When I was 14, I got my first real job. I was employed as bait at a massage parlor in San Francisco's Tenderloin.

I'd lived the last two years as an anarchist runaway, landing in a life of relative normalcy. This, my first real experience in the regular adult world, struck me as more malignant by far than life in the squats.

I answered an ad for "receptionist." A well-preserved Parisian madame and an ancient, Lurch-like investor greeted me at the shop's door, and, with one look, I was hired. I was intrigued by this dark and spooky unknown, and decided to explore it. Granted, Les Nuites de Paris was in the grimiest section of the city, and, sure, I'd be working the swing shift, but it sounded like an upright enough job in such a tawdry establishment. There was no discussion of age or of work permits, so I was sold.