The high heels that had previously made her a ‘lady’ were now facing multiple scrutinises from prying eyes. Firstly, they were patent black leather, which led me to formulate some unattractive assumptions about her income. The plastic heel tip had been worn down revealing the bottom of the heels’ metal framework. The height wasn’t particularly death defying, suggesting a need for comfort, due to the frequency of their wear.
She had removed the camel knee length coat, to expose a skimpy fuchsia dress. Sitting cross legged to bare the perfect amount of flesh and thigh, she continued her lies. Although her ‘friend’ lived in Brighton, he had intended to stay in her hotel room. He was not her boyfriend.
I was now incredibly sceptical of her honesty. Why had she not chosen to stay at his? Why had she chosen to bunk up with a total stranger? Entering into Woody Allen mode I began neurotically breaking her physical components down, one trait at a time.
Her legs, were far too athletic, they possessed more male than female qualities. Hers hands were above average in size. And her strong bone structure left her looking chizzled. My drunken, pea-sized intellect led to make only one conclusion. She was a lady boy. She was a lady boy and she was going to rob me.
By this point the stooges were quite literally knelt at her feet, as she produced a small bag of cocaine from her bra. Assisting each stooge, she held a credit card under their nose and craned their necks back when it was time for them to inhale. She was their drug mother. As unconventional as the process was, she demonstrated a certain sense of maternal care. “Babe where did you say your room was?” she turned and asked as the last stooge had finished his dosage.
I wouldn’t tell her the room number. I would pretend I had forgotten the number but remembered the location. I would let her stay. It was too late to change my mind. I would stay awake all night and put my valuables under my pillow. The stooges didn’t accompany us or see us out; they were too busy pretending to be effected by unsubstantial amount of drugs they had consumed. “Facking good shit. Thanks,” they squawked as we exited.
In the corridor her cool exterior faded, she became human. Continuing to ask what the room number was, she became flustered every time she didn’t get a response. Each time she asked her voice grew more vulnerable. She did not trust me. Her fleeting trust made it apparent that she had no intention of pulling any shit during her stay. “Don’t worry man, it’s down here. I just didn’t want to say the number around those clowns in case they came to our door later on.”
Her shoulders dropped, she was relaxed again. I felt guilty for my assumptions and for making her panic. I apologetically I offered to carry her suitcase to the room and reassured her how happy I was to have company that evening. I opened the door, made a joke about how the room resembled a creepy dungeon, then got under the covers. She stepped out of her heels then perched on the end of the bed.
“Lets just watched a shit Saturday night film and have a natter,” I suggested. There were no films scheduled, so we settled for the Simon Cowell excretion, that is the Factor. We bonded once more over our hatred of the cardboard box boy bands and sexualised 16 year old girls. Then her phone rang. She leaped out of bed and answered, pacing back and fourth frantically.
“Yes, so you know the hotel. The Royal Albion. Yep. Obviously you’ve seen my website and know what I can do…”she assured. I knew it. I pointed at her and exclaimed, “AH HA! I knew it!”
She got off the phone and made her business proposition. If I made myself scarce for an hour, she would give me half of her earnings. £120. It would be immoral agreeing to take the money, but I felt guilty depriving her of her daily earnings. A rock and a hard place sprang to mind. At this point I didn’t really consider the arrival of my friend to our room, so I agreed to make myself scarce when the ‘client’ arrived.
Her nerves were steady. This was probably down to the cocaine. Perhaps this was a mandatory procedure, consume a substance and then shag a scumbag. In the twenty minutes following it became clear that the ‘client’ was growing hesitant. He was making excuses. She was inpatient. In between her calls to the client, she was inundated with texts from a third party.
The third player in the triangular cluster f*** was a man named Billy, a father figure as she described. “He’s protective over me, he knows what I do. He worries for my safety,” she defended when I questioned his smothering methods in which he expressed his ‘concern.’ The obvious assumption could be made. He was not a father figure, he was her pimp. Was Billy the ‘friend’ that would be staying in her hotel room with her? Would he be keeping watch over the proceedings?
Following another call from Billy, the ‘client’ rang for a final time. This time it was to cancel. Obviously I was relieved, but clearly she was not. “I could tell he was going to cancel, they chicken out when they’re with their mates. I could tell he was nervous.” she stuttered.
