Trick Babies

“Slow Thaw,” collage on paper by Kim Nicolini

From BAD GUYS: A Serial Memoir

Read Part 1

Read Part 2


The plastic seat in the waiting room made my butt itch. I could not stop fidgeting. Roll to the left. Lean to the right. Scooch backwards. Bend forwards. Reverse and try again the other way. The chair was squeaking and making a rhythmically repetitious whine that was driving everyone in the clinic, except me, crazy.

“Stop,” Lulu scolded. My eyes snapped to hers with a sullen glare. She gave up and waved her hand in dismissal.

Roll to the left. Squeak. Lean to the right. Squeak.

I attempted to distract myself from my overwhelming uncomfortableness – my itchy butt, the barf bag in my belly, and the abortion I was waiting for – by flipping through a few magazines scattered on a small table that was otherwise covered with brochures on STDs.

I didn’t recognize the names of any of the people on the magazine covers −Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Anita Bryant. I also knew nothing about the reasons these people were in the magazines – Religious Right, Moral Majority, Save Our Children. With my 8th grade education, no TV for nearly two years, and no doorstep for the newspaper to land on, I wasn’t exactly brimming with knowledge of current politics. I never heard of Roe V. Wade and didn’t know that the people in the magazines wanted me to keep my Trick Baby even though I was a 16 year old kid without a clue how to raise a child. I just wanted someone to save me, let me finish my childhood as a child. Apparently Anita Bryant was booked saving young boys from homosexuals. She had no time for saving runaway girl prostitutes from pimps and other predators.

In retrospect, the word “prostitute” was the problem. If “sex trafficking” existed back then, and I used that instead of the P word, I would have received a lot more sympathy.

Enough of the news I knew nothing about. Maybe I’d find a good STD brochure to read to stop my Itchy Butt Syndrome. Sure, I was undereducated, but I did love to read.


Riveting material though nothing on AIDS. In 1979, people were busy getting it and giving it. They’d have to wait until summer 1981 or later to learn that they actually had the Gay Plague.[1]

Until this very day in 2022 when I am writing the words you are reading, I had no idea that my abortion history intersected with national politics and that 1979 was the beginning of the end of women’s reproductive rights in America. I didn’t know that the year I aborted my Trick Baby was the year that gave birth to the popularity of televangelist Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and the Christian Right Movement. I didn’t have a clue that all around the country religious conservatives were joining efforts to force me to give birth to a baby that would have an ignorant child prostitute as a mother.

In 1979, Catholics, Southern Evangelicals, and Christian extremists across the country were practically banging on the door to take control of my body. At the time, I wasn’t even old enough to vote, and women only had the right to vote for 59 years and the right to an abortion for six years. Women’s rights were on the top of Christian conservatives’ Kill List, and political forces were hell bent on legislating women right back where they belonged – burning at the stake or barefoot, naked, and in the kitchen, bellies bulging with Buns in the Oven that would be illegal to abort. I didn’t know then, but I know now . . .


My 8th grade education left me so uninformed about the mechanisms of my very own female sexual body that my mafia pimp knew I was pregnant before I knew I was. I looked around the room at the women waiting with me. The key word being “women.” I felt like an alien. None of them were sixteen, and certainly none were delivered to Planned Parenthood by their mafia pimp.

I closed my eyes and replayed the days when I learned about being pregnant and what it did to my body.

It was just two weeks ago. I was so tired that I couldn’t do anything but stare at my little TV. I was attempting to watch an old movie on Red Eye Theater. My eyelids were heavy and drooped closed, so I just listened to Sam “Play it again.”

My body had become dead weight, something I dragged through the days like a sand bag. I plopped onto the sofa and let myself sink. No matter how hard I tried, I could not lift myself from the cushions.

Finally, I gave into the weight and dropped off into a deep, dark well of impenetrable nothing. I was too tired to dream, and dreams were useless anyway.

The next morning, I was stuck in the well. I couldn’t get out and couldn’t wake up. I peeled my eyes open, but they’d just snap shut. The same thing happened the next morning and the one after that. Days passed when I never was fully awake. Tricks came and tricks went. I lay like a lump as they pumped on my lead body.

Then the sick came. I got so sick. Sick as a dog starting at midnight each night and ending at noon the following day. I spent mornings hugging the toilet and puking up my very soul. For brief moments, I’d sit at the kitchen table and cry. I moaned. I cried some more. Then I’d go back to the bathroom and heave up some more of my soul.

