After the collective gasp the room fell silent. Nick looked at me with sympathetic eyes while I gazed at him scared and confused. Suddenly a boy from the back corner broke the silence and started laughing. A few other boys followed suit.
The boy who broke the silence said, “One time Arthur got me to stand behind him in front of the mirror and jiggle his belly fat.”
Another boy chimed in through the laughter, “Yeah, he got me to do that as well. He also stinks like shit!’
The first boy added, “He always wears that ugly leopard shirt!” More boys laugh.
Brendan clears his throat and announces, “I heard he always gives boys chocolate dicks!” The room erupts in roars of laughter and collective eww!‘s. Brendan notices my confusion and explains, “Chocolate dick is when you pull out and its dirty.”
One boy fake gags, another one shouts, “Covered in shit! Smells fucking disgusting!”
Robert clears his throat and speaks up, “Well don’t traumatise him!” He looks directly at me. I could tell he was trying to keep his composure. A smile curls out of the corners of his mouth.
Nick grabs my hand and pulls me down closer to him, “I’ve never had Arthur before, thank fuck! But don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too bad.”
“Does he really do all that stuff?” I asked.
Nick doesn’t say anything for a few seconds, but then says, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” Nick then covers his mouth to hide his smile.
Just before I exit the Boys Room someone shouts, “Arthur is a rite of passage!”
I found myself going into the office once again, Robert not saying much as I gathered up the supplies from the cupboards. Robert had put the client in Room 3, and just before I leave up the stairs he reminds me, “Don’t forget he owes you one hundred and sixty.”
Opening the door of Room 3 let out a wave of pungent air that immediately made me want to gag. Arthur, a large white man in a leopard print shirt, sat on the edge of the bed. He eyed me up and down while wetting his lips with his tongue. His triple chin rolled in a wave at the slightest movement from his head. Arthurs jet-black hair was shined with grease, his eyes filled with lust. If I hadn’t known any better I would’ve thought he was an inbred cousin of actor Oliver Platt. I introduced myself and he reciprocated by smacking his lips and grunting his name in return. I slowly sat down next to him, his eyes never leaving my body as I carefully sit. I take a few seconds, but when I build up enough courage I lift my head and look at him with an apologetic smile. His was looking at me from the corner of his eye, either too lazy to turn his head or unable to. I almost look down out of embarrassment, but then he stands up and starts taking off his top.
Arthur was my second client, and I would categorise him in the top 5 worst clients I have ever had. Everything the boys said in the room was true and then some. I jiggled his fat in the mirror, and thats about all I will say. His skin stank of rot, his breath was death. His eyes creepy and focused. His genitalia was minuscule but his stomach was large, so large in fact that he tired to get me to lay on top of him while he was on his back and it was like laying on top of a bean bag chair. It was so awkward and uncomfortable, laying on top of his bean bag fat, that I asked to scale down and lay beside him instead.
By the end of my second night at the brothel I had two clients. One, my first client ever, was nice and made me realise the job wasn’t so bad. The other, my top 5 worst client ever, was horrible and made me realise that this job was going to be roulette: I’ll never know what I’m gonna get.
The boys howled when I told them in detail what had happened in the room. Many responded with ‘the worst is now over’ and ‘it’s only uphill from here’. Even Robert, when I first came down the stairs and led Arthur out the front door when the service was over, turned to me and said, “See, it wasn’t that bad.” I didn’t say anything, instead I gave him the stink eye.
Once work closed late that night Nick and Brendan invited me to go out with them for drinks. Nick said that Matt was out and that he’d introduce me to him.
“Just a warning though,” Nick said, “Matt can sometimes be full on,” Nick grabs me and starts shaking me, “SO DON’T BE FRIGHTENED IF HE GRABS YOU!” He lets go and Brendan starts laughing. I start laughing too and they tell me funny stories and facts about Matt as we walk to a club named Palms.
According to lore, Matt was pretty successful in his real job. Matt had a tendency to throw drinks at unsuspecting strangers and sleep with anything with a pulse when he was drunk. I also learned there might be a chance he’d try and go home with me, and like a man to a dog I should just say a firm NO! Nick and Brendan tell me they would look out for me and protect me from him if needed.
Palms was an underground club, literally not figuratively. You had to walk down a set of stairs and through a hall into a giant dance floor with one bar. It was a very small club, full of old men, and they were playing 90s music. Three things I hated.
Nick spots Matt at the back of the club. We slide our way through the tightly packed crowd, and once we get to Matt it was obvious he was stark drunk. His eyes were unfocussed and halfway open. He had a big smile and swayed as Nick and Brendan hugged him hello. Nick introduces Matt to me, and Matt leans in and licks my face. Not a playful lick (is there such a thing?) but a full, sloppy chin-to-forehead lick.
And that was the beginning of everything. That was the first time Matt, Nick, Brendan and I all hung out. That was the start of the small incline before everything crashed around us.