I guess for her it was a lose-lose situation. Shag a scumbag or miss out on two hundred and fifty quid. An interesting paradox I hope to never experience. “F*** him man. Let’s get pissed!” I ran upstairs to buy a couple of those tiny booze, that make you feel like a giant when you drink them and rarely cut the mustard, as far as getting merry is concerned. Not that we needed an extra nudge, she was coked up and I was rather bladdered, asking myself that age old question…how the hell have you got yourself into this mess again?
There were so many questions I was gagging to ask. Unfortunately for me the only career confirmation I tend to get – journalism wise – is when I’m ‘a few chapters into the novel’ talking to a potential nutter, about something obscure. The previous weeks had been slow and bleak as far as nutters and stories went. I hadn’t written a single bloody word. Now it was different, I was Alan Partridge…bouncing back, with a potentially corny book cover to boot. Accept in this instance the tennis ball, would probably be replaced by an offensively large ‘anatomical replica.’
“Dude, I’ve got to ask…what the hell is in the suitcase?” She smiled in appreciation at how long I had managed prolong the inevitable. “Come on then, come have a look.” She chuckled. The million-dollar question was about to be answered with unveiling of a treasure trove of sex toys. Like Daniel Craig in Layer Cake she unclipped the suitcase as if revealing a large sum of drug money. I was intrigued.
It didn’t disappoint. XXX marked the spot! She talked me through each item of sexual confectionary and I was certainly all ears. Before meeting her, I never really had an idea of the cliental a prostitute might receive. Pubescent Chavs or chubby cab drivers were the stereotypical go-to. I was wrong. The business was lonely and so were the clients. They were often confused and undecided on a lot of things, sexuality, gender and life.
Although working girls are indeed placed in a vulnerable position whilst engaging in a regular gamble of trust, she informed me that the clients were just as exposed. Scared even. With her they were sexually conducting themselves in ways that their everyday lives, had deemed as taboos. She was happy to listen to them. She understood. She sympathised. Although her profession left her with very little in way societal ‘credibility’, it was becoming clear that she understood a hell of a lot more than most people.
I lightened the mood and grabbed a curly, blonde Dolly Parton wig and began parading around the room. “Erm funny story about that wig, I’ve never worn it. The clients normally wear that one,” she giggly informed me. We both laughed. We were bonding. I flung the wig across the room like a dead albatross. “You are funny,” she said whilst looking up me. It was then I realised that this was probably a rare occurrence for her. Was I her first female friend?
She had studied Molecular Biology at University but had somehow found herself in Brighton. She didn’t have a flat or a place to call home which meant half her daily wage was spent on another night in a hotel room with another client. It was vicious circle but she didn’t see it that way, she enjoyed what she did. It empowered her.
After having a good chuckle at the vast array rubber cocks, spanking paddles and indeed strap-ons, we called it a night and got into bed. “I’m really glad I met you, I needed something like this, things had become far too boring for my liking,” I told her whilst turning over. “I’m glad I met you too. You helped me out. It’s rare strangers do that,” she replied.
As my eyes shut it was time for the vomit inducing inner monologue to kick in. This kind of inner monologue is indeed incredibly fantastical, sort of resembling that scene The Lion King, when Simba speaks to Mufasa’s ghost in the sky or when Lisa plays the saxophone with Bleeding Gums Murphy’s ghost…in the sky. Tonight I was staring at the dampened ceiling of the Royal Albion’s basement sex dungeon, thinking of Tennessee William’s…in the sky. I imagined he’d be saying something along the lines of,
“Hey kid, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.”
The next day, she brought me breakfast. We exchanged numbers and had an emotional goodbye. Whilst getting cash from a hole in the wall, I caught a glimpse of her transfixed on a yellow tile that was attached onto an old church wall. I walked over to her to see what it was she so fascinated by. She had tears in her eyes. I looked at the tile, it read, ‘The essence of your life is only measured in the way you can help others.’
There we stood, two 21st century women, a sex worker and a ‘un decided’ being moved by the very building that would seek to smite us for our sins. Eating chips alone on the beach before catching my train, I stared out to sea as I had planned, ironically joined by the sound of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have fun,’ blasting across from Brighton Pier. I didn’t need a boyfriend or a shag I just needed myself. YUK!