Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Short Story From My Memoir, "Tangled Sheets"

The last couple of weeks has been taking care of my dear Moishe. The good news is that he is back in action. A true miracle for the little fluffy who came into my life in 1998, a couple of months before my father died and a year after my mother had died. He changed my life, little by little. And without him and the security and sense of hope he gave me... I would have never been able to accomplish all the things I have been able to do since he arrived into my life.

"Moishe's Staple Stitches After Gastro Abdominal Surgery", 7/09, Jersey City, N.J.

He was only 3 years old. Now he is 14 or 15. No, one knows his story. I adopted him on a hot August day from the ASPA shelter on the Upper East Side. It was a classic love story. I needed love, he needed love...we found each other; he in a cage and me in my own self-made one.

I wrote this following short story back in 2002. I was taking a memoir writing class at Gotham in the West Village. My life was very different and very difficult. I need to remind myself of this when I hit walls or swing up and down, from one mood to the next.

This was the beginning of a series of pieces I have written with the hopes of publishing one day in the future. Blessed ones only know it's a lot cheaper to have a lap top and a ream of paper than it is to work in fine art or documentary photography.

From: "Tangled Sheets", Juliana Beasley


We have a complete relationship. We can read each other’s minds. We have the sort of relationship where we can take a shit in front of each other.

Most of our time we spend in bed, me at her feet or sometimes by her side, my head on her pillow, her left arm folded over my body, our bodies not curved spoons. Over the last four years, I’ve learned a lot about her in bed.

Before she retires for the evening she pops some pills. Sometimes, the orange bottles sit by her side on a nightstand amongst the half-filled water glasses; in worse times they lay on the floor commingling with partially read books, aluminum take-out trays, and empty seltzer bottles.

Her sleep is erratic. I’ve witnessed her suffer through nights of drug induced sleeplessness. She watches late night shows on t.v. where twenty- somethings openly display their libido and stupidity for the all the lonely insomniacs to see. At four a.m. the commercials for sleeping pills come on; she hates the model/actor who raises his blinds and arms, refreshed and ready for a “brand new day.” She frantically leafs through her phone book and looks for someone to speak with in a later time zone and settles on calling Paolo on his cell in Tuscany. 

I’ve heard her talk at night while she sleeps. She has lengthy conversations in broken Russian and French. She laughs aloud and carries on like a dilettante. There are nights, when she’ll awake and pull a strange stick plugged into the wall from under her bed, bringing it between her legs, vibrating and tensing her body until she gives herself over to temporary limpness. But, she still lies awake. Other nights, she turns on the lights, crying and coddling me in her arms. She tells me, “I love you Moish.” and I know what she means. One morning, she awoke from a couple of hours sleep, embracing her pillow and kissing it like a desperate lover never returned.

Late afternoons, she calls the Guayanese restaurant for take-out. The doorbell rings and she searches her bags for money; this is the most exercise she’s gotten in months. She’s just plain unpresentable. She pays the deliveryman and tips him. “Thank you,” she says, and closes the door behind him. He’s the only person she’s had a conversation with all day. She removes the foggy plastic cover, pulls a fork from the overflowing sink and washes it briefly. It’s a fast and gluttonous feast. She’s ordered the largest portion of chicken stew as usual and if I’m lucky she throws me a piece on the floor. Afterwards, she says, “Come up,” and I spring onto the bed of tangled sheets.

It wasn’t always, this good. There was a time when I never saw one scrap. It was a cold winter; our first year together and we lived in the East Village. And then it happened; the depression set in and we went to the local pizzaria. We were standing at one of those circular tables, the kind without the bar stools and I was sitting patiently at her feet while she ate a pepperoni slice of pizza. She looked down on me and I knew exactly what she was thinking--she needed to share with someone, she needed to be a part. She threw me down a greasy circle and that’s how it all began.

We’re a perfect match. I’m an irrevocable beggar and she’s an incurable slob. Even though she tried for many years to reform, her piggishness is inherently coded, a maternal birthright. She remembers the last years of her mother’s life and how her mother had begun to keep her own home clean. The collectables were stored and obsessively labeled. And even if the white tile ceramic floor in the kitchen was hopelessly dirty and the oriental rugs were imbedded with the permanent stench of dog piss, there was a marked difference. Juliana is holding out hope for a similar rebirth. Or possibly she might consider what every one had suggested, especially her therapist—a cleaning person to come in and take care of the basics. 

The meds are working and she sleeps throughout the night. She stores her nighttime pills in the medicine cabinet and her daytime anti-depressants and mood stabilizers in the kitchen. Her home is tidy and organized. She spends hours editing her photographs and writing. She has found a new faith in life.

Better times for her mean longer walks for me. She wakes early and doesn’t feel so alone. I lick her face. We yawn and stretch. I do a downward and upward dog and she twists her torso side to side. Sometimes, I linger in bed until I realize for sure she isn’t coming back. Trailing behind her, we go to the kitchen and she begins the morning ritual, dumping yesterdays coffee grounds in the garbage, pouring in the half decaf, half not. Mornings like these are the sweetest. I can see it in the way she slips from one task to the next. National Public Radio hums in the background and she’s barely paying attention; she’s at her laptop reading e-mail religiously, looking for messages and trying to connect beyond the drawn curtains her last boyfriend put up for her.

This is my favorite part of the day and perhaps hers too. She grabs her shoes and I know right away. I bark and spring in the air, circling a 360. I run for one of my toys and she says in the low scratchy voice her father used when he told her secrets at the kitchen table. She still hears the good ol’ Southern boy in her head. “Go, on boy, get the toy.” We dance to disco music. She’s still in her dirty bedclothes, the thick Polo sweats the ones she cut at the bottom so the elastic wouldn’t bunch at the bottom-- the last thing she wants is to show off her surburban roots. She showers later in the day or every other day. She never smells or that’s is what her friends have told her when they found out it was days before she hit the shower. We are the same, we are as adverse to water as cats who hate the assault of hard drops on flesh. She prefers to soak in the embryonic bath water alone. When she does shower, it has to be incredibly hot, force deep into her muscles. When she bathes me in the kitchen sink, I shrink to half my size and frankly, I feel irritated and simultaneously, tormented.

