January 7, 2012: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

Letter: S
CD Number: 18
Track Number: 5

Song: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Simon, Paul from Graceland

Sleeping in the Doorway, But where are the lights and the bodegas.
(Picture taken from http://www.fayeandco.com/2007/07/the-brownstone-bride/)

AARON, a young man of maybe 25 sits across a table from FRED and STAN, two men in their mid-40’s or so. AARON is dressed in an improbably shiny suit, the top three buttons on his shirt undone, his hair perfectly coiffed. FRED and STAN wear schlubby business casual attire and look tired. They drink coffee while AARON intermittently plays with and drinks from a plastic water bottle.

…and that was the day I realized that what I wanted to do would never be within my reach. So—

STAN (bordering on exasperated)
Again, Aaron, I promise you, this level of detail is not necessary.

You said you wanted my story, right? Well, this is it. This is my story. Now do you want it or not?

FRED (patting STAN on the shoulder in a way both comforting and making it clear he needed to shut up)
Of course we do. If you think we need to do this, then please, tell us.

AARON (sighing)
Fine. Ok. I don’t want to be a…burden on anyone or anything. A bother, you know?

STAN (feigning contrition)
Oh, no. No bother. Of course not. Please continue. I apologize for my rudeness. I think I must be coming down with a head cold. Sinuses are giving me a headache. I am very interested in your story.

AARON (if he picks up on STAN’s sarcasm, he certainly does not acknowledge it.)
So, like I said, I let the dream die. No money to be made in stilt artistry, you know? It’s an injustice, but there it was. The problem was, and I’m being honest here, that I didn’t have any other real skills. No useful college degree. No connections. I was out of luck.

STAN rolls his eyes and FRED kicks him under the table for it.

FRED (seeking to distract AARON from Stan’s annoyance)
But apparently not, because here you are.

Right. Well, I was so sad and overwhelmed that I said, “Fuck it,” put on my only suit, and went downtown looking for some party to sneak in. I found one at this hotel penthouse, just followed some well dressed people up the elevator there and no one questioned me. I was well on my way to getting right tanked when this woman came up to me. She was obviously older but I was drinking and feeling sorry for myself so I just went for it. The next morning she let me know that she knew a lot of people who would ‘enjoy’ a guy like me and that there was money to be made.

And thus, FINALLY, a gigolo was born?

I’d like to say I hemmed and hawed about it, but…yeah, that’s about all there was to it. I was desperate and the idea of making money for having sex with rich women did not sound so bad to me. So that’s what I did for years. Three-ish years. Then, I met Ms. Ranks.

That would be Julie Ranks, age 46?

AARON (annoyed with the interruption casts a withering glance at FRED)
You know it is.

Sure. Yes. Sorry.

She was different. For one thing, she was beautiful. Startlingly so. Many of my clients were attractive but they usually had…help. A tuck here or there, perhaps an injection or dozen. But Jul—Ms. Ranks was all-natural. And she had a way about her…like she floated where the rest of us were walking around. But the best thing, the craziest thing, were these shoes she had. They had diamonds on the bottoms…real diamonds. That’s how insanely rich she is. Or her deceased husband was. She WALKED on diamonds. It was awful. And ostentatious. And wildly sexy to me. She admitted they were weird, but insisted that it was impossible to feel bad when you wore the shoes.

Anyway, she sought me out and after a few ‘sessions’ she asked me if I want to give up the gigolo lifestyle and move in with her. I could do whatever I wanted, I would not have to worry about bills for anything, and we’d be an exclusive couple. I was infatuated with her, the first client I ever fell for. And so...so I said yes. Even without the “do whatever you want, my finances are your finances” bit, I would’ve gone for it.

This was when?

Last year. Eleven months ago yesterday.

Sounds like a dream come true.

It was. It really was. I was 25, the city, for the first time, was really mine for the taking, and I was re-embracing my stilt artistry dreams. I had an amazing woman for a girlfriend. And she seemed to be falling in love with me too. The only problem was…

He stops, breathes heavily, and places his head on his fists for a moment.

Take as long as you need.

I…I don’t want to run her down her. She was a wonderful person in many, many ways. But…she liked drugs. Cocaine in particular. She loved it, I guess I’d say if I was being honest.  And it scared me.

