Writing | I Wanted to Kill My Boss but His Brother Beat Me To It or, The Wheel of Karma by Danielle Willis

The following is a poem I wrote about the late Artie Mitchell a few weeks after I beat him up in the summer of 1988:

He Thinks the World Owes Him a Blowjob

Artie follows me around the dressing room at a safe distance of at least five feet because he's afraid I'm going to lay into him with my shoe again and he wants to know if I'd be willing to piss on his face because if he doesn't get his face pissed on at least twice a day he gets terrible acne. I push past him to cue my tape and he tells his drinking buddy I'm the one who kicked his ass last week, you know, two people have to have a lot of passion for each other to fight like that and he was way out of line and totally deserved it but he's glad we were able to settle our differences in a mature and professional manner only he'd really appreciate it if I didn't send him to the hospital the next time he just needed a hug.


Ding dong the witch is dead

I didn't include that poem in Dogs in Lingerie because I was afraid it would get me fired from the O'Farrell, but, as it turned out, I got fired anyway, just a few days before the book came off the press. I'm pretty sure the reason for this was the fact that I showed up for work one night in a rather manic state of mind decked out in a pair of silver lame bellbottoms and pink glitter platform shoes wielding a poster of Shaun Cassidy and singing "Disco Inferno" at the top of my lungs. The theme of me and Brandy's Ultraroom was Swinging '70s and I guess Jim Mitchell found my level of enthusiasm alarming because he stopped me in the hallway and told me I was nothing but a fucking novelty act, a curious remark coming from the proprietor of a club where grown women are encouraged to dress up in nurse uniforms and fist fuck each other in front of busloads of adrenaline-crazed Japanese tourists. In any case, I was taken off the schedule a few months later along with six or seven other dancers deemed "due for 90-day rotation."

Nobody really gets fired from Mitchell Brothers, they just get "rotated" off the schedule until such time as they kiss enough ass to get reinstated. It happens to everyone eventually but I thought I was an exception because Artie Mitchell had attacked me two years earlier and I'd beaten the shit out of him with a steel-heeled pump, after which we'd struck up a weird kind of friendship where we'd get stoned and sit around talking about manatees. Jim hated my guts but tolerated my presence because I was Artie's buddy and he wasn't quite sure what the legal repercussions of firing me might be.

(Actually, there would have been none: I asked a lawyer about the possibility of a lawsuit and he told me I couldn't get Artie on assault because I'd won the fight -- the only thing I could prosecute him for was sexual harassment, which, given the nature of my employment, would have been laughed out of court.)

The other dancers thought I was a kind of superhero and I agreed with them wholeheartedly. I was One Mean Bitch, a sexual subversive in a coked -out yuppie Jizz-neyland where the customer was always right and third rate rock bands like Skid Row were allowed to roam at will through the dressing room -- one night in the Kopenhagen ( "the lounge with the intimate, European atmosphere") Vince Neil from Motley Crue told me I had a "rad clitoris". I was the girl nobody dared fuck with, who'd fought the system and won, who could wear neon green fright wigs and dance to "I Love the Dead" by Alice Cooper if I goddamned felt like it. Let all those simpering bleached blonde tit job bitches go hide in the bathroom when Art was on one of his rampages -- I was invincible, living proof that all women had to do to end their oppression was learn how to kick ass. Anyway, the statute of limitations on assault runs out after two years and I found myself on the "rotation" list.

I stormed into Art and Jim's office with all my press clippings and porn videos and raved that I thought we'd had "an understanding" and that besides, as an artist and semi-celebrity, I "reflected well" on their establishment -- after all, I was on the cover of Kinky Contacts, Hustler had given my video "Dr. Drag" a full erect, and I had a write-up in Interview magazine along with a lovely photo of me at a Hollywood poetry reading flanked by Moon Unit Zappa and Ed Begley Jr. Jim looked really bored and said he wasn't impressed and Art just sat there toking away and giggling like a brain-damaged three year old. I threatened to sue them, trash them in the press, et cetera, ad nauseam, all to no avail. I was off the schedule as of the first, period.

