The Story of a Sex Worker

October 30, 2004

First Date

I called Andrew when I got home. I was eager to see him and have some regular conversation. No coercing a man into getting a hard-on, no waiting naked on a bed while cameras were set up. I still enjoyed the work but I needed a break, especially when things arose like Al Harvey. Andrew seemed like a good distraction. Sometimes a distraction could be as good as anything.

Andrew lived in my neighborhood so we met at a Mexican restaurant nearby. I wore one of the most conservative dresses I owned, flowery and flowing below the knees. I took off the g-string I had worn that day and put on something regular. He would never see it unless we went back to his apartment--we couldn't go back to mine because Far Out was still sick and sulking--but wearing a g-string made me feel like walking sex and that wasn't the way I wanted to feel.

He was wearing a full dark blue suit and a maroon tie.

"You look nice," I said.

"Thank you. It's the only suit I own. You look nice too."

We stood awkwardly for a few seconds in front of the restaurant. Andrew looked at his feet and shuffled. As a reaction, so did I.

I suddenly remembered how uncomfortable a date could be and maybe why I had stayed away from it. Sort of like taking a drug which seems all right when you're sober but once you're there, high and trapped, it could be a slow nightmare.

I wasn't used to all the quiet and nervous propriety that went along with a date. So much like a job interview. I was too used to lying down on a bed and fucking immediately, regardless of talk. I thought maybe I preferred the industry because when Andrew nervously knocked a fork off the table and it fell to the ground with a clatter and the people at the table next to us looked over, two older men with shaved heads, Andrew looked like he'd just seen murder. When he picked up his napkin I could see that his hands were shaking.

We ordered margaritas. He got his frozen and I got mine liquid so I could drink it faster.

"How did the auditions go?" he asked.

I didn't know what he was talking about. Then I remembered my lie. "They didn't go too well," I said. "One detergent ad called for an older woman and the other was filled with a hundred other blond women who looked like me."

I could have been answering a question from a year before. I took a quick sip of the margarita as if to cover my lying mouth.

"What do you do?" I asked.

"I write screenplays. That sounds stupid because everybody's writing screenplays in Los Angeles. But I can't lie, that's what I do. I also write short stories."

"I see. Have you ever had anything made?" I said.

"I sold a story a few years ago. People tell me great things are going to happen with the screenplays but they never do. Right now I'm working on rewriting a couple of very bad TV movies. It pays well."

"I understand."

We were silent. It was a painful silence, both minds racing and going nowhere. I would have thought that porn would train me for anything. But it didn't. We stared at our empty plates.

I looked up. Andrew was still staring at his plate. "How long have you been here?" I asked.

"Five years. I lived in New York for two years and then I moved here."

"Where did you live in New York?"


"I lived on the Lower East Side," I said.


Another silence.

The food arrived and that seemed to ease things.

As the night went on I began to like Andrew. He was smart like I hadn't encountered in the porn scene, except for Bernard. I hadn't met many decent men in the industry. I found that most of the men had cold, skyscraper egos. They knew they had some of the biggest cocks in the natural world. Also, you didn't get any more outlaw than a porn star, and the men knew it. When they were in front of the camera they were basically putting on a show for themselves, fucking themselves. The women weren't nearly as bad, though some of them were. A star was a star in any industry.

The tension eventually eased up and Andrew and I began talking like people. There was something about him that was refreshing. Like drinking a glass of cool water after a long time drinking sweat.

We came out of the restaurant both more than a little drunk. I put my arm around him which felt natural as we walked down Vine.

At this point of the night it was time to decide if we were going to fuck or go to our separate homes. I didn't want to sleep with him on the first date because that was exactly the kind of thing a person in the sex industry would do. I wanted to try and keep this relationship as innocent as I could. But then again I liked him. And it was tempting to have healthy sex.

"We can't go to my house because I have a guest staying in my living room," I said.

"I hadn't thought about going to your apartment," he replied.

"That's very considerate of you," I said. "You must be a gentleman. Most people would lead me to their apartment."

