Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moving On Part 2


The initial draft of the story was inspired by and meant to shine a light on a part of society that just doesn’t get enough of it, mostly because it doesn’t want the attention. In that part of society, there are group(s) of people that fall casualty to this, finding it nearly impossible to get away from. Especially vulnerable to this situation are some of the women who get lured into it and are victimized at the expense of their innocence.

The incredible courage and dedication that it takes for one to get away from such a life and get onto a different track is superhuman. This courage and dedication is exhibited by everyone who takes part in that process and is especially true of every Evelyn there is.

This second part of the story is not based in real life in any way although the person(s) that inspired Evelyn,  the support workers are very much there and always will be. This is new territory for Evelyn and her story. It is her chance to face her demons head on, but whether she ultimately triumphs in her effort remains to be seen.

Evelyn paused, taking in the situation while her gut twisted in both anxiety and withdrawal. The front desk attendant at the Rehab Centre printed some forms that would need Evelyn’s signature. Evelyn’s story could have ended right there at that counter, just like any happy ending. But this wasn’t one of those stories. Some problems don’t leave so easily, and some monsters do come back.

Evelyn finished the paper work for her sign up to the program feeling better than she had in a long time. One of the councillors took her on a tour of the facility, showing her everything that she needed to know about the program and the building. The last point on the tour was her dorm, which had four other beds in it and a shared bathroom. She had been given permission to sleep for the rest of the day, which she did without even getting her bedding in place.

Her dreams were a crazy mixture of memories that crossed over into each other. She seemed to be walking through the lecture halls at the University, where there were lectures were in progress. Girdy, another addict she knew from the Loop was making giant hand puppets with the overhead projector in lecture hall A, a small audience shouting requests to the makeshift performer. Evelyn walked down one of the hallways and into a lab, where there was a classroom lecture going on. This sight startled her. It was Lacy, at the front of the class, giving the lecture. It seemed to be a sociology class, with five of the regulars from Credit Street sitting and taking notes, and showing genuine interest in the subject and the lecture. They listened intently, fascinated by the subject. She smiled at the sight. She continued down the hall and turned into the medical theatre. There laying on a gurney was Tripper, his body lifeless. The medical lecturer, fully clothed for dissection a mask covering his face. He approached the gurney with Tripper’s body, a scalpel extended like a weapon. Evelyn screamed a soundless scream. Unable to wake her self she turned away.

“Young lady, you’re going to lose grades if you don’t pay attention in this class.” the medical lecturer stated in a condescending tone.

She forced herself to look and saw that the medical lecturer had been replaced by the body from the valley, John Doe. His wounds still apparent across his front, his head still slightly arched back, eyes grey.

“Young lady! Young lady! Are you hearing me?” said John Doe, turning his whole body to face her rather than craning his arched neck.

She became aware she was dreaming but was unable to wake herself. Focussing herself, she reached with one of her hands, clasping one of her eye lids by her lashes and pulled it open. She awoke with a start, her chest pounding as she caught her breath.

She tried looking around the room though the sun had set and the room was dark. She stumbled in the dark towards the bathroom, stubbing her little toe on the door way. She cursed again, sitting to use the toilet only to find the toilet seat up. She cursed under her breath a third time, scrambling for the light switch and flicking it when she found it. A clock sitting on a shelf in the bathroom read 2am. Feeling a little stuffy despite the air conditioning in the facility, She had a long shower, cursing yet again when she realized she had left the towels they had given to her with her bedding, out in the dorm. She threw her t-shirt on, still soaking wet and retrieved her towel, retreating to the bathroom again. Occasionally she awoke with a little pain and anxiety from withdrawal. She spent a short time drying off, then cleaning up after herself, leaving the bathroom spotless. She put her bedding on the bed and settled in again, this time not dreaming at all, or at least not remembering her dreams if she had them.

The next few days were spent getting accustomed to her new surroundings and schedule. She had kept to herself for the first few days. Still very cranky and occasionally sick from withdrawal symptoms. Her one on one sessions with the councillor would not start until the following week. Until then she kept herself busy with her chores. She enjoyed that part of the day, and spent her time doing as good a job as she could. It kept her busy and her mind from going astray. At other times, she would make plans as to what she was going to do with herself when she was done. How she was going to finish her schooling, get her career and life back on her track. She had already envisioned her home, how it was going to look, what she was going to buy for it. These details were far down the road, but it gave her a sense of direction even if she was biting off more than she could chew.

