Wednesday, May 6, 2015


 The story you are about to read is Part Two of  a memoir from  a Road Trip From Hell that took place in 2002. It's full of  psychic phenomena, odd  coincidences, and unexplained paranormal weirdness...Enjoy!

 All the hair on my body stood on end. I shuddered in utter disbelief, chills running up my spine.  I felt like I was drowning, like my brain was being sucked slowly and loudly out of my skull. In the midst of it all, my thoughts came thick and fast.

 How was this even possible…especially after the episode with My Electrical Disturbance? Why the hell hadn’t I paid attention to that damn gas pump?  More importantly, how come  my apparent clairvoyance had shown me  “Chinatown”, and not the part about the police pulling us over? What the fuck?

 I started crying hysterically again, and at some point, still in my clothing, fell into a deep, fitful sleep. I awoke suddenly to blinding desert sunlight and the tinny sounds of ranchera music on a cheap radio, floating above the roar of   the maid’s vacuum cleaner in the room next door. I took a shower and tried to apply make-up over my tear-swollen eyes. I was gonna need every bit of what was left of my feminine wiles to   figure out storing the truck, not to mention getting out of Seligman, considering the fact that I was twelve bucks away from being flat broke.

Grabbing a paper cup full of the brown crayon water that was masquerading as coffee in the lobby, I began trying think coherently about negotiating vehicle storage at the tow yard, not to mention financing my trip back home.

 The Chuck Norris guy greeted me brusquely with a grunt as I entered his garage. He rolled out from beneath the chassis, dressed in worn, grease-stained coveralls. Lighting a Marlboro, he repeated his terms, and then asked if my boyfriend had gotten out of jail. I started weeping again, snot dribbling out of my nostrils as I recounted the previous nights events…leaving out the crazy paranormal shit so I wouldn’t sound completely insane.

 “Oh, man…please don’t cry!” he begged, his demeanor changing unexpectedly,

 “ I just cannot handle seeing a woman crying!”

 He pulled out a plastic orange crate, gesturing for me to sit down as he handed me a clean red chamois cloth to wipe my eyes with and a glass of water.

 “You seem like a nice person, “ he said earnestly, “ I know you’re really upset…and I’m not sure why your boyfriend is in jail…”

“I’m not either!” I wailed, lips quivering, snot bubbling out of my nostrils like a child, “They wouldn’t tell me!”

He looked me straight in the eyes and told me he would store the truck until James got out of jail, and only charge me five buck a day instead twenty five, but that I had to promise to mail him the cash as soon as I got home.  Gratefully agreeing to his terms, I offered to leave my license as collateral, but waved his hand in dismissal. Writing me up a receipt, he said a Greyhound bus came through the town, and let me use the shop phone to make a reservation. The automated voice stated that the bus only came through Seligman every three days; apparently, I’d just missed one. Seligman, known as  “The Birthplace of Route 66” is located in Northern Arizona’s Upland Mountains,  “conveniently located” exactly 180 miles away from both Phoenix and The Grand Canyon…which was a euphemism for “in the middle of nowhere”.

 As I hung up in despair, the tow driver told me I could get a flight from Flagstaff to Phoenix, so I could then fly to LA. I reached my sister, told her the predicament, and she called back after she’d booked the flights for me.  Wolfing down the Snickers bar the guy offered me after he called the taxi service, I thanked him gratefully and profusely for his kindness. Things were actually starting to look up!

The “cab” which turned out to be a black 1980’s Cadillac Seville with a burgundy velvet interior, arrived an hour and change later. The sunburned driver was portly in a plaid shirt, Polyester pants and a shocking white comb-over. Holding the door open for me, he told me that the journey to Flagstaff would take roughly two hours. Shaking Chuck Norris’ hand, I stepped into the car’s front seat and we took off.

 Neil Diamond was playing softly on the radio as we drove through the barren desert. Thinking of Pa in jail, I felt tears welling up again. Staring out the window at the scrubby landscape, I tried to be as silent as possible, just for the sake of being polite.

