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The Truth: Part 29

Scott informed me by phone that they were releasing him from the hospital early. A few months early. I was concerned, “Are you healed enough to be out of the hospital?”

“These fucking nurses seem to think so.” Scott grumbled.

“It’s so early. Two weeks ago you said that you were going to be in for a few more months.”

“They changed their minds. They don’t want me here anymore.”

To me it seemed like they were kicking him out, but I didn’t say anything.

Scott’s voice went soft, “I’ll need your help when I come back. I hate to ask, but I’ll really need your help.”

“Yeah, that’s fine. So when are you arriving?”

“In two days.”

I almost said fuck into the phone, “Cool. Well I shall be here for your triumphant return.”

“Darling, you can lay down the red carpet.”

“I will.”

When I hung up the phone I screamed. I didn’t care if the neighbors heard me. Deniro heard the screaming and came running right as I collapsed onto the floor. Don’t cry, I told myself repeatedly.

When I felt more composed I called Knight Call and told them I wanted to cancel my day-shift on the day Scott arrived and change it to a night shift. It was no fuss. Next I bathed Deniro, wanting to make sure he smelled fresh for Scott’s return. “You’re going to see Scott soon!” I tried to tell Deniro enthusiastically. Deniro cocked his head and I felt as if he understood.

I panicked when I saw the living room. It was a mess of garbage and rearranged furniture from all the ‘poker nights’ I had been throwing. I spent an hour getting the room organised, another hour vacuuming the carpets and sweeping the linoleum floors, wiped down the bathroom, and washed the mountain of dishes that had accumulated on the kitchen counter.

The bordello was dead the next day. I was working the day shift with three other boys, one was Blake. I told Blake that Scott was coming back early and Blake seemed excited. “I’ve always liked Scott,” Blake beamed.

“Yeah, he’s a cool guy.” I replied.

“He was one of the only guys that worked here that would want to talk to me.”

I understood what Blake meant. Boys at KC had the tendency to overlook Blake. He was stereotyped at the dumb straight-man, even though it was false. Blake had a lot of smart things to say, he just didn’t know how to say them. Scott recognised this, and when given some patience Blake would flow with deep intelligence.

Nick showed up a few hours late for the day shift, as usual. I was eager to tell him about Scott’s sudden return.

“No fucking way!” Nick gasped.

“Yeah, and I think they are kicking him out.”

“Fuck, that doesn’t surprise me. He can be so difficult.”

“He wants me to help him out.”

“What? Like be his nurse? Fuck that!”

“I know. I didn’t come here to be anyone’s goddamned caregiver. It’s been stressful enough looking after that dog.”

“I don’t know why you don’t just move out.”

“I can’t do that. I would feel so bad.”

“Who cares? It’s not your fucking problem. He should’ve thought of that before getting himself hit by a truck.”

I pondered for a second, “I want to leave. I just can’t. Scott has done so much for me.”

“You hardly even know him! All he has done is give you a place to live. You could come stay with me if you wanted, you practically live there anyway.”

“I can’t.”

Nick’s distorts his voice to a flamboyant tone, “It’s because you a pussy. You a little bitch pussy who needs to grow a backbone.” He poked me in the side and I laughed.

Dave was worried about Scott’s return. He warned me that Scott had good intentions, but got into trouble easy. I took it into consideration. Dave also told me that I had a client coming in an hour. The client was one I hadn’t seen before, but whom had been coming to KC for years. I was specifically recommended by Dave to the client. “He’s easy,” Dave said, “So don’t worry. He’s a really nice guy. Old. Very smart. Doesn’t expect much.”

“Cool,” I said, “Sounds easy to me.”

The client eyes glowed when he took his first look at me. I brought him up to the room and shut the door and locked it. He was short, wore glasses, had a hunched back, and spoke with a british accent.

“You are a very handsome young man,” said the client, whose name was Hector.

“Thanks, did you want to start with a massage?”

“No no, that won’t be necessary.” Hector laid down on the bed, “Just come here and cuddle with me, I want to know more about the mysterious Carl.”

“Do you want me to take my clothes off?”

“If you want to.”

I decided to take off my clothes except my underwear. I laid down in his arms and he made a whimpering noise.

“Are you ok?” I leaned up to look at him.

“Yeah I’m fine, it’s just nice.”

“So what do you want to know?”

Hector asked me questions about my life, my parents, my siblings. I told him about my travels through Southeast Asia and how I came into the escorting business.

“You have a very good head on your shoulders.” Hector mentioned, “You are a boy who has been through a lot.”

“Oh, and that’s not even half of it.”

“Ohhhhh… there is more?”

I told him the story about Scott and the dog. I didn’t mention the meth part, or the part where I hated the responsibilities that were thrust upon me.

“Oh you poor thing,” Hector sympathised.

“I’ll live.”

“What you’re doing is very admirable. You are a really great person. To be so patient and caring towards someone you hardly even know? A saint.” Hector’s enthusiasm was charming, “Scott must be very lucky to have found a man like you.”

“It’s stressful.” I admitted.

“Oh, understandably! But to persevere through it all is astounding. You are a lot wiser than your years, Carl. He’ll be forever in your debt when he returns.”

