H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
Beth cut hair out of her Mission St. apartment. She was a big girl, tattooed, jet black hair
and red lipstick in Goth nod, and she was married to Gomez, a butcher from Mexico, who
for some reason didn’t have a green card, probably because they never could make any
deadline or appointment that would give it to him.
Problem was, Gomez was abusive. For 9 years he’d punched her for just about anything
he could think of. The bruises rarely if ever showed. None of Beth’s friends or hairstyle
clients knew anything about it.
Gomez got a role in a local indie movie and this made him think he was a star. He didn’t
want Beth to go the local premiere but she thought he was kidding. Gomez really did
want to go alone (she later thought because he didn’t want to share the spotlight, but I
suspect he was looking for some new trim, no pun intended).
Well, she went anyway and when they came home and walked in the door he turned and
punched her twice in the eye and took this campy Jesus statue they had and broke it on
her body. He hit her so hard in the eye she thought she’d gone blind. She did, for a bit.
She called the police as she’d done before.
When she went downstairs from the 3rd floor to let them in the gate, there was something
about their vibe that made her pause. They didn’t like that. There were way more cops
than she ever anticipated, at least 2 squad cars with flashing lights and some more cops on
foot. She was right about their vibe. When she opened the gate, they cuffed her and led
her away. She was barefoot and wasn’t wearing a bra under her t-shirt. She wasn’t ready
to go out into the night. She didn’t even get to lock her apartment door. She’d also had
too much to drink.
Gomez came back while they were taking Beth away and walked right into them. He had
decided to use the “What’s this, officer?” approach and act like nothing had happened.
They took him away too.
Beth actually knew some of these cops, because they were local. That didn’t do any
good now. She was chained to a wall for 10 hours without water. It was very cold.
They gave her some old dirty socks for her feet. No blanket, though. Beth said the female
cops were the worst.
Eventually they put her in with the recently captured crack whores. One was a white girl
with dreads, but claimed to be a skinhead affiliate. Beth asked about the dreads, since the
white girl, a runaway who voraciously read, was spouting all sorts of Neo-Nazi rhetoric
and Beth wondered why she’d picked the dreadlocks if she hated blacks so much. The
reason was utilitarian. Still, the neo-Nazi girl knew that some of the black women,
trustees who’d been in a while and were allowed to roam relatively free in exchange for
cleaning the place, would find the shit she’d pinched off in the shower. They did, and
they thought it was Beth at first. Beth’s bad day looked like it was about to get worse,
but fortunately they figured out that Neo-Nazi girl did it. No witness as to what
happened to her sorry Nazi ass.
Monday finally rolled around, and after being seen in cuffs by some of her own hairstyle
clients who worked the local precinct, they let her go now two days later and all charges
were dropped. Not before the girl cop moved her for processing, though, putting the
cuffs on Beth’s wrists so tight that her hands turned blue.
Beth went home on the morning bus. She had a little orange band on her wrist from jail.
It meant a free bus ride. Whoo-whoo! They also gave these oversized flip flops for her
bare feet. It was a long walk to the bus stop. She hung her head on the bus and vibed
“Please don’t look at me.”
When she got home, the apartment door was still open. She discovered that clients had
come for their appointments and found this weirdness. They never returned, despite her
explanations. Some people.
Gomez was sent to Arizona for deportation to Mexico. He was there for 2 months
before he agreed to voluntarily go back across the border. Otherwise, he might very well
still be there.
It was of course a very good thing for Beth, who once away from him without any
possibility of getting him back in the country, experienced enormous relief, though she
hated to be alone. She fixed that pretty quick, but at least the new guy, also Latin, didn’t
The local cops still said hello like nothing had happened.
She got a banishing candle from the local botanica. When she burnt it, she saw a black
shape like a medium sized dog with a blanket over it scoot out of the closet and go out the
door. Good sign.
[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Marc_Olmsted.htm.]