Friday, June 16, 2006

Captain Save-A-Ho!

t-shirtCaptain Save-A-Ho. This is one of those terms I learned coming out west. It is a derisive term, meaning someone who takes it upon himself to help someone who isn't worth helping. Usually a man trying to help a woman who is going to do what she does anyway.

Ultimately, A Fool.

There are things I refrain from talking about in public, particularly work, but the other day was one of the most stressful I've had. And heck, Im leaving anyway.

I work in the Tenderloin, an area of San Francisco known for prostitution, strip clubs, dive bars and drug dealing (also some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area :). I see dope fiends and prostitutes every night.

The other morning, as I stood outside my place of employ enjoying the fresh early morning air - I saw a young prostitute being harassed by a large young man. She was not enjoying the encounter.

So, I told him, the woman didn't want to talk to him. I asked her if she wanted to deal with him. She shook her head to the negative, plainly scared. He came up to me with a "Who the fuck are you?" attitude. I responded with a "Are you SURE you want a piece of me?" look. He apologized, retreated, asking me if I were a cop. The girl stood by me until he walked away.

Oy. From that moment, I had to deal with - not one, not two, not THREE, but FOUR pimps looking to add this young woman to their 'stable'. (Street economics - a young, pretty fresh faced girl can bring in thousands of dollars a night. Many will literally snatch a woman off the streets for that kind of income.) I had her go into the building while fending off these men, two wanting to enter the building to come talk to this woman.

Long story short - this turned out to be a FIFTEEN year old, her first night as a street walker. Normally, I don't deal or interfere with the denizens, because frankly - it is not worth it. She would be back on the streets anyway going through the San Francisco cycle*.

One pimp said if I were gonna protect this girl, I should at least get paid for it, in other words, be a pimp myself.
And you know, that was sage advice.

But not my style.

But its also not my style to get caught up in the street life. Particularly with people making a living. Hey, a pimp has to work too.
As Guido the killer pimp put it to Joel in the flick "Risky Business" - "Never ever fuck with another man's livelihood."

Also good advice, because all these men were armed. And im backing them down with none of my own, because carrying around deadly weapons is also not my style.

Long story short, much drama, the scared girl got whisked away safely and the cops chased away the pimps still circling around. Oy.

All (including many of the street folk and dope fiends), agree I did the good and right thing. But here I am, being a LITERAL Captain Save-A-Ho (my good natured nickname afterward) and interfering in crap I would rather not deal with.

What happened is not why Im moving on, but it is a good indication that my timing is perfect.

* San Francisco cycle. For many women, selling sex, drugs or the healing arts is the only way to survive or make money here. Trust me on this: Engage in any social circle in the Bay Area, and you will find a very large percentage of them (a third to nearly a half) make money in the sex trade. Full time or part-time. Active, retired or a phase.

I wish I were exaggerating.

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