An hour or so went by before the cabbie, in a timid voice, ventured,

“Miss? I know this isn’t any of my business, and I don’t know what happened to you, but I hope you’ll be all right… I don’t want to pry… but…”

Taking a measured breath, he continued,

“ I wanted to let you know that… you’re… the most beautiful woman I’ve ever had in my cab.  I’m a married man, so I don’t… mean anything by this…but, uh, I want to help, so… this ride is on me”.

 I looked over at his sincere face, and burst into tears again, loudly and for real.

“Thank you so much!”  I sobbed.

We drove the rest of the way in silence. When he let me out at the Flagstaff Airport he wouldn’t take a tip, just patted me on the arm in a fatherly way and wished me luck.  Even though the airport was the size of a postage stamp with only one runway, because   the September 11th tragedy had was still a brand new open wound, the security line was a bitch.

 As it happened, I had a  Starred Ticket, which meant I was singled out for  “secondary search”. The extremely thorough agents succeeded in knocking six keys off my brand new laptop. Then they confiscated all the vintage diaper pins inside my bag.  Like, sure, I was totally planning to hi-jack the plane by brandishing a diaper pin decorated with a yellow plastic ducky! As they did this, a woman breezed through the line wearing one of those giant American Flag pins made of beads- and twenty or thirty safety pins.

 “What about her? “ I asked indignantly. “She’s got tons of safety pins on!”

“Oh, “ the security agent said, “That’s just jewelry!”

 With all the security procedures, I barely made my plane, which turned out to be a single-engine eight seater. Five passengers were men, ranging from executives to desert rats, and there was a pair of newly weds who’d obviously been honeymooning at the Grand Canyon. Their affection made me lonely for Pa and their clean-cut appearance made me envious. It was clear that neither of them had never jumped on the hood of a police car like a lunatic, experienced psychic issues involving popular films, or  gotten stranded in a surreal one-horse town with no money.  I felt immensely sorry for myself and during the bumpy take off,  and the crying kicked in again.

 I didn’t even notice the incredible turbulence until the flight attendant started doling out barf bags to everyone- handing me my bag along with small package of Kleenex. As we flew directly into a vicious thunderstorm, the plane hurdled up and shot down hundreds of feet like a thrill ride. Shell shocked, I watched with a detached fascination as huge, fake-looking white bolts of lightning practically bounced off the wings.  Passengers were heaving loudly and the entire cabin reeked of vomit. The new bride clutched her husband’s hand praying out loud and the pilot yelled frantically into his headset as the flight attendant white-knuckled her seat.

 After what seemed like forever, the plane burst out of the storm and into glaring sunlight, making an abrupt descent into Phoenix. Everyone filed off the plane and onto the tarmac like zombies.

 Since I had an hour to kill- and had almost died- I found the closest bar right away. Gulping down two shots of vodka in quick succession, I noticed the woman on the stool next to me staring…I’m a fucking wreck.  She looked like a Casino Trash Bingo Lady from Laughlin who’d been a stripper in her youth, with her fried blonde hair and sun–damaged skin covered in harsh, cheap make up.

“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”, she said with a kind, knowing expression crossing her weathered face.

 “Your drinks are on me!” she stated firmly, ordering me another shot.

 I don’t remember the flight back to LA, or getting home. Immediately I called I called Prescott and learned that Pa had been transferred to The Yavapai County Detention Facility.  I Googled the number and called, waiting through a series of automated prompts and recordings before I got a human being. At first, the CO wouldn’t let me talk to him or leave a message, explaining that inmates couldn’t receive messages unless there was a Verified Emergency Situation. After I called back six or seven times in quick succession pretending to be a pregnant spouse, in exasperation the guy finally said he’d give Pa the message and allow him to place a collect call to me.

 Half an hour later, I gladly accepted the charges, rejoicing in hearing James’ voice. He sounded good in spite of everything he’d been through: getting shackled with the “4-piece” – the cuffs and chain arrangement usually reserved for serial killers- while sitting in the back of a squad car and then on a bench in Prescott waiting to get processed. He’d gone to jail in ancient, shredded jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with a ventriloquist dummy that had a bloody Manson X on its forehead and “Puppet Terror” in drippy horror movie letters. He didn’t have a cent on him and was barefoot, so he was booked as an “indigent”. He still hadn’t found out why he was being held or when he’d be released, but he sounded good. I promised to wire cash to be put into his commissary account and we phone-kissed. The call ended far too quickly, but reassured that my lover wasn’t being mistreated; I slept peacefully for just over twenty-four hours.

