In 2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn was busted for alleged sexual assault against Nafissatou Diallo, a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York. The pathetic metaphor was lost on no one: The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—which uses predatory loans to rape most of the planet—was personally exploiting an African woman. The alleged rapist got off with a civil settlement, but the case uncovered a pit of filthy secrets: Strauss-Kahn has since been linked to other forcible-sex incidents and an international prostitution ring. Punk-performance icon Lydia Lunch wields memories of her own exploitative past to reimagine the event—and what would have happened if she were the maid.
The flabby, lecherous fuck stumbles out of the toilet wearing a bath towel. He trips over his fluffy white terrycloth slippers, which bear the monogram of the upscale hotel in midtown Manhattan that was charged to the credit card bearing his wife’s name. And at a tab of 3,000 big’uns a night, damn right! He is going to take them home for the terrier to chew on. He giggles like a little girl at his own buffoonery. But no time for humor! The lilting sound of a woman’s voice in the next room reminds him of his manhood. His mission. He grunts. Then grins. Barreling down the hallway, he drops the towel, pumped up and power drunk on the smell of his own smegma.
I wish it had been me knocking on his door that fateful morning in early May. Don’t snicker. One of the few stints of gainful employment to which I’ve played slave to a weekly wage was as a hotel maid in upstate New York. I needed cash and fast. I was underage but didn’t look it. But I had to cover my ass. I paid 20 bucks for a fake ID, which changed my address, date of birth and gave me a new name. “Betty Lou Harris” sounded like a nice piece of Bible-thumping Southern white trash. It had the ring of a lonely runaway in a Tom Waits song that glorifies diners and truck stops and the poor people that populate them. It looked good on my work application.