Days passed in a blur. I lived life like I was sleepwalking. I didn’t know why I was so tired. I was exhausted to the bone, drained of everything but a small reserve of strength, just enough to hoist myself from the sofa, stand on my feet, put some clothes on, then take them off again, and lay on the bed for an anonymous stream of men who came and went. I had no idea that a Trick Baby was sharing my body.


1960s and 70s, Pacifica, CA

The education I did receive had forgotten to teach me about my own body. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and got a “liberal education” in Pacifica, California where they taught me how to save the whales, who Patty Hearst was, all about Watergate, and the name and shape of illegal drugs, but they didn’t teach me jack shit about the female reproductive system. They didn’t send a specialist to the school to teach me about menstruation or how you don’t do it when you’re pregnant, but I learned all about the drugs I would eventually take.

Every year the same cop came to the school. Crouching spread eagled on a student chair much too small for his tall body. The vice cop terrified me as he opened the top button of his shirt, loosened his jacket collar, and lifted his briefcase to the desktop where he opened it to display his vast collection of toxic goodies. My eyes were glued to the rainbow array of pills and powders. I listened to the harrowing and specific details of each drug and how every single one − no matter shape, color, form, or size − would destroy my life and/or kill me. Then the cop would thread the Super 8 projector with the LSD movie. It played like a Roger Corman film with people’s faces melting off as they dove off cliffs or doused themselves with gasoline and lit a match. There wasn’t a tampon, condom, or birth control pill in the mix.

I learned the basic nuts and bolts of politics and the Declaration of Independence, but my history classes failed to tell me about Puritans throwing women down wells, burning them at the stake, or stoning them simply for having their periods. I learned nothing that would connect the dots to Witch Hunters and the Religious Right.

Perhaps a little more knowledge of the mechanisms of my own body and the legal system that has traditionally controlled it and a little less about the Pusher Man would have been more useful and may have prevented me from getting pregnant with a Trick Baby and stopped me from needing an abortion in the first place.

I guess I got lucky, though. If I had gotten pregnant 7 years early, abortion would have been illegal, and I would have had to give birth to my Trick Baby or bleed to death in a back alley.


March 1979

After days of barfing and sleeping, I finally called Pat and told him that I was too sick to turn any tricks. Pregnant never crossed my mind. I never gave my period much thought. It was something that came sometimes and didn’t at others. When Pat asked me when I last got my period, I couldn’t remember. “I don’t know.” He hung up and showed up.

I felt him before I saw him. I opened my eyes, and he was standing over me. He must have run every red light.

“When’s the last time you got your period?” Pat asked me again, his eyes boring into the pores of my skin.

“I don’t know,” I repeated in a whimper. Pat stretched out both of his arms, and his rough thick fingers pinched my nipples. Hard. Then harder. “How about these? Do these hurt?”

The pain was immediate and huge. I gulped down my tears. “Yes, that fucking hurts,” I spat.

“Watch your language. You want to be a street whore or do you want to be my star?” I nodded my head, up and down, up and down. “That’s my girl,” Pat proclaimed as he released my nipples. I winced in celebration of their freedom.

“Don’t you worry. I’ll take care of you, Baby. Lulu will get you through this. You’re going to do just fine. We’ve done this a dozen times with a dozen girls.”

Being a good and responsible pimp, Pat took me and Lulu to Planned Parenthood where I got a pregnancy test. It was no surprise to find out that I was pregnant with my very own Trick Baby. Lulu pretended she was my mother, and I got all signed up for an abortion. I had to wait two weeks.

For two weeks, I spent my mornings barfing and eating saltines. By 2 pm, I was up and running, ready to turn tricks and turn my cash over to Pat. Barf in the morning. Tricks in the afternoon and evening.

When I wasn’t barfing, I was overwhelmed with a ravenous craving for Doggie Diner cheeseburgers with onions. It’s all I wanted to eat when I could eat. Every night when I was done working, Pat picked me up in his long shiny Pimp Mobile, and he drove me to Doggie Diner on Lombard.

“You wait here, Baby. I’ll get your food.” Pat always asked me if I wanted a shake. “You want a shake too, Tiny? How about a chocolate shake?” He’d get me two cheeseburgers with onions— even though I could only eat one – an order of fries, and a chocolate shake. We sat on the big white leather seat of his Cadillac while I ate. I’d wrap up the second cheese burger and tell Pat, “I’m saving it for later.” When I’d get back to the apartment, I’d throw it in the garbage downstairs.

