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Carolyn Lu Mar 2018
Today someone called me nice,
In fact I noticed that a lot of people called me nice,
I’m not telling you this because I want to brag,
I’m telling you this because I’m not nice,
And they’re wrong,

You’re wrong.

It isn’t me who is the nice one,
It’s just my actions that are nice,
My actions giving you a snack or offering a treat,
My actions handing your papers in for you,
My actions trying to help you with homework,
My actions complimenting you,
It isn’t me being nice, it’s my actions that are nice,

So whenever you call me nice,
I’m left split on the inside,
I think to anyone else being called nice would feel great,
In fact, it would be a very nice thing to say,
But to me at least,
It makes me guilty for fooling you,
It makes me wonder if you even know me,
Because I know I’m not nice,

I act like I do without thought,
Not because I’m nice,
But because it’s not me acting,
But because I’m not even thinking,
But because that’s not even me,
But because I’m just hollow,
I don’t even honestly know what I am,
I just know for sure that I’m not nice,

I wonder why I choose nice actions,
Absent mindlessly or not,
I still choose them,
And I know for sure it isn’t because I’m nice,

I think I know, because I’m afraid you’ll leave me if I’m not,
I think I know, because if I’m not nice enough who will care,
I think I know, because I’m afraid to be anything else,
What silly reasons,
Selfish reasons really,
What kind of a nice person would only be nice for personal benefit?
Someone who only acts nice,
Like me,

I think if you knew how much I hated this certain person,
You’d know for sure I wasn’t nice,
I beat up this person daily,
Berating them,
Hurting them,
In a twisted and confusing way, it makes me feel better,
You would too,

I hate this person because they’re a fake,
They’re only pretending to be nice,
They aren’t nice,
Only their actions are nice,
They only act nice for personal benefit,
In fact, they don’t even know what they are,
But they know for sure they aren’t nice,
And I know that too,

If you look closer at this poem,
You’ll see even more why I’m not nice,
Because a nice person is selfless,
A nice person isn’t selfish,
Isn’t trying to drown in their own pity,
Isn’t doing anything I’m doing,
And this entire time I’ve only been talking about myself,

This entire time.

How could anyone believe I’m nice, if I don’t even believe myself?
The Good Pussy Jan 2015
                              Nice Guys
                         Guys Nice  Guys
                         Nice Guys  Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
                         Nice  Guys Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
                         Nice Guys  Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
                         Nice  Guys Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
                         Nice Guys  Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
                         Nice  Guys Nice
                         Guys Nice Guys
           Nice Guys                Nice Guys
      Nice Guys Nice        Guys Nice Guys
       NiceGuysNice          GuysNiceGuys
          Nice Guys                  Nice Guys
A good thing, no?
I am a nice person
I don’t want to fight
I am a nice person
I am not getting bullied
I am too nice to be a bad guy
I am a nice person
Yes I am
I hear about all the fights
They have in football
And I think it is ****** disgraceful
You see there is this poor Down syndrome man getting bashed at the football
It is totally disgraceful mate oh yes it is
I am a nice person
I don’t put up with that
Cause I am too nice to be like these
Rotten people
You see I am not a hooligan
I am not a ****
I am a nice person
And mate do I love life
You see I don’t tease people at the football I find it is a waste of time
I am a nice person
All of the time
I vote for the political party
That wants to help the poor
I watch family vlogs as opposed
To watching real life crime
Anything that upsets me
I don’t watch
Cause I am a nice person
All of the time
The women love me
Because I am so nice
I don’t believe in violence mate
It isn’t very cool
I am a nice person
I break no rules
Sometimes I swear
But not all the time
Cause I am nice to everyone I meet
Nice nice nice nice very very nice
I go to my art groups
And I do my art
Getting all of my problems
Out of my brain
Cause I am a nice person
Yes I am
I certainly don’t want to fight
Cause I am nice
Amoy Feb 2019
I said it once or maybe it was thrice
My words are not nice they cut like knife
What did I say? is it a big slice?
My words are not nice they cut like knife
Can’t I be bold? without paying a price
My words are not nice they cut like knife
I thought was being nice and not mean and cold like ice
My words are not nice they cut like knife
What was the line that pierced through you?
My words are not nice they cut knife
My words change the mood and now you brood
My words are not nice they cut like knife
Why do the lyrics to my song always comes out wrong?
My words are not nice they cut like knife
My words creates an uproar in our vibrational sing-along
My words are not nice they cut like knife
Forgive me my love I know I was wrong
My words are not nice they cut like knife
I’m not trying to create a mash up out of our perfect song
My words are not nice the cut like knife
I don’t want to be afraid to say what’s on my mind
My words are not nice they cut like knife
Don’t let these words make our relationship decline
My words are not nice the cut like knife
We have waited an eternity and now is our time
My words are not nice they cut like knife
I’m sorry Babes I was completely out of line
My words are not nice they cut like knife
I swear I’ll try, I’ll do better next time
My words are not nice they cut like knife
Words aren’t my strongest suit they get intertwined and messes with the baseline
My words are not nice they cut like knife
jeffrey robin Aug 2014

Sayin only nice things !
( yeah yeah yeah )
             Only nice things       !

Don't hurt nobody's feelings
Say only nice things

Like how that nice policeman
Shot dat nice black boy down

Just 2 nice people
           On da         Dark Side a Town

All da nice        Rich People
( yeah yeah )

All da nice     Poor People
( yeah yeah !

All da nice Christians
All the nice Muslims
All the nice  Jews

Oh how I am so nice
Oh how nice are you

( yeah      yeah
                                              yeah yeah )

Sayin only nice things

Hurtin nobody's feelings


How day nice policeman

Shot day nice black boy down
Selma Bee Jun 2015
I know that they all like to say that nice guys finish last.
But this really is far from true.

Most nice guys really will end up finishing first.
It just may happen to them well after they want it to.

But it may be to your advantage, that way.
You’ll get to meet people at their best, some would say.

When you get to finish first, first, you will miss out on a lot.
The people whose prime is early in life are generally not the best.

I know that it is really hard to think that you’ll have to wait.
There is not a single person who enjoys waiting.

But it really is in your favor to wait for a little while.
You can meet yourself before meeting other people.

And you have to be crazy to think that there aren’t others who are lonely.
Sometimes the nice girls think they’re in last place, too.

