Tommie Tat – A Pink Lady Project

I’m Pink Lady Apple Yeggs (I forgot to change that to Yeggs in my last report.  Don’t tell Scrambled Yeggs, my husband, please.), and my friend Deviled Yeggs suggested that I record each project that I set up in the hopes of reforming the people who continue to work for Lily the Pink Enterprises.  If for no other reason, it would show how God is at work.

For those who have not kept up with the news in the big city of Tracy.  About six months ago, Detective Sgt. Deviled Yeggs had me as the top candidate to take over organized crime in Tracy, but within a month, he learned that I had been held prisoner in my own house and Baldwyn Apple, posing as my bouncer, ran the brothel, which was his idea that he proposed to Uncle Delly, the former crime boss in Tracy, a.k.a. Red Delicious Apple.  I set up a breach in security that allowed a police raid, trapping the mayor of Tracy, who was framing me for murder.  The raid freed us from the control of organized crime, and on the Lily the Pink properties, we run a strictly legitimate business now.  My project has been that any and all prostitutes that did not leave after the raid would be helped back to a normal and healthy lifestyle.  My hope and prayer are that they find Jesus along the way, thus my special projects.

I think I will use the term, “new life” to mean the police raid.  So many things are different now after the new life than before.

Before the new life, I had two accountants.  One enjoyed prostitution so much, she moved to the county line between Tracy and Stout County to set up her own operation, but the other accountant stayed.  She was somewhat of a success story before the “new life.”

She was born Thomasina Tatiana Tutor-Tarrant.  She was an only child, and her father really wanted a boy.  From birth, he called her Tommie Tat Tutor-Tarrant or Tommie Tat for short.  When I interviewed her for the accountant job, I asked if she had any tattoos, and she said she did not.  During that interview, well after finding out that Baldwyn was forcing my hard cider operations people into parttime prostitutes, I flat out told her what Baldwyn was up to.  I knew that might get me into trouble, but Tommie, as we call her, said boldly that she had no problem with that.  She had heard the rumors when she checked out the job listing.  I had hoped that I would never be complicit with another person doing that sort of thing, but one of my accountants had suddenly died.  My old accountant had been one of my professors at the university.  She was too old for Baldwyn’s tastes, and he left her alone.  She developed a brain tumor and was gone within a few months.

That led to me interviewing this young lady who had just graduated college from State.  The three big colleges in the state are “The University of” which is middle of the road politically, T.R.U.S.T. (Tracy Regional University for Science and Technology) which is very conservative, and “State” which is the party school.  Even for State’s standards, Tommie’s grades were suspect, but she had the skills that I needed.  Lily the Pink Enterprises, named for the old silly song about a medicinal compound that did not produce the results that were wanted, makes a “medicinal compound,” a hard apple cider with a touch of lily root in the formula.  You can find it in most stores that sell alcohol within 200 miles of Tracy, but we are soon expanding into the Great Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, etc.).  With me being named Pink Lady Apple, using Pink Lady apples and lily root in the formula, what else should I have called it?

As for Tommie, I got the idea that she had some sort of substance issue that might explain her poor grades.  She looked like a beautiful young girl who had been drug through the mud a few times too often.  I gave her the job hoping that she could get cleaned up.  I had people that I could trust look after her.  She sobered up and has been a model employee ever since.

But about a year after she was hired, still a few years before the “new life,” she asked to have a little girl talk with me.  She knew by then that I had nothing to do with the prostitution at the facility and that I could keep a secret.  We talked in Gwen Quinn’s bedroom while Gwen was cooking in the kitchen.  We felt confident, at that point, that Gwen’s room was not bugged.  Six months later, Baldwyn heard everything said in that room also.

Tommie wanted to thank me for trying to get her to not take the job, but she had screwed up her life so much, she was desperate.  That was one reason in moving to Tracy, a bigger pool of prospective jobs.

She said that from birth through high school, she was Daddy’s little tom boy.  She had a boy haircut, a little long, but a boy cut.  When she started developing, which was a little late, she wore a sports bra to mask the development and oversized sweatshirts.  She played every sport in high school, place kicking for the boy’s football team.  She got into fist fights in the playground, usually defending the honor of someone else.  Many at the school thought she was really a boy.

Then her mother insisted that she dress like a lady for her senior class photos.  She found a nice wig, since it would take too long for her hair to grow out.  Her fellow classmates were shocked and many of the guys said that they would have dated her if they had known she was such a knockout.  But really they were afraid she would knock them out.

