One night I made my usual illegal U-turn onto Northwest Highway after 2:30am. It was a weeknight. I was tired, probably a bit liquored up and ready to head home. A girl in a beat up red car (Ford or Buick or something) pulled up next to me and motioned at me. She looked normal and there was no one in the car with her. I pulled into an empty restaurant parking lot and she pulled next to me. I thought she might’ve been a lost dancer or drunker than me. Since I had a cell phone (a different one which I knew how to operate) I was ready to call the police if she was in trouble.
She asked, “Did you come from The Lodge?”
“Yes.” I proudly held up my phone. “Do you need me to call for help?”
“No! I just wanted to know. Do you dance there?”
“No. I’m a cocktail waitress.” If she wanted a job, I was the wrong person to ask.
“Would you like to make more money?”
“Sure! Of course!”
“Do you know what an escort service is?”
“Oh. Yes. I sort of worked for a modeling agency for about a month.” I wasn’t going to admit that I lost my first agency job because I couldn’t handle a cell phone.
“Do you want me to tell you more about real escort services?”
“I’d love to know more! But I’m tired and want to go home. Can we talk tomorrow?”
I gave her my number and since we were both late risers, Trisha said she would call me in the afternoon for us to meet. I told her I lived a ways away and that since I had to work tomorrow night, we would have to meet early, around 3pm. She said okay. We waved bye and drove our separate ways.
At last, I had an inside source to the whole mysterious business of making money with sex! She was driving a beater, but she was pretty and looked cared for. I wondered what she was going to tell me. I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity! I thought all night about the questions I was going to pester her with.
She called the next day. There were kids in the background. We agreed to meet at a Denny’s off of 635. Even I knew where this place was. I drove up there and waited in the parking lot. I didn’t have long to wait. She zipped into the lot in a shiny silver Mercedes convertible sports car. It was the hottest new car that year. (A guy I partied with drooled over one like it at the Four Seasons one night.) She was dressed in an expensive, stylish manner that was sexy but not trashy. She took off her designer sunglasses and gave me a sweet smile.
I was sorry I was in my usual jeans and t-shirt. I must be embarrassing to her. She didn’t belong in the Denny’s, I did. We went in and got a big booth by ourselves. We nibbled on cheese sticks and I had a sundae. (When she paid for the bill at the end of the meal, I kicked myself for not ordering more. I had learned early in college to never pass up free food.)
She started talking and answering my questions. In my excitement, I would get loud and she would gently shush me. She was about 30 and looked her age, but she was well groomed and in shape. She was just as nice as the night before. I wasn’t totally clear on everything she was saying and she skirted some issues (such as “How much do I make?”) but she assured me she would explain everything. In fact, if I wanted to know the truth, I should come out and meet someone. Sounded good to me.
I followed her up the Tollway to her house at the edge of Plano. She paid for my tolls, which was really nice. Her neighborhood seemed a long way away. (Now, due to growth, it’s nearly in the middle of west Plano.) It was a large house and there were two other Mercedes parked in the driveway — a little jeep-like thing and a sedan. There was new furniture in the house, still in covers. There was no one else there. She was disappointed; she had wanted me to meet Karl. She was sure I would like him.
I told her I needed to get to work. She asked if I wanted to come back after work. I said sure, so I left my car there and she drove me to work. I was careful to impress on her when I would get off. They might let dancers out early, but it took an act of God to let a waitress off early. I wouldn’t get out of there before 2:30am, period. Due to traffic, the trip to the club took a while and I barely made it there in time for line-up.
Just a couple hours later, I was called to the front door. There was Trisha, dressed like a trashy stripper. Even the girls at The Lodge weren’t allowed to dress like that. I was embarrassed.
She just wanted to check up on me. I repeated what I had said earlier and told her I needed to go to work. A couple hours after that the outdoor-security guard told me that someone was there to see me.
There was Trisha, cruising the lot. Good god. The security guards aren’t dumb, they know a hooker when they see one because hookers often troll the strip club parking lots. I was getting mad now. The managers wouldn’t take kindly to me inviting a hooker on the premises. It was sort of like inviting a vampire into your house, but vampires aren’t illegal.
Trisha stopped by once more before it was finally time to pick me up. Now I was sure the whole place knew my personal business. I was mad and embarrassed. I mean, she had my car — where else would I be?
