Running Heedlessly into the Abyss

Recently, Gumshoe read an article in which the author used a quote from the esteemed Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician, physicist, writer, inventor, theologian, and philosopher.

Whew!  Gumshoe wonders what Blaise did in his spare time? Blaise’s aforementioned quote:

We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of it to stop us from seeing it.

This quote started the well-worn gears to start turning inside of Gumshoe’s brain-housing-group.  (Scary!) This process resulted in the long-kept and filed-away memories ultimately to be churned-out in no particular order.

The common denominator among this collective heap of neurons firing inside of Gumshoe’s lid were the numerous “human-train-wrecks” that Gumshoe witnessed while “on the job”. (Police slang for working in law enforcement.)

One “human train wreck” or wrecks always about to happen or already happened were the streetwalkers.

Gumshoe spoke with many of the ladies “of the streets” (prostitutes) while working as a detective in undercover vice and narcotics details. Human misery and degradation at its worst. No glamour, mystique, or intrigue.  Ugliness and suffering from within and from without. Every one of these lost souls had a hard-luck horror story to tell Gumshoe after their subsequent arrests and interrogations prior to jail booking.

Note:  Street prostitutes were sometimes a good source of intel for the current drug dealer-connections as well as for other street gangsters.  For some unknown reason (you can speculate) crooks would confess their crimes to the ladies during their sexual encounters.

Some of the cooperative ladies (intel wise) would become my confidential informants and Gumshoe would attempt to get them into drug rehab programs. Gumshoe would also recommend their criminal charges be dropped by the prosecutors’ office.

Gumshoe would ask the ladies (out of curiosity) where they saw themselves in their time to come? Their futures? Their goals?

Gumshoe knew that everyone has a story to tell; a start; a purpose if you would take the time to listen and perhaps learn something.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the hackneyed adage, but still rings true folks.

Some of the ladies and girls would just laugh out loud and give Gumshoe the one-finger salute.  Expected. Some were genuinely surprised and asked Gumshoe if he was really serious or just mocking them?  Some were brutally honest in their responses,

The number one response to Gumshoe’s query? Their only future thoughts were limited to their next “John” who would ensure their next “fix”.  Live for today and forget about tomorrow was there the theme.

Heroin was the drug of choice at the time before “Meth” became the cheaper alternative and poison of choice.  These street drugs definitely paved their individual paths to perdition.

A substance suicide for them to be sure while they worked the streets.  A slow all-embracing dance with the demons of death assured. They were “knowingly” running into the abyss.  Distracted by their own lies you may wonder?

It seemed to Gumshoe that each of these “strung-out” (addicted) women were on “Hell’s Merry-go-Round” that never ever ended well for them.  There is not a retirement plan for drug-addicted street prostitutes.

Were not they someone’s daughter? Someone’s mother?  Someone’s sister or someone’s friend?

Sadly, they saw themselves as “no ones” to “no one”. No future aspirations, dreams, or hopes.  A future coroner’s case with a toe tag, absolutely.  End of their story.  Potter’s Field beckons for new permanent guests.  No future at “The Hotel California” don’t cha know?

However, Gumshoe’s future would be responding to the “927D’s” (dead body police dispatched calls).

Gumshoe would climb under the crime scene tape to the rear of darkened alleyways, to the trash-filled abandoned lots, to the city rail yard, to the inside of cheap motel (rent-by-the-hour) rooms, to beneath the freeway overpasses, to the urine reeking carpeted apartment corridors, to the midnight truck stops, to the inside of a gas station filthy restroom and occasionally, the (hopefully) dead body would be deposited inside of a fly and maggot-infested trash dumpster. God have mercy!

A disgusting and revolting word picture painted indeed! A strong dose of reality of the streets without Gumshoe’s apology.  Police work is ugly my friends.

