The Happy Hookers and Heroin Club

January 21

I didn’t mean for things to start and end like this. Sitting at my desk at midnight, writing to you. Tapping away far into the early morning light, where life takes on a dreamlike quality. Until it’s time to work again. And then it becomes a nightmare.

I’ve had a few stress dreams in the past weeks, the kind where you’re trying to get somewhere, usually work, and everything gets in the way. You’re moving through air as thick as sand, the car won’t start, a long-lost friend needs your advice, and the toast takes three hours instead of minutes to burn.

But in my dreams, as I’m waiting for the toast to burn, or for the car to turn over, I stop. I grasp that I’m never going to make it to work if I keep repeating the same action. And then, by some miracle, instead of slogging through, I tell my long-lost friend to call me later. I ditch the car and hitch a ride. I push the air together into dunes and climb over instead of through them. Even if slow, I finally progress and know I’m on my way.

Life is sometimes unbearably slow. The wheels of change are rusty and old. The gears clunky and stubborn. But it keeps going – a slow churning machine lubricated by fast and loose ideas.

***

My head’s swimming in the prophecies of the six psychics I accidentally saw last year.

One told me: “you’re not happy. You think you’re happy. But you’re not. You’re numb. You won’t be happy until you open yourself up to love.”

The next said that the royal family would be speaking my name. “It sounds crazy, I know. You’re gonna work in 3D filmmaking. But you need a better computer first.”

The third asked why I didn’t hire the first psychic to heal me. “A woman, just like me, wanted to help. You didn’t let her.” I simply stated that it was because I didn’t trust her.

The fourth proclaimed that I would be moving in a month and hugely successful soon after. “That sounds nice,” I said, “but I just don’t see it happening.”

“It’s happening,” she said. “I’m not making this shit up.”

The fifth, my biggest mistake, recommended I get a nice office job.

And the last told me everything was going to be okay.

***

Yesterday, I bought 48 rolls of toilet paper.

I didn’t mean to do it. It was an impulse purchase. It just sort of happened.

I was sitting at my desk, thinking about how much I hate buying toilet paper. Watching the last roll dwindle sheet by blessed sheet. I find it hard to motivate myself to buy it unless it’s nearing on emergency purchasing. It’s a slog to bring the canvas bag up the hill to the bodega that sometimes has sales on toilet paper.

Once there, past the aisles of olives, peanut butter, and Jiffy Pop popcorn, I reach up to a pack carton of toilet paper, nudge one roll out of the stack and catch the tumbling five that follow. I balance eight rolls in two arms down the other aisle of the store: frozen pierogis, ice cream, and cans and cans of creamed chicken soup… an unforgiving cycle.

I wondered how much toilet paper I’d need to purchase to get free shipping.

I searched the internet for answers and found toiletpaperworld.com, a website devoted to toilet paper. Though they sell other disposable paper goods, they are serious about  their toilet paper collection. I bought a case.

My late night toilet paper buying excursions are over.

The only thing is, where do I store 48 rolls of toilet paper in a six-hundred square foot apartment?

December 14

***

I’ve been wanting something to give, to move out of the city, to live a simpler life.

Now I’m worried that I have created a subconscious obstacle in my attempts to alter my day-to-day existence by erecting a wall of toilet paper. Is the toilet paper a means to keep me anchored to this familiar existence? If I have opportunity to exit this phase of my life and move into the next, will I leave the toilet paper behind? Or will I take it with me?

On one hand, I feel safe.

But I can’t help but wonder if there are motivations behind my motivation.

What would the queen say?

***

My friend Paul and I sit in his kitchen. I drink iced tea. He drinks white wine. Having been in the art world since the seventies, Paul is a consummate story-teller with a thousand beautiful stories to tell. Sometimes I ask him tell to tell me a story he’s told before because I like how he tells them.

Today, amidst my toilet paper turmoil, he’s telling a whole slew of new stories.

As he works his way through the bottle, his words hitch together, his pitch broadens, he sings and laughs and sometimes sheds a tear.

When I stand, he grabs my arm.

“I’m starting up the Happy Hookers and Heroin club again. I’d like you to be a member.”

He knows I don’t know what he’s talking about. but he also knows I’ll say:

“Okay.”

He exhales. “Years ago my friend Bill and I decided to start a fund. Everyone chips in. When one of us is about to go, the others will hire two prostitutes and buy a bag of heroin. First, you have your swan song, and then they shoot you up and away you go…”

“I always hoped for a shaman with a rattle to sing prayers over me,” I say.

“You’ll save squillions on hospital bills. And have a good time doing it.”

Prostitutes aren’t really my thing, but I don’t want to let him down. “You have a point,” I say.

I never did tell him about my forthcoming forty-eight rolls of toilet paper before I left.

***

I forgot to mention the seventh psychic.

Last Sunday, a lady pulled my arm as I was entering a store. She was walking out.

“I’m getting very strong information about you. I need to tell you something. I want to read you.”

“No, thank you,” I said. I walked away even though I really wanted to know what she had to say. That was before the bulk toilet paper buying incident.

Maybe she knew.

I decided after psychic six, that life with a little bit of mystery mixed in is much more fun than knowing all the answers.

Especially when you don’t know the questions.

***

The Happy Hooker and Heroin Club is the second club I’ve ever been invited to join.

I said yes.

August 19

4 thoughts on “The Happy Hookers and Heroin Club

  1. I expect to see a literal wall of toilet paper stacked up in your living room the next time I visit! I find it very amusing that you are clearing out your life of so many things and buying toilet paper in bulk. Of course, in a way, that is simplification.

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