Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Adjusting to the Underground--Part 3

Slow nights at Ellen’s were an NC-17 version of the slumber parties I recalled from my childhood. Girls fully clad and barely dressed lounged in every available space, smoking, eating take-out, flipping pages of glamour magazines, applying make-up and gossiping. Although I anxiously awaited a call, these nights became a comradely source of rejuvenation.

After listening to enough of the conversations, it was certain most of us had nothing more in common than this business, but this business was an enormous thing to share.

We were outcasts, outlaws, whores, hated and despised by the outside world. We shared the same secret and understood each other viscerally.


I had rarely seen another woman naked or in lingerie, aside from those in magazines. In
the office, I couldn’t help but stare a little too long at crotches of panties with a spot of moisture darkening the middle; at nipples poking like frozen peas at the lace of a bra; at the way a thigh was sliced by the top of a stocking.

It wasn't about being attracted. I had not, in my narcissistic world, imagined a real life woman’s vagina experiencing what mine did.

In my relationships with my ‘real life’ girlfriends, the few that I had, the only politics were whether you slept with a man or not, whether you were dating him and any injustices in between.

This was beyond that realm.
Men were paying to use your body, to dispose of you afterward and we all knew it. Our sex was our power, our ticket to freedom and yet we were the slaves anyway. Or were we?

The same secret rush of temporary triumph carried the same horror of despair and anger on its flip side. These were new emotions I was experiencing—emotions I knew could only be felt by selling one’s body to another. This was a sisterhood; similar to the one I formed cheerleading but much more intrinsic to the very nature and struggle of being a woman.

I hadn’t felt a sisterhood like this before.


A bond had grown between Cait and I, based on nothing other than the raw fact that we liked each other.

On this particular quiet shift, instead of joining in with the note comparing, we sat off to the side whispering about sharing an apartment together—whispering because Ellen didn’t allow it.

She said it was bad for the business.

In reality, it was probably because she was so paranoid of girls stealing or having any power in numbers that she wanted to keep us separated.


Cait had located an apartment.


In the office, the phone rang for the first time that evening.

All conversation halted as ears strained to hear through the closed door.


"A two bedroom," Cait whispered, elongating the ‘oo’ sound with her relaxed brogue.


The phone clicked down in the other room.


"207 East 37th St. apartment 3A," she breathed in my ear.


"Megan!" Ellen’s hoarse voice shouted out to us.


Cait’s eyebrows raised like a dog’s ears when she heard her working name called.


"Go look at it." She said, stuffing her makeup into her purse, readying herself to go.
"Megan. Quick like a bunny babydoll."


"Comin’," she yelled to Ellen, then bent down to me again, "Only one thousand a month. Elevator building but no doorman to keep track of goin’s and comin’s. We can take it right away."


I so wanted out of Hell’s Kitchen, I was ready to say ‘yes’ without even looking.


Cait went into the office to get her information. On her way out, she passed me a wink and mouthed, "I’ll try to bring you in on this one."


I nodded, winking back.


True to her word, a half-hour later, the phone rang again, Ellen called "Natasha?" and I was on my way to join Cait.

Except for the one crazy New Year’s Eve in my real life, with Philip S. when we were all too high to notice the sexual goings-on, I had never had sex with another woman in the room.

Nor had I been on a call with another girl except for my first night, but then, we were all separated and didn’t really have actual intercourse.

Sex and paid-for sex were different. The difference was the game, the politics, the wink backstage between actors that took place behind the audience’s back.


Cait answered the door as if she lived there. She had seen this client before and greeted me in lingerie and a coy, sex-kitten persona. I knew this must be her working girl Megan character, but I had never met that side of her before. Cait was chin-up, eyes wide and steadfast. Megan was chin down to her left shoulder, peering up under shy lids. Cait’s tiny, delicate lips pursed in tightly, reflecting her constant practical musings. Megan’s mouth was pouty, ready to suck or be kissed, harboring no guile. Cait spoke with a confident, no-nonsense self-assuredness even about trivial matters such as television shows. Megan was a giggly, naughty, candle-in-the-wind.

I had to re-adjust.


Certainly, I had a different persona on calls, still me but heightened, intensely focused and purposely entertaining, but I hadn’t pictured the others playing the same game.

Why wouldn’t they?

