Friday, December 31, 2010

Noir at the Playboy Mansion! Say it ain't so Hef!

Playboy mansion? More like a squalid prison: Former Playmates tell of 'grubby' world inside Hugh Hefner's empire

The marriage proposal was apparently a rather romantic affair. On Christmas Eve, the couple watched a late-night movie together and then exchanged gifts: for him a framed photograph of their King Charles Spaniel, for her an engagement ring.
‘She burst into tears,’ he revealed on Twitter at the weekend. ‘This is the happiest Christmas in memory.’
‘The most memorable Christmas ever,’ she tweeted in agreement. ‘I love him.’
All of which might be rather more touching if the ­prospective groom was not Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner who, at 84, is 60 years older than his fiancée, a platinum blonde model named Crystal Harris.

Match made in heaven?: Hugh Hefner has become engaged to Crystal Harris over Christmas - despite the 60 year age difference between the couple
Match made in heaven?: Hugh Hefner has become engaged to Crystal Harris over Christmas - despite the 60 year age difference between the couple

That Hefner should choose to share details of this intimate moment with the world quite so soon after his proposal is typical of this flamboyant self-publicist. 
Crystal Harris shows off her engagement ring
Bling: Crystal Harris shows off her engagement ring
His image as a fast-living Lothario has done much to make a success of the Playboy brand, and news of his impending nuptials to a woman young enough to be his great-granddaughter will further promote the idea of him as a lovable old rascal who has plenty of life in him yet. 
This is certainly the image Hefner likes to project to the celebrities drawn to his lavishly debauched ­parties at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The attractions there include a games house, with two guestrooms equipped with only a bed, a ceiling mirror and a phone.
Charlie Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio and Colin Farrell are among the stars who have enjoyed romps at the Mansion, according to a kiss-and-tell ­memoir by Izabella St James, a former member of the ever-changing bevy of pneumatic blondes with whom Hefner shares his home. 
Stars just needed to ‘click their ­fingers’ to seduce women at these ­soirées, recalls St James. 
These A-listers no doubt delight in their association with the legendary lover. But unfortunately for Hefner, some of his former ‘girlfriends’, as he calls them, have become disenchanted with life in his harem over the years.
Party time: Actor Charlie Sheen was photographed in a robe at the Playboy Mansion party in August 2010 along with two blonds and porn star Ron Jeremy
Party time: Actor Charlie Sheen was photographed in a robe at the Playboy Mansion party in August 2010 along with two blonds and porn star Ron Jeremy

One by one they have revealed what life was like behind the glittering façade of the Playboy Mansion. According to them, it disguises a grubby world where some girls feel they are no ­better than prostitutes, paid pocket money by an octogenarian obsessive who funds plastic ­surgery to turn them into his physical ideal, and yet must still take huge amounts of Viagra to manage sex with them.

The portrait of Hefner painted by Izabella St James is deeply unappealing. A pretty blonde law graduate, she was 26 when she met him in a Hollywood nightclub in 2002. Soon, he invited her to move in with him and seven other official ‘girlfriends’.
Hefner likes to have anywhere between three and 15 girlfriends at any one time. One of the group will be chosen to be Girlfriend No 1. She will share Hefner’s bedroom at all times, while the others are merely visitors. 

For Izabella, the Playboy Mansion was far from the glamorous pleasure palace she had imagined. ‘Each ­bedroom had mismatched, random pieces of furniture,’ she recalls in her autobiography Bunny Tales. ‘It was as if someone had gone to a charity shop and bought the basics for each room.

‘Although we all did our best to decorate our rooms and make them homely, the mattresses on our beds were ­disgusting — old, worn and stained. The sheets were past their best, too.

Kiss and tell: Izabella St James, a former member of the bevy of beauties, wrote a tell all book about her time in the Playboy mansion
Kiss and tell: Izabella St James, a former member of the bevy of beauties, wrote a tell all book about her time in the Playboy mansion

‘Eventually I persuaded Hef to pay for a new mattress and bed linen — but I had to turn in every single receipt before I was reimbursed.

‘Hef also eventually permitted us to have the rooms painted and recarpeted. But for some reason he insisted on creamy, white-coloured carpets. He liked the girlfriends’ rooms to look very girly, all white carpet and pink walls. 