“You know you’re my special girl, Baby” Pat told me at Doggie Diner. “Don’t worry about this abortion thing. All the girls get them. You’re still my Number One.” And so on, etcetera.

I just wanted my body to stop trying to vomit the Trick Baby out of me. I wanted my regular teenage prostitute life back. I just wanted to get the monster out of my body.


December 1978

Sitting in Planned Parenthood, the night I met Pat seemed like a different lifetime ago. I was at the Pan Pan right before Christmas.

The Pan Pan was a classic San Francisco diner located at the corner of Geary and Taylor, a touchy intersection between the Tenderloin and the Theater District. Walk one block in the Wrong Direction, and you’d be in the “Upper Snake Pit.” A block in the Not So Wrong Direction would land you at Powell, where cable cars catered to tourists during the day but at night became an extension of the Tenderloin and its population of pimps, prostitutes, drunks, addicts, dealers, and thieves.

The Pan Pan was not quite a diner and not quite a restaurant. Filled with orange crescent-shaped booths and the smell of burnt toast coming from the kitchen, the Pan Pan was famous for its Steak Soup. I liked to slurp a cup and sink into its booths, even though the meat was nothing like steak, and the thick white broth was more like salted snot. It still tasted like home, even though I had no idea what home tasted like.

The Pan Pan was an In Between Restaurant for my In Between Days. I went there in between turning tricks in the Tenderloin and riding the bus back to my motel room South of Market. The days between leaving my street pimp Richard and meeting my mafia pimp Pat. In between being a child and an adult. Between living on the streets and being kept in a pseudo-swank apartment. Between jail and death. The days between fighting against being what a prostitute made me and accepting that it was all I was good for. In between my past and my future because I couldn’t feel the present or I wouldn’t survive it.

I have no memory of actually being in my body during those days, but I can see 16.5 year old me with precise clarity. I see a girl reduced to the most bare requirements of living. Breathing. Sleeping. Eating. A girl selling her body just so I could continue to breathe, eat, and sleep. I see me in the Pan Pan, but I don’t feel me being me. This is a blessing. Or at least living without feeling is yet another myth I established to make my life bearable.

When you’re a kid on the streets fighting just to get yourself from one day to the next, there comes a moment when you have no choice but to do the thing you swore you would never do. My moment came when I was fifteen. I was still doing the thing at sixteen when Pat found me sitting alone at the Pan Pan four days before Christmas.

That December night, I was getting my usual. “Steak Soup and milk, Sweetie?” the waitress asked me, like they always did even though they already knew the answer. They got paid to ask. It was their job.

They never failed to call me some variation of sweet – “sweetie” or “sweetheart” or just “sweets.” Just like every one of them insisted on bringing me extra crackers and another glass of milk “on the house.”

The waitresses never sent me back out to the streets. Maybe I reminded them of someone they once knew, like themselves thirty years earlier when they were teenage runaways forced to work the streets to survive.

The night Pat entered my life, one of the waitresses had just delivered my soup with a “Here you go, Sweets.” She placed the cup of soup in front of me then reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a handful of extra crackers. One by one, she carefully placed the cellophane packages on the plate and formed a circle around the cup so perfect I didn’t want to break it.

She turned away, then paused and glanced to her side just as my seat sank under the weight of a stranger sliding into my booth.

I turned and looked into the twinkling eyes of an old man. His wet-rimmed expression was caught on the brink between kindness and cruelty. “Do you mind?” he asked even though there was no choice. He was already sitting next to me.

“You’re just the kind of girl I’ve been looking for,” he told me. His eyes couldn’t quite make up their mind which way to turn.

His spotless blue suit was so dark it was almost black. It fit perfectly as if it were part of his body which was clearly old yet solid and forbidding. He leaned toward me and sniffed, then pushed his whole face toward my body with his nose circling me.

“You’re so clean and fresh. Not spoiled like all the other girls. You’re different.”

I said nothing. No words were inside of or coming out of me.

After an eternity or more, he spoke again. “Do you how special you are?” These are the words that did me in every time. Special. I wanted so desperately to be special for someone while I also knew I never would be. No I don’t I wanted to say. But I want to be, I didn’t say. Special was a lie. Special always hurt. I didn’t want to be special. But I did, and I still said nothing.

