CHAPTER 13 - HIGH TECH MADAM MEMOIRS


CHAPTER THIRTEEN

To understand why I’m calling Rock, you need to not only take a real good look at everything I’ve been going through in my personal life up to this point, but also take into consideration of the time frame I’m in culturally as well.  I say this because the mood I’m in when I made that call to Rock can be summed up by saying I’m “done”.  Disillusioned would be way too docile of a word.  I feel like I’m just “done” on everything at this point. 

I’m at an age where I’m trying to define who I am and what life I’m going to build.  This is a very critical stage for most people.  I look outside of my life and what do I see?  I see that we’d just gone through Watergate in 1972.  This taught us a whole lot about a lying deceitful president, as well as a flat out lying political system and our propaganda press.  I’d been watching the Pentagon papers that had been released about the same time. Not only proving that we as a country had been lied to about the real reasons we were not just fighting over in Vietnam, but also why our sons were being slaughtered over in this “military action”. 

Worse than the actual facts in the report was seeing what some people had to go through in order to just get those facts released to us as citizens.  Including the fact we wouldn’t even know the truth about Nixon had not some very brave men actually broke into the offices at the Watergate Hotel. Now that I know even more about Watergate than I did growing up, I have even more ambivalent feelings about the whole thing.  My point being that many people were feeling disillusioned the same time as me about the whole idea of what a “good guy” even is.  Robin Hood being a hero, or a thief, really all depends upon your perspective in other words. 

Family?  I’d seen my step grandfather murder my grandmother.  This was because she left him after getting tired of him breaking her bones and blacking her eyes on a regular basis.  This was after watching my natural grandfather getting drunk, and also beating her and abusing his own children.  I watched alcoholism kill my grandfather, yet my uncle and aunt were following in his footsteps.   Another uncle kept trying to kill himself with dangerous stunts until he succeeded.  Leaving his wife to care for three boys on her own.   

I had another aunt who had just bailed the first chance she got to get away from everyone – not thinking about my welfare as the youngest child still left in this insane family, or even taking me with her when she ran away herself.  Leaving me to think I’d be safer running away to the streets at 13 years old than staying in my own home with my parents.  McClaren or foster care was an even worse choice.   

My own father was a complete sociopath preying upon my mother and his own child for his personal gain.  I was never viewed as his child, only a blockage or a tool for his agenda.  Not giving us the consideration most people would give a stray dog in the street.  My mother said she loved me, but that was only because she needed someone to send to the store to buy her cigarettes at 2:00 am when she was too stoned on prescription drugs to drive herself.  She made sure I was fed, housed and clothed – but certainly never parented me.  If anything, I’d been parenting her since the divorce.  In fact, I can’t say I was parented by either of my parents. 

Men?  Don’t get me started.  The strange perspective I had is that any man who seemed to get within any distance of me was only looking for what he could get off me.  If not sex, then power.  If not that, then anything else he can get.  When every man who gets near you lies to you, uses and abuses you, even takes what they want from you like sex like it’s their right to take it from you if not offered willingly – then the two men you know who just haven’t lied to you (that you know of anyway) or harmed you intentionally in some way actually start to become saints in your eyes.  I’m not justifying my view here, just relaying what was going through my mind at that time. 

At least I knew what the score was with Weldon and Rock.  No one was making false declarations of love, or promises that were broken.  Neither of them seemed to be pretending to be anything other than what they were.  I had a healthy respect for Weldon, Rock, even Nick and Larry because they didn’t try to hide what they were, and what they wanted.  They were being very upfront in fact about what they wanted from me, or anyone for that matter.  I admired that because they weren’t making any false pretenses about who they were.    

I had tried after my dad left to get myself into a life of the “straight and narrow”.  I wanted to just have an honest job with an honest life - finish school and not harm anyone.  The ironic thing however seemed to be that the so called “honest people” of the world were the most crooked, the most deceptive, and downright evil ones of them all.  The priest who is secretly molesting children in the back room.  The boss who is really a serial rapist.  The best friend who is really only looking for a meal ticket.  The boyfriend who tells you he loves you because he’s really just looking to score a free meal or a place to stay. It’s like those pastors who publicly condemn homosexuality, and then you hear about them buggering some male prostitute in a hotel room while their wife thinks they’re on a fishing trip.  Again, these are the thoughts of someone who is trying to figure out who they are, what the world is, and where they fit into it like most people my age do.   

