Houston Chronicle releases me for reasons unrelated to my colorful past

29 Nov

… but possibly related to my colorful present.

Reliable Narratives, Advertising photo for Devon Britt-Darby, 2011. Digital image

“In light of the current environment in which the newspaper finds itself, we are unable to approve an extended, open-ended leave of absence,” an editor said in an email.

However, the paper agreed to my request to pay me the balance of my vacation time — 11 days — and declined to accept two $100 checks I had left at my desk along with my remote login-access key, my keys to the office and my corporate American Express Card.

(The checks were for whomever had to clean out my notoriously messy desk upon my termination and for whomever had to go through the hassle of filing and posting a few of my society stories that we had scheduled and assigned photographers to shoot and that I hadn’t gotten around to filing. I feel a bit guilty that the checks are being returned; however, I’m pleased to have one less client I have to worry about getting to hire me. I charged $200 for one-hour appointments during my previous round as an escort.)

I am also “welcome to apply for any open position” when I return to Houston, the editor wrote.

When I got the email Monday evening, I was very touched by this outcome, the best I could realistically hope for. But on further reflection, I’m more inclined to assume the paper was doing what it believed it was legally required — or at least legally prudent — to do.

In this light, I feel obliged to notify the paper that I paid my last American Express bill — about $239 of standard parking/mileage expenses for recent Houston art and society coverage and my most recent trip to Dallas, which resulted in this story, which ran on the cover of the Chronicle’s Star section on Nov. 18, my wedding date.

This raises the question:

Should the Chronicle also reimburse me for those corporate Amex charges, or accept my offer to foot the bill?
(polls)

6 Responses to “Houston Chronicle releases me for reasons unrelated to my colorful past”

  1. Lisa Gray November 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Well, damn. I’m going to miss you at the Chron — both in the paper and in the building.

    And yes, of course the paper should reimburse your business expenses. Send the receipts. I don’t think there’ll be any issue at all.

    But on to larger questions. I don’t understand why you’re working as an escort. The money (and the thrill?) don’t seem worth the risk — both physical and emotional. Yes, I’m all for the empowerment of sex workers and I’m fine with legalization…. but that doesn’t mean that escorting is good for you. I worry.

    And I’m still worried about the crystal. Stress makes you extra-vulnerable. I’m sure you know that. But still.

    Be careful on this dangerous adventure of yours. At some point there’s no boundary between art and life. I want you to come back alive and whole.

    • reliablenarratives November 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      I’ll miss you too, Lisa, and not just because it was you who assigned me my first reviews when my predecessor was on vacation. And I really appreciate your concern and the thought you’ve put into your question and will soon answer publicly at length. But for now, I’ve got to focus on getting a few things done in my motel room before getting the hell out of Alabama. If there’s anywhere a gay whore and former methhead is at risk, it’s Alabama. Especially if they find out I’m also an art critic.

  2. Scott November 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Douglas,

    Sad to see this happen. i’ve enjoyed working with and seeing you at all the social events, especially mine! Good luck with all you’re doing and promise to keep in touch.

  3. Ken Fountain December 1, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    All right, Douglas/Devon, I’ll weigh in here finally. I can’t say I exactly what you’re doing here, but I wish you well.

  4. Ken Fountain December 1, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    “I understand exactly” is what I meant to say.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jonathan Ferrara and his cute employee at Pulse Miami art fair « Reliable Narratives - December 7, 2011

    [...] did so even after learning about my colorful past and the loss of my recent platform, the Houston [...]

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