Her mother told her that college had to be different.  She was no longer going to be Daddy’s little tom boy.  Her mother told her to do whatever it took to fit in with the other girls.  She would be required to stay in the freshman dorm her first year.

Her parents, who had never finished high school, had no idea that State was a party school or what that meant.  They thought she would have nice young ladies that would act professionally among each other.  After all, this was “higher” education.  The first night in the dorm, she was invited to a kegger, drinking beer until the keg was empty although she was underage.  She nearly remained intoxicated for the five years it took her to graduate.  It should have taken much longer in her condition, but we are talking about “State.”  She said that a lot of the guys went to such drinking parties to find the girls that could not hold their alcohol.  She said that she was the favorite among the foreign exchange students, probably having bedded men from each time zone.  Then again, she rarely remembered much about the experience.

Then I asked, “And why are you telling me this now, a year after accepting the job?”

Tommie said, “The sex here isn’t the same.  It’s a job.  The guy does not care and often becomes abusive.  This whole thing about sex makes me sick.”

And I asked, “And the sex you had in college was good sex?  It was fulfilling?  It was meaningful?”

Tommie shrugged, “It was, ummm, meaningful.  I enjoyed it, but somehow it was different.”

I suggested, “Maybe it was different because you are now sober.”

Tommie stopped for a long time.  I let her figure it out.  She started to cry.  “I guess it was all terrible.  I never met Mr. Right.  I never had the same guy a second night.  I never went on a date.  You are right.  I now find it terrible because I am now sober.”

I smiled, “On a positive note, you look lovely.  When you came here, I could tell you were doing something, but whatever it was, it was making you unhealthy.  But now, a year later, your skin is a good color.  You have better posture.  I am proud of your grasp of our accounting system.  If you had just worked out to be a good financial clerk, I would have been happy, but I wanted two accountants to ensure that we kept the illegal money and the legitimate money separated.”

Then she asked, “But isn’t it all illegal?  Didn’t your Dad earn the money to buy this property by beating up people?”

I furrowed my brow. “A killing many of them, yes.  Some of these days, I am kicking out the Rotten Apples from this place.  I have slowly paid back Uncle Delly, even though he is now in prison, for everything I borrowed from him to build the cider house and add the apartment building.  I will do my best to help others, once I get the chance, so that they will not be oppressed.  I am a Christian, Tommie. Even though I am a prisoner in this house, I am free in Him.”

Tommie pulled a red New Testament out of her pocket.  “My folks never liked Christians.  Gwen gave me this, but I haven’t read it.  My folks would have told me to throw it away, but somehow, I felt that I should keep it.”

I walked over and placed my hand over her little testament.  “Read it.  Gwen risked a lot by buying a few of these and giving them to people that she knows would need them.  She picked you.  I trust her judgment of character.  Hide the book from Baldwyn.  He would tear up the place looking for the others.  And when you get to the instructions for slaves, as we are Baldwyn’s slaves, we are to subject ourselves, but we are to stay true to God’s teaching as much as possible.  You will have difficulties, but God is going to do something wonderful at Lily the Pink.  Just you wait.”

That was years ago and now a transformed Tommie was the first employee to take an extended vacation on her own.  She was due back any minute.  She had gone to a National Park in the mountains out west, hiking from the north to the south boundaries of the park.  Since I had only seen the big city of Tracy and one trip to China, of all places, I wanted to live through Tommie’s experience.

Note: My trip to China was to look at how the people of Yantai, China grow and harvest their apples, and I ate lily root while I was there, giving me the idea for the cider.

As I was thinking of those moments in the past, she knocked on my open door.  My office was still in the dining room, which had been my prison cell for so many years.  I hobbled over, still unable to run.  I gave her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.  “Tell me all about your trip, Tommie.  I hope you have pictures.”

She smiled and nodded.  “I will upload them to the company server so that everyone can see them.  But I want to claim victory for my trip.  It was not what I expected, but God was with me.”

That did not sound that wonderful.  “How so?”

She sat down in my visitor’s chair and started her ‘trip report.’ “I had all my gear including dehydrated food for the entire trip.  I was hiking with a tour group, and everyone was supposed to be an experienced hiker.  I had not had any experience at altitude, but for a few years, I have been toning my body into the old Tommie Tat form.  I had to do some endurance tests for the ranger the day before we were to leave.  Our trek team consisted of Clarence from Connecticut, me, and ten people, five couples, from California.  The people from California had done these types of hikes before, many times.  A ranger went with us the first day to check out our techniques.  Then the ranger left us on our own.  We all had beacons in case we got lost.  Each campsite had a transmitter.  We could not talk over the transmitter, but we could key in a code, so they knew where our team was each night.  All of that worked perfectly.”