I’ve heard a million times from people how they just don’t “understand” why some woman would give all of her money away to a pimp.  I’ll tell you exactly why – because in the so called “square” world, the one where everyone is telling you to aspire to be a part of – it seems none of those people are authentic.  You reach a point where you just want someone to be honest with you, even if it’s at a price. 

You can’t depend on the ones who tell you they love you when in fact they’re the ones trying to kill you on a dark lonely railroad track one night.  The system even that’s supposed to help and protect you in reality is just out to profit off you any way it can.  It’s like our criminal justice system they get funding for and voted in by convincing you it’s to “protect you from crime”.  Only in reality, this system is the one destroying the lives of the very community they’re claiming to protect by railroading innocent people because their for profit prisons have beds to fill and stock holders to satisfy.  Trust me, the more I learned about “pimping” – the more I was seeing our own country even doing that to us.  At some point you just want to  stop the double speak and call a spade a spade.   

It’s really sick when you get to the point where you feel the only thing predictable in this crazy world is that when you pay a pimp, he’s at least showing up for you.  You know as long as you’re paying him, he’ll be there.  It’s logical.  It’s predictable.  It’s controllable.  It actually feels safe because you know what’s happening.  I imagine this is part of the logic behind why a person would pay for a prostitute.  In the eyes of a young person, realize I’m still only a teenager, even younger when you realize I’ve been raising myself since I was about 12 or 13 years old by the time I’m in this mood – the outside world is what’s become completely unpredictable and dangerous. 

That’s why people in my shoes turn to drugs or pimps or even the streets – because in that world things are controllable, they make sense, and they’re predictable.  In some strange fucked up way, that brings you a sense of safety and comfort.  The outside world otherwise is chaotic, confusing, and frightening.  I guess that’s a lot of the reasoning about why people pay for prostitutes, or even do drugs.  Which is what I was seeking when I called Rock that day.  I was done.  Just done.

Neither Rock nor Weldon had lied to me I was aware of any way.  They’d always seemed to treat me with respect.  They’d never tried to harm me I was aware of either.  Here I am telling them that I need help – and they’re the only people in my LIFE that seemed to actually say “okay”.  It was still haunting me that the times I tried to run away from my father’s abuse to seek refuge at my grandmother’s house – instead they just returned me right back without even TRYING to understand why a small child would be even doing such a thing in the first place.  Not feeling “wanted” after so many years can really get to you.

Rock’s family didn’t turn the phone off.  They didn’t pick a fight.  They didn’t blow me off.  They didn’t make excuses.  They didn’t tell me I wasn’t their problem.  Like the streets, like drugs – they were always welcoming me.  If anything, they at least seemed to “want” me.  No matter how fucked up that was, the fact they “desired” to have me in their lives was something I hadn’t been feeling anywhere else.  If they needed a payment back for giving me the feeling I was actually wanted, so be it. 

When Rock told me to come on down to the club after closing, it wasn’t just the money I was looking for. It was a sense of loyalty, and again someone wanting me around.  That I wasn’t just floating through this life with no one caring about me.  Someone cared.  That’s what it felt like to me.  One of the first things Rock had told me about the life was that love was an action, not a feeling.  Feelings was just cheap talk.  Love meant doing something.  Agape love.  That was something I could get behind.  So more than just seeking money, I was seeking being wanted somewhere.

I got to the club about 3:00 a.m.  I knew the last call was 2:00 a.m., and it took about an hour to get everyone out of the club and close up the bar.  At this time of the morning, I knew it would be just Rock there.  I wouldn’t say I fell in love with Rock in the traditional romantic sense that night.  But the fact he had answered my call, responded to me he would help, and that he was in fact there for me without making excuses why he couldn’t be – translated into a feeling of loyalty out of me that was deeper than any romantic “love”. 

Rock told me he needed to introduce me to someone.  He got his coat, and then got in my car.  I thought he’d take me up to the house.  Instead he had me drive to a house I’d never been before that was a few blocks north of the club.  The house looked like any other house in the area.  We parked in the driveway and he took me inside.  The living room had this huge U-shaped sofa that looked like you could fit 20 people on it.  There was a big screen TV in it like the one at the club.  The furnishings in this house you could tell weren’t cheap. 

