Eric Morlock tells the story of an unconventional sex-worker from the perspective of some of the men in her life.
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She must be the strangest call girl in town. And it’s not just the way she dresses and her quirky demeanor. The see-through nun’s habit is odd, to be sure, but it’s also quite erotic. And all of the ritual items on her altar don’t really bother me anymore. I’ve even gotten used to the prayer she says beforehand. I have no reason to take offense, because it doesn’t mean anything to me. But it obviously does mean a lot to her. For a long time, I wondered if it was all some kind of kinky act. But by now I know it isn’t. That’s the strange part. That and the fact that she seems so normal otherwise.
This waiting time is always unnerving. I have such conflicted feelings – guilt mixed with anticipation. Even though
my wife hasn’t touched me for months, and probably even
knows I’ve found comfort elsewhere, I have the nagging
pangs of a rank adulterer. But I also feel curiously at home
here, sitting in her pretty parlor, surrounded by prints of
Renoir’s plump, rosy nudes, and soothed by the strains of
Bach and Mozart, which she insists are her own flute
recordings. A casual glance out the window underscores
the otherworldliness of this place, perched on a thirty-story
high-rise overlooking Puget Sound.
I’m often tempted to ask her why she conducts her business at home. Isn’t it dangerous? After all, a rich client is not
necessarily a stable client. I could easily imagine some lonely CEO becoming obsessed with her and frantically ringing
her doorbell in the early-morning hours, or perhaps bribing
his way past the doorman. I could see some half-mad,
high-stakes player, consumed with lust and what he
believes to be love, following her around like a common
stalker. She must know the risks involved in inviting strange
men to her bed. Perhaps the greater risk lies in the
I continue looking out the window at the sparkling skyline of Seattle. The space needle commands my attention
for a time. Its bright revolving top makes it look like the
world’s tallest lighthouse. Although the restaurant has been
closed for hours, I can see the dark silhouettes of assorted
night owls wandering about like sleepwalkers. Are they
lonely? Troubled? Desperate? Do they long for love?
Soon I hear soft footfalls in the hallway and she appears
in her customary black cloak. If the garment had a hood
she might look like an effeminate monk. Then again, if she
wore a pointed hat, she could easily pass for a very comely
witch. Her pale skin and petite form make her look fragile,
a quality that I like. She knows I don’t care for makeup or
jewelry. If she had the smallest tattoo or a piercing anywhere besides her ears, I would never come to her. And if
her long black hair were any lighter, or if her eyes were blue
and not brown, it simply would not suit me.
She settles into the plush armchair opposite me, crossing her legs then quickly pulling the cloak over her knees.
Her lower legs and ankles are smooth and white, and her
small feet are covered by black velvet dancing slippers. Her
delicate hands rest lightly in her lap. The thin black band on
her left ring finger is the only adornment I will tolerate. She
says it is a symbol of her marriage to the “Creator.” I accept
this as I have accepted the large, irregular “birthmark” on
her back, which looks suspiciously like a burn scar.
I can’t help wondering about the music, which seems
too accomplished to be her own. I suggest to her that if she
were really that good she could surely find work as a professional musician, if not with a major orchestra then with
a smaller ensemble. Weren’t there scores of chamber
groups in the area? She concedes that there are, but that
the better groups travel too much. “Besides,” she says, “the
recitals are mostly at night and I like my nights to myself.”
I remind her that most recitals are over by ten o’clock, and
that she could easily be home in time for her… liaisons. Her
eyes flash in mock reproach. “Well I never,” she moons,
running her hand down her cloak. “You think it’s easy
to look this good? Pure velour!”
She asks about my work, and whether the software
industry is hurting from the failure of so many internet businesses. Something akin to vanity – or perhaps it is just
dumb male pride – forces me to lie. I tell her my company
is doing fine and that demand for our products is actually
up. I don’t mention that most of the demand is from marginal businesses that have to settle for outdated software
because they can’t afford the new. I think of a few choice
words to launch at the big-shot companies that are trying to
squeeze us out, but I hold my tongue. This is my “down”
She smiles brightly and says she’s pleased my business
is flourishing. Then, her smile turning sly, she confides that
she once had a porn site on the internet. “I figured it had
to be better than stripping. At least monetarily. But it wasn’t.” She starts to giggle, then bursts out laughing.
“The come-on was such a tease,” she says. “You show
a little this, a little that. They had to pay for the rest.
Unfortunately, not many people went for it.”
I reply that anyone who doesn’t want to see more of her
must have impaired vision. “Flatterer,” she says, batting her
A sudden silence descends. Then she asks if I’d like
some wine. I decline. After another lull she remarks at the
rarity of the clear night sky. “A clarity rarity,” she says, grinning. I nod my head. Finally, she politely suggests that we
go into the bedroom. I nod tentatively, then blurt out a
request I know to be fruitless. Would she please play her
flute for me?
A dark look colors her eyes, but quickly dissolves. “I’m
sorry,” she says matter-of-factly. “You know I can’t.” Then
she gets up and comes over to me. With a playful wink she
reaches down and takes my hand. A gentle tug coaxes me
onto my feet, and she leads me down the hall to her bedroom.
