Annie Chapman – Our Lady of Whitechapel
(Subtitled: Dandelions in the Garden of Eden)
Word count: 32,000
This novelette is strictly fiction based on fact. I chose to write about Annie due to the coincidence between her last name and the district where she both lived and was murdered: Whitechapel. And I interchanged her death’s circumstances with that of another Ripper victim: Catherine Eddoes.
The names Chapman and Whitechapel are possibly where the British term “chap” originated, as the Ripper murders are that well known. When it comes to the Internet regarding Whitechapel, the only website not dealing with the murders I could find was about a small art museum. I also found a website relating where they put Annie’s lovely new grave marker; some of the other victims’ graves have been equally updated.
Meet Victorian Era London:
The Whitechapel murders in the district of that same name in London, England in the late 1800s have gone down as some of the most grisly and infamous crimes in all of history. This is generally thought to be because the killer wrote local newspapers boasting of his work, making pithy comments like, “I hate whores, and I love to rip them.”
He called himself “Jack the Ripper,” and thought he had a handle on the type of person the authorities would let him get away with killing: ladies of the evening, chippies, or in other words, whores, hookers and prostitutes. And in fact, nobody ever stopped him. He disappeared and was never caught. There is, however, hearsay evidence he may have drowned himself in London’s Thames River to avoid dying of venereal diseases.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD, revealed the probable identity of Jack the Ripper was a doctor acquaintance of his who was dying of such illnesses, whom everyone knew fornicated with corpses: Dr. Jack Reinhart. Doyle wrote of shaking his hand and laughing with Reinhart over something hideous to do with killing people. Doyle could be overtly meaningful about death sometimes, and mostly wrote his “Sherlock Holmes” stories to capitalize on the crimes being committed; but what else can I say about myself? I guess I can argue this story is mainly a tribute empowering two of the victims, namely Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddoes.
In order to show the similarities between them, and for a reason I reveal at the end of this story, I invented for Annie something similar to her own personality – but also gave her Catherine’s circumstances instead of her own, interchanging their lives in a somewhat consistent manner. For example, Catherine Eddoes, not Annie Chapman, died in the rented room I mentioned, where death may have taken eight hours – or three weeks.
Also, in order to further flavor and color their lives, which were miserable but not without some happiness or merit, I added characters and nuances based on situations in which I knew they were involved, and political and social events of those intriguing times about which they may have truly cared, such as women’s liberation, local ethnic groups like Negroes, Hindu Indians and the Chinese, the liberal arts and the literary world, gay and lesbian rights, and overly brutal police tactics.
Meet the Story Itself:
An ordinary domestic dandelion is a beautiful, golden yellow weed that may gradually take over your house’s garden, if you let it. When I was a child, I hated to destroy them, because they were lovely flowers. I cried when my father rooted them out of our lawn with vile poisons.
It is up to you to decide if the people in this story are yellow weeds like the dandelions, or human beings with souls which require better fates.
There is a young British woman who died long ago, in the company of at least eight others. Is she something that needs to be rooted out of a giant lawn – namely, London, England? Before she takes it over, ruling and dominating it with the world’s most painful forms of diseases and death?
And is she to blame for what is oft exaggerated and not such a terrible way to die, or even deadly – or the actions of those who work against her and her kind? Is she to blame for her own oppression, or is something else?
Or is it Charles, a stranger in a strange land, whom Annie sees as her “bonnie Charlie,” who is the real yellow dandelion? Could you see him seeking his eternally lost soul, which he thought was in the future, or could it possibly never have existed at all? Is he only a human weed?
Lastly, could it be the person or people you would most suspect of such a status – murderers? Are they the true “dandelions” of life? Some think death is something to be imitated, though it may be a lone weed in all of our gardens, especially as its menace struck deeply in Whitechapel.
And one of the world’s most famous killers, so hideously imitated by so many pathetic but intelligent others, is a major part of the following fact-based fiction story: Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart.
Meet Annie Chapman:
“This will never be easy,” sighed me to myself as I gazed out the filthy panes of the room I was renting. It was a beautiful day in our many districts of London, some of which I inhabited in England of the late 1800s.
I knew, however, that I was special and different, not merely a blithering idiot of a street whore, though I was set to fast become one of such illegal creatures of the night. I had been favored by the gods that be for some unusual purpose, or I was imagining things. Some unnatural being, or my own natural feelings, had been telling me what to be for life’s purpose.
For my name was Annie Chapman, born of two parents as all such usual people are; but I was definitely stuck now living in the Whitechapel area of a small but scattered parish of London. ‘Twas a city of multiple desires and random lost causes, but mostly punishment. In my time, it was well known – and all our mortal souls had to suffer its bitterest stings.
So far as I could tell, women and children seemed to suffer most from these prejudices. The men, both young and old, poor and rich, had a hideous freedom to their causes widespread throughout Victorian England, in spite of the fact we were ruled by a queen.
Feeling depressed about this, I gazed out a window, looking at an autumn tree beginning to sprout its wondrous and small leaves. I recalled my late father, a man of austerity and grace, who was born impoverished. The fact he had been stuck presiding over what upon my reflection was always only an overly complicated ant farm . . . bothered me.
I sensed to myself, that although I was some colored and unfavoured, as I was not very coloured, I could perhaps get a job from the Juwes down the street at one of their many small perfume, antique and trinket shoppes, a jewelry store, or perhaps a lasting slot as a flower girl in another district. Still, as my parents had told me to trust Jesus our Lord and Saviour, I was curious. I had found Whitechapel district, and it seemed to me that we were so overcrowded and under favoured in London of that time and place that it would be best to end my existence here. I did not much apply at the shoppes. I saw my looks to be somewhat freakish – and felt work for me was scarce in all known quarters.
I was not certain of suicide, but had taken to light drinking of the only local beverage that afforded me any substantial pleasure at all, which of course was small beer. I noticed these imported beers were oft German or Irish. As I was with the other local “girls” who inhabited the lodgings of our elderly female landlord, who winked at me and let me know that only pleasures of the evening or money could reconcile her duplicate balance sheets, which I was dead sure she was forced to keep, I was sad, for I knew my eventual end must come from intractable diseases.
On the other hand, nightly I dreamed of a time when I could experience genuine sexual pleasure. This often involved fornication in broad daylight, which I only imagined. Sometimes I also envisioned a husband, who looked peculiarly like my father. He was finally killing me to get rid of enforced existence, and I hated this as much as anyone would in near same situation.
I loathed being only a girl in a men’s world, and did not want to be anything else. For to me, it would make no difference if I lived or died, as it seemed to be for all others in my time, but in some way I would have liked to lead an entire human existence.
My soul’s body was to be for the filthy old men – and the younger, equally filthy rogue, lordly and absurd – but well dressed middle aged gentleman of that era, and whatever else came my way, one which would only be stifled as far as ultimate heartbreak and pain needed to be hidden. I cheerfully went about my business, sometimes wondering if a time would come when I would meet my true lord and saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.
For I could not forsake the duty that God Himself had apparently handed me. I was surely to leave this world too soon. With the juxtaposition of a name like Annie Chapman with Whitechapel, I knew my end would not be pleasant, nor a good example. I understood my tale that was never told was not for your children, the god fearing, or the happy.
I often thought: the word between me and Whitechapel was “chap,” a common word used in England at that time. There was a logical – perhaps religious – explanation for my concupiscent, unstoppable fate. Perhaps our local, bitter deaths were supplying its greater usage. Yet after having applied at a dozen small shops, including apparently two Juwish ones, and after several episodes of being winked at, tormented by flies and insects, and smelling the street garbage, I felt something like a voice telling me where to go. I knew I was no such “chap.” I was a crappie and would never be a dowager. I had to learn that man is the dominant life form, and that woman was only a feeling appendage.
I headed for Whitechapel based upon this. There was simply nowhere else to go. But I wondered. Was there some other place for one like me, I thought as I looked down the length and breadth of my home’s glowering streets, wandering for the sake of exercise alone, during the day. I thought, it is time. I must gather my long skirts to myself, and reflect upon what I must do. It will not a good thing be. I must never gain too much weight, or I would lose the one job I had left my family early to access.
I will have to sell myself at night to these strange men, as I cannot seem to get another job. Yet, it is not so much because of my eerie skin color, I reflected. Surely, although I am “dirty,” and “filthy,” and all of those things, this could not be a pre-ordained fate. I am as much blonde and blue eyed I decided, as I am a lady of colour, although I am only one person, who must decide if she is a person. Surely a lady of the evening could never be let to be. Although at one time, I found myself at a veterinarian’s office, being told that the only living I could have was cleaning animal cages.
I wondered to the man in charge if I could have any facial coverings for this. “No, chit, hurry up and clean those cages, or you are terminated from this job. Get over here, and when you are done, come in the back. I have a big surprise waiting for you, chippie.” He wanted it clearly for free. As I left, I told him, “Next time, supply the “chippie” with a mask of some kind.”
Needless to say, once outside this office, I realized what my definite fate would have to be. I had been too defiant in my own way of something I could not understand or relate my life about. I was rooming near the Whitechapel district at the time, in a rundown and filthy hovel, and I simply went to the office of the renting hostelry, talked to the manage, and was told I owed sixteen farthings for rent, even though I owed none. I knew I needed a certain amount of farthings to make my way in the world, and had oft lost count, as the varieties of pence and farthing, quid and crown danced through my growing mind. I had not met the level of souls who needed only pence, as that would come later.
I remember thinking, damn you, God in the highest. You are simply some concept dreamed up by man. I am going to live in Whitechapel district, alone, and away from you. But at night, I cannot even dream of a man. I must face down the British Empire beasts who think they are lions at night, one at a time, until “it” finally happens. And the unicorn can never help lasses who cannot see straight after two days of life. As the seal of the British Empire dictates, something is a lion, and something is a freak.
Therefore the first is a predator, it casts around for what to feed upon, and it must eat in order to survive. If this is its wife, its husband or its own land, it must make its statements, sign onto its “just” causes, and take on its own workloads. But these are always assigned to it by another force, one which subsumes it to cause its death.
Meet “Our Bonnie Charles”:
Casting about for the dozen girls whom I was to work with, whom I had first met at a trade school, I found Cecilia, and Mary. I asked Mary if there was anyone else named same as her in Whitecap area. I immediate thought there ought to be two such Maries. “I should like to live in the same rooms with her,” I told Cecilia, planning to thus pay less money out.
“What are you – an invert? Do you like women? You don’t look ugly, dark or short enough. I’d think beer and the high life would be enough for the likes of you. I have a nice man who wants to see you. His name is Charles. He’s the cutest bloody bloke in England. Come back here.” She was indicating the deep interior of the tavern we congregated at, to speak between us.
I paused for a moment. “What, is Charles not lit up? Is he, ah, a drunkard, and perhaps not white or something?” I had been introduced for breeding purposes to many such. Having turned them all down as unsuitable, I had slept only with white men.
“Whatever would make you say that? He has a name and a pedigree. Don’t you think you would like to meet him? By the way, he wants to discuss an arrangement with you. He told me he wants to organize us ladies into sort of union. Can you imagine, Annie, we could work for decent wages for a change?” She giggled. “Really, he thinks he’s bonnie Prince Charlie, oh, he’s a rough but good hearted cuss. No, he’s out for blood.”
I had read in the newspapers, having been a schoolgirl and able to read, and having greatly enjoyed this period of time in my life, of things such as unions and also how men only took advantage of women. Still, I knew how men lived and died on the job. My father had perished away from our apartment, and we had never known what had happened. There had been a story in the papers out of Sussex about an industrial accident in the silver mines of Brazil. I wondered how my father had traversed the waters, maybe easily, maybe hard.; in a ship, or in a slave boat?
Such had begun my long slow slide downwards. I had taken to drinking and also carousing with the local men. But I had also contemplated drug abuse, especially cocaine, and had turned aside. I had thought of my education. But my mother ran out for our four other children, all younger than me, and I had to go work for my living. For a time, I had to suffer cocaine withdrawal, but we were all tough girls and rowdies, an’ no problem was had waiting out the shaking.
We ladies of the evening were more disciplined in those times than you modern day folk might think. You see, the elaborate clothing of our Victorian era dictated our existences almost completely. It took well nigh unto fifteen minutes to lace up one’s high button shoes, and they cramped one’s feet sufficiently to cause intolerable agony, although removal of them felt like surrender.
Most fortuitously, in Leeds I found a new style of shoes that were less ponderous. These simply laced up to the ankles and had become widespread in America. Made of patent leather, they were expensive but not impossible to buy with our wages.
Penny small pence for my thoughts, where I could ever head them, as my dark friend Cecilia, who was good at slipping in and out of the shadows and back alleys as she introduced me to the Life, dragged me to the back of the dingy tavern and I came across Charles. He was standing there, and sure enough, I had to think what I thought. He was indeed a Negro man, and he had on the most arcane African grin I had ever seen.
“Would you care to make more money at what you are bound to do?” Charles asked me, taking my hand quite gently and giving me an obviously acquisitive peck on the back of my hand. “I’ve never been treated so like a lady before, Charles. Isn’t it your real name?”
“Yes, but you are now to have a new name. I want to call you something else, but you may select it, my fair lady. What would’ a care to be called, now if you work for us?” He was a scant taller than me, but loomed larger than my desires could push him back.
I reflected upon how much I loved my Lord and Saviour, and how much Charles looked like the Devil. As he stood there, he resembled pictures of the Moors I had seen in my book. They were treated as the enemies of our England, and I wondered. Would this man help secure me better fortunes? No, there was no such thing as hope. He held my hand for the briefest of moments, and then released it as his gently slid downwards.
“I’m sorry, Charles, but I do so work alone. I will reside in Whitechapel, and, ah, I will await the coming of the one who will save me from my appointed task. Upon the coming of my Lord, I will then go home. Do you understand this, my Charlie?” I decided to give him his grin back, and smiled the smile of one I knew was quite uncertain. Perhaps this boyish man had something in mind along the lines of gathering up our monies.
His hat was cut of the finest cloth, and his costume smacked of recent times and extremely well adjusted accouterment. He looked like a good “old boy” from say, Liverpool, where I understood the fine arts were gaining in attention, and there were nice museums. But I doubted he’d long attended school, from his overly active mannerisms. His frown was too like his smile; arduous, songlike, and full of evil implications.
“Ah, I understand. But would you like me to buy you a beer first?” The fellow stood there, looking at me proudly and far too arrogantly to be thinking he would be in any trouble for accosting me. I knew now what my prospective clients would also probably be. There would be no mercy whatsoever from the disease threat. I knew now beyond all certainty what I was going to be forced to become. And it might last longer than long. There were growing hospitals that could take me in, and the treatments there for disease were as medieval and arcane as any I had studied in my way at school.
I would be taking some of the men of England with me on this unpleasant Biblical Job like journey, I decided. If not many a long year would await my misfortune, I should be a slit throat. It would help make up for some of I and my girls’ lack of good circumstance. It was not the men folks’ fault; I could not see it any other way. And yet they all seemed to think that sex was something they owned or otherwise could throw away as some sort of ungodly machinelike contraption. I was sure I myself would turn out to be one.
“Charles, I need initiated into this. Could you buy me a beer, and could we step upwards into an upstairs bedroom, one last time, before I settle down into my life of prostitution?”
He snidely frowned, and said, “Look, young lady, I am definitely not liking your mood and would require some recompense for your time, if I was to be a fancy man for you. I have done this now for several years, and it is high time I became upwardly mobile. When do you want to go into an upstairs bedroom with me?” As he stood there, I saw that he would be rankled if I took anything like a sweet time with him. Also, I picked up a deep sense that he wanted something nice out of life which he could never obtain.
I took his two toned but silken left hand in one sudden motion. “I have sixteen pence in my pocket. If you must be such a small boy about this, I can certainly pay you for going through the motions with an aging and soiled dove such as me. It is my rent money, and it is all I have. Let us go upstairs, and for one hour, let us be a man and a woman together. You can show me the way. I will even lead the way upstairs for you. Do you want to beat on me? Do you have equipment, or is it as simple as it looks?”
“No,” said Charles, casting his eyes away. “I do, but actually, I will take your sixteen pence and get you out of here. Let us go buy you one beer, and be done with you. Come on now, such a choppy; let us go buy you a glass of wine. Come on now, Dove.”
So he led me over to where I and my friends congregated, and was the only one of his kind there as we settled in to what would be one of my few last glasses of heavy and dark brew. I sat and tired watched its aged traces swirl in the glass, wishing I could be a fish, and float.