Nice guys think that they have to change.
Nice guys, please do us all a favor, never change.

The world can use a lot of people like you.
We need some people we can be proud of.

See, you think you’re a problem because her parents would like you.
Give it a few years, and that will be what she wants.

I meet this nice guy once and really liked him.
But, as you’d like to guess, I didn’t date him.

I’m even certain that we were flirting for a little bit.
Yet, I did not wish to date him.

I suppose you can call me a hypocrite right now.
I would be lying if I said you’re completely wrong.

But never did I say that nice guys would always win.
All I recall saying is that they wouldn’t finish last.

Because, if I’m being frank here, they cannot be last.
Last is reserved for those whom you don’t desire in the slightest.

And I can attest to always wanting someone nice.
I can admit that I will always want someone who is kind.

And you’re wondering why I didn’t date what I wanted.
As luck would have it, I knew he was too good for me.

He may have actually gotten a different message on that.
I’d be fibbing if I said that I told him that.

He just thinks that I only want him as a friend.
He thinks that was all I ever thought of him as.

He is not entirely wrong, honestly, he’s not.
Dating friends is something that complicates things; so I won’t date them.

But he doesn’t know that I was willing to break that rule.
I would go against all I stand for, just for a nice guy.

Sure, I would then somehow ruin things, but it would be nice while it lasted.
But I could never think of hurting someone so dearly, not when he gave his all.

Nice guys don’t finish last because no one wants them.
Nice guys finish last because everyone wants them.

Nice guys win in the end because others have gathered up their courage.
When we can be real with them, then they can win.

Nice guys finish later because we like them so much.
We are scared to hurt them and it causes us to hurt them more.

We can never win when it comes to people.
No matter what you do, someone will get hurt.
Big Virge Jan 2015
Ya Know .....  

IT's NICE When People ...  
Treat You RIGHT ... !!!  

By This I Mean ...  
RESPECT Your Life ... !!!  
GIVE For ... FREE ...  
Reject Money ...  
Simply Speak ...  
Without Trying To Teach ...  
And Try To Reach ...
For ... " LOVE and PEACE " ... !!!  
And Look For Ways We Can AGREE ... !!!!!  
It's Nice When People ...  
DO NOT Fight ..... !!!!!
Take Their Slice ...  
And Leave You ... YES ...  
An ... EQUAL Slice ... !!!!!  
It's CLEARLY Time Some Are ... "CONFINED" ...  
For Perpetrating ... GREEDY CRIMES ... !!!!!  
It's Nice To See Them ...  
PAY THE PRICE ... !!!!!!!!  
For Cherishing ...  
That Kind of Life ...  
It's Nice To See ...  
A ... LOVING Wife ... !!!  
And Fathers Who Are With Their Child ... !!!  
And SHUN The Role of ... Paedophiles ... !!!!  
And ...  
KEEP Their Child From Running Wild ...  
Through DISCIPLINE ... And Use of Mind ... !!!!!  
Instead of Using Government Styles ... !!!  
Styles Like Theirs ...  
Are NOT SO WISE ... !!!  
And CLEARLY Now ...  
Have Proved ... UNWISE ... !!!!  
My Words Supply ...  
Such Lows And Highs ...  
Even When They Are Inclined ...
To Make Me Call The Piece ...  
... " IT'S NICE " ... !!!!!  
Today Has Been ...  
A Day ... Supplied ...  
With Things That Now ...
Have Made Me Write ...  
About ... NICE Things ...  
Within My Sight ....  
I Woke Up Late ...  
FILLED Up A Plate ...  
And Had Some Oats ...  
To Start My Day ...  
Checked My Mail ...  
And Then Set Sail ...  
On .... Internet Sites ....  
Looking For ...  
A Job That's Right ...  
And WON'T Restrict ...  
My Wish To Write ... !!!  
Applied For One ...  
I ... Kind of Liked ...  
The Form Online ...  
Took Up Some Time ...  
But When Completed ...
... Looked Alright ...  
Then Went And Saw ...
A Friend of Mine ...  
Who Had ... Repaired ...  
My Home Phone Line ...  
We Talked A Bit .......
Exchanged Lyrics ...  
About This Country's ...  
.... Poli-TRICKS .... !!!!!  
Watched The News ...  
And Shared Some Views ...  
Then Said ...  
"Yo Nev, I'm gonna let you chill, be cool ! "  
He said,  
"Relax, and hold some food ! "  
I Did And Then He Said,  
" Hold this ! "  
He'd Wrapped Me Up  
... A Piece of Fish ...  
The Fish Was NICE .... !!!  
And Went Down RIGHT ... !!!!  
Later On That Thursday Night ...  
I Left Him And ...  
Popped In The Pub ...  
Then Saw A Man ...  
Who Understands ...  
My Need To Use ...  
My ... " Creations " ...  
He Is A ... " Prop Man " ...  
On The Show ... " The Bill " ...  
And Said,  
"There are some roles to fill"  
extras parts, for black upstarts"  
He Said He Would ...
Check Out The Coup ...  
And Said He'd Try ...  
To Talk With Members of The Crew ...  
And Find Out What I Need To Do ...
To Get Some Work Acting The Fool ... !!!  
I Told Him ... " Cool " ...  
And Then Told Him Some Local News ...
A Child Had Died In My Old School ...  
From A Heart Attack And That Was That ... !!!  
That's NOT So Nice ... !!!  
But Hey ... That's Life ... !!!!  
And Helps Me Write ...  
My Rhymes Sometimes ...  
Ya See ... Poetry ...  
NEEDS Energy ...  
And Sometimes Needs ...  
..... REALITY .....  
This Gives It FEEL ...  
And .... " MASS APPEAL " ....  
And Then Can Touch ...  
People Fo' REAL ... !!!!!!  
It's NOT Always A Tasty Meal ..... !!!!  
But Neither's Life ...  
Y'all Know The Deal ... !!!!!  
But Nowadays When I Recite  
I Now Know Some ...  
Enjoy My Sights ...  
And Now ENJOY ....  
The Way I Write ... !!!!!!!  
Some ... " Pretend " ...  
And Are .... " Polite " ....  
I'm Cool With That ...  
They're In A Plight ...  
Their Conscience Clearly ...  
Has .... " BAD NIGHTS " .... !!!!!!  
Hypocrisy ....  
Is Not So Nice ... !!!  
And IS NOT Something I Invite ...  
To Wreak HAVOC Inside My Mind ... !!!    
Because Days Like THIS ...  
of ... " Positive Vibes " ...  
Help Me Design Poetic Rhymes ...  
That Help Me Find A Place of LIGHT ...  
Within ... " DARK TIMES " ... !!!
Moments Like These I CAN'T Define ... !!! ...  
Without Going Back To Earlier Lines ...  
When We Do RIGHT ...  
And ... RESPECT LIFE ... !!!!!  
Two Simple Words ...  
ENTER My Mind ...    
So As I Leave ...  
I'll Leave Behind ...  
Words Such As These ...  
These TWO .....  
.... " It's Nice ! " .....
Just a day of very cool, peaceful, and for the most part, pleasant vibes ....
Steve Page Feb 2022
Love is not nice.
‘Nice’ is soft and inoffensive
‘Nice’ is careful and non-assertive
‘Nice’ is easy and effects no change
Nice is cotton wool trying to soften the pain
but not stuffed tight, just resting on the surface
ready to be blown away or pressed
under a muddy boot of disinterest