What struck me immediately was how comfortable I felt in this place.  I felt safe.  I felt like I was home.  I felt like I could just crawl up into a ball on that couch and fall asleep for days.  It was like a warm, dark cocoon welcoming me.  That’s the best way I can describe the energy in that house that I still miss sometimes even to this day.  I was home.

I walked into the living room while Rock went to the bedroom in the back of the house to see if I could come back.  He got the green light, then came to get me.  As he’s walking me towards this back bedroom, the only thing I can see in it is this huge hand-crafted mahogany four-poster bed with a canopy on top.   It’s so large it literally is filling up the whole bedroom.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It has stained glass in the canopy with mirrors, hand carved wood designs in the posts, satin bedding that could swallow you up whole, and I even see outlets for things you can plug into this bed.  I later learned it was for toys and massage equipment.  The bed is massive, and appears to be a work of art more than a place to sleep.  Almost like I’m looking at a stage.  In many respects, it was.

While the bed is the most massive one I’ve ever seen taking up almost the whole bedroom, out from behind one of the posts comes this teeny tiny woman.  She’s practically the size of a child.  So tiny I almost didn’t see her at all when she stood behind one of these huge posts on the bed.  I’m actually confused by her appearance because she’s 4’11” short, weighing maybe 80 pounds, and built like literally a small young girl. 

Her face however is clearly an older woman who appears to be at least 40 years old.  Her nose I can’t help but notice makes her appear to bear a striking resemblance to the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz film.  I don’t want to be as harsh as to say this woman is ugly, but she’s got a face that people say would crack a mirror.  She has brown hair, and is very plain. Her body appears to be like a child’s.  

I’m confused.  She’s not looking like any of my perceived notions of what a madam, or a high class escort, either one would look like.  I thought this was where Rock was taking me, but who this tiny dwarf of a woman is, I can’t even fathom.  I turn to Rock to ask him what am I doing here. 

He just tells me to “trust Tina” and that he’ll be in the living room when her and I are done talking.  Tina steps forward to introduce herself, and explains Rock had told her I needed a job.  She tells me  the family needs help answering the telephone for their “other” business, and that all I need to do for them right now is learn how to answer the phone.  She tells me I’ll get at least $100 a night plus tips on a good night. She of course fails to inform me answering these phones is a felony.

“All I need to do is answer the phone?”  This isn’t at all what I had imagined I would be doing needless to say.  In fact, it sounds too good to be true.

“All you need to do is answer the phone.  Of course, I’m going to teach you how we want the phone answered.  You’ll have to come here every night to answer it.  And yes I’ll make sure you go home with at least $100 a night in your pocket.  Don’t worry nothing goes down here at the house.  All we do here is answer the phones here and sleep” she explains.  I later learn that by only having the phones here, the house won’t come under any type of search warrants or surveillance.  How could it when no drugs, prostitutes or even cash are going in or out of this house?

She tells me she’s going to be my teacher, and I only am to answer to her from now on.  She makes it sound so simple.  I later learn by being told only to answer to her, this avoids any undercover cops from tricking me into saying anything incriminating.  While everything may sound simple, it’s for good sound reason. 

Right now the idea of $100 a night for sitting down and  answering a phone sounds like heaven.  Tina then nods approvingly to Rock like somehow I passed some inspection I wasn’t even aware I was undergoing.  He turns to me to take him back to the car.  I expect he wants me to take him back to the club.  Instead he tells me it’s time that I bring him home.  I’m not sure what he means. 

“Jody, we don’t just hire employees around here.  You’re either down with us or not.  We don’t let people come and go out of places like Tina’s house either.  If you’re one of us, that means you live like one of us.  You’re a part of us and we’re a part of you.  So if you want to be a part of this life, then I’m going home with you and that’s our home.  There’s no more “yours” or “mine” anymore either after tonight.  There’s only “ours”. 