The piano player was fetching a good tune out of the wooden instrument, and several of the girls were dancing merrily, pulling their skirts up aways, sometimes doing what we thought of as the stage dancing which I had seen growing up, down in another district, one which the rich were known to haunt and which had many a festive ballroom hall dance going in it. Some journeymen, carpenters and tradesmen, were dancing about, as the tavern was not as small as it looked from the outside, and it was a good time being had by all. Even…me.
I was surprised as I looked around, happy for a moment at the lack of Christian antipathy. The men whirled their girls around, dipping them, sometimes dancing erratically. I began tapping my shod foot rapid time to the music, and clapping my hands.
“Chuck – my bonnie lad,” I tittered into my feminine hand, which had beautiful red nail polish on each nail – but it was starting to chip round the edges. “Charlie, my darling, let us get up and dance.” As I gazed down the bar, I could see the Juwish owner of the tavern, or so I thought of him, wiping all the glasses with one towel, and dreamed briefly of securing a job as a tavern girl. Charles seemed to flinch. I thought, would the tavern owner hire him? Perhaps he would not work there. I wanted to reach out and grab him by the waistcoat and haul him – slowly – upstairs with me.
“Wait. I have to go dance with the ladies who work for me. Wait here.” He left me, his grey tailcoats swirling around in mock protest. Then one of what I assumed now were his girls handed me a newspaper. It was a headline on that grabbed my attention. As I read it, my heart sank, although it was nothing unexpected and I had been looking for it. We all knew there had been more frequent deaths of street life in the District as late.
It read, “Ladies of the Evening Disappearing in Whitechapel.” As I read the story, it turned out they were doing anything but disappearing. Our bodies were being found in strange and peculiar places, splayed out like carpetbags, in odd positions. And I felt chilled to the bone when I found other Mary indeed. It was a young girl I knew who had gone to a separate school than mine, once I had met her at a coffee shop, and we had shared dreams of working as writers, musicians, waitresses and artists, and she had been found in an alley with her throat ripped wide open and her abdominal cavity also gutted through her heavy clothing, in a position which began to sink deeply into me.
Sitting with my head spinning out of control, I happenstance saw a street at night. It was one of many – with dead bodies upon it. I also viewed an absolute picture of what had happened. As the grey cold swirls of a thick London negotiable fog gathered around both the victim and the oppressor, I saw who it was. He wore a long black cloak and a broad grey brimmed hat. He knew what he was doing, too good of a job at it. If it was one person, it was an unlined medical doctor. I read other articles, and there was some attempt to blame the entire local Juwish population. It finally centered on a butcher named Leather Apron, and there was talk of arresting this Juwe. I knew for a cold hard fact that it was not him, but a cadaveric that lived and worked near the vicinity.
And I next saw a sepia toned picture of what the “vultures” that gather and make money off of us had done to her “pretty” corse. She was so dark and mysterious, and had lovely long black hair. They had sewed her body all up to pose her both as a new thing called pornography – and as a medical item. I had to think, I somewhat minded the porno, but was happy about the medical aspect. Then it dawned on me. This would lead to the widespread abuse of women. However, it seemed a new way to make money, one that might get some of us away from the horrendous sweatshops, where in crowds you could only work until you dropped, were out on the streets and got yours. And the growing photography arena must of course have something strange to take on. I thought, Charles should try taking pictures of us, but perhaps he has not such knowledge as that.
I was sure of a sudden that it had all been a necessity, and that it had happed before, but had not been reported on by the newspapers so frequently. Please if there be a God, I briefly prayed: do not take enormous photographs of my dead naked body. And what if this attitude spread out, engulfed the other citizens of London, and destroyed her?
“Excuse me. I have to go see a doctor now, everyone. Oh, I have to get out of here.” Being medium height but of slight build, yet a little paunchy round the middle, it took quite a lot of lifting my skirts and pushing to get the crowd aside and to leave the large room of a tavern. God was telling me where next to go. I cruised lightly down the street, giving a glance to the left of me every time, seeing the beautiful shops of the Juwes and others gleaming in the broad daylight. It looked like a nice home for real people, the sort that could wish you a taught day and hand you the proper portion of goods. I looked, and there was someone who looked like Charles working in the back part of grocers.
It turned out to be an island woman who was sweet on white men, the likes of whom gave her three children, but had deserted her each time for someone else. Every time I needed fresh fruit, I would ask her to give me an extra portion for the others. But she finally stated that her billet was too long to give us any further. Her name was Hattie, and I almost asked grocers if they would hire me instead of her. Grocers was white mostly, but Hattie had been so nice to us I could not bear to hurt her and ruin her life.
I sighed, adjusting my bonnet and retying the strings alongside my glowing cheeks. In autumn in London town, there were many bustling down the sidewalks, heading places all unknown to me, many of which I had already been. I knew the shop of the doctor was down the street about two more blocks. I shifted my skirts about my leggings, and began padding like I was some sort of panther – or perhaps another cat of my own – a bit further. As my eyesight was perilously obscure, I could barely make out the sign above the door. It had been hand painted, but I had been told long ago that only men folk painted signs.
Meet the Doctor, Jack Rinehart:
“Dr. Jack Rinehart,” it seemed to proudly proclaim, “Mortician, barber, necrologist, and exterminator.” But not, “Jack the Ripper.”
As I lingered over the last word, I seemed to hear a macabre song in my head, one about cockroaches and the plague. I shuddered as the wind whipped around my bonnet, and as I looked over at a greenly growing oak tree in a planter, it sent some leaves over to me. They slicked across my eyes – and then I took one – and peeled it off. It was the only way I could be a “peeler.” That was a member of the authorities, such as Scotland Yard, or the local bobby police. The job of a policewoman was rare indeed. All of our girls made the lowest possible wages, and were easy to take advantage of, but so were most of the men, I supposed.
I had dreamed of taking the train to Stratford of Avon on Sea, but I’d no relatives there whom I could stay with while I found work. I had hoofed it to the chap’s office, thinking that if enough of us were dead, they would eventually catch the miscreant.
Still, considering what we were doing, it seemed all right to me either way. Surely, the population of England could use lowering. I bet I could avoid dying outright myself, for awhile. Shame on me, I thought to myself, not for being a street whore, but for thinking such thoughts.
I paused at the door of his offices. It was so crowded in downtown London that it probably was also his place of abode. There was at least one set of rooms above, and a gaslight already flickering in one of them. In those days, you see, we had no electric light everywhere and relied on flame lights. I entered the front, and there was a short stairway up to his actual offices. I climbed it tentatively, as the day was growing late, but came to rest right outside of a door reading, “Dr. Jack Rinehart – Necrologist.”
What should I tell him, that I need to see a doctor for something? But this man was a practicing corpse doctor, and I’d heard tell of him by way of the district. My street friends told me he took a shine to young “fancy” boys: dead ones. Victorian England brought out the worst in people; they looked askance – but away – at such matters. Even so, as I pushed the glass fronted door open and entered, I choked in horror.
There were various undone dead naked girls on the tables, and quite a few boys; dead naked boys, everywhere.
They were some adult, but all very young, and none were old people at all. Corpses were openly spread wide, to be examined spuriously in patently sexual ways. As I wheeled around, having seen dead people for the first time in my life, I gulped, wheezed, and gasped. I drew a hand to my throat, putting it away, and stared at the man with a kind of astonished shock.
Something real was telling me this was our persecutor, and not a good man, nor an ordinary medical doctor. But he was smiling at me.
“Are…you a mortician? Is this where you take their lives, or save them?” He looked slowly over his pince nez, taking his spectacles off, rubbing them on his blooded sleeve. I looked into what appeared to be a Teutonic face, one which I had never seen before. It was white but red with a kind of age, and looked furrowed above the brows. His hair was uncombed, and his brown leather apron as blood soaked as I had ever seen on a cattle butcher. There would be news of another man called “Leather Apron” in the papers about Jack the Ripper, but it wasn’t this man.
For one moment, in the dim light, his body seemed shot full of diseases, especially his ruddy face. Then, in the next space of time, he looked merely normal, seeming a plain, smooth-faced, charming pink fellow.
“Miss, I presume you want to speak with me? Come have a seat over here. Would you like to get up on a table, so I can examine you?” His lips curled into a kind of vicious snarl, as he began to reach behind me, perhaps to close the door at my back. I inched myself backwards, holding the door’s handle grasped firmly, ready to swing it open, but had nowhere really to go at this point in time.
“Nooooooooooo,” I scattered through my loose and probably rotting teeth, as I had not seen a dentist in years, thinking this could be the occasion I had been waiting for right here in his office. I’d best make ready, as I might be entering Heaven or Hell shortly, depending on God’s good graces.
“Do you, that is, are you Jack Rinehart, and would you come up with me to my rooms and we could have a good time?” Astonished at what I had said, I paused – on my part such cheek! I wondered if trying to make him into a customer would settle his hash.
But it was more than obvious he had something utmost lifelong in mind that I couldn’t approach. “Do you think, ahh, Jack, you and I could go up the street to a lovely restaurant?”
Meet Jack the Ripper:
“Women are the xx chromosome, an eternal optimist. Men, on the other hand, are an xy chromosome. Far superior to women, they are so much more ready to kill than to be optimistic. Eating is out of the question when you are the thing that needs to be eaten. By the way, only one of my little poppet whores – what makes you think my name is Jack?”
I thought to myself: that is the most inane thing I have ever heard.
“Do tell,” rang out the hollowest voice I ever heard a man speak with. “Are you ready for me now, little whore? I am certainly ready for you. Come, lie down,” he breathed, motioning behind himself.
He was about medium height, and for one moment, I daydreamed about describing him to Scotland Yard. He had a brush of brown hair on top, and his bluish green eyes danced with foul wickedness. Yet I was finally confronting my male self. He was as diseased as he could possibly be. I had never seen a white man or anyone else look that far along when it came to dying. His voice began echoing in my head for awhile, like a ringing declaration of the bottomless pits of hell. I knew he could have no wife, no lover, and no children. I wondered if he cerebrally loved men. I finally decided he had been having at those corpses – indeed.
From the positions of their being splayed out, he had obviously been having…intercourse with them…even the ones left of…boy children. What an outrageous, perhaps even courageous…man?
No, he wanted us to fare far worse than him. Did he actually need to be doing what he was doing, and what was it for? And I knew his total lack of mercy must be sustained for life. He had been plotted by the forces of chaos for infinity before he was even born.
At this I knew, right now I had only freckles, and my minor acne surely did not matter that much. It was almost as if I had seen my “other” at last, where I was putting my possible victims and most significantly, myself. And I know how I accidentally looked at him. The dazed wonder that crossed my face, combined with devastating loneliness, spread wide.
For a long instant of time, we gazed levelly at each other, I with a kind of quaint friendliness, and he with the utmost disdain and deep hatred.
In the next moment, the lust for blood or something else took over his finely, elegantly alabaster features, twisting them into a sort of malevolent but farfetched grin. It couldn’t be described as happiness. But I thought I saw a new spark in his eyes, as though he took an interest in me.
Surely he didn’t see me as anything but another of his potential dead victims? As I stared, he finally gave me a boyish grin, and then licked his lips. Some flush stole into his face, as if he were growing excited.
“You…don’t know me. Yes, you’re quite lovely. Or, perhaps I should know you better. Come on, chippie,” he said, patting his thigh as if I were a dog and he were summoning me to his side, “and let me tell you what I’m doing for you people, you idiotic, racially impure…little girl.” I began to realize that his voice held a slight German accent, quite Teutonic really.
When I really was a girl, we had a neighbor who let us climb his trees and pick apples; he was from Germany. His accent was thick, enough to confuse you. Sometimes he yelled at us, if we stayed in his trees too long: “Get down here, or I’ll strip your stupnegle skins off!” That was clearly understood, and we would instantly climb down.
“I won’t hurt you; I promise. You only need to climb up, and tell me your troubles. I will treat you like a father. Here is the place, babe, and your home, new child of the night. I will save you much pain – and take no long time with you.” He motioned in a Londoner’s way towards a sterile, empty vivisection table, with a pure white cotton cloth spread perfectly on it.
His suit under the brown leather apron was impeccable, expensive Scottish grey and brown tweed with a high thread count, and with a shiny brown silk vest buttoned across his muscular chest. I could see he was a young and vital man, perhaps somewhat short for a German, and he was ungodly handsome, except for traces of acne in his finely etched face.
“I won’t hurt you, honestly, as I promise. Simply perch on this table, pretty bird. You need your health checked into, and regular medical care. Isn’t that what a doctor is here for, to help you? I have two decades of experience working with whores. It won’t hurt one micron.” His grin turned friendly, and he looked so normal and polite.
He did not even reach for me. Letting me stand there, he had me silently contemplating only the silver slab of an examination table.
I saw my shallow death, only about five feet away from where I stood. It would involve much blood letting, and an agony he would not want to cause here. My screams would carry, so he must be somehow mentally gone. I knew how it had to happen, and I felt so disappointed, and not afraid. A kind of disgust appeared as well. I could not really see his medical instruments, and a few of them began to gleam at me, vacillating in the autumn heat as they loomed larger. I had seen pictures in books of Inquisition tortures.
For a moment, I wished he would use smaller implements instead. Then I realized what that would entail, and closed my eyes for ten seconds.
The idea occurred that perhaps hundreds of children had fallen to this maniac. A ping in my head, and I felt as though it told me many more virgins would in the future, in the natives’ countries especially. Innocent children would fall – who had no life in the sex trade.
Or was it only we “whores” who would die, should these “maniacs” keep their practices? My head and heart would tell me no further. Yet, as I eased the door behind me back and forth, I did not say anything and looked, to see if any of the “bodies” moved. I dreamed of childhood prostitution leading to the sale of body parts. I’d heard this done.
A voice whispered in my ear that the doctor was going to go down in history, as possibly one of the world’s evilest men. He would even be blamed somewhat for the actions of other, even viler Germans, during times of civil strife and world war.
Why would a Britisher named Jack Rinehart be held accountable for world evil? It was a German born name. It flashed through my mind that he had been writing letters to the newspaper, boasting flagrantly of his many crimes. Perhaps he was simply the “very first” murderer to seek such widespread publicity. He had left his “lady” corpses as widespread indeed as humanly possible, with slit vaginas open wide for the public to view, in as nauseating of final poses as could abuse fragile senses. As I found later, so much doubt would be held about them.
No one knew if he had committed four or twenty such murders, and all supposedly of London prostitutes. One source settled on nine, stating that was the apparent number of such deaths in his vicinity. And so many other crimes were committed that were similar to his, by other “people” at that time. People placed on fires in crowded hovels, people left to die in the gutter. Our overcrowded city was why, and it took awhile for me to collect my mind.
He had been German, and something had sent him to “our” country. His name meant River Heart. I thought, when he is done, he will throw himself into the Thames. It was a splendid yet now polluted river winding its way through the heart of London, which of course had nothing of the sort but the Strand region. Right in downtown London, they sold popular magazines for those who could take the time to read them. I often had nothing but time on my ladylike hands. I liked to read the publications which were housed in that area, and once I had bought something new. It was a tale of a pair of learned sophisticates who roomed together, named Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It was said the author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had based them on a doctor he respected and himself. I had a feeling the stories were a distant attempt to solve our murders. The real life doctor could tell where you were from anywhere in England by examining you. I chuckled, thinking he certainly at least knew where our Charles was from.
They were something new called private detectives, and they wanted to help mankind – howsoever, only in a fictive way. The writer was an optometrist who had friends in the medical profession, and I had a feeling one of them was probably the “gentleman” before me, well protected by his lifelong cohorts. They would never do anything about him, only boasting and bragging about their abilities to save us, be like us, or some other way steal our stories from us – and otherwise pretend to help us without ever doing so. The entirety of London was abuzz with what was happening to us, and what to do about it.