The room is very dark, as always, illumined only by a
soft night light by her bedstand. Opposite her bed is an
altar of sorts, a high antique bureau with door panels
instead of drawers, and carved in intertwining floral and
serpentine patterns. On the wall above the altar hangs a
large oval mirror, with a black wooden frame carved to
resemble a braided rope. Atop the altar everything is
brass – an hourglass-shaped candleholder, an incense
burner in the form of a Buddha, a slender flower vase, and
a shiny, unadorned cross. It strikes me that, despite its
sheen, the cross is the only object on the altar that looks
commonplace, even generic. In my Lutheran upbringing I
must have seen scores of crosses just like this.
She lights the candle and uses its flame to start up a
cone of incense. Then she goes over to her night stand, on
which rests a large crystal vase full of long-stemmed roses.
She examines the bouquet for a moment then picks out a
large, bright-red flower and takes it back to the altar. She
carefully places the rose into the brass vase, smells deeply
of the blossom, then turns and asks me to sit down on the
bed. I comply.
Now proceeds the most unusual of her rituals. She starts
to pray. Whether her words are directed to Christ, the
Buddha, or the Earth Goddess, I can’t tell. Perhaps she is
praying to her own reflection in the mirror, for her lovely
face is framed there, looking straight ahead but with her
eyes half-closed as if entranced. Also visible are her hands,
held palms together with the fingertips pointing at the collar of her “habit,” which has inched up above the top button of her cloak. I can never make out what she is saying
until the end, which I’m sure she intends for me to hear. I
know the line by heart: “May we two be united in this act
of love, and may we never be separated from love’s sacred
After this is said she comes to sit down beside me, at my
left. She takes my right hand and slides it inside her cloak
and between her breasts. Then she puts her left hand on
my chest. The idea is to feel each other’s heart beating, but
I can never feel a thing. Yet she is satisfied soon enough,
and asks if I’d like to begin. I nod my head and she gets up
and goes over to open her walk-in closet. She slips out of
her cloak and hangs it on a hook. She stands perfectly still
for a time, with her back to me.
The entire contour of her body is visible through the
sheer fabric of her “habit.” The wide but delicate shoulders,
the muscular legs, the fine, round bottom. I am treated to a
generous view of the latter when she bends over to change
the tape in her stereo system, which occupies a corner of
the closet. Soon, new sounds fill the air – more flute music,
but with a sensual, Middle-Eastern flavor. She turns around
and starts to dance, her hips gently swaying and her arms
moving in graceful arcs. Then she reaches down and takes
a swath of fabric in hand. She raises it up to cover her face,
then swirls it back and forth across her body, her large
breasts undulating to the movement. She is part nun and
part harem-girl – for me, an exciting persona.
She slowly advances, twirling completely around after
every other step. I begin to undress, hanging my suitcoat,
tie, and shirt over the rear bedpost. Then I sit down to
remove my shoes and socks. Rising again, I start to
unbuckle my belt. I watch her perform another flawless
pirouette. Then, glancing over her shoulder, I catch sight of
a small black box on the top shelf of the closet. It is too long
to be a shoe box. I squint hard through the dim light, and
finally discern that it is an instrument case. Her flute case,
no doubt. I quickly remove my pants, for she is almost
upon me now. I scramble onto the bed to assume the position – face down on the comforter in my shorts. She gives
the best back massage I’ve ever had.
She goes to the bedstand, takes a tiny bottle of massage
oil from the drawer, pours some out and rubs her hands
together. Then she crawls onto the bed, straddles me, and
settles on my behind. Soon the air is laden with a sweet,
musty scent, similar to the incense. It is patchouli, I think,
and while not my favorite fragrance I can easily surrender
to it. Her hands slowly spread from my neck to my shoulders, moving in small circles, firm but not too deep. She
inches down to my upper back, then lingers for a while on
my shoulder blades. Before long I am so relaxed that I feel
I could nod off at any moment. My lazy gaze wanders
around the room, until my eyes light on the instrument case
again. Soon a seed is planted in my mind.
Hard as I try, I can’t dismiss a sense of dismay that she
refuses to play for me. For what I pay her, it seems like I’m
due an entire recital. I suppose she has her reasons for
declining. Still, she’s said several times how much she
enjoys playing for friends. What am I – just another john? I
start to feel a familiar churning in my stomach, an inkling
of nausea I get when I realize, someone has taken advantage of me. And so, knowing that only one thing will bring
relief, I venture to pose the question again. Looking over
my shoulder, I nod toward the closet and mention the
instrument case. Will she play just once for me? Perhaps
after we’re done?
She stops rubbing, and after a long silence says, “I’ve
told you I can’t do that.”
I ask why and she says it’s the wrong time and place.
When I remind her about playing for her friends she tells
me she only plays in someone else’s home. I pause a
moment, trying to remember if she ever said otherwise. But
I can’t recall. I ask how can I be sure that what I’m hearing is her own music?
“I guess you can’t,” she says.
