Leslie Bull: poet, performance artist, filmmaker

About Tricks

by Leslie Bull

I have written extensively about the question of tricks and whether I ever "liked" them. For example, I got married to a trick who continued to work and give me money throughout our five-year relationship, and who I accepted as family, and loved romantically. On the other hand, I have robbed tricks so coldly I guarantee you they still have nightmares about me.

Issues of tricks and hookers, clients and sex workers, pimps and hos, and husbands and wives, are, like everything else, also issues of class, race, gender, sexuality, culture, etc.

When I speak about "getting over" on a trick, I speak from the street. When I say trick, ho, whitegirl, pimp daddy, coca. mota. roca, tossed up, skeezer, jacked, and five-o, I'm talking about needing to be in control, about needing to make boundaries somewhere between the attempted rape, the shooting gallery, and the jail cell. I ain't got time to "like" a trick, and if I did, that mofo would probably try to get over on me. As a street ho I take enough shit without trying to "understand" a trick.

Alienation is inevitable when someone has his boot on your throat.

That said.

In my world there are many kinds of tricks. There are working class regulars, the kind that pull over quick as soon as they see me cuz they know I'm gonna treat 'em right. The ones driving an older Chevy work truck or family sedan. They are plumbers, construction workers, and corner store clerks, work second or third shift down at the factory, flip burgers at the jack in the crack. They pay me decent and know the routine. Don't try to waste my time and I'll do that extra little thing you like, make my eyes big and whimper just enough to let you know it hurts me, but I like it. I have no beef with these tricks. Fee for service. Like I've said a million times, I can't stand head, but I'll do it all day long. Deep throat 'til your dick kisses my tummy, my gag reflex a distant memory of my swallow.

Next are the rich tricks for whom I have only the greatest disdain. Assholes to the one, a rich trick is, by the rules of the street, my enemy. Even when he is "nice" to me (which at most adds up to condescending-ness) I despise him. He is demanding and sure of himself, used to running things, and grossly unaware of his own state of privilege. He simultaneously looks down on me and desperately craves my degradation through his own. He is the one most likely to hold my head down during a blowjob, refuse to use a condom, try to be cheap. He is also the one most likely to receive my wrath, and I must say, I enjoyed it.

Like that asshole from Half Moon Bay, one in a long string of rich assholes who wanted to "save" me; i.e., hole me up in their house for free sex and gee, I might get to clean the toilet too. Show me a little civilization. A big screen TV and a hot tub, just think about what we could get up to in there. (What? after I drown you?)

White dude. He picked me up on the junkie stroll in a late model white Thunderbird. I had a pocketful of dope and tracks up to my ass, and he started harping about how he can't stand junkies, can't abide by needles and those street girls just throwing away their lives. For some reason I look clean? (I doubt it). He asks me if I use and I push my sleeves up half an inch, "Na, baby, not me," jaws clicking, eyes rolling, I can't sit still.

He wants to help me get off the street.

"Okay" I say, with my eye on his fat pinkie ring and bulging pockets.

I tell him I need to be paid for my time and that we should really wait to have sex if we are going to "be together."

"Let's go to my house," he suggests, and on the way out of the city I gotta listen while he goes off about those junkie girls down on Capp and how that could never happen to his precious daughter, away at college.

"You're too pretty to be on the street," he tells me with his hand on my knee, "I'll take care of you."

"Sure thing Daddy-o," I grin, lips tight against my teeth, hands fidgety. Fuck, I need a hit.

Finally, we get to his big, fancy house out in Half Moon Bay.

"So how do I know you're really going to take care of me daddy?" The little girl's voice asks coyly. "If you really cared you would show me by loving me for me, not just for sex." And I shove my fists down in the pockets of my teensy, eensy blue jean shorts, while using my arms to squeeze my tits up through the scooped out neck of my blouse (tight, and long sleeved--you know why). Swaying back and forth, twisting my toe on the ground, my eyes are big--just on the brink of...Trust? Fear? Lust?

"I really need a bath," I announce just as he's ready to pounce, and traipse off to the bathroom talking about how I'm a very insecure person, "I need to trust you daddy," and shut the door in his face. Turn the lock. Open the vanity drawer across the door. Reach into my bra and pull out two brand new outfits, part of the proceeds from a righteous date I had just before Mr. Rich and Famous came along.

