Purgatory used to be her name, when she was a bad-ass private party stripper in San Francisco. Now she’s sweet and stupid and has another name, but let’s call her Jessie.
She stutters when she talks, and every fifth phrase is, “I don’t know.” As in “there was this g-guy, and I d-don’t know, I think he might l-like me or s-something, c-cause h-he wrote t-this p-poem about my e-eyes, and I d-don’t know, c-cause I l-love my b-boyfriend.” It’s painful to listen to.
The stripper intelligence network turned up the gossip that when she first started at the club she used to wear a tool belt on stage and take out real tools and insert them in her vagina. This is so against the laws and norms most places, but I’m sure it’s common at San Francisco private parties.
She used to be in the military. She told me that she escaped by telling her supervisor that she knew he had killed all her colleagues that had been transferred to other military bases. Not only that, she told him, but she was prepared to go to the media if he killed one more of her fellow military people. It only took two weeks for them to discharge her, and she’s been happily stripping ever since.
I’d heard rumors that she actually talked without stuttering and was pretty smart when she wasn’t at work, but I didn’t know until I ran into her in the grocery store one time. She talked, and acted, totally normal and intelligent.
A few of my continental migrations later, I was at the club the night that somebody beat her boyfriend up. Gave him two black eyes, in fact. She was in a rage, and she wasn’t stuttering.
“I want you to know this town loves me. This town has my fucking back, so don’t you fucking worry. I’ll fuck that motherfucker up. I know how to handle myself, I learned how to fucking kill people with my bare hands in the military, and I couldn’t get in trouble in this town if I tried. So don’t you fucking worry about it, I’ll handle it,” she told her boyfriend on the phone.
Later I overheard her talking to her regular. “Y-you m-mean the earth is g-going around the s-sun? I t-thought the s-s-sun w-went around t-the earth?” She stared up at him with big, adoring, stupid eyes. “Y-you must be s-s-so s-smart.”