She continued, “But then, somehow Clarence had left a plastic container of a medicated powder in his tent the second night and a bear ripped his tent to shreds.  I was the only one who had extra room in my tent, so I invited him to sleep in the tent.  I made it clear – only sleep, nothing extracurricular.  The next morning, he was using my chest as a pillow when I woke up.  The next night, he did the same thing, and his hand was underneath my shirt.  I told him that I had a hammock and that night, I would sleep outdoors.  I was not having him maul me.”

I smiled, “Good for you.”

She continued, “But then Clarence said that the group from California was a group of wife swappers and he had already agreed to swap me.  I hit the roof.  I swore I would not have anyone in my tent, but that night this distinguished gentleman came over with arms raised in surrender.  He said that he would not touch me, but since his wife had already gotten into the same sleeping bag with Clarence, he needed a place to sleep.  Somehow, I knew that I could trust him.  During the night, he talked about how his wife loved this open marriage and the wife swapping, but after the first couple of times, he just wanted to go back to the way it had been when they first married.  I asked him what he thought he was seeking when they started this wife swapping thing.  He shrugged.  Looking back on it, he could think of no reason why it started.  The next night, he came back to my tent, with Clarence doing a round robin through all the California tents.  I told him of my past, what I could remember through the alcohol haze and my time as a prostitute.  I have no idea why I told him all that.  Like I said, this little voice inside me said that I could trust him.  I pulled out the old New Testament that Gwen had given me soon after I started working here.  I started reading verses from here or there.  The next morning, he shocked his friends by saying that the night before with Tommie was ‘spiritual.’ “

I cackled.  Tommie nodded, “Most of his friends knew that he rarely had sex with his swap-partners, so they thought I was some kind of powerful sex goddess.  The last night before we arrived at the southern ranger station, he accepted Jesus.  By the way, can I get an advance on my salary, I need a new little red New Testament.  My old one was very important to me, but it went to California.”

I came around the desk and gave her a big hug again.  “Tommie, the bottom shelf in the filing cabinet over there is filled with little red New Testaments, just in case.  I am so proud of you.  Lily the Pink now has their first evangelist.”

It is so wonderful when you can take a break during the day and laugh with a special friend.

Credits

Lily the Pink is one of my favorite silly songs.  It is adaptable for adding new verses, as long as the “cure” is far from what was wanted or expected.  Although The Scaffold, a group that wrote the song, has a very British version, I prefer the Irish Rovers version, with a few of the same verses.

The writers of the song are the members of The Scaffold: John Gorman (comedian), Mike McGear (a pseudonym, really Paul McCartney’s brother), and Roger McGough (poet).  The Scaffold had back singers and musicians to fill out the “band” that included a young Elton John, Jack Bruce, and Graham Nash.  The song is based on a poem written about snake oil sold in the USA under the label of Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, with a picture of a sweet young girl on the label.  The poem states that the snake oil is sold by this face that only wants to love others.

The chorus of the song is:

We’ll drink a drink, a drink
To Lily the Pink, the Pink, the Pink
The savior of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case

Of course, Jesus is the Savior of the human race, and He cured people rather than selling them snake oil that promised cures that did not work.

The hike set up with checks of abilities, beacons, and transmitters are my ideas to improve safety, having been a safety man for twenty years.  Some of them may already be used.

The medicated powder is from our trip to Philmont Scout Ranch.  I heard an author tell it this way about a snake in a boat during a fishing trip.  We all teamed up with someone else.  I had one of the twins in my tent.  We each had a tent half.  Each night we snapped the two halves together and then pitched the tent.  We were to have anything with an aroma stored high in a tree, but my tent mate had a medicated powder because he was prone to have problems with his feet.  On a ten-day trek through the mountains, that could be disastrous.

Here is the author’s technique of storytelling (the author came to a school assembly meeting):

While I was rolling out my sleeping bag to air it out inside the tent, a small bear entered the tent. …
<Wait long enough for someone to ask, “then what?”>
I got out of the tent.
<Wait long enough for someone to ask, “then what?”>
The bear bit into the powder and the powder went up its nose.
<Wait long enough for someone to ask, “then what?”>
After a lot of growling, the bear ran out of the tent.
<Wait long enough for someone to ask, “then what?”>
I got back in the tent.

This author was illustrating how many people write a story without telling the story.  So, first off, stick to what really happened?!

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