His heartbeat increased to a heightened tempo, deep in its cradle, his chest, its thump like a giant’s footstep trudging across a broken landscape. Leaning on the doorframe for support, he prayed for strength to his shaking legs, which appeared unable to carry him the few meters to where she stood, amongst her colleagues of like callings, looking directly at him like he was the one she had been waiting for.
Picking boldness, he forced his eyes to meet hers and marveled at the passion she conveyed at the blink of those sensual eyes. He wanted to call her, perhaps give her a hint of invitation. It would be easy, he was sure, knowing what she was there for, but his strength failed him and his legs refused to carry him those few meters.
He signaled a bar man, who hurried to his side, all smirk and servitude, his face a study of conflicting emotions.
‘Give me a bottle of Gordon sparks.’ He said, trying to convey confidence he did not feel.
Taking a seat, he prepared to await the order given. In his mind, he did a silent survey of the scene. Apart from the twenty or so patrons who were all keen on being as inconspicuous as possible – bowed heads and intense necking of whatever brands they are drinking marking that sign – and two or three serving girls whose mode of dressing and carriage sets apart from the girls outside, the immediate scene was bereft of any interest.
Plastic chairs and table did not tell much tales neither did the two company-issue deep freezers or the 14-inch television set tuned to a local station that was then showing the westernized antics of a homegrown music star.
In all, one could have being at any regular bar in town.
The order came sooner than expected and the chill down his throat eased off his tension a bit, or so he thought.
He caressed the bottle of Gordon sparks and looked out the large louvered windows in between sips. It was after a couple of sips that he discovered the silent code in use. The girls, who were dressed (or undressed) in varying stages of sensuality, took turns coming to the window to peer in through the double louver glass window and pose briefly for the benefit of the men seating within. The main idea appeared to be holding a man’s gaze long enough for a silent message to pass, a message that always without fail says, “I am available.”
While he was still pondering his inability to rise to the occasion, a young man whose attitude showed him an old hand at the game walked out and over to claim the very girl that had caught his fancy earlier and walked with her toward the back where the girls apparently have rooms.
Smarting from that missed chance and taking strength from the youths boldness, he sampled what was left and found one he thought will cool his adore for that lost looker. Walking over to her was easy as well as discussion of terms – which she assured him would be better done within the confines of her room.
She led the way to the back, up two flights of stairs, both strangely well light, and into a room partitioned into two. To his surprise, her price, when they got to it, was way higher than what he thought was usual. The African in him flared and he haggled and got a third of it, hoping for a service she assured him would be his best ever.
“Now,” she said, smiling gently, while caressing him softly on the back “take off your clothe. All of it.”
“But I don’t want to take them all off.” he complained, even as the irony of role reversal struck him.
Hazel eyes dimmed a bit and she paused with her jeans around her waist, power and command mirroring in pretty face.
“You have to take everything off, even your boxers.”
“But I feel cold!” he said, not wanting her to know the truth, he does not like sex with the lights on, his body was so imperfect for that.
“Okay,” she said, conceding a bit, “you can keep you shirt on but take every other stuff off.”
He got the idea that the ‘taking off’ clothes was not just a ritual before the act but a safety measure, probably brings one to bed without any hidden weapons that may cause harm. He was about to ask her but she silenced him with her imploring eyes and glanced at her wristwatch. Time must be of an essence, he thought.
“Put this on,” she told him offhandedly, pushing a condom into his shaky hands while laying back into the meagre mattress.
He knew desire had already left him but he did not expect the extent of it. Looking down his member with the condom in his hands, he felt drained.
It hung, not just limp, but devoid of character, showing half its normal size.
She smiled at him as she took the limp member in her hands and proceeded to bring it to life. She must have stroked it for a while before he realized that it was a fruitless effort, as the offending member hung limper than ever.
Taking it from her cool hands, he proceeded to coax it alive with an increasing up and down motion while projecting his mind to more successful tumbles in the past.
When several minutes of this did not work and her earlier soft encouragements was turning to murmured complaints of time’s money and unproductive sessions, he completely tuned off and looked at her with a smile on his face.
“Why the smile?” she asked, frowning slightly
“Nothing,” he replied, “it’s just that I expected this.”
“Expected this?” she inquired, mixture of fear and confusion playing across her face.
“ yes, the truth is that I’ve not being able to do this with a prostitute,” he informed her, trying not to sound abusive or degenerate “ this is my second attempt with the same result.”
“And you say you are not impotent?” she asked, suspicion clouding her prettily painted face.
“No I am not,” he countered “I had an erection walking up the stairs behind you a few minutes ago, it just happened when we got into the room.”
“So what do you want me to do now?” she challenged, her doe eyes blazing, “You mean you wasted my time for nothing?” by now her voice had lost its previous conspiratorial whisper and had picked up a sharp edge he felt she uses for situations like this.
“I am not asking for my money back,” he murmured, knowing her heart and its direction.
“And what are you asking?” she asked, sounding hurt.
He looked at her, tongue tied, wondering how to tell a prostitute with this much pride in her abilities that he was sorry he couldn’t tumble with her and that it was no fault of hers.
She stood before him arms akimbo, challenge in her hazel doe eyes. He was reminded sourly of the fact the couple in the next room, divided from this by a thin board of plywood, will be party to any raised voice communion. “Nothing, really, keep the money,”
She looked at him with what appears to be pity, OK, she says, but know that I would have given you a good time.
“Thanks.” he said, collecting his shoe from her, he stepped out into the corridor, turned and saw her still looking at him.
“Sorry.” he mouthed again, before escaping down the corridor, passing several girls and their customers emerging or entering rooms identical to the one he just left.
As he left the building, loud laughter seemed to follow him into the street. He cringed at the thought that the joke was on him and quickened his pace.
He had gotten to the bus stop and was in the process of hailing a bike when his phone rang.
He stared for some seconds at the caller ID ‘baby’ before picking the call.
“Hello babes.” He said, trying to sound better than he felt.” How are you?”
“Fine,” she responds, “just calling to know if you are doing something crazy in my absence.”
“No,” he says with all sincerity as he signals a commercial motorcycle. “No, sweetheart I haven’t done anything crazy and I doubt if I will be doing anything crazy until you get back.” he smiled into the phone as relief washed over him like a thousand rivers.