Taking the Girl out of Humboldt:Part IV

Part I link

Part II link

Part III link

 

The silence of the empty subdivision seemed loud. I became intensely aware of how alone we were. I grasped the thought of my aunt like a lifeline and then felt the hope slip through my fingers as I remembered that I hadn’t told anyone she was there. How could I bring her up? I didn’t want to be rude and look as if they frightened me. Though now, I was afraid.

At moments of extreme stress, I have found that I worry about small things–like not appearing rude. I remember once fighting off a would-be rapist–grasping his ear in my teeth, grinding until I made him cry out in pain but stopping there. Drawing blood, I feared would be too large of a reaction. It wouldn’t be nice…

Similarly, I didn’t want Sheila and Don to think I believed them to be…What did I believe them to be? I wasn’t exactly sure but I thought maybe pimp or madam might cover their job. Interestingly, I became frightened before I allowed myself to consider that the job opening wasn’t what I had hoped. My animal interior screamed what my civilized exterior wouldn’t let me acknowledge.

Also, they no longer were comfortable with me. Our mutual disquiet ripped our mutual, though dissimilar illusions, from our eyes. Like mirrors on opposite walls repeat reflections into infinity, their fears echoed mine and amplified it. Sheila redialed the phone.

 

In the days before cellular calls, privacy was dictated by where your phone jack entered the wall. Sheila needed to convey some information to John but I was in the room. Cupping her hand around the mouthpiece, she tried to express her difficulty in quiet words and discreet sentences. Apparently John wasn’t any quicker on the uptake than the rest of us because Sheila’s voice kept raising and once I heard her hiss heatedly, “Dammit, I’m not doing this.” Finally, she hung up and looked at Don. He had raised his head from the table but his face still conveyed dumbstruck dismay. For a long moment they just stared at each other. Then Sheila turned back to me.

 

“Um, you’ll need to go see John.”

 

She scrawled some directions on the margin of Don’s newspaper and handed me the whole thing as if by doing so she was expunging the whole experience.

 

My aunt was standing with the car door open looking concerned but, as I headed towards her, she casually slid into the seat as if she had just been stretching her legs. As we drove off, I saw my two counterparts hiking up the deserted road. They stared straight ahead, their backs stiff, and their legs moving jerkily—as if afraid to look behind them. It was coming up on dark but they seemed more afraid of where they’d been then the empty shadowed streets ahead.

 

The story should end here… but it doesn’t.

 

I should have told my aunt what had happened and we‘d have talked and all would have been well. But I didn’t, I gave her the directions and, after giving me a long look, she clamped her lips into a thin line, set her jaw, and drove.

 

Two streets intersected like the point of an arrow. And at the tip was a dilapidated two story house. The peeling white paint and half dead garden showed in shadowy patches only under the sickly glitter of a flickering porch light.

 

At that moment I almost asked my aunt to take us away. But I didn’t. I told myself that I had already gone this far and maybe the job was legitimate; maybe I had misread Sheila and Don. Besides John was waiting for me, wouldn’t it be rude not to go? Part of me wondered, though, if maybe John would be a killer. That like a lamb trotting willingly to the farmer, I was going to be slaughtered. Maybe they couldn’t risk my telling the police.

 

A man met me at the door. Stooped, balding, and tired looking, he guided me to his office.

 

“Honey,” he said kindly. “Do you know what job you are applying for?”

 

I tried to sound sure of myself as I insisted, “Masseuse, why?”

 

“You’re exactly what we want but I don’t think we’re what you want.” He looked significantly at me, “We do more.” He paused meaningfully, “A lot more than massage.”

 

Most people trust their instincts, follow the little niggling nudges in the corners of their mind, but I…I have to have the dark edges detailed. It makes for some interesting experiences but it also has let me see into some places where I’d normally never get to go.

 

“Well, thank you,” I said politely, “But I’m not interested in that kind of work at the moment.”

 

We chatted for a few awhile about the prospects of my school’s football team. He gently guided me to the door and as I walked under the flickering light, he said, “Well, if you ever change your mind….” We both laughed and he waited politely until I got in the car before… he closed the door.

The end

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21 comments

  • You did not go to the second interview. Tell me you are making that up.

  • I remember your Mom telling me you wanted to be a masseuse and that she was concerned, because, at that time many massage parlors were fronts for houses of prostitution. But nobody ever told me the rest of your story!

    Thank heavens for Aunt Marge!

  • I remember your Mom telling me you wanted to be a masseuse and that she was concerned, because, at that time many massage parlors were fronts for houses of prostitution. But nobody ever told me the rest of your story!

    Thank heavens for Aunt Marge!

  • I had never heard any part of this story. I suppose my age at the time insulated me from the harsh realities that were all around me.

  • I had never heard any part of this story. I suppose my age at the time insulated me from the harsh realities that were all around me.

  • You’ve revealed a lot here about yourself and for that alone, you deserve a lot of praise. Add on top of that that it’s well-written, entertaining, and very interesting. I love the way you’ve combined introspection with genuine feeling and understanding for the others involved in the story. You’ve painted a very generous and even-handed picture of those on the other side of “the table” in the story…I felt for them in this awkward situation almost as much as I felt for you. You’ve obviously taken some time to think about who you were then and how your personality traits (don’t want to seem rude, at ALL costs) proved to be a real problem, leading you to ignore your instincts and go to the second interview. From my very limited understanding of who you are from reading this and your other writings, I imagine this represents a real moment of personal insight — you’ve transformed an extremely awkward event in your life into something revelatory and funny. Nice job.