Check your personal feelings, and search for the truth, supported by the collected and preserved evidence detective.  Next case!  Next tragedy as the crime scene tape flitters in the night breeze.  The slain body cools and the rigor mortis sets in.

Death has no dignity would echo in Gumshoe’s thoughts at these “in situ” death scenes.

The “throw-away” human debris; all used-up and discarded without regard for these misbegotten ladies of the streets. Sometimes the “plunger” (hypodermic syringes) were still sticking out from their inner elbows, ankles, thighs, outer wrists, and their necks. The “hot shot” OD (overdose) was plainly evident.  Death came unannounced and it was instant.  Perhaps welcomed?

Sometimes, the proximate cause of their demise was not by their self-inflicted “OD”.  Not invited nor welcomed. It was by homicide.  It also was unexpected and unannounced, but it was not always instant.  Sometimes it was sadistic torture leading to the homicide.

Homicidal violence via blunt force trauma; stab wounds; strangulation by an angry “John” or by an overzealous enraged controlling pimp. Very seldom was it by a gunshot. “Why waste a bullet on a wasted-away street whore?” Was once exclaimed nonchalantly by the in-custody homicide suspect during one of my interrogations.

It was his street logic, no surprise; just shocking to Gumshoe’s ears.  No sanctity of life honored by this degenerate excuse of a human being.

Hazards of the trade always loomed and the risks were unconsciously accepted by the street practitioners of brief rented sex to strangers Gumshoe supposed.  Risk versus gain? Definitely a Faustian bargain. Gumshoe’s eyes would return the permanent and glazed-over fixed pupil stares of the departed lady of the night.

Possibly her eyes momentarily looked into that abyss of nothingness at the final blink of her eyelids?  Her life was now in the rearview mirror. Who knows? Gumshoe could only surmise and reflect while working the scene.  Her stares remained until neatly zipped into the black body bag.

The crime scene photos would document her forever silent expressions in stark black and white glossies.

Note:  Color photos were not permitted since they could only serve to inflame the minds of potential jurors according to modern-day court rulings.

Now kind readers, what could have distracted these ladies and girls from seeing their one-way journeys to their personal abysses?

Why did they choose to ignore the signposts up ahead? Dead End – No Return.  Puzzlement perhaps? Confusion? Drug-based stupor?

Maybe they just wanted to hide their personal hells and just forget about their miseries and willingly take that death dive into the abyss?  R.I.P.  Gumshoe would always utter a silent prayer on their behalf.  God only knows their hearts. Amen!

Well dear readers those are Gumshoe’s thoughts about being unable to protect people from themselves who don’t want to be protected.  Definitely a human conundrum of compassion and conscience to ponder.

Gumshoe can only ask all of you’uns (sic) to always love the ones who love you and to really try to love the ones who don’t.  Let’s be damn sure that we are not running to that abyss by being distracted (blinded) by our own . . . ?

Coram Deo


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Great article, and of course the details I worked undercover, I could never imagine myself, daughter or granddaughters living such a life. It ‘s a dangerous world, full of evil and opportunities to prey on the minds of runaways, drug addicts and those that have lost themselves into such a world as prostitution. Dressing up just to catch those who’s only fulfillment was in a sexual nature turned my stomach, but the reward was sweet when we could put the John’s and the Pimps behind bars.

    • Thanks Nightingale for your great comment. It is always good to share our “cop” experiences; especially since you definitely have the female perspective!

  2. Thanks again Tom for reading my diatribes and providing me with your pithy insights and welcomed comments.

    Eeeegads Batman! I was fortunate not to troll nor attract any male prostitutes— maybe I was just not their type regardless of the cash?

  3. Danny great article. This brings me back to the days or I should say nights that I worked Undercover Prostitution Detail posing as a “John”. I have some very interesting stories to tell. The one thing I/we found (the detail consisted of several investigators) was the girls would not give up their pimps. BTW the most dangerous prostitutes were the “Male” prostitutes.
    Thanks for the memories.

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