She told me she was going shopping and that she might drop over at her aunt's house for a while; she might even stay for dinner. She had been telling me things like that quite a bit. Cookie was a liar.
I followed her until she parked our car and then I followed her while she walked until she went into a building. I went in a Koffee Shoppe and I started smoking cigarettes until the waitress bullied me into ordering. I figured I'd be there a while (knowing Cookie like I knew Cookie) so I asked her, the waitress, for koffee, another and cleaner ashtray, and a new glass of V-8 vegetable cocktail. I tipped her, the waitress, five dollars and did not see her again. Didn't expect to.
I waited for what seemed like hours and, coincidentally, it was hours that I waited but I was ready when she, Cookie, came out. I grabbed my Nikon and I was out the door and out on the street to meet her.
"What are you doing?" she shrieked but I had her in the frame and her mouth was an ugly oval when I hit the shutter.
"What are you doing? What are you doing here?" she continued to shriek and I continued to hit the shutter; I was snapping shots like crazy.
"I wanted to see a whore," I told her from behind the camera, the Nikon, and I kept pressing the button. The auto-wind was screaming and everything was green-light as far as aperture and shutter were concerned.
"Stop it!" she screamed. "Stop it! Stop it!"
I ignored her, her words, and concentrated on her image, the image in the viewfinder. The few people who had noticed us ignored us and I kept hitting the shutter, the button that made the lens open and close around the image that would become Cookie when she was printed.
"I wanted to see a whore, " I told Cookie. "I wanted to see what a whore looks like after she's whored around. I wanted to see her in the frame."
And I took some more pictures.
"How does it feel, baby?" I continued. "How does it feel to be famous? Show me how it feels to be famous. You're going to be so famous."
"I can't believe you're doing this," Cookie sobbed and she slid down with her back against the wall behind her, the wall of her new boyfriend's apartment building, down to the dirty sidewalk in front of her new boyfriend's apartment building while her old boyfriend took some photographs of her sliding.
"That's it. That's it, baby," I encouraged her. "Work with me here. Work with me."
I kept snapping, kept looking for the best angles and the good shine off her tears, off the strings of snot and saliva across her face. It was a face I loved. I made some beautiful images that afternoon, I developed some beautiful prints, and Cookie's never seen them. She's never even asked.