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The lobby of Heavenly Massage Parlor was a cramped square room. Paintings of smiling girls in skimpy outfits riding clouds decorated the walls. There were two easy chairs, a desk, a small color TV, a radio, and a frayed silver sofa. Ashtrays sat on the desk and atop the TV. “Sabrina” (as Debbie had been christened the day before) sat on the sofa and opened up Delores Claiborne. She soon shut it and tried watching the VH1 video with the other masseuses.
Debbie thought back to the previous morning when she had been interviewed and hired. The owner of Heavenly was a bone-thin bald man named Larry McNab. He had been adamant in saying there were certain rules that his “masseuses” had to follow and one was that they all wear a bodysuit. That was Debbie’s first letdown: she thought a fat girl would look better in a skirt. Larry (“call me Larry,” he admonished) supplied Debbie with a cast-off when she said she didn’t own a bodysuit. She was pleased to find that it fit and took that as a good omen: it must mean other fat girls have worked here.
The garment that now stretched over Debbie was a pale pink number decorated with tiny red hearts. But she worried that it only accented her blubber. SometimesButterball almost seemed like her real name.
Debbie Wilcox tried to look at the positive side. She had large brown eyes and her black hair was thick, naturally wavy, and hung down to her hips.
But her face was covered with pimples! Layers of Clearasil couldn’t hide it. Maybe, she told herself, there was a bright side to that, too. She was always being asked to show ID to prove she was over eighteen. Men who go to . . . these places . . . like them young, Debbie had heard. So maybe the zits would be a help.
She lit a Virginia Slim and eyed the three other women as nervously as if she were peeping into someone else’s house. One was a strawberry-blond in her mid-twenties wearing a blue bodysuit and knee-high white boots. Another was a large-breasted Goth-style girl about Debbie’s age with black hair, lipstick, fingernails, and bodysuit. There was also a dark-skinned pretty lady whom Debbie believed must be at least forty years whose bodysuit was an ugly shade of gray.
The thought kept repeating in Debbie’s head: these women are prostitutes. PROS-ti-tutes. Hookers. Whores. They . . . these three women . . . the women sitting here and now right by Debbie . . . have sex with man after man . . . with perfect strangers . . . for money.
God, Debbie shuddered as she exhaled, how could she ever be one of them?
Maybe she wouldn’t even get the chance to find out, she thought glumly. She was sick at the thought of doing it with ugly old men.
But she was also sick at the thought of not doing it and going home with no cash. Something was wrong with Debbie Wilcox; she just couldn’t make a living. When she drove past the dirty, homeless people her stomach tied up in knots: I could be one of them.
Debbie owed the city of Los Angeles $100 for running a red light. Her phone had been cut off. She hadn’t paid the utility bill and they had sent the second cut-off notice. There was enough Spam to last a few days . . . and she had potato chips and beer. Also a moon pie . . . no, she remembered, she ate the last moon pie this morning.
She couldn’t ask Mom for more money because Mom and Dale (Mom’s new husband) had paid for her last month’s rent.
One thing about being a whore — however low it was, she’d been relieved when Larry didn’t make her fill out a job application form. She hadn’t had to lie again and say this was her first job because she’d been living with her parents or taking care of a sick brother or some bullshit. Which is what you have to say when all you’ve done since high school is get fired.
Her last job had been in a 7-eleven as a cashier. She worked there for awhile, then got fired for being too slow. Before that she worked the cash register at a fast-food joint but then quit because canlı bahis . . . oh yeah . . . she’d gotten sick and the supervisor yelled at her the next day right in front of everyone so Debbie said the hell with it. Before that she’d worked cash register at another fast-food thing and got fired on her third day for being too slow. Before that she’d waited table at La Guerre and was fired for — what else? She just couldn’t speed up no matter how hard she tried.
In this awful place, Debbie thought, she at least wouldn’t have to hear hurry up, hurry up. If she got fired from Heavenly, she thought, it would be for a new reason.
She had thought about prostitution while driving from place to place using up gas and filling out forms. Pros-ti-tu-tion–when people said the word, when Debbie herself said it, it was the way you say murderer. Not as bad, of course, but it meant evil and sick and abnormal.
Bells jangled. The first customer! A young, slim, handsome Oriental with shoulder-length hair wearing a T-shirt and blue jeans.
“Ladies!” one of the masseuses shouted and they gathered in a line in front of the man.
The guy looked at each of the women. Debbie’s stomach made a light lurch. She smiled and jutted her chest out thinking as hard as she could, please!
He picked the strawberry-blonde.
Debbie sat down, dejected as the pair went to the darkness of one of the massage rooms. Also puzzled. A young good-looking guy . . . why doesn’t he have a girlfriend?