You want to take care of your mom, and I have my family to care about also.  We’re in this together and we’re one family now.  If that’s not okay with you, then you can go right on back to looking for you a job and living in that apartment of yours.  Because in this family, I don’t say I love you.  Love is an action.  Love means I take care of you and you take care of me. In our family, love doesn’t mean we let you starve or hurt.   We’re in this together now – you and me.  So if you’re down with me, and you want me down for you - then take me home.”  He sits back in the car and let’s me know he’s awaiting my decision. 

“Look, I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not one of Nick or Larry’s girls.  I’m not doing this to turn around and hand you over all my money.  I’m doing this because I need to pay rent on my apartment, and get my mom taken care of until we can get her check straightened out.  It’s not going to make any sense to do this, and then just hand you the money.  Then what?” I’m asking him to clarify his terms.

Rock replies, “I told you Jody – I’m not a pimp and you’re not a prostitute.  I’m not like my family.  Here, I’ll prove it to you.  How much do you need?”

“I need about $2500 in the next week.  That’s how much I need yesterday and why I’m doing this.  I’m not even sure if the money I’d make here would even cover me.  But that’s not the point.  I need to clarify your terms here.  You just saying you want to move in with me, or you saying you want to have me hand you over everything?  What are we talking about here?” 

Rock reaches down into his boot and pulls out a roll of cash.  Counting off hundreds, he reaches $3000 and hands me the money.  “Now, go take care of what you got to take care of.  Jody, I told you, I don’t need you for money.  I got my own thing going on.  I’m talking that you and I become a team.  What’s mine is yours, and yours mine.  The only thing though is I have a say in planning where this ship is going.  It’s ‘our’ life anyway from today forward.  Deal?”

I take him back to the apartment.  He already had a backpack with him with his toothbrush and a change of clothes.  I couldn’t help but notice he seemed pretty confident in my decision to have packed that bag when I picked him up.  He moved in with me that night and stayed living with me until the end of my time with the family.  So as of that day, I was now part of the family too.  With a bond stronger than most traditional marriages.  Certainly thicker than blood.  In many respects, I still miss these people today.   

I expected Rock to try to have sex with me when we got home, or even to sleep in the bed with me.  When we got to my apartment however, or I should say “our” apartment - he promptly started setting up his bed on the couch.  I didn’t understand.  This is when I got the lecture about how he wasn’t after me for sex or money.  He could get that anywhere.  Nor was he going to push sex on me either.  His setting up his bed on the sofa was to let me know that when, or if, we had sex together in the future it would be when we decided to be a couple, and not before. 

In NLP terms, he was “flipping the script” by making it clear he wasn’t like most men who were just going to “assume” because he wanted sex that it was okay with me like other men did.  In a world where sex is actually a commodity, when you’re establishing sex that’s not for sale – you have to find creative ways to set it apart.  Things like not sharing a bed with me unless I invited him to.  Not having sex with me unless I expressly asked him for it.  It’s why most prostitutes don’t kiss clients, but reserve that for their man.  It also established our relationship was more important than just sex, and that I didn’t have to screw him to keep my job like I’d just had to do with Jimmy.

This is an important distinction because in the world of sex work, sex does become something you have to consent to.  That’s something you don’t feel you always have in the outside world where sex is supposedly “free”.   My father had felt entitled to sexual parts of me.  My employers had felt entitled to sexual parts of me.  Here in this world, I controlled access and that to me was truly empowering. 

I frankly thought this was one of the sweetest things I’d ever heard as he’s making up his bed on the couch.  I grabbed him by the hand and led him into the bedroom.  He slept in the bed with me that night, and we also had sex.  I wouldn’t call it making love, but Rock was as young and confused as I was.  But I could see he was establishing that he wanted everything I did with him to be something I’d chosen to do.  Nothing forced or required.  He left the sofa made up and told me any night I felt like I needed to be alone, that was okay with him.  It was strange I admit, but really feeling nice at the same time. 

I was told to show up at 5:00 p.m. the next night to work, and then every night for my shift until 1:00 a.m.  Rock has to be at the club by 3:00 p.m. though to let everyone in to do sound checks, make sure the bar is stocked, etc.  Quickly Rock and I fall into a routine like any married couple.  Every morning it’s sex with him.  The boy has a boner 24/7.  I come to find out he’s literally always hard.  He confesses that’s why he always wears tight jeans, and loose Hawaiian shirts – they hide his erection.  He is a 19 year old so that comes with the age.  Especially with all the women he’s around at the club.  But I can see I’m the one he’s sleeping with daily, that’s for sure. 

