Skeleton Wings in the Closet

150

 

I was once drowining in sorrow, but now I'm drinking from the ocean of life.  Indeed, my spiritual journey has set sail! -- Ralph Oxner [autobiography excerpt]

The world has opened up for Ralph Oxner after having been completely closed for so long! -- Newport News [article excerpt]

Once a lowly mental patient, Ralph Oxner is renewed, rejuvenated, and reborn.  Almost overnight, he was transformed into the valiant super-heroic figure called 'The Ox!' " -- The Boston Buzz [article excerpt]

 

        The Sea Gypsy advanced at a steady pace on rustling, high waves, under a drab evening sky.  Passengers mingled on the decks; others ate in the dining room; some exercised in the gym; and the library was packed with readers.  But the cocktail lounge was nearly thread-bare.  A lone twenty-six year-old lady was perched high and straight on the bar stool, admiring the rounded counter's ice-blue marble surface.  She was also in the act of leisurely sipping a margarita through a long, thick coiled, green party straw.

        Suddenly, her peaceful solitude was disturbed by a familiar sounding voice.  "Seeing that big straw between those puckered lips reminds me of something," it stated.

        Immediately, she lifted up her head and looked over her left shoulder.  To her dismay, the overhead recessed lights illuminated The Sea Gypsy's head computer logician, Jason Brown.  The little, blonde, twenty-seven year-old playboy delinquent hopped up on one of the stools which flanked the woman's curvaceous frame.  His mischievous expression was accentuated by a wily smile.

        "Oh shit!" she exclaimed.

        "Whatever happened to 'Hello?' " he retorted, relishing another opportunity to be as annoying as possible.  Jason Brown loved playing with people's heads, especially Angel's.  She had taken her eyes off of him and was now back to focusing on the counter top.

        "What do you want, Jason?" she tersely asked.  The thick level of irritation expressed in her vocal tone delighted Jason because it indicated that he'd already gotten under her skin.

        "Don't worry, honey.  I'm not going to tease you about all of the skeletons in your closet," he fibbed.  "All I want is to say 'Congratulations' and extend my best wishes to you and your fiancee."

        "Yeah, right!"

        "I'm serious!" he said, trying, in a high pitched tone, to sound sincere.

        "Well, thanks.  Goodbye!"

        "You're making me feel unwelcomed, Angel"

        "Good!  That was precisely my intention!  But, unfortunately, you're still here."

        "Ouch!  I just felt your sting.  You really live up to your last name!  You know, you're not the only one who's allowed to sit at the bar and have a drink.  By the way, where's the bartender," Jason curiously inquired.

        "He left a few minutes ago to take care of some business.  Said he'll be back in about an hour," she flatly informed, still looking down.

        "Great!  That gives us plenty of time to chat in private."

        "Did I say 'an hour?'  What I meant to say was 'any time now.'  Sorry, no time to chat in private.  Bye."

        "Does he know about your past like half the people on this yacht?"

        Angel didn't dignify his taunting question with a reply.  She just kept her head down and eyes focused on her half-full glass, vainly wishing he'd go away and leave her alone.

        "More importantly, does Ralph know about your past??"

 

151

        Now Angel was the one who was stung!  She popped her head up and glared menacingly into Jason's devilishly gleeful, blue eyes.  "Jason, I swear to you," she sternly said, while pointing her index finger at his smirking face... "if you tell Ralph, I'll either kill you or make you wish you were never born!!!" she vehemently warned.

        "Okay, I promise I won't tell him.  But I do have a wedding gift I'd like to give him."  Jason got off the stool, walked over to the cherrywood console and exposed the saloon's fifty inch pop-up flatscreen television set.  Then he inserted a disk into the DVD player and pressed PLAY on the remote.  As soon as the moving images appeared on the screen, Angel's little butt departed the stool seat and her long legs dashed to the TV.  She quickly ejected the disk, broke it in half, and threw the pieces at Jason's cracked-up face.  He was enjoying a hearty laugh whilst Angel was fuming.