The next customer looked more like what a prostitute’s customer should look: a bespectacled balding pinhead in a business suit. Debbie grinned at him, hoping her urgency would somehow reach him. ‘I’ll do anything for you, honey! I’ll take less money, I’ll do more for you, just pick me, pick me!’ she thought as hard as she could.
He picked the older lady in gray. Debbie didn’t seem to have any ESP at all.
A few minutes later, he left and bells jangled again.
“What?” Debbie asked.
“He didn’t take a massage,” the lady replied. “Just looked at the prices and split.”
Debbie tried to read but even Steven King couldn’t get her mind off money. God, she thought, her driver’s license wouldn’t get suspended if she couldn’t pay a ticket — would it?
She was so fat. That had to be it. But then again, she thought, perhaps the men could tell somehow that she wasn’t a real prostitute.
“Sabrina?” Someone touched Debbie’s arm.
“Yeah?” She looked up from her book.
“You’ve got to remember that name,” said the strawberry-blonde.
Sabrina. Sabrina. Debbie’s name was Sabrina.
“What’s yours?” Sabrina asked. She noticed that the woman’s make-up wasn’t particularly heavy but then a lot of hookers you see on the tube look like normal women.
“Mine is Anna.”
“Is . . . uh . . . is that your real name?”
Anna laughed. Sabrina felt her face warm. “Of course not. Nobody uses their real names here.”
Debbie – Sabrina — looked down at her hands. “Anna” sounded so ordinary compared to “Sabrina” — it wasn’t that dumb of a question.
“Is that a good book?” Anna asked pleasantly.
“It probably will be,” Sabrina replied. “It’s Stephen King. I just started it.” She looked at Anna with a weird feeling: this is a PROS-ti-tute.
“I love to read but I can’t read in this motherfucker,” Anna confided. “So many interruptions and you’re always waiting for a massage. I can’t concentrate.”
“Yeah.” Debbie never said M.F. — that is too bad of a word. She didn’t even say “fucker” that much.
“Don’t worry, Sabrina,” Anna continued, “We all have our slow days. The good ones make up for it.”
“I’ve never done this kind of work before,” Sabrina said, then wished she hadn’t.
“It has its ups and downs,” the older lady interjected. “I’m Jackie. Don’t look so worried. One asshole tips good and you go home fine. Sabrina, your fortune bahis siteleri will walk in any minute now.” She made an encouraging gesture with a dwindling cigarette.
“Is there anything to eat here?” Sabrina asked, her stomach fiercely whining.
“Oh, yeah,” Jackie replied, “right back here, see.” The masseuse went to a door at the back. It opened into a closet that housed a vending machine.
Debbie/Sabrina dug change out of her purse and bought a moon pie. She had taken one bite out of it when the bells jangled.
A short, middle-aged Mexican in a business suit. The women sprang up.
“How does this thing work?” he asked.
“You just pick a lady,” the Goth-girl explained. “Whoever you pick will take you back into one of the rooms and show you the prices and explain our services. And you are under no obligation to stay.”
The man looked from one to the other. He rubbed his chin and shifted his weight from one foot to another. “Decisions, decisions,” he said with a self-conscious smile. For an enormous minute he stared at Jackie.
Suddenly he pointed at Sabrina.
Thank God! As she led him back to one of the massage rooms she glanced at Jackie who winked. My fortune, Deb-Sabrina thought.
The guy stared at the list of times and their prices.
“What exactly do I get?” he asked
“Sir, as it says on there, this is a nude, full-body massage. You are nude and I am nude.” Sabrina congratulated herself on how well she’d memorized the little spiel. “I will massage your entire body and I will be very happy to give you a good massage.”
He looked at her with his eyebrows drawn together. An index finger touched his lips and mustache.
You have to take it, Debbie thought. That damn traffic ticket, $100 and if I don’t get it before this month is up–
“I suppose . . . anything extra would require a tip?”
He’s not going to take it. A wasted day. Debbie should be out looking for a regular job. Shaking his pink head solemnly, Larry had emphasized that ladies don’t discuss tips at the door, that’s a sure bust.
“Uh, um, sir I-I-I would very much like to give you a massage. Now, sir, we sell massages, we don’t sell anything else, except a better-than-usual massage. Tips are . . . appreciated and I would be very happy to discuss tips after you buy a massage, sir. My name is Sabrina.” Debbie–Sabrina hoped her name would convey sexiness, a Scarlet Woman.
“How much should the tip be?”
“Uh-ummm, we can discuss tips further after you buy a massage, sir. It is against the rules to, uh, uh, discuss tips at the door but I would be very happy to tell you more after you buy . . . ” Sabrina’s voice trailed off when she realized that she was talking to the back of the man’s jacket.
“I’ll have to get more money,” he muttered, and the bells jangled again when he walked out of the parlor.