After morning sex, or afternoon sex really – I make breakfast for us both.  We fall into a routine fast – sleep, sex, breakfast, work.  I drop him off at the club, and spend a little time with him since I don’t really have to be at the house until 5:00 p.m. 

This ritual allows me to get to know more of the women in the family.  The “new girls” are always there in the afternoon being trained to be waitresses, like I was when I first came in.  I help answer the phones for ticket sales.  In other words, I see if there’s anything I can help with at the club for a bit before I have to go for work.  I’m one of the “insiders” now. 

Sometimes they have me run to the store to get fruit for the bar or whatever else they find they need.  I make a run or two to bring people up from the house to the club, except for Larry and Weldon.  They come down every night in their Rolls and park it in front of the club.  It’s a great way to attract attention to the club, and give it a dash of class.  Some of these new girls don’t even have a drivers license, so me driving everyone from the house to the club in the afternoon is also helping me bond with the other members of the family.

About 4:45 p.m., I head over to the “phone house” as I call it, making sure no one follows me.  As far as I can tell none of the women even know where the phone house is.  That way if they were to get arrested, they wouldn’t even know where to tell the cops the phones are.  It’s a very good separation – keeping the drugs at the club, the women at the house by me, the phones at the phone house, and with the women reporting back to the men directly – it really does insulate and protect the men from any type of drug, pimping or RICO charges.  Again, you can tell these people know what they’re doing, and have been doing it for many years.  The women who have children have their own apartments even – further separating the children from anything that could go south legally as well. 

My first day, Tina takes me into an office that had been set up in one of the other bedrooms of this house that had this huge bed in it, along with all these phone lines.  I later learned the bed was actually a stage for photographs the girls had made sometimes.  Tina sleeps in that bed also in the phone house.  Another young girl, Terri, sleeps in the third bedroom.  I only met her briefly the first night I met Tina.  Both Tina and Terri are Larry’s “bottom girls”.  Terri was a pretty girl I later learned Larry had picked up when she was a teen runaway.  The complete opposite of Tina – tall and voluptuous.

I understood that the club was kept separate from the house everyone slept in that was by me, and that they both were kept separate from this house that had all the phones in it for their prostitution operations.  I had some idea what prostitution was from reading books like “The Happy Hooker” that was big in the 1970’s, but it had not prepared me for the business operation that was based in this house.  This was where I saw the “business” side of the sex industry.  Trust me – not “sexy” at all.

There were four phone lines that had been installed in this home office.  One was off the hook when I arrived for my training.  I soon learned it was off the hook because it would literally ring all night and day long without stop.  That was the phone that was used in all the advertising.  This was the money line the clients used to make appointments or “dates”.

Then there was the phone that I would call the girls on who were being scheduled to go on outcalls.  This was set up so all calls were local, and therefore impossible to trace easily.  Back then, if you called a local number from a landline phone, it was almost impossible to trace that call.  This was how we kept everyone’s pager numbers, or home phone numbers, private and safe that was on the roster list to be sent on these calls.  The third phone was for Weldon, or Larry, or one of the men in the family to call in if they had any questions, or anything they needed to tell us about over at the house. 

We didn’t have call waiting on phones in those days.  So to have a clear open line so one could get through in an emergency, that’s why there was separate phone numbers.  The fourth phone was for the women to call us on to let us know they’d arrived at their destination safely.  That was the “check in” phone.  Very important we didn’t miss those calls because that’s how we knew where anyone was at any given moment.  The girls were supposed to call us when they got to where they were going, and then again right before they left the house.  Once out, they were to call us again from the nearest pay phone to let us know they were out entirely now and safe. 

I had no idea where these calls were coming from.  Tina showed me a yellow pages phone book.  In this book, under “party planners” was a listing for “party entertainment”.  This ad looked like any other ad, a box ad that said “strippers available.”  This was the early 1980’s and things like this were only really allowed as party entertainment. She told me adult men knew what those ads meant.  They also had an ad under “cleaning services” for their topless maid business.  This was when escort service, or even outcall ads in the yellow pages was still completely illegal.  I was learning how prostitution operated before the internet was born. 