I pop a yellow balloon out of my front pocket and look around for a cooker. Twisting the lid off a bottle of witch hazel I set it on the counter, break the balloon, and pull out the plastic packet inside (a dime bag). I pour in approximately one third of the package contents (good quality powder cocaine) to use as a tester hit, and turn on the sink. Next I insert the needle, hole up, into the stream, draw fifteen c.c.s of water, and shoot it into the lid with the powder, using the plunger to stir the mixture until it is dissolved (nice and clear, a good sign).

Bowels drawn up in anticipation I look in the mirror. My eyes look like they belong to someone else, someone far, far away. My teeth are clenched, blond hair damp and stringy with sweat, and my skin, always so white, is extra pale.

I glance around until I locate a box of q-tips and peel off a cotton, roll it into a tight bb-sized ball, and drop it into the fragrant, ethery mixture in the witch hazel lid. I press the needle against the cotton (hole down) and draw the coca water up into the outfit. Next I invert the needle, flick the side with thumb and forefinger to bring the air bubbles to the top, and depress the plunger just enough to force them out, squeezing one precious drop of dope out the point just to be sure (you do not want to shoot air into your veins--it can kill you).

Yes! Time to get off. My excitement begins to peak and my mouth fills with saliva. I can taste the dope before I even bang it.

"Are you okay in there?"


"Ya. I'm okay daddy. I have to go poopy before my bath," the little girl says in her sweetest little girl voice, while I flush the toilet and start the tub running. He goes away. I open and close my fist, pumping up my arm and squeezing it against my armpit in that way I do when I don't tie off. Tying off is okay but it doesn't always work so great for me. Tends to twist my already deep and rolly veins. I jab the needle into the crook of my left arm, into that place that still has a gumball-sized pit left in it to this day, that place where the vein runs so deep I have to jab the needle almost straight down to hit it, but when I do the blood is dark and true, and I don't have to worry about it poking through. I get it on the first try. Beautiful. The day (is it evening now?) isn't turning out half bad, sitting up here in this posh bath with the gold tone faucets and wrap-around mirrors, breathless from the rush, the pleasure permeating everything, even my paranoia and disgust.

"What are you doing in there?"

Oh my god, why can't you go away.

"I'm not feeling well daddy, I need to be alone."

I strip off my clothes and sit in the tub, adding hot water and shooting dope for several hours. Finally, after my dope runs out, I emerge from the bathroom, damp and still rushing, and let the trick feel me up for a minute while I play his little girl he saved from the street. I pout and act sexy, insist I can't "trust" him to "save" me if we have sex. I ask him for money and he gives me fifty bucks (fifty bucks and this guy is loaded!)

I tell him I am tired and that we should sleep in separate rooms so I can "build my trust". He reluctantly agrees, taking me to his daughter's bedroom and telling me to sleep there. I shut the door and lie down on her narrow, junior-sized bed topped by a white lace coverlet and guarded by a fuzzy pink teddy bear. My nerves are gone. My comedown on me with a vengeance, every cell in my body screaming for more cocaine. I grind my teeth together, waiting in the dark for the trick to be asleep. It is amazing really, the way I can lie there silently while every cell in my body screams. I marvel at my own self-control.

Finally, I get up and creep around, listen by his open door, hear his faint snore, just a whistle really, see the rise and fall of his paunch under the covers. He is a big man, but not tall, muscular and balding, all hairy arms, round belly, and reddish complexion. I enter his room and get in his drawers, find a dress watch and some diamond cufflinks. I lift his wallet and keys from the nightstand, catching my breath as the keys jingle and scrape. He stirs. Shit. I hold my breath until he settles, waves of controlled panic using up all the space in my chest.

The house is quiet. The rooms spacious and thickly carpeted. I steal into the living room and pocket some old coins displayed in frames on a hutch (they turned out to be worth something, even if I did get only a fraction of it when I fenced 'em to the Greeks up in the Tenderloin).

I put on my shoes and turned to leave, but before coasting silently down his driveway and hitting the road in his Thunderbird, I turned and walked back to his daughter's bedroom, where I slipped the two used outfits, stuck with blood, points dulled and bent, out of my bra, pressed the safety caps down tight, and placed them softly under the mattress of her bed.

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