(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)

(A True Story Embellished)


She stands on the corner, switching from one foot to the other to fend off the cold.  Cars drive by slowly, the passengers ogling more out of curiosity than anything else.

She smiles at the men driving alone.  They take her in as if she were a road sign.  She bends over every once and a while to give them a peek at her large cleavage poking out through the top of her rabbit fur jacket.

Despite the cold rain that’s falling, she wears what her pimp tells her.  Tube top.  Stretch mini cut just below the buttocks.  Knee-high white bitch boots with six inch heels that make walking almost impossible...

The pimp let her wear the jacket, but only after she begged.  He refused at first, but after she sucked him off, he relented and even gave her a pack of Winstons.

She is his biggest money maker, but she gets no special treatment.  Out of the fifteen women working for him, she is the oldest at twenty-one.  Rumor has it he kills them at twenty-five, or sells them to a slave ring in San Francisco.  She tries not to think about it too much.

Being the oldest, she is in charge of keeping tabs on the girls.  The pimp has made her train girls as young as twelve to deep throat without gagging countless times.  She does it without complaint.  The alternative is to hold the girl while he whips her with a red hot coat hanger.

If they run away, it’s her job to find them and bring them back for punishment.  If she doesn’t find them, she gets the beating instead.  The pimp tells her that if she ever gets busted and rats him out, he’ll tell the pigs that they’re in it together.  There is no escape...

She lights a cigarette, then spits.  She can still taste pimp semen in the back of her mouth.

A man approaches her from Yates Street.  He’s average height, balding, has glasses.  The face doesn’t ring up with the bad trick list compiled by other prostitutes on the strip.  She blows smoke in his direction and smiles.

“Looking for some company tonight?” she asks.

“Maybe,” he says quietly, looking at the sidewalk.  “What - how much are you charging?”

Oh God, another one of these, she thinks.  The quiet ones are always the worst.  Once back in the hotel room, they became sulky or belligerent.  Some cried after.  One trick just like

'Blows are a hundred and fifty, straight fuck is three bills.  You want both, it’s four hundred, but you gotta be done in half an hour.  Backdoor action will cost you an even grand'

this guy had wanted her to make him a diaper out of a towel, put him in it and let him call her mommy over and over again, while he masturbated through the terry material as she stood over him naked.  She did it.  It wasn’t like she had a choice...

“Blows are a hundred and fifty, straight fuck is three bills.  You want both, it’s four hundred, but you gotta be done in half an hour.  Backdoor action will cost you an even grand.  I don’t do the pain shit, so don’t ask.  Does that about sum it up for you, sweetheart?”

“How much is it to just go somewhere and talk?” he asks, still examining the cracks in the pavement.

“It’s okay to look at me,” she says, butting the smoke out on the sidewalk.  “That’s what I get paid for.”

He looks up at her.  One hand comes out of the pockets and pushes the glasses back up on his nose.  “Okay,” he says.  “Can you go - talk?”

“Don’t you wanna fuck me, baby?”

“Um, no, nothing like that.  I just need someone to talk to.”

“I’m pretty busy tonight,” she says, turning away to nod at a passing car.

The driver waves.  She blows him a kiss.  The driver flips her the bird, squeals his tires and is gone.

“I can pay you for your time, miss,” the trick says, pulling a wad of bills from inside his jacket.

“Put that shit away!” she hisses at him fiercely.  She scans Government Street and the sidewalk behind him for signs of police.  Thankfully, the only traffic is another trick picking up Martha, the only other prostitute on the block.

“You fuckin’ heat-score!  What are you trying to do, get me busted?”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbles.  The money disappears.  His eyes go back on the sidewalk.

“Yeah,” she says, disgusted.

“She looks away, pretends to be waiting for a cab, for anything besides the freak standing next to her.  Five minutes pass.  He doesn’t go away.  She turns on him, raging.

“Well?” she demands, pulling her cigarettes from her purse.

He shrugs and for a brief moment, their eyes lock.  His eyes are green and red around the rims.

“You a fuckin’ crybaby?” she asks, lighting one of the cigarettes.  She blows smoke in his face.  He looks back at the ground.

“Sometimes,” he mumbles.