 The next couple of days were filled with calls to his mother  (who, not surprisingly, was cautious and suspicious each time we spoke) and cyber-stalking the Yavapai County Detention Center, to the point that I knew how many employees the place had and all about the new prison-wide plumbing system that was being installed.  

 In a couple more days, Pa finally found out why he was being detained. It turned out that a court summons had erroneously been sent to an address at which he hadn’t lived at for years. Eventually it turned into a bench warrant, and the recent passing of the Patriot Act had qualified any fugitives from justice to be extradited back to the state they’d fled for trial and/or punishment. So Pa was held in custody in Arizona until New Mexico sent for his transport, which would land him in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque, until his trail. We’d definitely need a criminal lawyer to unravel this mess, even though it stemmed from a clerical error.

 I was at an absolute loss at how to find a competent attorney in another state. There were dozens of them listed, but trying to actually reach one on the phone was impossible. Either the lawyers would be “busy” and I’d be forced speak to a clueless paralegal who didn’t understand the situation and apparently never left a message, or it was suggested I come to New Mexico for a consultation- yeah, right! And then I remembered Mr. V.

  I’d known Mr. V for years- he’d gone to school with one of my sisters. Somehow during a boozy party at her place,  Mr. V had pegged me as a libertine, and  pulled me aside  to confidentially ask me  for sexual advice  regarding his current girlfriend.  Evidently, I counseled him quite well, because he began calling me every few months to ask my take on getting a girl to role-play or how to introduce light bondage into a relationship.  These calls became regular... like, every time he had a date (and he was dating a lot) but they were clean and clinical as opposed to kinky, I didn’t feel creeped out at all.  I was starting to feel like an unpaid sex therapist though. When he called for the third time in one week, wondering about coercing his latest fling into getting spanked, I joked that he would have to repay me someday.  Since Mr. V was a former state senator who was currently a lawyer…that time was now.

As luck would have it, Mr. V was happy to reciprocate, hooking me up with a man who was supposed to be the best criminal defense attorney in the Southwest; he even wrote a personal letter of recommendation. The lawyer took the case, but the court date wouldn’t be set until Pa was extradited back to New Mexico.

Meantime, James seemed to be having a fine time in the Detention Center, as detailed in his many letters to me. Along with heartfelt passages about how much he missed me, he wrote descriptions of day-to-day prison life.  Apparently, because I was still calling the prison constantly to check on his status, I’d become something of a celebrity among the correctional officers. During the Lights Out rounds, while dragging his baton along the metal bars, one of them had even taken to clandestinely whispering out of the side of his mouth, “Hey! your wife called again!”

His correspondence described all the various inmate cliques:  the Mexicans who’d life weights by attaching plastic trash bags full of water to each side of a broomstick, the trannies who offered hair cuts to other inmates from their cell-salons, the Meth freaks and the White Power guys.  He wrote about the shitty food- and the people who served it.  The prison had separate buildings for men and women in the same compound, and the food-serving trustees worked both sides. For a price, they’d smuggle foil-wrapped notes (hidden under the lid of the meal plastic containers) back and forth between lovers who resided in different cellblocks.  One letter of Pa's included pencil rubbings of the tweaker graffiti carved into the metal benches, another was written from the viewpoint of an ET who’d somehow been incarcerated.

Through the grapevine, he learned that many of the inmates believed Yavapai County was shaped like a Pentagram, and that the Sheriff’s office was the very tip of the star. Then there was The Truth Hurts Incident. The only channel the big screen television in the common room ever played was MTV, all day and night. Pa just happened to be watching when my video made its debut. All the convicts were crowded around the   TV, whistling and catcalling at the hip-hop hotties shaking their booties. When I swirled onto the screen in my sparkly blue and gold costume and veils, undulating in a “private dance” for Dr. Dre, Pa proudly announced to everyone that I was his girlfriend. Of course they all thought he was joking!

