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Archive for December 22nd, 2011

One may be old in years, but not in spirit, or poor in wealth, but not in ambition.   –  Chinese proverb

Though Rosemary wouldn’t have admitted it, she was very relieved to have a date for that night.  It wasn’t that she doubted her plan; she was an intelligent and resourceful girl and realized that, though it might seem counterintuitive, one of the surest ways to succeed as a call girl was to pretend one already had plenty of money.  So she had left the brothel at which she was formerly employed, invested in a new wardrobe, taken a small but fashionable apartment with her sister as housekeeper and secretary, and even had a private telephone installed.  She then let her regulars know she was out on her own, took out personals ads in the papers and waited for the results.

In these black times, it was an incredibly bold move; but as her Grandmother O’Malley had always said, the only thing she had more of than spunk was luck.  And though some of her friends thought she was crazy, Colleen had faith in her and the two of them kept each others’ spirits up for months as her assets dwindled and her new clientele failed to materialize.  Oh, they weren’t in danger of starving; Rosemary had some good regulars and always made the rent on time, though it often took spending more time in bars than she would have liked.  But unless she started attracting the kind of gents she was aiming for, sooner or later she would become financially unable to project the high-class illusion on which her image depended.

She also felt ashamed of being unable to buy her sister the same sort of nice things she bought for herself.  Of course, every time the subject came up Colleen just pooh-poohed her concern and pointed out that it wasn’t important because the gentlemen never saw her, and that she was lucky to have such a generous sister now that jobs were so hard to come by.  That was the sort of girl Colleen was; loyal and uncomplaining, as their mother had been…and it just made Rosemary feel worse.  So much worse, in fact, that she had spent entirely too much money on Christmas presents for her.  And after that, and filling the icebox with food for their Christmas dinner, there wasn’t exactly a lot left in her bank account; the call had therefore been a godsend.

Luckily, this had been the warmest autumn Rosemary could remember, so their heating costs had been almost nonexistent; the mild weather also made it possible for her to save cab fare tonight by walking to the client’s place, which was only eight blocks away.  She hesitated a bit upon seeing the building; though it was certainly no tenement, it also didn’t look like the sort of place in which a man who could afford to blow $20 for an hour with a good-time girl might live.  But she trusted her luck and her instincts, and the latter told her to go inside.

She was admitted to a well-kept apartment by a young man who, despite his mature demeanor and clothing, couldn’t have been a day over 17.  This was unexpected; Rosemary had sometimes been received by valets or maids, but never a client’s son!  Still, times being what they were, she subdued her expression of surprise.  “Hi, kiddo!  Where’s your dad?”

“He died in the war when I was just a baby.”

“Gee, I’m sorry!  Your older brother, then.”

“I’m an only child; it’s just me and Ma here.”  At the mention of a woman Rosemary started to retreat with a mumbled apology, but the young man stopped her with, “Oh, she’s not here, she cleans an office building at night.”

“Look, I’m sorry, I must have the wrong address.”

“Aren’t you Rosemary?”

“Yeah, but who are you?”

“I’m Bill.”  It was the name the client had given.  He certainly hadn’t sounded as young on the telephone as he looked in person.

“Wow, Bill…look, I’m sorry but…aren’t you too young to be engaging in this sort of pastime?”

With an air of seriousness which belied his age, he asked, “What difference does that make if I can pay?”

“No offense but…$20 is more money than most guys your age can afford.”

He was unperturbed.  “I left school two years ago to help Ma out; the man who owns the radio shop down the street hired me and taught me to repair them.  He says I’m a natural.  One day I want to have a shop of my own, so I’ve been saving up.”

“A smart, good-looking young guy like you probably has every girl in the neighborhood after him!”

“Yeah, but I can’t stand girls my age; they’re too silly.  Not a one of them has the brains to talk about the sort of things I’m interested in.”

Rosemary had already noticed the stack of Amazing Stories, Weird Tales and other magazines of fantasy and scientifiction.  “What makes you think I’m not just as silly as they are?”

“Because my boss told me about you.”

“He what?”

“Don’t get angry; he knows I’m trustworthy and tells me things he wouldn’t tell his own brother.  And besides, he was drunk at the time.  He sees you often and he really likes you.”

Rosemary now knew who the boss was, and what sorts of things he had probably said.  “Bill, you understand that this isn’t like a regular date, right?  I mean, I charge by the hour.”

He looked a bit sheepish.  “Well, I was sort of hoping that once I hired you a few times, you might get to like me and maybe we could just go out together sometimes.  Like as friends, I mean I wouldn’t expect the other stuff.  Just like movies or dinner or…”  he trailed off.

In spite of her annoyance, she had to admire his moxie.  In a way, they were kindred spirits; both were unconventional dreamers with a yen to succeed on their own terms and the drive to make it happen.  After a short pause, she said, “Well, what are you waiting for?”

“Excuse me?”

“Get your hat and coat.  You called me for a date, remember?  And if we’re going to get good seats for that new Boris Karloff movie, we’d better step on it.”

His face broke into a huge grin, and he hustled to get his clothes, then suddenly stopped with a crestfallen look.  “I can’t afford two hours.”

“Keep the money, except for cab fare and the cost of my ticket and my popcorn.  Save it for that radio shop, or get your Ma a new coat for Christmas.  I can always use another friend, and besides I’ve been thinking of buying a radio, and maybe you can help me pick one.”

The grin returned, and in seconds they were out the door and on their way toward the future.

One Year Ago Today 

For the Record” tells about my first conflict with another sex worker rights activist and explains my position on child support.

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