My Mother Was a Prostitute

Three couples were taking a long trip together in a wagon and Bob said, “The house of prostitution that she worked in had a sign out front that read, ‘Come in and take a look around and see the treasures that we have to offer.’  Sailors and merchants would all frequent the Pleasure House, where my mom worked.  The Pleasure House usually had around 20 girls working there on any given day.  There was a communal bath where groups of people could be naked together.  Customers would come into the display room where they would look the girls over, and if they liked what they saw, then they would choose a girl and take her with him to one of the working rooms or the communal bath area.

These prostitutes had to work 20 out of every 28 days, and they could take the other eight days off whenever they wanted, but they were not allowed to work during their menstrual cycle, so that is when most of them took off.  They each had a quota of getting at least two customers every day and if they did not get the minimum of 40 customers within this 20-day work interval, they would be asked to leave the house.  The prostitution house charged every customer $50 for intercourse with the girls.  The girls had to pay Jezebel the owner and madam $1600 every 28 days, for being allowed to work there.  If they made their quota, they would get a profit of $400.  If they exceeded their quota, then they would make more money.  The girls always took great care of themselves, so they were able to attract more customers, which meant more money for them.  While they were working, their room and food was free, so if the girls were wise with their money and they were attractive, they could do very well.

My mother worked out a deal with Jezebel, so she could have her own private room for both of us, even on her days off.  My mother was willing to please her customers in ways that the other girls would not do and she knew how to make all the men happy.  Many of the other girls that worked there regarded oral sex as being taboo, but this never bothered my mom.  My mother had many married men as repeat customers, who felt intercourse would be cheating on their wives.  She was able to give these men something that their wives found distasteful.  She would receive twenty bucks for this special service.  She had to pay Jezebel twelve bucks, so she was able to keep eight.  Most of the men would be done in less than five minutes.

Susanna turned around and said, “I have never done that, have you girls ever pleased your men that way?”  Martha said, “Well what happens between Bob and I is private, but since this is such a long journey that we are taking together, to answer your question, yes I have.  I enjoy giving it almost as much as Bob enjoys getting it, especially during my menstrual cycle.  A married couple can kiss any body part that they desire, as God does not say that it is a sin for a husband and wife to express their love for each other in ways besides having intercourse.  God created men and women differently, so they could love one another and He gave our bodies sensations, because He intended husbands and wives to be loving, sensuous, joyful, creative and full of pleasure.  In the Song of Solomon, the lovers enjoy touching, tasting, eating and drinking each other’s bodies.  You should try doing it sometime, as I am sure Leon might enjoy it.

Susanna said, “I will learn how to do this and I will become good at, as I don’t want my man going to a prostitute, while I am still able to please him.”  Ruth said, “I just got this picture in my brain of Susanna’s head bobbing up and down on Leon.  There is something that we forgot to talk about.  We are all just starting out on our honeymoons and all this talk about sex is making me get a little bit aroused.  Evan and I are not used to public displays of affection, we don’t have a problem kissing in front of other people and I want to be a dutiful wife, but I do have my modesty, so perhaps we should all come to some kind of agreement on how we will be able to enjoy sex and romance on this journey that we are taking together.

Evan said, “There is a saying, when in Rome do as the Romans.  We are all adults and it will be torture for me to have to spend this whole trip, not being able to be intimate with my wife, in fear that you guys might see or hear us.  I am not saying that we should start worshiping the Roman gods, but we will have to adapt ourselves to the customs in the different places that we visit and behave as those around us do.  We have a long road ahead of us, so we need to be tolerant of each other and also learn to loosen up, so we can enjoy our honeymoons.”

Written for Fandango’s February Expressions FFE Daily Adage – When in Rome do as the Romans do.