He’d also become the star of a true Big House rags-to-riches story. Because of his artistic talent, he was now rolling in cigarettes, candy bars, Hostess Cakes, postage stamps, and Swiss Miss drink packets…. all paid to him gladly by his fellow inmates. He was doing a roaring business drawing birthday and greeting cards to send to their mothers, wives and baby-mommas. His work was composed of intricate pencil drawings decorated with cherubs, hearts and roses colored in vivid yellows, and reds and greens, using un-cooked Jell-O mix as paint.  He even designed a tattoo of a raging bull for somebody, and then watched it get inked into the guy’s skin by hand. I could practically see the headlines: Jailhouse Indigent Makes Good!

  On the last day it was possible to extradite James from Yavapai County to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque, the New Mexico officers showed up. They’d flown over in a Cessna to bring James back to wait for his trial.  Green-faced, one of the cops was so sick and terrified in the tiny plane that Pa wound up holding his hand the entire way.

The jail there was vastly different than in Arizona- Pa was put into General Population, which was basically a huge cage full of crazy people.  In comparison, the Yavapai Country Detention center had been a cakewalk. He kept a low profile as he waited for another two weeks for his day in court.

Apparently, Mr. V had done an absolutely bang-up job of finding an attorney. Though the lawyer was hideously expensive, he was, for real, the best criminal defense attorney in the state. He was also the presiding judge’s golf buddy, and had been a mentor to the prosecuting lawyer when he’d been in law school!

 A few days after the trial, James returned to Hollywood in his rattletrap pick up truck.  He hugged me long and tight and we kissed for eons.

“I brought you a present from jail!”, he said jubilantly, handing me a grocery bag and a tattered paper clipping.

 Some guys learn how to crack safes or become bookies when they’re on the inside; others kill their fellow inmates with shanks made from a toothbrush. But Pa had been going through magazines in Albuquerque, looking for recipes. The one he handed me was for Southern Fried chicken, written by Martha Stewart…a good two years before she herself was incarcerated.

“I’m starving,” Pa said, getting out a frying pan.
 “Let’s try this!”

 As I handed him the contents of the grocery bag, he squeezed me and sighed regretfully,

You know, when we were in Kingman, and  the gas pump said $9.11? I didn’t think that was a good sign, and I wanted to stay there at the motel…but I didn’t tell you because I thought you’d think I was crazy!” 


This story  excerpt is from my memoir Showgirl Confidential: My Life Onstage, Backstage And On The Road, published September 2013 by Punk Hostage Press. 
To get a signed copy of the book, please visit

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Sunday, May 3, 2015


 The story you are about to read is true  a memoir of a Road Trip From Hell that took place in 2002. It's full of  psychic phenomena, odd  coincidences, and unexplained paranormal weirdness. It's the first installment of two posts...enjoy!

 My sister, my daughter…my daughter, my sister…
She’s my sister- and my daughter!

 I was standing on my kitchen steps in a t-shirt and panties at 6:00am, punctuating my hysterics by slapping myself across the face and I had absolutely no idea why I felt the need to be play-acting the most infamous scene from Roman Polanski’s   1974 neo-noir hit “Chinatown”. For some unknown reason, I’d woken up with this frenzy-in minute detail- running through my head. It was almost as though I was being manipulated by some unseen force.

My new boyfriend Pa regarded me affectionately-and a little curiously- as he handed me a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing?” he asked affably, as though this wasn’t such unusual display at the crack of dawn.

 I explained that I was acting out both the Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson parts from the scene where Evelyn Mulray, under duress from sadistic private dick Jake Gittes, breaks down and admits to the incest in her family.

“Oh,” he said, nodding as though this was a perfectly logical answer,

 “I never saw  “Chinatown”, but I heard it was good!”