‘Nice’ is a damp whisper
a mouse cowering in the corner
hoping you will blink and miss it
lest it attract your notice
lest it presume too much
and cause a whisker of offence

Love is not like that –

Love pushes in, quick and nimble
a hero with no mask, unasked
unexpected, dodging the turmoil
leaving nothing unsaid and little undone
in her pursuit of creating a counter-disruption

Love defies convention

Love carefully aims her weapons of choice
and advances relentless and regardless
of any and all obstacles in her way
Love perseveres all the love-long day

Love doesn’t delay

Love is gleeful for the chance of invasion
ready to disarm with expert compassion
with her regiments of patience
armed to the teeth with gracious
placing tanks of good faith on all fronts

Love confronts
Courage is her currency, kindness her language
trust and hope are her passports to lands long unexplored
happily wearing all-weather clothing
for any and all unexpected storms

Love transforms

Love weakens all defenses
and challenges all camouflaged pretenses
Love pours itself out to fill unhealed wounds
and on shrapnel-seeded battlefields
she - blooms

Love perfumes

Love is not 'nice'  
Love isn’t in this for the likes
Love bites
She’s a take-on-all-comers, undefeated delight
Love never bails from the fight
never fails, never takes flight

Love is nothing casual,
nothing incidental
Love is elemental
She is Avengers-Assemble, End-Game-level

So, don’t be nice
and I’ll say it twice
nice is a vice that will never suffice
And let me end by being more precise
follow Christ’s advice:
love one another
every day and every night
with all of your might
and do it in a way
that pushes
sometimes love is tough
Allie Dotson Feb 2021
Oh nice guy
nice guy
you have always done the right thing
always been there at the right time
and said the right line
oh nice guy
nice guy
no matter how many times I say no
you never go
I don't think you know
Oh nice guy
nice guy
I wish I could say yes
and that would end this whole mess
plus it would hurt me a lot less
oh nice guy
nice guy
please no more
I will leave you sore
My heart can't beat for yours because it is torn
Oh nice guy
nice guy
I'm not in love
its time to say goodbye
I used to say , yes it’s ok , don’t worry, no problem,  i am so sorry ....
It’s my heart, it’s a fire in the ice
                   Is that nice ??
Explain it with mathematics and science..
It doesn’t work , but try that twice !!
                 Why am  I nice ?
Silently, listen to my story ..
I never said to someone No
I follow them wherever they go
In the rainy weather even in the-snow
        Why always yes , why not
                       No ??

Being too nice is a door to hurt your soul
allowing anyone to enter and attack you Without control.

This is  my advice , don’t be too nice
Because you’ll pay the price ,
And it won’t suffice
This is my advice...
Be nice , but don’t be too nice ...
It’s about very personal experience..
Megan L Nov 2015
I live in a small town with nice people.

Nice community theater people.

Nice non-swearing churchgoing people.

Nice people who keep their mouths shut and their eyes closed.

Nice people who live in ticky tacky houses and sweep their front porches.

Nice people with children who send text messages and drive to nowhere in the middle of the night.

Nice high school teaching, comfortably living people.

Nice mothers-and-fathers people with bright voices and dark eyes.

Nice bored people.

I live in a small town with nice people.

But occasionally they all go momentarily mad.
Written on the night of 11/13/2015, after seeing my community theater's production of Mary Poppins.
Steve Page Aug 2020
Love is not nice.
‘Nice’ is soft and inoffensive
‘Nice’ is careful and non-assertive
‘Nice’ is easy and effects no change
she’s cotton wool trying to soften the pain
but not stuffed tight, just resting on the surface
ready to be blown away or pressed
under a muddy boot of disinterest

‘Nice’ is a damp whisper
a mouse cowering in the corner
hoping you will blink and miss her
lest she attract your notice
lest she presume too much
and cause a whisker of offence

Love is not like that – 

Love pushes in, quick and nimble
a hero with no mask, unasked
unexpected, dodging the turmoil
leaving nothing unsaid and little undone
in her pursuit of creating a counter-disruption 

Love defies convention

Love carefully aims her weapons of choice
and advances relentless and regardless
of any and all obstacles in her way
Love perseveres all the love-long day

Love doesn’t delay

Love is gleeful for the chance of invasion
ready to disarm with expert compassion
with her regiments of patience
armed to the teeth with gracious
placing tanks of good faith on all fronts

Love confronts

Courage is her currency, kindness her language
trust and hope are her passports to lands long unexplored
happily wearing all-weather clothing
for any and all unexpected storms

Love transforms 

Love weakens all defences
and challenges all camouflaged pretences
Love pours itself out to fill unhealed wounds
and on shrapnel-seeded battlefields
she - blooms

Love perfumes

Love is not 'nice'  
Love isn’t in this for the likes
Love bites
She’s a take-on-all-comers, undefeated delight
Love never bails from the fight
never fails, never takes flight

Love is nothing casual,
nothing incidental
This love is elemental
She is Avengers-Assemble, End-Game-level

So as the wise man known for his proverb-ials
might have said:

Rob and Polly

Don’t be nice
and I’ll say it twice
nice is a vice that will never suffice

So heed this scriptural advice
[Proverbs 3 - expanded version]