“I don’t think I’m ready to be someone’s caregiver.”

“No, you’re probably not. But I believe you will do just fine. Scott will be counting on you now.”

“I’m not even sure what condition he’ll be in when he gets back.”

“Let’s hope for the best.”

The hour was over and I got dressed as Hector informed me that he would be coming in to see me again in a couple days. I told him I had really enjoyed his company and was looking forward to seeing him soon.

I had renewed hope that I was going to make it out ok.

The next day Scott texted me once he got off the plane to let me know that he would arrive soon. He warned me that he was going to be arriving in style, whatever that meant. I made sure the house was in perfect condition for Scott, surely he was going to come home exhausted and I didn’t want his return to be muddled with a dirty house. I waited by the window looking out onto the street. Deniro rested by my feet.

An ambulance pulled up. Oh fuck, I thought. Two men got out and walked around the back of the vehicle to open up the swing doors. They wheeled Scott out on a stretcher. They had problems rolling the stretcher up the sidewalk, so they removed Scott from the stretcher and one man carried him in his arms like a swaddled baby. Scott was thin and frail. His features were sunken. His eyes had huge bags underneath. Scott screamed in pain as he was carried through the threshold.

“Put me on the fucking couch,” Scott wailed. The man walked to the couch and started lowering Scott, “Slower, Slower, AHHHHHHHHH!”

I looked down as Scott wailed while being placed on the couch. Deniro was in a frenzy over Scott, wagging his tail furiously. A smile towards Deniro managed to escape Scott’s mouth, as well as a weak greeting.

“You weren’t expecting the ambulance, were you?” Scott asked.

I shook my head.

“Yeah, neither did I.”

The Truth: Part 28

On vacation, Matt, Brendan, Nick and I got wasted and remained that way for three days. It started before we even left when Brendan, Nick and I took a few hits of crystal before starting our three hour road trip. We picked up Matt from his apartment and began the journey. During the road trip we blasted music through the car stereos and screamed the lyrics at the top of our lungs. Brendan was the only one with the vehicle, so he drove. We made a stop along the way at a Bed & Breakfast to go to the bathroom. The woman at the front desk had missing teeth, and the teeth she still had were shriveled and blackened.

We had agreed to bring weed down with us, courtesy of Ben who gave me some for free. Ben had learned that I liked smoking weed while having a cigarette at KC. He told me that he used to grow some plants. He offered to give me some for free to take with me on the vacation. I reluctantly accepted, hoping that he wouldn’t try and use this kindness as a quid-pro-quo for sex later.

When we had arrived at our destination, everyone except for Matt was desperate for another hit. Three hours in a car had us aching for more, but the three of us decided to keep it a secret from Matt all weekend so we weren’t able to smoke it in the car like we’d normally do. It was a really nice cabin; a perfect getaway. It was a two bedroom cabin with one bed per room, so Nick and I shared one bed and Brendan and Matt shared the other. Each bedroom has it’s own bathroom, there was a communal area in the front with a small kitchen, and the porch of our cabin overlooked the rolling hills of the Australian countryside.

We were hardly settled in the cabin before Nick came up to me and said, “Brendan and I are going to the bathroom in our room to smoke some tina. Can you distract Matt while we are doing it?”

“Well, I want some too.” I complained.

“Yeah that’s fine. We can’t all be in there at once so when I am done I’ll trade you places.”

“Ok, fine.”

I walked up to Matt and struck up a conversation with him in the communal area. It didn’t take long before he asked, “Where is Brendan and Nick?”

“I don’t know. I think they are in the bathroom doing their hair.”

“Again,” He rolled his eyes, “How much do they have to do their hair!”

“Oh you know them. I know, it’s super annoying.” I tried to relate.

“I think it’s a waste of time,” exclaimed Matt.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I sat down on a chair by a round table, he sat across from me.

“It doesn’t matter how hard they try, they still look like shit,” I let out a smile as Matt explained, “The more makeup they apply the more disgusting they look. Please never wear makeup.”

“I would never wear makeup, I think it looks terrible too.”

“Well so far they’ve influenced you to do other things…” Matt trailed off.

“Oh they didn’t influence me to do shit. I decided to smoke crack by myself.”

“You’re gonna get addicted,” He teased.

“No, I am not. It’s just something fun to do every once in awhile.” I got super defensive. I have it under control, I thought.

“Well when you do get addicted I’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so’”, Matt laughed.

Nick walked in the room and I immediately got up and walked down the hall to the bedroom, saying something about how I had to ‘find’ something in my bag. I walked through the door, Brendan was sitting on the bed.

“Is it in the bathroom?” I asked, feeling myself getting anxious. I always got anxious before taking a hit.

Brendan spoke with a whisper, “No, it’s right here.” He lifted a small face-towel that was resting beside him, under it was the pipe. “Just do it here,” Brendan added, “The bathroom is too small anyway.”

I grabbed the pipe and felt my anxiety getting worse; I couldn’t wait to have some. I made a motion with my hand like I was sparking a lighter while saying, “Light?” Brendan reached in his coat pocket and pulled one out.

I was going to put the pipe to my mouth when Brendan said, “Will you just sit down,” He laughed, “You are way too impatient. Just calm down and chill out.”

