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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just How Much Booze Do You Have, Anyway?; or No Thanks, I Can Do Better

I’ve lived in a number of small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I’m here to tell ya: The rumors are true, particularly in Wisconsin, where unsuspecting tourists are turned into jerky and their clothes sold at thrift stores.

I moved to Wisconsin Rapids in the early ‘90s. Fresh out of school and clutching my newly earned Fabulous Court Reporting Skillz Degree, I found myself doing per diem work in central Wisconsin.

One thing I had noticed in my move from Minneapolis to Wisconsin Rapids was the change in societal attitude. Minneapolis is a rather liberal town, an open town. I missed that. Wisconsin Rapids – and forgive me, perhaps it has changed since I lived there? – was full, according to what I was seeing in the courts and in the bars, of domestic violence, child abuse, drunk driving, and rape.

I did not fit in. It may have been the fact that I wore skirts and heels. It may have been that I did not have a mullet. It may have been the lipstick and mascara; but I heard, more than once, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

It showed.

Other than the police officer who stalked me for the last half of the year I was there, I had made only one friend. Angel, her name was; and I was invited one night to her house for a night of drinking and games. I was very much into games at the time: Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Yahtzee. I hadn’t been out since moving there and was really looking forward to meeting some people.

I was lonely.

I dressed up, in the fashion of the day, put on my big gold hoops and my lipstick and walked the six blocks to her house.

I knocked on the door; and from the looks of things, they had started without me.

The party, it appeared, would consist of me, Angel, and her husband.

Angel was a quiet, heavy young woman with an unfortunate perm. Her husband was quite attractive and should’ve been more fun to talk to, but there was something in the way he looked at me that put me on guard.

“Wow,” he says. “You look great.  Doesn't she look great, Ang?”

“Thanks,” I say.

He nudges Angel, an elbow to the ribs, and she nods.

One gets the impression that they feel this is subtle.

She takes my arm. “Let me show you around the place,” she hiccups.

It is a two-bedroom duplex, and honestly, you can see it all from the doorway. Nevertheless, we look in on the baby, already asleep; give a passing nod to the dining room/living room; and end up sitting on the foot of the bed in the master bedroom. We sit next to each other and she reaches out and touches my hair. At this point in my life, it hangs just short of my waist, and it's not unusual that she would do this.

“We got a friend in porn movies,” she blurts.

“Yeah?” I had tried watching porn once but came away from it thinking “well, who can't do that?” and never gave it another thought. Not my thing. “That’s weird.”

“We knew her in high school. She went to Chicago and next thing you know we see her in a porno!”

“Well don’t that beat all,” I say flatly. The direction of this conversation is getting on my nerves.

Angel redirects. “How long you been in Rapids?”

I sigh.  “Four months,” I say. “It’s a tough town to break into. Very insular. This is the first time I’ve been out in a long time.”

“Yeah?” she says. “So hey, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“You know anything about threesomes?”

My heart stops momentarily as the distant wail of sirens is heard. The squat, fur-hatted ancestors in my head sit upright and reach for their weapons.  “What?”

“You know: threesomes. Sex?”

I frown, angry. Four months in the house, four months with no friends, no boyfriend, no phone calls, three TV stations, no VCR, and I finally get invited to a party and it’s me, a court employee I've had lunch with twice, and her husband.

“My husband,” she prattles on, “thinks you’re cute. I mean, we figure, you being from the big city and all…”

Did she --? Did she really just say you being from the big city and all? Hey! Who’s the gal with a friend in the porn industry?

There is a pause as my brain slides, like a large, coddled egg, from one edge of my skull to the other.

I get my bearings.

“I think,"  I say quietly, "that if you’re really interested in such a thing that your best course of action would be to place an ad in an independent newspaper and see who answers.”

Suddenly I am tired.

I stand up. “I totally forgot that I have company coming tonight, but I have to go.” I don’t turn around as I walk through the bedroom door and into the hallway.  I speak over my shoulder to her.  “I’ll see you next time I’m in the courthouse.”


I never did get the hang of Central Wisconsin.

41 comments:

Daisy said...

I'm speechless! Glad you escaped and even have another story to tell.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! Bummer. It's more usual to run into porn when you're a small-town girl in the city for the first time. But being from the big city and all, you may not have known? Still, nice to be recognised as cute! Indigo

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Wow!! That's all I got. Wow!!

esbboston said...

You wouldn't believe the number of times I have had the same eXact, or rather eXXXact thing happen to me!

(If you guessed the number zero then you are correct.)

Linda O'Connell said...

Well that proves it, the gal who commented on my blog today is not from Wisconsin. She made me hoot as loud as you did today, Pearl. Have a great week city girl!

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

Needless to say, the situation gets our attention. But what really grabbed me is the way you told the story! I was pulled in right away with, "unsuspecting tourists are turned into jerky..." :-D
You have put a light, descriptive hand on a not-so-light situation. Bravo!

Lazarus said...

For the sake of producing this blog post, I'm glad you lived in Wisco for a year! (Although I'm also glad that they didn't try to drug you or forcibly restrain you ...) Always entertaining posts Pearl!

Teresa Evangeline said...