“You are a good man, Dr. Jack Rinehart,” I stumbled out. “I am not trying to save myself. Not anymore. But would you give me some time to be sure of where I am located? I am Annie Chapman, and this is most assuredly Whitechapel District of England. Is it not, and oh, I would like so to lie down, but I must hurry back as I never finished my beer. Also, I should enjoy it much if you would take me out to lunch, once, as I have never been escorted to luncheon by a real man before,” I lied, liberally applying the butter of my best charms. I was trying to save myself, I decided. “Would you do such honors to a lady of the evening as I am now? I was once a good girl, much like…”
It occurred to me of the strong Juwish presence about this district of town. Lately, there had been some reports of doing something about “the Juwes menace.” I felt sad, thinking somehow perhaps we were possibly to blame for their woes. Then I realized the “good doctor” was tapping my knee with a rubber instrument. I had not read of our “menace” by far, although there was talk of running us out of the districts. We were too “needed” by the local insatiable gentry to think of ruining the Victorian English “male” life. And I had thought it proper to live such a life in its way, but had finally run into our deaths. I knew that women, men and children were being used in obscene and furtive manners. It could only be our overcrowded city’s living conditions, and lack of jobs…no, he was not a good man. Somehow, it was a decision; he was not above me, he was beneath me.
“I hate you, Dr. Rinehart. You are killing people, real people with lives, needlessly. You must stop what you are doing, before it’s too late!”
“Hah. Lie down, whore, and I will get the instruments of torture. There you go.” He seemed to gesticulate in the general direction of the table. Being quite fast on my feet, I was already out the door, and knew who “Jack the Ripper” was…now. I thought his instruments of torture are the medical devices we currently have to use, and they certainly were.
As I hurriedly passed by everyone who must have missionary position to get pregnant and all of whom “Knew” women were somehow smutty whores, or that somehow certain ladies were all right and being such judges of character as I, I smiled. The lot of them seemed to have someplace to go, perhaps home to a hearth and fire. I watched a carriage pull up to someone elegant and she got in with a man and their three children. “Dear God, Allah, Mary…whomever,” I thought to myself, when will they ever learn to stop? I figured me probably – and all whom I knew – could find pregnancy on our own.
Stop what, I deemed to myself. But as a sewer rat, white as a sheet and larger than a cat lurked in an alley ten steps from where I trod, I took myself down another side street to make my way “home” and pack swiftly enough to leave. I still had my sixteen farthings. And I highed myself over to Whitechapel District, on the other side of where I had lived before, earnestly endeavouring to look as harried and impromptu as I possibly could. I thought to the crowd, see me, feel me, touch me, reel me in – and peel me. Peel me, it dawned on me for the first time, peel me like an onion. Diaries, I twittered, coughing into my hand, a head cold that felt like pneumonia. Again that time of year, as I pulled my blue shawl about my neck and dreamed of such a death. Well, now that I have met the murdered, it is probably only a matter of time before he comes. How will he know which rooming house I am lodging at? I must enquire there to see if I can elude him, or if the police would be intrigued enough to settle this incident of mine.
Meet the Lodger:
“‘allow,” I breezed to the night manager of the lodgings, who was a short and settled unkempt Indian man, probably a Hindu landed immigrant, keeping his books behind a complicated hand carved antique desk in the lodgings. The desk was not Victorian, like our Queen, and was something particularly beautiful and exquisitely fashioned from his own nativity. “What’s your name?” I leapt forward with, anxiously searching him.
“If you think you are going to make a lay instead of paying me money outright, upfront for your rooms, each paid every week you stay here, until you are gone for good, you are wrong. Would you care for room 221 A? There is a girl staying there, but it is a private room. We have another one available for two people, but of course, chippie, you will want a private room. Or would you like something more expensive?”
“Ah, I have but sixpenny farthing.”
“Sixteen will bring you recompense and a good night’s sleep, for a time.”
“I have sixpenny farthing.”
“Here’s the key and there’s a good girl. Go downstairs and to your left,” he said, and I complied immediately. It was good enough that I had an honest man for a manage and I didn’t mind his attitude, but he could change on me any time. I dared think his kind might steal from me if I owned anything, but I wasn’t planning on it. Maybe if I lasted, I would slowly gather some few cheap items for my room, such as I could buy at local shops. I had trouble inserting the key in the lock, and it nearly bent twain – although it was made of a thick iron. Finally, I jimmied the door open.
There’s your room. Put the key down on the filthy table. Now you can see what you are. Look in the mirror. See what used to be your pretty face? Now it will be gone for a long time. Look at the bed? See the stains. It used to be a bed, and it is still pleasurable. Now, lie down upon it. There’s a dear. Ready for a good time? The bed is not as bad as those “the slaves” used to not own, but you are already exposed to mildew. And now, I thought, what would I be exposed to? I had seen bloodless hookers who seemed normal. When Allen had first suggested I try Whitechapel, he had said, “Do not fear the diseases.” I had tested out well in school – but did not think my abilities were sufficient for the sweatshops; however, I had applied at them and been told to go away. I had waited in a line for over twelve hours, and Allen the shop steward had brought me a jug of pure water to drink. The sweat had soaked my entire two sets of clothes, and the water was a stream straight from Jesus. I downed half of it and said, “Here, you have some.”
I had thought those were the longest half day of hours I had spent in my life. Little did I know that a half day must repeat itself, even though the first one had been arduous. It had involved noise and a feeling I could not handle a life of severe work without any breaks. I was sure they let you attend a lavatory and at least have time for a sitting down.
No, I have to wash up and get ready for tonight. I have to go out and collect my rent money. And I have to be sex in any position any man wants outside, even in the pouring rain. I have to do this in spite of a good Christian upbringing, and being as sturdy as I am from running in the woods outside of Leeds, to compete with the other girls at school, I must not retire, truly, ever again. Also, whoever you are, I am not a man. Nor am I an invert, nor an object of worship. I daresay I sham not ever get a proper grave.
Oh, but you shall, my deario cheerio, you shall. And there will be colour pictures, and such wakeful and “new” celebrity. All English women whatsoever, no matter what their birthright, will come to fear your attackers. You will be photographed repeatedly in various odd positions. Also, the photographs will improve over time until you are making money hand over fist, you and all such beings of worship everywhere. There, see yourself in the mirror? See how pretty you are? Ah, you think yourself an ordinary girl of the streets. The grave will be equally pretty, over one hundred and one years from now. Forsworn, you all had told me that I, Annie Chapman, must live life in the 1870s as best I can, and it will not last long. For what is life if it is so dominated by perversity?
I am going to leave your heart laid out on a pillow, the voice of Jack said arch deeply into my head. I have gone mad indeed, I reflected as the voices continued. Perhaps smart I had an overactive imagination. Once a teacher said “we” could imagine anything you want, and it would happen to you. Now, lie down on the bed. There’s a girl. I am going to come soon, no, don’t get up. I will send Charles if you don’t listen to me, and he will not be happy with you as you are not helping him earn his keep. He’s such a caged up little spoiled bratty monster. I trust you would not wait for him? He is my own male Negro.
“Thanks none, and now I have no volition of my own.” I looked out the dusty window at the street traffic, and realized to my happy surprise and painful downfall simultaneously that the avenue or whatever it was outside obscured all street noises coming in. The rattling carriages and push carts could be heard by me no longer. I was trapped, decided I was insane for “knowing” what Jack Rinehart was, and lay down to relax on my bed. Oddly, for a moment I almost felt a kind of luxury. I looked up at the cracked ceiling, and at the tiny bedroom I now inhabited, probably for life. I thought, I never knew I could live in such a space as this. It was plenty for me, and I felt a deep relief.
I cast my white arms to either side of me, feeling the soft nature of the smelly old bedding, relaxing myself solely for the purpose of readying my body for what must soon take place. I would have to go out beyond, out in the alleys of the district, which wound and twisted in the deep nightly fog of industrial Great Britain, so polluted with the tars of factories that tended to hire men alone and some women, and listen for the tomes of Old Ben, the biggest standing clock tower in the world, to tell me when to come home. I would have to stand and wait, as the odd “rich” men of London came to while me away, taking their time, as I insisted on pay in advance for each opportunity they took.
In a few hours, I must begin the process of somehow dying for and against Great Britain. I would feed the birds and insects soon, the rats and cats and dogs of the streets, or perhaps only be carried away to the morgue to await perhaps a notch longer fate. I had often seen indications of the Catholic Hell, and perhaps it would be eternal, as I was uncertain if I had somehow chosen this. I recall coming through Leeds where I was borne on a train, and seeing the scrawling of a madman or two on the train depot walls. It said, “Blame us your problems then lengthy kill yourself.” And underneath, I had seen the words, “Annie will light the way for no one’s life.” As I got off the train, a professional looking man pushed into me, stating, “I have been waiting for you, and you come across my way when you least expect it. Then you will be our great stupid whore for life.”
However, as a schoolgirl should, I shuddered to myself as a surge of pleasure tackled my parts below. I would never feel fulfilled by a man, I reasoned; I would have to tolerate a kind of abstract torture indeed. This my hideous master had so informed me. But eventually, I also believed, he would have to share similar fate to all of his victims. If nothing else, he would have to work especially hard for his living. And surely he would have to be as my real father, who had gone somewhere. Perhaps I could even get him to give up, trust me, love me, and marry me. Lastly, as the pleasure checked by me went off, I made my way into the train station.
But as I was searching for the public loo, a feeling assaulted me in the center of my clothed but parted bosom. It seemed to be proclaiming what a “heart” I had, and how it would be of some use. I did not want to touch my own bodice over this. I shuddered, as for the first time I thought I had felt the “passion” of Christ. It was not a good feeling, felt like having sex with myself alone, and I put it right away. I flashed on somehow it would involve the slow removal of my living heart from my dying body.
As life is unfair to all, I gathered myself up, smiling, and pulled my brush and comb out of my traveling bag. I had done this at the train station, and now in my final room in Whitechapel. It was a large carpet bag, dotted with flowers, and I opened it carefully, pulling the brush through my long hair that was brown and shone with some other colors. It made straightway as I pinned my hair back and put on my choice bonnet. I was bathed and dressed, due to the water closet right there at my disposal. I had thought it would be down the hall and to be shared with the other girls, but for an unknown reason, it was right there next my room. I wondered briefly what a long fall “death” would be.
I stalked like a true whore out of my room, gathering my courage and smoothing my long dress. As I entered the darkening of the nighttime, I took small steps, spacing each apart, my high button shoes clicking lightly on the pavement. What a thing being a detective would be, I mused; what a life that would have been, under other circumstances. Peering over my spectacles, if I could have afforded them, I would be looking all around for clues, in order to tell the authorities what to do to solve these awful “crimes.” But I was a criminal, an illegal person called a prostitute, and I had to do what I was doing. For half a distracting second, I thought I saw a brief glimpse of someone. He was standing there in the fog. As I moved towards him, he disappeared, quite out of sight.
Meet a Typical Client:
I followed him. “Oh sir, kind sir, would you like to come see my lodgings? I live up four blocks, in Whitechapel district, and need you to share my wares. Would you like to be with me for a brief while, and spend my time or perhaps dinner with me?”
“No, stranger, I am busy. Perhaps you are seeking some other gentleman to take your time with and find another pastime which you can overcome with greater ease. Say, would you like to stroll down this alley with me? I find that the night air allows some other beings of an evening to make their choice appearance, oh say in a dark manner, that might need such a lovely girl as you,” said this man new to me as he grasped my arm so lightly and then harder as we went down an available alley, making me think he must believe he is nearer to God than I, and an obvious conclusion to that, as we strolled past a Bobbie, the local London police. The bobby looked away. I winked at him as we walked past, quite a couple of chips floating along the avenue, like a kind of steered boat. I noticed the man was doing all of the steering. I trembled, but said nothing.
I somewhat wondered if this gentleman’s god was a man named Charles. As I had studied somewhat that people came from either Jerusalem or Africa, I had to figure so. I was being silly, but he was grasping my arm quite hard and pinching it. I sighed, reflecting on oops he does seem to be pinching me. “I believe you are a bobby at this rate.”
“What? Are you talking to me, whore? I am not pinching you.” To pinch someone at the time was a London expression for arresting them. Of course I was in danger of this.
“Well, where would you like,” I whispered, “to stop and get our business done? I must take payment in advance, and I must know what you can afford to pay me. I would take at least ten quid for a standing up, and at least twenty-five quid for lying down.”
“That is way too much money for a good girl like you. I will tell you what. Go over there, and stand up. Then I will give you a real treat. You will like what I am doing so much, that you will beg me over and over for more. First, I will take of your behind.”
As he squeezed my buttocks, a silence passed over and within the steady fog. I heard the clanging of the bells far away signaling the passing of the boats through the locks. They had always been musical to me, letting me know life held at least one good in it.
“No, actually, I have to make my rent money, and I need you to pay me in advance,” I declared, wrenching painfully away from his tight grasp. But I was still held. So I said, “Look, young sir, I need payment for anything I am going to do here.”
He released me. “You like what I am going to do to you.”
“I do, and indeed, you are such a fine young gentleman. But I require minor recompense for my actions on your behalf. I tell you what; five quid is enough for a standing.”
“A standing what? Surely you want to wrap your fine,” here he put his hand under my chin and stroked my face so fetchingly that I wanted to wretch up my dinner, which I had not had that evening, “Mouth around my wonderful loins and suckle like a babe.”
“No, but I will do that for you if you pay me ten quid and five farthings in advance. I must have the money first, or I will refuse to do anything for you whatsoever.”
“Then I will hit you repeatedly, my dear,” he said, drawing me over to the alley wall. I wrenched away, and backed up. As he started towards me, I screamed at him, “Save me!” to see if the bobby would arrest me or what he would do. Then I ran, raising my skirts. “Idiot chit, I would have pleasured you! Stop, I will not run after you!”
Scared, I wondered at this, as the event had seemed not to make sense. Would I make any money at this, with such discouragement? Perhaps I had best find my friends again and discuss matters with this Charles. Was there some way to make a better arrangement? I strode over to my new abode, trying to hide myself, and then it dawned on me. I would have to go out again, this same even, and try to find someone else who would pay.
I decided to cast around and see if Charles or any of my female friends were in the vicinity. As I walked casually through the London fog, I sneezed. I took out my Becky box and a pinch of snuff, applied it to my nostrils and felt good about not being too scared to sneeze in public. Snuff was common for colds back then, although it cured nothing. I looked for shapes in the fog as I took the opposite way from my first “customer,” who was obviously recalcitrant about payment.
Noticing I was heading out of Whitechapel and into outer downtown London proper, not far from where I could go to the Strand, get a nice cup of tea and a paper to read, and while thinking perhaps of buying me the Strand Magazine to read the further adventures of the two detectives, who fascinated me for a reason I could not fathom, I cast around. There were too many persons of interest in this district truly to make a customer. Bobbies lurked around every other corner, and I could barely see. Whistling for a taxi, I pulled over a carriage and boarded it. I had plenty enough money.
“Take me out to the waterfront. I have payment, and need to view the ocean for my health. And thank you,” I told the carriage as he helped me step into the vehicle, and he took his seat and the horses’ reins. As we traveled, I began to hear a voice. It said that some day, such carriages would be without drivers, and would involve an internal combustion engine. Fancy that, I chortled. I tilted my bonnet, which had a nice but fairly unkempt hat perched upon it, back over my mildly sweating head. I did not wear makeup, although whores of the time did, as my features were pleasant and passable.
Big Ben began its nightly chimes, sounding that the hour was two am. There are three victims of Jack before you, said the voice. I thought, now I know I will end up in Charing Cross, on the mental wards. I had best tell no one of this, although that would be one way out, and I thought this would have to do as the way out. I dreamed of drowning myself once we got to the water. But I deduced the thing to do was take a long stroll, paying no attention to anyone, until some man approached me. Surely such would then have the money to pay for my business, which I planned to work at.
Meet London’s Chinese:
I debarked the carriage, paid the driver, wished him a good even, and took myself down to the waterfront’s edge, pushing through the fog with a light air. It parted before me, and I heard the voices of men fishing off the docks, all of whom looked strangely Asiatic. I thought, these are the Chinese, the chinamen who fish out here beyond most public reach. I had heard they might be good for some conversation from my girlfriends. Approaching shyly and tentatively, I came behind one who was pulling bait from his hook.
For a moment, I recalled the British habit of dropping articles such as “the” and “a” and “an” when speaking, especially in the poorer districts, among the lower classes.
“Any luck catching worthwhile garby? I hear they flock down here…droves.”
“Who, me? No speak you. You not lady. Go away. Aw, such unhappy face. Don’t cry. No, stay. I show you how to fish. You look like work hard.”
I leaned across the wooden railing of the deck, not understanding the tears. Then I registered that he’d said, “Work hard.” It seemed to jar something inside me.
Really, I inwardly squealed! And then he did it. He actually baited a hook for me. “Here you go. Now, when fish nibble on line, pull up. You wait for jerk on line. I jerk, ha. You jerk, now you go down in line and pull up when fish bites.”
