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[personal profile] timpeltje
Meet Holly, the girl I adopted in Vegas last year. Well, I adopted her image and have been using it as a bookmark ever since. Why did I do that? Look at her, poor girl! So hungry she barely has any clothes, and as is clear from the dramatic photograph, Holly's so hungry she's now forced to eat what little clothes she has left.


 

Poor little Holly is in dire need

Of 35 dollars, payable by any steed

To pay for fine garments, for she has none

For her clothes, they had all gone

 

It's a sad story, really. But at least she was trying to make a change for herself. 35 dollars was all she needed to turn her life around. I called her and asked if my gift to her would be tax-deductible, but then she replied she didn't qualify as a charity organization (or at least that is what I thought she meant by saying, and I quote, "Fuck off, you weirdo!").
I wondered if I should help her out anyway. After all, doesn't the Bible say that "to clothe the naked" is one of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy? I figured that, in the unlikely event of there being an afterlife, it'd probably be good to bribe my way into heaven.
So I called back and asked where I would be able to give her my donation. Holly, the sweet simple cowgirl, seemed so pleased with my generosity that she would come by my hotel or motel to come pick it up. Now that's what I'd call "proactive begging"; if they can deliver pizza to your door in half an hour, why not do the same with the poor and/or homeless?
Twenty minutes later, poor poor Holly arrived to collect my donation. Indeed, her rags were even skimpier than advertised, so I decided to give her a tip. In hindsight, I think what happened next, wasn't that surprising, although I, always innocent, did not have a clue. Eternally grateful as she was, Holly came closer to me sitting on the bed, and she suddenly started to try and seduce me.
I did feel sorry for her, but I had to push her away. I tried to explain to her that she really didn't have to that, that I never expected anything from her, but the more I spoke, the more it seemed to confuse her. Of course I couldn't imagine walking a day in her shoes, so I tried to understand how this sweet girl just felt like she owed me something.
"Y'all did pay for da hour, so I ain't leavin' before that! Or else mah pimp gonn' beat me! Thinkin' I messed up or summit!" she said. I guess that must have been an expression in her native tongue, where she thanked me for my kindness and offered to have a chat.
She stood up and, in what I can only assume was another one of her people's traditions, she started taking off what little clothes she had on. I guessed it made sense. I had seen this in an anthropology documentary; it was an ancient cleansing tradition, where the body had to be freed from all old garments so the soul is ready for the new clothing. Fascinated, I started taking notes on this behaviour. She asked me in her broken English, "whaddayadoin'?", and I replied I was studying her, because I was writing a book about people like her.
She replied, "A book?"
Of course I could have known Holly didn't know what books were, but I tried to explain to her.
"Yes, a book! Books are like big things full of papers that are filled with words, or sometimes even pictures!"
I could tell I had lost her. She sat her naked self down on the bed, and I asked her if she knew anything about books. She shook her head, clearly embarrassed. I told her not to worry, and that I would find a way to teach her.
"Don't ya just wanna get laid?", she uttered.
While I didn't understand what she said, it seemed to me as if she was asking me to read for her. So I took out a book and started reading to her.
Exactly an hour after she came in, she said her time was up. I think she may have been from one of those cultures where you cannot spend more than one hour in a man's home, because it would be considered a marriage in her tribe.

Holly put on her clothes and left, off to get herself some clothes that she so desperately needed.

My good deed of the day was done, and I could have a piece of pie and get to bed.

Anyway, ever since that encounter, I have been using Holly as a bookmark in the hopes that she might learn something from the books I read. Now you might say that it is just an image and not her actual physical self, resting between the pages of my books. But I hope you realise that putting her between my book pages was never going to be a practical option (I did consider it briefly, but then I abandoned the idea after a nightmare were Holly would menstruate all over my favourite books). So we hope she might learn something this way.

I'm sure it is working.
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