Chapter Two

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Chrissy quickly dressed herself while Ess showered. Ess was not his real name. She did not know his real name. She only knew that his name had the three initials “SSS” and consequently called himself Ess or actually Ess Cubed as his personal licence plate declared. She secreted the fifty dollar tip he gave her. Fifty bucks for five minutes of play and less than thirty seconds of real work. She almost felt guilty and silently joked to herself about giving him change. But what the heck, business was business and she needed the money. She was lucky to get any money out of him at all. He obviously seemed satisfied enough to keep returning. He never complained and she did her best to make him feel comfortable and feel good about himself. She did not think much about him, however, it was her job and she was good at what she did.
She glanced at the full length mirror which covered the face of the sliding closet door. She was pleased with what she saw. She was tall and slim. She worked out regularly to keep her figure trim. Generous dosages of peroxide, hair colour, and a well proportioned supply of silicon had made her transformation complete. Her desire had been to pursue a career in acting but when she realized the competition was too fierce, she underwent the changes to attract attention. Unfortunately for her, tall buxom blonds were all too common and she was not able to get any further than bedroom offers from questionable agents. She had taken a couple of offers. The first one had taken her for dinner before play, while the second took her in his office. He simply threw a hundred dollar bill her way and suggested she consider a different line of work. Frustrated and down of her luck, she complied in hopes of raising enough money to return to school. She wasn't proud of her method, but she had resolve and justified the long term gain made up for the short term pain. That was three years ago and she was not any closer to her goal, but she was stubborn and determined to do it on her own. She would not admit that she had not made any progress over the past few years. The potential was there, however, there always seemed to be something else which got in her way and prevented her from progressing.
She continued to look at herself in the mirror. At twenty-six, she was middle-age for her profession. Her five foot eight inch, one hundred and twenty-five pound frame was very attractive. Her height made her too short for modeling, yet most men found her too tall for dating. Many preferred the petite woman. She was strict about her diet and kept herself in very good shape. Two artificial double-Ds offset her height disadvantage and guaranteed her a steady flow of eager customers.
As she lingered in front of her reflection she vainly wondered if Ess slept with the other girls in the block as often as he did with her. There were four of them on the floor. The set up was simple. Ess, who lived in the upstairs loft, rented the furnished apartments to his girls. Twice a month he collected ‘rent’. The girls arranged their own hours, their own customers, and their own prices. Ess did throw some references their way, but only on the rare occasion. He felt the girls worked better and complained less when he stayed out of their business. The girls met together regularly for drinks and relaxation, however, they rarely spoke about clients, never about money, and always bitched and complained about Ess. Chris’ curiosity ate away at her and her brain played circle games which only infuriated her. At first she would imagine that Ess only slept with her, which flattered her because she was the best and most attractive, but then her brain would betray her and make her believe that Ess only slept with her because the others stood up for themselves and would not permit it. What if he did sleep with all the girls? Did they all get the same tip? The brain could be such a horrible thing when allowed to wander and speculate on meaningless things. She gave her head a purposeful shake as though trying to clear out cobwebs. Her thoughts then returned to Ess and the brief liaison they had just shared and she simply thanked God the Ess only collected twice a month.
Ess came out of the bathroom and looked at Chrissy in the mirror, "Jeez girl. Don't you ever get enough of looking at yourself? You're always looking at the damned mirror."
"You seemed to like the view about five minutes ago," said Chrissy with a smirk.
"Screw you!" He said angrily. He did not know how to take sarcasm. He had been blessed as a child with a short temper and never learned how to control it.
Chrissy had known him long enough to realize he was in one of his moods and that it would not take much to set him off on a tantrum, however, her mouth often worked faster than did her brain and she could not resist the retort, "You just did!"
A subsequent series of expletives from Ess signaled Chrissy into mothering mode, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you." Chrissy could never get over the fact that so many men were nice and nurturing before sex and such assholes afterwards. She understood it but it still upset her. In Ess’ case, he was never nurturing. He was always an asshole. She could pacify herself by realizing that he was the boss and as long as he did not hurt her, he could say whatever he damned well pleased.
He vented another series of colorful complaints which was followed by the appropriate pacification from Chrissy. Ess was only five foot seven and carried his two hundred and five pound weight mostly in a very prominent rotund beer-belly. He felt he was prematurely balding for a man of thirty five years of age, all of which, consequently, attributed to his fragile ego and low self-esteem. He readily used power, threats, and rage to boost his male superiority. He had felt threatened by Chrissy and resorted to a verbal onslaught to allow her to remember the hierarchy which existed between them. She, of course, acquiesced to his rantings and ravings and went into submission, profusely apologizing while acknowledging his dominance. Having re-established his manly supremacy, he simply kissed her on the cheek with a, “That’s my girl.” and left without another word.
