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Good Girls on Bad Drugs

mark braunstein | Connecticut (New London, Norwich, Willimantic), United States

Organization: www.markbraunstein.org

please see RESOURCES for notes on the captions

Portraits of crack- and heroin-addicted prostitutes of the streets of the three small cities of Connecticut's casino country. In the War on some Drugs, they are our civilian casualties.

These 44 are selected from a portfolio of 144 different women whose lives are ruined by drug addiction and doomed by drug prohibition. So 100 more portraits remain to potentially ruin your day. Society slanders them as crack ho's and heroin ho's and street hookers, so we might nickname this selection UnHappy Hookers.

Note that among these photos of prostitution and addiction is HEATHER BROWN, who robbed 6 banks in 6 days in CT, RI, and MA in Sept 2009. Also among them are RENEE PELLIGRINO, Michelle Comeau, and Hope Becker, all three murdered by johns.

 

Prostitution and addiction. Whores and drugs. Not all prostitutes are addicts, and only some prostitutes become streetwalkers. But all streetwalkers are hooked.

 

It is easy to condemn and demonize these girls, whereas it requires effort to try to understand and humanize them. Once you hear their tragic life stories, you can no longer regard them as criminals or monsters or demons. The demons may or may not lurk in the drugs they use. But demons surely reside in our fears of the drugs we do not use and therefore do not know.

 

As a chronic addict, upon hitting the streets she usually comes with a four- or five-year expiration date stamped on her forehead. Knowing or hoping her days are numbered, she recites her life story as though dictating her last testament. And when she willingly poses for photos, it is as though for her high school yearbook, so we her classmates might commemorate her. At ease in a front passenger seat, her familiar workplace, she stares out boldly and frankly. With few years left to live, she has little left to hide. Makeup poorly conceals blemishes and abscesses, when flash illuminates flesh. Hair and sleeves barely cover pockmarks and track marks, when photography memorializes tragedy.

 

Patrolling the streets of the three small cities of Connecticut’s casino country, they gamble with their lives. Theirs are stories of professional addicts, not of professional prostitutes. As IV drug users, many of them now are dead from hepatitis or OD or AIDS. As sex workers, three were murdered, two of them unsolved, their cold cases unclosed. The funeral procession seems endless, so this chronicle too eludes closure. Most books have conclusions, but some just close. Most lives have endings, but these girls’ lives just end.

 

[See "Resources" for Notes on the Captions]

 

 

NOTES on the CAPTIONS

 

NAMES, especially first names, could very well be aliases, pseudonyms, nicknames, or street names. Yet in most cases, their first names have been either confirmed with or corrected to those by which the State of Connecticut identifies them in its Dept of Public Safety crime logs and its Dept of Corrections inmate listings.

 

ADDICTION is unfortunately the single attribute that most clearly defines their lives. Yet this is largely because their addictions are to drugs against which their country has fought a long losing war. If their drugs were decriminalized and therefore affordable, their lives would be peaceful. Though unstated, most are addicted also to caffeine and all but two to tobacco. Indeed, cigarette smoking is a visible indicator of more addictions, just hidden.

 

AGE, or rather aging, is severely accelerated by life on the streets, of which drug use and sex work are two elements. Most women, not just these women, lie about their ages. But most ages as stated here have been confirmed in crime logs and inmate listings.

 

CHILDREN almost all are in foster care or permanently adopted out. For the few women who have borne no children, that is listed. But if the number is unknown, then nothing is stated. While their number of children may not concern us, it is important to the mothers. Want to make these women cry? Ask them about their children.

 

LOCATION sometimes is identified in the embedded texts, but is omitted from the captions. With four exceptions, all these portraits were shot on the streets of the three small cities clustered around Connecticut’s casino country. A former whaling port, New London hosts the Coast Guard Academy and across the river a Navy Submarine Base. Inland ten miles north of New London is Norwich, and ten miles northwest of Norwich is Willimantic, dubbed “Heroin Town” by The Hartford Courant. Norwich and New London serve as nearby transportation hubs for Connecticut’s two Indian casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

 

YEAR photo’d and age are the only biographical texts both embedded in the photos and repeated in the captions. Otherwise the captions below the photos supplement rather than repeat the texts within the photos.

