When I was twenty-two, I graduated to the shittiest economy known to man and was forced to take a job for some crook who was trying to launder money under the pretense of a luxury consulting company. Said crook needed a team of employees to keep up the facade, so he rented an office in Chelsea and hired myself and a few other innocent kids to back the whole thing up.
One day, I was sitting in the office, sending out bogus emails, when a man came in to set up our brand-new (contraband) iMacs. His name was JP, he was the owner of some shady software installation company, and he was fascinating. About 7 feet tall, he was dressed like the most badass b*tch you’ll ever see: leather jacket, layers of black, tattoo sleeved, black nail polish – a real Rick Owens man in soul and spirit. After two hours of watching me crawl on the floor in leggings-as-pants in an effort to “assist” him, he eagerly asked me for my number, which I just as eagerly gave to him.
JP was a dive bar kind of guy but may have been trying to impress me, because, on our first date, he took me to the W Hotel on Union Square. His buddy was a bartender there and mixed us the meanest dirty martinis I had ever tasted, after which I decided that it was a brilliant idea to bring him to a party at my Russian friend’s house. Big mistake, huge. The Russians stared at his long hair and black nails and questioned him in a way that you would interrogate a convict. I was given firm instructions to never bring him around again.
I suppose they weren’t that far off. You see, JP was actually a former heroin addict, whose complex relationship with his deceased father had sent him down a Kerouac-inspired path in his early teens. He had spent a large portion of his youth living under the boardwalk of Venice beach, a needle in his vein, a crack whore by his side. How he had gotten out of this predicament, I do not know. At some point in his late twenties, he had left Venice and returned to New York, reclaimed the small Murray Hill apartment his father had left for him, opened his software firm, and slowly pieced his life back together.
Once an addict, always an addict – but, instead of heroin, I became his vice of choice, and he requested to see me every day. He loved the East Village and we would regularly hang out there, eating ramen by St. Mark’s Place and drinking whiskey shots at Mars Bar on Bowery, which has long since closed down and been replaced by an Intermix or two. At Mars Bar, JP was the Mayor – think Frank of the Alibi in Shameless – and I, his constant companion, became quite popular with the Alphabet City bums. A poet by night, he would do occasional readings right there at the bar, dedicating them to me, his People’s Princess. Ah, his poetry… As you would expect, it was the darkest prose imaginable, the kind of stuff that would make Charles Bukowski sound like a Boy Scout.
The only problem about our budding relationship was that I refused to sleep with him. Having seen Gia a few too many times, I knew about the side effects of heroin abuse and did not want to accidentally get myself into something I couldn’t handle. (See, I had a smidgen of a functioning brain!) Granted, the sexual frustration affected JP’s reasoning and made him believe that he was falling deeply in love with me, a feeling that he channeled by writing poems about his longing for my “bosoms” and my “twat”. As his obsessive manifestations grew, so did my fears, and I slowly started backing away from him, driving him, almost literally, over the edge.
One day, he pulled something that I will forever remember as my near-Vanilla Sky moment. I was still living in Brooklyn and would occasionally take my parents’ car into the city, which I would foolishly allow JP to drive. (I’m a menace on the road.) On that fine evening, we were driving down the FDR with him at the wheel, when he decided to profess his love for me yet again. Without stopping or as much as slowing down the car, JP started frantically questioning my reluctance to be with him, screaming that he needed me to start reciprocating his feelings and reciting excerpts from his poems for good measure. As he was waving his black nails in my face while screaming something about my “unexplored twat”, the car swerved between two lanes and I saw my life flash in front of my eyes as we almost made our way into the East River. We were about to die, and my twat would be to blame.
Terrified, I somehow managed to make him get off on Houston street and maneuvered him in the direction of Mars Bar, where I disposed of him and fled under the pretenses of a headache. I never saw JP again but was reminded of him for months to come, as he continued to compose poems for me and post them on his LiveJournal, which linked directly to his Facebook.
As for me, I realized that I was far less adventurous than I had considered myself to be, purchased a puppy, got a real boyfriend, and lived happily ever after for the next few years.