‘It looked great at first, but with two dogs (most of the girlfriends had pets that lived in their rooms — I had two pugs), butlers delivering food, dirty shoes and occasional spillages, the carpet was grey and stained in a matter of months.’

She adds: ‘But then Hef was used to dirty carpets. The one in his bedroom had not been changed for years, and things became significantly worse when Holly Madison moved into his room with him as Girlfriend No. 1 soon after I moved in, bringing her two dogs.

‘They weren’t house-trained and would just do their business on the bedroom carpet. Late at night, or in the early hours of the morning — if any of us visited Hef’s bedroom — we’d almost always end up standing in dog mess. 

‘Everything in the Mansion felt old and stale, and Archie the house dog would regularly relieve himself on the hallway curtains, adding a powerful whiff of urine to the general scent of decay.’
Many girls, it seems, endured these living conditions for the chance of becoming a centerfold in Playboy ­magazine — an invaluable career boost for any glamor model. 
Others admitted that they stayed only for the ­cosmetic surgery to which Hefner treated them as a birthday presents, keeping a running account with a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.
Legendary lover: Hugh Hefner has a reputation for the high life, yet it seems many of his former 'girlfriends' have become disenchanted with life in the harem
Legendary lover: Hugh Hefner has a reputation for the high life, yet it seems many of his former 'girlfriends' have become disenchanted with life in the harem
But St James — with big university debts — was more interested in the weekly pocket money which Hefner paid all his girlfriends. ‘Every Friday morning we had to go to Hef’s room, wait while he picked up all the dog poo off the carpet — and then ask for our allowance: a thousand dollars counted out in crisp hundred-dollar bills from a safe in one of his bookcases,’ she says. 

‘We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship. Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony among the girlfriends — or your lack of sexual participation in the “parties” he held in his bedroom.
‘If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official “going out” nights [When Hefner liked to parade his girls at nightclubs] he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.’

The allowance was also withdrawn if there was any infringement of the strict rules imposed by Hefner on all his girlfriends.

‘Little did I realise that by moving into the mansion I was losing all the freedom I associated with the Playboy lifestyle,’ says St James. 

‘Strictest of all was the curfew. Everyone had to be on the Mansion grounds by 9pm every night — unless we were out with Hef at a club or a function. People honestly did not believe us when we told them we had a curfew at the wild and crazy Playboy Mansion.’
Another young woman, model Kendra Wilkinson, now 25, met ­Hefner in 2004 when she was hired as a living statue at one of his ­parties, posing naked except for painted-on accessories. She moved into the Playboy Mansion soon afterwards and lived there until 2009.

She has since described how his staff noted every time one of the girls left or arrived back at the ­Mansion. Hefner would pore over the logs every morning, which, Wilkinson said, drove her ‘insane’.

‘It was way more strict than my parents had ever been,’ she says.
Freedom of a kind came on Wednesdays and Fridays, the official nights out, which were the prelude to the twice-weekly sex parties in Hefner’s bedroom.

The girls travelled with Hefner in a white limousine which had a ­leopard-skin interior, with Playboy bunny logos sewn onto the seats. As they left the mansion, they drank Dom Perignon champagne and downed Quaaludes, a prescription-only sedative drug popularised in the Seventies and now handed out by Hefner.

‘Quaaludes were supposed to give you a nice buzz,’ says Izabella St James. ‘Hef told me once that they were meant to put girls in the mood for sex.’

The thrill of being out after curfew was tempered by Hefner’s wearying habit of going out to the same few clubs, night after night. And his ever-present security guards ensured that no other men were allowed to pay the girls any attention.

At around midnight, according to St James, Hef would take his Viagra. ‘After that, he would constantly check his watch to make sure we left at the right time because if we didn’t, or the timing got messed up, he wouldn’t be able to perform later.

‘We had to line up like geese and follow each other out of the club.’
‘Little did I realize that by moving into the mansion I was losing all the freedom I associated with the Playboy lifestyle.'
As with so much else in their time with Hefner, the girls followed strict rules before entering his bedroom for the sex parties.One of those who witnessed these preparations was Jill Ann Spaulding, an aspiring model who wrote to ­Hefner in 2002 asking to be a Playboy centerfold. 

Though 20-year-old Spaulding had enclosed a naked photo of herself, she claims to have been unprepared for what happened when she was invited to stay at the Playboy ­Mansion for a few days, and was asked to one of these private parties.

