Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Body Brokers

I spent nineteen months in the Dallas County Jail following my trial.  I was staying at County because of my appeal, otherwise I would have gone on down to the penitentiary ("TDCJ").   I had lived a rather sheltered life up to this time, being raised in a middle class home where manners, consideration for others and respect of each other and self were paramount, along with attending weekly church and church activities.  The day I was pushed into Lew Sterrett I felt like I entered into the stratosphere of another planet.  I had a long way to go to get to the surface of this new planet.

My own background, both as a child and then as a grown up was very different from most people I met in County or TDCJ.   My past included seven years at the university while working three part time jobs adding up to a full time(+) job with a full schedule at school and a bicycle for transportation.  Upon graduation I moved into the business world.  My first professional job at a CPA firm required at least eighty hours per week.  I buried myself in my work, believing that is what a person does who wants to advance in their career, never giving it a second thought.  As I moved to other companies I did the same, long hours, focused on the job, with very little social time. Likewise when I had my family, but I did the balancing act between my children and my self employed financial business.  Quite often continuing my work day after I put my kids to bed.  I never really questioned it, I was doing what I loved....being a mom and a financial and accounting consultant.  Then there was the development of The NOAH Project and I just added that to my daily to-do list.  Although somewhat over committed, I still thrived on the excitement of meeting work deadlines and the joys and challenges that come with parenthood of a special needs child and his precocious younger brother. 

So, with disoriented feelings of frustration, anger and sadness I plunged into the jail culture and came to know the people around me. I dedicated one of my book excerpts to the people of the oldest profession - The Prostitutes!  An interesting group of people.  Following is the excerpt:

The county jail, if nothing else, has a high volume of prostitutes, shuffling in and out.  Many are toothless, skin and bones, with tracks all over their arms, legs, hands, stomachs, breasts, necks and any other place where a visible vein could be found.  Quite often with absesses, dripping liquid infection, sharing our toilets, sinks and showers.  No antobiotics as the county seemed rarely concerned about the health of any inmate; all of us considered scum of the earth, scabs on society (no matter how we got there).

In the many months I have sat in this jail, moving from one tank to another, I have had the bewildering opportunity to observe the lifestyle and beliefs of the prostitutes which I have come to call the body brokers.  Being in the body broker business and hating men, their major customers, causes a need to medicate.  On the streets it is heroine, crack, ice and powder.  In the jail it is seroquil, thorazine, hydrocodone.....  just a transference of addictions to get them by until they are dumped on the street again.   Every single women I met who participated in this business had memories of being sexually abused as children.  They had been medicating their pain for most of their lives, finding drugs and alcohol at early ages.  There seemed no way out for them.

Interesting enough, these body brokers don't limit their selling/buying skills to bodies.  They would put Avon ladies and Fuller Brush salesmen to shame.  They buy and sell pills, soap, coffee, candy, honey buns and state issued panties and bras.  The buy/sell system is not allowed but happens anyway.  It is a barter system since cash and credit are no longer available.  On the streets it is services, stolen property and drugs.  It never stops, so long as they are awake, there is a deal going down.  It is the thrill of the transaction....in that one aspect, no different than real estate or stock brokers.  Equal to insurance brokers.  They don't retire, it ceases to be about the money; they get high on the thought of doing the next deal and the next deal.  Another addiction?  Probably.

What will be gained?  Clear economic theory, matching demand and supply and getting something, anything, for making the connection, the "broker fee".  Never missing an opportunity.  Selling their souls, just for the game, the win, the challenge of doing it and getting away with it.  Conscience does not appear to be a part of this game.  The concept of right and wrong has long been buried deep, deep, deep in the lesioned recesses of gray matter...forgotten forever.

Hmmm, this is beginning to sound a bit like the case against me.  It was the gaming, the hustle, nothing personal...just another business deal.  An easy insurance scam, just another days work.  Just another conviction, the thrill of the courtroom drama.  Just another arrest, the adrenalin that comes with over powering somebody with the authority that goes with the uniform and title.  Part of the thrill may even be the escape from any consequences.  Immunity....

Prostitute?  What is the definition anyway?  Let's see...in the Merriam-Webster dictionary I have here it says....."to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes".  Golly, could it be?  Do we have soul brokers....at a much "higher" level?  Bringing new souls into each new conspiracy?  Always growing the pot and stirring furiously.  Money or threats lure them in, with promises of a lasting position or freedom in the dark hierachy.  Sharpening their teeth on false depositions and testimonies.  Dripping souless black ooze from their dark hearts.  Absesses everywhere in what used to be their conscience.  Good Lord help me with these corallaries.  I am just saddened, what we humans have done to Your world.

This is a tough writing, with a lot of darkness, a pervasive influence in the jail and prison environments.  It has never been clear to me how we are rehabbing people.  Why aren't those prostitutes and extreme drug addicts put into intense therapy, getting to the core of their issues, then placed in real jobs as a follow up?  It is the only chance they have.  They are just turned out after a few days, weeks or months (rarely do they go on to prison).  There appears to be a revolving door at the county jail for this group of women.  Is that because society needs them as they are?  Is that because it keeps the arrest and conviction rates at near 100% thus assuring jobs and re-election for the DA?  I believe I have touched on a true societal issue.  It is this bad, don't ever think otherwise....and is starving for a solution from us, as fellow humans.

And, whoever thought of immunity?  What's that all about?  Why isn't everybody held  accountable?


  1. GREAT writing... you are so descriptive... on such horror.

    And thanks for educating us.

  2. Such a gripping tale...I just wish it was fiction. I hate that you can describe this first-hand, although, I agree with Nancy---great writing, indeed! You are so talented!
    I know that one day, your good name will be cleared, and your book will be published.
    Keep up the good work, my dear friend!