The old man slipped his hand into his jacket and pulled out a little velvet box. He stretched his arm toward me, cradling the box in his palm. His hand was large, rough, scarred. His thick fingers were laden with the weight of gold and diamonds. Everything about him was tantalizing yet fearsome.

“Go ahead. Open it.” He nodded to me and then to the box.

I gently tugged at the lid which was reluctant to open. I prodded with my finger and pulled with a tug. It flipped open, and I found a sparkling heart resting on a bed of satin.

Dark red stones clustered in the center of the heart. White stones outlined the shape and shined like nothing I had ever seen. The heart’s beauty frightened me. I couldn’t take my eyes off the heart or the hand holding it. I was terrified. Somewhere in my gut I knew that all this twinkling beauty was rotting with corruption, power, money, and the forces that would cannibalize me, yet I wanted so badly what it promised. A place to be someone, even if I new in my own heart that I would always be no one.

“They’re real,” the man assured me. I gave him a half nod of affirmation. “I’m Pat,” he held out his hand. I took it in mine, surprised at its solid roughness. Like a rock covered in wrinkled flesh. “Would you like to go for a ride with me?”

Who else did I have in the world? Maybe this one would actually care. Maybe I could make enough money not to do what I had been doing to survive. The man was so tidy yet somehow so dirty. I was caught in a nowhere place but so much wanted to be somewhere.

I nodded yes, and the man took the heart out of the box. “It’s yours now,” he gestured toward my head. I bowed, my forehead brushing his chest, and he fastened the heart around my neck.

Outside the restaurant, Pat ushered me into an Eldorado nearly as long as the city block. Parked in a red zone, right in front of the restaurant doors, Pat pushed me onto the floor and unzipped his pants. “Let’s test the merchandise,” he said. With a fragment of hope fingering my mind, I did what he asked. Pat’s hands gripped the steering wheel while I left my body and hovered somewhere just beyond the place where I could feel something. The face of the gold watch circling his wrist seemed to wink, letting me know that my future was embedded in its diamond face.

Pat took me for a ride alright in his perfectly polished Cadillac Eldorado. I got a real good look at the shiny red dash and a feel for the soft white leather seats while I was kneeling on the floor. When he was done, Pat zipped up his pants, tossed me a Kleenex, and said, “Now, let’s go home.” Home. In those fifteen minutes, Pat determined that I was his new prize possession and top girl because you can’t put a big enough price tag on youth.

He turned the key and drove towards downtown.

I bisected my memory, rolled down my window, and tossed the bad parts in the gutter where they belonged. On the drive, Pat told me all about his car, beaming with pride as if it were his new born baby. Pat’s baby was a 1978 Eldorado in carmine red. He purred the color, “Carmine,” assuring me that this was no ordinary red, just like the car was a Biarritiz, not any ordinary Eldorado.

I sunk into the white tufted leather as we rolled up Franklin to his Pacific Heights apartment. My last cup of Steak Soup sat half-eaten on a table at the Pan Pan. The last crackers still in a circle, cellophane untouched as if I was never there.


The elevator just passed the third floor when the back of my neck began to crawl. A mumbling grumbling giggle and stream of steamy breath tugged at my neck hair. It wasn’t really a tickle but more like an electric jolt generated from my body’s internal rejection system.


The heavy breathing grew faster. The mumbling accelerated with a deep-throated maniacal laughter. The sound grew louder, filling the elevator and sucking the air right out of it.

I turned around and looked directly into an enormous gaping grin spread across the face of a teenage boy. The entire surface of his face had horribly exploded into a field of oozing acne. These weren’t just pimples. They were planets, and the boy was clearly in his own universe.

He rocked back and forth on his feet, picking at a lesser planet near his lower lip.

“Pauly!” Pat barked. “Stop picking!” I looked back at the boy and smiled, then winced and quickly turned away. The boy’s right hand continued to dig at the lesser planet, but his left hand had dropped to the crotch of his jeans where his fingers fumbled, doing something I tried to avoid seeing.

“Get your hand off your dick for a minute and say hi to Tiny,” Pat told Pauly.

Somehow Pat had decided to nickname me Tiny while I was on my knees in his Eldorado. He thought the name increased my market value, reflecting both my age and my boob size. Who was I to argue?

I put my hand out, grateful that Pauly didn’t’ take it. Instead, he stretched his smile a little wider to greet me.

“Lulu’s kid,” Pat nodded to me as if I knew who Lulu was. “You’ll meet her in a minute.”