I turn my head away and let it sink into the pillow. I try
my best to relax, and ignore the queasy feeling that remains
in my stomach. But it’s no use. My gut tells me she’s lying.
Maybe she doesn’t play the flute at all – maybe it’s all a ruse
to give people the impression she has “class.” Even if I’m
mistaken, what is the harm in playing a short piece, of her
own choosing, for a fellow music lover? If she perceives
some sort of conflict between business and pleasure, I have
to balk. Her business is pleasure. Feeling increasingly
annoyed, I pose the question one last time. Won’t she
reconsider? I’d be willing to pay extra.
I wait for an answer that never comes. And the massage
is slow to resume. This time she proceeds without enthusiasm. Her hands seem almost indifferent. And she doesn’t
even finish the task. After some cursory work on my lower
back, she doesn’t even touch my rear. She pulls off my
shorts, as usual, then thrusts her hand between my legs and
grabs my scrotum. I’m a bit alarmed, at first, but then she
starts to massage my testicles, gently and sensuously, until
I begin to respond. I tell myself that she is now aroused, as
well, and that she wants me. Soon I am very hard, and she
tells me to turn over. When I do, she promptly mounts me.
Since this is our usual procedure I have no reason to object.
Except that this time she is facing me, and hasn’t removed
I suppose whichever way she wants to sit is up to her,
but I’d much rather she were nude. She has such a beautiful body, and the softest skin. Of course, this way I don’t
have to look at the odd “birthmark” on her upper back.
Still, it seems only fair that if she intends to remain facing
me, I should get to look at her breasts. In this dim light, and
with her body blocking the candle, all I can see are two
vague parabolas behind the fabric.
Before I can ask her to remove her habit, she is off and
running. Instead of her usual slow, circular motion, spiraling up and down like a helix, she starts bouncing wildly, as
if I were a human trampoline. It reminds me of my very first
time, back in high school, when the girl didn’t know how to
move or when to ease up so we could make it last. And
how humiliating that this time brings the same results. I finish all too soon, and, even more embarrassing, I call out
her name. “Mary!” I say, half-excited, half-bewildered. It’s
all one big messy mistake.
I try to be tactful. I tell her it wasn’t what I expected and
ask if she was in some sort of hurry. Because I could understand if she had another client… But she says no. Then she
scoots off the bed and starts rifling through the bedstand
drawer. She flourishes a fistful of tissues and tosses them at
me. There follows a stern command for me to get dressed,
after which she strides over to the closet to put on her
cloak. I clean myself as best I can, then, leaving the
remains, I rise to get dressed.
As I do, she steps back into the closet to turn off the
stereo, then reaches up on tip-toes for her instrument case.
She takes it over to the altar, opens one of the door-panels,
and flings the case inside. She slams the panel shut even
more emphatically, then leans back against the altar with
her arms crossed.
I begin to tie my shoes. An odd, raucous voice shouts
“Hurry up!” but I don’t. I take my own sweet time. When
at last I get up and start toward the door she says, “You’re
not invited back.” I tell her that’s fine with me, but when I
reach the doorway I feel a pang and stop. Looking back, I
ask, in a whisper, if I can have a photograph of her.
After a long pause she says, “Buy my video. It’s called
The Rabbit Habit.’ Available at a porn store near you.”
I walk to her front door in a haze of patchouli, with a
dizzy head full of pink Renoirs and lingering gypsy music. I
almost forget to leave my “offering” in the collection plate
she keeps on a stand by the door. I drop in a fifty, figuring
she’s lucky to get anything at all.
“Try to understand,” Merry Maggie says. “It’s just so hard
for me to say these things.”
And I sympathize, I really do. It’s a lousy script, no doubt
about it. I mean, the story doesn’t even come close to the
concept. But what can I do? We’re already over budget. We
spent way too much on the sets and costumes. But let’s
face it, the people would rather watch than listen. They
don’t give a damn about dialogue. So when it’s crunch time
for the producer, the director’s got to cut corners. You send
the writer packing and try patch the script together yourself.
God knows I’m no Mamet, but I did the best I could. The
actors just have to suck it up.
Still, I feel sort of sorry for this one. She’s beautiful and
smart and has class. And she plays the flute like some kind
of angel. If I was new to the business I’d think she didn’t
even belong here, like she was too good to be doing porn.
But by now I’ve seen enough college grads come and go
that nothing surprises me. Whatever their background is,
any model or stripper knows there’s good money in video.
But you’ve got to play the game. And right now the game
means doing some pretty embarrassing stuff. So I ask
Merry again to say the lines.
“But it’s so ridiculous,” she says, tossing the carrot on
the pillow in disgust. She looks over at Steele, her partner.
“Don’t you think these lines are ridiculous?”
Steele just shrugs and turns over on his stomach so he
doesn’t have to talk. He looks pretty ridiculous himself,
stripped to just his boxers and his cleric’s collar, with his
stethoscope strung across his upper arm next to a flowery
tattoo dedicated to his mother. Steele is playing a monk
who’s also a doctor, and he’s come to the convent to examine the nuns because they’re all reformed Playboy bunnies
in danger of dying from terminal horniness. We’re thinking
of adding a “Mary” to Steele’s tattoo, so it works better with
“It’s offensive to me and Bugs Bunny,” Merry continues,
scooting over to the side of the bed. She crosses her legs
and says, “If I were a lawyer for Warner Brothers, I’d sue.”