“I am calm,” I defended myself as I sat on the bed.

“You’re looking so desperate for it. Just sit down and enjoy it.”

“Sorry,” I said. I waited a second before putting the pipe to my mouth and sparking the lighter. As I waited for the crystals to melt I said, “I told Matt that you and Nick were doing your hair.” Brendan let out an approving but uninterested grunt as the crystals melted and I started inhaling.

I heard someone walking down the hall, followed by Nick saying Matt’s name really loud. The door swung open as Matt walked in. He looked dumbfounded when he saw me with the pipe in my mouth.

“OH. MY. GOD.” Matt exclaimed, “You’re KIDDING me right?” I stopped inhaling and let out my smoke. Matt turned to Brendan, and then Nick. “I can’t fucking believe this!” Matt yelled. I could feel my face getting flushed. Matt leaned in close, “I knew you were addicted. So you guys planned on doing this all weekend and not tell me?”

“Of course,” Brendan said, “Because you get so fucking judgemental.”

“Yeah because it’s so bad,” Matt gasps, “And I hope you guys know that you got Cody addicted.”

I hated it when people would talk about me like I wasn’t there, so I spoke up, “I’m NOT addicted, Matt!”

“Well you could’ve fooled me,” He said while motioning to the crack pipe I was holding.

“We better not hear about this all weekend,” Nick rolled his eyes, “Just shut up about it.”

“I don’t want to be the only one that’s sober,” Matt whined.

“I brought some weed for you,” I voiced.

Matt uttered, “I don’t want to be the only one who is fucking stoned.”

“Well that’s your problem then,” Nick barked, “Not ours.”

Matt’s posture grew from rigid to soft, “What’s it like to be on crack?”

Brendan answered, “It’s just like being at one hundred percent. It’s not like being stoned or drunk, you just feel really good.”

I added, “It’s really hard to explain unless you try it.”

“Why,” asked Brendan, “Do you want some?”

Matt thought for a few seconds, “Maybe,” he said drawn-out.

“Oh come on, just do it,” Nick appealed.

“Yeah it’s not the bad,” I indicated towards the pipe. Matt looked at me while contemplating for a few seconds.

“Stop being a fucking cunt and just do it with us,” Brendan finally said, “It’ll be fun.”

“Ok… Ok fine I’ll try a LITTLE,” Matt gave in, “Only because you’re all doing it, so if I get addicted it’s your fault.”

“Yeah ok Matt,” Brendan rolled his eyes, “Whatever.”

I was surprised at how quickly Matt gave in to doing it.

We spent the whole vacation tweaked out on ice. On the last night we got stoned to help us sleep so we could feel refreshed for the drive back to Sydney in the morning. I adventured out into a field by myself, sat in the grass and looked up at the stars. There was hardly any light pollution so the sky was dotted with millions of crystal specks scattered across the deep purple night. I sat for an hour by myself, watching some kangaroos in the distance, listening to the animal calls of the Australian’ country. It was the first time I had been in the middle of nature by myself in a few months, so I took in the surroundings with serenity and breathed deeply. I was happy. Enormously so. I had the friend group I had always wanted. I was able to be myself around them and feel comfortable. We were having fun and trying new things.

At that point, coming to Australia was the best decision I ever made.

And then Scott came back early.

The Truth: Part 26

“I hope you are well!” I said enthusiastically on the phone. I was talking to Scott.

“Thanks babe. It was my birthday three days ago.” said Scott with a weak voice.

“I meant to call but I got busy,” I lied, I had totally forgotten about it, “I am so sorry. Happy birthday though!” I looked up at the five people I was with and they all looked sheepish. We were walking to a local cafe.

“That’s ok hun. How’s Deniro?” Scott asked.

“He’s doing good. Really good.” I lied again. I looked down at Deniro, who was on a leash, and see blood running down his neck. Fuck, I think to myself, what do I do?

*********************************************************************************

Two weeks before I talked to Scott on the phone two new boys started working at KC. Their names were Ben and Chris and they were a couple. Chris was a scene boy. He had blonde hair and an innocent look. He did things to get attention and you could tell he prided himself in being different. He was really odd, at times he was shy, and beneath his outer mannerisms I could tell that he was just a lost boy wanting to be heard. He was the very definition of the saying ‘the eyes are the gateway to the soul’ because his eyes juxtaposed his actions and gave away his true self. I grew to have a soft spot for him because I knew what it was like to want to be noticed.

Ben was confident, but equally as confused. He was articulate and spoke like an aristocrat. He thought he was too smart and was certain he was too good looking. He talked like he knew more than you and unintentionally acted like he was more important than you. He bragged about acting roles he had, acted like nothing bothered him, and pretended to know a lot about drugs and the sex industry.

Once they both started at KC the entire work dynamic changed. Ben and Chris quickly took it upon themselves to rule the entire Boys Room. They would come in with giant bags and throw their stuff all over the room and spend hours doing their hair and makeup. The room would soon be filled with makeup, hair products, clothes, and other assortments. The place quickly became a pig sty and nobody was happy about it.

