the cut on tuesdays

‘The Only Memory I Had Was Getting Into the Car’

Photo: Douglas P Sacha/Getty Images

The Cut on Tuesdays

A weekly podcast from the Cut and Gimlet Media, with host Molly Fischer.

On this week’s podcast, we’ve got a story about memory, data, and the ways technology has reinvented the intractable problem of sexual assault.

It starts two years ago, with a woman doing something most of us have done a million times: Going out at the end of a long week to meet a couple of friends for drinks, celebrate a birthday, eat a taco.

ALISON: It was the start of fall, which I love, but it was warm enough for me to be wearing one of my favorite jumpsuits. I’d had a really intense week at work, and it was nice to sort of have that break and to like turn everything off.

This is Alison Turkos. That night around 2 a.m., she did another thing we’ve all done a million times. She called a car to pick her up.

ALISON: I was definitely very tired and I ordered a Lyft on my phone. And my friends decided that they were gonna stay out. I got in the car and fell asleep. 

The next morning, Alison woke up feeling exhausted. Her body ached. And when she replayed the night before, she couldn’t quite remember getting back to the apartment and going to bed.

ALISON: The only memory that I had was getting into the car. I literally could not move myself from bed. I remember thinking this is unlike any hangover that I’ve ever had before. I didn’t drink that much last night. I literally could not lift myself from bed to use the bathroom, to get a glass of water. Then, I got up, was just like maybe a shower will make me feel better. 

ALISON: I couldn’t stand up in the shower. I had to sit down in the shower and for maybe 20 minutes just let the water wash over me. Couldn’t wash my body, couldn’t wash my hair. 

She crawled back into bed and stayed there for hours. But eventually, she had to get up — because she’d promised to feed a friend’s cat.

ALISON: Around like 7, went to go order a Lyft to take me to the Lower East Side. 

When she clicked on the app, the previous night’s receipt appeared.

ALISON: The first thing that I noticed was the price tag. It was three digits. I’ve never had a car ride be three digits. 

She’d ordered the Lyft to bring her from one spot in Brooklyn to another. At that time of night, it should have been a 15- to 20-minute ride. The price tag was $107.95.

ALISON: And I was like, this is bonkers. And my brain was still working very, very slowly, so I was like maybe I’m reading it wrong. 

That’s when she saw the map of the route the car took that night.

ALISON: And I see on the map that it had taken me to New Jersey.

ALISON: I have lived in New York since 2010. I’ve never been to Jersey City. So, I was like something’s wrong. This is wrong.

Alison has spent the last two years trying to uncover the truth about what happened — and trying to hold someone accountable. To hear what happened next, click above, and subscribe wherever you listen.

This episode includes graphic descriptions of sexual violence.

‘The Only Memory I Had Was Getting Into the Car’