I was sitting at my computer late one night searching desperately for inspiration. I hadn't written much recently and that lack was beginning to bother me. It needled at me from deep within. An itch begging to be scratched. And so this feeling dragged me over to the computer. But when I got there, I discovered that I couldn't conjure the slightest idea. I sank into depression as I perused the unfinished pieces that were on my hard drive. Three started novels. One had only the first three paragraphs, another the first three pages and the last a whole chapter and a half. I had four stalled teleplays. The longest at twenty pages. Twenty whole minutes of screen time. It wouldn't even fit into a half hour format and the show it was for was an hour long. The sad part about it was that it was actually finished. Premature scripting. Imagine yourself in bed with a beautiful women who adores you. Just as things are beginning to warm up, you finish. The frustration was something akin to that.

But writing has always been somewhat like sex. It's a compulsion that writers can't ignore. But in the end it can be just as unfulfilling. Fleeting moments. Yet, quite sensual. Or at least poetry is. It has that same sense of urgency. It's hard to get that feeling and maintain it for the course of a novel. Though if you manage to, your sure to have a best seller. Who knows, perhaps that was my problem to begin with. No staying power. But still the desire was there.

These thoughts all just seemed to feed into my depression. I had to get outside. Clear my head. Search for inspiration out in the foggy streets of San Francisco. I brought along my tape recorder so that I might capture the thoughtful musings that were sure to come from my journey into the fog.

I walked for sometime to no avail. The quiet residential flavor of the Richmond was just not producing the desired effects. Oh, sure there was noise. Cars screeching and all that, but they were of a relatively tame nature. To someone who lived in a small town the Richmond would probably be excitement enough. But years of city dwelling had inured me to it's noises. I needed something with more of an edge. So, I hopped the 38 Geary and headed downtown.

I got off on Market street and walked around some more. Things were quiet there as well with the exception of the homeless who were seeking the shelter of empty Financial District doorways. The Financial District was truly dead. The hustle and bustle of the day had given way to the night. And one felt as though you were entering a ghost town. I could almost imagine the gratuitous tumbleweed rolling through the fog. I turned about and headed away from the empty towers of the financial district and headed towards the Civic Center.

The civic center was filled with it's usual collection of homeless camping out on the lawns next to the library as well as the Aids awareness tent as I liked to think of it. There was also a small encampment of Food not Bombs carrying out their own vigil. Still is seemed rather tame. There were no large chanting crowds, and also no baton wielding police. One usually needed an event of some magnitude to precipitate such an encounter. And there hadn't been one recently. So all that were present were the resolute, the dedicated, and the obsessed.

I continued on, sidestepping a panhandler in a tattered trench coat who didn't look like he had bathed in quite some time. It's understandably difficult to bathe when one doesn't have a home. Up ahead illuminated in neon was the answer to the sexual side of my frustration. The billboards promised exciting women who would turn me on as well as the hundreds of videos in stock. I stood for a moment outside this house of voyeurism and contemplated whether or not to enter. My face immediately beginning to flame as I slipped in, hopping that there wouldn't be a raid by feminists while I was there. Particularly all the feminists I knew who had applauded my "correct thoughts" on the subject of women, sex, privacy, and what have you. Guilt seemed to be as present a feeling as any sexual arousal I might have had. But I entered anyway. The fellow at the desk seemed fairly bored and gave me only the most cursory of glances. To my left were booths for previewing the large selection of videos boasted by the billboard outside. The scene to my right made me blush even further. There were a series of doors with openings next to them. Out of each of the openings leaned a woman in lingerie. What occured inside these booths I had no idea. And I was too embarrassed to ask the women. I scooted on to the other attraction the "show palace" had to offer. These were the booths in which men could stand and watch the women strip as long as they continued to feed money into the machine. I entered one of the doors wondering if the women could see us as well. It was rather dark, I fished for some change before noticing that the machines took dollar bills as well as change. The window had been fogged up with what appeared to be that white stuff they put in store windows during Christmas time. Thoughts of Christmas made my Catholic guilt rise and I idly thumbed my Crucifix. When, I put the money into the machine the window unfogged. The light from the dance floor flooded in and I could see a little better. I realized that to my left was a tissue dispenser and a wastebasket. My mind made the connection with the smell that I hadn't previously registered. Out on the "floor" were two women mostly naked. They weren't of the type that you see in Playboy or Penthouse, or even the ones you drool over in high school. They were quite normal. One had visible lovehandles. Not fat, but certainly not up to our normal anorectic standards. And they were talking. They hadn't seemed to notice me. I assumed that I must be the only one there as it was fairly late and a week night to boot. But they were open twenty four hours. I stood there for a little bit but left before my dollar ran out. I noticed a rear exit and slipped out that rather than go past the array of women in their private booths.