Jay quickly got acquainted with Ben and Chris. Jay himself was still new, and I had a bit of a crush on him. He was silent but quiet charming. He warmed up to Ben and Chris and before the blink of an eye they were in a three-way relationship. Well, they called it a three-way relationship but it was obvious that Jay and Chris weren’t into each other that much. Jay was in love with Ben and Chris was in love with Ben. Ben was in love with Jay but was too scared to dump Chris to be with Jay because Chris was a safe space… at least that’s the way I interpreted it. Jay and Ben would cuddle and makeout on the couch when Chris wasn’t around. When Chris was around then Ben and Chris would usually get into fights and Chris would end up crying. The environment at KC was getting highly toxic. I was regularly at work coming down off crystal meth, so I was seriously annoyed by the new toxic environment.

Branden soon became friends with the threesome (my nickname for them at the time because it took too long to say all of their names). They would do drugs together and very rarely engage in sexual acts together. Nick soon followed suit and hung out with them for the drugs, and I fell right behind them soon after. Before I knew what hit me we were a group of six friends and we hung out all the time. I never particularly liked Ben, he seemed very fake and rubbed me the wrong way. Jay I was infatuated with, and Chris I felt sorry for, so I tolerated them. Matt had a full time job and wasn’t around as much, and we didn’t want him to hang out with us when we were doing drugs because he would get judgemental and ruin the buzz. Nick’s apartment was too small and Branden’s was too far, so we started hanging out in my Chippendale house. We all learned the game of poker and would have three day binges which more or less actually involved poker and more involved lots of crystal meth and talking about sex.

One night, the night before I talked to Scott on the phone, we were having a poker binge. We had rearranged the furniture so we could all sit comfortably for days on end. We were passing around the pipe often and I was on my second day of no sleep. As the night progressed Chris kept looking at me funny. Jay and Ben sat together and Jay would stare at Ben’s phone as Ben typed something out and then they would both giggle. Branden was telling a story and Nick was spaced out looking at his phone. Jay and Ben’s giggling continued and Chris kept looking at me. I was starting to get paranoid. When Ben stopped laughing and looked at me for a split second I had a feeling that they were laughing at something that had to do with me.

I decided to send Chris a text message: What is going on?

Chris: I don’t know if u want to know.

Me: Just fucking tell me.

Chris sends me a screenshot of a series of texts that Ben had sent him, it read:

       Ben: Do you think Cody would want to do a foursome?

       Chris: Idk

       Ben: Yeah, he’s kind of a prude.

       Chris: Yeah.

       Ben: He might not be any good. He’s not really experienced. He’s kind of weird.

I send Chris a text message: I wouldn’t have sex with you guys anyway.

Chris doesn’t message me back. Instead I get a text message from Ben.

Ben: Chris told me he showed you what I sent. So you want to come home with us?

Me: No.

Ben: Why not?

Me: Because I like one on one sex and I don’t want to have sex with any of you.

I could tell Ben was a little offended and it made me happy.

Ben: Jay thinks you’re really hot.

Me: That’s nice.

There was not another text exchange that night. It seemed like the three boys were just horny from all the ice so I didn’t think much of it. The sun was slowly brightening the night sky. Morning had come and we all turned into zombies. We didn’t speak for a few hours, instead we were consumed in our phone screens. Our faces illuminated by the blues and yellows of Facebook and Grindr. Chris suggested we go get coffee at the local cafe. We decided it was a good idea to get out of the house for a few minutes and I thought it would be a good time to take Deniro for his walk. I found a pair of sunglasses to help me hide from the brightness of the outdoors, and so did everyone else. Deniro whined with excitement when he saw me grab the leash. His tail frantically swung back and forth as I placed it on him. Standing up gave me a whole new rush and I started to feel less zoned out. Nick walked past Deniro as he walked out the door and said, “Don’t touch me.”

“Awe, don’t you like his pretty face?” I joked.

“Not when he stinks like something died.” Nick responded.

I followed Nick out the door with Deniro, “I just washed him a couple days ago.”

With sunglasses in place, the group of us walked through a very small park named Peace Park to get to the cafe. There were children laughing on the playground and parents sitting on the benches. I wished they didn’t look at me when they did because I looked in the mirror before we left and noticed my skin and hair was greasy. A little dog was running around off-lease and saw Deniro. The small white ball of fluff came running up to him, pink tongue sticking out with ears flapping behind. Deniro stood still as the small dog apporached. The owners walked up behind their dog and, within a second, the little dog yelped and grabbed Denrio by the neck. Deniro didn’t even flinch as the small dog bit at his neck and barked. The owners grabbed their small dog and apologized. I hardly said anything because Deniro seemed fine and I was tweaking out too hard to say much. The group hardly said anything as we continued walking. For me the walk seemed to take forever even though it took us 3 minutes total. Everything was too intense, I started to feel a panic rising in me. I tried my best to hide it and take deep breaths. We were nearly at the cafe when Nick said, “Cody, I think Denrio is bleeding.”

“Really?” I asked, then bent down to inspect him. Deniro had a line of blood running from his neck down his legs. I grabbed at one of his skin-folds on his neck and spread it. A chunk of skin had been removed by the small dog and it was bleeding profusely.