 

The QUOTES
All texts are the women’s own words, recorded on audiotape. I transcribed the tapes, then edited their stories. I never added any text, but I did do much shuffling and much deleting. “Like, umm, you know what I’m saying?” I also am writing a literary book, of which more than 100 pages are fully completed, consisting of half my introductions in my words and half their stories in their words. But that’s another story.

 

Sex has been bought and sold, bartered and cajoled, throughout history, around the world, and in a multitude of settings. In the 21st century, sex shops have expanded exponentially with the migration of escort listings from the back pages of newspapers to the round-the-clock marketplace of the Internet.

The casino hotels both in and near Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are hedonist hotbeds for Internet escorts whose specialties are quick outcalls, hopping from one hotel room to another. The johns who bed down with them usually are registered in casino hotel rooms. But for couch-potato house calls, the Internet escorts tack on travel surcharges. So locavore johns strike deals closer to home in Norwich and New London and patronize a rainbow coalition of streetwalkers.

Among the parade of street prostitutes, there are no sex slaves trafficked from Albania or Cambodia or Nigeria. The janes on the street are the girls next door enslaved to crack or coke or dope. As street vendors, the janes are adventure capitalists and independent entrepreneurs. They share camaraderie as street sisters rather than as cutthroat competitors. Danger on the streets never lurks in their sisters, but in their customers and the cops.

Carnal commerce is initiated anywhere that a female pedestrian can cast a luring gaze at a passing male motorist. The Look. The janes see themselves as the hunters and their johns as the hunted. No bag limit, no closed season, no closed territory. Favored downtown hunting grounds, however, do exist.

US Route 1 meanders through the hearts of many Eastern Seaboard cities, and sometimes through their groins too. On its southern terminus in Miami, US 1 is a major streetwalker street fair. To the Yankee north, the historic route occasionally serves as carnal carnival in New London too. The janes, some black and most white, some by day and most by night, often work two circuits usually clockwise along intersecting residential and commercial streets that they call “strolls.” Their strolls are routes to bankroll their heroin or coke or crack, as well as their legal but lethal alcohol and nicotine. Advised Tracey, “The point is not to make money, the point is to get high.” In pursuit of their high finance, janes inevitably end up in jail. Eventually, if the streets do not kill them the street drugs do.

While the Internet has siphoned many johns and janes off the streets, the city street still remains a popular meeting place, an open-air meat market whose doors never close. Not even on Christmas Eve, not even on Christmas Day. Most other crimes take place indoors and unseen. But exposed to the public’s eye, streetwalkers become walking targets of the public’s ire. Sought on the crossroads and caught in the crosshairs, street janes take the heat for all their sex-worker sisters.

When the streets host a large workforce of janes, and especially if the janes’ solicitations turn flagrant, irate residents and distraught city officials clamor for a cleanup. But street crime is fluid, like water in a balloon. Apply pressure here, and the balloon bulges there. So when New London cops assume roles as moral street sweepers and clean up Broad Street, janes pivot 90 degrees and march a few blocks to Truman Street. Put the heat on all of downtown New London, and the girls bum rides to travel 14 miles (22.5 km) north to Norwich. And wherever janes go, johns soon follow. Ignoring the laws of cops and courts, janes and johns abide by the law of supply and demand.

When supply surges and demand swells, cops clamp down, presumably to arrest both girls and guys. But johns outnumber janes 100 to one, if not 500 to one. So taking one jane off the streets renders more of an effect. One plainclothes officer in one unmarked car and two uniformed officers in one squad car are sufficient to snag janes, whereas reeling in johns requires more bucks for the busts. That involves dangling one policewoman as bait and positioning several squad cars to cast a distant net around her. So cops lasso the janes one at a time, one day at a time, because they would have to wait to mount more complex sting operations to ensnare the johns.

Feminist theorists might posit gender bias for the cops ignoring the johns while targeting the janes. But female janes pose far less physical threat to cops than do male johns, and public safety officers want to assure their own personal safety. Johns could be carrying weapons or contraband, or they could be undocumented workers or unlicensed drivers. Already behind the wheel, they might ram a cop or cop car while trying to flee the crime scene. Janes, however, are harmless on foot.

