The Story of a Sex Worker

July 26, 2004


A few days after that weekend my mother called. She always called early in the morning, around eight or nine. She had always been an early riser and some days growing up I could hear her aimlessly clanging around with plates at five in the morning. I never woke up myself before 11:00. She wasn't calling early to spite me, she just never had any idea that she was affecting other people.

I knew it was her before I picked up the phone.



"Yeah?" I exaggerated sleepiness.

"It's Joy. I mean, Mom."

"Hi Mom," I said. My mother's name was Joy which seemed evidence of God's cruel sense of humor. "How are you?"

"I'm fine, honey," she said with weakness in her voice. "But I can't lie. Everything's not completely right."

"What's wrong?"

"Zowie's sick."

"She is?"

Zowie was my grandmother. I called all my grandparents by their first name.

"What's wrong with her?"

"She's very sick. This could be her last week."


"Yeah. So I think you should come out to see her one last time."

"In Florida?"

"Yes, honey, in Florida."

"I have to work, mom. I don't know if I can just leave."

"Tell them there's a death in the family."

"This isn't a normal job. It doesn't work the same as other jobs."

"I know," she said flatly. She knew perfectly well what I did for a living. I told her soon after my first job. I didn't want to lie to her. I didn't care how it affected her because I was sure she didn't care how it affected me. She asked me what I was doing with myself and I told her. I didn't deliberate. Emotionless as she was, she didn't raise anger or cry. Since then we never talked about it. A lot of girls and guys had support from their families. "If this is what you really want, we're happy for you," said the moms and dads from some fantasy universe. The way my mom and dad supported me was by saying nothing. Though I'd rather they stay quiet than yell threats at me.

"I'll try to get off," I said. "But you know I haven't been working that long and it might not be so easy."

"Well, you try, honey. Zowie would like to see you. It's important."

I wanted to see Zowie too. She was the only person in my family who I really liked and who had always been good to me. She was a sad case though because lately her mind had been going. She couldn't remember names, her dentures fell to her plate at the dinner table, she had her back to the camera during family pictures. I wanted to visit her.

Bernard was understanding. "It's family, Shirl. I know the importance of family. We're a family right here in this office. You also need the family outside, even if they have been rough on you. I'll give you a week."

I thanked him and called my mom back.

"That's great, Shirley. Zowie will be happy. We'll all meet in Florida." She laughed through her nose. "You know what I was just thinking about? The most funny thing. That time you went to school with no clothes on."

"Why were you thinking about that?"

"Oh, I was just thinking about what you are like now and how you were a precocious child." She said "precocious" like it was the dirtiest of words. "Do you remember that?" she said.


"That sure was funny," she said, another fake laugh through her nose.

I remembered. It wasn't so funny to her at the time.

While I was growing up, my elementary school was three blocks from our house in New Jersey. I always walked to school. When I was eight, I went to school naked. I only wore my pair of size three sneakers with red stripes on the side. It was just like everyone's nightmare, showing up at school without any clothes. The difference was, I did it on purpose. And I enjoyed it. Even at that young age I was curious about sex. I masturbated continuously from the age of four. Sometimes I stood in front of the full-length mirror on my closet door and played with myself. I liked being naked. I figured if I could be naked in front of myself and my mom, why couldn't I be naked in front of everybody? In my little kid mind I thought they'd think I was pretty and accept me. In reality what happened was that everyone was paralyzed. I walked into the early morning playground crowded with kids on the jungle gym and teachers trying to direct them inside. When I walked up they just stared at me. The boys didn't point or tease, they just stared. After a while, which could have been seconds or hours, my teacher, Miss Havingston, walked out of the main building and immediately picked me up and brought me inside. "What's wrong, honey?" she said sweetly. "Why don't you have any clothes on?" I liked Miss Havingston. She was young and kind and, looking back, a pretty foxy woman. There were schoolyard rumors about her going on dates with other teachers. She called my parents in for a meeting and told them to give me more attention because this was a cry for help.

From that point on I was feared by the boys and girls of all grades. They treated me like a young psychotic, ready to snap and bite them at any minute. Who knows what their parents told them. "That Shirley is unstable. It doesn't surprise me. Those parents never seemed to have both feet on the ground either." For all of elementary school I didn't have many friends. I spent recess alone. Poor little naked girl.


  • At 4:22 AM, Blogger forbonzio said…

    haha yea i had one of those dreams once... scary when i woke up tho... i was actually naked. weird.

  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger Reza said…

    Ha ha ha ...
    Cool, so cool. I love it when a child is so over with taboos. Incredible, I can say.

    Loved it and the picture of that child in my mind.

    Take care,

  • At 4:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just to type that I read ya' regularly.

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Lady Charisse said…


    Although, the lonely childhood's not so fun.....


  • At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very interesting entry, although not too sure about Reza's comments about keeping the picture of naked child in his head...Hope it doesn't mean anything sinister!

  • At 12:30 PM, Blogger sinsulita said…

    You've got me hooked.

  • At 1:39 AM, Blogger Izzy said…

    You DID that? Amazing. I always had those dreams, and I can say they were never pleasant.

  • At 5:35 PM, Blogger Vadergrrrl said…

    You are one amazing writer. thank you for the link. you are linked back.


  • At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there!
    Something that struck me while reading your blog is that YOU DON'T NEED ANY SYMPATHISING.

    I guess this is only ONE aspect of you. There may be others... Are you ONLY body? Heck, No!!

  • At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ~softly sighing~

    ...."Poor little naked girl."....

    I so want to wrap you in my arms and tell you that it'll be alright.


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