I've always been a whore. My father respected and encouraged that.
My father... As tough as that man was, I could get straight to that man's heart, and his wallet, by mentioning that I had the possibility of getting laid. It worked every fucking time. Pussy was my personal four leaf clover. Okay, I'm lying, but I'd like to pretend it was. Fuck off, they're my memories.
I remember when my father and I had the sex talk. It was pretty damn funny. I was about thirteen or so and he sidled on up to me.
"Steven," he said, "We need to talk."
My father looked embarrassed; horribly so. Good.
"Sure, Pop. What's up?"
"We need to talk about sex, son," my father said. There was quite a bit of uncertainty in his voice.
"Sure, Pop. What did you need to know?"
My father's face grew red and drifted into purple. I didn't know if he was embarrassed, pissed off, or what, but he just spluttered something and stalked off in a huff. Ah, good times.
Me: "Dad, can I have $20?"
Back in those days, $20 could get you places.
My Father: "No. You work, use your own money. I'm not giving you $15. I'm not giving you $10. What the hell do you need $5 for?"
Like it was a fucking negotiation or something. How much was the vig going to be?
Me: "I'm broke and I have a date. I might get laid."
My Father (reaching into his wallet): "Don't use words like that. Here you go, Is $20 going to be enough? Don't tell your mother."
I approached my father and I told him of the typo and my scheme. He refused to be a part of it. What the hell? My father was into all kinds of shady shit, why not this? I tried and I tried, I fast talked as much as I could; I was literally tap dancing, but still my father stood firm, so I pulled out the big guns.
"Dad," I said, "You just don't understand."
"I understand plenty," my father said, "I said no and that's final. Don't make me tell you no again, or you'll regret it."
Fuck that. I wasn't about to give up, this was totally worth a beating.
"Dad," I pleaded and then I dropped the magic words, "This could get me laid."
"Your mother will kill me."
I was winning. I knew it and he knew it. I pressed home my attack.
"She doesn't need to know," I told him. "I'll never say a word. Seriously, Dad, I could totally get laid."
When the collapse came, it happened all at once.
"Alright," he said, "We'll go to the DMV on Saturday morning. Don't tell your mother. She's going to kill me."
I couldn't believe it, I had won.
I got my permit and then I got a motorcycle. It got me laid. Oh, did it ever.
I just wanted you to understand how my father was when it came to me and girls. We're going to go back to Atlantic City, now.
It was the Summer of 1980 and I was almost fifteen years old. I thought that I was hot shit with my license that made me a year older than I was and it set the stage for a whole new world of trouble. Trouble of the best kind.
I worked a lot in the summertime, usually having two jobs and I also dabbled in a few other things to help supplement my income. I had a close relative that moved a lot of drugs and I would purchase weed and Quaaludes from that relative and then sell the weed to my friends and the ludes would make their way to other friends, or I would sell them for top dollar at the local discos. Nobody really cared about your age back then when it came to getting into bars. If you had money to spend, you were in.
My friend Sue had a sister named Kathy, who was a few years older than I and lived in the same building that we did. Kathy was also one of my biggest customers. Her parents would let her stay in their condo all summer long and would only show up on the weekends, when they would drive down from Cherry Hill, a suburban enclave in New Jersey, but was more of a suburb of Philadelphia. I went down to the beach and I approached Kathy and explained what I needed to do and I asked her if I could use her apartment for a few minutes, telling her that I'd make it worth her while. As luck would have it, my parents were also at the beach and they took notice of the two of us leaving together. I looked over at my parents and waved to them. They didn't wave back. Instead, they looked at me suspiciously. Somehow, they always knew when I was up to something, not that they were the most trusting of souls to begin with.
Kathy and I went back to our building and she brought me up to her apartment. Once inside, I pulled the bag of ludes out of my pocket and I dumped them on a small table by the door. Those fucking things were rolling all over the place. We started counting everything up, to make sure that the amount that I had was accurate. When we were finished, we would divide them up into piles of ten and wrap them in aluminum foil; they looked just like a roll of Lifesavers when we did that. It was so cute.
We both looked up, startled. We hadn't been expecting anyone. I looked at her and she looked at me. Who the fuck could it be? Whomever it was, it couldn't be good, we had three hundred fucking Quaaludes on the table and they were in full view of the door. Fuck, fuck, fuck...
The pounding on the door continued.
Kathy's voice was cracking with fear as she asked me what we should do.
I whispered back to her, "Stop freaking out. Calm down and ask who it is."
Kathy gulped, took a deep breath and sounded a lot like a big ol' hoot owl when she asked, "Who-who is it?"
"It's Tony. Is Steven in there? Tell him to get his ass out here, right now!" yelled the voice at the door.
It was my father. Fuck. Shit. Fuckshit. What the hell was he doing here? Shit. I was well and truly fucked. Maybe he'd understand that I was just trying to make some extra money. Maybe he wouldn't actually kill, me either, but I knew that I was just bullshitting myself. My father wasn't going to understand shit and I was a fucking dead man. Hell, even I understood that much.
If I thought Kathy had been panicking before, she seemed about to piss herself at that very moment and I don't think that I was too far behind her. This shit was getting out of control. I had to think of something.
Like a lightbulb that sizzles and pops, I had an epiphany and I knew what I had to do.
I looked at Kathy and I said, "Don't worry, I've got this. I've got a plan."
You'd think that would have calmed her down, but noooo... Why do people always get nervous when I say that I have a plan? They always work. Mostly. Sometimes. On occasion, maybe. Fuck you.
I got up and started walking towards the door, unbuttoning and unzipping my pants as I went. I pulled my shirt out of my jeans and then I messed up my hair. I unlocked the door and cracked it open enough for my father to see me as I was pulling my jeans back up and started zipping them. I could tell from the look on my father's face that he thought that he had interrupted something and that I was getting dressed. My father's face turned cherry red. It was working, I was going to get away with this. For once, one of my fucking ideas was actually working. I felt giddy with joy.
"What's up, Pop?" I asked him. "Need something?"
My father was speechless for a moment and then he started spluttering.
"I just wanted to know where you were," he said. "When you're finished here, come and find me. I need to talk to you about something."
He was trying to save face. My gambit had totally worked and I was going to live to see another day. The relief that I felt was palpable. This... This right here... This is why I'm a fucking evil genius and you're not.
"Sure thing, Pop," I said as I closed the door in his face and locked it. I turned around and started laughing my ass off.
Kathy looked at me as if I'd gone mad. I told her what I'd done and she started laughing too. Insanity, like laughter, is contagious.
"I can't believe he fell for it," I told her. "He really thought we were having sex."
Kathy looked at me a little funny and she said, "What would be so hard to believe about that?"
It was a while before I went looking for my father.
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