        "What's wrong?!  You don't think Ralph would like watching you engaged in a menage a trios with Biff Big and Hunter Hung??  I sure as hell do!!  But I guess that's because I'm not planning to spend the rest of my life with you!"

        "You son of a bitch!" she screamed.

        "I've got all of your movies in my room, as well as a duplicate of the one you destroyed," he said, clearly unaffected by the destroyed disk.  His convulsion of laughter had subsided.

        "Hey, I wonder if Ralph would consider you a better porn actress than a piano teacher," he further goaded.  Angel slapped him hard across the cheek.

        "Ooh!  I could have you charged with assault, on top of property destruction.  But, lucky for you, I'm a nice guy."

        "You're a low-life scumbag!" she shouted.

        "Ehh, whatever!  I'm not saying I'm going to show Ralph one of your porn flicks.  But, then again... I'm not saying I won't.  Torturously leaving her guessing, he winked and strolled out of the saloon with a broad smile upon his boyish face.

        Angel returned on the high stool, only this time her posture was hunched over, with her fingertips touching her descended forehead instead of a straw.  The little twerp had really gotten to her this time!  She would feel like dying if Ralph found out that she used to star in adult films.  The distressed beauty sat there thinking about how best to handle the situation.

        Someone else entered the saloon.  He immediately observed her dispirited body language.  That prompted the customary inquiry: "Are you all right?"

        This voice was unmistakable.  And, under normal circumstances, it would have been inviting.  But she was too ashamed to look the speaker in the eyes.  With her head hung, she muttered, "Hi, Ralph," barely loud enough for him to hear her.

        "Mind if I join you?" he politely requested, clearly sensing that she was downtrodden.

        "No, go right ahead," she said lackadaisically.

        "Hey, what's wrong, precious?" he asked in a voice teeming with concern.

        She didn't reply.  Then Ralph sat on the stool seat beside her and rubbed her shoulder.  At that moment, she came to terms with the fact that she'd have to divulge her sordid past and let the chips fall where they may.  If honesty cost her Ralph's hand in marriage, then that would have to be the cruel wage for her transgressions.  It seemed as if her deplorable sins had finally caught up with her.  And she hardly felt like an angel!  Some way or another, Ralph would inevitably find out, she reasoned.  And she preferred it come from her mouth as opposed to an outside source, such as that reprehensible little punk, Jason Brown or overheard gossip.

 

152

        First, she took a deep breath.  "Ralph, we need to talk," she feebly said, while looking timidly at him, painfully making eye contact despite her overwhelming shame.

        That opening statement: "We need to talk!," coupled with her uneasy mannerisms, caused Ralph to jump to a conclusion.  He naturally assumed that she was on the verge of dumping him, and having a hard time going about it.

        "You don't have to say it -- you want to call off the wedding," he interjected, sounding and feeling utterly dejected.  "I should've known that all this was way too good to be true -- a girl like you falling for a guy like me.  You were probably just on the rebound.  Is that it?!"

        "No, Ralph!  That's NOT it!!!  I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you!  But after you hear what I'm about to tell you, I'm afraid that YOU'LL decide to call it off."

        Ralph's facial expression instantly switched from dour to perplexed, as he intently looked her square in the eyes.

        "I have to level with you, Ralph," she bravely began.  "You thought you knew everything about me, but there's something I've been keeping from you.  It's definitely not something I'm proud of!"

        "What is it, Angel?  Don't worry, I won't judge you!  You can tell me absolutely anything!" he assured her compassionately.