After showing me the yellow pages ads we had out on this phone that was now off the hook, she showed me more ads in these newspapers I’d never seen before.  Turns out these newspapers were what was in those vending machines I’d see out by the post office, or by liquor stores.  The vending machines I’d never bothered to open because everyone knew they had adult magazines for sale in them.  Anyone could buy them for a quarter.  No ID was required to buy one of these newspapers.  Trust me, we got a lot of calls from horny, curious teenage boys on those lines.

These were newspapers like Screw, LAXpress, Swing, or other cutesy titles that let you know these were adult publications.  I remembered this 70’s film, “Eating Raoul” that was listed as a comedy, but was actually very realistic for not only these types of papers, and the ads in them – but also the type of guys who would call you off those ads.  You could literally find a guy having any type of fetish or kink imaginable in these papers.  Want someone to pee on you?  You’d find it in these papers.   

Besides selling these papers with our ads in them in those vending machines around town, they also sold them at newspaper stands, and most liquor stores that also sold adult magazines.  I’d never seen these types of newspapers, nor these types of ads.   Then again, I never walked into tiny liquor stores, asked to see the porn mags they had behind the counter, and then thumbed through them before now either.  I learned porn was just a way to market our ads.

So this was opening up my eyes to a whole world I never knew existed, nor that it was this big either.  No movie I’d ever seen, nor book I’d ever read – prepared me for how huge the market was consisting of these horny bastards willing to pay big money just to get off.  Once I put that phone back on the hook, that phone would ring 24/7 back to back.  I don’t know of many other businesses that generate that kind of call volume.

The ads were headlined things like “Busty Blond” and “Oldies but Goodies” and other such headlines that let you have a general idea what you were getting in very graphic terms.  These newspapers were for the “locals”.  They would come out every two weeks and were only distributed in southern California.  New York had their own local rags, as well as any major city actually.  We weren’t getting calls from them, so I wasn’t concerning myself with the other cities activities. 

All they had to do to keep these ads renewing was to just send in a check or money order every couple of weeks along with the ad number, or a copy of the ad.  This was why none of these women ever even dreamed of standing on some corner somewhere like a common prostitute.  At the same time, unless you had a landline, you didn’t get these calls.  That’s what separated us from the street prostitutes.  We had a landline phone.    

Then there were the ads in the back of the adult magazines like Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse, and other national magazines.  These ads came out every three months or so.  They were also very expensive because they went out all over the country in these glossy magazines.  That’s why the ads were more general in nature. 

I didn’t understand why we needed both local and national advertising, but Tina explained sometimes a man from New York would want a special request he couldn’t find locally, and therefore he’d be willing to pay extra for a woman to travel to see him.  She explained that this world was a very small world indeed, and some women were in such demand that they traveled the country to see their clientele.  Especially those who were also dancers, and in porn. 

After showing me the publications, and the ads that I was going to be answering, she helped me with the “cheat sheet”.  Since I was to be the greeter, screener and dispatcher all in one -  then I needed to know who was available, for what, where, and also when.  This was when I knew for a fact that the women who worked at the club were also doubling as escorts, strippers, porn performers, you name it.  This “cheat sheet” gave me a column for each woman, along with her “do’s” and “don’ts” so I knew what her limitations were, her basic hours, rates, etc.  It also noted her “manager”, or her pimp in other words.  That was because I was never to talk directly with the woman about money.  That conversation was only to be held with her man. 

As long as she never discussed sex and money in the same conversation, this protected the woman from any prostitution charges.  The way it worked was I talked money, and the girl left all sexual conversations for when she arrived on the date.  This way the twain never met, and the law wasn’t violated.    

I was to spend the next few nights with Tina showing me how to answer these calls.  There was so much more to what was needed to answer these calls properly than you could possibly imagine.  The minute we put the ad phone back on the hook, it would ring all night long nonstop.  The minute you hung it up, then it would ring again.  I was getting calls from every type of male imaginable.  Every race, age, profession, etc. 

The first thing I was taught as a cardinal rule was never to EVER send any woman out on a call to another African American male.  When I asked why, because it sounded hypocritical, I was told it was because other pimps would use these services.  Therefore, if I sent the woman on a call to an African American male who was a pimp trolling for new “bitches for his stable”, we might not ever see her again.  This is when I first heard about “gorilla pimps” who just take off with a woman literally and physically – not letting her go until she was dead or used up. 