Let love and faithfulness never leave you
bind them both to you (whatever the price to you)

Sustain one another with mutual collaboration
and on a God-given foundation build up a reputation
for a love that,
okay, as the good book says
might be a poor reflection of perfection
but for now - what you two have become
is a fairly close representation
of Christ’s love for his bride, his church
and that should never be besmirched

so let God’s love rise to meet you
at each and every unwinding curve
because it is nothing less
than what both of you

Let me end by being more precise
follow Christ’s advice:
love one another
every day and every night
forsaking all others
with all of your might
and do it in a way
that pushes
on the occasion of the marriage of Rob and Polly
Daniel Regan Feb 2012
If nice guys finish last, then call me an *******. Im done being the nice guy, im done playing that role. Because society doesnt care if you can save the human race. All they seem to care about is stuffing their own face. With fast food, and expensive gifts, with cool gadgets and lavish trips. This world is selfish and does not care for you, so you might as well loose the nice guy attitude. Your friends may say they like your nice guy ways. But lets be honest, love and affection cant get you recognition and fame. Life is cold, life is bleak. Like having no paddles going up a muddy creak. Love is blind, so you will never find, that special someone, that someone to call mine. So why be nice, when no one cares. Why be nice, when life isnt fair. Why be nice, when no one sees you. Why be nice, when no one cares what you do. So call me and *******, call me a ****, call me a huge, monsterous *****. But dont call me the nice guy, you'll only make me sick. So here's some advice, if you want to get ahead in life. Forget about fairytale endings, forget about the lavish white weddings, forget about being nice and allways doing right. Cuz life ***** and blows, like a five dollar *****. So get use to those sores, cuz thats what lifes for. ******* you from behind, when you've been nothing but kind. Giving someone your heart, and getting nothing from start. Working your *** off for that spot, only to loose what you got. So **** it all, and **** my life. Get use to these phrases and get use your strifes. And get use to never being right. Cuz when life kicks in, you've already lost the fight!
Sarah Writes Feb 2014
Sometimes the ***** of my driveway is enough
To keep me locked up tight at home
My promises are mostly empty, mostly drunk
And later I plead sick or stuck or broken
Because loving things is hard
Each new time is like the last
An equation I cannot break or match
Whiskey spilled makes common ground
And everyone here is going to be sorry
Because loving things is hard

But it’s nice to be in love, it’s
Peaches in the summertime,
Apples in the fall
Sometimes I miss it all
Because it was all so god ******  nice
It was nice in his kitchen making coffee while he showered
And laughing wet-hair kisses in the bedroom
It was nice on the futon by the wood stove
Reading books while he was off in some basement playing music
And making love when he came home
Nice when played Birmingham, nice how he was shy
Nice too, when he played Shady Grove and I thought my heart would die
From the way he’d taken something that had been his before, and mine before
And hung it up in the air between us like it could be ours
Now that air is gone
And I never sing that song

Yes, it was nice, very nice, to be in love
But it is good, very good, to be free
Because I have places to go, and loving things is hard
I don’t like the way it pulls on all my strings, dragging them out of me,
Tying their ends to beds and tables and chairs,
Running them through guitars,
So that it hurts to leave
And the stroke of some nice man’s fingers can send vibrations all through me,
Touching everything
I don’t like the way I become more who I am with him
Than who I am with everything and everyone else, who I am by myself
It is nice to make coffee and love and songs
But it is good to be free,
Because loving things is hard
Keenan Akeem Jan 2013
Thinking, Pondering, Wondering
What’s wrong with me, am I too nice? Are my friend’s right?
For I heard this phrase for so long
Junior year to be exact.
Are you gay, you ****, bro are you straight?
(Is what I heard)
Are you crazy, **** them hoes
(Is what they said)
Go out and get that bread
It’s all coming back to me.
Too nice
Is what I’m characterized as
Never the one to go out and get it.
What you going to with it?
You gonna to hit that, tap that
Because if you don’t I surely will pull that cap back
In to reality
Snap, it’s all coming back to me.
See I’ve had my time of deception and deceit
For now I’m grown and just want to take a seat
Relax and think
Blind to see that special someone for me.
But, in this world there’s no room for that
All society wants you to do is have babies,
Be poor, struggling
Oh, that’s a class act.
But for me, I don’t belong
Others strung along like a puppeteer singing their favorite song
Bounce that ***, Twerk that
Is what our women are suppose to know
But, who is the one to show
All the beauty and potential they possess
Progress into women of success.
Too bad none of them will ever see that.
Most of them will be on their backs, thrusting
While the eyes of the Lord watching, as his child
Is no longer is his little girl.

Too Nice
Ponder at the fact that nice guys finish last
Where are the gentlemen, the ones that take women
Out on dates, but their afraid to actual settle down
Thinking I’ll look like a clown when my homies find out.
Sincerity and acknowledgment are things of the past.
Now days, saying ***** and *** is what’s going to get you past
In life, I learned that you can’t make everyone happy
But, if I can make most then that makes me happy.
Gratitude and simple thank you is all I ask
A little kerseys and small “how do” will do for I don’t ask for much

Friendship, Loyalty, and Respect

But, how can that get you so far, because in this world no one cares about
Your feelings.
Phssst, what were you thinking?
I was thinking that for once, just once nice guys wouldn’t finish last.
Be glad while you have me for who know how long I’m a stay
This poem reflects my personality and how I see the world through my eyes. I hope all that is reading this enjoys my work.

- thank you
Mykie Sep 2022
He's nice to me sometimes,
We smile at eachother in his car
He's nice to me sometimes,
Shared glances from afar
He's nice to me sometimes,
Driving me home late at night
He's nice to me sometimes,
Even though we tend to fight,
He's nice to me sometimes,
He can be so harsh and cold
He's nice to me sometimes
His words so uncontrolled
He's nice to me sometimes
Wanting me to go away
He's nice to me sometimes
I could talk to him all day
He's nice to me sometimes
I say to myself, you see
"He's nice to me. Sometimes..
But that's good enough for me."
Terry Collett Dec 2013
Someone special Della’s
mother told her. A Downs
with a lovely smile and
bright, slightly narrow eyes.

She had waited outside
the school grounds when
her mother drove up.

