I didn’t know her, but her life informed my life as much as anyone ever has. All the news reports said she was an exotic dancer, and they flashed a stock photo of a strip club on the screen. The weekend report asked people to look for her. The next weekend reports showed her former boyfriend and security guard being taken into police custody. Then the morning news reported that they had found her body, next to the wicker footlocker that her killer had carried her body in, buried in a shallow grave.
The news reports left a lot out–they didn’t say how open-hearted she was. They didn’t mention how she was hoping to get into real estate. They didn’t mention her friends, how much she liked to laugh, how she could make you feel like you were the only person in the room when she was with you.
The news reports were also wrong. They implied that she worked at a club, but an internet search showed that she was a private dancer.
When I heard about her, I decided to visit the club where she had worked, mistakenly still thinking that she was working at a club. I prepared Easter baskets with sweets and stuffed animals, and notes of “Thinking of You.” I discovered that she wasn’t working in a club, so I ditched the condolence cards and randomly picked a club to visit. The friend that I visited with asked, “Will you mention her to the bouncer at the door?” “No,” I responded, “no need. They don’t know her.”
But I did mention her to the goomba bouncer who was standing at the door. I told him that I was visiting in memory of her. He paused, looked me square in the eyes, with a tear forming in his left one, and said, “She worked here until six months ago.”
In memory of Emily Cagal, March 2005.
Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This day is a response to the Green River Killer’s suggestion that he killed scores of sex workers because no one cared about them, or noticed that they were gone. You can learn more about it here.
For today only, Chalice Press and I am offering I Heart Sex Workers at a discounted price, in honor of The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The epub or epdf book is $2.99 here. Enter Heart1217 as the promo code.