Ugly, Tasty, SVU
In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially
heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these
vicious felonies are members of an elite squad, known as the Special Victims
Unit. These are their stories.
Saturday morning he breaks into my apartment, wakes me out of a deep sleep,
and rapes me. He says if I call the cops, he’ll be back, and next time,
he says, he won’t be so nice. He peels off the condom, ties it off,
and takes it with him, but I have several of his filthy pubes in my mouth
as his skin junk under my nails.
“I’m Olivia,” the woman cop says, “and this is my partner,
Detective Elliot Stabler.” They show their badges, come in and look
around. They ask me a bunch of questions, bag up the pubes, scrape the crud
my nails, and then they drive me to Bellevue. On the way Olivia tells me
that she’s a product of rape. “Olivia Benson would not exist,” she
says, “if my mother hadn’t been sexually violated. Quite the
In the E.R., I’m rigged up in stirrups waiting for the doc to come in
when Olivia tells me I need to get into a support group right away. She says
she was nearly raped by a prison guard when she was doing an undercover gig
as an inmate. She says she thought that she was just fine when really she
was totally fucked up. She gets intense, peers into my eyes, and shifts hers
and forth. “Get help,” she says. “Don’t wait.” She
smells a little boozy. Meanwhile, Stabler’s out in the hall doing push-ups.
The doctor says I’m bruised and torn down there. I get a few stitches
and he gives me antibiotics and pain pills. Then the detectives take me to
the police station to look at mug shots. My rapist is Hispanic, five foot four
or so, stocky, pockmarked, a shaved head with dark stubble, a raised scar on
his left forearm. “But mainly,” I tell them, “the main thing
about my rapist is his cock. Huge,” I say. “Like a baby’s
leg. A big fat baby.”
A cop whose nameplate says Det. Sgt. John Munch looks up sharply at that. He
says someone fitting that description busses tables at a little Greek restaurant
“What do you mean?” Stabler says.
“I mean a Hispanic guy with a putz like a baby’s leg works at Maltezos,” Munch
says. “I took a piss same time as him and I couldn’t help notice
his thing hanging like a giant geoduck. And he’s short, with acne scars.”
“This guy’s a regular crater face.” I say. “A lunar landscape.”
Munch glares at me. “The scars of acne vulgaris go deeper than just skin.
It’s a psychologically devastating disease, being that it hits in adolescence
when self-esteem is most fragile. A bit of sensitivity is in order.” I
cringe because now I see that Munch’s face is as pitted as an open-faced
Olivia’s sitting on the edge of a desk, nipping from a slim silver flask “How’s
the moussaka?” she asks. “And what the fuck is a geoduck? Hey,
I’m a poet.” She turns to me. “I’m off the clock,” she
says. “It’s Miller time. Except, vodka.”
Stabler undoes his tie and slips it off. He unbuttons his shirt and tosses
it on a nearby file cabinet. “Me too,” he says. “Off the
clock.” He poses and flexes. He smells his armpits. Olivia raises the
flask to her lips and watches.
A harassed looking bald guy walks in. “Where are we with this?” he
says. “That’s not booze, is it, Detective Benson?”
“I’m off duty, Cap’n,” Olivia says. She turns to me. “This
is our beloved boss, Captain Cragen.” She takes another swallow. “What’s
“It’s a clam with a long schlong. Ugly, tasty,” Munch says.
He turns to Cragen. “Someone who works at Maltezos matches our lovely victim’s
astute description.” Now Munch smiles widely at me. He looks like a
Day of the Dead calavera.
The captain barks orders: “Run the DNA. Munch, take the vic to where
you think the perp works. See if you can do a quiet ID. We can get an arrest
warrant if the vic—” he turns to me. “I’m sorry.
“Coco,” I say. “Coco Farfél.” My real name is
Esther Farfel. I’ve been going by Coco since I was sixteen, and I added
the accent to the last syllable of Farfel when I moved to Manhattan from Long
Farfél. It helps.
“We’ll get Cabot to draw up a warrant if Coco makes a positive ID.” The
captain turns to Olivia. “I know you’re not driving tonight.”
“Nope,” Olivia says. “Elliot’s taking me home. Right,
Elliot drops to the floor to work his abs. “Yep,” he grunts.
He crosses his arms over his chest and tweaks his nipples as he crunches.
So Munch, me, and Fin, a black detective with an attitude and a ponytail,
go over to Maltezos, a joint that’s just six blocks from my apartment. I’ve
passed it a million times but never paid attention. Anyway, I wear a wig
and fake eyeglasses as a lame disguise. We sit there and order stuffed grape
and some lamb meatballs.
“You think Stabler’s doing Liv?” Fin asks Munch.
“Fifty bucks says: and how,” Munch replies.
Then I see him, my rapist, wiping a booth down and setting it up. I’ve
felt pretty cool until now, but seeing him makes my head go light. I break
into a cold sweat and get so fucking scared again, even more scared than when
the rape was actually happening because I’d sort of disengaged from it
then. I inhale a quick breath and a chunk of meatball sucks into my windpipe
and I’m choking. I try and try to chuck it up but the meatball is stuck;
I can’t breathe and my heart is hammering and I’m going to die
but then Munch shoves me out of the booth, gets behind me and squeezes, one!
two! three!—and it rockets from my mouth onto the table of an old man,
who picks it up and eats it.
