“Most people tend to think the best of those who are blessed with beauty; we have difficulty imagining that physical perfection can conceal twisted emotions or a damaged mind.” ― Dean Koontz
The first time I met Ashley I knew she was “damaged”. She was emotionally abandoned; willfully reckless but somehow still managing to effectively cling to an air of untouched innocence. As her wide amber eyes first peered at me through the soft tendrils of her auburn hair, I could see that she was deliberately trying to seem detached from the world around her and unaffected by the reality of her tragic circumstance. It was a survival mechanism and I knew that look all too well because I mirrored her gaze. I could see she was wounded and hurting but being in a similar situation I was in no way able to provide her any solace. Her home life was unsatisfactory to say the least… an abusive father, both mentally and physically/sexually.
Ashley looked as though she was simply dropped into this seemingly alien and unfamiliar setting, totally unaware of why or how she had gotten there. She stood out and was very “developed” for her age to say the least. At only 14 she could easily pass for an adult woman. As you can imagine, her appearance alone put her at the center of many scandalous rumors. These colorful tales echoed the halls of our high school like a pack of wild dogs sent out to hunt for the invulnerable pretty girl. Prior to our even meeting I had already heard many of these stories. At first I believed most of them to be nothing more than mere exaggerated gossip and I never really paid much attention. I had my own drama to deal with at that time. I was at the center of my own witch hunt, having recently been outed as bisexual, it was also open season on the faggot.
One of her more outlandish stories stood out to me in particular though. There was an incident that apparently took place at our county fair on the “Gravitron“. Allegedly she entered the center control booth while the ride was in operation and proceeded to have oral sex with the conductor. This in turn resulted in his termination. I can’t confirm the validity of that particular tale but I do have a first person account of my own wherein I was a main supporting character in a scenario just as fantastical.
Our high school would have dances called lock-ins where students that attended would be ” locked in” over night. At that time Ashley and I had started hanging out a bit by way of mutual friends. We were feeling a bit adventurous and bored to say the least, so we plotted to break out around midnight and run around the town and see what trouble we could get into.
About a mile down the road from the school was the local “Lions Club“, and as luck would have it, the lights were on that night. That meant that there was some type of private event going on and we decided to crash it not knowing what we were getting into. The Lions Club in our town was a dated building with drab knotty-pine wood paneling, harsh florescent lights, and industrial supply furnishings like any generic banquet hall. This was the type of place where red-blooded, blue-collar, white men would go to unwind, get drunk, or have some sort of secret society meetings wherein they would sacrifice a small animal in the name of some satanic deity or something… You know, a lodge type atmosphere where men could get away from their wives for the weekend when there wasn’t a bake sale going on.
Ashley was definitely the driving force in this case as she persuaded me to go along with her and be so brave as to check out what was going on. She had apparently been there before and had no reservations about inviting herself in again. We walked into a room where there were about 12 men, seemingly winding down after a night of partying, drinking, and who knows what. They must have been as bored as we were because they were actually surprisingly welcoming. One of the guys explained to us that they were all police officers having a bachelor party for one of their fellow officers (the gentleman currently intoxicated and passed out in a chair in the middle of the room.) They proceeded to offer us alcohol and explained that they had a stripper that was a no-show, so the party was kind of uneventful, and more or less a bust.
This is when things started to get weird… So after explaining the situation with the stripper one of the officers said, “you know what would be funny? If we flipped all the lights on and woke up John, told him that the stripper actually showed up, and you (Ashley) could just pretend to dance around a little bit.” At that time I was still in shock that these cops thought we were adults, or could care less that we were children… I thought Ashley would be so nervous but without skipping a beat she said, “sure, why not.” And that’s how it all started. From there it progressed further and further. They referred to me as though I was her “handler” or something, negotiating terms and money like I had any idea what the hell I was doing. But before I knew it I was striking a deal and Ashley was topless giving this police officer a lap dance while hand feeding him a hot dog. It was a very surreal experience to say the least.
It was scary to me how calm and how much of a pro Ashley was. What was even more scary was how easily I followed suit. I had never been in a situation like this before in my life. But there I was playing the part of the manager, handling the money, overseeing my girl. Looking back now, obviously I can see the true scope of the situation and how wrong on the cops part, and how fucked up the whole thing was in general… But in that moment, as a 15 year old child, I had never felt more exhilarated and alive. I was someone else. It was as though I was playing a leading role in some sort of film involving debauchery, underage prostitution, and corrupt law enforcement. This was definitely a night that I would never forget and a story that our friends never believed.
I was subject to many questionable things in my teen years. I almost searched them out or they would just naturally find me rather. I was in a five year relationship with a 28 year old man when I was just 16. My mother knew and didn’t care. It was an escape from my home life; a way out, and I think she knew that. If I would have lived at home for even one more year I would have definitely killed myself. In that time of my life it was either chase the next thrill or die trying. Literally. I really didn’t care what happened. I didn’t and still don’t believe in regrets. I felt I had nothing else to live for accept experiencing life to the fullest. Oddly enough these escapades never involved drug usage. I guess I realized at a young age that drug and alcohol abuse had enough of a negative effect on my immediate family as well as an adverse second-hand impact on my life.
My writing is nothing if not completely honest. I’m not ashamed of my past. I’m not embarrassed to say that I reveled in the situation that night, and other similar experiences in my teen years. It was extremely thrilling as a young gay boy. These were strong authority figures, officers of the law, all engaged in a scandalous and illicit sex act. I let myself become total immersed in the moment, feeding off of the primal sexual energy of these adult men. Maybe that’s because I was so repressed or just simply a fucked up little kid. I didn’t understand the magnitude of the situation then.
I’ve always been obsessive and compulsive. “…an obsession is a way for damaged people to damage themselves more.” I realize that I was the victim then. I know right from wrong now and couldn’t even fathom being in those types of situations in my adult life. Never the less, these events shaped my future and brought me to where I am today. I’ve found new addictions to indulge in and I’ve learned how to turn honesty and the truth into my art-form.