  • You’ve revealed a lot here about yourself and for that alone, you deserve a lot of praise. Add on top of that that it’s well-written, entertaining, and very interesting. I love the way you’ve combined introspection with genuine feeling and understanding for the others involved in the story. You’ve painted a very generous and even-handed picture of those on the other side of “the table” in the story…I felt for them in this awkward situation almost as much as I felt for you. You’ve obviously taken some time to think about who you were then and how your personality traits (don’t want to seem rude, at ALL costs) proved to be a real problem, leading you to ignore your instincts and go to the second interview. From my very limited understanding of who you are from reading this and your other writings, I imagine this represents a real moment of personal insight — you’ve transformed an extremely awkward event in your life into something revelatory and funny. Nice job.

  • Wish I were as articulate as I’d like to be. Suffice it to say, this is a good story, Kym. Well written. I enjoyed it. It kept me hanging on – anticipating the next installment. And the fact that it’s a true story – wow. Thanks!

  • Wish I were as articulate as I’d like to be. Suffice it to say, this is a good story, Kym. Well written. I enjoyed it. It kept me hanging on – anticipating the next installment. And the fact that it’s a true story – wow. Thanks!

  • Yep I really went to the second interview and the story happened as best I can recall it very much like I wrote it down.

    Yes, bless Aunt Marge for being there. Cranky though she may have been sometimes she always came through whenever I needed her. I loved her very much.

    I can’t believe that those of you who have known me haven’t heard this story. Its one of my stock tales I love to tell (much abbreviated usually).

    Writing stories down though gives so much more insight than orally recounting them. I started out telling this as a funny story. Went on to explore some creepy moments that I had always known were there but hadn’t really paid attention to. And finished with a sense that I had deepened my self awareness.

    Now, I’ve learned something important. If I’m going to tell a story over many days, write it all down before I publish the first installment. My voice was all over the map. I couldn’t decide which slant to take on the story. I ended up telling a true story but not a good story. I think the story would have been much better if I decided what genre it was before I started publishing it.

    But I had fun telling it anyway.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. I may not be happy with the story but I enjoyed working on it and comments are delightful!!!

  • Yep I really went to the second interview and the story happened as best I can recall it very much like I wrote it down.

    Yes, bless Aunt Marge for being there. Cranky though she may have been sometimes she always came through whenever I needed her. I loved her very much.

    I can’t believe that those of you who have known me haven’t heard this story. Its one of my stock tales I love to tell (much abbreviated usually).

    Writing stories down though gives so much more insight than orally recounting them. I started out telling this as a funny story. Went on to explore some creepy moments that I had always known were there but hadn’t really paid attention to. And finished with a sense that I had deepened my self awareness.

    Now, I’ve learned something important. If I’m going to tell a story over many days, write it all down before I publish the first installment. My voice was all over the map. I couldn’t decide which slant to take on the story. I ended up telling a true story but not a good story. I think the story would have been much better if I decided what genre it was before I started publishing it.

    But I had fun telling it anyway.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. I may not be happy with the story but I enjoyed working on it and comments are delightful!!!

  • Perhaps this true story was the “push” that got your through the Black Belt test. You never know when you might be looking for a ‘job’ again.
    ….and, as your mother, I have been ever grateful for Aunt Marge. I think that was the only reason I could comfortably let you go all the way to Santa Rosa to go to school. I knew she would keep an eye on you.

    I have often said that you learned a lot that year at Santa Rosa J.C. but most of it was NOT what I sent you there to learn.:-)

  • Perhaps this true story was the “push” that got your through the Black Belt test. You never know when you might be looking for a ‘job’ again.
    ….and, as your mother, I have been ever grateful for Aunt Marge. I think that was the only reason I could comfortably let you go all the way to Santa Rosa to go to school. I knew she would keep an eye on you.

    I have often said that you learned a lot that year at Santa Rosa J.C. but most of it was NOT what I sent you there to learn.:-)

  • Most of what I learned at any one time was not what I set out to learn.

    Hmm, I wonder what that story would have been like if I had had martial arts training then.

  • Most of what I learned at any one time was not what I set out to learn.

    Hmm, I wonder what that story would have been like if I had had martial arts training then.

  • That was quite a series of stories. It’s fun to hear stories of your youth. I think this explains why people always looked at me funny when I told them about all of my awesome, legitimate, massages in Thailand.

  • That was quite a series of stories. It’s fun to hear stories of your youth. I think this explains why people always looked at me funny when I told them about all of my awesome, legitimate, massages in Thailand.

  • I still like to give massages but I’m more circumspect about where and with who I do them.

  • I still like to give massages but I’m more circumspect about where and with who I do them.

  • Holy crapola, that was almost painful to read.

    Reminds me of the time The Boy picked up this hitchhiker…

    …but I’m not tellin’ tales out of school.

    😉

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kisses

  • Holy crapola, that was almost painful to read.

    Reminds me of the time The Boy picked up this hitchhiker…

    …but I’m not tellin’ tales out of school.

    😉

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kisses

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