Beforehand, all the girls were told to take a bath. ‘I got in, then another girl appeared from nowhere and jumped in with me,’ recalls Spaulding. ‘Then Hef stepped around the corner and took a photo of us naked in the bath together before disappearing. It was all very strange.
‘Another girl led me into Hef’s master bedroom. The only light was coming from two TVs on which adult films were showing. All the other girls were there, dressed like me in pink pajamas. 
‘If you kept your pajama bottoms on, that was a sign that you didn’t want to have contact that night.’ According to Spaulding there were 12 girls there on that first night, and only she and another girl declined the offer to have sex with Hefner, who did not use a condom. 

Girls next door: Hefner poses with three models, including Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson outside his mansion in Los Angeles, California
Girls next door: Hefner poses with three models, including Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson outside his mansion in Los Angeles, California

‘There was no protection and no testing for sexually transmitted ­diseases,’ she says.
Izabella St James, it seems, was much more open about having a physical relationship with him.
‘I wanted to see if this experienced King of Sexdom knew anything the rest of us did not,’ she recalls. ‘But he just lay there like a dead fish.

‘We often wondered why he did it at all. He must know deep down that it is just a show. But he is trying to live out this fantasy he has been selling to people since 1954. He wants to live up to the Playboy image he created and the expectations people have of him.’

'Hef looked absolutely furious, and one of the girls hissed at me that I was disappointing him. I didn’t care. Hef’s face was like thunder but I was left alone.'
Although still hoping to make Playboy centrefold, Jill Ann Spaulding was determined to resist becoming intimate with Hefner and quickly discovered the consequences when she returned to his room for another of the sex parties, keeping her pajama bottoms determinedly on. The other girls soon made it clear that she was expected to take them off.
‘I was terrified. They were all looking at me, including Hef from the bed — just staring straight at me. I said firmly that I couldn’t join in.

‘Hef looked absolutely furious, and one of the girls hissed at me that I was disappointing him. I didn’t care. Hef’s face was like thunder but I was left alone.’

Spaulding was quickly dismissed from the Playboy mansion and was later followed by Izabella St James, who left of her own accord.

Unsurprisingly both were soon replaced by a succession of blondes including, in January 2009, Crystal Harris. When she arrived, Hefner was seeing identical-twin glamour ­models Kristina and Karissa Shannon.

Since ending his relationship with the sisters, in January this year, he is said — in what must be one of the most suspect statements of the century — to have been monogamous. Unlikely as it seems, he is perhaps serious about making ­Harris his wife.

If so, she will be little envied by many of Hefner’s former girlfriends. For they know that, while life at the Playboy Mansion appears to offer all that an aspiring young celebrity might yearn for, she is committing herself to a life of squalid degradation in a cage which is far from gilded.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NoirCon 2012 and Noir Medicine - Not a Spoonful of Sugar Anymore!

Nurse Claims Surgeon Drugged and Sexually Harassed Her During Bizarre Job Interview

Jeffrey Kronson, MD, allegedly offered job applicant $1,000 to undress after injecting her with "truth serum."