I stood there, ready to fish until I died. I had found a nice man. But he was not a paying customer. Nonetheless, I let the gentlemen there show me how to fish for the next three hours, listening carefully to the chimes of Big Ben letting me know when I should make my way back. I had the best night of my entire life fishing with the chinamen. And after one and a half hours, I had caught me the finest groupie that ever had cleaned the waters of the Thames in our backwaters. Then I caught another, and another.
“You done now, Lady? We go fish and keep ourselves now. You go home.”
Wanting to hug this man like he was my Saviour, I held back fresh tears. Then I said, “Yes, I must be toddling off to my rooms – and you get a night’s or a day’s rest. There is so much I have to finish tomorrow. By the by of this river, do you happen to know where I can find male clients? Do you have the business around the docks?”
“Nah – that is not nice girl. You should get work. Tell you what. You come back here tomalley night, and I think maybe find job for you shelling clams and oysters. You likee? Wife and I love have you cook dinner for us. I own a big inn on these docks. We have food and serve liquor drinks.” I marveled at this simple man’s ironic honesty.
I paused. This man was not a Christian, but was offering me a job. I had heard the poisoned waters of the Thames made the shellfish unpalatable, and knew British shops refused to sell them to their regular customers. Looking away, I said, “Thank you very much for your kind concern. But I have to do business as I should. Thank you. I hope you and your families prosper and never have any more problems.” I knew the industrial pollution being pumped into the Thames would last for possibly centuries. The rest of the entire world would have to suffer from our horrific practices, and perhaps die.
Gathering my long skirts again, I headed off in the direction of the street, where the regular carriages gathered in a long row, waiting for gentlemen. And also ladies. I had not ascertained that any such clients were in the vicinity of this whereabouts, but the carriages were obviously waiting for them. I approached the lead carriage, a silky black in the pale moonlight, and asked the driver pardon. “Could you tell me, is there any place a girl can work “the business” around here? Are there any other prostitutes in this vicinity?” My boldness shocked me, as if I thought I had found a way to have others at my beck and call.
“Yes, there are those Chine whores who go down back the buildings. Maybe you should go over there and talk to them. They have a good time down there, and you can check at the local tavern…or the opium den as to how they would expect you to…perform.” For once, I dreamed of the lure of strong opium, recalling my stint with cocaine. But the Chinese charge you for using their dens, and I had no money. They would probably demand payment for entering the seedy drug havens, built mostly for men, but not the taverns. I wanted to go back and fish with my “friend” forever. I needed something more. There were real folks around these parts of the sea, who had good souls.
“Perform what? You mean like in a play? Do they have plays and arts down here?”
“No, not for a girl like you I don’t think, although I suppose you could ask.” The man was white, and I felt like I noticed this for the first time in my life. He was friendly, and smiling at me. But he had the same aura of an uncertainty I could strictly feel.
There will be horseless carriages someday, I had heard the voices in my head speak, and as I had now insanity, I did not suddenly want to pollute the troubled Chinamen of this good district. They had their germs they were born with, and I mine. Even though Charles seemed so well and not to mind his trade, which was obviously not in his best interests. I was sure there were rougher Chinese than the good man who had helped me fish, but he obviously wanted to pull me in. I thought, perhaps he only wants a cook, and the wages do tend to be rather low. I will go die alone.
As I left, I saw a somewhat Occidental Chine looking girl pass by, obviously diseased. She glanced at me as though she could love no one, and I immediately swayed. As she passed, I longingly glanced in her direction. Shamed, I hurried on and took the second closest carriage back to the district I had decided I would be working from until I found out whether the voices were correct in their assumptions. I saw a gathering of Asian girls, all chines looking, clustered around a tavern as I left the area. What a splendid place. I saw the lettering of the Chinese and obviously the Nipponese or others begin to magically appear in the gaining twilight. It must be about five o’clock morn. I had found the Occidental district of London – at last. There was lettering on the shops I would never see again, and I could almost read it in the gaslight. I wished I could stop and get one of their newspapers and read all about what their “doings” were, and how they fared. But they only used whores here too, and the streets were perhaps lined with them.
I called out as I passed, “What is the name of this sweet district?” The crowd of Chinese people looked at my carriage with narrow and staring eyes. I fancied the neat pigtails on the menfolk, and the pertly drawn black hair of their women. They towed their children along, holding their tiny hands. Not knowing what it would be like to be an ethnic group for a change, I yelled, “I mean – what it is in Chinese?”
“The Waterfront,” said one lady, “and you go away now, you white whore.”
Pulling up to the kerb, the carriage let me out, and I felt the chill begin to grip me. It was the end of autumn, and winter’s awesome grasp began to clutch at everyone around me. The day labourers and their present accompaniments such as street clearances surrounded me. I felt rather trapped, like a person perilously close to realizing the total authority of nature in a large metropolitan city. I began to wonder if it was possible to seek male clients during the day, perhaps in a guarded back alley of some kind. Then it dawned on me. Seek out Charles. It wasn’t a voice in my head; it was my mind, calling me to understand that I would have to use a male authority figure to collect my prostitution monies. Surely, if I went back to the tavern in the other district, I could find “our” Charles, or someone like him. I wandered through the streets, being pushed aside by people repeatedly until I wound my way through them, and came to the tavern where I had initially began my search as to where to live to become a street lady.
“‘Allow, governor, where’s the bloke who runs our racket around here?”
“What d’you mean?” said the tavern keeper. It was the same bloke as before, and he seemed no greyer or older than when I’d last set eyes upon him, but he acted as though he had never seen me before in his life. I strolled up to the long, shiny and flat brown bar between us, the zone delineated and marked by that which kept the customers away from the professionals. It was meant both to be sat at and as a wall of separation.
“I need bonnie Charles the…what is it called? The union of prostitute’s organizer. Could you tell me, kind sir, where I can find him nowadays?”
He looked at me to punish me again for having said the word most awful. Then he coolly turned to continue putting glasses away and straighten out the various drinks and bottles behind the bar. I sat myself down on the wooden chair pulled up by me, and asked him, “Dare you listen to me at all? Is there someone else around?”
“If you think that is it, you are sadly mistaken. I only tolerate your kind when there is the lot of you, and no other time, mollycoddle. I will ring the authorities if you pester me.” He turned to me with a look on his face which shot through my entire beginning to come down with influenza, but yes I was a sturdy girl, and he said, “Go straight to Hell.”
“No,” I said, “I need to talk to Bonnie Prince Charlie, my one true love. Where is he, oh barkeep, that I may talk to him and treasure him and treat him as my husband?” There was a long pause. The barkeep stepped back one pace as if to ram his fist down my throat, but then he sighed and paused. “I don’t know. He usually hangs out at the pool hall down three blocks apace, turn left, saunter down that avenue, and turn right.”
That was it and so I bought a glass of beer to thank the keep and paid for it with what was left of my sixpenny ha’pence, and you don’t need to know how much I had on me. Turning to leave, I left a halfpenny on the bar as tip, and said thanks to the gods again.
Meet Robert – the Teenage Irishman:
Following the directions, I found the pool hall, and many a fine swarthy fellow and some girls were hanging about in the smoke filled atmosphere, some with glasses of beer, wine and liquor, others smoking pipes and some simply playing billiards. I sauntered up to one table and was told to lie low, so I went quickly over to another and watched their game. Two men, obvious in their teens, were trying to figure out their routine and how to gamble, and having a right time by gauging a scoring system hanging as a giant sign of something perverse overhead. Before I watched the game, I looked at the scoring system. It was pretty, made of multiple colors. I thought on how Charles was not pretty, nor made of multiple colors, as the twosome playing the game bestowed before me were having. One of them sudden looked at me and said as in reply to my twisted thinking, “Would you like to play the winner, sparrow? I’ve got this right down to brass tacks and only need to shove in three balls.” He came over and showed me slowly how one plays the game of billiards. One uses the laws of averages, and computes the many angles of knocking the rainbow coloured balls into the six pockets of the enormous green table. There are now ten balls to knock in, and it is so fascinatingly tricky. “I’m Bob McKenzie, and you are lovely, my dear.” He held my arms as I learned the tricks of the pool trade, for the next two hours, and we made the loveliest music together as we danced. The entire time, as I was stuck looking for Charlie and had to call him my love, my mind turned evil. It seemed the right thing. I decided to peach on him and thus kill him.
“I am going to arrange something of an intrigue for you, Mr. McKenzie. Oh, that’s best, tuck your arm under my bodice, no, put it over there, oh you did, and let me hold the stick myself now. Why, I can line up the shot perfectly. Let me do this, Bob! I will arrange a neat demise of my supposed “suitor” over this incident.” I looked at him with a lust for murdering Charlie that must have illuminated my youthful visage well. “All you need do is turn authorities and order the death of…” I was swift interrupted.
“What? I would like to die for you, my lady, if you would come lie down with me. I should not die there, but will do a job servicing…” His voice trailed off. “Actually, I tend to let out my spleen playing pool during the day, mostly, and I do brickwork around these districts plus out in the country occasionally.” His look at me made my jaw drop. Oh dear God, no, not that sort of man and he is one. “Uh, hi. Are you eligible for marriage?”
Laughter, heard all around the room, raucous and loud, prolonged and proud. Bob put his stick up, motioned to grind chalk into it, and then stopped. He looked at me as if seeing me for the first time in my life. “Nah, I don’t make anything financially sound naught to get a wife, but you know, I should certainly think about that. Say, do you live around here somewhere?” The laughter had been coming from the surrounding crowd. “Bob, you’ve got a pretty girl fascinated by you. And as you are, it’s again and again.”
“Lucky man! Hey chaps, Bob’s found a sucker! Chit, you’re a street whore or no, aren’t you?” And other such calls began to sound out. However, Bob sudden put a hand about my waist and stated, “Any further men calls this lady anything but,” and then he bounded onto the pool table with the pool cue, “Shall feel the wrath of the billiards champion!” He towered over the crowd, a thin figure with great wits and learning about him. He slowly twirled the pool cue in a kind of figure eight motion, taking up his entire frontal space. “And if you think I don’t mean it, I have a switchblade on me.”
“Awww,” said a girl several tables away, “C’mon Bob, you’re everyone’s love, admit it, don’t fool the poor girl, there’s a love and come down.” The manage assistant at the hall yelled, “If you don’t get off the table, you are out of here forever, Bobbers.”
“I’m a copper and I’m arresting you all for impersonating a lady. Come up, here, Annie. Daresay I know your name. Why do I know your name, Annie, when you didn’t.…come up here – there’s a love.” I was up on the table with him in one second flat. “Awww, you silly twits, you don’t know a real man when you see one. I like this one. Come here and give me a kiss, Bob, and make it deep and last forever….” I was rather cut off by the kiss, one of passion and great splendour. “Let me die defending you, Annie Chapman. Please, let me do it now, and not to you.” He heaved a heavy but too menacing sigh as he swept the pool stick out, encompassing the crowd. “Let me take on each one of these until I am cut entirely to long and bleeding ribbons. You can watch, and cheer me on.”
I stroked his fine and extremely handsome ruddy Irish face. “Betimes, I would let you, but I have another idea in mind. Would you like to find me a man named Charles, who is our current boss?” I and he gazed across a distance greater than that between Scotland and the South Pole, as I took his hand. “Here come the coppers you two, get off the table and run for it, the lead rang up and there’s bobbies at the door out the back!” We leapt off the table, I nearly tripping and falling in a mass of clothing that tore under my shoe and I followed him out the back through a winding alley at top speed as we ran demons.
“Bob, I should think we heading back to my place or yours pant oh I haven’t run like this since division school when I did cocaine and lost my two sisters…no dear I have a flat up the street here’s the way in come on Dove let’s go in there by the way, you’re mine now,” and he turned to me and said, “Now, shall you come in with me? Or no?”
Breathless, I caught myself and spurted out with, “Let us not tarry about anything!” And we walked up the steps of the brownstone building, which I assumed was an apartment somewhere outside the districts surrounding Whitechapel, and we made our way up a narrow dark stairway to Bob’s rooms. “Oops, I forgot, I’d best go downstairs first. I have to talk to our landlady about this. Please come back down with me.”
“No, I shall await your return.” I watched as he leapt down the stairs as lightly as a feather and raced off to go talk to his manage about something unknown. I really gulped as I knew it might mean my getting kicked out of the building permanently. And the cops or bobbies or whatever they were waited outside – thus to arrest only me. Bob had at least a good chance at life, and could travel wherever he damned well pleased.
Waiting, I then saw a heavy hearted Bob come shamefaced up the stairs. He glanced at me once, and said, “I don’t need to live here anymore. Would you let me take you to my room? I don’t want anything. Whatever you would like.” He came up the stairs, looking far too much like something I had waited my whole life to achieve, and I said, “No.”
“I have a job and can rent elsewhere. What makes you think I don’t?”
“You need the reference to get another apartment, and I won’t let you.”
“I can live off the streets as I choose, and even be you as well as this Charles. It doesn’t matter to me one single whit.” He came up the stairs and took my hand and kissed it fully. “And for that matter, if you tell me to drown myself in the Thames, I will instant. But first, you need to be taken out to dinner with the last of my pocket money.”
He smiled up at me, a grin that implied another face I had previous seen. I trembled with an anger beyond the scorning of women. “You only fear the weather, and how badly you will chill each season with pneumonia. I don’t care a brass farthing for your petty courage. You will be taken away from me shortly, and you don’t count for a thing.”
He looked down over the railing. “Ask me to jump off these legs first up there, and I will do so. But pardon me, I had rather stay about and tell you where to go if you think I would not, beautiful Annie. But first, tell me why I know your name?” He flared with an arch grimace up at me. “You are meant and bound for elsewhere, are you not? I know now what I must do to. I shall suicide first in the Thames. You are not for here. I love you. Now tell me what I must do.” Trembling, I realized he was dead serious.
“Before you suicide,” I said with an iron look crossing my face that I had never known before, “You must arrange an arrest with Charles. You must have that what is it a pimp called arrested for extorting money from us prostitutes while claiming he is trying to form up a union for us. It is a false precept and he needs to be arrested for it. You need to inform the papers of a black man wearing…” and I gave him the remainder of the details about Charles, whose last name I could not recall, fearing that nothing would happen. But I had decided that “his kind” needed to be trounced out of England.
More’s the pity; I chuckled to myself as we took to downstairs slowly. I lifted my skirts over a restaurant’s threshold for the first time in it seemed three years and we had a most pleasant dinner out. “This wine is called which name, my gentleman Bob? Is it a merlot, or a rose? I have it between my thighs. I am a wine most seductive myself, don’t you think?” To which he replied, “I have not a life and you have guessed me, but nobody else here does, and they all strive to defend it. I have never understood why. Will you come up to my flat with me? I did not want to deride our landlord, as she is a lady.”
He looked at me so archly with his bushy eyebrows, as he raised his glass. I thought how men such as him were called “Archie’s.” It was the usual invert label for them. “But if you think you are the first I have, you are mistaken, although I do love you. Toura loura loura, my sweet, do toura loura lie. Say you love me as well. Or I will kill you.”
The Irishmen of that era were almost always part English and other things, and they boasted of not fitting in to our society as beings I could not believe in – forever.
“In which case, you do not, although you would die for a woman of any stripe. I am not impressed.” I put my wineglass out, the type of which he had not told me. “Let us clink these stems together and salute the Queen.”
He laughed, and the restaurant suddenly rang with his Irish laughter. “Do tell. Long live Queen Victoria, the Dowager Slut of England! I have a lady with me tonight, but no.” He clinked with me in a swift motion and we set them both down. “You receive no toast. Oh look,” he said, reaching down to the floor. “The thing has landed butter side up. Let me show you what to do about that.” He stomped the floor with one foot, smiling to himself about something I could not see. Everything as usual was blurry over there. “Now we are married. And if you don’t away with me, as I seek better work, I shall die.”
This seemed to present a pickle to Bob. I reflected on how nothing I meant to this man, in all probability. He had a long string of harlots at his pool halls and life of Riley, and I asked him what else he did than sleep around with harlots or men.
“Mean of you little lady, but I am trying to organize some unions around here and I’m involved with the bunch trying to get better pay for the brick workers. It’s Chapter 89 of the United Kingdom Brick Workers Association, and I am attempting to move up in the ranks. Say, did you ever see a real riot, where people might get bashed, or hurt each other,” and here he hung over the table with a kind of high born expectancy, “Or do anything along those lines? I keep expecting something evil to break out and be. The bosses are all English, some of us are English, and we have a few of you in membership. They are all inverts I think, but I’m seventeen years old, and dropped out, so I’m as ignorant as they come around here. Oh, and you need your mouth wiped.”
