I was struggling to focus on the episode of Friends. Ross’ shrill voice and the overly perky laugh track would bring me out of my thoughts every so often but for the most part I was in a daze. I was supposed to be getting ready for work at my job as a waitress but I had been dawdling. The restaurant I worked for was a good thirty minutes away by car and closer to an hour when I was forced to use the bus.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
My car was in the shop again, no surprise there, but this time I actually had the money to pay for the repairs and not worry if I would still be able to pay rent this month. I was feeling distinctly unmotivated to get up, get dressed, and get to work in part thanks to the fact that I didn’t get to bed until 4am last night but also because I was making more in a week working for Sophie than I made in an entire month at my real job. The prospect of an hour long bus ride was not exactly thrilling either and when I worked in the cost of a cab back home at 2am, I decided to call in sick and spend my night advertising for Sophie instead. She had the Carmen cell phone so I didn’t have to worry about fielding calls from potential clients which was good because it wasn’t even noon yet and I was exhausted after our midnight adventure.
Last night I had two clients call at 12:30am and 1:20am respectively. Saturday nights are the worst for middle of the night drunk and demanding calls. Most of the men who call after hours are slurring their words and last night was no different. I went into my speech with both of them, the words having been said so many times already that they just flow out without much thought, even in the early hours of the morning.
“Sorry hun, I don’t do after hours calls on such short notice. Next time call me the day before and hopefully I can fit you in!”
The first client wouldn’t let me off that easily, he proceeded to demand phone sex, swearing that he would send money via bank transfer after we were done. I politely but firmly told him that I don’t do such things but finally when he wouldn’t accept that I wasn’t going to indulge him, I just hung up. I added his name and phone number to my “SOPHIE: DO NOT BANG” list which was growing in number every week. I checked my records of her appointments and saw that she had not seen this gentleman before despite his claims that he was a semi-regular client. I knew his name didn’t ring a bell. He was just a lonely drunk man looking for some free phone sex on an otherwise uneventful Saturday night. It wasn’t the first time a caller had tried to persuade me into phone sex and it wouldn’t be the last. They usually say that they want to make sure you are an open minded girl before they make an appointment, that they want to see if you can really talk dirty. I don’t know if phone sex is particularly expensive but with the amount of men calling and trying to get escorts to talk dirty to them it must be. I scribbled his phone number and first name onto a hot pink Post It note and stuck it to my “DO NOT ACCEPT CALLS FROM” board. I had learned enough working for Sophie to know that it was better to just cut our losses with men like that and not take calls from them at all.
When the phone rang again at 1:20am I had just managed to fall back asleep. I fumbled around struggling to find the phone, the bright display lights only serving to blind me rather than guide me. I picked up just before the call went to voice mail. His name was Jeff and he had a deep but soothing voice. From the moment I picked up the phone he was charming. His voice sounded like he had been raised somewhere in the Southern U.S but time away had dampened his southern twang. I gave him the speech, told him that I was really sorry but it was too late and I was already in bed. He was kind and understanding. He said he had found my ad online and had been thinking of contacting me for awhile now but had lacked the nerve. He said he had never been with an escort before but that Carmen was the name of his first girl friend and he was drawn to me because of that. I reiterated that it was too late and that I’d be happy to do after hours calls with at least a days notice ahead of time. He said he understood and asked if $1000 was enough to cover any inconvenience meeting him would cause me. My droopy eyes lit up. $1000. My cut for booking an appointment was 20% and with my car in the shop, I was very interested in that commission. I knew I had to do something I hadn’t done before and call Sophie in the middle of the night. She didn’t pick up at all the first time I called and only picked up on the last ring the second time.
“What?” Her voice sounding just as groggy and out of it as I had expected.
“Soph, get up. You have a date.”
“Sarah there is no fucking way. What time is it?”
“Just tell the guy no. Even after hours rates aren’t going to be enough to force me to get out of bed.”
“Sophie, he said he will pay $1000.” There is a silence on the phone as she contemplates the situation. I hear her draw a big breath.
“Fine, come get me in 30 minutes. Get his address and tell him I’ll be there in a little under an hour.”
“My car is in the shop, remember.” I bite my lip, a little bit worried seeing as one of my jobs is to drive her to appointments whenever possible.