Whether online or in newsprint, a look at the police log of The Day, New London’s daily newspaper, will provide ample evidence of only one john collared for every ten or twenty janes corralled.

++++++++

During late spring and all summer, the natives are restless. Due to rising temperatures and stagnating air, apartment dwellers stream onto the sidewalks and streets to catch some breeze. With lengthening days, urban residents stay out later at night. More janes go streetwalking and more johns go cruising, so more local residents start complaining, and more cops go patrolling.

The season was early summer, long awaited by both students and teachers. The day was Friday, eagerly anticipated by both workers and bosses. In New London, large scale stings follow a rich tradition of being staged mostly during summer days and always on Fridays.

Meet Trish, Connecticut Inmate Number 222-571. Trish (Off to See the Wizard of Poz) was the first jane to know a sting was coming.

Trish had dropped out of school and left home at age 16. At 22, still unschooled and homeless, Trish was holed up at a friend’s apartment. Forget rent, Trish could not keep up payments even on a cellphone with measly measured minutes. All her money went to crack. All else she begged, borrowed, or boosted.

Despite a life immersed in petty drug crimes, Trish had retained apple-colored cheeks on her baby face, along with baby fat on her pear-shaped body. Unlike her crackhead street sisters, all who were scary skinny, Trish was pleasantly plump but only because she was obese when she started smoking crack. Crack would be part of her weight loss plan if she had a plan. Her planning spanned only from one day to the next. Or, at most, from Thursday evening to Saturday morning.

On her friend’s phone, Trish got a call from someone whose identity she refused to disclose. Meaning he was a cop. According to janes, who do tend to embellish their stories, many less respectable cops when off duty will patronize some less despicable janes. This New London cop phoned early Thursday evening to warn Trish not to go tricking the next day. In fact he told her not to leave the house at all, advice which Trish intended to heed all the way to Saturday morning.

Trish already had been arrested in two previous stings, each on a Friday.

One fine Friday nine months earlier, Trish was among three janes and 22 johns arrested on prostitution charges, along with five men busted for drugs. Cops first busted the janes to clear the playing field, then planted their own decoy to snare the johns. The newspaper headline read: “Police Arrest 30 in City Prostitution, Drug Stings.” The brief news story ended with: “Police gave no details as to the location or the timing of the operation.”

Another fine Friday three months before that, Trish was among three janes and 25 johns arrested along with 13 druggies. The newspaper headline heralded: “40 Arrested in Sting for Prostitution and Drugs.” This time the authorities did provide the gory details.

The operation required 22 policemen, most working undercover, and one undercover policewoman. It required the coordinated efforts of the police of New London and its two contiguous communities Waterford and Groton, as well as Connecticut state police of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force. The bust was proclaimed a great success, and the lengthy news story concluded: “Just the paperwork will keep police busy for a week and a half.” Busy and off the streets.

Two weeks after that sting, when jane and johns all appeared on the same court docket, Trish knew half of the johns, and she could sniff out the other half. On small-city streets, two social classes coexist side by side, the pedestrians on sidewalks and the motorists on roadways. When johns meet janes, the two social classes intermingle, though only briefly, after which the johns hope to erase faces and names from their memories. So the johns pretended not to recognize Trish and tried not to acknowledge each other, even though they all huddled together on the same hard wooden benches lining the walls of the stuffy lobby of the G.A.10 Courthouse.

Felonious crimes are adjudicated two long blocks away in the Superior Courthouse, the oldest in Connecticut and one of the oldest continuously serving county courthouses in the entire nation. The original Colonial shingled building, completed in 1784, now is a wing of the larger 20th-century white brick structure. Over the latter’s main entrance is emblazoned the logo “State of Connecticut Superior Courthouse.”

Misdemeanors and civil cases, however, are relegated to the G.A.10, over the entrance of which is the single word “Court.” Some sarcastic local folks refer to it as the “inferior courthouse.”

Built in 1891, the inferior courthouse’s Romanesque Revival building originally was an old school that even then looked more like a prison or an armory than a schoolhouse or a courthouse. An old school of the old school, its weathered, red-brick facade is historic and impressive, but its cramped interior is merely old and dilapidated. A physical manifestation of the city’s and state’s perpetual budget shortfalls and inevitable fiscal potholes, the edifice’s neglect is a lusterless example of what administrators call deferred maintenance.

