Tic Tac and Tootsie

by Jeffrey Stockbridge

Tic Tac and Tootsie, 2009.
I met Tic Tac and Tootsie also known as the twins, Carroll (left) and Shelly (right) standing on the corner opposite the Huntingdon Park El Station along Kensington Avenue. At the time I made this photograph, the sisters were 20 years old and had been living on the street for one year.

Edited Audio Transcript:

Shelly: The only reason why we pros, we are out here is so that we can get money so we has somewhere to rest our heads. We look out for each other, if I can’t get money she gets it and whatever money we get we share. Our money is together, my money is her money, her money is my money. There’s are a lot of guys that pick you up and then they try to tell you they’re an undercover cop, that if you don’t have sex with them they’re gonna lock you up. We need quick money cause we need somewheres to sleep every day. I mean trust me we don’t want to be out here doing this. This is the last thing I want to do.  But I do what I have to do to take care of my sister. Cause she’s all I got and I’m all she’s got.

Extended Transcript:

Shelly: We barely prostitute, we do it once in a while so we can get somewhere to sleep. We do one a day.

Carroll: We mess around with Zanies, once in a while we do Wet, sometimes we do Percocet’s and that’s about it. We don’t do no hardcore drugs, dope, crack, none of that. We don’t drink… We’ve been out here a year. My dad lives in a halfway house and my mom lives with her boyfriend. She gives us money here and there but we can’t live with her. We’ve been raped, tied up, guys try to say they’re undercover cops… That’s why we stick together cause we try to be there for each other as much as we can… cause without each other I guarantee we would have been dead by now. We wouldn’t have made it this far.  We were out all this winter. We had nowhere to live this whole winter and we made it, sleeping out on the street… together. And like… we’re twins but like… I’m the older sister. We’re seven minutes apart but still I feel obligated to take care of her and it hurts me that I can’t provide a house for her and stuff like that. So I try to do the best I can to make sure I get money so she has somewhere to rest her head, food, and stuff like that. No matter what I gotta do, any means necessary.