Can a job interview get any worse than this?
A nurse arrives at an empty medical office on a Saturday to be interviewed for a job in a cosmetic surgery practice. When she gets there, the surgeon says he wants to interview her for a high-paying position that will take her all over the world. But first he wants to inject her with "truth serum" (sodium pentothal) to make sure she answers ethical questions truthfully, since the job involves selling weapons. After injecting her, the surgeon starts asking questions about the nurse's sexual fantasies and her darkest secrets. Then he pulls down his pants, injects himself in the groin, and says he wants to see her breasts and vagina, offering the nurse $1,000 to take her clothes off. When she starts crying, he injects her again because she's not "uninhibited" enough. Upset, he starts pacing and clenching his fists, finally telling the nurse how disappointed he is that she's not "right" for the job.
Nurse Bettina La Savio alleges in court documents that this nightmare happened on Jan. 2, 2010, when she interviewed with vascular surgeon Jeffrey Kronson, MD, for what she thought would be a job at the Gia Laser Aesthetic Center in Claremont, Calif.
After the encounter, she was so afraid of seeing Dr. Kronson at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, where they both worked, that she suffered severe anxiety and depression, alleges Ms. La Savio in court documents. She eventually resigned and moved to another city. On Dec. 21, she filed a civil complaint against Dr. Kronson in California Superior Court in Los Angeles for assault, battery and invasion of privacy. The lawsuit also includes charges against Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital for sexual harassment and retaliation.
Dr. Kronson did not respond to requests for comment for this article. The hospital, in a statement, disputes the allegations but would not comment on them. "The privacy rights of several individuals are impacted by these allegations, and they cannot be litigated in a public setting. The hospital will respond appropriately in court to all legal claims," says the statement.
Ms. La Savio alleges that her life changed for the worse after the meeting with the surgeon. The day after the job interview, Ms. La Savio claims, she reported to work at the hospital and cried throughout her shift. She told her nursing supervisor about the encounter and the supervisor took Ms. La Savio to the emergency department to be tested for sodium pentothal. The tests allegedly revealed another drug — not sodium pentothal — although the specific drug is not mentioned in the court documents.
The hospital was unresponsive, claims Ms. La Savio. "I reported the conduct to hospital management and they failed to take appropriate action. I was forced to quit," she says in a workplace discrimination complaint filed earlier this month with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Ms. La Savio's attorney, Maria Diaz of Los Angeles, did not return a request for comment for this article.

Monday, December 27, 2010

NoirCon: DLG 2011 Memorial Addendum

For all Goodisheads from far and near,


It is a little over 2 weeks until will we convene to honor David Goodis at his final resting place on January 9th, 2011.

11:00 AM at the Mausoleum at
Roosevelt Memorial Park
2701 Old Lincoln Highway
Trevose, PA 19053
11:30 AM Brief Graveside prayer 
Please bring along your favorite Goodis quote or reading.
Then we will wind our way back to Goodis' home in East Oak Lane, Goodis' birthplace in Logan, Goodis' Hospital at the time of his death,  and Goodis' choice for the origin of OF TENDER SIN.
The excitement of the day will culminate with a lively day of books and beer in Goodis' Port Richmond section of Philadelphia at the famous
3037 Richmond Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134  



Haiti 2010 - Vehicular Noir

On the Road to Port-au-Prince
December 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

685 Day until NoirCon 2012 - The Mayan Calendar says it is so!

NoirCon 2012-Fearing Pilgrims Flock to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 8th, 2012

685 Day Countdown Begins 

Armageddon-Fearing Pilgrims Flock To French Village

729 Day Countdown Begins

Updated: Thursday, 23 Dec 2010, 9:00 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 23 Dec 2010, 8:27 AM EST
By NewsCore - Armageddon-fearing pilgrims were flocking to a village deep in the southern French hills after a countdown was started to the end of the world, which stood Thursday at a mere 729 days to go.
Followers of the Mayan calendar believe the mountain in the Corbieres hills overlooking the village of Bugarach, east of the Pyrenees, was endorsed by aliens as a safe place to survive the demise of civilization.
The countdown began Tuesday, exactly two years until Dec. 21, 2012 -- the movement's assigned Judgment Day.
The mythical status bestowed upon the 4,045 foot high rock above Bugarach has inspired legends since the Middle Ages and attracted generations of hikers.
But the French locals were left bemoaning the sudden deluge of New Age pilgrims, who they accuse of setting up camp in the village to cash in on the fears of impending doom.
"It may be necessary to call in the military to control the crowds," said Bugarach mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, who anticipated "chaos" in the next 24 months. His deputy, Gilbert Cros said the new influx "gives us a bad image."
Police said they were looking into crowd control plans, while Miviludes, a state agency that tracks dangerous cults, said it was keeping close watch on the village and the “apocalypse movement."

NoirCon 2010 Goes to Haiti - Reflections On A Journey

Medics return from Haiti mission (video) - Intact and Transformed.

The streets were eerily silent when Dr. Lou Boxer and surgical technician Angela Evans arrived to Haiti last month.

It was Election Day, Nov. 28, and the typically chaotic streets in Port-au-Prince were empty.

"There were no cars on the street and a normal two-hour drive to the clinic where we were living at … ended up being a 10-minute drive because there were absolutely no cars on the road, which was a little bit scary. And the people who live there said this was a very strange situation," Boxer said.
Boxer and Evans of Chester County Hospital and seven other team members went to Haiti for seven days.

