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My Lesbian Love Letter from Prison (Or So I Thought)
By Jill Morley

Fan letters come in spurts. When you act in a play or a film, or write a widely publicized story, they come in bunches -- usually. But, sometimes there are strays. Not like I get a whole lot of them, mind you, but when you put your stuff out into the world, people are bound to respond... from all walks of life.

A few years ago an article I wrote for a national magazine, based on a documentary film I made about working as a stripper, created interest from VH-1, an interview on a popular New York radio station, phone calls, letters from long lost friends, and a few "fan" letters. One of them, I received a year after my article was published. My "fan," Catalin, wrote in girly red cursive, excused the delay in responding to the article, but told me to look at the address, which would explain why she was out of the loop. She was incarcerated -- a federal prison in Pennsylvania. It was an eight page hand-written letter mostly ranting about the prison system and how our country was becoming a police state full of "rats, snitches, and stoolpigeons" -- you know, normal stuff. Normal for an inmate who had the time to write such a letter. Literally a lifetime.

I have been a magnet for these people. Having dabbled in several underground worlds, besides stripping, including undercover work, nightclub life, participating in a fetish video, and training as a boxer/martial artist, they could smell it on me. Very extreme people have crossed my path and for a long time, I would get involved with them to an unhealthy degree. Some people call it an addiction to danger. I just thought it kept life interesting. I never knew why I couldn't get involved with a guy who wasn't an alcoholic, a player, or just a plain old loser. But I guess I didn't care. At least I had fascinating stories to tell.

After about three pages of ranting, Catalin asked me to consider writing about the prison system inequities. Then she said that if I didn't like that idea, she had another one. She pitched me a feature film involving an average Joe who couldn't keep a job and had a miserable love life. Things just didn't seem to happen for him. While sitting in a topless bar, Joe has an epiphany. He decides to work as a female stripper. He gets breast implants, waxes his body, and gets himself a luxurious wig. Joe becomes wildly successful, makes tons of money and gives blow jobs for $300 to $500 a pop.

The blow job prices made me think that this was coming from personal experience. Perhaps, Catalin was a high-class hooker who got busted one night because she didn't suss out the undercover cop who came in for a BJ. She probably gave him one before he busted her. I think that because I watch Law and Order obsessively, I can make assumptions like this.

So one night Joe gets drunk and high, and decides to take off his G-string while performing. His tape comes undone, his "thingie" comes out and he urinates on the stage and the audience. Due to the closed circuit lighting on the stage, he is fatally electrocuted. This scene, according to Catalin, should be scored by Madonna's "Like A Virgin."

Most definitely.

Catalin goes on to compliment me on my article, the pictures of me, and apologizes for not being able to see or read any of my other work in the last few years, or to take me out and promise me "undying love." She tells me I "have a nice (ass) smile." She draws a Smiley Face, as if it were an email...but it's not. It is a handwritten letter from a federal prison.

"But please, don't let my sense of humor or lack thereof, scare you. I am completely harmless (am I?) Yes ma'am, especially now (Frown Face). Although I could have typed this letter, I chose to handwrite it so you could take it to a writing analyst and find out whether or not I am some type of psychopath (Smiley Face). I assure you I am not, but just in case, don't trust the analyst either sense of humor again ...partly responsible for why I'm here."

Poor thing. Jailed for having a dark sense of humor. That could easily be me. I wonder why she overuses the Smiley Face thing, but figure she is in prison and it probably makes her happy to see a smile, even if it is just a flat one drawn on paper.

"Take care and enjoy life. Be kind to others. Trust no one. (One or two exceptions allowed). Love animals, children and the elderly because they are cute, innocent and harmless.
Best Wishes,

PS. Please write back."

She wrote her inmate number neatly beneath her name.

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