Our main courses arrive. My steak measures the size of my palm and comes with mushroom sauce, French fries and vegetables. The salmon is topped with mousseline sauce and garnished with a cucumber fan.
‘Does your work affect you mentally or emotionally?’
‘Both. Often, I have to lie to my parents, my colleagues and my friends. Like about why my handphone is switched off on certain nights. Where I get the money to buy clothes, jewellery, holidays abroad; why I sometimes drive out at night after receiving a call. That’s the mental stress I’ve to endure. The emotional side is I’m scared of falling in love. I’m not sure whether I should tell my future lover about my escorting job. If I don’t and he finds out later, very likely, he’ll leave me and I will not blame him. But if I tell him upfront, and he accepts it, there can also be problems. Should we quarrel in future, he’s sure to use my past against me.’
‘Hmm... What do you dislike about your job?’ I carve a piece of beef, dip the forkful of meat in a small pool of sauce and pop it into my mouth. ‘How’s the salmon?’
‘Tastes delicious – pretending to like unattractive men. Even if the client’s the ugliest man in the world, I’ve to treat him like a prince. Social skills are important to get repeat business. Beauty can only carry you so far.’
‘So why do men book escorts?’
‘Each man has his individual reasons. If they’re married, they’re not sexually attracted to their wives any more. Or the relationship is not good. Younger men want to be the “conqueror’”and we’re the “conquered ladies”. Sex with a beautiful woman boosts their ego. It’s more fun doing it with a new girl than with their wives. Sometimes, a few even ask me to role play. These men learn all those weird things from porn and want to try them.’
‘Can you give me some examples of role play?’ I spear a carrot and bring it into my mouth.
‘I was once tied up with neckties and had to pretend to be a rape victim. It was the other way around on another occasion – my client asked me to be the aggressor. Something like being a do – domi – er – what’s that word? I can’t remember. But I didn’t whip my client, I ordered him to strip, and do all kinds of things.’
‘Dominatrix. Any humorous incidents – those you can’t forget?’
She chews a piece of salmon, considers for a moment or two and replies, ‘None I can remember. However – Julie, a Malay girl – my co-worker, experienced something tremendously funny.’
As she relates the tale, in my mind’s eye, the episode is re-created vividly...
The driver of the Proton Waja pulls out in front of a hotel at Sultan Ismail Road and drops Julie, a model, at the entrance. The smiling doorman opens the massive glass door for her. She enters a lift and presses a floor button but it doesn’t respond. Only guests with an electronic card room-key can operate the lift by flashing it against the scanner.
She takes a seat on the settee in the lobby and asks her agency to call the client. Five minutes roll by. A white man, wearing a blue polo shirt and dark flat-front pants, comes out of a lift. He recognizes her from the denim corset top and smiles.
‘Julie? From Daffodil?’ His face is pink and unlined, his hair short on the back and sides.
‘Hi, how do you do?’ She stands up and extends her hand, and he lifts it palm down to his lips.
‘My name’s Mario.’ He places his hand on the small of her back and escorts her to the lift, which whisks them to his room. A queen-sized bed with leather headboard faces a 24-inch flat-screen TV monitor atop a mahogany cabinet. The Italiano opens a cooler beside the cabinet. ‘Darling, you want something to drink?’ He takes out a can of ginger ale, pops it and drinks a gulp.
Julie’s lips stretch like a flower in bloom and she shakes her head. As she isn’t fluent in English and is eager to get her client to climax rather than chat, she quickly sheds her jeans, top and panties. Taking the cue from her, Mario undresses, and they enter the shower stall in the bathroom. She closes the door, shutting out the rest of the world, and pushes him under the warm spray, She reaches for the body shampoo, squirts some in her hands, rubs them to form lather, then works over his chest and back. Smiling, he stands still, his eyes locked on her brown body, loving the way she bites her lower lip as she works. She pours half a capful of Listerine and raises it to his lips. He tilts his head backward, catches some water from the spray and gargles liberally. He dries himself with a towel and steps out of the bathroom. Julie puts on a shower cap, takes a quick shower and dries herself. As she exits the bathroom, she stubs her right big toe against the threshold of the door.
‘Adoi! Sakit! [painful].’ She limps to the bed, sits with her back propped up against the headboard, a pillow behind her. She stretches one leg, bends the other and rubs her big toe. ‘Tsk... tsk... sakit.’
‘Suck it?’ Mario asks, lying on his side, displaying well-toned deltoids and abdominal rectus.
‘Yes, painful, sakit.’
He manoeuvres down to her feet and begins sucking her right big toe and after ten minutes, he proceeds to the other big toe. Her lotus bud swells, its lips engorge and heaven’s dew trickles from her valley; they soon join bodies. They spend the remaining time talking, with Mario asking about her personal life. Julie answers in Pidgin English with a plethora of lies.
In the lobby, she widens her stride as she has another booking in Petaling Jaya in two hours. She scans the foyer, vigilant of running into somebody she knows, and stumbles on the steps leading to the lower level, falling on her butt.
The clasp frame of her purse handbag hits the marble floor. It snaps open, and the contents of the handbag spill out: a mint-flavoured 95ml-sized bottle of Listerine, a 42-gram tube of KY jelly, three plastic packets of Durex Pleasuremax condoms, a powder compact, a lipstick, a comb, a wallet, a cell phone and a bunch of keys.
The sight distracts a bellboy pushing a birdcage luggage cart and he almost rams into an old couple coming in the other direction. Julie picks herself up and gathers her possessions. ‘Oh … my gawd. She’s a … a hooker!’ exclaims the old woman to her husband. Her chin trembling, her pulse pounding in the 120 range, Julie sashays off as if nothing happened, fighting the natural instinct to sprint away.
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