Bob reached out and dabbed daintily at the sides of my mouth, as I brushed his hand away. “No, I have work to do, and don’t want to see you contesting for greater social position as you vainly attempt to get ahead in these crowded rooms. What is the use, McKenzie, as you will never find your way to conquering the world?’
“Don’t want to. And I can help organize our union, but as for you, I will go find this Charles and filet him outright. How long do you want him to suffer? Do you want me to use a knife on him? I think that would be best, although I should like to get a few of my boys and show him his cowardice. We can all use pocket knives and I know where I can get scalpels from a friend. Also, we can have his almighty purple muster stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist friend of mine.”
He meant what had been harming me. I was not a virgin. I grew as aghast as a God fearing Christian woman had, namely my mother, when confronted with such an enormity of an undertaking. “Right, you can kill him later. I want you to simply have Scotland Yard organize a search party for a wanted fugitive, get it how it prolongs his agony, and have him arrested for the crime of organizing women of the evening. There is no such thing – and can never be as that. I cannot believe a Negro is innovative in such a light, although I could be wrong, but no one else could either. Therefore, before the manage of this has us arrested, please make arrangements toward this with your buddies, and go find him. I know he is trying solely to make his keep off us, and has no other options in life I suppose, but he could be working else wise. Please stop him – and this practice of his leaching off us ladies and young men, as he is simply a madam.”
“You ought to be one,” Bob heavily breathed at me. “If you require his manhood at your disposal, you must want it in some other way indeed. Leave him and it alone and let him rot somewhere in the jail system. It is the only alternative that makes sense.” I leveled as firm of a gaze as I could at my suitor, who was only one of many and I was only one of many, as I surest knew, and supposed he would attempt to follow my command. In the British jail system, you were presumed guilty until proven innocent, which in Charles case could happen or no, but only after extreme and heated debate.
“Queen Vickie, at your humble disposal, your servant, Sherlock Holmes. Say, do you read those? They are getting so popular lately. I keep thinking everyone thinks I am insane for wanting to like those, but the two gents in it and everyone else is so bloody inspiring. I should like to do such work as comes in myself, like the detective in the story, as he chooses what work he does by which clients he cares to take on, but I have to go soon to work for those I cannot chose. Let us leave for your place, and make the music I was meant to make with you together.”
“Let’s,” I breathed into his ear as we stalked simply out the door, me scared because no one had accosted me for what I had proposed as we took ourselves into the carriage, rattling through the many districts surrounding downtown London proper and settled in for a long ride while we held hands and kissed many times. “You think you are my brother and you kiss like a girl. I hope you are better when we are in my rooms.”
I noticed how cool Bob was to the touch, as if he were a fairy from the north of Scotland, and I had to wonder about our Charles. I was sure love with him would have been spicy hot, and I dreamed of him the entire time I and my temporary Irishman made love. It was simultaneous cool and warm, so chary and fairy and temporary, and as I looked in the mirror at us, never had I seen a man so handsome and so boyish looking. I was twenty, and we were the same size and wore the same looks as we cajoled and frolicked. All the time, I was thinking, this bed is meant for customers, and I need to invite the boys in here. They are simply too unsophisticated to get chance taking down. Unlike Bob, they had nothing material in mind when it came to escorting a whore. I could only figure each man had his own plans, something like the good doctor, whom I would probably not meet again. Each one needed to be guided by me to a place where aging I could show each one of them how to handle a woman sexually, how to do it right, and how to have his own way without unnecessarily blaming me for our universal undertaking.
Wishing Bob farewell in the morning, I washed up, deciding to never see him again, and as I looked in the mirror, I thought I saw something on my face. It seemed to be a ripped tearing across both my cheeks, one which split my face down the middle in red. I looked again, and the voice said, “Don’t worry; the Dahlia is not due to your actions. As you think, this is a bad situation all in all. You are not the world’s only hooker. Or, perhaps you are. Do you suppose you are responsible for all of these horrendous crimes?” Then as I told the mirror I didn’t care if my face went back to normal, it did.
I finished washing in the metal basin and dressed, preparing for a day of killing time by hanging out around the Strand area, as Bob had given me a week’s wages out of our special night, and I certainly had both time and money to kill now. It saddened me that he was only a customer in the end, that our love could never be, and that I was having him kill a man or perchance a partial man for me. He would probably find our Charles. As I strolled the long walk to the Strand’s tea parlors, coffee shops, candy stores, and places where I could now buy some new clothing, I reflected upon Charles’ life. Like me, like Bob, he had no such toy to play with, but seemed to think he had. Poor little bear of a man, but now I have arranged to take what circumstances he had completely away and stuff them down his dark African throat for the next unknown time period. Well, when he gets out of our jail system, he can certainly find me and do whatever he wants. There is no such justice for the likes of me far above the likes of him. Or perhaps, I deigned to imply without speaking as I bought my clothes, poking through the flower children’s wares, there’s a nice boy and thank you for that here’s three pence, and I strolled through the milling crowd over to have coffee at the French pastry shop.
Meet London’s Negroes:
Charles ilk or lot in life, I could not tell which, as I sipped some excellent java from Spain, grown in the finest outlying forests, while eating a cheese sandwich and having a glass of unreported milk that had the cream mixed in it, mind you, he could come here too, but then again I see not his kind again anywhere. I don’t suppose they chase them off? Then again, I see someone down at the other end of this café area, and she looks lonelier than I have seen woman before. Then others sat down with her, black like her so far as I can see, and settle into their food and unknown way of life. They look like us, but I know of something wrong. Yet it is strictly invisible at all times to me.
I am afraid that to me, they do not resemble people. Such plug noses, and such an air of authority they do not have in this country. Charles and I would never have got on, such an idea, he was only there to take advantage of us, why would I think he knew anything right, oh thank you for taking my plates away – and here’s a quid. It’s a young red haired girl who looks vaguely like someone from another country, or is one of us. “My name is Karen, and you might talk to me later. Don’t feel bad about your Charlie.” It’s hard to tell when all is a blur, and I thought of going to the spectaclist’s. Maybe I could buy myself an eyepiece or perhaps a monocle and attain the silly authority old ladies had, or even a pince nez. Like Jack’s. He’s around here somewhere, and eventually he will spot and force me back to my hovel, I suppose. There is simply nowhere to go in all of London, or he is keeping busy. He looked busy with “bursting” others, indeed. Yet I have checked the papers, and there are only three murders so far reported. Do the rest go unheeded? It is a long wait to become the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper.
In Victorian England, I sighed to myself, I suppose all things are possible. Most of them seem to be evil possibilities. It is only a matter of time before I die of either diseases, going into Charing Cross or a local lunatic ward, or die of the knife. I saw in my mind Jack approach my window, leer into it with his overwhelming grin, and grew dismal. He was sizing up as to when he was going to come in with me and take his time.
If photographs are taken of me after he is done with me, I reasoned, there would be a move to do more of the same. I thought, I shall pray to Jesus that mine is not the best stepping stone for subsequent murders, and that like my name, there be something most special about it. My mind reeled for a moment at how that would have to make my murder be much more prominent, and then it dawned on me. Two kinds of people in the world. Maybe I didn’t have much life choices, or left, but someone else might.
Send this message to my lover Jack, oh Jesus, oh there you are Jesus, now I see, and I do have to start work for real tonight and let me skirts up all the way as they act like boys, no, I am going to lure them into my room, but wait, there is not the way to do that because of the manage who is too conservative as he’s from India, oh no, I have to do the street routine still, even though I have a perfectly good room, sigh, I knew Dove you would have to do it that way, I dared dream for an instant of something else.
Ten nights later, and after I had learned several hellish ways of finding roughly two clients per night, and several of which had banged my head against the brick walls, thrown me down upon the back alley pavements, insisted upon all the wrong orifices of my body and otherwise had “their way” with me, which had assumed a turn in the direction solely of punishing me for being a whore and nothing else, as I had assumed, but which was growing to be an unspeakable experience beyond words I barely handled or should take, I found the article in the paper. They had executed Charles.
I prayed to Jesus, God and Allah that I would never meet him again, and that he was gone forever, not because I hated him, but because I wanted to see him safe from any harm. In my inner being, beyond all reach, was a longing for the unattainable him. For one prolonged moment, I wanted him safe with his mother, somehow encompassed within. But I knew his execution had been tepid, beneath his dignity, and still malevolent, of the nature I had deeply hoped for; he was revealed as a raw coward at the last moments. Somewhere else, where he knew himself, he would be the bravest man alive.
With an anger beyond all mentioning, as I feared forsaken his life, I read on. No, they had only decided he was a new Cause Celebre, as he had been trying to organize more than one union after all, which I read with a kind of perverse glee and longing, and there was much talk of parties attempting to lynch him. I had never heard of such a thing before. They were keeping him in jail in the county area and talked of shuttling him around, but the discussion largely centered on whether Negroes in England had any such social rights or justice, or turned toward discussion of what to do with the Juwes who were supposedly also “making trouble” and causing a general stir. None of these people seemed to have enough to do with each other, and all of them appeared out for each other’s blood, but at a distance where it looked to me like they were all showing off to imaginary women, children or circumstances all of them could never truly obtain. I pitied Charles, as he and his kind were rather alone in this, as all the discussion finally proved to be about them and not by them, but I pitied him more for not taking a job at the newspaper. I have no idea why he needed to be a leach off us instead, I thought, and then realized what a leach off of men I had become indeed. What else in life is there but being a leech?
We are a society of ants in Great Britain, I’ll warrant, each keeping the other’s truest measure beyond all reach, and pretending that by doing nothing but contesting or working against each other, we shall someday work our single ways up. It is all we have at present in the late 18th century, and as all animals are competitive, I think it is all we will ever have. I vacillated between reading the newspaper stories to kill time during the day, or the fiction stories, some of which were being written by women and children who were way ahead of me in the brains category, and I especially loved Sherlock Holmes.
If only there were a ways to stop fools from dreaming, or otherwise to go on living in some house out in the country, from the city where all overbuilt monstrosities of lovely but bloody brownstone and multi storied buildings were going up, I would like it. But you know, as fast as the brinkmen and carpenters lay them down, and as seldom as they fall or are razed, you would suppose it were less crowded around here. My father wants to see me in Heaven, I supposed, but that is where he is. He said once about the traffic around Stratford on the Sea, “They must have opened up the gates of Hell.” That’s when I decided life was too crowded for me to be a good girl or ever have a life.
He would pat me on the head and send me out the door to buy at grocers. A good and handsome man of excellent British stock, and some other, he had a handlebar mustache and a walking cane, but he was too lower classes to get a proper education. He kept us well and we had our family, but he disappeared out of here so long ago. And I of course have not spoken with my mother or sisters since I undertook this life of utmost shame and complete utter degradation. I wonder if work in a steel mill is anything like this? They often fall off of bridges as they build them, and the rest line up to complete the work. And as the paper mills and smoke stacks create a smell worse than the odor of dead bodies, they die too. I suppose the work of creating dead bodies must exude such a smell really as awful, and you would think it would not, if we are a lot that is so condemned.
I have done what Jesus did, to deserve my death somewhat, and imprisoned Charles. I know he would not have helped us any, but as I read the papers, they claimed he had been trying to, and I thought they but threw a sop to his race. The stories eventually ended and centered on other things, but I finally told God, “If you are sending me these voices, please end it with bonnie Charlie. Have them haul him out and finish him off.” I knew he was reveling in his chance to somehow take on the entirety of England by himself.
Charles Surest Meets Death:
The next day, I hit the Strand, and was going to reach for the latest magazine installment of several wonderful earthy stories about many English and worldwide locales such as America and apparently most of the rest of our cosmos, which humanity was only beginning to uncover, and I reached for “The London Times” which had one summary headline halfway down the page, front page though. They had taken, “A Negro, Black as Our Spades, Out to His Scaffold.” For a moment, I thought Scaffold was a town. His name turned out to be Charles Augustus Murphy, of Essex, and a local university as well, which he had actually graduated from to my surprise, with more than one degree, and they had done him in anyway. What a fool to never have found his career.
An illegal lynch mob. Now some of them were in trouble with the authorities. My goodness, I have done something fierce but I warrant it under this sky I suppose. It has nothing to do with justice, as we are all blind fools who must live out our lives. Mine was now a satanic misery on the face of the planet, and deep in my heart, I wanted to believe that I had my Bonne’s kind to blame for it. Chocolate is so acid when you eat it and you have to take on every germ in the vicinity, including all tropical ones, but who cares. On the other hand, I could only pretend to enjoy myself during the day, and await my inevitable one of several potential death sentences at night.
I lay in bed one night to take it off, having made enough wages of sin indeed to pay off the rent, buy some canned food I could keep in my rooms, plan ahead for extra clothing, and have a Chinese silken fan tucked away in one corner that I could look at occasionally and dream of other people, other places, where they had lives and houses and children and grandchildren, polar explorers found my attentions the most. And the women’s movement of England was pledging to an eternal fight for the right to vote. I thought, it’s time I did something completely different with my body for a change.
Meet the Women’s Movement:
“‘Allow, I’m Annie Chapman. Is this the office of Women’s Suffrage?”
The tall woman at the desk as I had strolled up to the flat above stairs in my best clothes frowned at me. “Are you a street girl? We don’t take those when it comes to our campaigning. If you need help with domestic issues or violence, or abuse and neglect, welcome, as we are striving forward in these directions, but we cannot help you.”
“Why not?” Of a sudden, I asked God to retract my question. I kept it to myself, thinking I had nothing of the sort said. “Of course, I am a lady brick worker. I have a friend I could refer over to you who could sign verity to my job.” The author of the Sherlock Holmes series himself worked for women’s rights, but not for us, only for working women. He never wanted it for us or for housewives, I think. “So you could have your friend sign and verify you are a brick worker? If you can do so, have him come in.”
“Is there a reason I need a man to do such a thing for me?” I was rudely interrupted by a short woman who looked eerily familiar bursting in through the door. I had seen her gracing the local papers recently. “They are beginning to arrest our suffragettes outside the dockets of the prison, and they are mishandling them. I had the papers lined up and there are photos being taken. It’s a whole new world when it comes to publicity. Alice and whoever you are, come, let’s go and get arrested! We need to add bodies to the stack! They might do anything, including shooting into the crowd.”
I serious doubted this, but thought they might tell us to quietly disperse and go home.
I was racing out the door when the tall lady grabbed me from behind. “Not you, chippie, you have to go get the signature and come back. We’ll take care of this for you and your kind, but you will have to do that ere any of us can help you. Ophelia, look to the stairs.” They both ran down it, slowing to a sedate pace as others glanced out of offices at them. I decided I had enough of attempting to be a suffragette, winked at myself, and took off after them. I joined them as they attempted to board a carriage.
“I’m paying for this and you can’t stop me. I’m paying all the way, all the time. By the way, my name is Annie Chapman. I’m boarding this thing invented by men first.” I then barked onto the carriage, slamming the door in front of the two ladies’ faces. “I am faster than any wind you have ever met in your banal lives. Do you want aboard?”
“Ah, I think she means it. Gloria or whoever you are in there, please ape the door and let us in. We are the local leaders of this chapter and you must let us get to the protest.”
“Maybe.” I breathed to myself heavily, whooping air out of me in a whoosh, and paused with my hand on the door handle. “You must pledge to let ladies of the evening get the vote before I will ever let you into our carriage. This carriage is now for us.”
There was the strangest minute of silence on the other side of the carriage door. As I sat there, burning more with pneumonia I thought than the other diseases, and still looking a young lady although I now had quite some facial acne, I also said, “If you are thinking what we are doing is a choice, you are sadly mistaken Christian old farts who mean nothing in this life. You are waiting for “you” Jesus to rescue you from inversion. I am not. You are going to stand there forever until I let you into this taxi cab. I am doing this for the Chinese, for Negroes, for so called white people, and everyone on Earth.”
“We are going to call the CC mental wards and have they come take you off.”
“Those are the Catholics and their hideous medieval tortures. You two are men forever and traitors to our cause. I am sitting here and thinking about what I will do to you. You are rats in a pack who only can oppose one person. I am not.”