“Fuck,” I exclaimed, “That fucking little dog took a good chunk out of Deniro’s neck!”

Nick bent down to look, “Eww, that’s fucking gross. He didn’t even yelp when it happened. I didn’t think he was actually hurt.”

“Yeah, me neither. Fuck, I don’t know what to do. I’ll try and fix it once we get our coffees and get back to mine.”

My phone started ringing in my pocket. One Day/Reckoning Song by Asaf Avidan & The Mojos was my ringtone at the time. I had heard the song for the first time in Koh Tao, Thailand. I was with Blaire when I had heard it. I remembered dancing the night away in the beach club. At one point Blaire yelled in my ear, “You’re going to have such a good time in Sydney. It’s such an amazing place! You’ll do so well there.”

I take my phone out and look at the caller id. It’s Scott.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, I thought.

The Truth: Part 25

Brendan and Nick made me promise not to tell the other boys at the brothel that I did meth with them. I was experiencing my first come down ever, which was like a swift kick to the face. Coming down off crystal meth is the antithesis of being up on it. You feel void of all emotion. Everything has a terrible dream-like quality and your steps feel heavy. Your motivation is non-existent. I would smile or laugh at a joke, but inside be thinking about how I actually couldn’t feel happiness or laughter and how much I just wanted to curl up and die. A quick scientific explanation would be this: Meth temporarily opens the floodgates of dopamine to rush into your brain (dopamine is a pleasure neurotransmitter). When you’re coming down off crystal your brain is in a recovery period where it’s unable to produce dopamine at normal levels. This is why crystal meth is highly addictive. People who overuse crystal meth can permanently rewire their brains and effectively never feel pleasure the same way again.  

I was suffering my first come down while I was working a shift at KC. Everyone was on my nerves but, for an odd reason, my libido was through the roof. I spent most of my time with earphones in blaring the Arctic Monkeys while scrolling endless lists of shirtless men on Grindr. Having a client was excruciating and I was unable to perform at my peak. I was usually good  at giving the ‘boyfriend experience’, but while coming down I was unable to give a peak performance. Every word that came out of the client’s’ mouth irritated me and their touch felt like cheese graters against my skin. I wanted to be left alone in darkness as light seemed too intense for my eyes.

When my excruciating shift was done I managed to convince Jake to drive me home. The thought of taking public transport was agonizing so I told him I wasn’t feeling good. He had noticed my odd behaviour that day and felt obliged to take me. Despite Jake being one of the most annoying guys I’ve ever met, especially while I was coming down, he was also caring. He was big headed because of his muscular body, but underneath his egotistical exterior he had a gentle interior. He was also very self-conscious, I noticed that his cocky attitude was to hide his low self-esteem. Once Nick told him he was starting to look fat and the next day Jake came in and announced he was doing this experimental weight-loss drug. He was super offended once when I asked him if he ever took steroids, which led into a giant fight, which then led to him admitting that he had done them before.

Nick had done a double with Jake (a double is when a client hires two escorts at once) a few days prior and was happy to report to me that Jake had a huge penis. Nick bragged that it was the best double he had and that they both really ‘went at it’. Needless to say, Nick had a crush on Jake and was trying to rub it in only because he knew that I had a crush on Jake as well.

Jake and I walked down the street and hopped into his black SUV.

“Where do you even live?” I asked him once he put the car in gear.

“I live out with my mum.” Jake answered. He did say the name of a suburb that was far out of the inner city but I can’t remember which one.

“You still live with your mom?” I chuckled.

“Yeah, I love my mum. I’m a momma’s boy.” He cheekily smiled.

“I can’t believe you drive all the way in to work from out there! How long does it take you?”

“About forty minutes, depending on traffic.”

“Shit, that sucks. Obviously your mom doesn’t know you do this for work.”

“Naw way.” He replied. He always had a goofy grin across his face. There was a few seconds of silence, and then he said, “So how is hanging out with Brendan and Nick?”

“It’s been good. We’ve been having a lot of fun together.”

“You guys hang out all the time.”

“Yeah, we party a lot. I like hanging out with them all, and Nick and I are best friends.”

“Just be careful.”

“Why?” I asked.

“They seem like trouble to me,” Jake let’s out a goofy laugh.

“Well they’re not.” I replied starkly.

“They could’ve fooled me.” He had that goofy laugh again. It was goofy because it wasn’t a genuine laugh, it was an insecure laugh. Jake didn’t deal well with confrontation, his coping mechanism when he tried to cause drama was to laugh. There was silence in the car, then Jake continued, “Just be careful.”

“I don’t even know what that means.” I replied and slumped into my seat. Jake was trying to cause drama.

“I’m just saying that they might be a bad crowd. I have heard that they are into stuff.”

“Well they aren’t.” I said unconvincingly.

Jake laughs, “That didn’t seem like a confident answer.”

“Well it’s none of your business what they do. Everyone in this city seems to party. I’m sure you have.”

“Yeah, I go out every once in awhile and take a pill,” Jake admitted.

“So you’re no different than them.”

“Have you done anything with them?” Jake asked. I am silent and feel myself turning red. Jake opened his mouth wide and gasped, “Oh my god. You have! What have you done?”

“Please don’t tell anyone… promise.” I begged.