“You look like a fuckin’ crybaby,” she sneers.  “What’s your name, crybaby?”


"Figures.  Look at me, Gerald,” she says, painting his name with a wide swipe of sarcasm.

Gerald looks up at her, meek as a five year-old.  She owns him.  For once, she feels the power.  For once, it won’t be her getting shit on.

“So, you don’t want to fuck, huh, Gerald?”


His eyes never leave the ground. 

“You don’t want to get some pussy, Gerald?” Again the name drag.

“No, I uh, just want to talk.  That’s it,” he says, looking up quickly, then back down at the pavement.

“Say it,” she says, stamping her foot.


He looks up at her.  His moth hangs open when he breathes.  She hates that.

“Say you don’t want some pussy, Gerald.  Say it now.”

“I, uh, don’t want some...pussy,” he says, forcing the last word out of himself.

“Very good, Gerald.  Now say you’re a fucking bitch who can’t get it up around a real woman,” she says, leering and blowing more smoke in his face.

“What?” he asks again, uncertain.

“Are you deaf, or just a complete fuckin’ retard, Gerald?  You need someone to talk to, so say it now, or no fuckin’ deal.”

She is near to laughing in his face, money or no money.  She has never seen a trick this pathetic in all of her eight years as a prostitute.

Gerald opens his mouth, then shuts it.  His lips purse in anger.  She sees his brow knot.  She blows another puff of smoke in his face for good measure.

“No,” he says, flatly.

“Then no deal. Fuck off.”

She turns away and looks back at the street lights, turning red, green, then amber.  The finished cigarette goes in a puddle, hisses out.  A brief stream of smoke, wafts away from the dirty water.

Gerald is still standing there.

“Do I have to call my man, Gerald?” she asks, still watching the passing traffic.

Gerald mumbles something, then starts examining the concrete again.

“What did you say?” she asks angrily, turning back to him.

“I’m a bitch and I can’t get it up around a real woman,” he repeats, tears forming in his eyes.

“I know,” she says, faking sympathy. She feels no guilt for causing his tears. “Here’s the deal, Gerald.  Are you listening to me?”

“Yes,” he blubbers.

“First off, you cut the tears bullshit. You don’t know what it means to cry.  Second, it’s five hundred dollars for an hour of my time. Third, you buy me anything I want, wherever we go. Got it?”

“Yeah, sure,” he says wiping the tears from his eyes.

“Let’s go then, big spender.”

She takes his arm and leads him up the street toward the all-night diner. A car load of teenage boys cuts them off on Broad Street.

“YEAH! FUCK THAT HO, BO-YEE!” one of them yells.

The car peels a strip off its tires as it pulls away. Laughter blends in with the music coming from the night club down the block.

“I’m sorry,” Gerald says.

“For what?” she says, watching the car head up Broad to View.

“For them, uh, saying those things.”

She leads
him toward an
all-night joint

“Fuck them.  Forget it,” she says as they arrive at the all-night joint. “This place okay with you?”

“Uh, yeah, whatever.”

“Good.  Before we go in, gimme the five bills. You’re officially on the clock, Mr. Man,” she says, sticking her hand out.

He hands her the five hundred. She makes the money disappear into her coat. They go in and get a booth near the back. The restaurant is busy for its size. Out of ten booths, four are full. She wonders how the place stays open as a seasoned waitress approaches with two menus in her hand.

“Coffee?” the waitress asks, chewing gum.

“Yeah, an’ can I get a menu?” she asks, giving the waitress a look.

“Okay, How about you, sir?”

“Just coffee,” Gerald mumbles, now staring at the Formica table top.

The waitress drops a menu on the table, makes a face at Gerald and walks away.

“You want food?  It’s not bad here, I mean, it’s not like fancy, but they make a half-ass attempt to churn something out,” she says to him.

“Naw, you go ahead.  That’s the deal right?”

Fuck him, she thinks looking for something expensive to order.

When the waitress returns to the table five minutes later, it’s exactly like she left it.  Gerald is still staring at the table top.  The waitress pours coffee into the cups already on the table.

“Ready to order?” the waitress barks.

“Yeah, I’ll have the steak and lobster,” she says, looking up at the waitress with disdain.  “Which I’m sure will be a culinary delight for this time of night.”