It came to me the entire human race is but descendants of the amoeba, which surrounds its food as a particle and then eats it. I would be long slow eaten indeed. Where, I did not know, and it would be a long process of wondering why there had been so many indications of Hell. I would have faith in something else for other people. And I am a suffragette against this vixen. I dreamed of my nonexistent friends, and laughed. Charles and Bob and everyone else, whom I dared pretend to represent. There would never be such a thing as the vote for women. I looked at the front of the carriage, and called out, “Driver, be off with you, and take me to where those ladies were going.”
“Absolutely, and this ride is completely free for Annie; horses, I lash you and away with you.” I thought I was speaking his words for him, it was so strange. We were off, and had left the invert or those who hated inverts couple behind. I sudden knew the driver was a woman. “How are you, Shirley, no that’s not your name is it?”
“No,” called out this booming but not quite masculine voice, “And I’ve been pretending to be a man for years and not gotten caught at it, but I’m joining you at this.”
We arrived at the rally, and I had to stand through the most boring presentation by men and women that I had seen and there was a crowd of protestors marching, but it was quite small as we had suspected. “Shirley” – who may have been man or woman – strode with me as we walked nonviolently through the ringing mob about us, shouting things like, “How can you believe you need when none of you take political office, and women are too weak minded to govern,” and such nonsense as that. Then the bully boy cops, who were huge, showed up to wind at us and rub our sex parts. They also hit us with their sturdy clubs, but there was not much screaming. Only about three dozen or so were on parade in public for this, although as I could not see, it may have been more or less. For a moment, caught by surprise, I realized I had been expecting something else, but it was not too much of a surprise. They were aiming the guns upon us. I could not tell if anyone else was being handled, but as one giant copper had my skirts up and was severely pinching my parts – until I screamed in direst agony, my friend reached to lay him low with one single punch. He stood over the man for a second merely to crow, which due to my friend’s size was an incredibly loud sound that silenced some of our crowd.
“No problem,” he growled, for I thought of her that way, “And you will return me the favor, but not in a way I can ever understand or appreciate. By the way, I’m really a man, I’m not into women, but you are getting out of here before they arrest you all. Hey, let’s go over there,” said my now unknown assailant, grabbing my arm in a firm but gentle way as he pulled me over to the side of the street. “You don’t need arrested, sweetie,” he said in the most welcome unfamiliar womanly voice I had ever heard. “You are one of them!” I cried aloud, “You do have dark hair and look foreign, but you’re so tall.”
“Well, I try to be, sweetie. You are one of us if you want to be. Anyway, I’m going to hug you, and see if they get any messages. Sure enough,” he whispered in such a high falsetto in my ear, “Now don’t think it’s how I’m large sized. See, they are going after all the alone ones to teach them a lesson. My kind will never get married or is a family or anything but homosexual perverts for a long time to come. Let’s get out of here!”
“Who ARE you?” I squealed as he and I raced away, him not dragging me at all now, and we slowed to a walk. I had been willing to get arrested, but only was manhandled. “Ah love, I’m a charmer but I have had more boys than you can ever see, and you know what has probably happened to them all. If they are not in the Thames, they have sought graves in many other places. Thay, would a like an American bear hug?” He gave me such a nice squeeze, and we traversed over to where the photographers were. “My name is Alvin and I have a “friend” named, ohhh, Oscar Wilde – you should see his wordy portrait – who has the most fantastic salon around here, ah yes, it’s about one mile south of Lancaster, here’s the carriage, Righteous Dove, and let’s pile in. Oh, and I’d like to introduce you to all of our satanic familiars. We’re witches. And I can’t stand the idea of being sent to jail to be stuffed up the bum, as I have and never done that to others.”
Meet Half of England’s Gay Movement:
The carriage was stuffed full of men dressed as women. Full makeup, clothes, and clear attitude problems from being sent to boys’ school for all their lives. I had gone to an all girls’ school and hated it, which set me to wandering and chasing men. These were the faggots of England truly. I was so freaked out at this I could not be angry anymore. They were teenagers and grown men mostly, and as we took to the streets in broad daylight, the arrogance and lack of same of these jesters made me laugh so loud I was feeling free again for the first time in my life. We felt for each other and only hugged and kissed lightly as we sped along in our bumpy, rocky coach, where over every rough spot in the roadway, it bounced and went up our rears. Most carriage rides were like that for everyone back then, when the road was rough. “So you are the Jokers of London.”
“Darling, we are the Ladies of the Day and Night – and Forever Mourning.” Meeting the boys who laughed at death all the time was most refreshing to all my senses. “Would you like to meet the ‘Gentlemen’ Who Satisfy Nobodies? I think not. But you will hear some of them speak for you.” I decided they meant the lesbian inverts, as I figured they must have an active fantasy life, not much else. I wasn’t one myself, and wondered. Was it any fun being an invert, or was it a life much like mine – only abysmal?
“Did you take it up the bum? Ooooh, Charlie and Freddie, you are the bums I like.” I pulled the two of them over to me, as they had rescued me from the perverted cops! We caroused like lovers who had known each other time immemorial all along the way.
“Say, chit, come to America with us after we show you the best salon and the best homo pervert and lover of boys in all of London. You are such a grand lady next to his sickened and lost soul, you don’t know yourself. You need a permanent wave and some brand new fetching bodices and you know what? You need a new district entirely to work in. That Whitechapel thing is SO inappropriate for you, Turtle Dove. Come with us and we’ll fix you up so you are a beauty princess, next to that ugly old doggie Queer of ours, and you’ll eat with us if you want to and we have plenty of drugs if you’d like and we can show you our special little world. Now, don’t mind the young boys; they’re all mental retards, but they love our Oscar and he tells them all the literary realities and detailed fictional fantasies they want. Now, stop jouncing the carriage like that, Oscar! Say, have you read those ridiculous little gay stories in the Strand? Sher and Doc, ohhh, such a couple. We’re waiting to see them break down and go after Professor Moriarty and have a major three way. Look, Alice in Wonderland, there’s the Kasbah!”
Meet London’s Esteemed Literati:
I now knew I was among the best and finest fancy men I had ever seen in my life. We bailed out of the carriage and I tripped all over my long skirts to their incredibly girlish and unseemly laughter as we joined their party. “Look, Alice, there’s the caterpillar and his hookah, oy gevaldt such a long snout it has, hey, gang, let’s ignore that and hear Oscar do a reading.” What’s a reading, I thought to myself.
“You know how you used to like the arts and want to get involved? We have a whole French poetry society going here, and the best literary lions of Europe gather around us just to see a bunch of peer farts – it’s insatiable, darling! And we host them. Tonight we have Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, all three Bronte sisters, Emily Dickenson who is such a feminist, and you.” Needless to say, I decided they must mean they had imposters who took the roles of said notables.
I entered a room where we all slowed down and I finally saw the other side of Victorian London. There was a huge hall where the social types and others were gathered for literary readings and poetry. It had a supremely festive atmosphere, which had obviously been supplied by the entire local invert community, and gaily festooned every wall with gorgeous artwork. I was crying and tears were streaming down my checkered face freely. I was no longer in hell; I was in literary, not pervert heaven. There were all kinds of real people, everywhere, so far as I could tell maybe Britishers, French, Americans, my God them too, oh look Asians, and we were taking our seats and listening to some speakers.
“Ladies and gentleman, as a special treat tonight, high mathematician Charles Dodgeson is going to give a reading of his award winning book of numerical poesies, limericks, puzzles, creative brain teasers, mysteries, children’s fantasies, riddles, especially for bright little girls,” and here I had to sigh and wonder what that meant, “intellectual spoofs and jokes, and by the way, I was molested repeatedly as a child and withstand you, but I’m here, and for your elucidation and enjoyment you know me as Lewis Carroll. I wrote strictly to get in with the queen and her society and achieve knighthood. This never really occurred, not in time, and I could never be such a thing as a crusader.
“In Detective Comics of America in the twentieth century, I will be known as the Riddler. It had to do with the Inquisition. The question always was, “Is a Raven like a Writing Desk?” So they took the title of a show from the Black Crow Shakespeare and me. Could you look into the future? Do you think life will be a breeze? I decided, being of a mathematical mind, that black girls needed their formal education, nothing I was allowed to affect or change in England, but they do receive education there.
“Yes, I also dreamed of going to Hell for you girls. Never rate down certain Americans again, unless they beg you for it. Thanks to American television, the answer is now “yes.” We now have Raven the Anti-heroine. In the audience there is one special young lady, and although I named Alice as the heroine of my series of books, she bears no mention in them. I will only write two books in honor of our Annie Chapman. I have borne the insult all of my life and announce it now, and forever more will not mention it. But I have taken photos of living women, to show the world girls are not ashamed of being naked, and they are not. I could only handle the public embarrassment none.
“This young lady will have to be photographed, ah, some other way, and now I have to do the reading. I have chosen a poem you find popular and consequential called “Jabberwocky” – in which I invented several new panjandrum words which will find dictionary status, thus rendering me immortal in an insignificant way. Our Annie is about to become immortal in a significant way, one which she will never understand or know. It has to do with the Pacific North West of the United States. The event transpiring in the future involves nothing she is to be credited or blamed for, and indeed no one else is either. It is because all events are already past, and there can be neither time nor future forevermore. Moreover, here are the “sick and sadistic ravings” as many have said of a man gone mad who likes children and you:
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Beware the jabberwork, my son,
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch,
Beware the jubjub bird and shun,
The frumious bandersnatch.
He took his vorpal sword in hand,
Long time the manxome foe he sought,
Then rested he by the tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling throught the tulgy wood,
And burbled as it came.
One two, one two, and through and through,
The vorpal blade went snicker snack.
He left it dead and with its head,
He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day, callou, callay,
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”
Did all girls get jealous of this part of his book, where he favoured boys? It was about going to war, and fighting. Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice through the Looking Glass,” who made one think of someone going through a plate window and breaking a glass ceiling, but perhaps it was not a wage earning thing, finished up with some poetry – and left and right winged his way home.
When Emily Dickenson came on, she read the poetry we have never found. It was far better than the earlier poetry, but still involved the impossible longing for a man. The audience asked her why she couldn’t write of other things than sex, and she said, “Ask Dorothy Parker. She always had trouble finding carfare home from the Algonquin Round Table, and although she had a ready wit and a sharp tongue, she was still hanged. Probably had a lot to do with being a Native American who could never exist.”
Then there were many others, but the final entrant in what was to be a contest of wits as they joked around and carried on, was Oscar Wilde. “Here comes the Wild Ass Man!”
“I can’t be you ladies; I’m an attempt to keep you from troubles. It will never happen, nor be there a world where troubles are swept from those who don’t seek them, never find them, and become Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. You may think I was simply “Batman’s” Oswald Chesterfield Cobble pot. I am too huge to be a penguin – and that is an insult to short boys and men. I certainly may or may not have done what you think I did, but on the other hand, I was trapped in England and what else is there to do but eliminate as many people as I could reach while fearing the dockets. As I am going to be arrested for the crime of inversion shortly, with minor boys who were willing but I am not, I have to give a final speech and say this: I did love but indecently, and there are no tape recorders in this room. I am a coward, and did love once the sword but no more. All things must turn to a reckoning, and I plan to hold them off while finally giving up to the law as soon as I possibly can. Then I suppose the rotting of my flesh will not be great, but my reputation may or may not allay such friendships as I cannot obtain here. I go before the insanely unjust and illiberal dockets as a dark, huge bear of a man who does not want to bring on sex with children, but worked as a pioneer for gay rights. I will swear one more time that all of the boys I had were willing, and not coerced by me. Meanwhile, my Annie, I would have loved to have twelve boys and twenty girls with you, but that is no longer possible, and you would not have survived the first child due to the fact I am well over six foot eight inches tall. My dear, I am your ‘batman’ for the moment, when it comes to playing cricket, but you are destined for the worst possible one. I would sooner die than hurt you, but cannot help you, and must face the law in my own way. If it takes homosexuality to do something about our problems, it is the least violent method.
“Annie Chapman, could you come up to this hideous stage, based on nothing but public executions of your friends, and read me some of your poetry?” Oscar looked me up and down with an expectancy not quite of sexual longing, hovering on the brown edges of each dying leaf like a tired freak with no received human understanding had to say. I knew it was still autumn, but winter was nearly here. He was the Gentle Giant that I had envisioned, a soul who needed love in his life and had absolutely none. He did give it, such as in his work, “The Portrait of Dorian Grey.” He was rotting from lack of love. I had deucedly known this – as I had read all his works.
I said, “Your woes are nothing next to mine, and I have turned the man I originally loved over to the unknown. Some day he may end up in the deepest dungeons of Spain, and for no reason whatsoever. When you are shuffled around, you don’t know where you go. But he shall not get out of jail in time to injure me. His woes are nothing next to mine, I must suppose. I must go home now, and tidy up. Then I must apologize to you, and say I understand your moral dilemma.”
“Come read us your poetry, Annie Chapman, who forever resides in Whitechapel. Come, predestined girl ‘whore’ of the ages, please tell us about what you feel, and how slime must slide throughout your entire body. Tell us how you can never feel clean, no matter how oft you bathe, and how your death is not one any of the rest of us can experience. Or, recalling you are on the dockets by being on the stage, say anything. Perhaps you could mention you should have fought the urge to follow your name and live there.”
“It can’t possibly be the worst life and death in all of human history.” I felt a baited expectancy seize me coldly, wanting me to heave all of my lunch out. I threw myself out into the aisles, racing and tripping over my long dresses as I sought the lavatory. When I got there, my headache roared through my bursting head and I threw up all the food for the past two weeks, which was not much, into the pull chain toilet. I lifted up, and saw how others in a day with no way to say it must die a long, slow death from the ancient life forms that cause both disease and illness. They must face the worst hospital deaths in all of their histories, each to his or her own, and they would suffer them. Why should not ladies of the evening be treated for disease? AIDS was treatment for them in Africa. It probably only ended their lives, and put them in drug agonies. Then I reflected upon those with no such hospital and longed to be them. Would there ever be a time when science was not out to make its “money” off of victims? There was no cure for what I’d come down with, and acne was the tip of a mysterious iceberg. But the legal head of state of England, a land that avoided the Nazi tyrants’ bloodshed for a long time by being nonviolent and resistive, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and many others had suffered such arcane and incurable diseases, and had children who recovered and were normal, and who subsequently had other normal children. In spite of Winston having venereal diseases, he has had great grandchildren and they still live in England.
Meet Death in the Mirror:
Do you really think Annie “Whitechapel” Chapman needs to be heartlessly slaughtered? Is she a disease spreading menace, or only a victim of life?
Wiping my face myself as I always had, I gazed upon my acne, which was increasing. I was nothing but food, and as I lowered my head in extreme shame, racing somehow to the past to remake every decision I had made in my entire life, the room reeled and bobbed as I grew sick and had to fight with myself, perhaps for all infinity.
Do you believe it would be a good idea to seek cures for venereal diseases?
“No, infinity is not the same as eternity, and you must go to seek timelessness. It is out there beyond London, way beyond the Moon, far beyond Antares, and isn’t that the most idiotic thing you have ever thought, little whore? You are so unimportant. I am so important, that I am a man. I am Jack the Ripper. Do you know what I have started to do for you? I have to treat you to the way of life you already know, and you are naïve and know nothing. Meanwhile, do you not feel a thrill somewhere in the vicinity of your chest? It is an artificial lion – and you know it is falsity which dooms Moslem boys to never-ending battle. Not to mention their people and it is a vengeance that will kill them some day. What they believe comes from their Allah; they know it must be the other side of life. I am a German and I seek vengeance for some known reasons.”
Annie thought, I believe Israel could win someday, and make peace there happen.
“Some people never realize how important some things are. You must take your carriage out of here and go home. Run, run home at your top panic and rest in your room. Relax, lay back, and let the good doctor take care of you.” I whewed, now feeling I knew who this was. But all my life I did not know why I was a babe, a girl, a woman, and never to be an old curmudgeon. I would not have minded being a grandmother and would not be a mother under such overcrowded living conditions. And now Satan was in direct contact with me, pretending to be Jesus Christ the White Man and deliver me. But he would, I thought, to what? To a moonlit walk up the beach? Given the vast misfortunes of my life, I could only hope to be delivered to death. I said to the mirror, “Charles is more a man than you will ever be, and he is a stupid, arrogant, omnipresent lout. He thinks he is you, you think you are him, and the two of you will never awaken.”
“Then how am I a stupid lout? I have an education and am fully accepted in England. We are not ex-slaves with axes to grind, and we know what your place is here.”