Springtime is here. We walk out the door together. We’re going to do the usual walking meditation, a yogic trinity around the preferifery of the park. I go and she picks it up with the plastic bag as she watches the showered and gelled nine to fivers walking swiftly and diagonally through the park. They’re on their way to the smothering Path train. She wonders, “How do they do it? How do they go to the same place five days a week and see the same people, playing the office politics game and laughing aloud but not too loud at witty banal jokes? They look so perfect. It’s freezing out here and they’re wearing stylish thin coats while I’m loaded down with two layers, a pair of long johns and a down coat. They’re stronger than me.”

The march of the office workers ends. It’s just me and her and her cell phone. She sighs with relief, stretching side to side. Actually, she’s very fulfilled to be on her own. We sit on a bench in the sun and gaze upon the yellow daffodils.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Dear Moishe Without Photographs For Now

Dear Friends,

The last two weeks has been a blur of depression and pain. My dear dog, Moishe ingested a dirty tampon (dogs do this regularly). The cotton part was digested, however the string stayed in his stomach and intestine.

After, realizing that he was in serious pain, circling endlessly as if he was trying to run from himself, I took him to my local vet. A sonogram was done during the day and shortly, after I got a phone call urging me to pick him up and take him to the emergency room at NY Vets for immediate attention.

I will tell more of this when I have more time available. I would like to thank all the people on Facebook who sent me thoughtful messages during this time.

The gastroabdominal surgeon managed to remove the string from his pained tummy. I was told that this is not an uncommon incidence. So, I forwarn all women with dogs, you might save your toilet from getting clogged, but keeping a garbage basket filled with used tampons is far more dangerous. I suggest a container that shuts tightly. This is very serious.

The good news is Moishe at 14 or 15 years old is a fighter and survived a 50/50% chance of living from the abdominal surgery. He is getting stronger with every day, although I must say he is just not himself. It's been really hard on him and on all those dear to him.

I have much to do and a trip to prepare. I hope to post soon!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Never Too Late for Good Trash!

My dear, on the edge, born to be Heidi Fleiss is in the news again!

Part Jewish class A entrepreneur, part trashy gal who liked to hook up with older men. She made a mess of her professional career as the "Hollywood Madame" (please, check out this film and the amazing "Aileen Wournos: The Selling of a Serial Killer" with the ever ego-centric and friendly fun loving, filmmaker Nick Broomfield).

In 1997, when Heidi was arrested for her prostitution ring. She had the hottest bitches in Hollywood or what some might say are... the big names spent big money to roll in the sheets with there choice of lust.

If you were around in 1997...this is no big news for you.

When word came out about her upscale business, she exposed a book of names of celebrities using her services. This was exciting news; enough so, that the famous John's could be seen running down the street holding onto their belt buckles in a tragic act of saving their faces from the National Enquirer.

The Big News:

She's finally tying the not with the king of whorehouses, Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada's Moonlite Bunny Ranch.

How would I have gotten this info being that my life as you all know is stuck in my own head and rests in this first floor apartment in Jersey City. Well, there are certain people who infiltrate this sanctum I call home that I share with famous dog friends, Moishe and Howard.

"Moishe", 2009. Photographed by Jazmin Francis

"Howard", 2009, photographed by Jazmin Francis.

This informer friend of mine would not want to admit it she has some connection to the Bunny Ranch that believe it or not might actually look good on her resume...might even cause a chuckle.

Sad but true...Heidi was living in a trailer stuffed with parrots (not stuffed as in taxidermied parrots).

Simply, in her own words:
Heidi said of the wedding to be,

"I'm proud to say that I'm clean and sober, and I'm finally ready to make a commitment to one man - and that's Dennis. It's going to be my first and only wedding, so it's going to be fabulous."

Frankly, and let's be real about this Dennis is a unattractive pig skinned like man who likes to takes on one bunny at the Ranch as his whore of the moment, until a new piece of ass shows up and he tosses the former one to the side.

And Heidi, well she looked like a cartoon exaggeration of Carly Simon with horse teeth surrounded by tattooed lip liner.

I suppose this is just another Hollywood business arrangement.

Fact, is I was always enthralled with Heidi's business spirit and how she brought down the boys club with her...but, of course, as with all witch hunts...who always takes the real brunt. For her it was was 37 months in prison for tax evasion and without saying pandering. What ever happened to Charlie Sheen and Texas billionaire businessman Robert T. Crow who admitted to using her service. And all the others under speculation.

I also am probably one of 12 or so people on Facebook whom belong to the Heidi Fleiss Fan Club. Why do I love her...

1) She a super hot Jewish girl.
2) She had the balls to take on Hollywood and create a lucrative business.
3) She represents the Elia Kazan character from "Baby Doll" ,a dichotomy and a perverse twist.

The young actress was at once innocent, fragile, naive and yet, a hard hitting powerful woman.

O.k., there are some holes in these facts...I'm not foolish to believe that she has suffered terribly and is not the epitome of emotional stability. And perhaps, I am guilty, just as so many men with the boring fantasy of finding the good/bad girl in the bale of hay. But, something about this Lolita icon still fascinates me. An underhanded "manipulapath" with the face of an angel.

Heidi is ready to open a new brothel outside the Las Vegas limits...and it's full of studs for female customers...The Stud Ranch. Check out her website: Heidi Fleiss.