By far, the clean up is the dirtiest part. Before it, she doesn’t have to worry about how she looks, how they look, and how anything looks really. Things blur. A room disappears. Two become one.
After, though, everything changes. A smile, a smear, crumbled hair; it all means something. Smiles, and there’s enjoyment. Smears, and there’s fervor. Tears, and there’s embarrassment.
Currently, she stood on quivering legs whipping off a smile from a face caricaturized by smeared makeup and tears. She had it all. Worse still, she knew what it all meant. After years and years of service to the call, she was a bonafide sexual psychologist. In her words, “I’m Freud. Sigmund Fucking Freud.”
This was only partly true. While she certainly had sex with people, even those who looked like Freud, she was far from a psychologist, and more importantly, far from the idea of psychoanalytic sexual repression. Her actions were not because of sex. They were because of money. Sex was just a vehicle – and boy did she ever ride.
For her, sex was a means to an end. Or at least, a way to a meaningful ending. It meant so much that bodies often clapped together instead of hands.
It was during one of these endings where she learned that the most important thing was to pretend. If they screamed, she screamed. If they moaned, she moaned. In between her legs there was a stage, and each night, people came to see the show.
Tonight was one of those nights, where an audience of one went to enjoy what the whole world wished for. It was an ancient act, rooted in human nature as much as it was rooted into the realm of money.
But she didn’t worry about human nature. If anything, human was anything but natural. She was a testament to that. Plastic boobs, plastic lips, plastic hair. In short, she was an eighteen girl who became plasticine. It is the modern day rags to riches story.
She never called what she did prostitution. It wasn’t. Instead, it was a transformation. For a little while, she became anything she wanted. One night, she was a cowboy forced to lasso a bull. Another night, she transformed into a dominatrix that had a penchant for masochistic games. Another, a nurse. She became whatever she needed to be, and because of it, she became needed.
This, of course, was dependent on two things: the paper trail and herself. If the paper trail dried up before she did, then pay would be limited. If she dried up before the paper trail, then pay would be infinite – because on some nights, she certainly paid. Her flesh became a monetary system, and she was checked until dollar bills were all she could see. That, and blood. And bruises. And pain. And little mercy.
Luckily for her, what happened tonight was not one of those nights. Instead, it was peaceful. There was a gas station. There were stained walls. There was an unshaven man. For her, this was the closest thing she’d get to a honeymoon.
As far as honeymoons go, she found herself espoused to a man for two hours at a time. No more, no less. It was all part of the plan. Her profession required quick transactions. Anything longer, and the inevitable would happen. The a-word. Even the thought of it shook her more than any beating ever could: attachment. A dirty, dirty word, if there was any.
The plan was simple. Most of the time, she would dally up to a bar somewhere in Timbucktoo, order some fruity martini, wear something gold, allowing a bra strap to lurk clandestinely like a lion hiding in the savanna. Then she’d watch the havoc she caused. Eyes would fall on her. Mouths would gape slightly. Seduction would swell in the tight space. Soon, the conversations would spark. Later, the drinks would pour. Eventually, the cash would fall. Afterwards, she would be loved.
And as a result, she would fake love back.
Knowing this all, she continued to clean, continued to remold herself in a blurred image of a gas station mirror. Her lover slouched unbuttoned, vulnerable, and innocent. He looked no more than thirty, no less than twenty. His neck mapped a life of mediocre work for mediocre pay. A tattoo etched itself on to a tanned, hairless skin. It said, Nights best forgotten. Underneath it was a half-finished mural of what looked to be a man on a cross. His entire attire was nothing short of ordinary. Sleeves draped over his arms like curtains. He was average in every sense of the word.
Yet, with an avalanche of questions, few answers, and an incalculable amount of assumptions, the man, who slumped himself on a toilet in a reverie, could only be admired. Not once did he hit her. Not once did he say anything rude. In fact, all he said was, “Did I hurt you?” He hadn’t even entered yet.
Generous bastard, she thought back to the moment. Be that as it may, the man had an eerie smile cemented on his lips as he slept. Some might argue that at that moment while being cradled in the arms of Morpheus, he was happy. Others, drunk. She thought the look on his face was one of satisfaction because perhaps it was that for once, life was going right. Someone was there to listen to a litany of problems, offer a shoulder, and comb a ruffled mess of unwashed hair.
But she wondered that while her legs quivered, and her hands trembled, and an undergrowth of exhaustion combed itself over her weary bones, who would listen to her?
She waited for an answer. The car engine had ended an hour ago. Probably out of gas. The only other possible source of sound in the universe of a gas station was the man, and unfortunately, he slept innocently, almost statue-like. So, silence was all she heard, if silence can said to be heard anyways.
It didn’t affect her much. Silence was better than talking anyways. Without silence, talking would have no value. It serves as a way to admire that which can’t be said. From harsh quips to poor jokes, silence is the prison of thoughts. Most of the time, she kept her thoughts prisoned under silence. That way, she didn’t have to worry about comments that spoke so loud that they became silent. Words like “slut”, “whore” or “hoe”; she knew them well. She heard them often. Like the man’s tattoo, they were etched into her skin. They were with her everywhere. They were silence itself, because they never had to be said. Instead, they just were.
Perhaps as a response to the indomitable nature of silence, and the inevitability of it to compose the soundtrack of a life, she turned on the tap to clean herself up. Both noise and water filtered through. This was the regular routine. It was a common practice after a night of work. She whipped her face. Her body. Her hair. Herself. Nothing was spared for everything was used.
Under the watchful eye of a mirror, she cleaned. Dirt fled the safety of her fingernails. Nuanced bruises riddled soft skin. Oil oozed from the ends of her hair.
Even though her makeup made up an identity for her, if one looked close enough, they could see that it was applied with reckless abandon. This, matched with skin stretched to its limits to give the appearance of a curvaceous body and a hair dyed so blonde that she often glowed in the dark, made her feel anything beautiful. This is because she wasn’t. At least not any longer. Like always, she was just a mess. A plastered, artificial, sex-providing mess, that is.
It was who she had always been. Raised in a family that provided everything she needed, from clothes to cars to care, she stood as a contradiction to how she was reared. It is not because she was spiteful or even hateful of how she was raised, but rather because since she was given everything, there was nothing more to have. Once all her needs were met, she was left with all that she was: a human.
And when humans, being creatures who live like gods but are neither born as angels or devils, are satiated with all that they have, when they are provided with luxury as opposed to poverty, when they lack the need to do more than lift a finger, they will rise up against that which made them.
It is why Kings war for new land, charities come into existence, and why she – Jamie Greigner – stood on corners, both preying and praying for men, night after night after night.
She didn’t go by Jamie anymore, though. Her name was Karma – and she was a bitch. Or at least, the men said she fucked like one.