The moment I moved in she made a single, clear command. I was not to be in the condo weekdays from 9am to 5pm. Those hours were reserved for clients. Adhering to this demand would give me cheap rent in an otherwise unaffordable neighborhood. A neighborhood filled with accomplished professionals, quiet retirees, traditional values and mortgages and community policing. Not a neighborhood where one would expect to find a prostitute offering her services from home.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt the first few weeks. I forced myself to believe she was, as she said, a masseuse. There was a massage table in the living room and oils on the counters. Besides, she didn’t fit the image of hookers I’d seen on television or during drunken nights (and afternoons) in Tijuana. She was articulate and personable and free of alcohol and drugs.

However, only the most bullheaded conspiracy theorists can deny truth in the face of overwhelming evidence. The condo was not refurbished like the neighbors’. The furniture and decor, like the owner she rented from, was old. The place smelled damp and the shag carpet was stained. It was the last place any sane person would visit for a massage.

Oh yeah, she also told me that “loin bedazzling” was given to certain male and female clients who wanted bling around their privates. There was also a stripper pole in the living room. As she explained, “my clients want to learn pole dancing exercises.” Even having dinner in the condo seemed like I was at a strip club buffet.

But the most damning evidence came after a lazy Friday in the office, when I arrived home a few minutes earlier than usual.

I walked toward our place and looked at my phone to make sure I was not violating our agreement. I was not, but just barely; it was 5:05pm. Before entering I stalled at the door. I looked at my phone again; it was 5:08pm. She had more than enough time to finish whatever she was doing.

I slowly opened the door and walked towards the living room. My roommate yelled “No! Hold on!”

I stood there frozen. She emerged from behind a makeshift curtain used to cover the massage table, which was actually a blanket attached to ceiling hooks. Her hair was unkempt. Sweat on the bridge of her nose made her dull, white skin interesting. Her thick thighs spilled out of the boy shorts she wore. The shorts were pulled low; I could see a line where her shaved pubic hair would have started.

She yelled, “I told you five o’clock!”

I answered, “Sorry but it’s already after five!”

Just then I caught a glimpse of a bare-ass man hurrying towards the bathroom. My bathroom.

“What’s he doing!” I yelled.

“Oh…he just needs to use the bathroom real fast. Look, we’re gonna have to do something about this. I have clients! I didn’t mean exactly five o’clock. My clients need time!”

I walked away without another word. I went into my room and shut the door. I sat there helpless as some man in need of a fix used my shower. I thought, “His nasty ass better not leave any hair in my shower.”

Later that evening we didn’t discuss what happened. We also didn’t discuss it the following day, or the following weeks. But I thought about it often. What was abhorrent became strangely admirable. I respected her will to earn a tough, disgusting living and maintain some sense of normalcy. Hard-physical-degrading work was not only for Mexicans working the fields.

Her prostitution became our secret reality. Knowing what went on weekdays from 9am to 5pm filled me with excitement when I talked to unknowing neighbors: the preachy guy who asked of my relationship with Jesus, the gay man with the multiple Obama stickers on his hybrid car, the elderly Russian woman who spoke little English but constantly thanked me for the one time I threw out her trash, the yuppies next door, the young mother who had a birthday party for her daughter at the pool—just feet away from where the whore worked and her roommate abetted.

My excitement would only last for another month. After a night out I returned home around 2am on a Saturday morning. Before I could get to my room she sent a text “Have a client 2mrw morn at 9am.” Upset with the short seven hour notice and passive request to leave the apartment on a Saturday morning, I did not respond.

Later that morning she knocked on my bedroom door. “Are you here!”

“Yeah. I was sleeping. What’s up?”

“You know I have a client at 9am.”

“Well. It’s Saturday. Go ahead and do what you do. I’m going back to sleep.”

She sighed with disappointment. She stood close to my bedroom door and called her client. “I’m sorry but I’m gonna need to reschedule. Something came up…”

Later that morning I went to the kitchen and saw her in the living room. We hardly ever used the living room. There was not even a television or coffee table. It was only for work.

“We need to talk.” she said.

She looked like a seasoned boss about to fire her employee. “I like having you has a roommate and everything but you’re kind of messing up my money. I need to work more than just 9 to 5…”

I cut her off. “Look whatever you do is your business. I’m in my room keeping to myself. If you need to work, go ahead and work. I’m not here to judge.”

“I run a legitimate business” she said. She had fallen in love with her lies. “But if I have f**k to pay the bills then so be it. But I need to be flexible for my clients.” Well, maybe she hadn’t.

Our back and forth continued. Then she said it “I’ll need you to be out the place by the 10th. Even without your rent I can do better by having more client hours.”

She had used me for a couple months rent. I didn’t argue or complain. I searched the roommate wanted ads and found another place in the same neighborhood. Within two weeks I moved, still holding on to our secret.

Dewan Gibson

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Comments

jerome Aug. 31, 2010 @ 10:55 a.m.

ha ha ha ha hilarious are you stupid or just very stupid. call the cops if your smart.

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FatCatSegat Aug. 31, 2010 @ 9:37 p.m.

I'm with Jerome. Honey, take off your reality blinders. If it quacks,...wait, you are aware that Ducks quack right? Sheesh!

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 31, 2010 @ 10:47 p.m.

I think it is one cool story!!!!

You should have asked her for a "comp" though before you split......

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dewangibson Sept. 2, 2010 @ 11:38 a.m.

Thanks much Surfpuppy. I guess she does owe me a few dollars:)

FatCatSegat, did you read the entire story? After a few weeks I was well aware that she was a prostitute.

Jerome, glad you found the story humorous but I'm not so sure about your "stupid" remark. I'm not into calling the cops for "victimless" crimes. What she does with her body is her decision. I've moved, and moved on.

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