The unsheltered main entrance opens into the lobby which is frigid in winter and torrid in summer. The waiting area in the lobby is made more inhospitable because it serves as a passageway to offices and the stairs and elevator. Use of mobile devices is prohibited and the constant foot traffic is hardly conducive to reading, so the accused sit there in stupefied discomfort and wait. And wait. The judiciary metes out the penalty of waiting to both guilty and innocent alike.

The hook of addiction prevents janes from taking personal days from work in order to wait in court. So Trish planned to stay out late Thursday to turn enough tricks to buy enough crack to last her until Saturday. Trish knew that when a sting is in progress the cops nab all the janes they see, even if they were merely walking down the street and not working the streets.

Big busts make newspaper headlines sometimes even with a portfolio of mug shots. When little else is newsworthy, busts are reported even on the TV news. Such media coverage advances the illusion that the War on Drug Addicts is being won. Busts that net small catches, however, are generally assigned to the crime log. In order to remain unlogged, Trish indeed stayed home on Friday.

Donna did not stay home that Friday, and so nearly became the first casualty of Operation Clean Sweep.

Donna was a friendly faced 31-year-old frizzy blonde with whom any guy would enjoy a roll in the hay but not necessarily if he had to pay. Of course, pay is what some guys did. In addition to her street drugs, Donna supports another habit, which she calls her street gambling. The state calls it the lottery.

Five months hence, Donna would OD and DOA. Ironically, had she been busted during this sting and then gone to jail for six months on a prostitution charge, she might not have overdosed. But on this fine June Friday a little before noon, Donna eluded capture.

Donna was perched on the bench on State Street across from the Mohican Hotel, a once venerable old landmark one block from City Hall and four blocks from the once venerable old inferior courthouse. The same as the courthouse, the hotel had lost its former grandeur, declining into Section 8 publically subsidized housing for the elderly and disabled.

Renamed Mohican Senior Apartments, its one enduring feature is its height. At eleven stories, it rose to stardom upon its completion in 1896 as the tallest building in all of Connecticut. From the terraces encircling its penthouse ballroom, one can peer over most of the port city’s squat edifices to sweeping views of the Long Island Sound.

From the terraces, one can look down upon the johns in their cars driving around and around as though circling a racetrack. Seated upon her State Street bench as though on a bleacher beside that racetrack, Donna was minding her own business, which happened to be soliciting customers by way of casting The Look upon lone male motorists. At night, her mere presence on that bench might signal her intent. By day, those johns who recognized her from her nocturnal vigils would know what she was up to. For all the others, the furtive glance of The Look sufficed. Until the diurnal arrival of a rival.

DONNA speaks:

Twelve years ago, I started doing heroin. Oh god, I got so addicted. I used to do a bundle a day, which is ten bags, just to get out of bed, just to be normal. I’ve never been arrested for possession, never. But all my arrests are due to crimes due to drugs. Everything from breach of peace to robbery, shoplifting, checks. I’ll take your check and write it out to me.

I’ve been streetwalking now for eight years. A long time. Do I like it? No! I’ve been busted for prostitution twice. I was totally stupid, I’d been smoking crack. It was two officers in a car, I got in, I was in the back seat. In court, they threw the case out, it was so flimsy. The second time, I pled guilty and got probation for a year.

This time, they tried and tried to bust me. I was on the bench outside the Mohican Hotel. This guy picked me up. So obvious, you get in the car and the first thing they want to know is, well, how much for a blowjob? They’re too obvious, I tell them this. Then a guy walked by me, I looked at him, and he looked at me, and he stood there. I just sensed undercover, so I let him go.

I can sense it, I just know. Then the undercover streetwalker came and sat next to me on the bench. I’ve never seen her before. She said, “How’s business?” I said, “Excuse me?”

You ain’t out there prostituting with a pocketbook, but she is. I said, “Lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

With the undercover streetwalker, the mike is in the pocketbook, or in the hat. And a lollipop, because that’s their signal. See, she can’t get in the car with you. So when she tells you, “Go over there to my house,” and you drive away, and she starts sucking on that lollipop, that let’s them know that you have propositioned her, and they go and get you. The lollipop is her cue, you see her sucking on that lollipop, you better get out of there.

