that I could make it in the porn-o business. I’d never even seen a porn-o (besides Daddy’s magazines under the mattress) until I came out here and was in a couple of them. Well, I wasn’t really in them. The man in the limousine said that since I was sixteen that I’d have to be a fluff girl. You know them ones who stand out in the hallway while they’re shootin’ and keeps the stars e-rect. The ones that they send out for coffee and cigarettes and that they beat up on when they’re bored. I’ve been beat up a lot. Daddy said I deserved it. When a man hits me I feel like I’m getting the best of him, and then when I spit blood on the floor and pretty myself up again he loves me just like Daddy did.
The ne-on lights on Sunset remind me of those country western songs that I used to hear on the radio on warm summer’s nights back in Mississippi. I’ve been here in L.A. for a while now, but I still can’t get over them ne-on signs. One day my name will be written on one of 'em. I can see it now. Dolly Divine, Mistress of the Night. I like that. Mistress of the Night was one of them dimestore novels that I read when I was a kid. Well, I guess I am still a kid. But L.A. has a way of making you not feel like a kid. A way of making you tough on the outside and all cold on the inside. A way of growing you into a stone statue like them Confederate ones back in Vicksburg.
I’m hungry. I stop walking down Sunset for a minute and pull that limp dick’s wallet out from underneath my leather skirt. 50 bucks, a couple of credit cards and a photo of one of his kids. She looks all pretty with her high school cheerleader’s uniform on and her braces and her face free from blue-black love taps. I stand for a moment and gaze at the photo. I look into her soul. Yeah. She’s got scars. They’re just not on the outside.
I walk into a 7/11 and grab a bag of chips, a Snicker’s bar and a big gulp filled to the rim with 44 oz of Mountain Dew. I walk to the counter and the A-rab clerk eyes me suspiciously as I pull out my newly won plastic money and slap it down on the counter next to my supper like I own the place. I give him a wink and a half-caste kind of smile that doesn’t show the bad part of my teeth and say “It’s my Daddy’s” and he swipes the card. He hands me the little slip for me to sign and I scribble the name of the jake ass that it belongs to in a really feathery way like I think a man of his upbringin’ might, and then I grab my loot and I’m back on the street.
I sit down outside of the 7/11 on the curb that smells like gas-o-line and stale piss and I open my chips and nibble a little bit. My stomach hurts nearly all the time, and even though I know with my head that I’m hungry, I can’t seem to stomach all the food. So, I toss the Snicker’s bar and the half empty bag of chips to a bum lying on his back in a liquor soaked fantasy land by the blue and white payphone (I keep the Mountain Dew; I hate water and coffee and Mountain Dew reminds me of Mississippi) and then I start to walk down Sunset again to look for someone to take me home with ‘em so I don’t have to sleep in some alley that smells like the bums and the dregs of some B movie horrorshow.
I stop in front of a church. I finish my Mountain Dew and hear the slurp, slurp, slurp at the bottom and I gaze at this church here in the middle of Sunset A-venue with all its whores and pimps and flash and sins of the flesh. It’s an old church, probably papist but it has a nice steeple and the doors look expensive. Daddy hated papists and Jews and all the other mongrelized sodomites that shopped at Dillard’s and drove fancy cars and smoked big cigars. I don’t hate them though. They sure build some pretty churches, and this one looks like it’s from a fairytale. Nobody’s watchin’ so I sit down and curl my knees up to me and say a prayer. Oh, I don’t pray to the virgin Mary or nothin’, I just say the prayer that my Aunt Lucille used to say when she was sittin’ in her rocker, trying to rock those boys of hers out of prison and pray herself to sleep so she didn’t have to think about ‘em up there in Rankin county no more. I think it went like this: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul and comforts me with his rod. A-men. The prayer reminds me of Mississippi too much so I just sit there and stare at that steeple. It goes almost all the way to heaven, kind of like the Tower of Babel but not prideful like that, more like an outstretched arm to God or a cry for help from us people to a place where there isn’t any pain or punishment or co-caine or fat old cops that take you out behind the 7/11 and beat the shit out of you because you won’t give 'em a handjob. I close my eyes and imagine Jesus with a bunch of lambs and children around him and then I start to cry. I haven’t cried in a long time but the tears just keep comin’ like rain on the fourth of Ju-ly. Then I ask Him why he put me here on this god-forsaken streetcorner on these damned ole L.A. streets without a hope and a prayer and nowhere to lay my head tonight. He looks at me for a minute with those big sad eyes of his and says that He didn’t put me here nor nobody else its just the nature of the world and that I should go on down the street before the cops come, but he loves me and I can come back here and talk to Him anytime I want to. I say thank you and get up to go, but before I do I take forty of the fifty dollars out of the wallet that I lifted and walk right up to those expensive doors and slide it underneath. The money wrinkles a little bit but I finally get it under them. I say a prayer to Jesus and the Virgin Mary if she’ll hear me for that car salesman’s daughter that she won’t grow up to be a whore like me and that her Daddy will have learned his lesson and will treat her like a little girl ought to be treated. Then I step down off the steps of the church and head down the street at a clip like Jesus told me to, kicking a crushed up can of Pabst Blue Ribbon that’s lyin’ on the street off into the shadows, hearing it roll to a stop somewhere in the pitch dark and lonely Los Angeles night.