“I know members of your kind who are good people who want to help us. They don’t feel they can under these present conditions.”
Malevolent chuckling emanated from the mirror. I said to the reflective glass, “There will be real doctors oh you know someday I suppose, perhaps on another planet, and you and your ilk will be reduced obviously to the same fortunes you think you are bestowing upon me. I suppose you simply want your mother to hurt over you.” Recalling what I had thought earlier about Charlie, I winced.
“Idiotic whore, whose mind is now as composed of yeast shit as mine, don’t despair. Come back, and let a man who can handle a brain full of excrement from millions of sources show you the clear light of day. Why would I make you hurt worse than me? I am a charitable man, a medical doctor, and cannot harm you as you say. Why, as you know, I plan to find out the lay of this land by drowning myself in the biggest local river. Why would you think you would die an equal death to mine? Or even lead an equal life? Did you not have fun and interesting but dreggy time in your existence, as I worked and slaved away on my divine mission from Satan? Or was it God? Or your Mary?
“Do you really think you matter to me? You do. I am a medical doctor, and I must tell you, oh, you know, just come back. I set out to serve mankind, stupid whore. Where else would you go, dearie?” I thought, I should find any other “doctor” at all.
“I have listened to a mathematician tonight, and it all sounded alike to me.”
“Come home.” As I looked at the mirror, I only saw scientific reality. It felt like a magical burden had lifted from my entire mind, and that I knew I could go back to my simple rooms. I gagged on what this probably meant, and went over to the toilet, sticking my fingers down my blue clad throat and loosening my widow’s collar. I thought, it would be nice to have something like dignity as I died. Who knew if I would?
He was going to have to tie a gag into my mouth, to stifle the screams. I was sure he’d stuff it right in there. It had been “right” to be brave and await mine end in a small room away from the street, if being reclusive was the right thing to do in this shocking situation. Also, I could get drunk every day, and that might take out some of the pain. I thought, I should get drunk as I pleased, and not bother. Finally, he was going to have to tie me to the bedposts or otherwise enchain me, splay me out as Jesus on the Cross, which must have happened to multiple people, and begin eviscerating me. This heroic tale was not heroic because of the need for the missionary position, which makes women pregnant. Anyway, in future I dreamed, others would devise new ways to make women pregnant. We would however never be free. And thus neither would anyone else.
If one were “free,” I chuckled; they would all Christian think they’re me. And many will subsequently do this when they find the corse – they will get jealous. I feel sorriest for the Jews, or the Juwes, who own those nice shops I almost took work at. Oh dear God, they will come to get them. Please do not flee; Juwes of England; take a brave stand at them. You know, everyone else must make their living at photography. I am now a mother goddess who will be discounted at all times because I spread diseases. I will start truly only one industry, known as pornography, and perhaps it is because I did not trust Charles. But his viewpoint is to lionize our prostitution, and sneakily degrade our England as an act of vicarious vengeance. He could have gotten a job, or no. I could have done the same, or no. Such questions can never be settled, by perverts who could have gotten a job. And all of us our working our jobs. We are the sea of army ants.
I loved this planet, and the turning of it. I wish I could make things better, as I like people. But there is no way to do it, and yet evolution may make certain that such better ways of life will at least occur for some. I looked in the mirror one more time, and thought I saw a beautiful young lady. Having never seen myself that way before at all, I wondered where my desiccated corpse would end up. I thought I would somehow tolerate all of the pain along the way. Jesus was a sick joke by sillies like Bob, who wanted us to have a good time. It was only human. The pain would be incredible, and perhaps I would go straight to Hell, simply because it is there. I had seen so many indications of this. And none of the religious theories including this one held water for a feeling animal, a partially white woman such as I. I had seen the other women with their perfect spiritual lives, and their essences smacked of what I could never fathom. Human perfection. Maybe they would all go to a perfect heaven. I never wanted or sought to join them there. Nonetheless, I had best be hurrying home, to await my hideous tormentor.
It would take only a few hours at most, I was thinking, but then as I boarded the new train back in order to speed things up, a few thoughts occurred to me. I put aside the ones about fleeing almost immediately. I would simply stay in the rooms and probably I would have to go out and work some while waiting. As some of my life was good, it probably meant that there would be a long fall as I descended into extreme pain. There would be an end to the pain, in all likelihood. It would be like a major surgery. Yes, he was probably going to use his instruments. All those silver clad implements, all designed for me. Jack was my gold, and I was his silver, I suppose. I should somehow take the blame for it all, but refused to do so. I would disown this Hell if I should ever have to face it.
I had to wonder; was our acne only the result of not washing up right? I had done so plenty of times, and washed regularly, but perhaps something like dirt was blocking my pores. What if it wasn’t exactly deadly? I had acne for years as a teenager, and then most of it had gone away. I did feel tired all the time, but was up nights – and much of the days.
“And you can destroy me, but I will not leave. I will haunt this place somehow through my death, until one such as me or someone else or several someone else’s do something about these problems. I shall stick around, and wait, or perhaps, sigh, it is too late. Even Dr. Jack Rinehart had something in mind to help people originally, I should guess. I feel like you are listening to me and judging my character. I will see you there, and say nothing until you move. Then I will do something again that takes care of you. No, I don’t know what I am going to do. There, that’s the building rooms. I’m going to torment the manage, or at least his wife, the other one, before I die. Let’s see; what could I say?
“Hello, sir, is your name Gunga Din? Like in that poem by Rudyard Kipling? Do you really run about giving soldiers a final drink?” I dreamed of the sweat shops line, where I had given back the jug of water.
Meet London’s Hindu Indians:
“I don’t know why you ladies torment me when I rent to you. Where is it?” I had been building up quite a rap sheet with him, and owed him over four month’s rent. “Sir, I can only pay you when I get the money, and you always charge me on a schedule.”
I cheerfully paid the manage all of the owed money. “Because we are afraid you will overcharge us.” He smiled at me in that peculiar way the ex-inhabitants of “our” erstwhile India have, and said, “I think you are not Sherlock Holmes, Annie. Come back around here, and have a spot of coffee with me. No, I am not a Mahatma. I have something to show you, if you want to look at it. I own several pieces of antique Indian furniture that was designed by the British overseers of our land, the Raj. You would like to see these pieces I am sure, so come back here with me.”
The man was too old and looked about eighty to do anything to me back there, and I certainly didn’t care anymore. We went through a parted glass bead curtain, and the back of the manage’s area was revealed at last as the loveliest little living room with curtains and some strategically placed sofa pillows, which were hand stitched in the most elaborate Hindu fashion. They were so beautiful and seemed to be made out of millions of tiny threads with the greatest of care taken to make the most heavenly pictures of white fleshed people intertwined with other people that I have seen and I will never see it again. Then I looked at his carvings collection. “Does your wife do or own any of this?”
“Yes, she carved that elephant, and I carved that piece with the lion and the tiger and the three insects that represent peace, prosperity, and long life. Welcome to Cabalistic Hindu. Seriously, we’re Jewish and Hindu, and you know, my kind thinks it rules the universe. It thinks we thought up all of the world’s religions, thoughts and belief systems. My wife has always reassured me that we are not immortal, nor anything but old. Say, Geneva, would you go ahead and fetch us a tea cozy, the one with the hand painted bone china service and the gold and copper edging? I think that one will do for the young lady.”
I was angry and didn’t want to hold back any more tears. “Why?”
“We don’t know these things, but if you want to look at what we used to have, go ahead. This was all for a passing period of time, for a limited time only, you might say.”
“Honey, show her the telephone. Oh miss, look here it’s such a device technology you can dial this and guess what, you can call your friends from far away, maybe across the world in a few years. See, when you ring them up, it’s not to make them come over. You can talk to them, and I understand someday there will newer forms of communication.”
“Can I ever ring up Sherlock Holmes and ask him to solve my murder case? The man involved is so hot to be evil he might slaughter all of England pretending to look for just me. You too. Maybe he will find you and kill you. Please don’t call the cops on me. Understand? I’m not asking you to save me, but please, tell them and save yourselves.”
Annie Enters the Twilight (Eventide) Zone:
The brown skinned and English looking couple glared first at each other, then me. “We don’t mind so much, as we’re old. Really,” said the old lady, “I wish I could take your place. I would hurt a lot less, but you are young and it will be so painful. He’s going to take over twelve hours, or maybe longer, to slowly slice you a half inch at a time with a small but razor sharp scalpel. Really, he doesn’t have all day, so he’ll have to leave.”
“So…he’s going to make a series of extremely small cuts until I’m quite opened out?” I thought clinically, he was going to make a series of incisions – and keep going. For a moment, I leapt into the future, and didn’t like what I saw.
The Twilight (Eventide) Zone Enters Annie:
I saw a young woman who looked a lot like me being splayed out all over the Seattle Center Fountain sometime in the 20th Century. It was in Washington State, and her boyfriend had decided that because she was not the marrying kind, he had to kill her exceedingly slowly and leave her “lengthy” guts trailed all along a fountain. Seems he needed the Virgin Mary approach to living to even so much as draw breath.
I whispered to the Goddess, kill a “black” man instead of her. They will both use the same maneuver of turning their backs to the enemy. Hmmm, the black man is a phony medical doctor who used tactics on his enemies to serve mankind. How better than Jack. It seems his name was Michael King, he turned his back on his enemy, and he got shot. Then the young woman, the Goddess told me, will be saved by turning her back on her enemy. They will then both get up and leave the Seattle Center, and she will put her enemy on a bus and see him again later. Then he will help Dr. King through the X-Men. Meanwhile, the young lady in the future will never get the sick joke. As I envisioned this, I realized the young woman was being saved for the purpose I had seen earlier. She was to return the favor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by saving the lives of a black family and their tormentors, who thought for some reason they had to be Dr. Jack Rinehart.
I asked God and the Goddess and someone else’s if I would get to see this when it happened. It said many people would, several of whom were victims of something odd called the Holocaust, another odd thing called the Green River Murders, including the murderer, and that it was all being televised and shown to a being named Alfred Dimeworth – and another being called Aunt Hattie who resided on Earth One.
Then I saw a strange American man, a descendant of Sherlock Holmes’ called The Bateman, and he explained to me that in a completely unlimited universe, all things are possible. His costume was dark and mysterious, and made him look sort of like a Moorish vampire. He said that where he was from, which was in another dimension, he was something called a superhero, and that he combatted crime in the middle of the night.
I thought to myself, I have been committing crimes in the middle of the night. Does this peculiar chappie care to arrest me?
“I thought you would only be a detective,” I said. He sat down beside me, brushing his cloak away, and held my hand clasped in his.
But I am also Jewish. The Juwes of England wanted to save you, Annie Chapman, and instead they saved a young American lady. You see, once you were dead, they were blamed for your murders, and the authorities came to get them. Years later, they did get them, in Rinehart’s Germany, on the Night of the Long Knives. The Juwes wrote on a wall that they were either innocent or guilty of the crimes of Jack the Ripper; that fact is in dispute to this day, or our days. The Nazis claimed they did it; American Jews say not only didn’t they do it, they proclaimed their innocence.”
How do you know these things? Annie whispered.
I know them because my secret name is Outer Space, which you are entering tonight. I’m Scots-Irish, like you, and English. But I am the Night, of Jewish descent, and I oppose those who commit murders.
Omigod, I thought; that was Satan. No, I’m the Phantom of the Opera. Grey Canary was the lady who sang for me, when I wore a mask, when she needed to be free. And the Juwes are now in Israel. Someday, maybe we will figure out a way to end world war and not overpopulate. Meanwhile, there are concentration camps again, and yes, they are death camps. US President George Bush is known for torturing the innocent, but he will be leaving office soon, hopefully…as he spoke, his darkly cloaked figure blinked out of existence, not unlike a hallucination. I felt somewhat relieved, as his cloak and gloves had reminded me too much of Dr. Jack Reinhart when he was dressed as Jack the Ripper. A reporter had done a composite drawing for the papers.
“Yes, that’s all we can figure. Your Jesus is not going to save you, and you are going straight to Hell forever, but would you like a lovely cup of green Ceylon tea? It’s the finest that we have available.” The old woman poured the tea into a simple but exquisite Indian China cup for me. Her husband scowled at her. “I only mean she’s not a nice young lady.”
Then the old man looked down at me. “I had a feeling this was going to happen. Shoot, I have to go get the beef in the oven. Hold fast; this is being explained to us as we go. I have a feeling it’s to punish you for those other hookers in England while they die. Good grief, you are not to blame for that. Anyway, here’s your tea, and I have to go get the roast.”
“Can I stay for some roast beef?” They harrumphed an of course as I eased myself into their absolutely gorgeous couch. I was so happy. Now I knew exactly what was going to happen. It was so mysteriously lovely, and involved the infinite eternal universe and – omigoodness – all things beyond what I could ever imagine or begin to understand. Surely that’s what the visit from Bateman had meant; surely, he wasn’t Satan, who didn’t have a pair of relatives for his housekeepers in Hell, of course.
Then an older gentleman whom I recognized appeared in the chair next me. He was a famous local playwright, one who had rewritten “Pygmalion.” Some said it was loosely based on the lives of loose women like us. And a voice whispered in my head, it would be made into “My Fair Lady.”
“You are made out of solid matter, and you are entering outer space tonight. Along the way, you will not be wondering what is going on anymore. Instead, you will be in Hell itself for approximately the length of time it would take you to sneeze if you hadn’t a kerchief, the sneeze caught in your throat, and remember the line you had to stand in to wait for a job at the sweat shops? Uh, what do you think, maybe it beats the diseases. Well, young lady, remember this; you will only feel your own pain, and thus pain is limited. You won’t feel anyone else’s pain but your personal own.”
That was George Bernard Shaw, creator of “Man and Superman.” He faded off, and next was a handsome, normal looking young gent with glasses.
He had been named Clark Dent, and was also sitting next me. “You see, we had been looking into this Hell fixation for quite some time, but don’t worry. It won’t take overlong. I’m well known for saving the world, but I can only try to save you from a bad afterlife. I believe in a God called Roa, anyway, and he was only a Cryptonian philosopher who pleaded for peace. But even I have no idea where you are going after you are murdered.
By the way, GB Shaw practically invented me, but up until now, he hasn’t gotten any of the credit for it. The being he invented is my other self, called Superman. I’d call myself Suprememan, but in reality, Detective Comics shouldn’t own rights to the name Superman. GB Shaw invented it.”
Then he too vanished. Shaw had been ruddy English, and had written a play which I now knew was all about me and our girls. Fancy that! I began laughing uproariously; I was being visited by comic book characters from America, and a famous British playwright – who was I kidding?
“I have diseases in my brain, and now they have caught up with me. I am having hallucinations.” Everything vanished, and I saw the Indian manage and his fair lady. They were laying into their beefsteak, and then one of them said, “Oh, I forgot, here’s your plate.” It was the other of the manages. She handed me the plate with vegetable, potato and some roast beef. It was all quite delish. What was all that about another dimension? Did they mean Heaven, or Hell? I wondered which Earth I was on suddenly, but it felt like solid ground.
You have to go home after you eat, and then really go home again, said the same mysterious man, only a voice now, who called himself The Bateman. I had to wonder once more if t’were the Devil in Disguise.
I hear you, I spoke in my mind, and I am finishing my dinner now, give me some time you arrogant bastard. Are you a bastard like my father? Why are you impatient with me? Because I am impatient with you. There, the steak is finished, and I don’t need much else. That’s a good potato; please sit there while I eat you. And some lovely broccoli…before I die.
“Would you like some desert?” enquired the lady manage. I said I’d take a piece of chocolate cake, and they served it to me. It wasn’t any cake I had ever eaten; it had ginger in it, and such a familiar flavor from long ago. But I had never tasted it before, and then I remembered. My mother had given me some Indian cake from a shop up the street, and it had ginger in it. I was eight years old. I saw myself in an odd picture, and someone named Bruce Wayne was trying to escort me somewhere. I was in a place called Gotham City, instead of London town.
I thought, I’m daydreaming that the incredibly handsome Oscar Wilde has reincarnated as someone else. It’s very Hindu to believe in reincarnation for a moment before you die. Imagine if Oscar was Batman and he finally found his boy Sparrows at last. And maybe instead of having sex with each other like blind fools, they fought crime. What a strange idea. On some other planet. “Would you like to visit us sometime, Annie Chapman?”