A Bottle and a Girl Who’s Just Fourteen

‘Mexicali Blues’ is a song from Bob Weir’s 1972 Ace solo album that, like the rest of the material on that record, was de facto by the Grateful Dead.  It appears on the 1974 Skeletons from the Closet and The Best of Grateful Dead compilation and the Grateful Dead played this song 433 times in concert, making it their thirteenth most popular song.  ‘Mexicali Blues’ was written by Bob Weir and lyricist John Perry Barlow and this was the first songwriting collaboration for Weir and Barlow.  Barlow said that Weir had an idea for a cowboy song and he asked Barlow to write the lyrics after Robert Hunter declined.  Weir would soon switch to using Barlow rather than Hunter for the bulk of his songwriting.  The song is about a cowboy who took a trip to Mexico and while he was there, he did some crazy things.  The cowboy had a three days ride from Bakersfield and when he arrives in Mexicali, he meets a girl named Billie Jean.  He falls under her spell, and she tells him to shoot this stranger.  She says that the stranger will take her away unless he uses his gun to prevent it.

This song deals with sex, violence, and money and in it a beautiful girl that just came into town takes the cowboy up to her room and lets him know that he can do anything he chooses.  The woman is a fourteen-year-old prostitute and Weir has to pay her for sex, which foreshadows the violence later in the song.  Billie Jean manipulates the cowboy into killing a man, which he gets sent to the gallows for.  He shoots and kills the stranger and flees into the desert rather than face hanging for his crime.  The city of Mexicali, Mexico is at the northern extremity of Baja California State, and it is adjacent to Calexico, California.  Bakersfield, a city in southern California, owes its name to one of its founders, Col. Thomas Baker, who was also a U.S. Senator. Baker tried to put in a waterway from Kern Lake to San Francisco Bay in the early 1860’s.

Laid back in an old saloon, with a peso in my hand
Watching flies and children on the street
And I catch a glimpse of black-eyed girls who giggle when I smile
There’s a little boy that wants to shine my feet
And it’s three days ride from Bakersfield
And I don’t know why I came
I guess I came to keep from payin’ dues
So instead I’ve got a bottle and a girl who’s just fourteen
And a damned good case of the Mexicali blues

Is there anything a man don’t stand to lose
When the devil wants to take it all away
Cherish well your thoughts, keep a tight grip on your booze
‘Cause thinking and drinking are all I have today

She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town
I didn’t know her stage-line ran from hell
She had raven hair, a ruffled dress, a necklace made of gold
And all the French perfume you’d care to smell
She took me up in to her room and whispered in my ear
Go on my friend, do anything you choose
Now I’m payin’ for those happy hours I spent there in her arms
With a lifetime’s worth of the Mexicali blues

And then a man rode in to town, some thought he was the law
Billie Jean was waiting when he came
She told me he would take her if I didn’t use my gun
And I’d have no one but myself to blame
I went down to those dusty streets, blood was on my mind
I guess that stranger hadn’t heard the news
‘Cause I shot first and killed him, Lord he didn’t even draw
And he made me trade the gallows for the Mexicali blues

Is there anything a man don’t stand to lose
When he lets a woman hold him in her hands
You just might find yourself out there on horseback in the dark
Just riding and running across those desert sands

Written for Paula’s Thursday Inspiration 45 where this week’s theme is bottle.

The Nights Grow Cold

The Beach Boys ‘Summer’s Gone’ was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Joseph Thomas and Brian Wilson and this song was on their 2012 twenty-ninth studio album That’s Why God Made The Radio.  The album reached number 3 on the Billboard 200 and was their highest charting studio album of new material since 1965, placing them second all-time with longest span of top 10 albums at 49 years which their previous album Surfin’ USA hit the top ten on June 15, 1963.  They broke the record set by The Beatles who had Meet The Beatles in 1964 and One in 2011.  However, that record just relates to groups, and the longest top ten span goes to Frank Sinatra, being 52 years between Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! in 1956 and Nothing But The Best in 2008.  In 2005, The Beach Boys were listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the longest amount of time, 22 years, between #1 songs, ‘Good Vibrations’ in 1966 and ‘Kokomo’ in 1988.