“Babe, everything you say here stays here.” Jake tried to reassure me.

I hesitated, then said, “I’ve done crack with them.”

“I knew it!” Jake yelled wide-eyed.

“It was only once!” I tried to defend myself.

“It’s ok, I do it every once in awhile too. Just be careful and don’t do it all the time. I knew you weren’t sick today!”

I made Jake promise multiple times he wouldn’t tell anyone. I knew Nick and Brendan would kill me if they found out I told someone; they both kept it a secret for so long.

The next day I was at work when Dave came into the room. It was a quiet morning, only a few boys were working a shift that day, including Jake. With sad eyes, Dave called for me to join him in the office.

I really liked Dave. Over the weeks he had turned into a good friend. At the beginning he seemed cartoonish to me; he seemed like a stereotypical sassy older gay man. Overtime that opinion changed, and I felt like he was dear to me. I would sit in the office on boring days and listen to him tell stories of his past life. He had been working at the brothel since it opened 20 years previous. He was spunky and energetic on good days, sensitive and quiet on poor ones. Bad experiences seemed to get him down mentally. He had seen many boys, full of potential, throw their lives away at KC. Boys once filled with life had it drained if they stayed for long periods of time, and there wasn’t anything Dave could do but watch these boys shrink into oblivion. The hardships of the job weighed upon him. To some boys he was viewed as a bitch, to most others he was a source of laughter. Dave was funny. Very funny. He had a quick wit and wicked style. It hurt us almost as much as it hurt him on days when he seemed upset.

I sat in the office on a chair opposite him. He turned to me and said, “I know you have been out smoking crystal meth with those boys.” I immediately looked down and didn’t say anything. Dave’s voice quaked when he continued, “To be honest I was very upset when I heard. When you first came here I thought to myself Here is a good country kid with a good head on his shoulders. So I was very surprised when I heard that you would do something so stupid. So very, very stupid. I don’t want to sit back and watch you throw your life away.” Dave continues, and in respect for the story he told me I will not repeat it here. But Dave continues and tells me the dangers of being addicted to crystal meth. He tells me that he has seen many boys go down the path of addiction and ruin their lives. He was nearly crying and so was l. It was upsetting to see him so distraught. He really cared about what would happen to me, and his fear for me was the greatest gratitude I have ever received at the brothel.

I knew Jake had told Dave about the drugs, it was pretty obvious even though Jake denied it till the end. At first I was furious at Jake for telling Dave, but now I see how it was necessary. Although Jake told Dave to cause drama, I am glad he did or else I wouldn’t have had that talk with Dave.

When Dave and I were done the conversation he made me promise him that I would never do meth again. I promised I wouldn’t. That’s why, out of the bottom of my heart, I am really sorry that I didn’t listen to him. If I had listened to his heartfelt plea that day I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble. I truly believed when I had come out of that discussion that I would never do it again. He had scared me straight, but the feeling didn’t last. It didn’t last for a week, nor even a full day. The night after the discussion I hung out with Nick and Brendan and we smoked more crystal meth.

I was addicted right out of the gate. It was already too late.

The Truth: Part 24

In the land of Gods and Monsters
I was an Angel
Looking to get fucked hard
Like a groupie incognito posing as a real singer
Life imitates art

You got that medicine I need
Dope, shoot it up, straight to the heart please
I don’t really wanna know what’s good for me
God’s dead, I said ‘baby that’s alright with me’

– Gods and Monsters, Lana Del Rey

I was nervous and uncertain of how to properly do crack. Brendan held the pipe for me up to my mouth with one hand, with his other hand he ignited a lighter and held it under the glass. White smoke started billowing out of the pipe and Brendan told me to start inhaling. He stressed that I would need to inhale slowly, and to inhale for as long as I could. Once my lungs were at capacity I removed my mouth from the pipe and held it in.

“Don’t hold it in, just let it out right away,” said Nick.

I exhaled. The smoke didn’t taste like much when being inhaled, but when exhaled it had that burnt plastic quality that hung in the back of my throat. It wasn’t a horrible taste, but it wasn’t a comfortable one either.

“How long do I have to wait?” I asked.

“It’ll kick in a few minutes,” answered Brendan, “We’ll just let you have that little bit to see how you feel, then if you’re ok you can have more later.”

Ten minutes pass and I don’t feel anything. “I think it’s not working, I don’t feel a thing,” I said.

Brendan laughs, “Cody look at your pupils, they’re HUGE. You’re fucked.”

“But I don’t feel any different,” I explained.

“That’s the point,” exclaimed Brendan, “But don’t you feel on top of your game? When I do it I feel like I can run a marathon.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I pondered, I did feel like I was more awake and alert than before. I also felt like talking, another effect of crack. “So this is crack… as in, like, crack cocaine, right?”

“What the fuck,” Nick gasps, “You’re fucking kidding me, right?”

Brendan laughs, “Crack isn’t crack cocaine. This is meth babes.”

“Crystal meth?” I was shocked, “But I thought ‘crack’ meant crack cocaine?”

Nick shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. This is what I was told it was called.”

“Oh fuck,” I grumbled, but then I start laughing, “Holy fuck… I went from only ever doing marijuana to one of the worst drugs in the world.”

