As I watched the other girls in the tank that evening, I noticed the scared young girl who had come in a couple of hours earlier. She reminded me of another young girl just a few years earlier who had sat in jail cell much like this one…me. Back then I was in for shoplifting. Not having a dime to my name or any family to speak of, I was desperate and hungry. I was also caught. Not even 21, I was arrested for the first time in my life.
A woman befriended me in the tank that evening after I was arrested. I was surprised when she told me she was 30, she looked older, as if time had stamped her with every one of life’s trials and tribulations. She wasn’t going to be in long. She had been booked at the same time as me and already had someone coming to bail her out. How? I wondered. As if reading my mind, she told me she was a prostitute.
“How can you do that?” I asked her. “Easy” she replied. I have a little help from a good friend. She told me about using heroin and that it helped her get through the ticking of the clock as she did what she had to do. Besides, she liked sex and that helped a lot. “So do I” I told her, but I couldn’t do that.
“Not even for about six hundred bucks profit per day?” she asked.
As my eyes grew wide she explained that she spent a lot on heroin but it helped her to always be ready for when a client was ready to go. I mumbled something about wishing I had the nerve. Right then they called her name. She was being released. As she walked away, she turned and asked me if I was serious. “Hell, yeah!” I said. I was desperate.
About an hour later my name was called. I was being released! Surprised, I walked out and saw the woman I had just been talking to an hour earlier. She had bailed me out.
She took me to her hotel room and gave me some heroin. By dawn the next morning, I had done my first trick. Before long I was so hooked on heroin I would take a trick at any price just to get the money together, spending it as fast as I made it just to get that feeling that heroin gave me. Eventually, I felt nothing except during the most high of highs and here I was, in the tank, this time with what would be my second prostitution charge. I found out heroin starts with a p…for prostitution.
I looked at the young girl. She was terrified. I could tell she had never been in jail before. She jumped nervously as I walked over and sat beside her. I calmed her down with a smile and we got to talking. Just as Linda had done back then, I was giving this young girl my story. She asked how I could sell myself. As I started to tell her it was easy because of the heroin, I hesitated. She didn’t deserve to be led down that path. She was in for writing a couple of bad checks. “I don’t remember how I got started” I lied. “I just know I need to get clean.”
I talked to her till they called her name. She was being released.. Hopefully she was walking out of there with just a little life lesson learned. As for me, I couldn’t wait to get out, either. I was itching for a fix and knew exactly where to find the perfect john to get me one.