Is that when you tried to force her into rehab.

Yeah. It was silly. I see that now. She is a grown woman. She’s rich beyond anything I could’ve imagined before I met her. I was just her boyfriend. Not her husband or a family member. I had no standing.

The people though, the people who said it was a ploy. An attempt to gain access to her cash? They’re wrong. And idiots. If she went to rehab, I’d be moving back to my apartment. I had no claim on that stuff.

My try obviously failed but she seemed to forgive me. At first. Then I got more and more aware that she was being colder to me that usual. The sex got…rougher. Weirder. She’d make demands that I…I honored but was uncomfortable with. But I was still too dumb to really see it.

Then, one night we were getting ready to go out. She had put on those shoes and I was thrilled. Diamond shoes always meant fun. As I was heading to the bathroom to freshen up and change, she offered me a bump. I was stunned. Did she forget how I felt about her using? Did she really think I’d say yes? I was angry, so maybe I was little short with her when I said no. I don’t know. I didn’t feel like it at the time, but…maybe.

AARON grows silent for a moment as if revisiting the memory for an answer.

Whatever the reason, be it how I said no or built up anger, she got pissed. She growled at me, ‘Oh, I forgot. My whore doesn’t use drugs. My whore is too ‘pure’ for that.’ She sent on like that for awhile. Kept calling me a whore. It was…horrible. And scary. I’d never seen her like that. So…ugly, I guess. So entitled. So cruel.

The weird thing was…I still went out with her that night. And we still had fun. I… I don’t know what I was doing. Or thinking. I didn’t want to let go of the fairy tale, I guess. Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night that night and she was not in bed with me. And then I noticed none of the furniture, except the bed, was there. She had drugged me and paid a team of movers to move the whole apartment out around me while I was asleep. All she left me was my suitcase with some clothes, 70 dollars, and a note that said, ‘You take me for granted.’ Rather than talk it out or break up with me to my face, she broke the lease on the place and took off.

You must have been so angry.

Honestly, I should’ve been. But I wasn’t. Not then. I just felt lousy. Guilty. Maybe I had taken her for granted. I spent weeks trying to get her back. Until…

He trails off and begins to squeeze the empty water bottle hard.

Until when? Go on.

A body of mine works for one of the theatres and he called to tell me some last minute cancellations had left balcony seats open and if I could down to the theatre, I could see a show for free. I hadn’t seen a show since I was on my own again, so I was excited. And the show was good. I was enjoying myself, starting to feel more like myself. And then…then I saw them.

Across the mezzanine during intermission, there was Jules and…some guy. Kid, really. He was younger than me, I’m pretty sure. More than 20 years younger apparently was not quite enough for her. All my sadness became anger. My guilt became a profound sense of being wronged. My plans to make amends morphed into plans to exact revenge.

I started to follow them around. To learn their patterns. To figure out what their lives were like. And my anger only grew. But still I did nothing. I was so mad, but I couldn’t bring myself to be more than a mopey stalker.

Until tonight. Tonight…I saw them. They were heading to La Playa…the club. That was…it was Jules and I’s favorite place. OUR place. And she was bringing him there. I could hear it all in my head. ‘Taking me dancing, baby.’ Or doll. Or stud. Or honey. Or hunk. One of her pet names. And then she’d say, ‘Ooo, and I’ll wear the shoes.’ And he’d know what she talking about, exactly what she was talking about. And he’d be thrilled. And she’d be thrilled. And neither would ever think about me…about the betrayal.

AARON sneered unconsciously. His handsome but bland visage twisted into readable disgust.

So, I caught them, in an alley. It was kind of bright, but all the markets were closed. No one was around to see me. I took care of him first and oh how she screamed. But she was too scared to run. Too scared.

And then it was her turn. I was quick. You understand. I still love her. I needed to end her, but I didn’t want to hurt her. She just…I couldn’t let her be alive in this world anymore.

I laid them both in the doorway. Together. Peaceful. Sleeping-like. It just…felt right. A decent thing.

We understand. You had no choice.

AARON (tired, slumping in relief)
I really didn’t. I…I really didn’t.

He looked up, glassy-eyed but oddly hopeful.

Will you…will you arrest me now?

I’m afraid we have to, son.

Good…that’s good. Don’t…can’t be out there anymore. No…no reason.

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