We went through all this in rehearsal. The phrase
“What’s up, Doc?” is in the public domain, and besides,
there is no reference to Bugs Bunny anywhere in the script.
All she has to do is say, “Oh, Brother Peter!” when Steele
puts the stethoscope on her nipple, then, “You like monkeying around, don’t you?” when he touches it to her vagina. Then she pushes the stethoscope away, grabs the carrot, and after taking a bite she slowly pushes it all the way
in. After she slides it out she massages Steele’s jewels with
it for a while. When he’s ready to go she says, “What’s up,
Doc?” Then they do their thing.
“Look, I’m just not going to use the carrot on myself like
that,” Merry says. “I know I said I would, but now I don’t
want to. Okay?”
I should have known that’s what it was really about.
Offensive to Bugs Bunny? Give me a break. But anybody
could see why she wouldn’t want to stick herself with a carrot. It is on the sleazy side. So maybe we can compromise
on this one. I ask her if she could just rub herself with the
carrot, instead. Get it wet and maybe sprinkle it on Steele’s
shorts or something. Then pull his shorts down and use the
carrot to fiddle with his bat and balls, as planned.
Merry just sits there shaking he head, with her fake rabbit ears bouncing back and forth. At least she didn’t complain about wearing those, or taping a big cotton ball to the
back of her habit. She also agreed to play pop tunes on her
flute instead of classical stuff. “White Rabbit” and “The
Bunny Hop” have got to be a come-down from Bach and
Beethoven. And she’s not asking any musician’s pay for it,
either. Not that we’d give her any if she did…
“Can’t we just lose the carrot?” Merry asks. “I’ll say
whatever you want if we can just get rid of that thing. How
about we just yank it and leave it on the cutting-room
I’m still not ready to give in, so I throw out another idea,
hoping she’ll finally bite. Because this is getting real old real
fast. I feel like I’m trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. So I
say what if she just sucks on the carrot, goes down an
Steele right away, and when he’s hard she could yell the
lines right into his stethoscope: What’s up, Doc?
Instead of laughing along with the crew, Merry heaves a
big sigh and says, “I wish I had a ‘no vegetables’ clause in
There are a few more chuckles, followed by a long
silence. I don’t know what she wants to do so I tell her she’d
better decide because we’re on the clock. After a bit she
says why not do what she does on her website? She probably knows that’s the main reason we hired her, because of
the nun’s outfit and because she’s so damn pretty. But I
have to tell her honestly that the stuff on the website is too
soft-core. She throws up her arms and says, “You’re kidding! And just how many models do you know who can
disrobe while standing on their head?” When I ask what
she’s talking about she practically hits the roof.
“You didn’t watch the whole thing, did you?” she
shouts. “You people! You didn’t even go to my pay site! All
you wanted was a busty broad who dressed like a nun. Am
I right? You didn’t give a good goddamn about anything
else, did you? Well? Did you?”
I say no in a quiet voice.
“So, you didn’t care a flying fuck about what I could do
or what kind of talents I had. And even if you did you were
too cheap to find out. Right?”
I say yes.
She settles into silence. I can almost see the steam coming out of her ears. Suddenly she hops onto the bed and
just stands there awhile with her hands on her hips. Then
she calls out, “Roll the cameras!” and takes a few bouncy
steps over to the headboard. I signal the cameraman to
wait, and ask her what the hell she thinks she’s doing. But
she just shouts again to roll the cameras. Then she reaches
down to her pillow, flings the carrot away, and positions the
pillow at the center of the headboard. She whispers something into Steele’s ear and he rolls over on his side, propping his head on his hand like an interested observer.
Finally she looks over her shoulder and addresses me
directly. “I suggest you roll the cameras, because I’m only
going to do this once.” I may be stubborn, but I’m not stupid. I roll the cameras.
Merry Maggie turns around and stands very still, staring
awhile at the crucifix we nailed on the wall above the headboard. Then she slowly brings her hands together at her
chest, as if she’s praying. The room is so quiet that I wish
we had some music going, even some of that raunchy
soundtrack we’re going to dub in later. Just when it starts to
get uncomfortable Merry bends over with her arms outstretched, like she means to touch her toes. I figure she’s
going to pull up her habit and maybe stick her head
between her knees like I’ve seen way too many times
before. But instead she gathers the hem of her habit
between her ankles, puts her hands on either side of her pillow, and then in one smooth motion pushes up into a
Merry’s body is straight as an arrow, and the habit is still
snug against her skin from top to bottom – or bottom to
top – because she’s still holding onto the hem with her
ankles. Her boobs and bush stand out as clear as day
through the sheer material, which makes for a nice tease.
Pretty soon she eases her legs back so her heels are touching the wall. She moves her feet so both the front and back
of the hem are pressed against the wall between her heels.