The trip was in conjunction with Christian Service International, a nonprofit interdenominational group that runs a clinic, orphanage and church in Arrondissement de Croix-des-Bouquets, which is roughly 20 miles outside of Port-au-Prince.

While stillness blanketed the streets the day the team arrived, subsequent trips into different communities revealed the results of a country devastated by natural disasters: collapsed buildings, homelessness, orphaned children selling anything to make money, cholera victims. Yet, despite the damage, Haitians were gracious, happy and passionate about their religious beliefs, Evans and Boxer said.

"I think the most refreshing thing was how nice the people were. As much as I'm sure they don't like foreigners coming into their country, you would say 'hello' to people at 12 noon or 12 midnight and they would respond back in kind, saying 'hello' back in Creole with a big smile," Boxer said. "They were happy to see you, which was amazing given the amount of poverty that they live in."

The medical team saw 70 patients and conducted roughly 20 surgical procedures to treat issues such as hernias and urological problems. The team also performed surgery on several children with disfiguring facial growths.

"(The growths) really impeded them socializing or really feeling good about themselves," Boxer said. "They would be wearing wool hats in 90 degree heat to cover it up because it's a stigma. And this really liberated them and the situation they were living in."

The team also had a chance to interact with 20 girls staying at the CSI orphanage. For Evans, this was a particularly meaningful experience because she has two daughters of her own.

"I cried the day we left. I didn't want to leave. The girls all came out and gave us a big hug on the day that we left and that brought tears to my eyes," Evans said.

During their trip, Boxer and Evans also heard horror stories regarding the cholera outbreak. One gruesome tale was that Haitians living in the mountains stoned to death cholera victims and then threw their bodies in the street. Then men dressed in yellow rain slickers would drive around and spray the bodies with hydrogen peroxide. Next, they would put the bodies in a bag and take them to be incinerated.

While visiting a pediatric hospital in Port-au-Prince, the medical team walked into an on-site church. In the middle of the church was a body bag holding a cholera victim awaiting priest to administer last rites, Boxer and Evans said.

The team also visited a cholera tent city. He compared the treatment of cholera victims to a leper colony.

"They're outcasts of society, those who have this disease that's so contagious if not treated," Boxer said. "These people are ostracized and can be killed because of this, which is senseless."

Boxer and Evans said their trip was an extremely positive experience and offered advice to anyone considering a similar mission.

"Never be afraid to do something that your heart is telling you to do," Evans said. "A lot of people tried telling me, 'Don't go, it's too dangerous.' And it wasn't, and I'm glad I didn't listen; I followed my heart."

Lou added, "We should all be aware that we should look out for each other. There's no one out there who can do without someone saying hello or asking, 'Do you need a helping hand?'

"We should look out for each other. Even in the worst situations in Haiti the people seemed to get along and welcomed help."

To contact staff writer Jennifer Miller, send an e-mail to

 The beautiful girls of Hope Center for Orphaned Girls, Angela Evans (center), Colleen Hollis and Angela Capetola

 Dr. Lou Boxer checks a patient during the mission trip in Haiti.

Voodoo Noir - Haiti 2010

NoirCon 2012: VOODOO in HAITI

Haiti mobs lynch voodoo priests over

cholera fears

Voodoo priests in Haiti are being lynched by mobs who blame them for spreading cholera, the country's government has said.

At least 45 people have been lynched in recent weeks as Haiti continues to be ravaged by a cholera epidemic.
Haiti's communications minister has made an appeal for the lynchings to end and called for a campaign to ensure people understand how cholera spreads.
More than 2,500 Haitians have died from the water-borne disease since October.
Another 121,000 people have been treated for symptoms of cholera, with at least 63,500 admitted to hospital, figures show.
The outbreak has also prompted angry protests aimed at the United Nations, whose Nepalese peacekeepers have been suspected of introducing cholera to Haiti.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced an investigation into the reports, although the UN initially denied the suggestion.
Blame game
Although many Haitians still practice voodoo or use aspects of voodoo in their religious worship, the latest violence erupted out of fears the traditional priests were using their powers to spread the infection.