I was enjoying the seemingly non-existent feeling of crystal meth. I noticed my speech ran at one million miles per hour and when I had gone to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror I saw that my pupils were like giant black saucers. Brendan, Nick and I laughed and talked about the random things. Then Brendan’s two friends arrived and immediately had some crack and joined in the conversations.

“It’s his first time!” Brendan yelled and pointed at me.

“How does it feel?” Said one of Brendan’s friends.

“I feel so good.” I replied.

Brendan would have to hold the pipe for me while I took more puffs which, at first, made me feel like an idiot, but after that first couple times I didn’t care. I realised I didn’t care about a lot of things that I normally cared about while I was on meth. Meth turned the rational part of my brain off and I found myself saying things that I normally wouldn’t. I was becoming louder and more boisterous. I also had a nervous tick that annoyed Brendan and Nick: I would ask everyone if they were ok every half hour.

Later in the night Brendan received a frantic phone call from a girl. I can’t remember the full details of what was wrong with her, but when Brendan hung up he told us that we had to make a trip to her boyfriend’s townhouse. The gist of what I can remember is that her boyfriend was a drug dealer and that the cops either had just raided his place, or were about to, or both, or that they were getting removed from it… either way the girl was upset and she needed to get out of the house as soon as possible.

So we all go with Brendan on an adventure to help this girl out at 3 am.

I realised that the townhouse was very close to the place I was living in Chippendale. From the outside the house looked pretty run down. The tenants must’ve lost the actual house numbers because instead they had painted a giant 180 beside the door in white paint. I felt like I was in a movie as we walked in the front door. The place was rundown and derelict. It was a stereotypical drug house. Brown and yellow stains ran up the white walls and onto the ceiling. The place wasn’t furnished except for a green couch that looked like it had rats living inside of it. The floors were messy with garbage and the floor boards were ripped in places. The odor of the house was sour and there was a dampness that hung in the air. The lighting was dim which cast everything in long shadows. Brendan walked into the townhouse nonchalantly, but upon entering Nick immediately clasped his hands together and held them close to his chest. I followed suit and it was obvious both of us were scared to touch anything.

I was introduced to the girl by Brendan. She talked at a high speed as she thanked us all for coming. She made us follow her up the stairs into the bedroom. The stairs were slanted and I tripped trying to walk up them. The bedroom had a musky odor and the gray carpet was stained and ripped. A stained mattress lay in the middle of the floor with a dismantled bed frame beside it.  

The girl tried to ask Brendan for some crack in a way that screamed hidden desperation. As he carefully took out the black bag and slowly opened it to reveal the glass pipe I noticed her squirming in place. She rubbed her hands together, and then rubbed them down her legs. Her face lit up when she saw the pipe. She spoke at a speed that could only be described as ultrasonic as she failed to make us think she wasn’t too focussed on Brendan preparing the pipe. She asked us basic questions but kept eyeing Brendan, and once he had the pipe prepared she basically leapt towards him. She smoked an inhuman amount of crystal and I noticed Brendan looked unimpressed as she inhaled the drugs that he bought.

Brendan splayed on the stained mattress while I cautiously sat on the corner of it trying my best not to touch anything. Nick decided to stand and looked ill. I grew annoyed with the banter between Brendan and the girl so I decided to go back downstairs and find the bathroom. I almost tripped down the stairs again but recovered myself by putting my hands on the wall, which was sticky. There was a man I hadn’t noticed before sitting on the green couch. His eyes were bulging and fixated on his phone. The phone’s screen cast strange colors onto the man’s shaded face, the spark of humanity seemed to be drained out of his long facial features. He looked zombified as his mouth hung partially open. He didn’t acknowledge my presence as I found my way to the bathroom.  

The bathroom was so disgusting it was almost unexplainable. The only way to describe it would be that I had seen better bathrooms in Southeast Asia.

Nick was awkwardly standing outside the toilet when I came out.

“That bathroom is disgusting,” I warned him.

“Yeah I’m not going in there,” He says, “This whole place is rancid.”

“Aren’t we supposed to be here to help her? Why are we just sitting around?” I asked.

Nick just shrugged, “I don’t know. I hope we leave soon because I’m going to need a bleach shower after this. I don’t even want to touch anything because I’m afraid I’m gonna catch a disease.”

Earlier, when we first pulled up to the townhouse, I had pointed out to Brendan and Nick that I lived a couple streets down. The girl decided to give Brendan the bedframe since he needed one, and she needed a place to store some of her stuff temporarily. I told her we could bring her boxes of stuff to my place and store it there while my housemate was gone. Brendan’s car was too small for the frame so we decided to store it at my place as well.  

So, at four in the morning, we started running boxes through the streets to my house. Deniro happily greeted us at the door, but once inside I noticed a foul odor as I remembered I hadn’t bathed Deniro in some time and it was long overdue.

“Oh my god what’s that fucking smell?” Brendan gasped and tried to cover his nose. I explained that it was the dog.

