Diaries of a cigarette girl: Part 4


Guest writer Chelsea regales us with her first forays into the wild world of booze in this multipart series.

The Peachy Puffs were a motley bunch of tough, loud, beautiful, shit-talking night owls, who would do almost anything for an easy buck. And by easy I mean, not requiring 40 hours a week behind a desk, a Bachelor’s degree, or getting out of bed before noon. These girls were hustlers. The maximum amount of money in the shortest amount of time was the goal, and many also took work as alcohol promotion girls, models, gogo dancers, and drug dealers—as long as the pay was in cash and under the table. The turnover rate was high, as the job can be intense. Many girls quit after one or two nights. But there were some stalwarts who became my nightly companions.

There was Ginger, the sweet-natured, brassy redhead; Pippin, a doe-eyed, pigtailed blond with a passion for all things pink; Blossom, an explosively energetic Latina who dreamed of performing in Disneyland stage shows; Dawn, with a mouth like a bullhorn and the body of a football player, who managed to consistently bring in the highest sales night after night, and Anna, the deep-voiced BDSM model and resident goth girl. At the end of each night, we would all reunite at the Peachy’s office on Divisadero. The girls from the bars arrived first, at around 2 am, and were followed a couple hours later by the girls from the late-night clubs. After stripping off our costumes and counting the contents of our trays, we’d trade stories from our night’s adventures over cans of Tecate from the office vending machine. There were always stories to tell, or at the very least, complaints to be made. It was rarely boring.

One night, after returning back to the Peachy’s office, a fellow Puff told us a Tip Jackpot story that made our eyes shine with envy: A Drunk Yuppie (our nickname for the good-looking yet bad-mannered bar goers in San Francisco’s more affluent neighborhoods) pulled her out of the bar where she was working, and over to an ATM. He put in his card, punched in his pin number, and told her to take out enough to pay her rent. Without saying another word, he stumbled back into the night, leaving her dumbfounded. The screen of the ATM listed the withdrawal options: $20, $40, $80, $100, $200, $300, or “more”. Not having the nerve to hit the “more” button, she took $300 and went on her way. This is what we all had on our minds, as we smiled and giggled like geishas with our drunken patrons: Maybe this will be the one to pay my rent. Maybe this time.

To be continued next Tuesday…

ATM photo courtesy of thinkpanama, flickr.