It’s not much of a coincidince that I was thinking about the possibility of being attacked because that is something I contemplate every time I am walking alone in the middle of the night. I was talking to my mother on my cell phone and she said that she wanted to keep me on the line, just to be safe. I told her that talking on the phone only makes me look like more of a mark but that I wanted to chat because walking at night is boring. The clunky heels didn’t help either. So yeah, I was considering the idea. But every girl does.
But that’s the end of the evening and (having read Through the Looking Glass like a proper child) stories should start at beginnings.
I was doing promotional work at Charlie Brown’s Cabaret (that’s a drag show, to you out-of-town folks), just handing out free CDs and taking pictures. It was a great show, one of their best that I’ve seen. They had some Kings that go by the name Boys to Men. They had great showmanship but the gender-bending was unconvincing. Genre did a glitter-goth androgynous act that was just my cup of tea. Most of the other queens did the typical shimmy-shake of silicone that brings a cascade of dollar bills. Alexandria, the queen that was helping me promote CDs, did her act on roller skates. Charlie Brown demanded that the two audience members willing to admit they are republicans should give her five dollars gas money to get home.
A friendly gay man struck up a conversation with me. He works for the Village Voice. I asked him how he got that [sweet] gig and he said he went to Harvard and wrote for the Harvard Review. Well then. I’d have better luck hitching a ride with Doctor Who than getting into Harvard. He said the way to get a job is to write every single day. So here I am, writing. Then he asked me about the privacy of the bathrooms which I’m just going to assume is a drug thing and not a weird, fear of peeing thing.
By the time the queen gave out the last of the CDs and I had taken all the pictures I could it was 1:50. Unfortunately, the last train leaves at 1:20. I knew that I could call the boyfriend to pick me up but I remember how mad Liz was last year when I did that to her. Besides, I’ve had to ask my honey for rides so often that he almost expects it. I thought about asking some friends who lived in the area if they would pick me up and I could crash at their place.
I’m torn between not wanting to be dependent upon my friends and thinking that’s what friends are for.
Around this time, Queen Alexandria asks me if I got any good pictures. Yes, I tell her. I’ve been all smiles all night. Why do I look so cross now, she wants to know. When I tell her I missed the last train, she offers me the milk of her own teet! That is, she pulls a ten dollar bill out of her tits so I can call a cab. What a lady!
I hail a cab, which makes me feel like a big-city girl. But I only have eleven dollars so I tell the cabbie to pull over when meter hits nine so I can give him a shitty tip. He says he’d rather me get home safely then worry about a tip but I insist. After all, I’d have to walk twice the distance from the train station.
I was about four blocks from home when I decided to call my mother. There was no one in sight, which is just the way I like it when I’m walking through the city in the middle of the night.
When I get to the block my apartment is on, a guy is walking behind me. No big deal. We’re both crossing the street. He’s walking faster than me. That’s okay, everyone has their own pace. So I change my course a little to put some distance between us. But he’s still getting closer. Now I’m thinking, what’s this about? He looks pretty clean cut, I don’t think he’s crazy/homeless. Anyway, he’s behind me so I don’t think he’s going to ask me for anything. People usually address you before they approach you right? But this guy, he’s touching me, he actually has his hand on my side, where my coat pocket is. So I turn around and say:
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING ME? DON’T YOU SEE IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT; THERE’S NO ONE AROUND ANYWHERE. YOU’RE SCARING ME. GO AWAY.” I was not screaming but projecting firmly and politely. Its insane that I feel the need to be polite to this person that I feel is possibly threatening my life just in case I’m some how mistaken and it is perfectly okay to walk up to a stranger and grab them at three in the morning. The guy is saying something in response but I don’t really hear what it is. So sorry, can’t hear you while you are scaring the piss out of me.
Of course, my mom is freaking out. What does he look like? She wants to know in case she needs to call the police. He has a white, numbered jersey. His face is round. He is short and squat. He’s wearing a black messenger bag, the kind with a cell phone pocket in the front. I am backing away from him. He starts to walk away which is great except that he is walking in the direction of my apartment so I have no choice but to go the other way.
The first car I flag down doesn’t stop. Then a car pulls up to the red light and I ask them for a ride. So I hitch a ride with this guy to go half a block because I’m shaking and too scared to walk to my apartment unescorted. Then when I get in my apartment the bulb is burnt out and my Id says that somehow HE did this and he is there hiding.
I know this is ridiculous but I check under the bed, just to be sure there’s no bogeyman.