The Story of a Sex Worker

February 07, 2005


I'm going on hiatus for a little while. I want to come back.

February 03, 2005

An Ending

I looked in the paper but all I found were waitressing and office work. The thought made me physically ill. I actually got a gag reflex from the thought of asking for food orders or licking envelopes. The office jobs I could probably never get anyway. Experience necessary, must be fluent in computers, needed for research and development of small firm involved in the manufacture and distribution of car seat covers. Something so boring as to make a crossing guard look like a race car driver.

The ads that were most promising were way in the back, girls needed for hostessing and phone sales, which meant stripping and phone sex. I wanted to stay away from that if I could. Those jobs would no doubt pay more but I was soured on an industry that had so quickly and easily become soured on me.

I still had the small dream of working in commercials. There were a few ads for auditions. I was going to represent myself because an agent seemed like a waste of time and money.

I went to an audition for a beer commercial. The auditions were being held by the beach in Santa Monica. Beer commercials were always in need of half-naked, perfect young bodies. I probably wouldn't even have to talk. I could sit in the back holding a beer can and smiling in my bikini.

I thought luck was with me when I saw a familiar face. An audition could make a person cold and anonymous, sitting in a vast room of nervous but eager, identical faces. I was happy to see someone I recognized. The woman's name was Rachel. I had done a short scene with her and another guy I couldn't remember when I first started working, during the honeymoon period when it seemed I was working all the time and enjoying every minute. She was at least thirty-five but she still had her body. As an older actress, she usually took the riskier roles, gang bangs and some S&M, the roles that some of the younger girls were too nervous to take. She had to take any work she could get for fear of being outshined by young and supple twenty-year-olds.

"Hey, Rachel," I said. "Are you trying to go straight?"

She looked at me like I was trash, as if she didn't recognize me and never wanted to.

"It's Shirley. You remember?"

"Yeah, I remember," she said and then abruptly turned and walked to a metal desk where the director and casting agent were sitting.

I was standing away from them so I couldn't hear what they were saying. Rachel talked and pointed at me and the director and casting agent both looked in my direction.

Rachel walked my way. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't want to fuck this up for myself. You better go talk to them."

I went to the table and the casting agent, a woman of forty who looked like she could have starred in beer commercials when she was younger, said to me, "I'm afraid you'll have to leave."

"Why?" I said.

"That woman," she looked down at her clipboard, "Rachel Ferguson, informed us that your previous job was in pornography. We can't hire you."

She immediately began talking to the director, also good-looking and older, and together they ignored me.

I didn't bother telling them that Rachel Ferguson's other name was Amber Cummings because I thought why have both of us down. I would never have done the same thing to her but if she wanted to make it in TV I wished her luck. I couldn't blame her for being ruthless. A person had to be ruthless to survive in life. Life could be harder than a hard fuck. You did what you could for the great monster green money.

But I thought this was another bad omen. I would have my share of bad omens but this one seemed particularly bad. As I walked out of the audition, the city's bright sun, palm trees, and healthy people seemed to be mocking me in my low and bitter state. I couldn't think of any job I wanted. The thought of going back to my hot apartment was about as attractive to me as getting an office job. What could a person do who had no interests, no marketable skills except for her body, no great talent to speak of, and no ambition to change? I didn't have an answer. At least I had my health, I thought. I had survived the wreck that had become my life but, when it came down to it, I was fucked.

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