Crushed. She blew it. As she picked up the jagged moon pie in its torn cellophane, she tried to figure out what she had done wrong.
“Don’t worry, Sabrina,” the Goth-girl said, smiling sympathetically. “I’m Rowena. There’s always walks. They just want a free peek.”
“Huh?” Debbie/Sabrina took a compact out of her purse to inspect her smile, then fingerpicked a stubbornly clinging bit of moon pie off a tooth before repairing her lipstick.
“That motherfucker just came in here to take a look. He’s probably going someplace to jack off right now.”
“Oh,” Sabrina grunted in dismayed enlightenment.
“Don’t get discouraged, baby!” Anna said. “One asshole tips good and he’s made your day!”
“Anna, that guy I was just with, he started asking how much a tip should be but I wouldn’t tell him,” Sabrina said. “I think that’s why he left. Larry told me never to discuss tips with the customer until after he takes a massage.”
“Oh, he’s right,” Anna said, as Rowena and Jackie nodded. “That’ll land your ass in jail for sure.”
“But. . . what is a good tip?” Sabrina bahis şirketleri inquired.
“The last asshole gave me $40,” Rowena said, “and that’s OK but it’s not good. $50 is a good tip.”
“$100 is what a trick oughta pay,” Jackie said.
“Yeah,” Anna agreed. “But whatever you do, Sabrina, don’t take less that $30 for anything. $20 ain’t worth breaking out a rubber for.”
Bells jingled. Masseuses stood up. Then Debbie lost her plastic smile and gaped at the customer, astonished. He was the most beautiful sonofabitch she’d ever seen! Slender and tall, he had wavy golden hair flowing to his shoulders, bright blue eyes, and sharp high cheekbones set in an oval face. He looked like Brad Pitt, only better.
Debbie felt her cunt moisten. She wondered if it was against the rules to nap on the job: she thought she’d just have to find an excuse to go into one of the “massage” room and masturbate after this guy picked a lady. Being this horny would drive her crazy.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?” he asked Deb-Sabrina.
“Y-yes,” Sabrina stammered.
“Let’s go,” he said.
Stunned, she walked to a massage room slowly on her high heels, extra-careful like a drunk. She started the spiel again: “I massage your body . . . um, uh, your full body . . . we are both nude and–“
“I know, sweetheart,” he said through that gorgeous mouth, a glint of amusement in his eyes.
Of course, she realized. He has been here before.
He handed her a twenty-dollar bill and a ten saying, “I’ll take the half hour.”
Fifteen dollars, Debbie thought, closing the door behind her. So the day wasn’t a complete waste. It was the same she would have made for selling her blood and she couldn’t do that every day.
Sabrina (she remembered her new name now) went to the desk and opened up the notepad that had spaces for the masseuses to write down the time they went in for the massage, the time they have to come out, how much money the house gets, and —
“Are we supposed to get the customer’s name?” Sabrina asked.
“His first name,” Anna said. “It’s not important, just make one up if you forget. But his name is Jeff.”
When Sabrina (that was her name here) got back to the massage room, she saw that Jeff’s clothes were neatly folded on a chair. He was lying on the bed fully nude, with a hard-on, his hands behind his head. As she pulled her bodysuit down, she shuddered and the jeers of Butterball echoed cruelly through her brain. All this fat!
“I think I’ll be in here more often,” Jeff said.
“Huh? . . . Why?”
“I like a woman with some meat on her bones. I’ve got a real thing for full-figured ladies.”
“Thank you,” Sabrina responded. “Do you want to get massaged with, uh, baby oil or powder?” She tried unsuccessfully to ignore the warmth in her vagina and the sting of her hardened clit.
“We don’t have to bother with that shit,” he said crisply. “What is your name, sweetheart?”
“What’s your tip, Sabrina?”
She was dizzy. This was the big moment.”All tips are . . . uh . . . all tips are appreciated,” she began. “The bigger the tip the more it is appreciated and, uh, the better the massage will be.”
“Would you appreciate $60, Sabrina?”
Oh my God! she thought. The other women said $50 was a good tip. $50 a good tip for those slim women and he was offering her more than that!
“Yes, yes, that would be a very nice tip. I would app–“
Jeff took his right hand out from behind his head and gave her the bills he had in it. Sabrina counted them: three twenty dollar bills.
“Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.” She went to her purse and put the money in her wallet. She could pay half her traffic ticket now!
“Thank you,” she said again as she returned to Jeff, brimming over with gratitude. Sliding a Trojan down his cock, she thought: if only this fucker knew how much I love him!
She didn’t need the tube of K-Y jelly in her purse. As she wrapped her arms around Jeff and let him shove his cock inside, pressing her clit against him, she broke what she would later learn is a hooker’s firmest and proudest rule.
Sabrina kissed a customer.
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