Let me tell ya, small towns in Minnesota and small towns in Wisconsin have a lot in common.... historically speaking.

Lakeside bars in the summer were once ripe with opportunity. The advantages of threesomes are grossly exaggerated. From what I've heard.

StephanieC said...

That's truly, awfully uncomfortable.

Thank goodness the husband didn't try to block you in the room or slip you anything.

I was propositioned while naked at the spa. It was sooo awkward, but instead of being assertive, I was just feeling weird.

Chalk it up to "big city livin'" I guess.

Sorry you went through that. AND a stalker. Geesh.

Joanne said...

Much of Wisconsin hasn't reevaluated itself since statehood was awarded, but these two take the inbred award.

jenny_o said...

Scary stuff. I'm glad you had those ancestors in your head helping you out with the internal alarms and external exiting.

It's painful to think of how many people must live that way, though, with no better example and, as Joanne pointed out above, no better genetic material.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Holy crap! (a good Wisc. expletive)
I work in a courthouse. Live in a small town. Didn't know about this.
Btw, the incest, domestic violence, drinking and driving? They are still going on out here.......if you don't have threesomes, what else is there after all?

fishducky said...

I just COULD NOT make a connection with this post--being 77, I'm pretty much limited to onesomes!

Shelly said...

Remind me never to visit small town Wisconsin. Glad you made it out unscathed!

mrwriteon said...

Hightailing was the best thing you could have done. How creepy.

Macy said...

Big hugs to your old time self Pearl!

Strikes Wisconsin off her to do list...

Laurel's Quill said...

Gross...really gross.

Dan said...

errr..ummm...hmmm...that reminds me of a time when i was a young cub and was....oh this is public isnt it?

Val said...

I am a bit shocked. And that's coming from a gal who was once propositioned, on separate occasions, by both halves of a lesbian couple. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Well...except for the infidelity part.

Leenie said...

Well, turning unsuspecting tourists into jerky sounds much more practical that sending them through the wood chipper. Either way I'd say you got off easy.

The Elephant's Child said...

That poor sad woman. From the very little you shared Ang looked as if her husband called the shots.

David L Macaulay said...

OMG - good post - there were a couple at a paper I worked for who were into that kind of thing. They were geeky and never spoke to anyone kinda shocking - I do always wonder at the considerable number of serial killers from rural Wisconsin.

Eva Gallant said...

OMG! Glad you made your escape safely!

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

Bloody Hell what goes through the heads of some people, it is good that you where able to just leave without any problem.......

Gigi said...

You just never know about folks; do you?

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

The sleeping baby...in the next room.... My skin is crawling. Oh Pearl, you have the best stories. So glad you lived to tell them all.
Rosemary

Pat Tillett said...

I'm thinking that maybe you weren't the first "friend" she brought home for her husband.

HermanTurnip said...

The wife is from Wisconsin. Whenever we go back to visit her parents I feel completely out of place as well. It's as if Smallville exploded in the upper atmosphere, populating the entire state with small Mayville towns each quiet, unassuming, and filled with all kinds of silent horrors. Yep, small towns are not the thing for me.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Do you think that somewhere in Wisconsin (or southern California) there's a middle-aged couple sitting on a couch, reminiscing .. he's still kinda handsome; she's got a new unfortunate hairstyle ... "hey Ang, remember the one that got away?"

And Ang sighs yeah, "that little Pearl was a looker."

Thank goodness their friend in The Industry paid them a visit soon after Pearl walked out. Bimbi found them jobs and now all three are big movie stars.

--------------

OH NO is what i just wrote ... fan fiction?

W.C.Camp said...

Honestly I am impressed how well you handled that awkward situation. Bravo to you. W.C.C.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl,surprising, isn't it. You are kind of cute, after all, no wonder those weird 'people' had ideas. Glad you escaped...You did well! ":)

River said...

Oh. Ick! Glad you got out of that.

the walking man said...

Life is full of odd and interesting events and situations one spends three quarters of extricating themselves from.

Tom G. said...

You know, given the fact that they were looking for a human for their threesome, instead of a farm animal, I think you'd have to call these progressive Wisconites.

Amy said...

Not to worry, I'm sure they have come along with the times and switched from deviant sexual acts to manufacturing Meth. It's the Wisconsin way.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Yeah, that's a western side of the state kind of thing. Us eastenders don't swing that way so much.

Linda Sue said...

EEEEK!
Oh and by the way, would you like to come to my little party on thursday evening, say around bedtime?

True Mama said...

Just...wow. I live in Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee, and sometimes I think, "Wouldn't it be nice to live in the country?" But maybe not so much.

Rita said...

I lived in Green Bay and in Menomonie and never got invited to threesomes--LOL! But then I didn't wear lipstick and earring and skirts. ;)

Jocelyn said...

It's wrong that I was totally hoping that was how this story was going to go, right?

Best effing line of them all: "The squat, fur-hatted ancestors in my head sit upright and reach for their weapons."

Susan in the Boonies said...

First: I laughed out loud.
Second? My favorite line? I loved how your brain slid like a coddled egg from one side of your skull to the other.

The dull disconnected connection.

Oh.

So horrifyingly funny!