Viewing the local antiquities

"I've grown accustomed to her face." 

"Is Angel working today?"

"Angel not work here any more. We have more beautiful girls."

"I'll try somewhere else."

"Have you eaten?"

"A banana."

"When you come down, you eat with us!"

The service, undistinguished; the massage, fingertip brushing-style: Teasing my anus, brushing my balls: Leaving me tense and aroused, not relaxed, so I came fast, which I assume was her desideratum: low risk, higher margin. You'd think if I shoved my face in the pillow and my ass in the air I'd get something, but No.

For the second service, she repeated her script: face, impassive as the season's fresh model storming the catwalk; as transparent in calculation.

"Why aren't you married?

"Because I am working."

She must imagine it's enough to be young. Her breasts, being still firm, were tender, so I couldn't suckle as hard as I would have with Annie or Angel, though of course I educed each of her nipples in turn. However, that was off script: She withdrew herself quickly. She was the kind who signals she's done by putting her clothes on before getting back down on the bed. She'd had the experience to master one script, but not enough time to learn how to walk in high heels.

I didn't ask for her name, not planning to see her again.

Afterwards, in the Green Room, I sit on a tatty sofa.

Before me, the cook and the mama-san stir a pot in the kitchen; to my right, their sofa and the door to the dorm; to my left, the TV and a scroll; behind and above me, the stack of security monitors.

The scroll's single character seems brushed in one Kline-stroke from a black dragon's mailed paw: claws dug vast smoky ink trails into the paper that an afterthought human would later stamp red with a chop.

There's no lucky cat.

"How would you like it?"

"Hot! Not like American."

"Would you like chopsticks?"


The cook enters, bearing a red lacquer table with my plate, a glass, side dishes, no chopsticks, and places it in the sofa beside me; I recall that Koreans sit on the floor to eat, so I ask her to place it there, then get up and sit with my back to the sofa, stretch one leg out then the other, either side of the table.

Le menu

A can of Sprite and a sparkly clean glass
Ribs in brown sauce
Undercooked potatoes
Sticky rice
Pickled radishes

Clearly the house is all about margin: the ribs are a very tough cut. I hold one up, point to it, and look the question to the mama-san:

"Better that way!"

So I pick up a rib, tear the fat and sweet chunks from the bone with my teeth; make a tiny midden at the side of my plate from the discards: bones, gristle. I fork rice, beef, sauce, kimchi into my mouth.

My whore—that is, the whore that I had—enters right, from the dorm, having changed to clean white flannel pajamas patterned with tiny blue-and-pink flowers, fuzzy slippers.

My whore squats on the opposite side of the table: I can peep down past her knees, between her spread thighs to see her pajama bottoms swell and crease where her lips stretch the fabric; the thighs I was pumping between just twenty minutes ago; lips clasped round my latex-wrapped spasms.

My whore takes a pear from its little net bag, takes up a paring knife, systematically peels, cuts, arranges each slice on a plate, rises, goes into the kitchen, returns with a toothpick and plants it into the middle of the largest slice: They have treated me to a luxury.

"Not mushy like American pears!"

Back to the brown sauce: It thuds Good down in my backbrain: A rich bottom of beef fat and marrow: Top notes of ginger and soy. I suck the bones, lick my fingers, smear the residuum onto the paper towels the house uses for napkins.

I test the edge of my whore's paring knife on my thumb: not from a Dollar store, but a real German blade, a cook's knife: She takes it out of my hand, puts it out of my reach.

Whores wander in, wander out: None I have seen, except for tonight's; one has curly hair, a downturned mouth; the other's a big girl in a floor-length terrycloth robe. She sits down on the sofa behind me, accepts, lazily, a slice of pear I hand back to her. Traffic seems light for a Saturday night. On the sofa, the mama-san and the cook gaze benignly; their man is enjoying his food.

A taller coiffed grandmotherly figure enters; takes the thick letter-sized envelope the mama-san hands her.

Now, left to right on the sofa:

The CEO, the mama-san, the cook, and the whore I just had; the grandmother, the mother, the aunt, and the child; the daughter, the daughter, the daughter, the daughter. I am the last Psmyth, descent being reckoned through the male line: An entirely feminine lineup feels just like home.

Their dark eyes are all raised to the security monitors, which show black and white views of the inner door, the front steps, and the alleyway east to the street. Each like a cat at a mousehole, or lionesses lazily prideful surveying a watering hole, they watch: patient, unblinking. Undomesticated. Nobody watches the Comedy Channel but me; a Mad magazine retrospective.

Putting down my fork, with food still left on my plate, I say, kamsa hamnida. A wave of Korean breaks from the sofa: neighing sounds, twitters, coughs, aspirants, none of which the mama-san translates; but laughter.

Standing, I bow. "I have never been invited to eat Korean food before."

Walking down the alley out to the street, I'm about to check the money left in my wallet, when I realize that they must be watching me on the monitors, so I spin round on the balls of my feet, and blow kisses into the air.

Then I take a roundabout way home, checking behind me.



May you find another "Angel", or even Angel herself, again...

By Blogger Trish, at January 15, 2005 12:38 AM  

The Japanese, I believe, call this world "The Floating World" for good reason.

But thanks.

By Blogger John Psmyth, at January 15, 2005 1:12 PM  

How unclassy to get dressed and then get back in bed.

By Blogger Alexa, at January 17, 2005 9:33 PM  

Unclassy indeed. There are subtler ways of conveying the same message.

By Blogger John Psmyth, at January 18, 2005 5:24 AM  

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