“No, that’s okay. Lola Lane can come visit us, and try to stop our Jack, and all, but I would really like it if you could slow down your birth rate, make prostitution legal or at least put legal controls on it which help ladies of the evening, stop oppressing hookers and do all that, but I don’t tell you what to do. I’m going home and straight to bed.”
You saved one woman named Karen in the 1980s. You thus saved about over one hundred people’s lives in the future, as Karen went on to save a whole black family from misery and heartache, as it can spread out far from even one murder alone; and Karen still hopes to go on living. She feels bad because some naïve serial murders happened due to “something she did” back when she lived in Ohio as a teenager.
Mostly, she lazed around her living room watching TV, which caused her to get a spoiled suburban attitude. She then ordered a book on Jack the Ripper and acted like she was going to enjoy it, which her father overheard. When she read the book she was horrified, of which her angry father was not aware, and then some serial murders began to happen.
Her Dad seems to have accidentally ordered her execution because he thought Karen was laughing at the Ripper murders, and apparently he slipped a man at his work some money to murder Karen. This started the man at work on a serial killing spree. Karen refused, however, to get into his car, which saved her for later, when she opposed the Mexican man at the Seattle Center Fountain, and when she helped save the black elderly lady from being sliced and diced. She’s amazed that she’s alive to tell anyone about these things, which not unlike these stories are all true to a certain extent – nah; it’s the truth in her case. She’s become a world renowned ghost writer since then, and she does ghost writing, copy editing and proof reading among other such freelance writing services for people.
She’s married to a Philippine-American-Canadian who had to run around a war torn country trying to die rescuing people. He wasn’t “trying to die” – he was straining to do the job right. However, he was so lonely he didn’t have a lot of motivation to go on living. Both he and she have tried to commit suicide, but now they are together.
Those two have also saved plenty of lives; they are ex-civil rights workers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement, which he didn’t own, and Karen was involved in the Independent Living Movement, but Dr. King saved her life apparently by getting shot in the back when she wasn’t stabbed in the back. Something metaphysical must be involved, like some sort of political tradeoff. Something rescued her from being murdered at the Seattle Center, when her back was spared, and Dr. King’s was not.
Also, he got her to marry Remerio – and “Remmie” had a daughter Angela with her, and they are trying to do the move north to “The Promised Land” of Canada with insurance money Karen received from the deaths of her grandmother and great aunts. It’s ironic; Malcolm X’s family lost out on most of their insurance money when his father was murdered, but they finally received a small portion of it. Karen feels very lucky that she received all of her insurance monies. She felt bad while growing up that Brother Malcolm X Shabazz had such a hard life and didn’t get the insurance money. She wasn’t Moslem, but felt sympathy for him.
A famous Canadian book author named Farley Mowat told her to go live in Saskatchewan, Canada, because there’s no other place on Earth like it. So the Coles are buying a large, six bedroom house up there. It almost has room for the entire United States to fit inside it, that is, Saskatchewan, not the six bedroom house, but not everyone can move there. You can even look up where and how to move on the Internet…you’re yawning.
Annie Meets Death at Last:
Really? I’m tired, and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head. Stop showing me the way to go home. And I miss Charles and Bob. I also miss my fellow dead chippies. Where are they? And why did I have no career? If all this was so helpful and meant to be, why am I going to be murdered by Jack the Ripper tonight? Tell me that, all you voices and blokes discussing Heaven and Hell. Anybody else?
Maybe, said a voice. Go upstairs, and wait, woman. It is not going to be a good time, but haven’t you been used to that before? Yes, it’s going to be evil, bloody murder that takes its time and toll. Recall: it’s only pain.
He’s coming for you, and he thinks he’s the world’s most evil man. He even wants to be him. Wait, and bide your time. He’s just a little lost German with Hell on his conscience, and he doesn’t take forever to kill people. He’s going to take a long time with you because he had fallen deeply in love with you from a great distance away. And yes, it could take anywhere from eight hours to three weeks for him to finish the job. These two Indian landlords have been told not to interfere with history. And he will have to keep coming back and forth, to maintain his job and civic presence. He will keep you waiting. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to keep him waiting.
The voices paused, ever so dramatically, for one minute.
Therefore, Annie told the voices – I must go up to my room now. All you people are “bloody smashing,” whatever that’s supposed to mean – it sounds like getting hit over the head with a shillelagh – but I am the most tired young whore I have met and need to get some rest. I don’t want to hear about being murdered any longer. I am going to get some much needed sleep…she trailed off and yawned, but Annie knew what they were saying had to be the case. She was to be murdered, tonight; maybe.
She wasn’t afraid; only deeply disappointed. Still, she had been expecting such a terrible ending to her awful life. And so she toddled off to bed, waving a lovely Chinese fan she’d bought at the Strand.
There. I am on my bed, and waiting. I am too restless for sleep. It is because of old Ben, that I use to tell time as it rings outside. It chimes every hour on the hour. I counted to three bells. It’s getting kind of late, and I’m tired of waiting. Time to go to Dr. Jack’s office and try to lure him down to where I live. Or perhaps I should simply stalk the streets. I will put on my fresh bonnet after I wash up and change my two sets of clothes, I will put on my laced shoes from America – and stop these depraved fantasies.
Was that a noise I heard on the street? It sounds like the clicking of men’s heels against the pavement. They sound more solid than women’s heels.
I am not dying to save anyone else. I am only another whore of England who lives in a small rooming house and I must die later my painful but uneventful death. I was dreaming about those real and unreal strangers and hallucinations celebrating my demise as it were some important.
I am overripe with disease and must be shortly slaughtered like a rude pigeon, or I shall have to haunt these streets at night forever, looking for men to torment me with what I am doing. And when I am dead…the newspapers will use the terrible photograph of what Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Rinehart did to me to accidentally and uncaringly…begin a wave of serial murders…that will heartbreakingly sweep the world…Annie drifted off to sleep, but was rudely awakened by Jack entering her tiny room. At last you are here, she sighed. Yes, for a very long time, he growled.
“I and I” – the Mystique:
The rest of this is mixed up, much like the remains of the women Jack the Ripper killed; a little messy, but well but together by experts. It involves the “I and I” mystique of the murders, where you feel like you are two people, like a somewhat good doctor and also like an evil, awful killer. It relates to the characters in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which I like to think is loosely based upon the fact that doctors sometimes accidentally kill people. It can give them some strange attitude problems, like those had by the writer of the “Sherlock Holmes” series of stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD.
I will not describe in detail the gory beginnings of serial murders. Later, dozens of paid photographers took her sad picture, splayed out on a bed from perhaps thousands of cuts, he face completely unrecognizable, her heart draped over a pillow to her left. For the sake of identity purposes, physicians like Dr. Jack Rinehart made their money sewing her back up together like she was a mere rag doll; then they could see her face. It had been lovely, but in the photograph I saw, her heart was still missing. Yes, that was the awful and hugely publicized beginnings of the horrifying history of worldwide serial murders.
Cold blooded torture and foulest murder had gone before, but nothing as spectacularly prolonged and hideous as this, or so the serial murderers who copied Jack seemed to think. Most of them have imitated his methods, for example the Zodiac of San Francisco, who contacted the newspapers to boast of his crimes, and to give difficult clues to them. Other murders had happened before in London, perhaps as bad. But the overly widespread photographs of the equally splayed out Ripper victims appeared to make serial murdering widely imitated – and otherwise very intractable.
It will be so bad; it will affect major aspects of Dr. King’s civil rights movement of the later century. A man named Ralph Ellison, a Negro, will write of this in his book “Invisible Man” – and then Karen Cole will read it. She is not a Negro. She is someone her own family accidentally slotted as being black, or something. She has always wanted to write, and now she has helped write over 100 books for other people. But she has a book based on IM that she wants to get out to a lot of people to read. It’s unlikely that it will go far in life as it is not a particularly needed book. Yet it is humorous, contains fun Hispanic, Black and White and other people characters who interact and have adventures, and it makes fun of violence in the movie cinema, which has gotten so excessive nowadays. She has several scenes where the main character gets to be courageous in a non violent manner, and where unspeakable violence is made fun of and laughed to scorn. She wonders if such a multicultural book could be useful, change society and the cinema, and go places someday.
I wonder if there are any of those types of books out nowadays. Karen thinks she hasn’t seen any. Must be some other type of book.
This is not important when it comes to reading books, but sometimes it is important when it comes to time periods, being selected for fame, and the writing of books. So her first reaction to Mr. Ellison’s book was, “He got published, and I never will!” She doesn’t know how lucky she is that she’s alive, because something is tormenting her. She has helped over 100 people get out books, and published five of her own, but she wants “The Rainbow Horizon” to finally hit the big time and give her some well deserved recognition. She has literary credentials under her belt. But it’s a rough modern day book market for anyone. In spite of all her experience and wisdom, she’s afraid of lack of commercial publishment. She thinks somehow her book may not sell, and flop.
Nor does she think sometimes that she stand a snowball’s chance of getting her book published, and if it is published, she will have to arrange all promotional activity, or perhaps if she reluctantly agrees, she will get it self published in spite of her exhaustion. When she is upbeat, she thinks she can land a literary agent and sweep the country with the book. I wish she could read the writing of all this down I have been doing faithfully every day in my journal, the journal diary of Annie Chapman, fatal Lady of the Night. No, I’m not that romantic, but I did write all this down over time, including this last bit I’m scrawling in my bed while waiting for “him.”
Yes, she will read it, because something good told her to. Or something good told her not to. She will read books and get somewhere and she will write this epitaph for me, for Annie Chapman’s grave. Dr. King did not understand what we had been through, but Ralph Ellison did. Ellison was not shot in the back for what happened to us – and Dr. King apparently was shot in the back in an effort to convict murderers of other people. It worked, and his allowed murder helped against the violence of death.
In which case, I suppose Dr. King gets his “revenge” for being shot instead of stabbed, for being a man instead of a woman, for having a crowd when I was alone. Do I thus get something for going on living, and for reaping the benefits of what he bestowed? And did he reap the benefits of getting to die, namely helping to end racism? I ponder such deep questions.
Even now, I also blur the line between me and Annie, because when I read the Jack the Ripper book, I was afraid. I sort of entered the schizophrenic “I and I” mystique of the Ripper Murders, feeling like two people; one me, the other with some stranger feelings. So I told something of a “tall tale.”
The true lady murdered in her bed, over eight hours to three weeks of hideous time, was not Annie Chapman. That’s why this was a fictionalized account. I didn’t quite tell you the entire truth. The lady found in her bed was actually Catherine Eddoes, an entirely different Ripper victim. And I gave Annie, who had black hair and fair skin, the brown hair and probably freckled features of Catherine Eddoes.
I was seventeen years old at the time I read their stories. As my name is Karen, and I have brown hair and freckled skin, I was too “freaked” to use the other lady’s name. My name of Karen is a derivative of the name of Catherine, which means “purity”; another strange coincidence – like “Chapman” and “Whitechapel” – as Eddoes’ life and death were almost purely sad, miserable and evil.
I decided to not identify with anything but a combination of the two victims, to put myself at a safe distance from the murders. One of them had died indoors, and the other had died in the cold and heartless streets, found somewhere in an alley, out in the bitter cold. That was the real, dark haired, well-figured Annie Chapman. The woman who died in a room – but perhaps over three weeks – was entirely someone else, Catherine Eddoes.
Near my name, near my face, near my skin; what did that mean? Was I condemned to die? I settled down swiftly and read further, but a part of my mind entered “I and I” – and has never quite escaped. It wasn’t much later that the strange man tried to make me get into his car, a man who later turned out to kill another girl who attended my school. After that, my Mexican boyfriend tried to kill me with a knife, and I escaped; then there was the 1986 incident. At least three times, I have almost been killed violently by men with knives; why, I do not know.
So I substituted another Ripper victim, Annie Chapman, whose poor and sexually abused body was found in a doorway outside, or in an alley somewhere. The Ripper didn’t harm her as badly as he did Catherine Eddoes, perhaps because Annie Chapman did not have freckles or dark skin. It is a mystery to this day. Annie’s pretty face and lovely black hair are visible in a photograph and not as badly deformed as Catherine Eddoes, who was literally cut to ribbons over time. The sewn together features of Catherine reveal patches of darkness, but she’s very hard to see.
Epitaph for Annie, Catherine, the others – and Jack:
So this story is a kind of a fictional epitaph for Annie Chapman. She has her new and beautiful well appointed grave after much effort by others on her behalf, somewhere in England, where it is right and proper to bury a young woman who only fell to an impoverished profession. As in the case of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Mrs. Coretta Scott King, they took awhile to figure out exactly where to bury “our” Annie.
So I have written this story, hidden away in the back of a long piece on my Google blog, perhaps to be read by no other eyes than mine.
It is so long, it is a novelette. I may go ahead and combine it with other related stories, and make a full scale novel out of the tales I have written: stories of Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddoes, and Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X Shabazz; possibly Stan “the Man” Lee; and of all people, “The Bateman.”
It’s enough material to make a solid novel.
Meet the Blended Us:
It may never be seen by other human eyes than hers. It will only be seen by I and I. Annie Chapman and Karen Cole will see these words together, and someone will think I wish I had done a better job portraying the most exploited white women in the world, but I think there have been other such people, a googolplex number of them, indeed. They all wanted to do something about the “World’s Worst Murder,” really they did.
Well, there have been worse deaths, the on the field soldier Nazis notably died quite a few of them, as they were oft large individuals and it took them some time to kick off, and so forth. And of course your own death has to always be the worst of all. You have to suffer through that eventually, it will vary from person to person, and who knows? And there are the people the Nazis dumped alive into the crematoriums, and piled upon blazing fires. God only knows who in human history has died the worst possible death. That’s what the story of Jesus Christ was for; get you to believe someone else would perform that onerous task for you, namely Jesus Christ.
Do not try to get someone else to die for you. They never will be able to do that, and unfortunately, in a world full of schemes, dreams and ideas, both the lucratively and romantically minded brands of erstwhile fools will try to do something like that. And fools like me will daydream that someone else was shot in the back to save her own life later, so she could save someone else’s, a black lady’s, a life that was near and dear to Dr. King’s heart.
For the world has its many parallel coincidences, and to die for someone else will always be – strangely enough – one of them. Jesus Christ cannot die your death for you; someone else might die to save you at some point in time. It’s strange, but we’re stuck doing that for each other, sometimes. They say it happens every day, in parallel universes, on street corners, and perhaps even in dark and infamous British alleys. Such are my dreams, and also my nightmares. But I prefer to dream of life being good, than to nightmare about it being evil. I dream of a different path to follow.
I dream that Brother Malcolm X Shabazz would be happy my pagan family got the insurance money to buy our house, especially since my family is now Philippine and mostly brown skinned. And I dream that Catherine Eddoes, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and the other Jack the Ripper victims reached out to save my life from their graves, by letting me know what murder is: irreparable, impossible to escape once its too late – but not unstoppable. And finally, I dream of a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – who bravely and purposefully laid his life down to end murders not unlike mine – on an all too often imitative, and all too soon over with, exotic, quixotic, and altogether sometimes pleasant – sometimes unpleasant – ant farm.
Rest in Peace, Catherine Eddoes. Remain beautiful forever, Annie Chapman. Be avenged by the Thames River, Elizabeth Stride, the two “Marys,” and the other four victims of the world’s first major serial killer, Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart. And stop being imitated, Dr. Jack!
Editor’s Note: Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD, revealed the probable identity of Jack the Ripper was a doctor acquaintance who was dying of sexual diseases, whom everyone knew fornicated with corpses, namely Dr. Jack Reinhart. Doyle wrote of shaking his hand and laughing with Reinhart over something hideous to do with killing people. Doyle could be overtly meaningful about death sometimes, and mostly wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories to capitalize on the crimes being committed; but what else can I say about myself? I laugh when I’m nervous, too.
Anyway, Dr. Doyle knew it simply had to be Dr. Reinhart. Jack was “Jack.” The man simply had too much experience dissecting cadavers, and that was obvious from the position the victims were found in and the shape and manner of their murders; they were just like dissections of corpses, showing a doctor’s knowledge of human anatomy and physical characteristics. The book I read said he probably threw himself into the Thames to keep from dying of venereal diseases. A fitting end. That may be why nobody bothered to turn him in for his crimes, including Doyle.
Reinhart probably even confessed to Doyle. He had nobody else as friends but his fellow doctors. So if you trust the author of the “Sherlock Holmes” canon of sixty stories – and his own intuition about who the Ripper had to be – now you know.
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