As we stepped off the elevator on the fourteenth floor, Pat elaborated on Pauly’s circumstances. “Son of a bitch is happy enough. You could punch him in the face, and he’d get a kick out of it. Spends all day laughing and jerking off. Isn’t that right, kid?” Pat thumped Poor Pauly’s shoulder, and the kid gurgled joy in response. “Must jerk off a dozen times a day. Can’t help himself, poor bastard.”

Pat opened the door to his apartment. It could have been a tropical paradise if it wasn’t in San Francisco. Palm plants scraped the ceiling. Floral curtains draped to the floor.

A woman with a bathrobe over her dress and pantyhose shuffled towards us in pink slippers. Pat nodded to her and then to me. “Lulu, Tiny. Tiny, Lulu.” Pat introduced us. “Tiny’s having dinner with us tonight,” he announced.

While Lulu set the table and put out the pasta, Pat introduced me to a scar on his chest. “Feel it,” he said and pulled my hand to the network of scar tissue. “Bullet’s still in there,” he explained. “Right next to my heart. If they pull it out, I die.” He then explained how he did time in San Quentin for the mob and that he was from Boston but liked San Francisco so much that he stayed after he was released from prison.

At dinner, Pat scolded Lulu for putting basil in the meatballs in between telling Pauly to take his hand off his dick. Then Pat told me all about Poor Pauly and Lulu.

It turns out Poor Pauly was Lulu’s Trick Baby. He was “touched in the head” and never talked. He laughed and giggled and leered and masturbated. When I say masturbated, I mean he masturbated constantly. Morning, noon, and night. It was a real problem. He could not keep his hands off his penis. The only time Poor Pauly wasn’t laughing and giggling was when Pat was smacking him in the face for jerking off in the elevator and terrorizing the blue haired society ladies. Pauly would whimper while Pat pummeled his face a few times and tell Pauly that if he scared the ladies one more time that Pat was going to cut off his dick.

Lulu was as close to a wife, if not his actual wife, that Pat ever had. The two had been together for years and years. Lulu had worked as a prostitute since she was my age. Now nearing fifty, her loyal tricks still called on her. Once in a while, they would betray her and ask for some younger meat. In the days to come, Pat would send me, and I would always feel bad for Lulu. I would feel like a traitor as her loyals pumped up and down on my sixteen year old body. Youth is everything. Youth is priceless . . . until you don’t have it.

Lulu gave birth to Poor Pauly in 1962, the same year I was born and eleven years before Roe V. Wade would make abortion legal. She never knew who Poor Pauly’s father was, and she always called him Poor Pauly.

After dinner that night, I became Pat’s Number One Whore and also Poor Pauly’s Number One Babysitter. Pat put me up in an apartment on Eddy and Franklin. It was in a brand new building and was about as classy as a theme room in a Las Vegas hotel. The living room had one of those paintings of the Golden Gate Bridge that you could buy in Fisherman’s Wharf, the kind with colored lights inside it, so you can turn it on and the bridge lights up. You get Christmas all year for 25 bucks. The bedroom had paintings of long-haired, big-breasted naked women staring down at the bed. The closet doors were made of full-length mirrors, so my tricks could see what they paid for while using my young body.

A few days each week, Pat would drop Poor Pauly off at my apartment so I could babysit him. Babysitting Poor Pauly consisted of Pauly going to the bathroom every five minutes and me pounding on the bathroom door and yelling, “Pauly! I know you’re jerking off in there! Come out this second! NOW Pauly!”

Eventually Pauly would come out of the bathroom, grinning, laughing, and picking his pimples.

“Sit on the couch and watch television Pauly. Don’t you dare go in the bathroom again.”

The minute I’d turn my back, Poor Pauly was back in the bathroom.

Pound, pound, pound on the bathroom door. “PAULY! Come out of there RIGHT NOW!”

Jesus God, my head had grown into an bulging, sweating, brilliantly red overripe tomato. Such was my life as a Trick Baby babysitter.


I looked up at the clock. 8:30 am. It had been an hour since Pat picked me up. He began leaning on his horn at 7:30 sharp. His ear-splitting serenade rattled my windows telling me to get my ass down to the car.

I slid into the car and looked up at the windows of my building. Disgruntled tenants scrunched their faces in disapproval of the noise blasting from the car and of the girl getting into it.

