Before turning tricks with strangers in an overgrown lot in Detroit, she wanted so much more

Bed Chene/GratiotShe goes by the name Lolita.

But at 46, she looks neither young nor innocent.

The east-side girl, who thought she’d be a mom and teacher when she grew up, now walks along Chene and Gratiot, shivering in a short black skirt, her arms folded around a light jean jacket. She musters a wide smile as potential clients drive by, showing her bare, bony legs.
buy amitriptyline online no prescription

For clients without cars, Lolita leads them to a mattress on the corner of an overgrown lot. It’s dark, quiet, discreet.

“No one’s gonna bother you there,” Lolita says, lighting up a long, narrow cigarette. “It’s quick money.”

When Lolita was 12, she says “some bad stuff went down” with her mom’s boyfriend, and she moved in with her grandma, “who was kind of losing it.”

By the time she was 16, Lolita dropped out of school and stayed with older boyfriends. She drank a lot, smoked pot.

But as she’s telling the story, a gray van turns the corner. She glances at me, blows me a kiss and says, “Gotta go, hun. Careful out there.”

At the opposite corner of the lot is a six-year-old signing trumpeting the construction of high-end homes. It’s leaning over, as if it’s about to collapse. The lot is abandoned, littered and overgrown.

“Be a part of Detroit’s revitalization,” the sign read.

Got tips or suggestions? Contact Steve at [email protected]

Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates, investigations, photos and videos of the Motor City. 

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

12 Responses to "Before turning tricks with strangers in an overgrown lot in Detroit, she wanted so much more"