“I’m sure you’re used to a much higher standard of living,” the waitress says with a snarl on her face.  “I’ll be sure to tell the cook that Princess Ann is here.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Don’t mention it, doll,” the waitress says, as she walks away.

“They have steak and lobster here?” Gerald asks, pouring a creamer into his coffee, as she busies herself with tearing a napkin into thin strips.

“That’s what they try to tell you.  I don’t believe it,” she says, dumping two sugars into her coffee.

Another silence follows.  He stirs sugar into his coffee as she lights another cigarette.

“Is that your name?  Ann?”


“Well...what is your name?”

“Does it matter?”

A pause from Gerald.  “I guess not.”

Gerald sips his coffee.  It’s hot, tastes fairly good.  He tries not to think about how many junkies and street bums may have had their lips on the same cup.

“Why don’t you give me a name?  Tricks do it all the time,” she says, then takes a drink of her coffee.  “Call me whatever you like, honey.  It’s your money we’re spending here, right?”

Gerald sips the coffee and then goes back to staring into it.  His mouth hangs open.  She wants to smack it shut.  What a loser!

She checks her watch, then stares at the other people in the restaurant.  A group of cops eat sandwiches and tell jokes.  A few junkies sit nervously watching the door, waiting for the dopeman, then look over to the cops to see if they’ve left.

“Gina,” he says, snapping her attention back to him.

“What?  Were you actually talking to me?” she asks.

“How about...Gina?” he asks, looking up, hopefully.

“Sure, like I said, it’s your money,” she says, blowing another plume of smoke in his face.

“What do you wanna talk about?  Sex?  Dope?  Death?  Sports? Huh? Talk, goddamn it!  You’re paying me to talk, Gerald, so fuckin’ talk!  I’m sick of your shit, so either you talk, or I’m sticking a fork in your neck!”

A pause.

“I’m very lonely,” he says.  “My friends have all abandoned me.  I’ve lost my job and my wife left me.  Plus, I think that I’m dying.  Does that about sum it up for you, Gina?”

She notices that he adds sarcasm to her name like she is doing to his. 

She tells Gerald
that what he needs
is backbone

“So?  What you need is a backbone, Gerald,” she says, stubbing the cigarette out violently in the ashtray.  She lets a moment pass.  “Whataya mean, you’re dying?”

“I’m dying.  Slowly.  Inside.  It’s hard to explain.  It’s like I’m suffocating, or drowning.  Nothing matters.  I want to die.  In fact, I’ve pretty much lost my will to live.”

“Why’d your wife leave you?” Gina asks, as the waitress shows up with her food.

“There you go.  If ya don’t like it, we’ll special order something from the Empress,” the waitress says.

“Yeah, yeah,” Gina says, impatiently waving her away, without looking up.  When she disappears, Gerald continues.

“She left me for my tennis partner.  We were married for fifteen years.  You know what she said?  She said that she had never had an orgasm in all that time, because my cock didn't fill her up and that if it hadn’t been for vibrators, she would have left me a long time ago.

“She said that Steve---that’s my tennis partner---is hung like a horse and can go, well...for hours,” Gerald said.

“Don’t take it personally, Gerald.  I’m the same way.  I fake every day of my life,” she says, picking a piece of lobster off the plate.  She tries it.  Rubbery.

“It’s different,” he says.

“If you say so.  I’ve never been married so I wouldn’t know,” she says.  “Do you really have a small dick?”

“I didn’t think so,” Gerald mumbles.

“How big is it?” she asks, sucking butter off of her thumb.  “Three inches?”

“I don’t know.”


“What did I just say?”

“Was it too-small-skinny, or too-small-short?” she asks, smiling.  Gerald turns bright red.  “You can tell me, honey.  I’m the whore, remember?  I see small dicks all the time.”


“Oh yeah.  I always tell them it’s huge though.  I’m always like, `Ooh, is that for me?  Ooh, yeah, you’re sooo big, baby,’” Gina says, giggling.  “Stuff like that.  I think all women are like that.  Men are such babies when it comes to their cocks, don’t you think?”

“I dunno,” Gerald stammers.