“It’s him, right?” Fin says. “Tell me if that’s
the guy that raped you.”
“It’s him.” I can barely talk. I’m still hanging in Munch’s
“Let’s just arrest the fuck,” Fin says, and he goes over to
the guy. “You’re under arrest for the rape of Coco Farfel,” Fin
“Farfél,” I whisper.
My rapist acts all like: Whaaaa?—but I take off my wig and fake glasses
and he sees it’s me. He tries to bolt but Fin elbows him hard in the
belly, knees him on the chin, and then handcuffs him. Once he’s cuffed
I get away from Munch and walk over to that short miserable sonofabitch and
spit on his goddamn pockmarked face. Flecks of lamb and grape leaf stick
on his cheek.
“Can I slap him?” I ask.
“G’ahead,” says Fin, looking away.
Munch shakes his head. “Violence begetting violence,” he says. “Think
about it. Do you want to lower yourself to this scumbag’s level? Would
you willingly put your hand on a rat?” So I don’t slap him but
my meaty, leafy spit dries on that low-life’s face and remains there
for his mug shot.
Suddenly I’m exhausted, limp, like every muscle fiber in my body gives
up at the same instant. Munch is right there by my side. “We can finish
taking your statement tomorrow,” he says. “We’ve got a squad
car on the way to haul this piece of shit to his new home. I’ll give
you a lift.” Fin tosses Munch the keys and we all go outside, my rapist
hanging his head and shuffling his feet while Fin Mirandas him. The squad car
is already there, red lights whirling. Fin and my rapist get into it and Munch
and I go off in the unmarked car. He double parks it in front of my apartment
and puts the patrol lights on so he can walk me to the front door. “You
will be fine, Coco. We’re going to lock this guy up a long time. You
did good.” He does a little bow and turns to leave, but he looks back
and I must look bad, I sure feel bad, so he asks if I want some company for
a bit, and I say yes.
The prosecution takes pictures of my rapist’s dick even though they have
his DNA. Meanwhile, two other rape victims come forward to testify. During
the trial, Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cabot asks me, “Is this the penis
of the man who raped you?” “Yes,” I say. “How do you
know?” “Look at it,” I say. “It’s a toothless
one-eyed Moray eel.”DOINK-DOINK
She hands the pictures to the jurors who raise eyebrows and nod as they
pass them. A lady makes the sign of the cross. My rapist sits there in
suit, the overhead lights of the courtroom reflecting off his shiny shaved
head and the fat rolls on the back of his neck. His shrunken mother sifts
through her rosary beads mouthing Hail Marys and Our Fathers. I picture
my rapist as
a fat, brown baby, his fleshy mouth leaking her milk at the corners, his
giant dick hanging out of his diaper.
His public defender asks me, “So, Miss Farfel, it seems you’ve
seen quite a few penises in your life. Is that right?”
Alex Cabot jumps up. “Objection!—relevance.”
“Overruled,” says the judge, a hatchet-faced woman who looks just
like Judith Light from Who’s the Boss? “Answer the question.”
“First, it’s Farfél,” I say. “Second—enough
penises to know freaky.”
The public defender picks up the photos, cocks his head. “No further
questions,” he says in a high, thin voice. The verdict comes back in
an hour: Guilty of three counts of first-degree rape. Guilty of three counts
of breaking and entering. Sayonara motherfucker. I glance sideways at my rapist’s
mother who doesn’t miss a beat with her prayers, but a long slow tear
slides down to plunk on her rosary. For a second—whatever.
Munch takes me to Tavern on the Green to celebrate. We’re an item now,
from the Woody Allen/Soon Yee Department of WTF? May/December Romances.
What can I say? In a hooded sweatshirt he looks like the Grim Reaper and my
call him Skeletor, but he takes me to the Met, to literary readings, the
best restaurants, orders in French—he’s cynical, deep,
and totally funny. And Jewish! Yeah, he’s been married a bunch of times,
exes, alimony, yada yada, on and off antidepressants; I’m not looking
to exchange I do’s anytime soon. And he doesn’t press me for sex, being
that my vaginal lacerations are still healing, though he jokes about hot future
with his blow-up doll. We keep our relationship on the QT from Captain
Cragen since special victims aren’t supposed to get that special, but
we pal around with Elliot sometimes, visiting Olivia in rehab. Elliot’s
getting a divorce so he and Liv can hook up for good, once she’s clean
Olivia still bugs me about getting into a support group and Munch says
a good idea so I go and it’s a major downer, all these women so damaged
and raw, goose-stepping along on their special victim’s trip. They say
I’m with Munch because he represents safety after so much menace and
violation; that he’s taking advantage of me and that I’m in denial,
blah blah blah, because being raped is supposed to ruin your life forever and
if it doesn’t you’re a failure as a rape survivor. Fuck them. If
this is denial I’m staying here because I’m happy as a dog with
a bone. A pig in shit! A clam in high water.