 There was a reason Pa wasn’t fazed by my behavior. Even though we were in the throes of new love, we’d actually known each other for ages and had a lot of history together. We’d met in the 1990’s at the now-legendary Clown Party, an epic private even held at the Phoenix Iron Works warehouse in Oakland, California. Hundreds of people from every facet of the Bay Area’s alternative scene attended: punks, visual and performance artists, skateboarders, college students and   mad scientists from Survival Research Labs - all dressed like clowns. Pretty much the whole party was tripping their brains out on massive amounts of the freshly picked psilocybin mushrooms that the host had thoughtfully left out as party favors.  Like any rational, well-adjusted person, I detested clowns. But one glance at Pa, handsome in his crisp painstakingly applied whiteface and a professional-looking red nose changed that. He was the sexiest clown I had ever seen. The following day, sans make up, he was even sexier. He had a dangerous, brooding Bad Boy appeal and a beautiful smile. I was beyond smitten… also, I had a husband.

 Pa’s real name was James. “Pa” was an old Army moniker, an abbreviation that had come from the first two letters of his last name. He’d been stationed in various Asian jungles for two years, and after being discharged he’d come to San Francisco to attend art school.  It was a hot combination- he was a robust, ripped alpha male who could carry on conversations about classical literature and art theory.  Though he’d grown his crew-cut out into a long, braided rat-tail the fell to his hips, some of his Army habits died hard; he was never without combat boots and still wore a bandanna tied around his head pirate-style, a habit he’d picked up Thailand to prevent leaches from crawling into his ears while he slept on the ground. He’d tell insane stories about getting fully suited up in HAZMAT suits and gas masks during all-night chemical drills, taking LSD to stay awake.

 Whenever I’d come up to the Bay Area, he’d make special trips from his little ranch in Sonoma to see me, but nothing ever happened, so I couldn’t tell if he felt the same about me.  We’d get shit-faced at Oakland dive bars like Esther’s Orbit room, but all we ever did was hold hands. Besides, both of us had always been with other people. When he married suddenly and disappeared, I was heartbroken.  More than decade later I still thought of him constantly, so I worked my romantic demons out by writing a story about him called “Coco The Zombie Clown From Heaven, which was published in my memoir collection,  “Escape From Houdini Mountain”.
In early 2002, years after his wife died and long after he’d broken up with the girlfriend who followed her, Pa was living in New Mexico. Someone had given him my book as a gift, asking if the story was about him.  He read it and found me immediately, less than four months before the “Chinatown” moment unfolded.  

 For once, our timing was perfect- he was single and I was just beginning to get over a cougar-iffic love affair with a Euro-trash artist was fifteen years my junior. I was excited, but also extremely gun-shy.  James had meant so much to me for so long, that the first time he came out to visit me, I decided I wasn’t going to sleep with him. No matter what happened, it would undoubtedly end badly-if it was awful, it would ruin our friendship; if it was great, I would be more in love than I already was. Because he lived in a different state, that would suck.

 I held out for exactly seventeen hours.

 Naturally, we slept together and of course it was amazing. The next morning, I was appearing as the principle dancer in a video for a hip-hop artist called Truth Hurts.  Her song “Addictive” had Arabic and Indian samples in it, and I’d been hired to belly dance in the club scene. Because it was my birthday, I made the executive decision to bring Pa to the set with me.   When we arrived at the location, we were shocked to see stars like Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, Eric B and Rakim, all of who were making cameo appearances. The set was so thick with reefer smoke it was like a ‘hood version of a Cheech And Chong movie, only it was real. The make up artist had to come around every five minutes to drop Visine into the guest star’s bloodshot eyes, it was that bad. After the shoot, we were as inseparable as was humanly possible, given our long-distance romance. The reason Pa and I were awake so early that “Chinatown” morning was because we were about to embark on a road trip back to his place in Santa Fe.

 Pa loaded up his new ride- a dilapidated 1970’s pick-up truck, riddled with rust, its hideous yellow ochre paint sun-bleached and dotted with liberal amounts of Bondo and primer. The truck’s deck had a makeshift bed, a rotten piece of foam covered by old moving blankets, and was crowned with an ugly, rotting brick-red camper shell, awash with Fiberglass splinters.  People were always giving Pa vehicles that were destined for the junkyard, and he’d drive them into the ground with screw drivers stuck into the ignition, their engines literally held together with plastic twist-ties from garbage bags. After making a picnic of sandwiches and snacks, I threw my computer and a baby blue duffle bag full of cosmetics, high heels and slutty undies into the backseat, and we took off heading east on Interstate 10.