Sorry I’m late, her mother
said, got caught in the traffic.

Della frowned, her tongue
sitting on her lower lip.

Man said you sent him,
Della said. What man?
Man in a car. What man
in a car? Della looked at
her mother, puzzled.

Man in the car. What did
he say? Said you sent him
to pick me up. Called me
Dearie. But I’m Della.

Her mother got out of the
car and went and knelt
down beside her daughter.

You didn’t get in the car did you?
No he drove off fast when
Mrs Penbridge came over.

He said I was Dearie, but
I’m Della. Yes, you are. Not
Dearie. No not Dearie.

He smiled at me. You mustn’t
get in to a stranger’s car
unless I tell you it’s all right.

I didn’t get in. Good. He
drove off, Della said, lowering
her eyes to her new shoes.

He smiled. Yes, but that
doesn’t mean he was nice.

He seemed nice. Yes, but
men like that aren’t. Why?
Della looked at her mother.

Because he may have hurt you.
Why would he hurt me, I’m
special. Yes, you are special.

You are angry with me. No,
not with you. You’ve got
your angry voice. Not with
you. Seems angry with me.

Not you, the man. Why are
you angry with the man?
Because he may have taken
you away from me. Della
looked at her mother’s hair,
newly done. Where? Where
would he have taken me?

Away from me. Why?
Because he’s bad. Her
mother held Della to her
tightly. He didn’t look bad,
he had a nice smile. Nice
car, too. Blue. Nice blue.
Like a summer sky blue.

Never get in a stranger’s car.
Never. You are angry. Not
with you. Sounds angry.

But not with you. Not
with me? No, you are
special. Special. Yes.

Very special? Yes, very
special. Not to get in a
stranger’s car? No. Not in
a stranger’s car. I got in
your friend’s car the other day.

What friend? The man who
brings your groceries and
you and he talk and he makes
you laugh. Her mother stared.

When did you get in his car?
The other day. Why did you
get in his car? He said, you said.
Did he drive off with you? Yes.
The mother held Della out in
front of her. Where to? We
went to look at the ducks in
the pond. Why did you get
in the car? He said, you said.

But I didn’t tell him that.
He said, you said. Did he
touch you? Touch me? Did
he touch you anywhere?

He held my hand to go to
the ducks. Anywhere else?
He said I was special. You
are. Did he touch you anywhere?  
My hand. Anywhere else?

No. Just my hand to feed
the ducks. What happened
after you saw the ducks?

He said I was special. Where
did he drive you? I thought
Mrs Rice was going to pick
you up that day? I went
with your friend. Did he
touch you? He held my hand.

Anywhere else? Della shook
her head. He said I was pretty
and had nice legs. Her mother’s
heart thumped. Am I pretty?
Yes you are, but he shouldn’t
have said so. Why not? He
didn’t mean it nicely. Why?

Because he shouldn’t tell
you that. Why? Because he’s
no right to say you’re pretty.

You say I’m pretty. I love you.
He said I was pretty and had
nice legs. Did he touch your legs?
No he just looked at them.
Nice legs he said and nice eyes.

Have I got nice legs and eyes?
Yes you have but he shouldn’t
say so. You’re angry again.
Not with you. Seems like me.

It’s not. Seems like. I’m not.
Seems like. Never get in his
car again. Della looked at
the sky. I won’t. It looked like rain.
snarkysparkles Sep 2015
when i told people in my first block class at school, a science class, that my favorite movie was straight outta compton, they all laughed.
and i guess i understood why. im a little white girl that was wearing a skirt that day. okay, so thats nice.
i guess i cant like things because i live in a pretty nice neighborhood and im white and im a girl.
but guess what.
i like straight outta compton because i understand the people part of it. like oh god.
i used to love going to the movies because i could escape my reality, which ***** more than people know because i dont tell them things sometimes, but i havent enjoyed a movie in years because every reality in my life has completely taken over and defeated me.
but maybe i like straight outta compton so much because for the first time in years, i actually connected with something that felt real to me.
yeah ok, its just a movie.
but watching the movie, i got to meet these characters and they became my friends. i dont care about how lame that is.
this is a poetry site. look at all the angst. and my gosh, look at that fourth wall i just broke.
ice cube is my friend. ren is my friend. yella too. all my friends, and i watched them get shoved to the ground outside their own recording studio.
because they were black.
and sitting in the movie theatre seat in my nice neighborhood in my white skin, i cried.
i cried my eyes out, because those actors onscreen were telling me a story in the personas of these new friends of mine.
i cried when eazy found out he had aids. just when nwa was about to get back together.
it was like watching a personal potential victory slip right between my fingers. it felt so close.
and i watched his body shake in agony. eazy cried. he had months to live.
in my white skin in my nice movie seat in my nice neighborhood where ive never had to watch anyone die, i cried because in that moment, all of it was real to me.
you cant explain something like that, not even to your friends.
in my nice neighborhood where there arent streetwalkers and people doing coke and peoples houses getting rammed down by the cops, my friends dont want to listen to nwa because of all the cussing.
and i think, there is so much that you miss if you initially reject it because you dont like it, because you think that it hurts your character.
hear no evil, see no evil.
you dont want the cussing floating around in your head.
its bad. its sinful.
but my gosh, its only words.
i dont think that eazy wanted the doctors diagnosis in his head.
i dont think that he wanted to deal coke and get almost caught by the police. i think he wanted to stay in the safe neighborhood with me in the nice movie seats crying about some other character on the screen that had their dreams crushed and their life taken.
i dont think that ice cube wanted to be taken advantage of by his manager.
i dont think i would like that either.
i dont like that people think that my friend, ice cube, isnt as smart as the little white girl in her biotechnology class. people might look down on him because hes black, or because gangsta rap made him do it, or because he didnt come from the nice neighborhood with the movie theater that i was crying in because my friends were being beaten.
maybe im crazy for saying this, but....i think maybe the movies arent supposed to always entertain us or make political statements or educate us or wow us with light shows.
maybe theyre meant to give us new perspectives we dont get because we live in nice neighborhoods with our movie theaters and our friends nwa that dont get to live here because they came from compton and got thrown in jail because they used their right to freedom of speech or got aids and died.
my friends werent all good. they did drugs and abused women, and im not okay with that, but i love them anyway, yknow?
because theres just one type of folks. not real or fictional, not actors and audience, not black and white.
just folks.
just friends.
That Girl Oct 2012
She's just a girl in this big old world
Working hard and getting by
She's got so much going on with her
She doesn't have much time for guys
You like her. She doesn't even notice
You hang out. She thinks you're just a friend.

