[Catch up:  Part 1.]

The next day, Saturday, we walked around Manhattan (Midtown maybe) where Mr. Schwartz patiently waited outside while I shopped.  Before I entered each store he handed me some cash–not much, usually $40 per store.

I went into my first Urban Outfitters, where I bought a cute dress I still own (only now I don’t look nearly as cute in it).  I went to the perfume counter of a high-end, only-in-New-York (at the time) department store (Saks Fifth Avenue maybe) and did some sniffing.  I settled on Byblos, a scent I still wear on occasion, and which I got for my mother-in-law one year for Christmas when the Ex and I were still together.

Mr. Schwartz showed me the usual sites–I think we even went into FAO Schwarz and other touristy crap in that area.  Eventually we made our way back to his place.  Once in his apartment he pulled out a wad of cash.  He asked me how much weight I had lost and paid me accordingly.  We also had at least one other agreement that garnered me some more cash.

I believe I went in to “my” bedroom to get ready for dinner when Mr. Schwartz followed me in and fondled my breast (the left one, I think).  I told him that I didn’t want him doing that and he implied that he could do whatever he wanted since he had paid for my trip and so on.

I left his apartment.  I walked around for a little while.  It was early evening and not too cold so I was fine.  When I calmed down a bit I called him from a pay phone (you might have heard of them, kids).  I asked if he had realized the errors of his ways, to which he responded that I needed to apologize to him.

I went back to his place, packed up my stuff, and left.  I was not about to let ol’ Saggy Schwartz do whatever he wanted to me without my explicit consent just for a place to stay for the night.

I walked around Manhattan with the little luggage I had for just the weekend trip.  I was trying to figure out what the fuck I was going to do until my flight back to California the next afternoon.  I went to a B. Dalton Books and told the clerk that I worked in the Santa Anita Fashion Park store.  I also told him that I didn’t have a place to stay for the night.  He didn’t give a shit about either.

I could have gone back, but I didn’t want to humiliate myself by either apologizing or touching his pendulous friends again.  I also didn’t know if he would have required me to fuck him as a form of punishment/payment.  At the time I was still scared of penises–I’d probably only had two or three in me by that time, inclusive of my disastrous loss of virginity.  Thinking back, I don’t recall that his penis was ever hard the night before.  Maybe his age combined with his diabetes affected his erectile function.  This, of course, was the days of yore, when Viagra and it’s brethren pharmaceuticals were mere fantasies of the limp-dicked oldsters.

I walked around, but after all the stories of rape and murder I’d heard about New York I was scared to wander too far from where I’d already been.  Knowing what I know now, Times Square was still a sleazy, dirty place in the early 1990s.  If I had found it I may have been turned out by a nice pimp daddy.  (Instead I opted for the straight life of formal education.)

I hung out in Central Park for a bit.  This was before I’d ever watched Law & Order, but I knew stories of horrific events that took place in Central Park.  My step-sister had been obsessed with Robert Chambers (she thought he was hot).  I was not about to roam into the bowels of the park, so I stayed on the periphery and sat on a bench to observe rats boldly going through rubbish that was overflowing out of a trash can.  I had never seen rats that weren’t pets (the step-sister and I had had pet rats when we were in seventh grade) so I was entranced.

Also in Central Park I saw fireflies for the first time.  Having lived in California my entire life fireflies were something I’d only observed in movies, and I suspected their wonder was exaggerated.  It was not.  Fireflies are fucking cool.  Years later, a visit to Indiana showed me how artistic their illuminated bodies look when sacrificing themselves on a windshield.

It was cooling down significantly and had already gotten dark.  I needed a place to stay.  I had only the cash that Mr. Schwartz had given me.  At the time I had no credit cards at all, and my bank was only found on the West Coast so I had no way to get more.  This was before independently-owned ATMs could be found in abundance so I couldn’t access my bank account at all.

I hailed a cab.  I told the cabbie my sob story because I certainly couldn’t tell him where I wanted to go–I had no fucking clue.  He drove me around for a while.  He offered to take me to the Russian Tea Room.  I decided I should make my way to the airport and declined his generous invitation.

I don’t remember where that cabbie dropped me off, but it was somewhere in Manhattan.  I hadn’t gotten very far.  I took another cab to Queens with the intent to go to the airport.  Again, I told the cab driver my lament.

I was nineteen and dumb.  I had no clue about getting on a flight on stand-by.  But neither did the cabbie apparently, or he didn’t care to share the information with me.  I was prepared to wait at the airport all night until my flight was scheduled to leave.  The information the cab driver did share with me was that the airport would close at night.

Obviously, I was quite naive at the time.  I’m now sure that the cab driver got a kick-back from the motel at which I ultimately stayed for the night, but in all my retellings of this story over the years, NO ONE ever pointed out that major airports don’t fucking close, ever.

The cab driver took me to at least three motels that were relatively close to the airport.  I was looking for the cheapest one that didn’t require a credit card.  I ended up staying at a motel that charged by the hour.  Amazingly, I was able to sleep.

The next morning I took my final taxicab in New York City–from the shitty pay-per-hour motel in Queens to La Guardia Airport.  I recall hearing someone with a heavy New York accent in an elevator in the airport.  I almost laughed in the guy’s face because he really did sound like he was putting on the accent.  To my West Coast ears he sounded like he was playing the part of a typical New Yorker; I had always thought those characteristics were exaggerated.  Apparently they were not.

I immediately went to the bar closest to my gate.  In the hours I waited I had several margaritas.  I was prepared to show my older sister’s driver’s license, which I had become accustomed to using to buy alcohol since I was seventeen.  However, I was never carded.

I made it home without incident.  I told everyone my harrowing adventure.  I didn’t spare any details for anyone, including my mother.  If anyone expressed concern for my personal safety I’d point out that there I was, telling the tale, so obviously I was fine.  Ahh, the arrogance of youth, how I miss you.

I never spoke to Mr. Schwartz again.

Before this whole adventure Mr. Schwartz had already planned a trip to LA for later in the year.  He wanted to further “audition” me as well as a friend of mine, Rachael.  Rachael and I had gone to high school in northern California together, but at the time she lived in Albuquerque.  He had bought her a round-trip plane ticket, the schedule of which coincided with his LA trip.

I was so dense that it really didn’t occur to me that what he really wanted was a threesome with two nubile young ladies.  I was nineteen, but Rachel was even younger, probably barely eighteen at the time (she had definitely finished high school).

Rachel’s plane ticket was in my possession.  I thought I was so clever by changing the dates so Rachel could come visit me.  I mailed her the ticket.  Unfortunately, I was not clever enough to write Rachel’s zip code on the envelope correctly, so by the time the ticket arrived, the date of travel on the ticket had passed.

I swear.  True story.