“Asshole!” She was not sure if she said it or thought it, but either way Ess did not react which was very good for her. She could plainly see he was still upset, although she could not fully understand why. She despised his condescension and appreciated his attitude even less. Still, there was something endearing about him at times. Maybe, she just felt sorry for him. She did not know why. She had long ago stopped trying to comprehend men. She figured if they had it all together, they would not be seeing her for fulfillment. She laughed to herself. Men were always complaining about how hard it was to understand women yet men were no easier. In fact, they were probably more difficult to understand. At least we talk about our problems, she thought.
Chrissy stripped down the sheets, set new ones, and generally tidied up the bedroom where she had just been with Ess. The apartment had two bedrooms. One was hers and the other was for clients. Her bedroom was almost double the size of the other and included a private four piece bathroom. The other bathroom was adjacent the to client room and only had a toilet sink and shower. Only once had she used that bathroom. She once had a client who was so smelly, so repugnant, that she could not bring herself to wash in her own private bath but rather used the client shower to literally scrub away the filth which seemed to linger and not go away. She recalls even having thrown away the bedding. This had obviously been at the start of her stay at the apartment and she had since learned that her clientele was adequate that she could afford to be picky. Needless to say, he was not a return customer.
The client room was fairly Spartan. A double bed, a night stand, a floor lamp a clothes rack. A few cheap prints on the two walls and one large mirror on third beside the door. Against the fourth wall rested the headboard above which was a window which was never open and always had the blinds drawn shut.
She made it a point to keep the client room and bath separate from the rest of her apartment. This way she was able to maintain a safe haven for herself. She went into the client room as little as possible, only for work or to clean. And she was meticulous with her cleaning. She realized it was probably to overcompensate for her chosen profession, still, it made her feel better about herself which was most important to her.
Having cleaned and prepped everything to her satisfaction, she prepared herself a cup of Earl Grey tea. Although the apartment came mostly furnished, she had acquired an old tea set from a local antique shop in the neighborhood. The Royal Dalton set was white with gold trim adorned with simple red rose and pale green leaves. Although originally a larger set, she had managed to get four complete cups and saucers, with the matching tea pot. Unfortunately for her there were no other matching pieces and the set had long been discontinued. She was content with what she had acquired and she used the set regularly. It was another source of refuge for her. The tea had become part of her daily routine. It made her feel like a proper lady.
She sat down and sipped her tea. She had a full half hour before her next appointment. From the moment Ess had entered the door to the moment he left had been less than fifteen minutes, and that included a shower. She had at least that to be thankful for. Ess did not take up much of her time and did little to disrupt her schedule. He always called ahead and collected when she did not have clients booked. The arrangement had been worked out long ago. Ess had found her from a newspaper add in the personals section. She had been working out of her apartment but the area was very questionable. She had been beaten by a couple overzealous clients who felt they were entitled to do what they would with her because they had paid for it.
Ess offered her a nicer apartment, better clients, and most importantly, protection. At first, she did not like the idea of working for someone. She liked the thought of being able to choose her clients, when, where, and how much. The reality was that her clients dictated most of that for her and she consequently agreed to Ess’ arrangement. As it turned out, she actually had more freedom working for Ess than she had on her own. Still, this was not something she wanted to do forever. She once again promised herself this was only for the short term.
She leaned forward, placed her elbows on the table and cradled the tea cup in both hands. She thought once more about Ess and felt sorry for him. She reflected on his weaknesses as a man, as an individual, as a human being and, in spite of her revulsion for him, she felt pity. Her could not help her mind from wandering. She remembered their intimate interlude and snickered to herself. Maybe she was a hooker, but, damn, was he ever pathetic.
A knock from the apartment door startled her. She had plenty of time before her next client, besides, they had ground floor security door. Only the four girls could buzz someone in and as far as she knew, apart from the girls, only Ess had a key. She doubted that it was Ess. He had already collected and he barely had it in him for one episode. She knew he could not manage a second interlude. She doubted it was one of the other girls. They had just been together a couple of days ago and they usually called each other rather than risk interrupting a client.
“Must be Ess,” she deduced quietly to herself and then she spoke louder as she stood up and walked to the door, “What did you forget now? I have better things to do with my day, you know.”

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