My Mother Took Me to Hooker Central

Filed under : Childhood Stories, Clean Stories

Story 4 of 365

Est. Reading Time 4 minutes

This is a story I’ve told bits of over the years, but on Mother’s Day 2014 I was doing a show in Reno and decided to tell it onstage. Below, you can hear the audio (which is my suggestion, cause it sounds better than it reads), or you can read the transcript below. The audio is about 5 mins long.

quick note : this story has some exaggeration for the purpose of stage performance. Normally, I try to keep my stories as non-fiction as I can recall, so this one will read a bit weird.

 

I’m a big fan of my mom. She worked a lot when I was growing up. My dad left when I was 10, so my mom was left with two kids… on a teacher’s salary. She worked 4 jobs, and on the weekends she’d teach arts & crafts classes, and in the summer she’d help run a youth theatre camp. She was a very busy woman.

What I didn’t realize as a kid, but I realize now as an adult (who has bills of his own) : when you’ve got two little brats in the house that are whining about things they don’t have, I gotta feel like that grates on you. You’re working your fingers through the bone to provide a home. In the suburbs, mind you. We didn’t live in a 1-bedroom in the ghetto or anything like “share your bed! sleep in shifts!”. No, we each had our own bedroom.

When we would whine “hey, we didn’t get 1000 things for christmas!” – she’d get very angry. And her way of dealing with it was to threaten to take us to Van Buren. I was raised in Phoenix, and Van Buren was the worst street in all of Phoenix. At 10 years old, I knew that if I wanted a hooker – I could go to Van Buren.

So, what she would do is drive us to Van Buren, into the thick of it, point out all the things she wanted us to note. “Do you see? People in the streets. Do you see? Look at the houses, falling apart. Do you see? This kid’s riding a bike with NO wheels. Do you see?”. Middle of the day, she would do this to us. And we’d play along “ohh sure, it’s quite miserable. Can we go home now? To where we have air conditioning, and.. like all the things we complain about not having enough of?”

One night, she’d had it. It came to a head. She took us to Van Buren at 10pm on a Tuesday night. When we got there, she made a threat she’d made many times before : “Why don’t you get out and just.. walk around? See the neighborhood. See what their lives are like”.

I decided to call her bluff. “Okay. Let me out. I’m 12. I got this”. She gave me $1. She said “there’s a bus at the end of the street that comes every 30 minutes. It’ll take you home. I’ll see you then”.

I got out of the car, saw her car go around the corner and… I’m pretty sure I shit myself. I saw people sleeping in the middle of the street. I realized “oh wow! this is NOT a good place to be”. I watched a lot of horror movies as a kid, I was pretty sure they weren’t sleeping. If I get close enough… they’re gonna stab me!

I looked down the road and the distance from where I was standing to where this “bus” was going to come may as well have been in another country. From where I was, the path was just lined with evil. Maybe knives would fly through the air and there’d be crackheads shootin’ their guns and yelling  “HEY KID! C’MERE!”. I don’t know!

For some reason, I decided to go down a side street. Just a bit. I don’t recall how long I was on the street, how far I walked – I might’ve just been walking around in a circle forever. I don’t remember. But I heard a loud voice yell “GIT ON OUTTA HEYAH” and.. I got on outta there. Back to the main street. Van Buren, again.

I thought.. “this really sucks. that bus isn’t here yet. Even if it suddenly showed up.. I don’t know if I could run fast enough to catch it in time…” and I was frightened. I had been out on the worst street in my city for.. forever at this point.

Just then, my mom pulled up in her car. I got in and said “you’re a crazy person! this is no place for a 12 year old! you were gonna make me take a BUS at … what, 10pm on a TUESDAY NIGHT?”, she interrupted and said..

“Mitcz, the bus doesn’t run this late and it wouldn’t take you all the way back to our home anyway. I was parked at the end of the street the whole time, watching. You were gone for 2 minutes“.

Now.. the lesson I was supposed to learn was to appreciate what I have. Fine. BUT the lesson I actually learned, and I bestow upon you now, is this : never call your mother’s bluff. They put up with a lot of shit raising you, and they don’t play games.