I got into her red beater. I probably had made some money that night and probably had a few drinks. We went to the nearby IHOP. Karl couldn’t make it. I didn’t know why she wanted me to talk to him so badly. She made a phone call from the IHOP lobby and we left after that.
We drove onto Harry Hines. She entertained me by pointing out the working girls and telling their stories. God, there were some rough ones out there (and some sad ones). She was one of the few white girls, the fewer blonde ones and she was pretty.
Her beeper went off. We found a pay phone (I don’t know why she didn’t have a cell phone). She and Karl had an escort service, Blonde Babes, and it had a call. It was a regular she was familiar with. He had just gotten home from a bit of travel and wanted to relax.
During the drive to his nice neighborhood off the Tollway, she encouraged me to come in with her. I didn’t know what to do. She assured me I wouldn’t have to do anything at all. I was mainly worried because I hadn’t shaved my legs in a few days and was noticeably prickly (I wasn’t sleeping with anyone; the new boyfriend hadn’t lasted long). She laughed and said it would be okay. And I was wearing ugly underwear. She told me not to worry, she’d handle it.
We went into the guy’s apartment. It was nice and he was nice. They went into the bedroom and I flipped through a magazine on the couch. After a few minutes, she called me in. She introduced me and said that I was going to get undressed, but that I was not going to get any more involved than that. All right; I’ve done the naked-but-no-sex thing before.
I shucked my clothes and got on a corner of the big bed away from them. He smiled at me and stroked my leg. I was embarrassed but he never commented on my obvious leg hair. He was really tired. She told me I could play with myself. So I smiled and did. I finally realized I could fake it. I didn’t pretend to get myself off, but I pretended to be all melty.
They finally got down to business but he still had a hold of my foot. Not only did she use a condom on him for the blow job, she then put on another one for sex and got on top of him. Reaching around behind her, she guided him up between her butt cheeks and rode him like that, her hand pressing him against her bottom. It took him a while, but he got off. He was nearly asleep by the time we were out the door.
She was happy because she was able to get him to pay $400 for the inclusion of me. I wanted to know if I was going to get any of the money.
We went to a 7-11 for some coffee and a phone call. I just wanted water. She got a large coffee and a half pound of sugar in those little packets. I use a lot of sugar, but this was impressive. (This was in the days before Red Bull changed our lives.) So either she was relying on sugar to stay awake or something else. I’ve since heard that heroin addicts can use lots of sugar to help stave off the cravings for a bit. She seemed healthy, not too skinny, and had smooth skin. I don’t know that she had a drug problem. Then again, working until dawn every day wears out the body, problems or not.
The verdict was that she needed to troll Harry Hines a bit more. I would get to meet Karl in a little bit when he would be awake. She started talking about him more. I sort of got the idea that, although they’d been together for over five years, first meeting in California; he was her pimp. She praised him and told me how good he was to her. Yes, they had nice things, but didn’t pimps keep all the money? She never answered that, she would just say that she and the other four girls were well taken care of. I could see that all of them indeed made a lot of money. She had a baby with Karl, as did a couple of the other girls. I didn’t want to have a kid. That worried me.
She followed one guy in an old pickup off the street and around into a deserted area. I was worried, but she said she knew him. She got out and talked with him. He was looking for someone else that night but the girl wasn’t around. I think I made him nervous. They parted ways.
I could not imagine following someone to such a deserted location. It scared me. It’s one thing if you know the guy, another thing if you don’t. I did not like this at all.
After looking for some more regulars and shouting greetings at other girls, we turned for home.
There was no more money to be made tonight. It was around 5am. She drove up the Tollway, not keeping speed. Her head was nodding over the steering wheel and we were swerving badly.* I started asking her questions and talking to try and keep her awake long enough to get us back to her house in one piece.
This was no way to live a life. Even if there were no drugs and abuse involved, this was a hard toll on the body all the same. I knew that from my new night job. I didn’t get in bed until 4am every time I worked. It was hard to adjust.
We both kind of stumbled into the house. Karl was there, as was a little kid. She hung around for a bit then packed the kid off to bed. I sat on a leather couch, smoked and listened to Karl.
Karl was a black man dressed in sweats. Trisha apologized for his appearance. She wanted me to see him in his finery. At 5am, I would be dressed in sweats too. I didn’t care about his clothes, that wasn’t going to sway me one way or another. After all, I wouldn’t be wearing them.
