guess if a Puerto Rican transvestite hooker ever gets stabbed and
bleeds to death in front of your apartment door, you really shouldn't
brag about it, even if it is Easter. But I couldn't help it.
are one lucky gal," my mother said as if I'd just been nominated
for a Peabody Award. "Everything happens to you, Debbie. Wait
till I tell the girls."
I hope I don't get murdered, too!" I screamed back into my
end of the phone --never a shred of motherly concern from this lady.
"This isn't Des Moines here! What if I'm next? People die every
single minute in New York, you know!"
can't hear you, my garbage disposal is on," she shouted over
the sound of grinding eggshells. "Call me later -- after Jeopardy."
mother always made out like she had no control over appliances that
were on, like maybe she had no hands, or even the skill to turn
things off. So we'd just have to wait for them to run their course.
Sometimes an electric carving knife would interrupt a rare intimate
moment between us, and my mother would act as if "what are
ya gonna do?" rolling her eyes, a helpless victim of modern
technology. "I can't hear you, I'm using my battery-run eyebrow
plucker," or, "I'd like to chat, but the new electric
weed whacker is whacking the lawn and I can't stop it."
it felt like Mom was merely taking my calls so she'd have something
to say to "the girls" at bridge club.
the next morning, she'd already be on her second polish of the transvestite
stabbing story, in time for Wednesday bridge club, which was really
just a suburban "open mike night" with cards. Ellen, Mary
Ann, and Nancy would all sit there, sipping their dry Manhattans,
in their faux pearls and polyester, swapping silly stories about
their kids -- none of whom will ever even dare dream to have a transvestite
hooker bleed to death on their Manhattan doorstep on Easter, or
any other holiday! Mom would wait for the perfect moment, sometime
between the second and third highball. She'd throw the cards into
her electric card shuffler, while Nancy would speak above the dull
hum of a buzz, blab about her bourgeois daughters who were both
married and breeding. My mother would nod politely, unable to hear
her and wait quietly, until someone would ask, "So what's new
with Debbie? Is she still dating that bank robber?"
but a transvestite hooker bled to death knocking on her door. Two
actually only had one date with the bank robber almost two years
before, but they just could not let it go! I'd even unwittingly
dated a child molester since, but my mother couldn't twist that
one into a light enough story for the girls.
in heaven's name did she meet a bank robber?" they had asked.
the bank. Trump!" my mother had said. They all laughed. Then
they all worked it -- She was making a deposit, he was making
a withdrawal. Well, at her age she can't be too picky -- at least
she knows where he is nights. And on and on.
they were funny those four, during their afternoon roasts, posing
as bridge games, one club. And I would always be the girl
that dated a bank robber. Until now. A dead transvestite trumps
a bank robber.
cops had labeled the transvestite's death as an occupational hazard,
lecturing me on the phone from his precinct saying that, "He
died 'cause of his lifestyle."
The cop asked .
lifestyle, I said. Her lifestyle. He's a her."
she had a penis. That was as much a man as me, except for the
bra -- double wide," he snickered.
he wanted to be a woman, she called herself Chi-Chi and referred
to herself as 'she'. I think since she took the time to stuff herself
into a Betsy Johnson jumper, the least we can do, is call her a
ain't gonna be calling her at all, Mrs. Kasper, "she's stabbed
Kasper," I corrected. "It's what she wanted," I persisted.
bet what she really wanted was to not be dead," he replied.
I told Officer McCool on the other side of the cordless that I was
scared for my life. A personal promise of mine was that if anybody
in my immediate nucleus was ever a victim of a violent crime, I
was 'sayonara.' It seemed a good time to move out of NYC. I told
the cop I was thinking about moving out to LA right about now.
Why so you can get drive-by shot by a gang member? Better to stay
here and get mugged. And FYI, don't worry, the chances of another
moider in the same building are a bit unlikely," he
said with a hint of a chuckle. "You're actually really lucky,
you're in a good spot. The chances of two people living in the same
building, statistically -- both getting moidered, are about a million
to one. So unless you're a prostitute, too? Hey, why were you out
so late?" he asked suspiciously. "Where were you last
a comedian, I work nights."
don't we all?" said officer McCool. "Life's a bitch and
then you die," he said, stealing from a tee-shirt. "The
chances of you getting raped in the subway are far greater at this
point, as well. So take the buses, and walk. But don't move to that
sunny septic tank with palm trees. My sister's kid moved out there,
joined a cult, and changed her name to Raisin. Didn't even come
home for Christmas."
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