The rest of the habit sort of billows out on either side.
Then Merry starts to spread her legs. While keeping the
hem tight against the wall, she slides her heels along so the
habit starts to stretch out. She inches along until her legs
form a V and the habit looks like an upside-down petticoat
or something. Merry holds that position for a while, like
she’s building up the suspense. Then she lets the curtain
down. She moves her heels so that the front of the hem
goes loose, and as she slowly slides her legs back to the
center the whole habit starts to fall away. First you see the
knees, then the thighs, then the bush, then the navel. She
has the skin of a goddess.
Finally Merry moves her feet away from the wall and lets
the back of the habit fall onto the bed behind her. Now the
front of the habit is draped over her boobs. She whispers to
Steele again and he gets up and kneels beside her like a
disciple or something. Then she props her feet back against
the wall and lets her arms go free so she’s actually balancing on her head. She stretches her arms all the way out to
either side so her body looks like an upside-down cross. I
tell Camera One to go to wide-angle until she breaks the
pose. After a bit she whispers something else and Steele
scoots up next to her, still on his knees so he’s looking at
her bush. I tell Camera Two to zoom.
Now Merry reaches behind Steele’s butt and slowly pulls
his boxers down. Then she slides the front of her habit off
her boobs. She squeezes her boobs together and whispers
again. Steele sticks his dick between her boobs, and
Merry says “Oh, Brother Peter!” following the script like a
pro. Then when Steele spreads her legs and rubs her with the stethoscope she’s right on cue with, “My God! You sure
like monkeying around, don’t you?” Finally, when Steele
gets some wood, she grabs his dick like a microphone and
says, “What’s up, Doc?” Steele actually remembers the
next line: “My prescription is a large dose of me!”
They go right into a sixty-nine, and after they get good
and juicy Merry braces herself with her hands, gets her feet
set, and springs away from the wall. Luckily Steele goes
along with it and they land on the bed just like they were
on the wall. They keep licking for a while until Merry
decides it’s time to do it. With Jesus looking on, she
hops on for a ride. And they go at it like rabbits.
Hi! I’m Sister Mariah and I’ve got a body built for sin. But I
don’t think of sex that way. I think that sex is holy and my
body is a temple. If you want to see just how holy my temple is, come inside! But you have to be an adult. If you’re
under 18, go away, or else God will strike you dead!
Do you like my habit? I made it myself. It’s one hundred
percent silk, and when I’m not wearing any underwear you
can see everything! But you don’t get to see everything yet.
I don’t just take it all off at the drop of a coronet. I’m a good
nun. And if you want me to go all the way you have to be
a good boy. Do you promise to be good? If you do, then go
I don’t like bad boys. A guy has to be considerate and
show me some respect. And he has to put safety first. God
meant for us to enjoy our bodies, but only if we care
enough to be careful. Guys who care make me hot. Just
like all these camera lights. Want to see me cool off?
When I get hot I like to put a fan between my feet and
point it straight up. That’s where I got my name, because
they call the wind “Mariah.” Anyway, this fan has three
speeds, and my habit floats higher and higher with each
setting. I think I’ll put it on “Low” first. They say it’s bad to
cool off too fast. If that’s not enough for you, just be
patient. I know your fantasy, and I’ve got my fan to see!
What do you think of my legs? I do aerobics every day
and jog twice a week, so that keeps me in shape. As you
can see, I also play the flute. I call it my “magic” flute. Did
you know Mozart wrote an opera called “The Magic
Flute?” I’ll play a little tune from it. Since I’m showing off
my legs, I’ll play in “legato” style. Get it? Meanwhile, I’ll
switch the fan to “Medium.”
You weren’t expecting to see my womanhood already,
were you? After all, a nun has to protect her reputation.
Remember, I’m married to Jesus and he’d think it was a sin
if I took off all my clothes right away. You’ll just have to
wait. Meanwhile, I hope you like my G-string. It’s white silk.
It makes me feel pure and chaste. And what better music to
play than Bach’s “Air on the G String?” Now I’ll turn the
fan to “High.”
My habit looks like a big black parachute, doesn’t it? I
feel like I’m flying. Just call me “The Flying Nun!” All this
breeze feels so cool on my skin. It doesn’t hurt to have such
a skimpy silk brassiere, either. My breasts are still a little
sweaty, but they won’t be for long. In fact, I’m thinking of
taking everything off right now, even the habit. That way I
can feel free and natural, just like God intended. Speaking
of nature, here’s a little tune called “On The Trail” from
Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.” I like to bounce around
when I play it, so I can pretend I’m riding a mule. Care to
Whoa! Hold on, pardner! If you want to see this filly
prance without a harness, you’ll have to show me some silver. I may be a hardcore nun, but I’m not about to take a
vow of poverty. I learned my lesson on the strip circuit. I
like to eat and pay my rent. Be a gent, and spend some
cents! You won’t regret it. I assure you, my next act will rock
your world and turn it upside down. Curious? I’ll never tell.
Let’s just say I’m so limber I’d make a gymnast jealous.