Because this kind of caller was so dangerous, Tina taught me ways of trying to catch if he was African American no matter how much he might try to disguise his voice to sound white.  Not all black men sounded black on the phone.  She told me it was also important to never send anyone out on a date with a black man in case anyone got pregnant.  When I asked why, Tina joked, “So if the baby comes out biracial then we know who the daddy is!”  Since this was before they had DNA testing, that made sense. 

There was only the most rudimentary screening in place.  To be safe, I was only to set up appointments for those who called from listed phones so we could verify their home address.  That or they had to be in the “Black Book”.  This was a phone book that was in a three-ring binder of numbers Tina had been collecting in the now 40 years she’s been working as a prostitute. 

I can’t believe what I’m hearing when she tells me she’s 50 years old, but has been a prostitute for 40 years.  The math makes no sense to me until Tina tells me how she was literally sold to some circus people when she as only 10 years old by her drug addicted mother.  How they used her as a prostitute from 10 years old on, and she’s been one ever since Larry “rescued” her from that circus.  I can’t help but wonder if starting as a prostitute at only 10 years of age is why her body seems to have stunted growth at that age.  Nor can I wrap my head around the idea even that she’s been working in prostitution for literally four decades now from coast to coast.  I feel honored actually I’m being taught everything she knows as has been arranged for me on these phones. 

Which she did.  Night after night she would teach me by taking call after call to help me learn how to screen them for potential danger.  It was always like a slumber party working with Tina.  When I’d arrive, we’d put on some coffee.  Then we’d plug in the phone, and she would take me through how to handle each call.  Regaling me with stories of her prostitution exploits the whole night, and then using these stories to teach me why this call was okay to set up, but that one wasn’t. 

Tips given such as never book an appointment with a body builder type guy.  When I asked her why, she told me most men built that way hated women.  If they hated women, the only reason they were booking an appointment was to hurt a woman.  She also pointed out most body builder types (in those days anyway), had got that way from being in prison.  Therefore, they were probably dangerous to begin with if they had a criminal past.

She then proceeded to tell me the most horrific stories of what body builder type’s of guys had done to her over the years.  The steroids she also said made them volatile and dangerous.  But mostly robbed them of their sex drive, so I had to listen very carefully to the callers voice to hear if he was GENUINELY “horny” when calling.  Tina taught me to listen very carefully to see if they were “angry” or “horny”, because “angry” meant they were only looking for someone to hurt.   

Let’s face it – since Jack the Ripper, serial killers have targeted prostitutes.  Heck not even serial killers, but just plain killers as we had recently heard about when a Playboy Bunny named Dorothy Stratton had been murdered by her husband, Paul Snyder.  The synchronicity didn’t escape me.  While I’m learning about voices from Tina, I’m also learning about “tones” and “breathing patterns” from Dr. Bombay in our NLP classes.  This is why I have no music or TV on behind me when I’m answering the phones – I want to hear the caller breathe. 

The more I was learning about these calls, the more stress I began to feel.  Tina’s stories were always reminding me that if I sent one of our “sister wives” (all the women were her “sister wife” because we were all a family unit), on a bad call, it could literally mean her death. 

Not like we could call 911 for help either.  Not because of the fear they’d arrest us, but knowing they most likely wouldn’t lift a finger to help us.  This was also when Tina let me know in the eyes of the law, we were “criminals”.  Therefore, the police would no more protect us while doing business than they would a local drug dealer.  Another reason some of these maniacs would target prostitutes.  They knew they could rape and rob us, and most wouldn’t even bother to make a police report.

But this is explained to me why we need to be able to get through to the men with their phone too.  If something goes south, I’m told not to call the police, but instead call one of the men.  Let them handle it.  This is also adding more stress to me on my screening.  The thought if I slip up, and some maniac gets past me, that people can get hurt.  At the same time, everyone is assuring me the likelihood of anything going wrong is rare.  Historically, violence, rape, and even murder are pretty much reserved for the street prostitutes. 

