I Was Anna Nicole's Lesbian Lover

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Anna would laugh uncontrollably at jokes and then lean over and whisper, "What did that mean?" She flirted with everyone. Sandi began siccing her on exes. After writhing against a woman, Anna would ask, "How'd I do?" And Sandi would say, "Great! You crushed her!" Sandi grew secure with Anna, because at the end of the evening, they were always together. The Hill's owner recalled finding them entangled in the bathroom stall.

"It was nothing," said owner Ann Kellas. "Everyone does it."

Anna Nicole once told an interviewer that she initially thought stripping was sinful. Then someone told her that God loved her naked body, so after that, she thought stripping might not be a bad way to get to heaven. All she knew about heaven was that it had golden floors.

For her 24th birthday, Howard gave Anna a Toyota Celica, in which she and Sandi had many a fine time. One afternoon in January 1992, they drove down to the Stop N Go, where Anna laid a 12-pack on the counter and asked for the current issue of Playboy.

"Do you know who I am?" she asked the clerk. When she held up the magazine to show him, he refused to believe her. Howard, for his part, was very proud to see Anna making something of herself, according to court papers. Sandi grew boastful, too. She had always found prettier girlfriends than her brothers, but they were awestruck when they opened Playboy.

The president of Guess? Jeans, Paul Marciano, actually thought Anna might look better in clothes. He signed her to replace Claudia Schiffer as the Guess? model. After that, Anna took off.

Coming home from shoveling manure all day, Sandi would find mail from exotic ports. There was Anna in a leopard-skin cloth, roaming the wild plains with a stuffed tigress; Anna in a mermaid getup, coming out of the waves; Anna in jewels, blowing a kiss. She sent many pictures home but few words. Usually, on the back of the postcards, she wrote only "Dido," which was her way of spelling "ditto," the word a character in the movie Ghost used to express his love. "Hey girl," she wrote otherwise. "I do miss ya. Call you soon. Are you okay financially? Let me no [sic]. Your fairy God mother [sic]."

Anna's image began appearing in magazines and on billboards around the world. She became the most supercharged sex symbol of the day, everything she had ever wanted to be. And Sandi felt she had a place in the dream when Anna asked if she would come live with her in New York.

Sandi rushed out the door. She didn't slow down until she was met at the airport by the makeover crew. They put her in a dress and a more feminine wig, and painted her face with cosmetics. Anna had just been named Playmate of the Year, after all; she was a heterosexual sex symbol and could not be seen with butch companions.

For two months, Sandi wore the wig and served officially as Anna's personal assistant. She paid bills, screened calls, and cast malevolent looks upon any man gazing covetously at Anna. At last, she left. Sandi realized that she couldn't be someone she wasn't. Anna, conversely, couldn't return to who she had been in Texas.

Anna came after Sandi, but now when she visited the Hill, it was in the company of straight men. She threw drinks. She fell, drunk, out of her chair. Fights broke out on the night she began dancing naked. Owner Kellas told Anna to leave, and Anna's reply was: "I could buy this fucking place!"

She was only just emerging as the beautiful star she would become. She told People magazine during this time that she had given enough of herself, and "maybe it's my time to receive." Just as Anna was supposed to serve Howard, Sandi soon began serving Anna.

Howard had installed Anna behind an iron gate in a large brick house outside of Tomball, a Houston suburb. Anna installed Sandi in a small tin-roofed bungalow nearby that had engine parts strewn across the front yard and the smell of garbage in the air. Whatever charm the interior possessed was owed directly to Anna, who blotted the walls with great pink impressions of her bosom.

They called this place the Love Shack, but no love was conducted there. Sandi always came to Anna, who was usually found in bed, topless, watching television. It was a king-size four-poster bed, and Sandi referred to the bliss she initially experienced there as "the Pearly Gates." But now the bed was simply where they sat as they watched comedies all night. It became Sandi's job to rub Anna's feet and to braid her hair. When Sandi nodded off, Anna would elbow her awake and give her a pill. There were pills to stay awake and pills to sleep. Anna rewound to the last joke, and life went on.

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Randall Patterson