Except to do what I do you don’t need big bulging muscles – just a hard head and a stiff neck. Do you have a hard
head and a stiff neck? Join me, and you will. I guarantee it!
If she wasn’t so good-lookin I’d kick her out on her ass.
My girls do what I tell ’em, or else they’re gone. I don’t care
what they think of my ideas – if I hit on something that’s
going to bring in new customers, the girls damn well better
go along with it. Anyway, it’s not like I ever ask ’em to do
anything illegal. Not one of my girls ever had any kind of
sex on stage, not ever. Hell, I don’t even let ’em do lap
dances. I figure if I want one of ’em to go a little bit kinky
on herself, she better not complain. I mean let’s face it, this
place ain’t the fuckin’ Playboy Mansion.
So when little Sister Maria up there says she won’t go the
extra mile for me, naturally I get pissed. Some of the other
girls do a lot sleazier stuff than poking themselves with a
flute. I could see her point if I wanted her to use the playing end of that thing – but hey, no way. I just think if she
stuck it in just a little, with the bottom part of the flute, it’d
give the boys a rise. I mean isn’t it kind of a natural thing to
expect from a stripper who plays the flute? ‘Cause when
you think about it, isn’t a flute just a big old shiny penis
symbol? Like a dildo with holes? I don’t know what I’m
going to do with this girl if she doesn’t come around.
The Sister plays a pretty mean flute, though, I’ll give her
that. She’s practically a professional. She likes classical
best, but she’s just as good with jazzy stuff and even rock-
and-roll. I let her play whatever the hell she wants, long as
it ends up good and raunchy. Right now, she’s standing real
still, with a blue light on her, playing some Bach I think. All
you can see through her nun’s gown is the outline of her
legs and just a tease of tits and beard. But the boys never
seem to get impatient. Matter of fact they usually give the
girl some applause after the opening bit. I guess even guys
that can’t tell Beethoven from the Beatles know talent when
they hear it.
So, even though it’s a slow night, Maria gets a nice hand
when she’s done with the Bach. She takes a little bow then
goes right into something jazzy, ’cause she knows the boys
want to see some skin pretty soon. After a few riffs, she
starts to do her thing. While she’s still playing, she bends
way over and gathers up the bottom of her gown with the
end of her flute. I guess she sprays something on the flute
so the fabric will stick to it. Anyway, she sort of swirls the
gown around in big figure-eights until enough of it is gathered up to show most of her legs. She knows right when to
stop, so the boys won’t see her beard or her butt too soon.
Then she starts to dance, kind of twisting and strutting to
the music, and working her way around in a real slow circle. She takes her own fuckin’ time, alright, but she’s got
such good stems that the boys don’t care.
When she finally struts all the way around, Maria goes
right into the old bump-and-grind. The red lights come on
and she starts playing that old strip tune they used to use
for shaving-cream commercials. Even though it sounds
strange at first coming from a flute, she can make it groan
and growl so it’s real down and dirty. Some of the boys
start to whistle, and when she wraps some more of her
gown around the flute the whistles turn to whoops. Pretty
soon she’s got it worked so all she has to do is raise her
flute up high and you got a full beard or butt shot. After a
while she grinds halfway around and gets ready to show
some tail. When those four big notes come she jerks the
flute up down up down so the boys get a nice little ass
tease. Then she grinds back around to the front and does
the same thing with her beard. The boys really eat it up.
When Maria finishes the strip tune all the stage lights go
out. They’re only off for maybe ten seconds, but a few of
the boys start to boo. Then all the white lights flash on and
the boos are history. Maria’s turned around again, with
most of her gown twisted around the flute so it’s about
halfway up her back. Her ass is amazing. Then she goes
right into that hot rock tune called “What is Love?” and she
starts shimmying and shaking for all she’s worth. Her ass
gets to bouncing like it’s got a motor in it or something. And
you don’t hardly notice that she’s twisting the rest of her
gown around the flute till she’s pretty much totally nude. All she’s really wearing are her little nun’s slippers.
Finally, when she’s done ass-teasing, Maria jumps all the
way around to face the audience. The boys really whoop it
up. She’s got a full, thick beard, and from what I’ve seen
most guys like the hell out of that. And of course her tits are
outrageous. Big and natural, with dark, fat nipples. At different parts in the song she really shakes those hooters big
time. Like coming right up there’s that part that goes “Don’t
hurt me. Don’t hurt me.” A few of the boys shout out the
lines, and she leans over the edge of the stage and shakes
those suckers right along with the words. Right, left, right.
Left, right, left. Next time she plays that part she’ll shake her
hips the same way. That’s when she’s supposed to poke
herself with the flute.
But she doesn’t do it. So what am I going to do with little Sister Maria? I can’t have even one of my girls messin’
with me, ’cause then they’ll all think they can get away with
the same kind of shit. Before you know it I’d have a whole
stable full of lazy-ass strippers on my hands. I don’t see
how I can let this slide. Probably a lot of club owners
would, though, ’cause bottom line is the girl brings in customers. But it just pisses me off no end that she won’t do what
I say. Like she’s too good for this place. And after I took her
off the fuckin’ streets. She’d still be playing for small change
if it wasn’t for me. I figure I got to read this girl the riot
act. Nobody screws me over and gets away with it.