What can a nice guy do
To get a chance with you?

He holds open doors
He'll always lend a hand
You can have his seat on the bus
He'll stand
If there's ever a problem
He can give advice

He'll never be the one to make you cry
His company always helps to get you by
Can you even remember when he wasn't by your side?

And all of these things he'll do
Will he ever get a chance with you?

This is a shout out to the nice guys
The best guy friend who's always been there
This is a shout out to the nice guys
someday I hope you get a chance

She's always falling for the wrong ones
They break her heart in two
You know shed be treated like a queen
If she was ever with you

When you tell her she's beautiful
That she deserves so more
Shes smiles right through those tears
Maybe one day she'll admit that
Its been you all these years

This is a shout out to the nice guys
The best guy friend that's always been there
This is a shout out too the nice guys
Just wait you'll get your chance!
Matt Oct 2015
I was asked if I had

A "nice day"

It's a day

It's not nice or mean

******* idiot

Repeat, repeat, repeat

That's all a sixty something
Career homemaker can do

Just shut the f* up

I have told you before

I don't have nice days

Nice days are for idiots like you

I know you had a nice day

In front of the television

Running errands


Stupid idiot

That does not have a life

You can ask this idiot

To stop saying the same thing
Over and over

But she can't remember
She's too stupid
Too stupid to remember

Try a different word
Besides "nice"

Life is not "nice"
You ******* idiot

What is your IQ?
Does it even reach room temperature

Go look at your iphone

Check your email on your iphone
You know that phone does much more
Than provide emails

You can listen to podcasts
Learn about things you are interested in

But you won't do that

That's why you are the village idiot
I'm not being nice to get laid
I'm not being nice to get paid
I'm being nice because that's what I should be
A beautiful girl being nice to me
Doesn't mean she wants me
Ninety nine point nine percent of them don't
If she has a boyfriend, stealing her away I won't
If she wants to be my friend, let me meet her boyfriend too
I want people to know what I'm try to do
I'm not nice because I want something
I'm nice because I can.
If you have your doubt's I understand, but just know I won't reprimand
There won't be any flirty DMs
If any messages, you can monitor
Just so you can trust me
Phone is always empty unless its family and friends
Maybe a single lady
Nothing shady
Don't get it twisted
I see plenty of fine women
But as soon as I see they have boyfriends or I find out they do
I note in my mind that they're off limits and friendship shall remain
Or flirting, I will definitely refrain
Love I'd be happy to obtain
But I know in my brain
That I'm nice
Because that's who I want to be.
People mistaken my kindness way too often. Some people think I'm trying to get in a girl's pants by being nice and nothing makes me more angry.
Oliver Philip Apr 2019
If you can’t say something nice. Say nothing.
If you can’t say something nice  . Say nothing.
Fortunately I’ve been told I’ve a silver tongue

You would not believe me if I told you but
Only people with silver tongues never offend
Usually they are clever enough to be kind

Clever in the way they talk , the right words
Are coming out of their beautiful mouths
Now I have been told I have a beautiful mouth
That was long ago and I think that man lied

See he was the one who taught Me English
And he was just saying this to be nice
Yes he said “If you can’t say anything nice”

Say nothing. So I said nothing n I had lots Say.
Only I was inhibited not saying anything nice
My phobia grew so I learnt poetry by heart
Eventually speaking in only pure rhyme
The people could see I was different
Having no malice against anyone at all.
I never would gossip, never sand-bag anyone
Never take part in character assassination
Give false witness, commit perjury or lie

No I would say nothing if it were not nice.
I found that if I only said the good things
Comfort them when the were feeling down
Eventually they thought that I was a liar.

See a liar needs everyone else to be truthful
And I could only say nice things or nothing
You know how they told you that if you did

Nothing , the devil would make work for you
Or you would be given a silver tongue
Then with a silver tongue you’d be a poet.
Having learnt all those poems and been nice
I wandered the earth reciting poems by heart
Now my days are filled with guiding God.
God then inspires all poets to write only in
                PRAISE. With kind regards.

Written by Philip.
November 23rd 2018.
If you can’t say something nice say nothing
esperanza torres Jul 2016
Someone asked me why was I so nice?
Why did I greet people with a smile?
Why didn't I reply to a nasty comment with an equally nasty comment?

At first I was taken aback with the line of questions.
I couldn't quite grasp the shock in their voice.
Why was being nice such a novelty?

And then it hit me!
Niceness isn't expected anymore,
Compliments are never given anymore without expecting something in return,
Smiles are nonexistent,
And kindness is a thing of the past.

Why am I nice?
In a world full of hate,
Full of fear,
Full of ugliness,
Why am I nice?

Why do I smile at strangers?
In a world where the mean excel,
Where the bullies rule,
Where being bad is applauded,
Why do I still smile at strangers?

Why do I compliment my peers?
In a place where putting people down is winning,
Where we try to compete for beauty,
Where calling someone beautiful or handsome is considered "flirting",
Why do I compliment my peers everyday?

Why don't I reply with hurtful replies when offended?
In an environment where I'm supposed to curse at a peer for doing the same,
Where I'm supposed to yell when being yelled at,
Where I'm supposed to show how hard I am in a very hard world.
Why don't I reply with hurtful words?

It's very simple,
I smile because you don't know who needs to see a smile,
I compliment because i believe that everyone is beautiful,
I'm not hurtful because I know how it feels to be injured with words,
And most importantly,
I'm nice because this world needs a light,
It needs kind words and gestures.
I don't want to feel hate, remorse, or coldness.
I need to stay soft for those who need a soft place to land.

This is why I'm "nice".

-Espe T.
I like talking to people
Because other people are nice
I don't really like talking to you
Because you used to be nice,
And now you're not.  I don't know why.

But I don't feel nice when I talk to you,
I feel like I'm not being nice to you,
And I don't like that feeling.
Should I stop talking to you?

You make me think of things I have tried to forget for a long time
And I don't like thinking of things again,
Because I thought I had made a decision.
But you bring back the doubts I used to have all the time.
I lived with those doubts.  
They keep me from being happy all the time,
And I don't like that.

