The first time my dad found out that my mom was sucking off strangers in Trenton for $10, she snapped “Well, I was orphaned!” and stormed out of the room. My dad was as shocked as I was. He let it go, and even five years and several high-profile arrests later, even after mom became immortalized in techno music as the “Cocksucker on Clinton,” when dad lay dying, he would tell me not to be so hard on her. Then after he passed and mom took me to the woman who answered her CraigsList ad, she soothed me on the bus ride over by saying, “This will be so much nicer than growing up in an orphanage.”

nj bus

Damn. I thought we were going to the mall.

 

I tried not to be hard on her. I tried to understand. It helped that the lady who took me in, Mrs. Schieden, had a daughter who was also 14, Beth. In return for doing Beth’s homework I had a comfortable home, my own room, bland but plentiful home-cooked meals every day, and a friend and playmate. Beth went from a C student to valedictorian! When she accepted the offer from Brown, Mrs. Schieden began paying me $1,000 a month to continue helping her, and that allowance is still what pays my rent and allows me to pursue my dream of becoming a fitness model and martial artist to this day. Much nicer than growing up in an orphanage, hell yeah!

 

This leg day sponsored by Mathilda Schieden.

Leg day sponsored by Mathilda Schieden.

 

Still, my mom’s mysterious childhood intrigued me. I always assumed that she, like dad, was born and raised in Thailand, but the one time I brought it up she snapped, “I was orphaned here in America!” and stormed out of the room. I began reading up on the history of American orphanages. There was a time when they were truly horrible, with poor children being stolen by the state and institutionalized, “orphans” dying of hunger, disease, and exposure. The so-called “inmates” were sexually vulnerable to adults and older orphans. No one loved them or even respected them as human beings! But in the United States orphanages have tots been passé for a century. Try as I might, I couldn’t find any horrible orphanages that my mom would’ve likely grown up in, and none at all that seemed traumatizing enough to drive her to star in a self-produced film called “Rudee Awakening: Rudee Drinks a Milkshake at 3:01 AM,” featuring 301 male supporting actors.

Even though my mom barely tried to keep in touch, I always loved to hear her voice speaking to me through a pay phone. I wanted so badly to tell her that I understood what she had gone through. Being an orphan drove her to a dangerous and demeaning lifestyle, but I’ll help her overcome the trauma and start anew. The last time mom called was for my birthday, a couple weeks late.

“You’re 25 now,” she mused, barely audible over the sound of her pimp in the background. “Almost as old as I was when I was orphaned.”

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