About a year ago, Kayla graduated from booze and an occasional pot-smoking to the harder stuff. She had been having a harder time getting through her sets at works, so her stripper friends introduced her to meth, which they said worked wonders. She didn’t like it much, but she liked the energy it gave her. She tried crack, heroin, and coke in rapid succession before deciding that coke was her drug of choice when she needed a little boost. She promised herself that it would just be an occasional thing, but she found herself increasingly agitated the days she didn’t use it. The customers looked seedier, her self-loathing was higher, and she was about ready to jump out of her skin. About three months ago, she started using daily along with the booze and a Valium to come down before sleeping. Somehow, she became hooked. Her words, not Matt’s. As if it serendipitously happened, as if she had no hand in it.
Though she made good money stripping and modeling, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up on her house and her habit, not to mention her son. She had a few men friends who helped her out from time to time, but she couldn’t be obvious about it. She wasn’t a hooker, after all. My private guess was that she had more than a few men friends and that she was less than subtle in her requests, but I let it go. It wasn’t relevant to Danny’s disappearance, and it would just piss off Matt if I mentioned it. Kayla had a dealer, of course, but she wouldn’t give Matt a name no matter how much he cajoled. She was sure that her dealer had nothing to do with it, but Matt wasn’t as sure. Neither was I, but I let that go as well. I didn’t want to interrupt Matt while he was in his flow, so I saved all questions and comments until after he was finished talking.
About a month ago, her money had run out. She had been careful not to ingest more than she could afford, but there had been a few really bad weeks at work. One of her closest girlfriends, Foxxy—not her real name, of course—had OD’d and died while another girl had been raped by one of her ‘dates’ after a show. Matt hastened to explain that it was really rape because the trick doped her drink before having his fun with her. Turned out the trick liked to play with his switchblade while having sex, and the girl was still in the hospital. Most likely, she would never dance again.
Stories like these couldn’t help but affect the other girls because they were too close to home. All of them accepted ‘dates’ after the show, and nearly ninety percent were strung out on something or the other every day. They knew it was a dangerous job, but they had to keep that out of their mind to do what they did. The reality knocked it home just how fragile they really were, and it didn’t help that the cops didn’t give a rat’s ass about a stripper who got raped. As a consequence, Kayla—working name, Circe—had used more than she normally did which left her short on rent money which meant she had to use the food money for the rent. God forbid she do without her drugs—no, she rather give up food. I wouldn’t care so much if it was just her starving, but she was also skimping on Danny’s nourishment. That pissed Matt off as well, and he decided that when we found Danny, he was going to sue for custody.