I don't know what there is that you can do to change things,
But if you could be nice to me, that would make me feel better about talking to you.
Then, maybe we could come to an understanding.
But I don't understand you, and you don't understand me.

I won't go through the hundreds of thoughts I've had about you,
Because you probably don't want to hear them anyway.
I just wish you were someone I'd never known,
And that I could meet you for the first time
And that we could be simple friends.
We messed that up before by being more than friends,
And now I feel like we are so much less than friends.

I wish we could be nice to each other.
I wish it wasn't my fault, or your fault, or life's fault.
I wish I knew what to do about you.
I hope you're okay, and that I am nice to you, even when I don't feel like it.
I hope you don't think unkind things about me.
I can't help it, I guess.  But I can hope.

And I hope you remember me.
JJ Hutton Oct 2018
There he waits,
the Nice Guy,
looking academic
and out of reach
in his tweed.

There's something
feminine in the way
he crosses his legs,
draping right over left in the fainting chair.

There you are, across from
him, at this party your
roommate dragged you to.
And you ask how he is.

He ushers you to his chair.
Sit down, sit down. I insist.
You know, he says. Most people
would tell you they're good or just fine.

The Nice Guy reassures you he is
not most people. He's a Nice Guy;
he's down with feminism, waves
One through Three.

He has a dog named Atticus.
They frequent open-air bars
in the summer.

He's a Nice Guy, an old soul,
someone who should have been
a young man in the 60s.

God, he has so many female friends
he tells you, leaning on the banister,
sipping on Glenfiddich.

You wonder how he is. This was your question.

He has so many female friends. Notice
how I'm stressing the word friends, he says.

I do, you say.

He's a Nice Guy and all these female friends
they're all the same. They love the bad boys,
the rich snobs, the ******* jocks.

I don't, you say.

Oh, sure you do, he Nice Guy-splains to you.
And there's a golden light coming from the chandelier
behind him, and he looks so holy and pure as he tells
you how one day Tara, Sam, Whitney, and Amber
will wake the **** up and realize just what they're missing.

But by then, this Nice Guy will have rambled on. He'll become
someone's second husband. A Good Woman will see how precious, how rare this Nice Guy truly is.

Okay, you say.

Prove me wrong, the Nice Guy says. He leans in closer.
You can smell the scotch. Prove me wrong.
CC Capie Sep 2011
been too hot for too long,
feeling too nice,
it feels wrong.

cause i feel used
and bruised
and confused.

and the great expectations turn to feelings that came and went,
too fast, too soon.
drop them in the water and watch them drift off to the moon.
watch them drift into the hands of some desperate sailor,
he was reaching for the stars, but accepted an inferior form who held you and squeezed you so ******* fast that you missed her name, but you know her past.

desperate to please her, desperate not to fail her,

but little does he know that the weight he keeps on his hope will drown him in shallow waters.
and he will drown in her shallow waters
and he will drown in her shallow waters.

yea I've seen a few men drown in her shallow waters.
I've seen their love taken for granted,
held up high among the stars,
but dropped down among the inferior forms that ensnare desperate lovers looking for affection at low heights, accepting inferior forms on late nights
leading to short days.
taking away what you have saved away and left alone to sit and wait until the next lonely desperate wind blows her your way.
blows your arms wide open and your mind astray as her siren call keeps you excited in dismay
that something so beautiful could love you and hold you so ******* fast.
it hit you so ******* fast,
hit you with the weight of a train
like a bullet through your brain.
you might as well be dead because before she leaves,
your life she will drain,
your hope and love she will maim.
because inside her heart is an empty box that does contain love and trust,
it is a vacuum void that destroys anything light and free and strangles it into ******* dust

and thinking back on it,
what the **** do I do?
its broken,
yes, take this as a token of my appreciation.
I don't know if any of this mattered,

but it felt nice drifting away at night to your heart beat with your breath across my bare chest with the moonlight from my window casting a pale shadow on your beautiful breast.
yea I felt pretty safe,
preserved in a moment that I carried with me a few days after those hours we spent,
after those precious ounces of my soul you swallowed and spent,
after we ****** in my bed and after you gave me head, it was all nice,
it was all nice and I think I did love you,
at night in the pale light from the moon in my room.
on my chair a piece of your hair I found a few months later and I sighed and thought of you.
I wondered what you were doing at that exact moment in time.
wondering if you ever found my shirt in your car.
wondering if you knew it was mine.
hoping that you still put it on from time to time to pretend that I was holding you,
cause it was all nice.
it was all nice.
it was all nice.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex


She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.

A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.


The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.


Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.


A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.

Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.


The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.

Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.


I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.

My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.

A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.

My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.


I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.


It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three

This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.

He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said


People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.


she would take their money by managing them.


Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,


Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.


We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,



There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then

It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.


A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.


She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.

She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.


She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect




But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”


I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called


and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.


Her prison number was


which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.


Never have *** on the first date.


There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.

“Allô oui,”

It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.

She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!


She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to



to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.

My Swans.

It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was



and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.


The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all

Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,




There was a lot to do.

Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,


certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.

You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.

It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”


A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said


Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.

I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.

Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.


She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.

That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.

It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say


Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.

There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be


Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.

I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or



on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?


They paid.


Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,


a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.


this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.


For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,


It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.


I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.


There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all


She will take many state secrets with her.


I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people




And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.


I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you


She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!

Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.

We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.

I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.


That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.


To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.

Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.

By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they



and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.

They’d order women up like pizza.

Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.


Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.

The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.


What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’


Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.

It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.

To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.


She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.

She was, how can I say it,


When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.


I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.

If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.


I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.

I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn

She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.

Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.

Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.


You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business


I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.

I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!


Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!


Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.

I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.


The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.

I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.

Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.


I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.

Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?

Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.

That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.


I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.

He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.


I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.

I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.


Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.


She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.


No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.

We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.


The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.


If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it


if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.

She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,


and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
L A Lamb Sep 2014
They call me crazy: I guess it’s in my right. I’d say I parallel Plath and Dickinson in their poetic plight. It’s a part of life. It’s something I’ve always known. And this holiday season shows how my disdain has grown for lies; I even hate the Christmas lights. I’m a Grinch-like *****. I won’t pretend to love consumerism, plastered-smiles of family—I lose my sanity every night there’s a holiday party. I sneak multiple glasses of wine. I text my lovers while my parents laugh at boring stories my relatives share. I am the coal of children’s stockings. I am the hair in the drain of the virtuous people showering off Christmas cocktails.

