Trial and Tribulations

As a cop, she fantasized about testifying against a killer. As a hooker, she got her chance.

About the only thing that would interrupt the cycle was getting arrested for drugs or prostitution. And that would last only as long as it took to make bail or do the time.

This was Joanne Cordova's life in May 1997, when the guy in the blue van pulled over and asked if she knew where to find some coke.

Thinking she'd score as the middleman, Cordova got in the van and told Bob Davis where to go. The first stop was not a good one.

The dealer, a large black man, tried to short them. When Cordova complained, he said, "I'm going to drag you out of this van and beat your fuckin' head in."

Davis looked on as if the two were having a polite conversation. Well, Joanne thought, we know he's no gentleman.

She managed to calm the dealer down. And in the end, they located more crack for Davis to give his "wife," with some left for Cordova, who went on about her business. She never expected to see the guy in the blue van again.

As she was walking across Colfax the next day, though, someone started honking at her. She kept walking. She didn't want any cops who were around to see her approach the guy honking and arrest her for soliciting.

Cordova was feeling depressed, and all she wanted was to reach Delray's house, where she hoped she could sleep for a few hours. But the honker was persistent, and at last she looked. It was the man in the blue van. Bob Davis.

"I've been looking for you," he said. "I bought you some clothes."
Debbie Davis was apparently out of the picture. It didn't matter to Joanne. Some tricks were just like that--they wanted "pretend wives" for the day or for a few hours. Hell, once she'd married a Muslim guy, ceremony and all, just so he could have sex with her and still adhere to his religion. The "marriage" lasted three days, after which he paid her and they parted company.

Although she didn't believe a word he said, Cordova allowed herself to feel flattered by Davis. She needed an ego boost, and here this guy was saying he'd been looking all over for her...bringing her gifts. Just like Truman, she thought. She got in the van.

True to his word, Bob had a pile of women's clothes in the back. Most of them were too large for her, including a pretty pair of lacy maroon panties still on the hanger. She suspected Bob had originally gotten the clothes for Debbie, a heftier girl, but he assured her they could return them for something in her size.

They drove to a pawnshop, where Davis sold a stereo. With that money, he purchased beer and a bottle of schnapps and they drove to Sloan Lake.

As they talked, Cordova decided she kind of liked Bob Davis. For one thing, he hadn't asked her for sex. She figured it was coming, but at least it wasn't the first thing out of his mouth. For the moment, he seemed content to just chat--like they were some old couple.

She also was impressed with his apparent intelligence. He seemed to have moved around quite a bit and knew something of the world. His van was as tidy as an accountant's ledgers, everything stowed away in plastic containers that were strapped neatly in place. He had all sorts of camping gear and appeared ready for anything.

Davis told her he'd like to take her up in the mountains to his "favorite place in the whole world." It was some spot beyond Black Hawk, near an abandoned cabin. Maybe, he suggested, they'd get some things together and go up there the next day for a picnic.

"That'd be nice," Cordova murmured as she sipped a beer. She was feeling drowsy as the late afternoon sun poured in through the windows. "You're a nice guy, Bob Davis," she said, and meant it.

She woke in the dark to the sound of someone talking through a loudspeaker. The police were announcing that the park was closing and they would have to leave.

Davis waved at the cops and started the van. He had his hair combed over to one side and some nerdy-looking glasses on. "It's my Poindexter look. See," he said, pointing to the police cruiser as it drove off, "they think I'm just a normal guy."

As far as Cordova could see, Bob Davis was just a normal guy. A little lonely, maybe, a little anal about keeping his van tidy. Still, why wouldn't the police think he was just a normal guy?

They spent the night in the van, parked on a street in a quiet neighborhood. Davis had neatly laid out a sleeping bag for each of them. She was surprised when he made no attempt to have sex.

The next morning, Bob and Joanne went to a nearby cafe for breakfast, where they were served by a young blond waitress. She was just a girl, friendly and polite, but after she took their order, Davis leaned over and sneered, "She looks like a whore."

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