198411
DIARY OF A MARKED WOMAN
NOVEMBER 1984


            It was in November of 84. I had met Pete in late summer at a now defunct bar that had live music and no cover charge, on the East side of Amsterdam Avenue around 92nd Street, named Burgundy. The place was packed when we met and we shared a table. Since I could not afford cocaine but wanted it, it let Pete know that I "did" coke. He said that he was into heroin. I should have known that he was a trafficker, not a consumer, since he was dressed in an elegant pearl grey suit and his voluminous white hair was elegantly coiffed. We met two or three more times at the bar. I wondered what he wanted from me because he made no sexual advances. This made me anxious, not to know what he wanted from me so one night, after leaving Burgundy I asked him to come with me to the apartment (on 95th street between CPW and Columbus) and I came on sexually to him and we had sex in the bathroom. But still, he was not showing any sign of affection after that, but he kept asking me to see him again, and I still hoped that he would give me some coke.


            We met one night. In the street he hailed a cab and told the cabbie to go to Riverside Drive, and once we were there, to take the Hudson River Highway uptown. I asked where we were going but Pete did not answer. We kept going north, north, north for about twenty minutes. If I had known that we would go so far uptown, I would never have gone into the taxi. After we got out, I asked Pete why he had not told me where we were going from the start and he said that if he had told the cabbie, he wouldn't have wanted to go.


            We entered a building and stopped in front of a door. Pete rang and a tall light-skinned black man opened the door with a smile. Pete told me that the man spoke French, that he was half-Haitian and the young man told me "Bonjour, comment allez-vous?"


            The living-room was dark except for a small spotlight but the kitchen was lit and everybody was there, about five other people. They were smoking free-base. The pipe passed around and I declined. About two or three more passes and I had a toke just to show that I wasn't prissy. Someone was seated to my right, and Pete was standing near the door, to the right of that person. Pete was silent most of the time. The hours passed. A man was doing most of the talking. He was the dark handsome stranger and sounded very intelligent but his philosophy of life was bleak. He was the one who owned the free-base and prepared the pipes, and the one who smoke most of it too, asserting that he was deliberately self-destructing because he didn't have any reason to live.


            Much later, maybe around 3 a.m., Pete leaned toward me and asked me to follow him in a low voice. I followed hm eagerly, thnking he had a treat just for me. He took me to the living room and asked me to sit down on the couch and to relax. He produced a tinfoil packet, made two really big lines and handed them to me with a straw. I snorted up eagerly and waited for the effect...

A few minutes passed and I still didn't feel the bitterness of coke in the back of my throat and Pete was telling me to relax, to sit back and to relax, hardly what one expects after vacuuming two big lines of coke. When I started to itch I was certain that what I had snorted was not coke but heroin. And then Pete said "Come on, let's go." I pretended not to hear. I was very angry. I started to accuse him of giving me that shit. I said that I hated heroin and everything associated with it. I fought the languor that was taking hold of me. I saw that he was surprised and uncomfortable and it gave me the idea to exaggerate. I started to yell that I hated that shit, hated it, hated it, and I yelled and stomped my feet on the floor while everybody was watching in silence with wide eyes. Pete tried to reassert himself. "That's enough, let's get out of here, NOW!" I started to insult him at the same time I understood that he was serious about going out. Why did he want to leave just now? Didn't he know the effect of heroin? I knew he couldn't have any good intentions toward me if he wanted us to go out into the cold night of November minutes after sneaking on me a giant dose of heroin. I remembered that he had told me that he always carried a "piece". I had even laughed at the word I had never heard before. I was afraid and I yelled even more. After about ten minutes of this I saw Pete slip out the door facing me, a look of fear and astonishment on his face.


            After he left I asked the young man if he didn't mind to let me sleep here and he said ok. In fact he wanted to have sex with me. I didn't care. Now that Pete had left, I felt safe and I abandoned myself to the narcotic's effect. I might as well relax and enjoy it. We had sex with me on top and I scratched myself with my free hands.


            After getting up sometime in the afternoon, I don't know why but I didn't go home right away. Maybe it was the woman who asked and we took a walk in the neighborhood. Maybe she wanted to know what I thought about what had happened, if I had figured it out. She didn't broach the subject and I didn't either while we toured the decrepit neighborhood with all these vacant lots, then we returned to the apartment. I felt good to have some company. I felt gratitude toward the young man who had protected me, not even considering that he was a participant in the scheme. I hadn't figured out any scheme. When I got to the subway station, I realized that I was in the Bronx.


 

The day after I was on Amsterdam Avenue around 95th Street making a phone call and after I hung up, who was there in front of me? The young man. I was surprised to see him because he lived so far up north. He was all smiles and said that he had some business around here. We talked for a few minutes about the weather and I was friendly with him. We had made love the day before and he was tall and good looking, then we went our separate ways.


            At the time I lived at 65 West 95th Street, sharing an apartment with Floyd Peterson and Lizzie. Lizzie held the lease from her family. Floyd rented two nice rooms, one for his bedroom the other for his office. I rented one room of this large apartment. Floyd had gotten me this place and I liked to talk to him, maybe because his office was sunny and his armchair comfortable, but certainly also because I was looking to make friends. But Floyd was always chasing dubious dreams of get-rich plans. He had an irrational hatred for the Village Voice and for Jane Fonda. I mean, even if you don't like either, it hardly explains the visceral vituperating he reserved only for these two subjects. He seemed to know a lot of people but I wondered how seriously they took him, considering that he was drunk most of the time. He made some money writing trailers for splatter movies which he read to me with lifelike (or should it be "deathlike") intensity, and it's from him that I learned the words "gruesome" and "gory". With all the conversations we had, even though I was mostly a listener, and considering that he had gotten me the room, I assumed that he liked me.


            Shortly after the heroin episode in the Bronx, I was at home and wanted to talk to Floyd about something. I saw his office room open and I went in and called him. His bedroom door was open and he was standing there, his back turned to me, and I heard a splashing sound. Floyd was pissing on his bedroom floor. I retreated in haste but it was too late because I had already called him. Shortly thereafter he told me that I had to move out at the end of the week and I went to live with Joe Morrisson who had come on to me although I didn't particularly like him.


            Forever after, I had always assumed that Floyd had asked me to move out because I had witnessed him pissing on the floor of his bedroom and he was too embarrassed to face me. But ten years later, after I had realized that the bus incident had really been an attempted murder, I called the FBI and a guy asked me if this was the first time an attempt was made against my life, and automatically the heroin episode in the Bronx came to me.


            After my conversation with Alex (1997012) where he told me that even though his girlfriend was an addict who took advantage of him etc. but he couldn't bring himself to throw her out, and I told Alex that I had been kicked out without notice and "it hadn't killed me", I realized how insensitive Floyd had been to ask me to move out at the end of the week, and I understood that Floyd had not evicted me because I had seen him piss on the floor but because he had done his job, which was to keep me under his roof while the Bronx thing was set up, and only until then.


So it was a close thing that I survived my 32nd birthday!




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