After my first day of work at Flip I was exhausted from standing on my feet for 8 hours in heels. I had never done that before. I could not wait to take off my shoes when my boss, Marky, an olive skinned guy with 1970’s Keith Richards hair, asked me if I wanted to get a beer at One Fifth Avenue, the restaurant on the corner of Fifth Ave and 8th street, which was below the building with the address 1 Fifth Ave, where I had heard that Patti Smith lived. I had passed the spot many times but it was not a place an under aged kid with no money went. I jumped at the opportunity and said Yes. He leaned in and said in a super casual offhanded way, “Lets meet on the corner in 15 minutes, we don’t want everyone talking.”
I liked the idea of having a secret, being apart from everyone. I had no understanding of what that sentence actually meant. I met him on the corner. It was dark out and 8th street was alive and buzzing. I felt terrific walking down the street with my boss on our way to get a drink at One Fifth Avenue. I was only 16 but I had my cousin’s baptismal on me, so I was fine if I got carded, which rarely happened.
When we got to the corner Marky said he had to walk his dog and could I come upstairs with him. No problem. I did not think twice. We got into the elevator of the famous building and I secretly hoped that Patti might get on at some floor along the way, but she didn’t. When we got to his apartment, it smelled like dog shit because his Siberian husky couldn’t wait to be walked. Marky cursed and cleaned up while I sat there. Then he asked me if I wanted a quaalude and I said yes. Then he handed me a beer to wash it down. I drank it. I weighed barely 90 lbs. I had no sense of danger. Soon Marky was on top of me trying to kiss me and then everything went black.
I said yes to several of Marky’s invitations that evening, but had he asked if I wanted his heavy body pressing down hard on top of me I would have said no. Had he asked me if I wanted his hands on my body I would have said no. Had he asked if I wanted any of what he planned to do next, I would have cringed and said no. The truth is I do not know what happened next, I can only guess.
I came to as cold water hit me in the face and a slightly panicked man shook me and said my name. I was ultra laid back from the ludes but I didn’t want water on my face because it would mess up my make up. I groggily tried to make sense of what exactly had happened. I was still fully dressed and assessed that not much time had passed, so I figured that nothing much could have gone on. That may or may not be true. When Marky saw that I was alive and well he said I should sleep over.
Even high I knew that I might be walking on thin ice and needed to go easy. I suspected that saying that I was not interested was not a great idea so I lied and said that my mother wouldn’t let me. There was something desperate about the way he handed me the phone and asked me to call her. I patiently explained again that she wouldn’t let me. “You don’t know how to lie to your mother?” he asked accusingly. I was pissed off and wanted to laugh hysterically at him but instead lied to him with a dead eyed poker face and said no, daring him to question me any further. I said I had to go.
I staggered back down 8th street towards the subway. I was really high and felt great from the drugs, really great. I was in my element as I lumbered along alone in the electricity of the night in the Village. I had no idea how disheveled I looked with my smeared eyeliner and half closed eyes until I ran into someone I knew and I saw concern spread across his face. I dismissed his concern, but appreciated the care as he made sure I got safely to the A train, back to Inwood, high as a kite and cracking up with laughter.
To be continued sometime….