He looked stricken. But I had forgotten how to deal with straight people. Now that I was drunk I was almost completely lost. I was too used to saying, "Let's do our anal scene," and walking calmly to the bed.

"We can go to my apartment," he said.

I answered, "She's having trouble with her boyfriend."


"The girl who's staying with me. She's having trouble with her boyfriend."


"Do you want to know why?"

"I don't know."

I was about to tell him. I was drunk enough to offer him that challenge. When I got drunk I didn't feel like hiding anything. I was a lampshade drunk. I had enough sense to know that it would fuck up the night completely so I stopped.

"He's not very good to her," I said and tripped on the sidewalk. I stumbled toward a parking meter and fell to my knees.

Andrew helped me up. He looked concerned and maybe a little amused. His slight smile made me feel like I wasn't such a fumbling and disturbed stranger. So I kissed him in the middle of the sidewalk. The heavy pedestrian traffic passed us and watched.

Eventually we made it back to his apartment. The apartment was a small studio with only a couple of bookcases, a wooden desk with a computer, and a loveseat couch. I sat on the couch while he went to the bathroom. My heart was beating quickly. I was feeling something like sexual culture shock. I sat primly, my knees together, and waited.

But then something hit me. I thought, I'm a professional. This is what I do for a living. I shouldn't be nervous. If anyone shouldn't be nervous it should be me. So I gained confidence. When he came out of the bathroom and quietly said, "Hi," I seduced him. I pulled his shirt over his head and kissed him again. That eased him up. I'm sure he was sitting in the bathroom wondering what to do next.

I took off my clothes and he stared at me with a beautiful kind of awe. We moved to the bedroom and we had sex like I couldn't remember, at least not for a very long time. It was clean sex. It wasn't fast and furiously hard as if trying to win a race. I could have had sex with him like that, like I had trained myself, but that would have been easy and meaningless and I thought he deserved better. It was sex that reminded me that sex was divine and powerful, almost scary when done right, which was how we did it. Our minds locked and then our bodies locked last. When it was over my whole body shined. I lay there with a terrifying rush of emotion. Andrew had somehow broken through the metal case of the machine.

October 22, 2004

Big Strong Hard

At noon, I went back to the set at Al Harvey's house, driving the long drive by myself. When I got there I was very glad to hear that Al was going to be gone for the day on business.

Bernard asked me, "What did Al want with you yesterday?"

"He said he liked my work," I told him.

Bernard looked at me skeptically but he let it drop.

That day we were going to film the scenes with John Johnson who played the prosecuting lawyer. Johnson was dark-tan, hairless and muscular with the body and soul of a football player. I had met him a couple of times but I had never done a scene with him. I had done scenes with his wife. Her name was Cynthia and she struck me as crazy. She told me that their marriage was an S&M relationship. She could go weeks tied to a wooden post in the bedroom wearing an eyeless leather mask. Some relationships were one-sided abusive, like my father and I, but she said she asked her husband to hit her. "It's a better release than sex," she told me one morning as we were lying naked on an orange shag rug waiting for the cameras to be set up. "Violence is one of the strongest feelings there is. Stronger than love."

Johnson and I were going to have a scene in what was supposed to be my bedroom but was being filmed in Al Harvey's guest bedroom. Plot-wise the scene didn't make any sense. Our scene had no relation to the rest of the story. We were fucking just out of pure enjoyment and so Bernard could put John Johnson's twelve-inch cock in his movie. Johnson had one of the top three cocks in the industry.

We set up shop in the guest room, or rather, one of the guest rooms, a room bigger than the living room in my apartment.

Immediately the scene was having trouble. Johnson couldn't get it up. He sat in a chair across from the bed rubbing himself, looking determined and distressed. I asked him, "Is there anything I can do to help?" He replied, steel-eyed, "Just leave me alone. Let me work this out by myself."

He should have taken my help because his situation was the worst a male actor could come across. The pornography law said three strikes you're out. Johnson had one job to do, get a hard-on on command and use it. If he couldn't, he was of no use.

"Goddamnit," he yelled in frustration.