The truck hiccupped and creaked along as we laughed constantly, discussing everything from our childhoods to what had happened to mutual friends from Phoenix Iron Works. With a dog-eared map spread on my lap, I recited the odd names of the tiny desert towns we’d pass through. In no hurry at all, we planned to drive til we couldn’t anymore and stay overnight at some shitty motel- it didn’t matter where- we’d just carry on with the 1,366-mile journey at our own pace. We stopped a couple of times for Slurpees and ice cream, browsing leisurely for souvenirs at truck stops, and wandering around rest areas in the arid air, inspecting the vintage adobe Visitor Centers, marveling at massive cacti and eavesdropping on the other motorists gathered around the wind-worn picnic tables.

 The periwinkle desert twilight had long turned to cool darkness by the time we pulled into Kingman, Arizona, 318 miles east of Hollywood.  As Pa fueled up the truck, I admired the Atomic Age motel next to the service station, before noticing that the total of the gas purchased was $9.11. Though usually pragmatic, I’ve always been superstitious, and with the September 11th   tragedy in the very near past, I took this number as a bad omen.  It crossed my mind that it might be a prudent idea to spend the night at the motel…but dismissed the notion without mentioning it to Pa, in case he’d think I was being neurotic.

 We drove off into the night, and by the time we were traveling down Highway 40, on the remnants of what used to be Route 66, we were both in hysterics regaling each other with crazy teenage stories about getting wasted on Quaaludes and Boone’s Farm at house parties with absent parents, making out for hours at accompanied by Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”. The highway was utterly deserted- we were the only vehicles on the road. It was also unlit and in the pitch dark, the sky was full of stars so bright you could see them clearly through the cracked, bug-splattered windshield.

 Presently, down the road in front of us, we saw a dim radiant glow. This lead to a conversation about UFOs sightings. As we drew closer to the light, we realized it was coming from a gigantic truck that was spraying insecticide into the scrubby trees on the side of the road.  The spewing poisonous mist formed a large cloud, illuminated by the truck’s headlights as we drove past. I told Pa about Jayne Mansfield’s grisly and untimely death in Mississippi on Highway 90, when a tractor trailer swerved to avoid a mosquito spraying truck, when suddenly, we heard sirens.

I’d actually noticed the parked cop car on the side of the road earlier, and assumed it had been accompanying the spraying truck, but the moment the red and blue lights began flashing, we realized we were getting pulled over. Since we weren’t speeding, both of us unsure what this was about.
 Pa stopped the truck up on the shoulder and pulled out his license, instructing me to grab the registration from the glove box.

The cop took his time ambling up to our truck. The moment he shined his flashlight into the cab, he saw my nurse’s hat fall out of the glove compartment.

“Ma’am, “ he said, “Are you a nurse?”

Staring at the cap on the floor mat with the   crooked, lipstick red vinyl cross sloppily glue-gunned to it, I mumbled in real embarrassment,

“Um…no sir… I’m not a nurse.”

The hat, of course, went with my bag full of slutty undies.

 Shit! I thought, why did I ignore that 911-gas pump… we should’ve stayed in Kingman!

 The cop directed his gaze at Pa.

“You know your license plate light is out?” he asked, as though it was a major felony.

He made both of us hand over our identification and took his sweet time calling it in. I watched the minutes ticking by on the dash clock- which miraculously, still worked- as we listened to the far-away static dispatch radio from the squad car. Finally, the officer returned, handing us both back our licenses.

 He said in a monotone,

“Sir? Could you please step out of the truck?”

The moment Pa obliged, the cop swiftly bent him over the hood of the truck, clasping a set of cuffs on him with a loud clatter. I was halfway out of the truck’s passenger door, already yelling, when the cop barked at me to  “sit tight” and ordered me to “shut up for my own good”.  I watched mutely from the cab as he attached   leg irons and a waist-chain that linked to Pa’s handcuffs. By the time he pulled his cruiser up, throwing Pa into the back seat and slamming the door, I was out of the truck.

