Ralph Isenberg, Fresh Off His Nice Morning News Profile, Really Wants to Sodomize Me
Well, that's not the first thing he did. Before that, he shook my hand and told me his name was Ralph Isenberg. And before that, I drove approximately nine minutes to his office in Oak Cliff to talk to him.
I'm new to the paper and new in town, just three weeks removed from the East Coast. I thought it would be mutually beneficial if I found an immigrant who was fighting ICE deportation. Editors eat that shit up, right?
Schutze kindly suggested that I speak to Isenberg, since he runs a successful legal clinic that aids deportees. We would be a fortuitous pairing, Isenberg and I, since he works closely, both figuratively and literally, to activist Reverend Peter Johnson, my only source in town.
Before heading to Isenberg's office, Schutze left me with a little parting knowledge: We sorta called Isenberg's wife a hooker. Like, several times. It's a long, complicated saga, but basically the gist is: He married a Chinese woman who had been busted for prostitution.
I thought little of it. The story was published a year before I graduated high school and six years before I first learned of the Observer's existence. And, I reasoned, Reverend Johnson's introduction alone would vouch.
I walked into Johnson's office minutes after reading Isenberg's glowing write-up in Saturday's Dallas Morning News. After briefly meeting with Johnson, he walked me to Isenberg's office right down the hall, introduced us and left us to our business.
Upon Johnson's exit, I thought it best to cut to the chase. Perhaps Isenberg would tip me off to a case he's working on that would make a great story in our paper.
Standing up and walking around his desk, he asked what I thought of his Morning News profile. I told him I thought it was nice.
He picked up a copy of the story off his coffee table and read to me a sentence that glazed over his relationship with his second wife and family:
Then, he married a Chinese immigrant with her own deportation drama, adopted her daughter, and together they have a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old.Isenberg asked me what I thought of that. I was noncommittal. He pointed out that the Morning News had elected not to call his wife a prostitute in the sentence. I conceded that upon a second read, the detail did not escape me. He told me that the next person who called his wife a whore would get fucked up. I told him I understood. He told me he didn't think I did. I did understand, but I told him maybe I didn't.
He placed the glowing write-up down and paced back to his chair behind his desk, upon which he had draped a leather jacket honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I initially thought it an interesting, noble jacket, if unattractive. Later, I thought it poetic.
He reiterated his parental résumé. I offered my congratulations.
Lifting a photo of a stunning young lady, he asked me what his adopted daughter, a student at SMU, would think if she read about her mother's legal troubles in the Dallas Observer. I opined that she probably wouldn't like it.
He then showed me a picture of his son. Isenberg asked me what his son would think if he read about his mother in the Observer. The question was purely hypothetical, and having answered this question before, I told him I understood what I believed to be his point. He told me I didn't understand. I did understand, but I told him maybe I didn't.
He did the same with his daughter. I conceded that it would definitely be a negative experience for anyone to read about their mother performing sexual acts in exchange for money.
Isenberg said that he didn't want anyone to call his wife a prostitute. I was silent. He was red.
Then, for reasons that remain unclear, he told me that he would summon some of his security guards, who would henceforth pin me to his desk while he, Isenberg, fucked me in my ass and made me his prostitute. Or he would be my prostitute, he reasoned, fairly. His wife, though, would not be the prostitute. That seemed to be the underlying point.
He rounded his desk one more time. I eyed his sizable -- though, given his age, reasonable -- gut. He told me he was kicking me out, and that he owned the building. I wondered whether that was true, but since my knowledge of Dallas real estate is, at this point, negligible, I didn't comment. Plus, I reasoned, he would probably summon some of his security guards, a move that, if his description was accurate, would precipitate pain, humiliation and, presumably, a diaper.
He told me the location of his office door: There. I told him I knew where it was. He told me that when I left, I should go back to New York and never come back to Texas. I spoke over my shoulder, telling him I am actually from D.C.
Maryland, I thought to myself. I'm from Maryland.