The Story of a Sex Worker

August 31, 2004

Closing In

My apartment was right on Sunset Boulevard so it was loud with traffic. I considered moving to someplace quiet with my new money but moving was a pain and I found myself not using the apartment very often. Many times I slept at Bernard's or somebody else's house after a late night.

Far Out brought over a sleeping bag and a backpack. She sobbed periodically but then began to feel better once she put her sleeping bag on my couch and made a small home for herself in my living room.

"I have an extra key for you," I said.

"Far out, Shirley. But I think I'm only going to be here for a couple of days. I can already tell that I'm going to miss the shit out of Kirk."

"I think you should stay here longer than that, to clear your head."

"Thanks so much, Shirl."

She lasted five minutes trying to talk about other things besides her boyfriend. She said she liked the apartment and what a nice view, a view of a neon-bright strip mall, a thousand honking cars and a couple of broken streetlights. She paced around the room and then said, "Goddamnit. I feel like I'm in hell wearing winter clothes."

She shuffled back to the couch and sat down. "I just wish Kirk could understand that I don't feel anything even close to love when we're filming. Sure, I enjoy it. I mean, Jesus, even you and me have done it a couple of times and it was fun but it didn't mean anything."

"Of course."

"That's why I wanted to do a scene with Kirk because I enjoy the work and I thought it could be the best of both worlds."

"Maybe those two worlds can't be crossed."

"I hope not. That'd be more fucking far out than I'm willing to deal with. I've always said that if the work came between us I'd quit the job. But I don't know if I can do that now. I like the business and I've met so many good people here. Like you." It was a warm sentiment but she looked bitter. "And I don't know where the fuck I could go after this work. I hear there aren't that many places that'll hire you after you do this. I've heard employers have a way of finding out, even if you lie."

"It happened to Paula Jackson," I said. "She got a job in a commercial but they found out about it and they fired her. A porn queen can't sell bibles."

"Shit, right, so I'm stuck in the business as it is. Not that it's so bad but I don't know if Kirk can live with it."

"That's why I'm saying you should stay here a couple of days."

She sighed like smoke again. "I will and I thank you for it," she said.

She looked at the window which reflected back the room. I was sitting on the edge of a chair, leaning in to listen and console her, playing the role of mother to a girl two years younger than me. She stared at her crying reflection in the window and shook her head. "If he only knew how little of myself I put into the movies. Sometimes I make believe I'm a whole different person. I, like, make believe I'm this slut personality." She was smiling now. "I mean it. A cheerleader slut. I even named her. I named her Chastity. I thought that would be funny, Chastity, the cheerleader slut. Sometimes when we're filming I'm not there at all. Chastity's doing all the work. Me and her have a good relationship. I tried to tell Kirk about it but he just told me to shut up and that I was crazy."

"It is a little hard to believe."

"But it's true. I used to do it as a kid. I'd make believe I was different characters. There was Monica, the goody-two-shoes girl who did well in school, and Gwendolyn, the bad girl. I always loved that name, Gwendolyn. I wanted to use it as my stage name but it was taken by Gwendolyn Pierce, that woman with all the earrings."

She put a hand to her ear and shuddered. "When I was ten years old I made Gwendolyn get pregnant. I shoved pillows under my shirt and made believe I was. I had about five characters. You know, far out, I think I had one named Shirley."


"Yeah, but I can't remember what she did." She paused, sadly. "I went into the characters when my dad played around with me. I was lucky I could come out of myself like I did."

I was going to go over to the couch and start rubbing her back but she would start crying again, and for her crying didn't seem to be any kind of a release but just reminded her of her sadness.

"Kirk doesn't have anything to worry about," Far Out said. "I'm clean."

"Maybe he'll come around."

"Maybe. He's usually so gentle."

"No man is completely gentle."


We went to sleep with the loud city noise coming in from Sunset, the windows opened wide to catch a soothing breeze from the L.A. heat. I watched Far Out fall calmly asleep on the couch. She lay on top of her shiny purple sleeping bag as peaceful as an eight-year-old. I imagined one of her characters laying in my apartment, Chastity or Gwendolyn. I turned to go into my room when I heard her mumble something. I said, "What?" and walked to the couch. She was talking in her sleep. I heard her say, "Dad," and, "Kirk," and, "Far out," and then she was quiet.

I fell asleep to the traffic.


  • At 2:12 PM, Blogger Seth said…

    That's just such a foreign concept to most people. Kirk needs to listen to Far Out if he really cares for her.

    I'm glad you're there for her.

    Vader sent me over.

  • At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i'm wondering why you never comment on the many people who believe this blog is fiction, or plagaristic?


  • At 2:31 PM, Blogger Shirley Shave said…

    Read my post: Intermission. I don't really feel like defending myself.

  • At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just found this and wanted to tell you how much I love it - love your writing and love the way you portray the industry.



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