Conversations with Whores
WE TALKED ABOUT LOVE AT THE WHOREHOUSE. I talked about being scared and he asked me what I really wanted. And then he said, “I’m going to get a price list.” There were twenty-somethings drunk and making bad breaks on the pool table. Old men with cheap cigars talking to half naked women, who can’t waste too much time with one guy because it’s all about turnover. Beyoncé was playing on the jukebox and it sounded out of place. Hip-Hop didn’t belong there. It was too cool for what was really going on.
I drank my beer and watched the old and weathered waitresses clear away Miller cans and bring more baskets of popcorn to the tables. He came back — no list.
“You gotta negotiate prices with the girls in their rooms.”
“It’s like a haggle market. Like Jew Street.”
“Ha! Yeah, I guess so. I would totally nail that Asian.”
And I talked of love. The fear of clarity shocking my system and the way I want to open up but that requires being affected. And frankly, that wasn’t going to work for me. Then a tall girl named Cricket sat next to us. She offered me a cigarette — I said no, he said sure. Then she asked for a light. He got up to get matches — poor lap dog — I asked her why she called herself Cricket.
“Is it like the sport? You can go for days at a time?”
“No, I just thought it was cute.” She was funny enough and was wearing lacey lingerie. She was upset about her tits. “Well, I wanted a C-cup, but I wound up with these D’s.”
“A damn shame,” he said.
She had only been there three-and-a-half months. She’d had a boyfriend on and off for four years. They finally called it quits after he accused her of cheating. She never did, but he said, “A slut like you… should be at a whorehouse. Make money the best way you know how and stop living off me.” So she did.
“I don’t care what he said. I love this. I mean… I get to fuck for money.”
“What’s the percentage of good looking guys to gross ones?” he asked.
“Um… a lot of times we get the truck drivers passing through so you can imagine.”
“Is there a Good-looking Guy discount, say for us?”
“Sorry honey. It doesn’t work like that. But if you want to talk about how it does happen, we can go to my room and talk it out… both of you?”
I wasn’t going. And neither was he. He was in love to and was just exercising his charm muscle while really not being all that charming. And so she smoked another cigarette and walked away.
He and I ran the pool table for maybe eight games. As long as he handled the brake, we could get a nice jump on anyone. And I was delivering some nice long shots. One guy we played actually was on a date with his partner. A cute little dark skinned girl. She couldn’t hit the cue ball for shit, but leaned over the table just the right way.
“Nice, huh?” the guy asked me.
“Sure. She with you?”
“Yeah, I’m trying to get laid.”
“Well pal, look around, you came to the right place.”
“No brother, this girl is from back home.”
“Where’s home?” He missed his shot and gave me one hell of a leave. I ran it for three balls. Then it was her turn — a scratch. Then my friend went.
The guy was from Reno. He’d met her in a pool hall — of all places — I think he was full of shit. At the very least he was pretty drunk, and kind of funny so I didn’t dispute it. I shot and missed, his girl smiled at me. Was she for sale?
“So why would you bring her here? I don’t know much, but I know that a brothel is not a good first date. But maybe I’m being too Christian.”
“Hey brother, this ain’t our first date. And it was her idea.”
Turns out, they were staying in Vegas for a week, and she wanted to check out the brothels in Southern Nevada. Maybe an hour after we beat them, I saw the two of them walk out of the bar with a tall, leathery woman and the hot Asian my friend wanted to fuck.
Interesting. I wondered if he fucked his girl first. Shit, that was a lot of women…
And he and I talked about love over some more cans of Miller.
“What do you want?” he asked me again.
“I guess … I don’t know. I want her. But I don’t want to make the same mistakes, I don’t want the same relationship. But I want the romance. I mean, she’s just darling.”
“And so what does she want?”
“Time I guess. And I’ve got a broken watch, so I guess I have time, too.”
“You know that I’ve never felt more comfortable with Shawna,” he said not meaning to rub it in. “She loves me. She does. And that’s a big thing for her to say.”
“You guys look alright. She’s a top chick, and a good girl to hang onto. Don’t fuck it up. Because if you do, I just might have to swing in and pick up the pieces.
“… Of ass!”
One of the twenty-somethings fell off of his bar stool and puked on one of the girl’s shoes. She shrieked and the bouncer rushed over to chuck the kid out. The old and weathered bartender made a phone call to a cab company.
“Imagine the fare back to Vegas,” I said.
“No shit. Unless he lives here.”
“I don’t think any person who lives here would fall off and puke. I mean, he’s gotta be a regular, if he lived here.”
Either way, he was going to pay for it in the morning. The cost of embarrassment and puke on your pants is a high price indeed.
We were challenged to play pool by two of the whores. One was wearing a thong and bra, a gigantic tattoo of a spider in the center of her back. The other had a yellow Kill Bill Vol. 1 jumpsuit on.
“You guys can play pool pretty well huh?” Yellow said to us.
“Ah, we do okay.”
“Wanna play, Honey?” Spider asked while massaging his arm.
“Sure,” he said as he jumped up to rack the balls. “You ladies can even break.”
“As long as you don’t mind busting balls,” I said.
Both of these women had been at this same brothel for six years. They liked the life, just the same as Cricket. Getting paid for fucking strangers… dark and not up my alley, but it’s a living. I compared it to being a surgeon. “Sometimes you gotta do sick shit to sick people.”
Spider laughed, but Yellow glared at me and sunk the eight ball — then the cueball — so we won by default.
By that time, it was too late for any more pool. We were both getting a bit blurry eyed and the girls were getting just a tad more anxious to make as many sales as they could before the next shift. We headed out, gave one last nod to the old and weathered bartender, smiled at a few girls and got in the car to go home. We never saw our Reno friend and his three women come back to the bar, so I imagined he was either getting his money’s worth or getting his worth taken.
And all through the whores and the smoke and the easy, but expensive sex, and the comfort and confidence each girl carried with them in their heels and ponytails, I thought of love. Couldn’t shake it. Wanted it. With one particular girl who was out with her friends, probably around an arguably seedy place. But I was hoping she was thinking of love too.