“I’m not going there alone at this time of night. You get a cab from your place and text me when you’re here. I’ll run down.” She hangs up and I dash to the bathroom to wash my face and throw some clothes on, calling the cab company while I wrestle my way into a freshly bought halter dress.
I call Jeff and explain that I’ll be there in an hour. He sounds happy and I pray that this works out because if it doesn’t I will be on Sophie’s shit list. The girl loves her sleep. I get his last name and quickly check Google for his info. I end up finding his Facebook profile and confirm that he is who he says he is.
Within twenty minutes the cab arrives and we head to Sophie’s. She’s waiting outside already, dressed in the exact same halter dress as me and when she slides in next to me we both start laughing.
“I almost bought it in blue but something drew me to the yellow.” she smiles and leans back, handing me her makeup pouch.
“Great minds think alike.” I grab some blush and start swiping it across her cheeks. The cab driver glances back at us wearily. He takes in our matching dresses, sighs, and turns his attention back to the road.
Within ten minutes we are at Jeff’s apartment and Sophie has been transformed into Carmen. I cap the mascara and throw it into her makeup pouch.
“I won’t be needing that, can you hold it for me?” She takes a look at herself in the rear view mirror and fixes a tiny spot of lipstick that has strayed from her lip line.
“Thank you for the ride. Would you be able to pick us up in an hour?” She hands him the cab fare plus an extra $20.
“Change?” he asks.
“No, thank you, keep it.”
“Okay, I will be back in an hour.” he doesn’t say another word and we file out of the cab. There is a McDonald’s just down the street and I tell her I will be there if she needs me. I hand her the phone and she texts Jeff to let him know she is here. I hug her goodbye and head to the McDonald’s to spend some quality time with a book.
An hour and five minutes later my phone alarm goes off and I can see from my vantage point that the cab is now parked outside of the apartment buildings, waiting for us. It’s not like Sophie to be late so I start frantically calling first her cell phone and then Carmen’s phone. No answer. I text her “Don’t do this to me! If you don’t answer I am calling the cops because I will assume you have been murdered.” Within a minute she has replied. Meet me out front.
I get there first and I stop to tell the cab driver that we are almost ready to go. He looks tired and I make a mental note to tip him another $20.
“Sarah!” I turn around to see Sophie beaming, smiling from ear to ear.
“Sarah, he gave me an extra $1000 and wants me to spend the night.” I guess I’d be beaming too if I had just made nearly $2000 for a few hours work.
“Okay… that is pretty awesome but do you feel comfortable with this?” I know this is her first overnight, something she has not agreed to do before now. She says she can’t stomach the idea of waking up next to a stranger in the morning. It’s funny what you consider strange when working as an escort. Actual sex with a stranger, not so weird, but spending the night with one? No way.
“He’s such a sweetheart. We really get along and when I said I had to go he pulled out a huge wad of cash and asked me how much it would cost for me to stay and have breakfast with him in the morning.”
“That sounds great. I’m glad it’s going well. I should head home though, are you sure you are going to be okay?” I have some apprehension about leaving her with someone overnight but I also trust her instincts.
“Absolutely! I’m having fun.” She starts to count out $400 and hands it to me. “Thank you, I know waiting around for me at 2 in the morning is not exactly your idea of a fun Saturday night.” She counts out another $100 and hands it to me. “This is for the cab ride home.” She gives me a big hug and before heading back to the apartment building she grabs her makeup pouch. “I’ll definitely be needing this in the morning.”
On the cab ride home I start to doze. Some time later the driver wakes me up with a loud “HMMPH” and I see that I am home. I thank him profusely and hand him a hundred dollar bill. The fare comes to $19.75 and as he’s counting out my change I tell him to keep it. He stares at the money for awhile while I slip out of the car. Before I have the chance to shut the door and head to my apartment he turns around with a business card in hand.
“Here. My names Ahmed. Next time you girls go out this late at night, you call me. Don’t call the cab company, you call me directly. You have to be safe in your line of work.” I grab the business card and don’t bother correcting him. Two identically dressed women going to an apartment building in the wee hours of the morning, it’s not insane to think we are both prostitutes. I debate telling him that I’m actually the muscle of this operation but I just thank him and shut the door behind me. I sleep with my cell phone right next to my head, waiting for the text telling me that Sophie is back home and safe.