Once when I was a junky whore, I was standing outside of Arby's on Sunset waiting for someone to pick me up so I could make a fast twenty bucks for a shot of heroin. A young guy pulled up in a red sports car and we went to his house. He turned out to be smart person and sort of interesting (especially considering the fact that I rarely came in contact with anyone that spoke my language.) He had played for the California Angels until one day on acid, he realized he was wasting his life so he quit pro-baseball to get a degree in philosophy. He didn't want to have sex. He wanted to bathe me and feed me and keep me safe in his little house. He told me that I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and he cried when he realized just how fucked up I was and how little I cared about getting myself out of trouble. I was addicted to heroin and cocaine. I was so mentally and physically debilitated and downright gross that I was lucky to get twenty dollars for a blow job or whatever else. I often took less. Therefore, I had to turn as many as fifteen tricks a day to get enough money to support my habit. I could never wait until I had enough money to buy a substantial amount of anything. I had to go cop as soon as I had the money in my pocket and fix right away. So I had this routine which continued uninterrupted except for the occasional catastrophe like going to jail, or getting beat up, or meeting a guy like this new friend. (Every whore knows one. He falls in love with sick prostitute fanaglers who, in the course of his crusade to show her the light, will take him for everything he's worth and leave him dazed and ruined.) My typical schedule consisted of: walking, turning a trick, going to cop, finding somewhere to shoot up (I had no car or home), doing the drugs, then walking some more until the next man pulled over, and so on, for days on end until my body insisted on sleep, sometimes at very inopportune moments. Once in a while I had the opportunity to participate in a crime that didn't involve my pussy, but these were few and far between. I was twenty years old and a raving, muttering, sometimes violent madwoman. My toenails had fallen off, my hair came out in clumps. I was scabby and dirty, bruised, battered, and totally resigned to my impending death. I don't mean to be melodramatic, it's just that things were really that bad and the way I felt about it was this strange peace. I had stopped wanting to try to get out. My routine was meditative. I was a kind of whore for the most part. I knew I was going to die there. So yeah, he cried when he realized these things. We went through a period of about a week where he would try to give me enough money for drugs to keep me off the streets. Needless to say, there's no such thing as that kind of money, and I recall a hazy memory of a trip to Mexico, which I think was some kind of plan like, "We'll leave town with only a little bit of heroin and after a few days you'll run out and then you can drink as much Tequila as you want. After a couple of weeks, you won't be a junky whore anymore." I think we returned home after forty-eight hours. In another attempt at the impossible, he bought be a car but I simply did not possess the motor skills or common sense to even get out of the driveway. He would talk endlessly about our new life together after I got over my little problem. He was more delusional that I was. *I* was going to *die.* My recollection of this time is foggy, but somehow I ended up in a county detox center. It was a last stop kinda place for addicts with no money. Fourteen days, with seven days of methadone, in a room with forty people coughing and moaning and whining as only junkies know how to do, and you wish you were dead. I had been there before. Anyway, during my stay in this place, my man, my fiancÚ, this guy who wouldn't leave me alone, was busy trying to make my stay as comfortable as possible. He brought me something to help me rise above my self-centered misery and far. Something to pass the time in a state of musical intoxication. He brought be all nine symphonies and the unfinished tenth by Gustav Mahler. For anybody who doesn't know about Mahler, it would be difficult to understand the strangeness and irony of selecting these works for a person in the midst of the step-by-step dismantling of their own body and mind. Yes, clean socks and underwear! Yes, candy and cigarettes. Yes, a new-wave, waterproof, yellow Walkman with auto-reverse. But Mahler!? Bring me a fucking Blondie retrospective! As a gallant measure, he warned me to listen to the early ones first--said the later ones were kind of depressing. Thanks like telling a prize fighter no to step into the ring -- I went straight for the ninth symphony. The music he brought me caused my nerves to unhinge even further and reminded me of everything that was, and had ever been wrong with the world, which, although excruciatingly beautiful at times, was obviously spiraling hopelessly into some kind of magnetic "shitfield." Mahler himself was a tragic character. He was born in 1860, the 2nd of 14 children, 6 of which he would see die while he was still a child. His mother-a crippled, sickly woman, got married, without love, to an abusive alcoholic wine maker. Some say that Mahler's strange way of walking, in which every few steps his feet would seem to "fall out of rhythm," was adopted from watching his lame mother walk. From the onset of his life, he was subject to racial harassment and discrimination, and considered being a Jew a liability. This situation wound up culminating in 1897 when Mahler, convinced that he was not being appointed the conductor at the Vienna Court Opera because he was Jewish, coverted to Catholicism. Within three months, he became the conductor. He also had a lot of trouble getting along with people and was considered a major pain in the ass by many that worked with him. For most of his adult life the money he made was spent supporting his family, particularly a sister, Justine, who leached off him mercilessly to support her high-booty standard of living, keeping him, his wife Alma, and his children in poverty. When he was 35, his brother Otto shot himself in the head. In 1907, when he was 47, his daughter Maria died and he was diagnosed with a terminal heart lesion. At this time he wrote his most death-engrossed and maybe his greatest work -- "Das Lied von der Erde" or "The Song of the Earth." This piece is especially interesting when you realize that it is, in reality, Mahler's Ninth Symphony, but that he did not want to call it this because he believed that all great composers died after writing their ninth, as in the cases of Beethoven and Bruckner. So he called it "Das Lied von der Erde" and called his next symphony Number Nine. This fancy switch-a-roo backfired however, and he died in 1907 after writing "the Ninth Symphony" which was actually his tenth. He did being a "tenth" (eleventh) but died before it was completed. Perhaps he should have eliminated the number all-together as superstitious high-rise builders do with the number "13." At any rate, Mahler is dead... and I? I am very much alive. I've blossomed like a goddamn butterfly. As for my friend, he disappeared soon after I jumped out of the window at the detox and hitch-hiked to my dealer's house looking to trade a brand new Walkman for a few bags. It took me almost a year before I got fucked over enough not to be able to fight when the right people finally came to help me. I barely recall the first six months I spent with no drugs in my system. I know I spent most of it laying around on a couch consuming mass quantities of food and antibiotics. Seven years have gone by since then. No needles. I don't even drink. I love my stupid life like nobody's business. And that's what I hear when I listen to Mahler. The beauty and horror inevitably follow one after the other, blending nonsensically until the sweet and bitter...end.
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