I was raised to be scared. I was raised to believe magic. It was so ******* tragic when I found out Santa was a lie. I held him in such high regard, the accord that I’d get some kind of reward if I was always nice. These terms included rejecting all vice and feeling faith in the stillness that even mice couldn’t be heard. I wouldn’t ever share a word of any sadness or doubt and this shutting of my mouth would promise prizes. Santa was my savior, my lord. I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that he was a fraud, but even worse—my parents were. My mother was a Mary. I couldn’t see her having *** as a means to create me. She was the wholesome, proper etiquette of French perspective and Muslim heritage. Santa was a separate thing. Santa was my father’s way, his mechanisms and faults that taught us to be loyal kids. I prayed., I prayed. I prayed to a mystical man who’d promise me goodness and accept me for myself, only if I followed his guidelines. I could be rewarded later, later, and my dreams on Christmas Eve of this anticipation would keep me awake and wondering: “sleep, sleep” they said, so I’d lay my head on my pillow and think of marshmallows and wrappings and peppermint and cookies and milk. “Santa will love my favors,” I thought. “Just be a nice girl and he’ll provide all you want in exchange for your virtue and goodness. Toys and family are all you need to be happy.” I accepted this notion, along with wine and bread and didn’t question the thoughts in my head that asked for a better understanding.

I prayed. “Dear Santa, I want a pony,” all the little girls said. Who would know in reality how much I’d dread cleaning up **** and taking care of it like a child or sacred possession? I wanted something to ride, to love. “Don’t question Santa—he lives above in the North Pole. If you asked him he’s bring a whole bag of presents. His presence will bless you if you stay a good girl and twirl in nice dresses and count all your blessings.” I wondered about all children in the world. “Well how can he fly all around the world at night and serve everyone? How does Santa know who deserves any one certain present?” “It’s not a competition—just be a good girl and don’t worry your little head about the mechanics of Santa’s magic: get good grades in school and listen to the authoritative teacher who expects you to learns but scolds you for asking questions. Listen, but don’t be heard. Believe our word that Santa’s coming to make your life better. Just be a good girl.”

I remember stacking cookies on a plate and leaving milk. The last time I might’ve been nine and I felt such guilt for not having them fresh-baked but leaving Chips-Ahoy! I went to bed but my brother’s ploy to catch Santa in the act—to prove for a fact that he existed—persisted beyond my parents answers and later went to destroy my fantasies of merriment. They call me crazy, but I’m not the one who lies. I found out later that Santa was a disguise. From sitting on the lap of every man who wore a hat and went to pat my thigh after asking for a bicycle, I learned Christmas was a cruel cycle of lies. I thought beyond it and wondered why my parents would deny the fiction they instilled. Did God advocate this kind of ignorance towards a child? Three years before I found out about Santa I learned about life and knew about death and realized one day my parents would die. I cried every night. I wondered when it would happen and the thought that no particular circumstance could rob their life made me anxious inside.

“What’s beyond life?” I’d wonder, in my little girl way, and my parents would reassure me to chase those thoughts away with Barbies and rainbows and sunshine. “Everyone has their time. There’s very little chance I’ll die tomorrow.” Tomorrow would pass and they’d still be alive but I’d ask about the day after and they’d chide me without providing answers. “How did Mary give birth?” asked the thirteen-year old me. I knew enough about biology to wonder how Santa and Jesus combined to make “merry”—a holiday of lies.

Adults despised my young eager mind and talked about a bible, a fairy-tale of St. Nicolas who once did this thing where he delivered socks to houses. I was wrong for my investigations and grown-ups had no hesitations in telling me so. “I don’t know,” they’d say, but just have faith and all will be okay. I knew about the Santa hoax so I figured Allah and God were also a joke I was too young to understand. Christian neighbors would reprimand my efforts and tell me about hell—saying they would show me the way and take me away if I went to church with them on Sundays. They were so nice and so threatening. “(Your Muslim friend is crazy but we can sway her back to normalcy). Would you like to try some bacon?”

Maybe I was crazy. I fetishized naught and nice later in life and I preferred the role of naughty. I thought if someone taught me a lesson I could get some answers in exchange for being bad. All I came up with was touching in the private parts with a warning “keep your mouth shut unless you want to be put up for adoption.” My mother was away. “Be grateful for your step-dad—that dead-beat Franklin isn’t the one filling your stockings.” I couldn’t endure talking because my silence was the exchange for “stuff”. Merry Christmas indeed—when mom was away we celebrate with shots of peppermint schnapps. “Do you remember those days?” I’d ask my siblings. “No-but I don’t really want to.” I wanted to ask “Does it haunt you in the same way?”

Mother was away. My siblings were estranged. I had no one to talk to so I used my own gift to make new friends. “Cute,” they’d call me, right as I was hitting puberty. “I thought you were older—when’s your birthday?” “Several weeks before the holiday,” I’d say. I’d find a boy with a nice sitting-lap and I’d talk about all the crap I couldn’t share otherwise. They’d sometimes stroke my thighs while they pretended to listen. I’d look in their eyes and see irises glisten but I didn’t know what I thought was trust was the human condition—a sin called lust. I wanted someone nice to provide me with goodness, but in my heart I knew that naughtiness earned the ultimate prize. I grew to despise the accustomed way men would lie and top of me and sweat out their secrets while robbing my thighs. I went with it anyway. You deal with this kind of celebration during the holiday and you don’t think twice about the lies—just do your best to be nice. I was nice in so many ways. They called me crazy.
Mitchell Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
Prodigy May 2015
She seems nice.
If you’re into one word responses,
and silent, bored stares.

She seems nice.
If you’re into lackluster smiles
and unenthusiastic vibes.

She seems nice.
If you’re into rants and complaints,
and acerbic comments.

She seems nice.
If you’re into rolled eyes,
and, “You’re not funny,” replies.

She seems nice.
If you’re into judgmental glances,
and not taking chances.

She seems nice.
If you’re into insecure hand holding,
and constant reinforcement.

She seems nice.
If you’re into that.

— The End —