Start Quote

People have been blaming us, saying that we cast spells and did evil things which brought the earthquake as a punishment”
Max BeauvoirVoodoo priest
Officials counted 40 people killed - mostly voodoo priests - killed in one region of Haiti, the AFP news agency reported, with five others killed elsewhere.
"The victims... were stoned or hacked with machetes before being burned in the streets," communications ministry official Moise Fritz Evens said.
Haiti's communications minister said she abhorred the killings and insisted that the answer was to improve general education about how cholera is transmitted.
"Voodoo practitioners have nothing to do with the cholera epidemic. We must press for an awareness campaign about the disease in the communities."
A highly prominent voodoo leader, Max Beauvoir, told Reuters news agency police were not doing enough to stop the violence.
"Since the earthquake some people have been blaming us, saying that we cast spells and did evil things which brought the earthquake as a punishment," he said.
Haiti's cholera epidemic has provoked widespread fear across the country. Anger spread when suspicions emerged that the Nepalese UN peacekeepers could have brought the disease to Haiti - where it is extremely rare - from their country, where it is endemic.
Poor sanitary conditions in much of quake-hit Haiti have contributed to the rapid spread of cholera, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can kill quickly but is treated easily through rehydration and antibiotics.
The country was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January 2010 that devastated most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed at least 250,000 people.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

STREET OF THE LOST: Critical Analysis by Mike Lipkin (as seen THE RAP SHEET'S "Great but Forgotten" feature)

 THE RAP SHEET'S "Great but Forgotten" Feature
Street of the Lost, David Goodis                                               
(1952, Gold Medal Books, Fawcett Publications)
by Mike Lipkin of NOIR JOURNAL