Evelyn had been having trouble with mood swings and anxiety attacks which were related to emotional stress and the pressure of abstinence. Her first one on one therapy session went well. Jana, her councillor, a soft spoken lady, whom had miles of patience was very encouraging, and helped alleviate much of her fear. They just talked. Well not really. Evelyn talked and the councillor listened. It was strange at first. Evelyn felt like her own therapist, asking the questions that she had wanted answers to and then answering them herself. The therapist cleverly guided her to the right questions. The ones that were barriers to her progress and the ones that were part the path that she wanted to take. She had felt as if a great load had been taken from her, though it was more like somebody had taken the time to help her organize her own load into a more comfortable arrangement, maybe removing something here or there.

These therapy sessions quickly became the highlight of her week. Every week they would talk. An hour at a time, a couple times a therapy session would go over the one hour mark ten, sometimes twenty minutes. She had noticed her nightmares had receded as well. Her group sessions were the same except that there were six people all together and one councillor. Questions would fly between client and client and councillor and client. One client’s answers would help the other five clients. The group session resolved issues as well, but she preferred the one on one sessions. Evelyn had always preferred her own personal time for her growth. The time in the program had flown quickly. Many of the people present were dedicated to making progress, so there was almost never conflict. This enabled the clients to let their guard down enough to feel safe, and open up to the councilling. Evelyn was always still a little bit guarded in that sense. Her life experiences had taught her to always be on guard, especially when she wasn’t expecting anything.
She had been in a meeting regarding the results of her physical examination and was talking with her counsellor when the counsellor’s phone rang.

“Nancy Wellens, how may I help you.” she answered with clinical detachment.

She paused, listening to the voice on the other end, then hanging up the phone.

“You’ve got a visitor. We‘re just about finished here anyway.” Nancy smiled to Evelyn.

“Thank you Nancy.” Evelyn got up, a little excited and curious as to who it was. She was happy to learn that she was in great health, no sexually transmitted diseases or any other associated health risks that were common in the world that she had just emerged from. She was having a great day and she felt healthy and full of energy.

She saw Detective Grady standing at the front desk, having some papers signed by the receptionist. She smiled as she approached.

“Detective Grady! How are you?” tears trickled down from the corners of her eye.

“Why hello Evelyn. Aren’t you looking strong and healthy today.” he smiled to her, winking.

The receptionist returned his forms, signed and he tucked them neatly in the inside pocket of his blazer.

“Do you feel like taking a little field trip today?” he asked her, already knowing her answer. He was a Detective after all.

“Uhhh sure. Where are we going?” She responded, trying not to look confused.

“We’re in a bit of hurry, I don’t mean to be rude.” the Detective said glancing to the receptionist and then back to Evelyn, masking his thoughts well enough.

They left the building and Evelyn instinctively walked to the back door of the car. The Detective looked at her, a little sympathetically and responded.

“Hey, things are different. You’re in the front seat now.” the door clicked unlocked and she opened it getting in without a pause.

He remained silent on the way out of the neighbourhood. He drove the unmarked car onto the highway southbound for the downtown core. Evelyn held her gaze ahead of her, glancing to the left in an attempt to draw him into conversation. He was deep in thought weighing in on some information that had recently come to him from an outside source.

“How’s the program working out for you? Are you keeping your end of the bargain?” He asked, finally breaking the silence.

“I’m right on track, although it was hard for the first few months.” She replied, not giving up any extra information to him.

Although her nightmares had subsided, something still bothered her about the situation with the body she had discovered, and Tripper’s disappearance. She knew there was a common thread that connected the two events and was afraid that her hunches about that yarn might be closer to reality than she thought.

“Have you ever heard of Alicia Danvers?” He broke the silence again, suspecting that Evelyn may have more answers than she had talked about in their conversation at the station months prior.

“She was a backup girl.” Evelyn answered, thinking that her silence would be more harmful than helpful.

“A backup? What do you mean?” he asked.

“We had regular customers. We’d be on the street at a certain time expecting them. If we couldn’t make it, she’d be my backup girl.” She answered, filling him in on the business of pleasure, though it was not the way that movies would romanticize it. Dirty cars. Dirty clients in dirty disguises. Dirty in a way that it would take a lifetime of showers to wash away. It was usually very quick as it would be in any piece work related business. The faster they got done, the faster they’d have their money and the faster they were able to score a hit.

“How many other ladies did she backup for?” asked the Detective, changing lanes as he did.

“She had about three or four other girls that she’d cover for. She was hoping to get her own spot in the area. That’s how you put your time in.” Evelyn answered, remembering the life like she had read about it in a novel more so than having lived it. It kept her detached in a way that she needed to feel when she talked about it.

“How about some names?” He asked her, keeping an eye on the sparse traffic ahead.

