I'm no hero. I can say that now because my actions speak louder than my words and because it's something heroes are supposed to say. I rescued a young girl from the toxic oil slick of Internet pornography, cleaned her like a tiny otter and allowed her to sleep in my guest room for a night. And just like the otter, she was wild, incapable of understanding my intentions and a biter.
Misty had been coerced into an erotic cult known as The Suicide Girls. Based on my understanding and limited research, this ring makes a considerable fortune distributing photos of unruly looking, naked and presumably suicidal women across the Internet. Misty was one of these women. Also, she was my middle school girlfriend back when her name was still Debbie.
I found her picture after my editor at Time approved access to various subscription-based adult websites as research for my hard-hitting expose on voyeuristic sex in social media, "The Fingered Keys." It was through one of these greasy portals that I rediscovered my old flame.
She was draped across a leather ottoman, completely nude and looking indifferent about it. Tattoos threaded her body, bordering on monotonous and I could count eight and a half visible piercings. I clicked through her photos and was enraged, then engorged and finally enraged again that she would entertain the thought of ending her life, especially given the spectacular way she filled out. Her sad face in every thumbnail resembled the neglected dogs in pet adoption commercials except instead of cages, she dangled out of bathtubs and beds, and also sometimes cages. I sent her a private message:
It's me, your seventh grade boyfriend who felt you up on the bus ride to Dinosaur National Monument. Listen, I probably owe you an explanation for abandoning you near the concession stand at the Snowball Dance. Julie Cevette offered to show me her right breast in the library stacks, and in my defense, I had no way to anticipate the thousands of right breasts I would see in the future. I offer this belated apology because I want to be certain I am not responsible for any of your subsequent life choices.
P.S. You ruin the predictable concept of beauty by refusing to fit into society's mold. You are a sexual terrorist.
I received no response, but further exploration in the site revealed that each Suicide Girl maintains a blog. Misty's mentioned that she was performing in a live, Suicide Girl sponsored production. It would be a munitions-themed narrative cabaret show called "Sweating Bullets." I bought a ticket and counted the heartbeats.
The show, it turned out, was less artillery-based than I had hoped and seemed more structured around a message of gun control. Misty was heavily featured as some sort of sexy, high ranking military officer in pasties designed to look like valor medals. As the show progressed, Misty's dance moves dulled. Each new time she appeared on stage, she wobbled more and her eyelids sagged. Finally, during a pivotal scene in which she sexily reprimanded a new recruit, she dropped to a knee and threw up.
That was enough. I jumped to the stage and executed the first few crucial moves necessary for a fireman's carry. "Don't worry, Debbie," I whispered. "It's me, Soren, your first tongue kiss. I'm going to get you out of here." The audience and the other dancers stared.
"This girl will not be objectified any longer!" I shouted.
"Nobody's objectifying her," the audience answered. "And she's not a girl she's a woman."
"Yeah," someone else agreed.
I lugged her down the aisle and toward the door but a tall woman with a tattoo sleeve stood waiting in my path. "That's my employee," she said.
"Not any more. Your capitalistic grip on her sexuality is over," I huffed. Misty was surprisingly heavy and smelled like rye.
"And who are you?"
I shook Misty's breast off my forehead. "I'm her seventh grade boyfriend."
The woman sighed and unfolded her arms. "Look, she's been a drunk and a headache for the SG family since day one. Take her home, clean her up and if you would, please let her know she's fired."
The car ride was full of surprises. Misty woke up briefly, wide-eyed and attacked me. She bit me in four places before throwing up in my lap and falling back asleep. We also got lost twice but that was my fault.
Back at my villa, I dropped her on the guest bed and put a bottle of water next to her as well as a trashcan before sliding the door shut. Then I opened it again, walked to the bed and removed her bootlaces and belt. Not on my watch.
The next morning I brought her eggs which she promptly threw across the room before threatening me with the business end of a Perrier bottle. It took a lot of convincing and a middle school yearbook before the glimmer of recognition showed in her eyes. I wrapped her in my favorite robe and regaled the daring rescue from the night before, and explained that she was free from the tawdry grip of sexploitation.
"You got me fired?"
"You got you fired. You puked on stage."
Her lip began to quiver and she looked earnestly into my eyes. "I have a problem and I need help."
"Not anymore," I smiled. "I got you a new lease on life," I said, and showed her the neat lease I had drawn up while she was sleeping.
She started crying and I let her. It was a lot to take in.
"You're welcome," I rubbed her shoulder. I suggested that there were better opportunities for a girl like her in the world, like waitressing or cutting hair or secretarial work. She was still young, and so close to beauty. With a little collagen and carefully regimented starvation she could be a perfect 10, and then any man would hire her.
Misty shattered the Perrier bottle on a bedside table and tried to stab me with it. She shouted something about the empowerment of women, about changing the face of sexuality and the SG sisterhood but I stopped listening when the front of the robe split to reveal new territory on her upper thigh. It seemed like the wrong moment to propose another shot at our relationship. Still, I did, and she declined but the cut didn't need stitches.
I let Misty regain composure while cleaning my wound. I checked on her an hour later and she had redecorated the room and opened up the window permanently with a chair. My favorite robe was gone and so were my 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. She only left a thank you note that suggested we might meet again someday. A message as short as it was flirtatious. "I want to FUCK YOU," it read, but without the "I" or the part about wanting to. I walked to the window and gazed out while rubbing the bite mark closest to my heart. It was starting to feel infected. "Until next time, sweet Debbie," I said. "You walk a higher path now."