I had a little apartment on macdougal street when I was 19. I worked at the time until last call and walked up from just below Canal street to get home six nights a week.
One summer night I came upon a very pretty young woman sitting on the bench near the corner of Laguardia place and Houston street. I stopped and asked her if she wanted to smoke a joint.. She agreed. We sat on the bench and smoked... I asked what she was up to.... out alone so late. She replied that she was killing time until the first bus back to her burbclave in New Jersey and would rather not spend the time waiting in the bus station. She asked where I lived. I told her. She asked if we could go to my apartment.... it was fine with me.

She didn't go back to New Jersey that morning. Or the next... or the next. She was extremely cagey about what she was doing for a living. She was decorating my apartment and buying appliances for me. It was obvious to me that she was working as a call girl. We would be broke, she would make a couple of hushed phone calls, and run out for an hour and a half.... and we'd go out to dinner at a place where I had to wear a jacket. Which she had bought for me.

Anyway.... finally I pointed out to her that I knew what was up and there was no reason to be so secretive.... she completely denied it and dissapeared for three days. (she had been at my house for about three weeks by this time). She came back.... told me that I was right and offered to clear out at once. I was totally baffled... she was afraid that I would not want her around cause she was a tart...... I thought she was afraid that I was mad at her for lying... It never even occured to me that she was worried that I had a problem with the biz. (I myself had worked the sex biz and was at that time still within its milieu.)

So... even tho I was somewhat indifferent to her comings and goings... I wound up begging her to stay so as not to hurt her feelings. She did.

After about a month she started taking me on calls that she considered dicey to look out for her.... this suited me fine... and she gave me money for it... I cut down my days at work.

Periodically she would dissappear for two to three days.... never much explanation. I always assumed that they were coke binge calls. Two months had gone by.

She had told me that her name was Sandy Sammins and that she was from Fair Lawn NJ and that she was 20 years old.

One night I peeked at her ID. Her real name was Sandra Jean Baker and she was from River Edge NJ. She was 15. Her birthday was in four days. I kept my mouth shut.

I bought her an antique locket for her birthday..... and a hostess cupcake with a candle in it.

I gave them to her when she got home. She thanked me... and we went to bed.

The next day she was gone... not unusual... I was used to it by now. a week passed..... I expected her at any moment.
Two weeks.... no word.
A month.
Six weeks.

I had picked my days back up at the club and I started having a thing with one of the dancers... it had been nascent but I had backburnered it because of Sandy.

We started out going mostly to her place in Brooklyn, but it was a long subway ride... I finally gave up on Sandy ever coming back and the dancer chick (her name was Elizabeth, Leeza for short) started coming home with me almost every nite.

I gave her most of the girl stuff that Sandy had left (she had taken the locket).

Leeza's been coming over for two months... Sandy has been gone for four... at five AM on a Saturday morning Sandy walks in on me and Leeza doing the nasty after work. She goes ballistic screaming... she smashes the blender and the toaster oven that she bought me. Leeza is dressed and out the door in about five eights of a second. Sandy starts throwing shit at me. Base of the blender, big glass ashtray, the telephone, parts of the stereo, a five pound jar of honey. Starts swinging a fire poker from the shallow tenement fireplace at me. Finally I hit her.... lightly on the side of the chin. She stops cold and goes to check her face in the mirror. She looks around and walks out.

Five minutes later Leeza calls from the corner to see if its over... I tell her it is.
Leeza comes back upstairs and helps me clean up.
Leeza kept seeing me pretty steady for about two more months.... then she fell in love with some guy who made her stop dancing.

I ran into Sandy on the street about a year and a half later. We talked pleasantly for a while. She asked if she could come home with me.


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