So I got up, I started to walk down the street, and I noticed the guy still standing there, so I walked by him, and I said, “You know what, you are so stupid. You think I’m stupid?” And he’s just looking at me. Well, a friend of mine drove up. So now, I’m in the middle of the street, and I’m screaming, “I’m going with him. You want to follow me?”

They focus on petty shit. People are getting killed, you got major drug dealers down here, but they’re worried about me, sitting here on a bench, or getting into that car. Come on, guys, is it that important to bust me?

[ end of Donna Speaks ]

Donna escaped being swept away that day. But the third jane who became intimately acquainted with Operation Clean Sweep indeed ended in its dustbin.

Meet Tammy, Connecticut Inmate Number 239-157. At 28 years old, she was a blonde like Donna, but unlike for Donna for Tammy life on the streets had made Tammy look aged and haggard, crusty and mean. She not only looked mean, she was mean.

She was a professed lesbian with a boyish look, who had a man’s traditional haircut in the front and a mullet in the back. She was on the heavy side, but also top heavy, the type of heavy guys like. Were it not for her pear-shaped body, she could be mistaken for a stocky male, for which she may have hated herself, as she was a man-hater who openly expressed her loathing. In her world, all women were janes and angels, and all men were johns and devils. Vagina as halo, penis as pitchfork.

Tammy was seated upon a retaining wall on the edge of a small park. Her belly bulged amid the folds of her woolen plaid shirt and her hands retracted inside her oversize shirtsleeves. She sat in a defensive posture with her body bent forward, like a swimmer preparing to dive from the edge of the pool. With the stare of a thug on a Wanted poster, she scowled at men in passing cars. Who the heck would stop for her? She was a woman with whom most guys would refrain from intimacy, even if she were smiling. Yet someone must have been paying, because like a black widow spider that weaves its web only where insects are lurking, she was out there waiting. Joe (But First a Word from Our Sponsors) who one time did stop for her dispensed some free business advice: “Try to smile, even if it hurts.”

Tammy stopped smiling at age 7 when she suffered her step-uncle’s sexual abuse, which cauterized her emotions. By age 19, she had trodden a predictable path to alcoholism, at 21, to crack addiction. During the past seven years, she failed at thirteen drug rehabs and floundered during three stints in the pen. She lived in Norwich, but used New London as her “running ground.” On that fine and fateful Friday, she happened to be in running mode. She recounted the drama one week later.

TAMMY speaks:

It was around 12 noon. He looked like a regular guy, clean cut, short hair, clean shaven, but with two days growth. He drove a silver Thunderbird, a sporty car. He pulled up ahead of me, in the direction I was walking, so I got right into the car. Usually I am more cautious.

I got picked up on Broad Street. He said he had twenty. I said, No, I need thirty. He didn’t say for what, and neither did I.

I got a weird feeling, and looked in the passenger side mirror, and there were two cars behind us, undercover cars. I said, Pull over, Let me out right now. He pulled over, but it wasn’t to let me out. Then the other cars pulled behind us. They came out, they were in plainclothes. So I got arrested for prostitution, and they had a paddy wagon nearby, drove to the police station.

They booked me for prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia, kept me there till the whole sting was over, eight hours later they let me out at 9 o’clock at night. They released me, without bail, on a promise to appear in court two weeks later. I want to plead in my defense, to say I’m an addict, that I need help rather than prison.

Since the arrest, I try to stay clean. I go a couple of days, then I mess up again. Like right now.

[ end of TAMMY Speaks ]

Next meet Mindy. Just off Broad Street, in broad daylight, she stood in front of that same retaining wall of that same small park. The park was an old cemetery whose gravestones were removed and whose coffins were disinterred, except those whose occupants had perished from smallpox or yellow fever. Their smoldering remains remain. Their souls might still be encircling the park, like an invisible barbed wire fence, its upper ridges facing inward, allowing entry but blocking exit.