“`It’s too small,’ the worst thing you can say to a man.  If the man went to the doctor and he was told he was cancerous, he would be all like, `I can live with that.’  Then the doctor says, `Your dick is abnormally small, sir.  You have Small Dick Syndrome.’ The guy goes home and shoots himself.  God what’s with you guys?  Get over it!”

She saws off a piece of the steak, which is as tough as boot leather.  She gives up and lights another cigarette.

“So how’d you lose your job?”

“Steve was my boss.  Can I have one of those?” Gerald points to the cigarettes.

“No, but why don’t you be a sweetie and go buy us a couple of packs?”

Gerald smiles tightly and goes over to the counter and buys two packs of Player’s, the cigarettes he used to smoke in college.  He walks back over to the table and hands her a pack.

“So you boss was fucking you wife?”  Gina asks with excitement, as Gerald fumbles with the wrapping on the cigarettes.  “That’s rich.  What’s your wife look like? I mean no offense, Gerald, but you’re no prize.  I’m sure she was no goddess of desire, either.  Did she have big tits?  Money?  Or is he one of those guys that likes older women?"

“I guess it was her body and her money.  She comes from a wealthy family.  She just married me to get more of it in her name,” Gerald says, taking a big puff.  He is careful not to blow it her way.

“A lot of people fuck for money, then look down their noses at me.  We’re no different, except no one takes most of it away at the end of the night.”

She tries her lobster again.  It’s cold, tastes like shit.  She flicks ashes on the steak.

Gerald nods to himself.  “I’m thinking I might kill myself tonight,” he says.

“So?  Is that why you hired me?  You think I’m gonna talk you out of it?  I won’t.  I’m here for the money, that’s all.  If you were looking for the whore with the heart of gold, you picked the wrong one,” Gina says, butting her smoke out on the steak.

“I don’t care, Gina,” he says, looking her square in the eyes.  “I’ve been thinking about it for the last year now, ever since I found out she’s been fucking everyone she can.”

“Why?  Who cares, Gerald?  Huh?”

“It’s too much.  Too much betrayal.  I can’t live with it,” Gerald says, taking a sip of his coffee.

“She fucked more than just the boss?  Who else?” Gina asks, genuinely getting into the story.  

He caught the paper boy
getting down on his wife
on the pool table

“Every friend I had.  Some of their wives.  The paper boy.  You name it.”

The paper boy?  Lucky kid.”

“I caught them on my pool table.  There he was, with his face between her legs.  A fifteen year-old kid, eating my wife.  She saw me standing in the doorway and pulled the kids face in deeper.  I just turned around and walked out.  All the rumors I’d heard were true.

“They didn’t stop.  I heard her...come...a few times, then a big groan from him.  She left the condom on the table with her lip prints on it,” Gerald says, butting his cigarette out.

“And you never left her?”

“We had a pre-nup.  I couldn’t have gotten a dime out of her.  I didn’t know what to do.  Now she’s gone and taken everything.  I just don’t care about shit anymore.”

She watches him light another cigarette, then checks her watch.  The hour is up.  Quickly, she thinks of the pimp and gets up, grabbing her purse.

“Where are you going?” Gerald asks.

“Times up, sweetie.  Listen, if you’re gonna do it, get a pistol.  Do yourself a favor and take her with you.  Throw him in for good measure.  That’s my advice if you want it.  Pills are no guarantee and cutting yourself up is messy and painful,” she says.

Gerald grabs her arm.  “Wait, Gina.  I have more money.”

“That’s not my name, Gerald,” she says, leaning down to kiss his forehead.  “I make my money fucking.  Gotta go.”

He doesn’t let go of her arm.  She pries his fingers off one by one.  A tear forms in his eye.

“A gun, Gerald.  Aim for the temple, it’s the softest spot,” she says.  “And for God’s sake, quit crying.  Be a man.”

“Please, stay...,” he starts, but she is already out the door, leaving him with his problems.

She takes a deep breath of the cool night air to clear her head.  Quickly, she heads back down to her corner.  On the way, she smokes the joint the pimp gave her.  It’s loaded with cocaine.

A man approaches moments later.

“Lookin’ for fun, big guy?” she asks.

“How much?”  ##  



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