“Suzy. I mean blondie Suzy. You know her I’m sure. Trish the dish. Shirley and Wendy. That’s it I’m pretty sure.” she looked at him, waiting for approval.

He kept his eyes on the road, momentarily glancing in the rear view mirror.

“Did she have any problems with any of those girls?” he continued, typing a name with one free hand into the comtech console in the car.

“No. She was always pretty easy to get along with. She never caused problems and none of my customers ever said anything to me about her.” she answered, trying to get a peek at the computer out of the corner of her eye.

“What about with the customers. Anyone ever mistreat her, argue over money?” He asked, changing lanes hurriedly and nearly missing the off ramp.

“Not that I could remember. Though she did have some problems one time with Tripper. She was in an argument with him about a month before he disappeared.” she arched her head hoping to get a better view of the console.

The Detective stopped talking as they merged into city traffic from the highway. Tripper had been a non-stop source of problems from the time he had arrived on Credit Street. He quickly took over small time distribution for crack cocaine and crystal meth, nudging some of the other dealers right off the street a few times. He had even chased a competitor down and pistol whipped him, leaving him curled up in a ball on the sidewalk. The Detective had questioned him a few times, only to get all attitude and no answers. This made Tripper a hero to the other Credit Street misfits and put him on the radar of some people who did not like the attention. Tripper had a notorious reputation to the women working the streets, and he often took advantage of their situation if he could somehow profit by it. On one particularly bad night, just after he had been busted for possession, he had taken out his anger on a new girl to the Credit Street tour, beating her senseless and leaving her in a bloody heap on his front lawn. The paramedics had whisked her off to emergency and the police had been notified but the poor girl was too afraid to “rat” on Tripper out of fear of the repercussions from the rest of the Credit Street denizens. Suzy came onto the scene, hitting Tripper solidly in the face with an unopened can of cola several times and swearing to him that if he ever did anything like that again, she would kill him. He didn’t dare hit her back as she had friends at a local underground establishment that had a reputation of having ties to the mob. One week later and Tripper had disappeared completely although the timing was a convenient set of circumstances. Legend had it that Suzy had put a hit out on Tripper and that he was in the bottom of the harbour now sleeping with the fishes. Suzy did little to put a stop to the rumours, as not a finger was ever laid on any of the girls ever again by anyone on Credit Street. From that point on, Suzy had become the den mother to the girls there.

This did little to help the situation with Alicia Danvers whose body was found just outside of the downtown core in a dumpster behind a manufacturing plant. Alicia was a little ball of energy and never a bad bone in her body despite the hardship she had experienced as a little girl. Her parents were small time scam artists who sought to support their lifestyle through a series of rip offs that left a trail of wreckage across the city. She had left her dysfunctional home when she was thirteen and lived with her friend’s family until she was seventeen, at which point she had become quite a partier and dropped the idea of being a student. Her and her friend left that home together and were working Credit Street three years later hoping to achieve the freedom twenty-five retirement plan, which of course was quite literally a pipe dream.

She had been an on and off regular at Credit Street for the years that followed, and had become a backup girl just before Evelyn arrived on the scene. She had liked it that way, as there weren’t as many commitments as there were for the other girls working the streets. That and it was easier to remain a stranger to the customers as you never had regulars. With regulars, the girls became a part of their customer’s life and this presented some difficulties and risks for the girls working in that trade.

The Detective pulled the car into the coffee shop driveway and ordered some coffee and lunch for Evelyn and himself, paying at the drive thru window.

“I’m going to need you for the next couple of days while we try put together some pieces to a puzzle, and maybe get Credit Street cleaned up for good.” He handed her a soft drink and a sandwich, which she accepted gracefully, consuming the sandwich in three bites.

“Cleaned up for good? You mean closing it?” asked Evelyn in shock.

“No. I mean opening it. We’re fixing an open wound in the city that has been left for too long. You‘re going to help out.” he looked to her, offering up some of his fries. She paused for a moment, grabbed a small handful consuming them in little bites.

“What’s in it for me?” she said like a shrewd negotiator.

“Closure.” he offered, his stern face hiding any details of what may lay ahead.

“Won’t that be bad for your business to do that?” she asked sardonically, a little smile rising from the corner of her mouth.

He paused looking at her, his poker face slipped just a little.

“It would be bad for all of us not to do it. My business will just move its focus to other markets.” he replied looking her square in the eyes and in all seriousness.

“Are you planning on running for office?” she asked, still smiling that she was able to keep him on guard.

“No, but I may be running from the office with you as my partner.” he said firmly, breaking his assuredness with a wink and a smile as he pulled out into the midday traffic.

© Copyright 2012 Brian Joseph Johns

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