I catch the 6:45 bus headed for downtown. Even though
he’s late, the driver gives me a dirty look. It could be my
thermos, because they don’t want you bringing food on the
bus, but more likely it’s my cross. It’s a big brass crucifix
that hangs almost to my belt. I’ve got it outside my jacket
so people will really notice it. But I never preach to anybody, so this driver’s got nothing to worry about. A lot of
people think I’m this crazy holy-roller type, but I just turn
the other cheek to them. I know I’ll have a place in heaven
when my time comes, so I let the evil eyes pass me by. I
always try to do what my Jesus would do.
I take an empty double-seat near the back and slouch
down so the driver won’t notice me so much. The sunglasses should help, and I’ve got to think it’s the cross most
people remember about me. And that’s good – they
should remember it. They should keep a fond memory of
it, so maybe one day they’ll go out and get one of their own
and try to live according to His will. That’s why I wear the
cross. It’s not just to show I’m a believer, it’s to show other
people the Way. But, right now, I can’t be concerned about
other people’s souls. I’ve got important work to do. And if
I have to use the cross as a shield, so be it.
I get off a good five or six blocks before the Square, so
it looks like I’m not headed there. When the bus is out of
sight I pull a Mariners cap out of my jacket pocket and put
it on. It’ll help me blend in with the fans that hang around
the Square before the game. I don’t wear it with much
pride, though. Not like my cross, which I now slip inside my
jacket. I guess the team’s doing all right this year, but I
couldn’t care less. To me baseball is a dirty game played by
crude, foul-mouthed young men who think they’re doing
something important. Some of them call themselves
Christians, but I don’t believe it for a minute.
My thermos sloshes as I walk. People are bound to think
I have iced tea or lemonade in there – something cool to
drink for a warm summer evening at the ballpark. But what
I’ve got is hot. Red hot. And it’s not for me. It’s for a certain friend of the devil I’ll be meeting very soon.
When I get to Pioneer Square there are even fewer people around than I expected. But it’s after seven now, and I
guess everybody’s at the game. There’s maybe a dozen
people on the street, mostly scarfing down pretzels from the
vendor guy. As I head toward the Square I notice that he’s
already starting to pack up.
Things are working out just fine.
But where’s the music? I can almost always hear it from
the street. Then I spot her at her usual place, in the corner
courtyard by a transit grate. When she plays she stands on
the grate so the air will lift up her dress. Sometimes a good
blast will send that thing high enough so you can almost
see her privates.
She’s a real piece of work, this one. Playing holy music
in a see-through nun’s dress without any underwear. And
the police can’t do a thing about it because it would violate
her “rights.” That’s the justice of Man for you. Well, sometimes a good Christian soldier has to fight the good fight to
make sure God’s justice is done.
The little harlot is leaning over her instrument case, and
I get a sinking feeling thinking she’s about to leave. But no,
I guess she was just putting her beggar money into her
purse. She straightens up again with her flute in hand, and
says something to two husky guys with Mariners jackets. It
looks like they’re all that’s left of her audience. Then she
starts playing, and I go sit down on a picnic bench nearby.
These baseball guys make me mad, not just because
they’re holding things up, but because they’ve got no self-
control. Their game’s already started, and they’re still
gawking at the pretty girl with the large breasts and the dark
triangle between her legs. They’re like a couple of naughty
little boys caught in a witch’s spell.
I wait. I know by now that as long as she has an
audience she’ll keep on playing. Sometimes she’ll play until
it’s dark and there’s not a single soul left in the Square. And
it’s not like she needs the practice, because she’s pretty
good, I have to admit. It’s mostly classical music, with a lot
of stuff that sounds like it might be Bach. I know I’ve heard
some old hymns in there. Once in a while she’ll dance
while she’s playing, all sleazy and suggestive. That really
sets me off. To think that this fake nun can get away with
acts that sacrilegious – it’s just too much to take.
She’s got to learn a lesson.
This tune she’s playing now is so slow and forlorn that I
get a knot in my stomach, because it’s probably going to
last an hour and I figure those gawkers will stick around till
the bitter end. The longer they stay, the more I’ll think
about backing out. But then one of them checks his watch
and pokes his friend in the arm. The guy is so hypnotized
that he barely reacts. The other one practically has to drag
him away kicking and screaming. Maybe sports are good
for something after all.
I look around me and see there are only three other people in the Square – a young Negro couple chatting up a
storm, and an old bum sucking on a bottle from a paper
bag. I keep waiting. I have to be patient.
The harlot finally finishes the tune, and she stands there
a while with the flute to her mouth, like she can’t decide if
she wants to play some more or not. Then she lowers the
flute and kneels down beside her instrument case. All of a
sudden she looks over at me with her head tilted. “Any
requests?” she calls out, but I just wave her off. She starts
taking her flute apart.