According to record producer Joe Thomas, Brian Wilson inquired about some demo tapes that were recorded during the sessions for his 1998 solo album Imagination thinking that there may be some forgotten songs that were overlooked. Brian said that he had some ideas for new Beach Boys songs, and wondered if there were recordings existing that flew under the radar that he did not put on any of his solo records.  Joe Thomas had more than a few, so they met with Mike Love who agreed to collaborate on a new album.  Wilson’s brothers, both original members of the group, were dead, drummer-singer Dennis drowned in 1983 and singer-guitarist Carl succumbed to cancer in 1998.  In the late 2000s, reports began to circulate that the surviving members of the Beach Boys would reunite for a 50th Anniversary tour and album and on December 16, 2011 it was announced that Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks would reunite for another tour.

In 2005, Jon Bon Jovi wrote the song ‘Last Cigarette’ where he sings, “You always lose the girl in a Brian Wilson world”, so I guess that they knew each other.  Joseph Thomas and Brian Wilson wrote one verse to ‘Summer’s Gone’ and they were stuck on that song for 10 years, then Jon Bon Jovi came by the studio one day and he called it Brian’s ‘My Way’, a reference to the Frank Sinatra classic.  Thomas said, “Jon collaborated with us a little on it, changing the melody in a couple of spots.  He wrote some really nice verses that kind of tied it all in together.  We definitely appreciated the contribution because it took it from one great verse to one great song.”   Brian loves Frank Sinatra and it took a guy like a Jon Bon Jovi to come in to give Brian a new thought on how to approach it.

Summer’s gone
Summer’s gone away
Gone away
With yesterday
Old friends have gone
They’ve gone their separate ways
Our dreams hold on
For those who still have more to say
Summer’s gone
Gone like yesterday
The nights grow cold
It’s time to go
I’m thinking maybe I’ll just stay
Another summer gone
Summer’s gone
It’s finally sinking in
One day begins
Another ends
I live them all and back again
Summer’s gone
I’m gonna sit and watch the waves
We laugh, we cry
We live then die
And dream about our yesterday

Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find a song about love in autumn.

A Perception of What We Think is True

History is written by the winners and Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “The truth of history, so much in request, to which everybody eagerly appeals, is too often but a word. At the time of the events, during the heat of conflicting passions, it cannot exist; and if, at a later period, all parties are agreed respecting it, it is because those persons who were interested in the events, those who might be able to contradict what is asserted, are no more.”  Thus, history is the facts that people have agreed to be true, but they don’t have to necessarily be true.

Facts can be manipulated and if history is what we perceive it to be, can we actually ever trust history, especially if the statistics were compiled by someone with less than moral intentions?  If I was taught something in History class and later on it is found that the history book was plain wrong, could I become psychological damaged from this?  A lot of groups got a bad rap from history and the American Indians were totally taken advantage of with the white men stealing their land.  The Black slaves were held back from telling their story for years, because they were illiterate and they were treated even worse.

Maybe history is a collection of stories that are told by the person with the biggest mouth, or are told from the point of view of the richest people.  I see history as being a lot like the Bible, being filled with wonderful stories, which may or may not be true.  Even if you do extensive research on a history topic, you are likely to come across facts that have been embellished or biased, so you still have to figure out what is plausible and weed out the ridiculous.  A lot of history is probably made up of fake news and this makes me wonder how Trump will be perceived in the history books in the future.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #58 – What is something you’ve long believed to be true, but you now realize is not true?

Bad Advice

On July 1, 1974, I had a ticket to see Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders (no relation to Bernie and also a different spelling and pronunciation) at the Bottom Line, a new music nightclub that had just opened in Greenwich Village, New York City.   The Bottom Line had magic, with its excellent sound and comfortable tables, and it was small, so it brought a primitive closeness between artists and the audience.  I paid $20 for my ticket which was well worth the price, as I got to hear some great music and they played two sets.  In set 1, they played ‘Harder They Come’, ‘It’s Too Late’, ‘Think’, ‘My Problems Got Problems’ and ‘That’s All Right, Mama’ and they were really cooking.  The more exciting the music got, the faster I drank the beer and those bottles of Heineken were going for four bucks a pop.