She handed over her total earnings to him right there. I didn’t ask about any money from tonight. I wasn’t going to get even a dollar for gas.
Karl had very oily skin and acne. He was just ugly. Black or not, he didn’t have good bone structure and he really didn’t appeal to me. (Whether my reaction was completely aesthetics-based or the fact that he controlled Trisha’s money/life is hard to say.) I could not imagine having sex with him, even if paid. I certainly could not imagine having unprotected sex with him and often enough to get pregnant. My stomach turned. I really didn’t like this.
He started talking to me. He spoke very softly and yet never stopped. It was a constant stream of words, enough to bury a person. I let him talk, I was too tired to do anything. I was alert for movement from anyone in the house. I was feeling more and more wrong the whole time. I felt trapped.
Occasionally, he took a breath and I got to ask a question, usually about money. Yes, he got it all. But he gave back so much. He would give me an allowance. He wanted me to finish school. I wouldn’t have to have a kid if I wasn’t ready. He only cared about my well-being. I would belong to a family. (The irony of that statement was that a family was the last thing I wanted.) I became insulted by this man’s (underlying) firm belief that I could not manage my finances without him.
I don’t remember most of what he said. He explained the set-up, such as it was (pretty simple: I worked, he made the money). He gave me his business card at some point. And he said something that has stuck in my head ever since.
He was very proud of the fact that he hadn’t worked a day since he was 17. He was 31. He lived off the sweat of women putting themselves in danger every night of the week. He thought it was a great accomplishment for him. Apparently for some men in some social circles, it’s considered a mark of manhood to live off of women. I don’t follow that logic. I think it’s disgusting and dishonorable.
He babbled on for 20 minutes before I finally found a stopping point. I explained how tired I was, the long drive I had ahead of me and that I was ready to go. If he really knew how to read people, he would’ve known that I was a no-go. Another few minutes of words and I got to leave the house.
I nearly ran to my car. I got in and drove fast. I had gotten pretty spooked near the end and was worried I wasn’t going to get out. I don’t know why I got that impression; all I know is that my instincts were screaming at me to get out of the house.
As I drove around Plano, slightly lost, I thought about Karl and Trisha. She was his bottom girl and would be completely worn out in just a few more years. Then she would be out on her own with a kid. Young as I was, I could see that much. Why couldn’t she? Was she squirreling some away every week? Lying about how much she needed for an allowance? I doubted it.
And did Trisha love this guy? I mean, really love him? Is that why she gave him her money? I can only suppose so. What other reason could she have for this obvious insanity? Did he really love her? Hell no. Naive as I was, I could see that.
Working her hours, I wouldn’t be able to finish school. The demands on my time for my photo courses would preclude a lot of this work. Even now, my job was killing my schoolwork. I doubted Karl would understand. Regular guys who weren’t art students didn’t understand how demanding my courses could be, how could an uneducated pimp understand any better?
The bottom line was the bottom line: there was no way I could make money and further myself with a man tied to me like a millstone. I wanted no part of him unless he was paying me. LADIES — A BIG LESSON!
I had learned a lot that night, but none of it I wanted to be a part of. Trolling Harry Hines in my car was dangerous. I had noticed that the girls all knew each other and worked together. There were sometimes as many as four girls in a car. Or they would park side by side on the curb and put up their hoods as though they had car trouble, to attract men.
Karl and Trisha had a couple escort services listed in the phone book to augment the street work. But if all escort services in the phone book were fronts for pimps, I didn’t want to get tangled up in any more of that. I knew that human nature being what it is, most of the pimps I would be likely to meet would not be as low-key as Karl. He didn’t use a curse word once, which did score him a point with me.
So if this wasn’t an avenue to explore, what was? I was already contemplating stripping. I knew that girls sometimes met men outside of the club; so maybe that was the way to do it. I knew that they could sure make money inside the club. So, for the time being, I decided to concentrate on stripping.
I started dancing a month or two later. (Read my adventures from the beginning.)
*She told me that she was often mistaken for a drunk driver and pulled over, but when the cops recognized her, they let her go. I don’t know if she was recognized because she drove this route all the time in the early morning or because she was often arrested for other charges.
Karl and Trisha’s escort service is still listed, but that doesn’t mean they run it anymore (yes, I changed the name; no, you won’t be able to find it).