March 1979

The radio was silent. The Cadillac rolled to the hum of white wall tires, smoothly changing lanes, navigating red lights, and dodging double-parkers with quiet authority. I rested my cheek against cool glass. The city dissolved into fog and slid across my window in a smear. My sixteen year old body slumped into the passenger seat. I closed my eyes and turned inward until I too became tufted leather – an accessory that men could sink their bodies into for the right price.

The car turned off Van Ness and pulled to a stop in front of a gray building that looked more like a box. With a swift swipe of the steering wheel, Pat parallel parked his 18 ft long street shark with fluid ease.

Pat’s Eldorado looked nothing like the rustic browns and tans of the one my vice cop/drug buddy drove. Pat’s car was all glitz and show, just like the gold and diamonds circling his fat fingers and just like the girls he sold to fat executives and corrupt politicians. The man driving this Eldorado was not a vice cop but the kind of guy vice cops like to bust. He was my mafia pimp.

Lulu was waiting for us on the sidewalk. She was all decked out in a full length black mink coat and a bright pink scarf.

Pat’s hand landed in the middle of my back. “You’ll be just fine, baby.” He gave me a couple of thumps of reassurance. “You got Lulu here.” He leaned into Lulu and gave her a peck on the cheek. I almost vomited on Pat’s well-shined shoes.

Lulu wrapped her arm around my shoulders, and we walked into Planned Parenthood, the doors closing behind us with a swoosh and clank.


I bent forward. Squeak. Leaned back. Squeak.

“Tiny?” called a women from an opened door.

It was finally my turn. The woman smiled and put her arm around me and led the way. She did all the comforting things she was paid to do. She patted my back, told me it was going to be okay, said it wouldn’t take long, that it wouldn’t hurt, wouldn’t be scary. It did and it was, but I still didn’t feel much of anything, so it was okay.

I got completely undressed (something I was used to doing) and lay on the table in a paper gown. Lulu stood at my side holding my hand. Her mink coat was draped on a plastic chair like a sleeping animal.

I was surprised to see Suzanne Pleshette walk in and expected a flock of insane birds to follow her at any minute. Okay, it wasn’t really Suzanne Pleshette, but the woman staring down at me was a dead ringer for Annie Hayworth in The Birds. She had the same short black hair and a black and white checked shirt under her scrubs. I kept imagining a playground full of black crows as Annie told me everything they were going to do to me.

She looked down at me, and I stared into her Suzanne Pleshette eyes while a doctor whose face I never saw dilated my cervix. Then he put a little vacuum hose in my uterus and turned on the abortion machine. A bubbling gurgling sound came out of my body as the machine sucked my Trick Baby right out me.

That’s when the tears came. They leaked from my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, my bottom lip trembled as I listened to the gurgling and sucking. I looked over and saw a thick bloody goo going through a transparent tube, and a sob rose from my gut.

I wasn’t crying because I was sad for the Trick Baby. I wasn’t. I was crying because I suddenly realized that my life was in that tube. That’s what I had become. I was a sixteen year old girl lying in an abortion clinic holding my pimp’s girlfriend’s hand while I killed the monster Trick Baby that had been making me barf for weeks.

When it was over, Annie gave me some strong dope to keep me calm and help me heal. Lulu and I walked out of the building and left Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell on the table. We took a cab back to my apartment.

When we walked through the door, Pat was waiting for us. “You just lie down and get some rest now, Baby,” he told me. “Don’t worry about working for a few days. You can help out watching Poor Pauly so Lulu can work.”

I did just that. I rested for a few days and babysat Poor Pauly while Lulu turned tricks. Pauly jerked off in my bathroom, and I sat in my recliner chair and watched the pretty lights on my Golden Gate Bridge painting. I didn’t pound on the bathroom door. I didn’t yell. What did I care if Poor Pauly couldn’t stop masturbating? Poor Trick Baby bastard. I stared at the pretty lights and left him the hell alone.

1. “LGBTQ History Month: The early days of America’s AIDS crisis.” NBC News. October 15, 2018

Kim Nicolini is an artist, poet and cultural critic living in Tucson, Arizona. Her writing has appeared in Bad Subjects, Punk Planet, Souciant, La Furia Umana, and The Berkeley Poetry Review. She recently completed a book of her artwork on Dead Rock Stars which will was featured in a solo show at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA. She is also completing a book of herDirt Yards at Night photography project. Her first art book Mapping the Inside Out is available upon request. She can be reached at