The retaining wall had become a hotspot where only a jane would dare to be seen precisely because so many janes were known to sit or stand there. Mindy was new meat on the chopping block. Mindy was maybe 30, stood maybe 5’4’’ (163 cm). Her straight dark shoulder-length hair looked shampoo-clean and conditioner-shiny. Her blue denim dungarees lacked fashionable holes at the knees and showed no wear or stains or soil marks. They appeared straight off the clothing store rack. She wore a neat and clean, baby blue hospital scrubs top, the type worn by the orderly who rolls her comatose patient into the staging area of the operating room.

In small cities, streetwalkers do not dress the part as do their big-city sisters. No stiletto high heel shoes, no black skintight leather pants, no neon red vests, no tigress eyelashes, no lioness eyebrows, no fluorescent pink wigs. Small city janes warn, “If she dresses like a streetwalker, she’s a cop.” Whatever the occasion, a jane rarely dresses for the season or the weather. If it is raining, she wears a fluffy rain-soaked sweatshirt. If it is freezing, she is bareheaded, and lacks gloves, scarf, and sometimes even a coat. If it is snowing, she has holes in her knees and splits in her shoes. She rarely dons clothes that are clean, and if new, they are newly shoplifted.

Mindy’s eyebrows were tweezed but she otherwise lacked makeup, which she hardly needed anyway. Her complexion was clear. She was a plain jane, not a knockout but desirable nonetheless. And she flashed a shy smile, implying no misery, a rare effect in her line of work. Something else she lacked was a cig. Instead, intermittently waving it in the air like a magic wand, she licked a lollipop. The Lollipop Cop!

Meet Officer Mindy R. Sparkman, a five-year veteran of the New London Police Department. Out of uniform and her head bare of her policewoman’s hat, however, few would recognize her. Few johns, anyway.

And not Mr Friendly Man. Around 2:00 p.m., along he drove, minding his own business, which was interviewing street janes with his audio recorder and photographing them with his pocket camera. Years earlier, a diving accident had left him paralyzed below the waist. Incurably heterosexual above the waist but irreversibly neutered below, he was like Odysseus’s crew members deaf to the songs of the Sirens because of beeswax plugging their ears. Mr Man’s wheelchair and crutches were shield and swords, protection and weapon against allegations of sexual misconduct. His pecker as dead as a dildo, he had the perfect alibi for consorting with prostitutes.

Mr Man was driving north, Mindy was facing west. She casually turned her head toward him, then not so casually gave him The Look. He slowed down, passed her, then pulled over. She casually turned and walked toward his car. He rolled down the passenger-side window, casually leaned to his right, and peered out the window. She stood there silently.

At this critical juncture, a john might ask, “Want a ride?” And a jane, saying little or nothing, would hop in. Together they would flee the crime scene and while fleeing, negotiate a plan and a price. The Lollipop Cop, however, veered from the script. She stepped forward and bent down to peer through the passenger-side window, but rather than enter the car, she stood her ground.

Mindy removed the lollipop from her mouth. “Are you stopping for me?” she asked.

Unprepared for her question, Man answered, “Yes. Are you stopping for me?”

“That depends on what you have in mind,” Mindy said, holding the lollipop in front of her.

“I want to talk with you.”

Mindy poked the lollipop through the open window. “That’s all?”

“Yes,” Man said, “but not here, this is a bad place to talk. Would you get in, so we can drive somewhere else?”

“No. We can go to my place. I live right over here.”

Standing on Hempstead Street, Mindy pointed to Borodell Place, named after Ann Borodell, whose husband built a house on Hempstead Street into which the newlyweds settled in 1651. Ann’s Borodell? Or Mindy’s bordello?

“I’d rather just talk, Man said. “I’ll pay you, the same as for what you otherwise might be doing.”

Mindy perked up. “40 dollars?”

“Maybe that much. Only this is a legal transaction.”

“Illegal transaction?!?”

“No. A legal transaction. Paying you just to talk is legal. The same if I were to pay you to shovel the snow off my walk–”

Mindy, disappointed, interrupts. “No. I don’t shovel snow.”

Man, disappointed, explains, “Look, it’s your choice. I just want to hear your story. Simply don’t tell me anything you don’t want me to know. I just want to talk –”

“No. I don’t want to talk.”

“Okay. Bye.”

