Viewing the local antiquities

"Just bring yourself." 

Dinner service
My whore, Sophia, efficient, brought me into the green room with time left on the clock, so the rice wasn't cooked.

Now she squats at the low red lacquer table, her chopsticks always in motion; their tips tracing graceful fractals from mouth to bowl to mouth to bowl to mouth: each circuit like all the others but always itself. I'm using chopsticks too, of course—with all the grace of eating with my hands.

Sophia eats little; in fact, she picks at her food. Her chopsticks prod, kick, pile, pince, lift: bean sprouts; cabbage; kimchee; rice: but never the marginal chicken wings, or the beef.

Squatting by Sophia'a side, her sister, with permed hair and downturned mouth; perched on the arm of the green room couch, a boy in collegiate slacks and a crew-neck sweater.

"We are one family."


Smiles and gasps in her cube; a stone face at table.

The door chimes: The mama-san gets a bag from behind the couch, goes through the outer curtain into the foyer:

"I kept it for you. Will you eat with us?"

He's my age, a gray-beard: academic, tall and thin; jeans and a Crouching Tiger tee.

"I'm Mike."

"I guess I'm John."

We chaff with the whores.

"Kim? As in kim-chee? Next you tell me your sister's name is Rice!"

On the TV screen that isn't a monitor, Jerry Orbach, looking worn, but wise enough.

"No Korean TV?" Mike asks.

"There," says the mama-san, gesturing to a stack of unlabelled videos. "They don't like. They want Engish."

"Did she call?"

"No, I'm going to give her another day."

"You can wash your hands in the bathroom," says the mama-san.

I pull back the green room's inner curtain, step left into the bathroom: Opposite the sink, shelves that hold aspirin, Maalox, baby oil, KY, anti-bacterial soap, rubbing alchohol, stacks of towels, with stilletto and platform shoes lined up in pairs on the floor beneath; they must step out of them there as they go to change out of their uniforms.

My hands dry, I step out and Iook straight down the stairs to the dorm: no doors, no hall: They must sleep, when they sleep, on the open plan, all in a row of beds, like an orphanage. Atop the long bureau, lit by the big mirror, a midden of compacts, discarded polyester tops and bottoms, towels, bracelets, earrings, hairclips, CD jewel cases, cell phone, Walkmans, piled tabloids in Hangul and Thai, stuffed bears, dead colorless flowers in paper cones from the florists; no clock or watch to be seen.

Returning, I compliment the mama-san on the condiments.

"Which one is Sophia?" asks Mike.

Full service
The service was worth a detour, as the Guide Michelin woud say.

Sophia nibbled my cheeks with her incisors while she pegged me; perhaps the mama-san took a moment to brief her, before we joined hands and went up the stairs.

After round two, when she'd finished gasping and kegeling, I pulled out, crawled back to lie between her open legs, and laid my head down to rest, ear to her belly: and heard her stomach rumble.

We laughed.


Questions for study and discussion

1. Are Sophia and her sister putting their brother through school?

2. Do the mama-san's marginal cuts of meat put Sophia's billable hours at risk?


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All characters and situations fictional. Copyright (c) 2003-2007 by "John Psmyth."
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