Which is why I started taking my ephemeris with me to work.  An ephemeris is a book that tells you where all the planets are at any given moment.  Feeling the power this job holds over these womens’ lives, and the responsibility, I start using the job as a way to do astrological research.  I also feel better knowing that I’m using my “other” talents like my intuition, and also my astrology to bring some added security to what I’m doing. 

I started collecting everyone’s birthdates.  I also started asking some of the regulars for their birthdates as well.  Each night I’m checking where the moon is, as well as the “dangerous” planets like mars and pluto.  Once again synchronicity is at work.  Peter had taught me how to tell what’s on someone’s mind by the time of their call.  I also started keeping a journal of the calls, and noting the planets.  This way I can start noticing what planets mean a good, safe, night – and which ones don’t.   I’m not telling anyone this, but I’m making sure that when the planets are dangerous, I’m not sending anyone out on calls, or “dates” as Tina called them. 

Which was getting noticed.  Soon most of the girls are saying they won’t go on any calls except the ones I’m scheduling.  They’re learning that the ones I send them on are going smoothly, with no complications.  Some of the other girls however have men who don’t want them waiting around for me to schedule them something.  Those women are taking matters into their own hands by hitting a street corner, a bar, a club, etc.  They’re reporting back disastrous results on those evenings. 

Weldon drops by the house one night.  I can tell the talk has reached his ears about me using astrology to help book calls because he’s never dropped by the house before.  Tina of course relays everything we do back to her pimp, Larry, who in turn relays everything to Weldon.  I knew he was coming to talk to me because he came right to me once he came in the house.  Of course my ephemeris is sitting on the desk next to me.  He picks it up and asks me what this is.  To him, it’s all gibberish being it’s all in astrological symbols. 

I don’t see any reason to hide anything from him.  He knew I’d worked as a psychic reader before coming to the club.  I explained to him that I was using this job to help me do astrological research, and also to keep everyone safe.  He listened very carefully to what I had to say, as he always did. 

“This kind of thing is why I picked you Jody.  You’ve got brains.  Not just book smarts, but brains.  Anyone of these girls can work as a prostitute, but it takes a certain kind of smarts to be on the ‘management’ end of things like me.  You see, I’m responsible for steering this ship.  Which means I’m responsible for everyone.  I also need to grow our business, and I need help.  But I need help from someone who understands the business end of this business.  I also can use you helping me chart other things we’re doing.  The only thing is, most of the family are very superstitious.  They equate what you’re doing with witchcraft.  I’m going to start giving you more responsibilities, but I need you to keep this (pointing to my ephemeris), between you and me, okay?”

He asks, but goes on, “I’m going to tell Tina to start training you in more than the phones.  I want you to be able to understand every aspect of our business so you can help me run things.  So starting as soon as we can get someone else to start covering the phones, Tina is going to start teaching you about the rest of our business.  Don’t worry, you will be getting paid the same, or more.  Soon you’ll be my right hand helping me run things.  You see how big my responsibilities are, but I also need to expand us too because our family is growing all the time.  Is that okay with you?”  He’s asking me, but I can tell he already knows my answer.  I again feel needed, and wanted, as well as respected now.

“Rock is having a birthday party up at the house this weekend.  You bring him with you, and come on up.  We’ll also talk more then about business, okay?”  When he invites me I realize a year has passed because Rock’s birthday is February 9th.

He sees that I understand that this is the kind of business where people can literally die if anything goes wrong.  That I’m understanding this is not just business, but life and death.  At the same time, I’m not really that worried.  In fact, I feel kind of immune.  Yes I know that the “streets” are dangerous, but we’re here in the valley, driving Rolls Royce’s, and running escorts off a call service.  In all the stories, all the news reports I’m hearing – I’m not hearing that there’s really any danger at this level of things we’re at.  

Escorts had been kept pretty immune in the past from a lot of what goes with the street because they are operating through landlines.  If someone is looking to harm someone, they don’t generally want to be calling on a phone that can be tracked by the police.  Which in the days before cell phones, all phones were attached to an address.  They were in someone’s name.  Besides, because these were landlines, the man isn’t going to do anything to bring trouble down into his house or business. That’s the way Tina explains it to me anyway.  ­­

But cocaine was coming to town and about to change everything. So was something called “Iran Contra”.  Remember, nothing stays the same in my life!

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