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Often, when national sporting events take place (Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series), the Box goes to the people for analysis and commentary. And if there was ever a time to have someone explain how the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that finished the regular season with 83 wins and 78 losses, a team that lost 9 of their last 12 games, a team that finally clinched the NL Central because Houston lost to Atlanta on the last day of the season, how that train wreck of a team came to be playing in the World Series, that time is now.

Therefore, I am placing a telephone call to Goddess Helena, "Dominatrix. Warm, honest & discreet. Mon....Friday Appt only -- no same day. 40 & up." I got the goddessship's phone number from the classified section of the Riverfront Times, an alternative newspaper serving the citizens of St. Louis and surrounding tax-revenue-sucking municipalities.

Before we begin, I should warn you that this looks to be a hard slog. The ladies I'm calling are professionals, and being pros they expect a scam from everyone they encounter. Like the rest, I want something for nothing; in this instance, a free interview that I will use in a paid-for column. Add their natural reticence to being ripped off to the fact that what they're doing is technically illegal, and I foresee communication difficulties. I say "technically illegal" because every big city permits sex-for-hire ads in their newspapers and phone books, and, as far as I can tell, no one is ever arrested.

Whoa. Someone has picked up the receiver. I gush, very fast, wanting to get everything said as quickly as possible, "Goddess, look at your receiver and you'll see this call is coming from California. I'm a sports columnist, want to get your thoughts on the World Series. That's it, that's everything; nothing personal, we'll just talk baseball." I project manly, but sensitive, sports enthusiasm.

Click

I am not successful with "N Sexy Denise. Awesome model. C-cup round butt. In/Outcalls 24/7 Near downtown," or, "It has been my distinct pleasure to provide Erotic Nude Modeling, Massage & Relaxation services and I absolutely adore the thrill and excitement of sharing my time with discerning gentlemen (& women)," or, "Outcalls only. We are 2 sweet tasting sexy black women and we enjoy doing 2 girl sessions together. The things we can do to each other you wouldn't believe, and we really know how to please a well deserving man."

I drift into the kitchen, make a new pot of coffee, slap a slice of ham between two pieces of bread, tear off a sandwich corner for the dog, and return to my desk. Big sigh. I look down at my list and pick a telephone number.

"Hello."

I quickly rescan the list to see who I'm talking to. Here it is, "Sexy Latina With Big T&A." I begin and finish my spiel. She listens and calmly says, "Well, I'm not a sports fanatic."

The woman has a neutral, nonsexual, masters-degree-in-psychology tone of voice. I make her as second generation Mexican-American, 30 to 35 years old and smart.

I decide to hold the Wisdom of the People opening and go for a straightforward, "Have you watched any of the World Series?"

"I saw the first three innings."

"Game one?"

"Yeah."

"What did you think?"

"I was surprised they scored so many runs."

You'd have to know something about the Cardinals in order to be surprised that they scored, in this case, 4 runs. "You follow the team a little bit, don't you?"

"A little. My brother is the fan."

One doesn't think of Big T&As To Go as having brothers.

BT&A adds, "And some clients are into it."

Well, she opened the door. "Do they talk to you about the team? I don't mean to get sexy, but where do they..."

"No," she laughs. "Sometimes, they'll want to get a score."

"Do they turn on the TV? Check their Blackberries?"

Silence. Silence. Silence. Got it, back to sports. "Tell me something about the team."

The woman thinks for a minute, "Well, I know the manager likes animals."

True, Tony La Russa runs an animal-rescue foundation. "How about a prediction? Who's going to win?"

I can almost see BT&A make a little girl's face. She says, mimicking a 1940s bookie, "St. Louis in seven."

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