Of course they would. They fell into it as naturally as I did. The situation demanded it and they rose to it.

In all my self-concern, all my aloneness, I hadn’t imagined any one else experiencing what I experienced.


Wrapping my hand in hers, like two young girls off to school, with a gleeful smile, she led me to the bedroom to meet Bob.

He was lounging in his cotton boxers, his graying chest looking springy and alive, his hands clasped behind head, the picture of a king in his castle, greeting me by patting the empty space on the mattress next to his hip.


The moment our eyes met, I became effortlessly, Natasha. All sensuousness and seduction, I sidle up to him and begin the sexual chess game of ‘whose got the power.’

But something is different.

This is not the monologue or dialogue I am getting used to. There are three people on the stage; two leading actresses and space must be made. Megan’s eyes meet mine and intrinsically we harmonize our energies.


Bob shuts his eyes either oblivious to or enjoying our giggles as we tug off his boxers. Kissing our way down his rib cage to our destination, Cait, not Megan notices a ball of white lint buried in his belly button. She glances up at him to be sure he isn’t looking then nudges it out with a fingernail, flicking it off the bed. We gulp back laughter and she pokes a finger down her throat as if to gag, ridding herself of the grossness of him.

I play along but it surprises me in a way that turns my stomach. How can she do this job if she feels that way about the men she is with? She despises him. She feels she is ‘getting over on him’. ‘Megan’ is not just a persona more suitable to the situation. ‘Megan’, is serious armor worn waging a bloody battle.


When we reach our destination, I wait for her to set the rules. Instead of slipping a condom on immediately, she cups her hand over the head of his cock to prevent any of his juices touching her lips and looking at me the whole time, licks the vein running the length of his shaft. With a nod of her eyes, she motions me lower. I am her student. She is the master so I follow her lead.

My mouth opens, cupping his balls, discovering them in small circles with my tongue. I close my eyes to concentrate on the texture, to try and find the heated areas, to allow my tongue to use its antennae. My involvement is interrupted by the sense I am being watched.

Cait is starring at me and when our eyes touch, she rolls hers back in silent disgust. I do the same, not wanting to seem strange in my different approach.
For just a moment I think, maybe something is wrong with me that I don’t experience it in the way she does.

Yes. Probably I need therapy.


While I keep Bob occupied with my tongue, Cait grabs for a condom, quickly rolling it down his cock then coating it with K-Y. Climbing nimbly atop, she shoves him inside her. Her vagina is a tool. Her head is back and from her lips, escape porno-movie sounds: ‘Oh baby, yeah. Oh god yes. Ugh, urrrrr. Oh fuck yeah.’


Mesmerized, I watch her pussy lips separate with his wideness.

She is my mirror. This is how I look, how I act, how I disengage and stroke men’s egos during the sexual act.

I can feel her being is far away. She is thinking about anything, her Visa bills maybe, anything to keep her from feeling the useless, uninvited penetration.


Her left eye opens, searches and finding me, motions me to his head. I understand, crawling up to him, placing my pussy lightly above his mouth.

He digs in as if sucking the flesh off an artichoke leaf. I try to make the painful startled groan that escaped my mouth seem like a roar of pleasure.

Why do men do that? What if I did that to their balls? They’d knock me unconscious.

Meagan and Natasha harmonize their moans to an operatic climax dragging an overwhelmed Bob into the finale.


Megan hops off the bed, full condom in hand, to the bathroom.

The change is abrupt yet suitable to the situation.

Bob is now up wiping the tip of his penis with a Kleenex kept on the nightstand.

It is ‘Cait’ who is dressing now, and Bob, whoever he is, is pulling on his trousers.

Only I, still lounging, am out of place. Conclusion reached, play over. Don’t I know that?

None of us speak. We dress with polite smiles plastered across our faces. It feels so cold this way.


The phone rings. Cait remembers to collect the money for me. We give Bob an obligatory kiss on either cheek and silently head for the elevators.

Once the heavy doors close safely ensconcing us, we dare to look at each other and on Cait’s cue, we explode with vengeful, victorious laughter.


It is that laugh, that horrible laugh that encapsulates all that I hate about this business

The fact that we need that laugh.

I know, if I keep needing that laugh, I will become, irreversibly, a bitter, angry girl.

I don’t know how to get rid of it.

But I know it has to go.


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