The street out back was fairly dark and quiet. I walked up it and to the cross street and headed off towards Geary. Now I was walking into the heart of the Tenderloin. The streets were very dirty here. Everything seemed dirty. As I approached one block there were quite a few people milling about. I began to feel a little uneasy but continued onward.

"Rock?" a man asked stepping before me.

I shook my head and stepped around him. The others for some reason, all thought they could sell better than the others and each offered to sell me some "rock" as I passed by. I just continued to shake my head and sped on my way. I began to realize that it was far too late for me to be in this neighborhood. It was well after midnight and any ordinary foot traffic had long since past.

I arrived at Geary and Jones where the bus stop was and quickly made my way to it. There were several prostitutes doing their nightly vigil. I paid them no mind but proceeded directly to the bus stop. I leaned against the sign and waited for the bus to arrive. A fairly large woman in spandex approached me.

"Hey Baby, want some fun?"
A shiver passed through my body and I managed to squeak our a negative reply.
"Oh come on baby, you know you want it. Treat yourself."
"Uh, no I don't think so," I managed, "Besides I don't have any money."

This seemed to be enough for her and she headed off. She hailed a car from the curb which stopped and let her in. The car disappeared down Jones. Across the street a woman emerged who looked like she was dressed to head off to her job in the financial district. I wondered what she was doing out here so late and unescorted. But as she got to the curb a car stopped. She leaned in and talked to the driver. She stepped back and he parked the car. The two of them disappeared into a run down hotel in the middle of the block. There was another hooker kitty corner to my location and one still on my corner. She had dark hair and had the skeletal look that one associates with Anorexia, Bulimia, or a heroine addiction. Considering her job and the corpulent prostitute who had just been picked up I guessed the latter. She turned to me expressionless.

"You want to go?"
I just shook my head. She turned back to the street. Directly across the street a white Cadillac unlike any I'd ever seen pulled up. Scratch that. I had seen it but only in the movies. Out stepped the pimp. He was dressed completely in white all the way from his hat down to his shoes, though they had black trim. Out too stepped the fellow who appeared to be his muscle. He was dressed fairly normal. He crossed the street to where the skeletal prostitute stood. The pimp and her exchanged some heated words. The muscle crossed to where the other prostitute was. As he was reaching her the pimp back handed the woman near me and she fell to the ground. I have never been a fighter and know nothing about fighting but I charged into him immediately without thinking. I hit him hard in the side with my shoulder and knocked him to the ground.
"You idiot!" The woman yelled, "get the fuck out of here."

I froze confused by her reaction. The pimp didn't. He came up fast and I failed to see the knife until the blade was flashing towards me. I threw up my arms and the knife stuck into my hand. The muscle was running across the intersection towards us. Panic and adrenaline seized me and I was running as hard and fast as I could. I could hear them chasing me but didn't dare to look back. I could feel the muscle's presence as he began to close on me. Fear surged through me and I ran even faster than before. Eight blocks had passed before I realized that he was no longer behind me. I stopped and fell to my knees where I began to puke onto the already puke stained pavement. I started as a hand touched my shoulder. I had not seen or heard the police car pull up, and could barely make out what the officer was saying. I held up my hand, which was dripping blood onto my clothing. His partner produced a bandanna and wrapped my hand. They chattered into the radio and I began to babble about the pimp in his white clothes.

"I've stained his clothes," I said, " you can find him. He's red now."
I don't remember the trip to the hospital. Shock they said. The doctors stitched me up and gave me some painkillers. While waiting in the E.R. waiting room the police had told me that they couldn't find the pimp. No one had seen the incident or the pimp or his muscle and no one knew what the police were talking about. And the woman were just out for walks to clear their heads. Well, maybe they didn't say clear their heads, but I did. By the time I returned to my apartment dawn was breaking on the horizon. I walked in and was confronted with the glowing screen of the computer that I had failed to turn off. I had my story now, I realized. There were only a couple of problems. Who would believe it? And how was I supposed to type without my right hand. Fuck. I turned it off and went to bed like I should have in the first place.