 “What are you doing?” I demanded, really agitated, “What’s going on?”

 “I’m taking him in,” the cop said, deadpan.

 I was beginning to shake uncontrollably; I didn’t understand what was happening, but I instinctively knew it was bad…really bad.

“Where are you taking him?”  I shouted, starting to lose it.

 Why are you taking him?” 

 In an almost bored voice, the cop told me I really didn’t need to know why James was getting brought in, but that they were going to the jail in Prescott, Arizona, which was about an hour away.  I could call the jail in two hours to find out the booking status.

The cop started getting into his car, and abruptly, in spite of my emotional upset, my self-preservation instinct kicked in and my mind began to race: How the hell could I call the jail when I didn’t own a cell phone? Even if I had one, it wouldn’t work out here…It would be completely impossible for me drive this   jalopy for hours across the desert!

Without even realizing what I was doing, I practically jumped onto the cop, blocking him from the driver’s seat.

 “You can’t just leave me here,” I wailed.

 “By law, ma’am, I can” he said coldly.

“Call me a tow-truck,” I shrieked, “You cannot leave me in the middle of nowhere!”

“Ma’am, I don’t need to do that… we are leaving-now!” he said adamantly.

A potent adrenalin rush engulfed me so completely that I felt like I was outside myself.  Suddenly I grabbed the cop roughly by the shoulders, and, in a voice I didn’t even recognize as my own, got right up into his face all wild-eyed and growled,

 “Give me your fucking badge number then, because when they discover me raped and murdered out here, it’s gonna be in my fucking pocket!”

The cop stared in shock as I sprawled across the hood of the police car, gripping the open door of the drive’s side, preventing him from entering, screaming over and over like a banshee, 


  Realizing he couldn’t go anywhere without the situation escalating even more than it already had, the cop got on the radio and called a wrecker.

 When he informed me that it would take around forty five minutes to arrive, I went ballistic again, yelling like a maniac that he had to wait for me because there was no way I could be left in the desert alone. My screams echoed into the empty night like a funhouse soundtrack.  Rolling his eyes, the officer radioed for another officer to come and wait with me for the tow-truck. The cop wouldn’t let me near James, not even to speak to him. I watched him forlornly through the window in the back of the squad car. The moonlight lit up the tears welling in his eyes; as he mouthed to me I’m sorry. With that, I burst into hysterical sobs.

 After what seemed like ages, the other cop arrived, oddly enough with his teenage son in tow. He stepped out of his car so both officers could have a conference.  By this time, I was leaning against the back bumper of Pa’s truck, tears rolling silently and steadily down my cheeks, my whole body heaving and trembling as I stared directly into the headlights of the second black and white. The lamps seemed to be dimming and getting brighter rhythmically, matching my jagged, uneven breathing. At first I thought this was an optical illusion caused by the tears from my eyes…then the squad car’s motor died.

 I realized, with the deep sense of dread I always got when this sort of thing happens, that it was My Electrical Disturbance leaping into action. This might be hard for some people to comprehend, but My Electrical Disturbance has plagued my entire life.  I routinely freeze computers, fry cell phones, disable cameras and cash registers, go through car batteries at the rate of, like, six a year, demagnetize credit cards and can’t wear a watch. It also gets very expensive…all that equipment getting ruined. My Electrical Disturbance only seems to occur when I’m extremely upset, really stressed out or very excited. When it starts happening, it scares me; I   always experience even more anxiety and want to vomit. For years I tried to keep it a secret, but it got to the point that everyone around me started noticing. Thanks to Steven King, my close friends started calling me “Carrie” and  “Firestarter”.

 Ultimately, I found out that the strange affliction I have is called EPK or Electro Psycho-Kinesis. It is a phenomenon that hasn’t been studied much, because like me, the people who are “gifted” with it only experience it in times of extreme emotional highs or lows and generally, these actions cannot be reproduced at will, so it is impossible for researchers to collect much data on the subject.