        And so Angel's story commenced: "When I was studying classical music in college, I needed more tuition money than I was making as a waitress.  One day a man left me a note with his tip.  It said: Want to make $2,000 a day?  Possibly get famous, as well!  If so, call me between 9 and 5 at... (followed by his number).  Well, I called out of curiosity, just to check it out.  It was introduced as a 'Talent and Modeling Agency' by a female receptionist.  She went on to explain to me that they specialized in promotions, and offered clientele opportunities for national casting in commercials, TV and movies.  She informed me that the gentleman in the restaurant was an agent.  Then she asked me if I'd like to make an appointment to drop by for some free snap shots.  It all seemed legitimate, so I agreed.  You have to bear in mind that I was only eighteen and very naive.  I had just moved to New York City and thought that anything was possible.  When I arrived at the studio, I was disappointed because it was less elaborate than I had expected.  So, the cameraman took some head shots, which he said would be entered into my 'promotional portfolio.'  Even though it wasn't glitzy, I left the place feeling very optimistic about my future in either entertainment or modeling.

        "The next time I came in for more photographs, the agent unfolded a wad of twenty one-hundred dollar bills and said I could have all that money if I'd just pose topless.  Of course, it wasn't something I was enthusiastic about doing.  But, at the time, I really needed the money, so I went along with it.  I felt like I just couldn't wait to get famous and start making big money in the process.  I had bills to pay and a high tuition on top of that!  Future topless photo sessions ensued and, before I knew it, I was showing literally everything for the camera -- legs spread and all.  I was getting paid more and more with each photo shoot because I was so pretty and willing to go so far.  It was all so gradual and manipulative -- the way they maneuvered and handled me.  I have to hand it to those people!  They were extremely savvy!  They really knew what they were doing!  They operated like pros!  And the money was SO tempting!!!  Now I realize that the love of it really IS the root of all evil, like the Bible says.

        "I felt like I had fallen into quicksand and I knew that I had compromised my ethics, not to mention hurting my self-esteem.  I started doing drugs to cope with the guilt and depression.  Cocain was my drug-of-choice and, as everyone knows, it's not cheap!  So, I needed even more money in order to support my drug habit.  Regretfully, I turned to adult films.

 

153

I'd hit rock bottom, and my mind wasn't even clear enough to focus on my music studies.  My grades began to decline.  In the ensuing semester, after my drug use had really escalated, I failed most of my instrument classes and was put on 'mandatory probation.'  That meant that unless my GPA (Grade Point Average) improved to at least a D+, my ass would be kicked out of the Music Academy.  Porn is all I had to fall back on!  Now, THAT'S a bleak thought, isn't it?!  I knew I had to do something and do it quick!  But I didn't know what to do!  I had no idea how to save myself from myself.  All I knew was that my life had spiraled out of control and I was up to my neck in quicksand.

        "One day, after violin class, my instructor approached me and said she'd like for us to chat in private.  'Is it about my grades?' I asked.  'Yes... and other things, as well,' she replied.  That had me speculating the substance of the 'other things' on her mind.  My warped mind presumed that her intention was to proposition me.  I was prepared to 'do her' in exchange for a higher grade.  That's how far I had fallen!  I was a total degenerate.  We planned to meet back in the classroom at five o'clock that afternoon.  Right after I arrived, she locked the door and we sat in desk chairs, facing each other.  To make a long dialogue short, we had a frank discussion about my drug abuse and everything that led up to it.  I felt more naked at that time than I ever did while I was doing porn.  It turned out that she could recognize when I came to class high, due to certain tell-tale signs I displayed.  She said she used to be a drug counselor.  So I guess she was really able to spot us chronic drug users!  I broke down and began sobbing.  She told me there was only one thing that could help me.  'What's that???' I asked, skeptical, yet hopeful.  I was at the end of my rope, desperate for deliverance, and willing to listen to anyone's advice.  She said that my only hope was to take the detoxification program administered by a self-help organization called 'The White Light Liberators.'  At that time, I wasn't even aware of their existence.  She testified to seeing dozens of drug addicts go, and stay, clean after going through the detoxification process.  So I contacted the