What a blow to Mr Friendly Man’s ego! Rejected by a street jane! He drove away feeling like a kicked dog slinking away to lick his wounds. He thought she was being either overly cautious or exceedingly modest. But caution and modesty are not traits characteristically exhibited by more seasoned janes. Perhaps she was a shy newcomer to the trade. Then a light bulb flashed inside his head and Friendly Man realized the snow job she had pulled on him. What the.… She was a cop!

A glimmer of understanding had formed in him. The Law had made manifest to him a human face. Until then, Man’s fertile imagination had conjured an undercover cop posing as a jane as looking like an Amazonian dominatrix with whip in hand or maybe some sultry temptress lusting to cavort upon a waterbed. Instead, she was a middle-aged Shirley Temple on the Good Ship Lollipop.

She looked neither like a jane nor a cop, the latter possibly because no female ever looks like a cop. But other signs betrayed her true identity. First, where there is smoke, there is fire. Yet she was not smoking a signature cigarette, the sure outer sign of someone addicted to other drugs in addition to nicotine. Second, she lacked that wasted grunge look of a street addict. Third, she chatted too long and too casually when she should have hopped right away into the getaway car. The dead giveaway was that she never entered the car at all, because a decoy cop never does, else she might be taken hostage during the bust.

When real janes enter real johns’ cars, the friendly first thing they sometimes ask is, “Are you a cop?” Janes believe if a cop lies about not being a cop, that is entrapment, which would be grounds for the judge to dismiss the case in court. Not true. Or janes sometimes propose, “You touch my breast and I’ll touch your cock, and then we’ll both know neither of us is a cop.” Also not true.

Jaded janes ask few questions and offer few proposals but do make one overarching assumption. To a jane, all males look like johns, so even cops can look like johns. No male looks too tall and handsome to be a john. No male looks too clean cut and well dressed to be a john. Or looks too clean shaven or too long bearded. Or too filthy rich or too dirt poor. Or too old and decrepit or too young and innocent. Or too married or too clerical or even too gay. Janes instead silently sniff out an undercover cop, who leaves behind many scents.

Upon passing a jane, a genuine john would turn at the next intersection to circle around the block. But not a cop. A cop will boldly maneuver alongside her even if he must make an ostentatious U-turn. A cop does not care about attracting attention or about being seen picking her up, whereas a genuine john might turn onto a side street where he might more discreetly await her approach.

Once she sits down in his car, a genuine john would be jittery about being seen by cops, may even be suspicious that the stranger in his car is a cop. But not a cop. A cop will appear calm and even relieved that his mission is nearly completed. (Actually, johns should worry that she is not a cop. If you admitted into your car a convicted felon and drug addict who is likely carrying drug works and infectious diseases, you too should be worried.)

A genuine john immediately will haul ass away from the pickup scene. But not a cop. A cop will take his time driving away. He will meander in the general area if his colleagues are waiting nearby or will head straight to a destination of his choice, not hers, because there, too, his buddies are waiting for them. (Just before he pulled into the police staging area, one cop mockingly told his snared jane, “I have some friends of mine I’d like you to meet.”)

That chain necklace the john might be wearing might indicate a cop, because hanging from it but tucked inside his shirt could lurk his police badge or a medallion of St. Michael, the heavenly protector of police officers. To hide his necklace, a cop will button up his shirt, regardless of how hot the weather and steamy the car.

Another clue is the key in the ignition switch. A genuine john would keep his key on a keychain with a host of house keys or office keys. But not a cop. A cop will pair his ignition key with only one trunk key or with a nametag issued at the police station the way an auto rental company issues keys to a customer.

The car’s interior can be a giveaway. A genuine john would own a car that shows signs of real life, maybe empty soda cans or food wrappers on the floor, or the stale odor of cigarette butts in the ashtray, or the lingering scent of his wife’s perfume. But not a cop. A cop will drive a vehicle with the orderly sterility of a company car. (A suspicious jane could press the radio’s memory buttons to verify that the music matches the driver, but if she were that suspicious she would be better off pressing the eject button on her James Bond car seat.)

Lastly, there is the money shot. Sex between two consenting adults is legal, as is their private conversation by which they arrange their assignation. Sex in exchange for money, however, is unlawful, so to effect a bust some payment must be negotiated. A cop can talk sex but not money, or money but not sex. The mere mention of dollars for sex is grounds for arrest. (One time a suspicious jane told the undercover cop she had closed shop for the night and was walking home. He asked her about her friends and how much do they charged. She answered that she thought they charged $20 or $30 for lip service and $50 or $60 for full body massage. Boom! Under arrest.)