  The onset of My Electrical Disturbance was upsetting me even more, but snapped back into reality when I heard both cops arguing about the dead squad car.

“But I had it serviced this morning!” the second officer was exclaiming in frustration, “Look in the log book! I checked everything!”

The tow truck, a huge red vintage flatbed, arrived. The driver jumped out, and in the midst of my breakdown, I noticed that with his shaggy hair, five o’clock shadow and hulking frame, he looked like a cross between Chuck Norris in the ‘70’s and Sasquatch. After a POW wow with the cops, he hooked our dilapidated truck to the tow bar as the car with Pa in it took off swiftly, veering off the road and across the desert in a vortex of dust, headed for Prescott.

“Get in,” the tow truck driver said to me, tilting his head towards the wrecker’s cab before hollering over his shoulder to the second cop and his son,

“I’ll be back for you guys in about an hour!”

As we drove in silence, I tried valiantly not to bawl out loud.

“Rough night, huh?” the driver asked in a voice that was gruff but compassionate.

I couldn’t answer, so he wordlessly handed me some tissues.

Finally, we pulled into what seemed to be very small town. The driver stopped in front of squatty cement structure with a large neon sign depicting a panther- “The World Famous Black Cat Bar”. Jumping out of the truck, he undid a giant padlock a in the middle of a Cyclone fence and swung open the gate to his tow yard, declaring,

“We’re at the end of the line, hon!”

 “Where are we?”

“Welcome to Seligman, Arizona, population 456, ” he said,

“There’s a motel across the street, you can spend the night there.   I charge $25.00 a day for vehicle storage up front…but you can just give it to me in the morning.”

I decided that now wasn’t the time tell him that I didn’t have a credit card on me and was carrying only $28.00 in cash.

 Grabbing my stuff from Pa’s pickup, I crossed the deserted street and composing myself, checked into the Supai Motel, trying to ignore the fluorescent buzz of a burned out light- and the suspicious look the Indian desk clerk was giving me. I got the last room they had for $16.00…and of course it was Number 13. It was Spartan, with indoor-outdoor carpeting, but at least it was clean.

 Momentarily I thought of visiting The World Famous Black Cat Bar and getting shit-faced with my last twelve dollars. But at the rate things were going it kind of seemed like a horrible idea. Besides, I had other stuff to attend to… like using the old-school dial phone in the room to call the Prescott jail to check on Pa’s booking and getting in touch with my sister so she could wire me some money. In something akin to the promodal phase of schizophrenia, I became engulfed in a gigantic shame spiral. I seriously could not believe this chain of events was happening to me at the age of forty-three… Wasn’t this shit supposed to magically cease and desist some time during the early twenties?

And then there was the last task, one I really wasn’t looking forward to at all; introducing myself –for the very first time- to Pa’s mother via a frantic collect call at 1:45am. Gritting my teeth and steeling myself for the worst, I dialed her number.

 Hello, is this Betty?  My name is Pleasant. You don’t know me, but I’m your son’s girlfriend. Sorry to wake you up, but I’m stranded somewhere in the middle of Arizona, and James is in jail…

 Pa had already processed through the Yavapai County Jail in Prescott, but   the only information I could get besides the fact that they were holding him without bail and wouldn’t let me speak to him. My sister wasn’t home so I left a message. The phone call with Pa’s mom went, I suppose, as well as a phone call of that nature could possibly go… At least she didn’t hang up on me!

  By then, it was 2:30 am, too late for The Black Cat, and I sure as hell couldn’t sleep. All there was left to do was chain smoke, cry, and maybe try to numb myself by watching TV. The ancient television, with its rabbit-ear antenna, took a long time to tune in, but when the picture finally materialized showing the Channel 10 station identification logo, the announcer’s deep voice boomed:


  The film flickered onto to the screen at the very point where the “My sister…. My daughter” scene began. 


Part Two coming soon! 

This story  excerpt is from my memoir Showgirl Confidential: My Life Onstage, Backstage And On The Road, published September 2013 by Punk Hostage Press. 
To get a signed copy of the book, please visit