Getting fired from Mitchell Brothers is like being exiled from Barbie's Dream Orgy. I was devastated, enraged, and determined to wreak havoc during my final week. Among my sabotage plans were a.) Going to a pet store, buying a garbage bag full of mice or crickets and turning them loose in the theatre, b.) paying some guy on the street to take a lead pipe to Jim's white Mercedes, c.) getting the Popstitutes ( a really scary gay punk band ) to Silly String the lobby, and d.) borrowing one of Bad Popstitute's giant whipped-cream-spurting dicks and cumming all over the audience at the end of my final performance. Unfortunately, I was never able to get my shit together to carry out any of these threats and all I did on my last night was tape a drawing of a penis being sawed in half with an electric knife to their office door and sign it "Best Regards, Love, Lydia." So much for invincibility.

In the weeks that followed, I was hired back on a limited, "call-in" basis, with the stipulation that I could only work four shifts a month. I sank into a bitter depression and became obsessed with killing Art and Jim.

I fantasized about it every day -- my plan was to either rent a room overlooking their parking lot and snipe them with a high powered rifle or somehow capture them, take them to a soundproofed basement, and dismember them over the period of at least 48 hours. I was making at least as much money over at the Century, but it drove me insane that the system I was so sure I'd beaten years ago had managed to dispose of me in such a casual manner. I did tons of speed, mutilated an entire generation of little wax dolls and went to see "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer" over and over again.

Eventually, I got over it to a certain degree and went on to obsess on new and better things. I still wanted them dead, but it was more like a thought I occasionally used to lull myself to sleep than the driving force of my existence.

The night Jim shot Art, however, almost a year after I'd been fired, I found myself so wracked with hatred all I could do was lie in bed envisioning scenes of carnage so delicious they made me twitch. It was as though I'd been injected with some kind of paralyzing drug. I could neither move nor sleep till nearly ten the next morning. One of my roommates, Tony Vaguely, banged on my door sometime that afternoon and said I had a phone call. I told him to go away and he said it was urgent, which in retrospect I should have known because ordinarily no one in the household would have even bothered to try and wake me before five. Anyway, the phone call was from Dennis and he told me that Artie Mitchell had been murdered and that the prime suspect was not me but his brother Jim.

When I got to work at the Century that night a bunch of the day shift girls were discussing the karmic implications of going out and celebrating at the corner bar. Just about anyone who is a stripper in San Francisco has worked at Mitchell Brothers at one time or another and has her own personal reasons for disliking them, ranging from mundane ass-grabbing to the spectacle of Artie tripping his brains out on acid and climbing onstage with a garbage can over his head. The general consensus of opinion, apart from some patently insincere eulogizing along the lines of "I know he tried to finger-fuck me in the dressing room but I'm really bummed that he's dead", was that it was good Art was finally out of his misery and that Jim was probably going to be spending the next five or ten years being gangbanged by large black men.

I wasn't so deluded as to take credit for willing the destruction of the Mitchell Brothers, but it definitely freaked me out that something I had been putting so much poisonous energy into for so long had actually come to pass on what was practically the anniversary of my firing. Not only that, but I'd fucking dreamed about it the night it happened. My friend Devastacia and I went out for dinner and she told me that when she was in junior high there was this really snotty girl who always got whatever she wanted because she was so pretty. Devastacia said she spent a lot of time wondering how it would affect the girl's popularity if suddenly she wasn't so pretty anymore. Naturally, the girl had gotten in a terrible car accident and required plastic surgery and the moral of the story was that you had to be very careful what you wished for because brains were very powerful things....

[There�s more, if I can ever get Danielle to modem it over to me. By the way -- every word of this is true, and it�s even better to hear her tell it herself.--vw]

#11951.) *Willis, Danielle. Dogs in lingerie. New York, N.Y. : Zeitgeist Press, 1990. In poetry and short prose Danielle Willis speaks with the rarely heard first person voice of a woman in the sex industry. Some of the pieces are gayer than others, but all are quite queer.

from: CNL: Stories | reprinted from the Compost NewsLetter | Beltaine 1993