The whole Square is quiet now, and I look over
my shoulder to find that the couple has moved on and the
only person left is the bum. I take the top off the thermos
and stick my finger in to see if the stuff’s still hot. It is. I wasn’t sure if a mixture of tomato soup and fruit punch would stay hot for an hour or more. But I poured it in when it was
still bubbling just to make sure.
I’m a little nervous, so I take some deep breaths to calm
down. It’s the first time I ever even thought about doing
something like this. And that bum’s still got to leave before
anything can happen. Little miss harlot looks like she’s
ready to go, and I can’t take the chance of anybody seeing
me, not even a bum. But then she lights up a cigarette and
leans back against the wall. All of a sudden I feel calm.
I think how she must feel so satisfied with everything that
happened. How she made the City let her keep doing what
she’s doing, as long as it’s not during working hours. How
everybody’s supposed to think she’s doing “performance
art” instead of the unholy act it really is. And how she’s got
more business than ever. I bet she’s so proud of herself.
I just stand right up with the thermos in my hand,
and head on over there. I might do the deed no matter
what. It all depends. I stop maybe five feet in front of her.
She takes a long drag on her cigarette, then says, “Hey
there, friend. Seems like I’ve seen you around here before.
Are you a ‘Square-Head’?”
I don’t know what she means, but it sounds kind of
insulting. I give her sort of a dirty look.
“It’s not an offensive term,” she says, and throws her
cigarette away. “Some of us use it to describe people who
hang around Pioneer Square a lot. That’s all.”
I just keep standing there, without saying a word. She
points at my thermos and says, “Whatcha got there? Beer?
Wine-cooler? A gallon of Margaritas? Better be careful
when you get to the stadium. They might not let you in.”
I still don’t say anything, so she shrugs her shoulders and
starts to walk away. But then I ask her why she does it, and
she stops in her tracks.
“What?” she says.
I ask the same question over again. Why does she do
“You mean perform?” she says. “I do it to express
myself. That’s all.”
I wait a second, then point at her dress. I ask why does
she do it like that?
She heaves a big sigh and shakes her head at me like
I’m an idiot or something. “Look, friend. I don’t have to
explain myself to anyone, okay? The only responsibility an
artist has is to serve the Muse.”
I tell her she’s no kind of artist.
“Hey, if you don’t like it, that’s too goddamn bad.”
We stare at each other. Then I take a look around me
real quick and see that the bum is gone. So I tell
her she’s just a Godless harlot and her art is an insult to the
“Oh, blow it out your butt,” she says.
That’s all I need. I grab the thermos, yank it back, and
heave the stuff right at her face. But she spins around fast
and it lands on her back instead. First, she goes real stiff,
then she lets out a big scream. All of a sudden she starts
clawing at her dress, and I realize she’s actually going
to take it off. Right in front of me. She’s got it all the way
up to her neck before I finally do something about it. The
sight of her naked behind makes me so mad that I rush
ahead and push her to the ground.
She turns over and looks up at me with pure evil in her
eyes. “You lunatic!” she yells out, and starts to get up. “You
fucking fundamentalist lunatic!”
Now I’m just seeing red. I raise the thermos up high and
bring it down right on her head. She falls on her back like
a sack of flour, with her dress covering her face. The whole
front of her body is naked.
I stand over her for a long time, breathing hard and feeling like I’m going to be sick. Finally, when my head clears a
little, I think to check if she’s alive. I see her chest
heaving, and that’s a big relief. But I’m still so mad I don’t
know what to do with myself. I feel like I’m standing beside
a she-devil, a true agent of Satan. And I wish I really had
splashed the stuff all over her face. But she was too fast for
me, the little witch.
Then I get an idea. But I don’t have much time. If anybody shows up, I’m sunk. I go quick to her instrument
case and jerk it open. I fiddle with the flute till I can fit the
two parts together. Then I rush back to her side. I dip the
flute in some of the soup on the ground, then draw a thick
red line across her chest, from one side to the other. Next I
draw another line, from her neck all the way down to her
mound. Now she’s got a bright red cross on her body. A
bloody-looking cross to remember me by.
I stare at my work of art for way too long. Then I get the
kind of scare that only the devil can bring.
“Hey, asshole,” she says from behind her dress. “Who
do you think you are, my father? Why don’t you just shove
it in and get it over with? But do it deep and hard. Make
me squeal and squirm, just like daddy did.”
I’m so shocked that I feel like I might pass out. For a second I wonder who hit who over the head. My mind starts
to spin and my whole body goes sort of numb. I just stand
there like a pillar of salt or something, with her flute hanging from my hand, pointing at her privates. What did she say?
Finally, I snap out of it and start to think straight. I look
at the red cross on her body, then I look up into the sky. I
think about my Jesus on the road to Calvary. That cross on
His back was like the burden of all mankind. And when
they nailed His hands and feet to the wood He was taking
on the pain of the whole world. Then, just before He died,
He looked down on all the sinners and asked His Father
in heaven to forgive them. When I look back down at the
harlot, I think of her as Mary Magdalene weeping at the feet
of our Lord, and asking him for forgiveness. I know I can’t
do this, because it’s not in me. I’m not big enough. But I
don’t have to do the work of the devil, either.
I drop the flute and run.