As a jane sometimes asks the john, the john sometimes asks the jane, “Are you a cop?” Yet his question is superfluous, because the mere act of her sitting down in his passenger seat provides ample evidence that she is not.

Though Mr Friendly Man never so queried the Lollipop Cop, he was left with other gnawing questions. What school of hard knocks had she attended to learn how to impersonate a jane? Under whose mentoring did she study? Did she have an understudy? How many other police officers did Connecticut’s Eastern District Major Crime Unit train and deploy to investigate 514-A Prostitution & Human Trafficking offenses? How many other cities had Officer Lollipop toured in the line of duty? How many hearts had she broken in one day? When she went home to her family, did she feel the fulfillment of a job well done? What was the good done? Conversely, what was the evil deed she obstructed or prevented? The age-old scenario of boy meets girl, then boy gets girl, then boy dumps girl?

A girl perches on a park’s retaining wall or strolls along its sidewalk. A man drives by. Their eyes meet. The man stops his car. The girl hops in his car. The car drives off. Any onlooker offended by this scenario must have a wildly imaginative dirty mind. Much carnal commerce is consummated in the privacy of bedrooms and hotel rooms, while whatever takes place in the not-so-privacy of cars happens so hastily that most bystanders would hardly suspect any criminal activity had transpired.

Sure, a lone man cruising around and around the same city streets does pollute the air (cough! cough!) and does look suspicious (wink! wink!) and might alarm some residents (help! help!). If, rather than enforce cruise control, society instead were to aid his cruising, the neighborhood might appear safer and its air might become cleaner, especially if the Lollipop Cop additionally ticketed drivers of cars and trucks that clearly exceeded emission standards with their malodorous plumes of toxic exhaust. The sooner that roaming Romeo finds his jane Juliet, the sooner he will stop cruising and return home and park his car in his garage and plop his body in his bed and his head on his pillow and slip into sleep. Good night and sweet dreams!

Mr Friendly Man, however, did not rest so easily. He regretted fleeing the scene and so intended to drive back to shoot her. But first he hurried home to fetch his SLR camera and long telephoto lens, the better to see you with, my dear. Her photo would be a trophy which Man would have to shoot from afar, as not to be accused of interfering with police work. No permission need be sought from the subject, because photographing anyone in a public place is fully legal. No place is more public than the street.

Less than an hour later with long lens SLR at the ready on the passenger seat of his car, Man returned to the park. But the Lollipop Cop had departed. She and her entourage had moved her sentry post closer to the center of downtown, where they continued their moral crusade until dinner time.

Sunday’s headline read: “Operation ‘Clean Sweep’ Produces 29 Arrests by New London Police.” An unlucky 13 were johns, Tammy was the sole jane, and the remaining 15 were arrested on drug charges. Of the thirteen caught with their pants down, seven were local New Londoners while six hailed from out of town. The farthest town was Guilford, an affluent shoreline community between New London and New Haven, known for its quintessential New England town green lined by historic colonial homes and a cutesy white clapboard church.

On Monday, a follow-up headline humiliated and made public the coitus interruptus of the john from Guilford: “Former State Senator Arrested in Sting.” Mr Former Senator, age 66, had served two terms in the elite 36-member Connecticut State Senate. He may have cultivated his sexual proclivities during his senatorial years in Hartford, where the State Capitol and adjacent Legislative Office Building are just three blocks from the fringes of a streetwalker stroll. At home in Guilford, he also had served on the Board of Selectmen (the city council) and the Board of Police Commissioners. At the time of his arrest, among the current members of the Board of Selectmen was his dearly beloved wife.

In colonial times, Mr Senator would have been pilloried in the center of the town’s green. Surely his reputation among Guilford’s gentry was besmirched. His wife, if she did not file for divorce, probably exiled him to sleep on the living room couch or, more fittingly, in the backseat of his car. The temptress Lollipop Cop may not altogether have ruined his life, but surely, she disrupted it and ruined his nights.

By Tuesday, in New London life returned to normal for those for whom plying and prowling for sex on the streets is normal.

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