Resurrection 29Posted: November 14, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Tilly’s Back Room
Dick Langford’s selling of his wholesale business made him well off, his auto dealerships made him wealthy, even before he married Barbie. When a man has wealth it gives him privilege. Options a less affluent man would never have.
Some men, good men, use their wealth to better the world, take care of the less fortunate, create scholarships, add a wing to a hospital. But Dick was not a good man. He was a selfish, mean spirited man who cared only about himself. He was a bully who used others with no empathy, no compassion.
Dick used sex like a drug. It gave him a small moment of relief from the deep rooted shame he felt inside. Using a woman made him feel powerful. If one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, over time the amount needed to get the same “high” increases. The same is true for sex.
In high school Dick had more than his share of sexual partners. Some willing, some less so. Being from a wealthy family, girls were typically flattered by his attention. They would say yes to a date. Dinner, movie.
Dick’s addiction to sex meant he developed early the ability to spot vulnerable girls. Women who may not say “yes” to his advances but who would also not say “no”. He developed superficial charm. Subtle yet effective manipulations. The young women he targeted were easy for him to control. He preferred younger girls. Younger girls were easier to impress, easier to control. By his senior year, he would only go out with freshmen.
The age of consent in Kentucky was 16. Dick didn’t care.
He liked virgins, to be their first. He would “teach” them to please him. He enjoyed directing the girls both verbally and by using his superior strength to move their bodies around roughly.
Typically he would “date” a girl for a month, maybe two, before he tired of her. His demands on her would increase, while the girl became less and less appealing. Not a conquest any more. Not a virgin. When a girl started becoming stale, the sex would go from satisfying for him to enraging.
Often after, he would angrily rail at the girl for not doing it right, not giving him the emotional high he craved from the sex. During one particularly bad episode, he punched a girl, breaking her nose.
“Why did you make me so angry?” he yelled at her. “This is all your fault.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” she cowered.
Once Dick got dressed, his rage somewhat subsiding, he told her he would take her home. He grabbed a couple towels from the room. As she got into his new ’65 Corvette Stingray, a birthday gift from his mother, he scolded her:
“You better not get any blood on the car.”
Dick dropped her off at the curb in front of her house, still bleeding.
Once Dick started college at UK, he tried dating some of the women there. He quickly decided 60s female college students weren’t to his liking. “They’re all just bitches,” he would say. He found ways to meet high school girls and the girls were flattered by his attention.
“I’m dating a college boy,” the freshmen girls would say to their friends.
When Dick became a multimillionaire at 28, he didn’t just buy an auto dealership, he also invested in a number of less reputable businesses.
Charles Keating was born in Cincinnati in 1923. His parents were devout Catholics and Keating was brought up to have high moral standards. He became a Navy pilot during World War II, being discharged when the war ended in 1945. He then returned to Cincinnati, finishing his undergrad at UC, then getting his J.D. at UC Law.
In the 1950s Keating saw the country in severe moral decline. In 1958 he founded a political action group specifically designed to make mail-order pornography illegal. The group eventually grew to more than 100,000 members.
While Keating saw the nation in decline and spoke on several occasions before congress, his true focus was on Cincinnati. In the 70s he managed to get authorities to seize films he thought were questionable. In 1973 the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Miller v. California stating local authorities had the right to define obscenity for their community. Within two hours of the ruling, Keating made sure every adult bookstore and movie theater was shut down.
Newport, Kentucky sits just across the Ohio river from Cincinnati. If Cincinnati was considered a bastion of decency, Newport was one of licentiousness. Newport in the 70s became the adult playground catering to the sexual needs of the bigger city across the river. In Newport the politicians didn’t seem to notice or care about things like prostitution, drugs and gambling.
Newport had been divided up by the mafia in the 1920s and was run by four men known as the “Cleveland Four.” They shipped illegal booze to the city, ran the gambling, pornography and prostitution. At a time when Las Vegas was still a dream, Newport was infamous as “Sin City.”
By the 60s, however, the mob grew less interested in Newport, seeing Vegas as much more profitable. By the 70s Newport’s casinos had been converted into bars and strip clubs. A man with money could get just about any sexual desire fulfilled there.
Dick had driven many times the 80 miles from Lexington to Newport, wanting to satisfy his own growing sexual needs. When he finally had ready cash in 1975, he “invested” in Tilly’s Back Room, a bar and strip club offering thinly veiled prostitution.
Tuesday mornings at Tilly’s was open casting for dancers. Most weeks Dick would be there, evaluating the potential of new girls. Often an obviously underage girl would come in, fake ID in hand. You had to be 18 to dance in the clubs, but some girls, especially girls from the eastern hills of Kentucky, saw this as their only option.
Those were the girls Dick was looking for, the ones with no family and no options, the younger the better, up to a point. Dick was an ephebophile, not a pedophile. In his mind that seemed a huge difference.
The first part of their “interview” was to dance. If they were reasonably good at dancing, then the second part of the audition was carried out in Dick’s office. If he found a girl he particularly liked, he would take her to a hotel.
Romona Farmer was 14 and showed up at Tilly’s with her older sister Becky as immoral support. Becky was 18, and sexually experienced. She had a pretty face, nice body and the boys around Martin County enjoyed both on a regular basis. Becky enjoyed it too, but she figured she should get paid for it.
When Dick hired her, however, it wasn’t because she was a decent dancer or good in bed, he hired her because he had his eyes firmly set on Romona.