How seriously do you take your noir?
Street of the Lost is as down and dirty as noir gets in its depiction of depressed, lost souls on the road to nowhere. No cynical, wise-cracking detectives here. Existential angst is too fancy for these characters—more like the depths of hopeless, day-in-day-out misery.
But Street of the Lost does offer its characters the possibility of redemption, of escape, and of truly explosive revenge. And it offers readers suspense and action, as well as a finely crafted setting of ugliness and depravity.
The protagonist, Chet Lawrence works as a freight yard welder and is married to a sad, lost woman named Edna.  Chet also supports Edna’s shiftless, no-good father, brother, and sister-in-law.
But an equally central character is the Street itself—Ruxton, a street that traps residents into lives of crime, violence, drunkenness, drugs, and emptiness.
“The enemy was the Street.
For the Street was like those big snakes he’d seen once in the zoo. Everyone it touched, it swallowed.
The Street even looked like a snake. It’s head started at the freight yards past Eighth . . . its tail was the dead end at the wall of a warehouse.
And it glimmered and glistened like a snake. The Ruxton Street pavement was always wet with saliva and phlegm and urine and spilled wine and whiskey and homemade powerhouse. There was always dirty water in the gutters.
It was a street of wooden shacks and decaying tenements. Of broken windows and splintered doors. Of three poolrooms and four taprooms . . .”
Twenty years earlier, Lawrence had decided to detach from the Street and its troubles. Having grown up as a tough Ruxton “alley cat,” he once tried to break up a knife fight but got his gut badly slashed. That was when he vowed never again to get involved.
“He had it deeply planted in his mind that the street would never touch him. Yet planted equally deep was the knowledge that he couldn’t get away.”
Since then, except for a time in the Pacific during World War II, Lawrence trudges from his job to his bleak home, uninvolved and empty. At least the old Street life offered excitement, evil as it may have been.
Street of the Lost opens with an incident that may force an end to Lawrence’s detachment. As he walks home from work, he sees a Chinese girl lying in the filthy water of the Ruxton gutter, bloody, bruised, her skirt torn. Lawrence passes, but then turns and helps her up.
The girl thanks Lawrence but refuses to talk about what happened. He helps her on her way and continues home himself.
Lawrence doesn’t know that the girl was attacked by his old buddy Hagen—leader of the Ruxton mob. It’s not a powerful, organized mob—just made up of the “alley cats,” now into more serious crimes like prostitution, murder, rape, and drug dealing.
Hagen, the leader by intimidation, is a former boxer, five-nine, 250 pounds, with fists that can beat an opponent to death.
And Hagen soon tracks down Lawrence. A few hours after Lawrence’s encounter with the Chinese girl, he and Edna are at a diner called Sam’s.
Hagen enters and corners Lawrence, thinking he knows that Hagen attacked the girl. But Hagen—murderer, rapist, torturer—also feels solidarity with old street cats like Lawrence. He simply wants Lawrence to rejoin the organization and show that he is scared of Hagen. That’s the way to gain Hagen’s trust.
But here’s the twist: Lawrence doesn’t have it in him to act scared. For years, he’s held back his own temper—a temper that twice in his younger days caused him to fight entire gangs of hoodlums who attacked him, putting a few in the hospital. The reader gets a hint that Lawrence just might be a match for Hagen in a brawl.
Later, at a bar called Bertha’s, Lawrence learns of Hagen’s “feelings” for the Chinese girl as well as his plans to “court” her.
She’s like a flower, a Chinese lily . . . . Extra special, that’s what I call it. A thing I’ve wanted as long as I can remember . . .really high-class, top-notch material, small and slender and soft, smelling clean and pure like spring water, with a face like the kind they try to draw in books.”
Yet Hagen’s demented plan is to kidnap her and keep her prisoner, raping and torturing her. But he says:
“Maybe she’ll get used to me, get to like me, and really want to stay with me. I’ll do my best to go easy on her.”
Can Lawrence let this happen? Will he end his uninvolvement? Will he stand up against the kidnapping, rape, and torture of the Chinese girl—stand up to Hagen’s murderous rule of the Street? Or will he stay uninvolved and detached. That’s the core of the story.
But a gripping story is only part of Goodis’s mastery. Few writers do noir with Goodis’s dark, moody fluency. The reader lives this story of Ruxton Street through the author’s evocative prose. The reader feelsthe hopelessness and desperation of the Street, drowns in Lawrence’s misery, anger and emptiness.
 Goodis’s characters and settings are unforgettable.
The prostitute Tillie, is just one example:
 “She stood there in the doorway, five feet six, 430 pounds, a shapeless boulder of flesh with the face of a cow and big ears that stood out almost at right angles to her skull . . .
“His eyes pretended to be fascinated by the mountain of female flesh, the famous massive torso that for all its flabby shapelessness was Ruxton Street’s most expensive candy. They came here constantly, the seekers of off-beat thrills. In terms of poundage she was the summit of their frenzied climb toward some uncanny kind of pleasure or conquest or whatever the hell it was they were looking for. But sometimes he’d see them walking out of this shack with an utterly beaten look on their faces, as if they’d arrived on the summit only to find that it was lower than any other level on the map of unrighteousness.”
 And Goodis is unmatched for the emotion and precision of his fight scenes.
“He moved in and put all his power into a left to the midsection and he heard the grunt, the wheezing, and saw Hagen doubling up, elbows trying to protect his belly. He kept moving in, and hauled off with his right and told himself that this was going to be the finish. But just then Hagen grabbed again . . . ”
Goodis can even make death lyrical. In a scene later in the book:
“He pulled himself off the corpse and took out a handkerchief and stood there wiping the blood from his knuckles. Then he let the handkerchief fall onto the cot. It landed on the chest of the corpse. Some blood dripped off the edge of it and sprinkled the hand of the corpse, the red drops glimmering on the dark fingers that still seemed to be groping for the blackjack.”
 Examples of Goodis’s genius are virtually endless. For anyone who can handle a dark, noir tale of hopeless lost souls—yet souls who long for escape and redemption—this book is truly one that is “great but forgotten.”
Definitely forgotten—for the most part. Street of the Lost is out of print and few copies are available. Amazon has none. The thirty or so copies available online range from $40 to $150, old musty versions that might break apart in your hands. There are a few copies in French, but it’s hard to imagine any translator equaling Goodis’s writing. Rue Barbare (dir. Gilles Béhat), an obscure, undistinguished 1984 French film is based on Street of the Lost.
I’d like so much to share this noir classic, that I’d give up my copy  free  (I’ll pay the postage) to anyone who wants to read it—as long as they promised to send it along to anyone else interested. Just contact me at Noir Journal. My copy is musty, scribbled in, underlined, and held together with a rubber band—but that doesn’t take away from the quality of this masterful work of noir.

Special thanks to Goodis expert Lou Boxer for discussing Street of the Lost with me. To read more about the book, see Jay Gertzman’s essay “David Goodis’s Hardboiled Philadelphia: Street of the Lost and Moon in the Gutter” at Allan Guthrie’s site Noir Originals.