Tag Archives: U Street

Neither Stick Nor Stones (She Mumbled)

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Styx Haunts The Dollhouse
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Originally published on August 16, 1996

Well folks, it's official. Styx has left the building. After spending four of five nights away from the Dollhouse in her search for fun & frenzy around the U Street corridor, spending nearly every dime of the $200 plus she bussed in with, Styx wandered up on Wednesday afternoon an hour past her declared work time of noon. I told her she was fired, having been very clear that if I was going to make work for her in order to help her make Dollhouse rent I wanted her to take it as serious as any outside job: honesty, dedication, and consistency the foundation of that relationship. And since she now had no visible means of support, I thought she should leave for those greener pastures she had taken up in recent days.

Tom Howell and his pals had as much adopted her, and I wanted her to go, so I worked up the stones to insist she leave. She was too quiet, acted like a prisoner, an ugly step-child, a peril to herself and to us, too antsy to get out of the house night after night. Obviously she was not comfortable here. And the feeling was mutual. Tim had wearied of her ghostlike emphemera, hardly a word spoken, and then only a whisper we invariably had to ask she repeat. We thrive on explicit boltwrenching chat around here. She thrived on escape. She just wasn't working out. All my speeches intended to enlighten and provoke exchange mattered nothing to her. She just wanted to flutter beyond like gutter garbage in the wind in some unspecific marking of time.

Despite yesterday’s hangover slump after crucifying an entire bottle of vodka the day before to ease the anxiety of having to turn my back on somebody, even somebody I probably loathed, I was notably relieved that she was gone. No deep & disturbing psychodrama, merely thirteen hours of photograph labels had passed between us. Other than $125 dropped on a twin mattress for her, which I am sure we can parlay into a proper use once we can afford to remodel the basement, I feel she owes us nothing, and I nothing to her. A closed chapter in all our lives.
When I awoke Tuesday morning and Tim said she had not come in again that night I figured she would stroll in late, and asked Sue to take the Metro leaving me the car to move her across town. And so I did. I fed her some Ethiopian along the way, and that was that. No anger, no final speeches. Just the shared feeling that this was the most natural thing to do considering the anxiety we both endured while she was here. Although she said she was prepared to complete her day's work that afternoon, she admitted she was happy to try her luck on the street.

She had spent last night at Ted's. An odd but warm fellow, a heavy-set bearded lost & found street saxophonist, Ted kept a place over on the notorious in one of the Paul Lutauf Belmont Street buildings—a barren dump as you can imagine, having lived over on that same stretch of Belmont-In-Squalor yourself a decade of woeful memories ago, eh Jennifer, but certainly more the Styx style than the ordered clichés of the mid-life middle class Dollhouse manor. We made no vows to keep in touch, for as I said, very little was directly exchanged, particularly on the topics of the immediate past and the oh so immediate future, and what little was said I drew out with a direct questioning, the sole standard form of communication we seemed fated to share until she would leave I presumed.

Despite yesterday's hangover slump after crucifying an entire bottle of vodka the day before to ease the anxiety of having to turn my back on somebody, even somebody I probably loathed, I was notably relieved that she was gone. No deep & disturbing psychodrama, merely thirteen hours of photograph labels had passed between us. Other than $125 dropped on a twin mattress for her, which I am sure we can parlay into a proper use once we can afford to remodel the basement, I feel she owes us nothing, and I nothing to her. A closed chapter in all our lives.

Strange how I once thought she & Tim might hit it off, when instead it was Howellnyms & his Braeniac crowd who took immediate advantage of this wandering waif.

She was quite efficient in those thirteen hours at the Mac. I used a microrecorder early in the mornings before she was stirring to identify the appropriate people, place, and dates of each photo. She then transcribed them, printed to label sheets, and then applied to pictures each label at an astonishing rate. I was quite pleased with her work, but I knew she wanted to maraud the cityscape instead despite her acquiescent nods when I plied her with questions concerning her comfort & intentions amongst the Dollhouse regulars. I might have let Rob Williams down, but it no longer mattered. He'd passed her along to me. I passed her along to Tom and Russell Braen—no doubt to their prudent chagrin—but at least she wanted to be over there with Russell's Myhouse crew, closer to the urban street action than she was with us. I heard somebody say Patrick Tracy, our looming Irish writer, won a Madam's Organ backroom blowjob out of it, her idea, his treat. Enough said.

GT