My wallet was running thin, before the second set started, so I asked my buddy Anthony what I should drink that would last me through the rest of the night, as I only had $14 left.  He told me that I should get a Rusty Nail, which is made by mixing Drambuie and Scotch whisky.  Since Drambuie is made from Scotch whisky liqueur, this awful tasting concoction was made out of scotch mixed with scotch.  I sipped it, because it was so nasty and then the band came back on for set 2, where they played ‘(I’m A) Road Runner’, ‘Georgia On My Mind’ featuring Maria Muldaur, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and they ended with ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’.

From December of 1970 to June of 1975, Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merl Saunders played over two-hundred and fifty shows together, mostly on the west coast.  Other band members included John Kahn on bass, Tom Fogerty on guitar and vocals, Sarah Fulcher on vocals, and multiple iterations of drummers that included Bill Vitt, Bill Kreutzmann, Paul Humphrey, and Ron Tutt. Martin Fierro, Armando Peraza, and George Tickner rounded out the line-up from time to time.  Saunders recalls that the first gigs were often very loose and free-flowing.

I felt sick after the show was over and I swore to myself that I would never drink scotch again and especially a Rusty Nail.  My head was out of the window the whole ride home. I should have just stuck with the beer

Written for Fandango’s February Expressions FFE Daily Adage – Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

We Are Not There Yet

We are getting closer and closer to a pandemic with the Coronavirus.  A pandemic is an outbreak and the occurrence of disease cases in excess of what’s normally expected, according to the World Health Organization.  The Coronavirus has not reached the level of the Spanish flu, or the Black plague, but it is spreading rapidly.  I got a sore throat yesterday and this morning I felt really weak, and watching the news has me worried, as Coronavirus is all I hear.  I did not go to China, but I did pick up some Chinese takeout and nobody really knows how this is spreading.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday.

I Wish You Love

Dolly Parton wrote and originally recorded the iconic song ‘I Will Always Love You’ in 1973 and it hit #1 on the country charts the next year.  Parton recorded it again for the soundtrack of her 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and it went to #1 again.  Whitney Houston recorded it in 1992 for The Bodyguard and that reached the top of the pop charts and stayed there for 14 weeks.  Linda Ronstadt also sang this song in 1975.  Elvis Presley wanted the song, but he was denied when his manager Parker demanded that Presley receive a hefty chunk of the publishing rights.  When Dolly heard that Whitney was using Linda Ronstadt’s recording as a template, she called producer David Foster to give him the final verse, which was missing from the Ronstadt version, as she felt it was highly important to the song.  After Houston recorded this, most of the other major artists stayed away from it, probably out of fear that they could not do justice to this song which Whitney now owned.

In 1967, Dolly was invited by country star Porter Wagoner to co-host his TV show, where they became famous for their duets.  However, her huge talent soon eclipsed that of her mentor, and she moved on to bigger things.  She wrote the song for him to show her appreciation for their time together.  Dolly wanted to assert her independence as an artist after years of successful duets with Porter Wagoner.  It was the right move for her career, but the departure caused understandable acrimony between the pair at the time, but this song helped to heal those wounds.  Among its many accolades, the song won two Grammys in 1994 for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  Dolly’s lyrics sound like a conversation that a person would have in in a breakup, or, if the face-to-face was too difficult, it would make a heartfelt farewell letter.

If I should stay, I would only be in your way
So I’ll go, but I know
I’ll think of you every step of the way
And I will always love you
I will always love you
You, my darling you, hm
Bittersweet memories
That is all I’m taking with me
So, goodbye
Please, don’t cry
We both know I’m not what you, you need
And I will always love you
I will always love you, you
I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of
And I wish to you joy and happiness
But above all this, I wish you love
And I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I, I will always love you
You, darling, I love you
Ooh, I’ll always, I’ll always love you

Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find a love song that charted in the Top 10 or better.