July 21, 2007

If I strip for you will you strip for me? Uh-huh!

I had thought that the best thing that would come in todayâs mail would be the final Harry Potter book. Itâs interesting and anticipated, certainly, though Iâm not very far into it yet because I got sidetracked on a project. Additionally, while delightful, the book was not unexpected or inexplicable like the baffling $6.00 check I received from my health insurance company (despite my most cynical instincts, I cannot believe that this is what theyâre kicking in toward my $12,000 tonsillectomy). But todayâs prize goes to something I was about to throw away as junk mail until I glanced at it again.

Until today, the things I knew about this apartmentâs previous tenant were few. I knew her real name, which I will not share here; I knew that she was or had been a college student; I knew that she received Proactiv by mail and wasnât too quick about changing her shipping address; I knew that she had at one point owned a copy of Romeo and Juliet and a package of purple tissue paper, which she had left behind; and I knew from photographs left on the same shelf that she had once taken the obligatory pictures of her feet and that she had had a gathering here which was attended by, among others, a kind of dorky sweet-faced guy and a self-consciously punk-rock guy in a Tiger Army t-shirt. Oh, and I knew that when she moved, she left behind a lasagna pan containing an open Costco-sized bag of pancake mix and a large number of silverfish and silverfish eggs. I spent months hating and cursing her for that every time I found a bug in this apartment. In the last months, however, I have softened toward her on that score, as I have been forced to conclude that this apartment sits atop colonies of millions of ants and thousands of silverfish, and that no matter how clean you keep the place they will come inside to investigate. I now believe that she was neither responsible for or pleased by this situation, and have, during some dark times evicting ants in the wee hours, speculated that this may have had something to do with her decision to move. I have even come to regard the previous tenant fondly, as a sister warrior in the battle against this apartmentâs evil wildlife. And you know I donât say that kind of womynâs-solidarity-Lilith-Fair bullshit lightly.

Today I learned something new, which began with a presorted standard-mail postage-paid postcard announcing the settlement of a class-action lawsuit, Jon Talarico v. VistaPrint USA, Inc, and VistaPrint.com, Inc, for those who ordered business cards during a specified date range. The postcard was addressed to an individual by the improbable name of Felicia Fearless at a business called Bare Skinned Beauties, in my apartment.

Now, my apartment, while adorable, is not very large. Itâs large for one person, but if you try to configure several full-grown adults horizontally in here it gets very small very fast. As well, my shower, though odd, is decidedly unsexy. And Iâd seen what the place looked like when Ms. Fearless lived here, when I came to see the place before she moved out: it was a small, crowded apartment, much like it is now. So it was unlikely that there had been porn filming going on here; what, then, could it have been? Simply a business address? A holding pen for the talent? Naturally, I investigated further, and with the help of the telephone and the internet I have made the following discovery:

During Ms. Fearlessâs tenure here, my apartment was home base for a company of strippers, or possibly "strippers" (read: escorts?). They took Mastercard, offered discreet 24-hour service, were duly registered with local and state business authorities, received a 1-out-of-5 star rating on one adult directory website, and offered helpful map links showing the way to my apartment. Another address that popped up is a couple of blocks away, and whether this is an error or Ms. Fearlessâs new home for the past year I couldnât say, as I was unable to trace her current Proactiv delivery using either her given or business names. The phone number is still operating, however, and when called (did you think I wouldnât call?) leads to a voicemail message on which a female voice curtly skips greetings, pleasantries, and the standard âYou have reached...â rigamarole and instructs you to leave your information. The only information I wanted to impart to Ms. Fearless was my sheer delight, but that seemed unbusinesslike so I declined to leave a message.

However, I will use to the power of the internet to make this overture as an open letter to Ms. Fearless:

Madam (ahem),

I have your postcard with your redemption code for your settlement benefits for your business cards. If you would like it, I am sure we could work out some kind of trade. Your 1-star rating does not exactly set my pants afire, but since all Iâm offering is a postcard, it seems like a pretty decent deal for both of us.

In heartfelt sincerity,

Posted by katie at July 21, 2007 01:35 PM | TrackBack