"Don't rush it, John," Bernard said. "Don't worry. The worry's probably what's fucking you up."

Johnson just got angrier. He clenched his teeth so his temples throbbed and pounded his knee with his fist and said, "Fuck, fuck, fuck."

I lay down on the bed. I started playing with myself in Johnson's line of vision. I didn't feel anything but I moaned slightly and let it rise with the passage of time. Johnson looked over, his anger distracted. "You're a beautiful man," I said. "You're a strong man. I want you more than anything." Soon, his cock began to rise and we were able to do the scene.

"All right, let's film this," Bernard said.

Filming the scene went like so many others. I earned my day's pay.

October 16, 2004

Naked Lunch

Andrew from the pharmacy called me the day after the shoot. He couldn't ever know it but he called me at a bad time. It was my first bad time since I started working in the industry. I had spent my life looking for something and when I had finally found some success I had to be held down by the sweat-soaked skin of an ugly man. Al Harvey just gave me a deeply bad feeling. The money hardly made up for it. I was making enough without his check.

Andrew was the kind of person who was probably twisting his fingers about when to call me. He called during conflict.

"Is this Shirley?" he asked.

"Yes. Is this Andrew?"

"Yeah. I forgot to ask your last name. I thought I lost your number and called information and realized I didn't have your full name."

"It's Gilchrist. My name is Shirley Gilchrist. It's an ugly name."

"Shirley Gilchrist," he said as if rolling over the name of a fine jewel.

It had been a long time since I heard my real name. As far as I was concerned, my name was Shirley Shave.

"Would you like to get some lunch today?" he asked.


"Yes, lunch."

"I don't think I've ever been asked out to lunch before."

"It's a meal just like dinner. Less pressure because it's not nighttime when you leave."

"Huh. Thing is, I'm not a big eater of lunch. I eat one big meal and that's dinner. Besides, I have to go to work today."

"Oh. Where are you working?"

"I have...a few auditions for commercials."

"You do?"

"Shampoo and detergent."

He let out a long breath as if deflating all the hope out of his body.

"We could get dinner tonight," I said.


"Yes. I'll call you when I get back from work."

"That's good," he said and I could hear him smiling.

I hung up the phone without smiling myself.

October 04, 2004

Fucked Up

When everything was being packed up Bernard told me that Al Harvey wanted to see me. "Watch out for him because he's a shark," Bernard said. "He's in the den. It's a small room with a TV."

I walked into the den, the second small room with a TV that I'd walked into. Al was leaning back in a leather easy chair, still just wearing his paisley briefs. There was only one lamp lit and the room was mostly dark.

"What is it?" I said.

"Why don't you sit," he replied.

I sat down on a hard red couch with a wicker back. "What do you want?"

He just smiled, the scar not showing in the dim light.

We were silent for a very long time. I could hear him breathing deeply through his nose. "I've always liked pale girls," he said, finally. "I won't beat around the bush." He repeated, "Beat around the bush," and then said, "I like your work. I want to fuck you."


"I like your work. Like I said, I've seen your films and I like you very much. I want to fuck you."

I didn't say anything. What could a person say when addressed with that? I could have Bernard direct me day and night, left and right, but that was work and after work I went back to being a person. So the question made me as nervous as anybody.

"I have five thousand dollars. Usually I don't pay for fucking but it's your work. I want to fuck you just like you get paid to fuck in your movies. Do you understand?"

"I think so."

"Let's go into the bedroom."

He stood up. He took my hand and led me out of the den to his bedroom. I was stunned and fearful and exhausted. I was too tired to get nauseous over being so close to his scar and breath, his skin as white and damp as a pig. I was too numb to be interested in the money. I just went into his bedroom and did another job. If I didn't, who knew what would have happened. He had power. I was sure he had given worse scars than he was scarred himself. I went ahead so I didn't have to worry about it. He sweated and moaned like a sad animal. I acted the machine. After it was over, he gave me a money order already made out to me for five thousand dollars. He didn't say anything and showered. I sank back into his thousand-dollar sheets and stared at the mirrored ceiling.

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