The mattress was the hardest to move, but only because most of us were scared to even touch it. It took all of us to get it down the stairs, three of us to run it across the street, and all of us to drag it across my floor to my kitchen. We placed the small boxes of stuff under my kitchen table, along with the bed frame. The mattress we rested against the wall. Nick urgently needed to use my toilet while I grabbed a few items from my room and fed Deniro.

I had a moment to pause and look at all the girl’s stuff in my kitchen. My consciousness tugged at my heart and tried to explain to me that I had seen the warning signs that night. A big part of me felt disturbed, but I wasn’t able to pinpoint what it was. I had a glimmer of truth resting inside of me but I wasn’t able to grasp it. The warning signs were in place, but through the haze of adventure I decided to push them deep down so I couldn’t hear them.
Everything is under control, I told myself.

The Truth: Part 22 and 23

Part 22

I made a trip to the sexual health clinic. I’d like to say it was my first time getting a sexual health screen, but that would be a lie. A few months prior when I was still living in Canada I had to get one done. When I had sex for the first time, it was unsafe. The guy I was sexualising with didn’t have any condoms, and I had lacked in knowledge about sexual health. I had been naive enough to risk it. I secretly booked an appointment with my family doctor and told my parents I was going to hangout with friends. When I arrived to my appointment and told my family doctor why I had come, she scolded me. “Cody,” she said, “I cannot believe a good boy like you is in here for that. How could you be so stupid?” She gave me a stern look, “I better not catch you in here for the same reason again. Legally I’m not allowed to tell your parents, but I’d have a good mind to!”

The sexual health clinic for prostitutes in Sydney is cleaner than expected. It could be easily mistaken for a normal walk-in clinic sans the giant posters on the wall about safe sex, how to properly inject drugs, info about methadone meetings, etc. I forced Nick to come with me because I had been scared to go by myself, but when the nurse called my name I told him to wait outside. I looked back towards Nick before entering the screening room, he was slowly shifting his weight away from a woman in the waiting area who was scratching all over her body and mumbling to herself. A brief moment passes where I thought about bringing him with me. But in the end I entered the screening room without saying anything.

The health screen took longer than expected. She asked me a series of questions about my sexual health history, which sexual roles I engaged in (“Do you give, receive, or both?”), info on HIV, and the last time I had unsafe sex. She asked me if I was a sex worker and I felt uncomfortable when I said yes. She dealt with prostitutes all the time, yet I was embarrassed and my face turned red as she ticked Sex Worker off on the form.  Then I had to do a blood test, rapid HIV throat swab, normal throat swab, pee in a container and stick a swab stick up my butt. The rapid HIV tests came back negative, but the full blood results would return in a week, as well at the other results. The nurse explained to me that the main STD/I’s they looked for were Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, and HIV. I was relieved to hear that the nurse personally thought I was negative on all counts, but I would still have to wait a week to get the official results.

Nick and I went straight into work after the health screening. Dave opened the door for us and said, “You boys should really just go home now.”

“Why?” Asked Nick, “We are scheduled on for tonight.”

“Yeah,” replied David, “You and thirteen other boys.”

The Boy’s Room was packed. Bodies of boys were strewn all about. They were sitting in each other’s laps, some were sitting on the floor. Dave told us that no clients had come in all day. Pete had just arrived as well for the manager change-over to take on the night shift. As the owner of the brothel, Pete wasn’t pleased that there had been no clients. Pete never vocalized his displeasure, he would have a weird, almost worried look come across his face and say methodically, Hmm that’s interesting. He would then come up with a bogus story about the stock market and the economy and use it to excuse the lack of clients; They are holding onto their money, he would say, because they are scared of the falling economy.

There wasn’t any room on the sofas so I grabbed a pillow and sat on the floor. All the boys in the front half of the room were yelling, laughing and talking over one another. The other half seemed moody and remained quiet. There were a few boys I couldn’t recognise but I didn’t really care to make an effort to introduce myself that night. Trying to get a word in was nearly impossible, but a boy finally confirmed a question I had about there had been no clients that day.

“Yeah,” said the boy, “ There has been nothing. Its been so fucking boring!”

A boy shouts, “Everyone fucking leave so that I can get a client!”

“You ugly fuck, no client would actually want you.” Said another, and the boys broke out into a laughter.

Brendan was in the corner of the room and spoke up, “It doesn’t help that half you cunts have the same look as me. If another skinny blonde guy starts working here then I’ll be out of business.” More laughter erupts. I wonder if Brendan thought that when I had first started. I notice that two new blonde skinny boys were on the silent half of the room, talking quietly to themselves.

I turn to Nick and say, “Well, Brendan isn’t wrong,” and then motion towards the two new blondes.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Nick says, “I’m gonna give Pete a piece of my fucking mind. Between you, Matt, Brendan and I we have enough skinny blondes. He doesn’t fucking need more.”

I had agreed with Nick and stepped outside for a cigarette. I found myself glaring at the new blondes through the sliding glass, thinking about how they might ruin my business. I had been getting a good chunk of the clients for the past couple weeks and didn’t want my winning streak tarnished by new blood. The problem was that the clients loved new boys. I was worried.

Jake stepped outside even though he didn’t smoke, which had me annoyed because that meant he wanted to talk.

“What do you think of the new blondes?” Jake said with goofy grin.

“I’m kinda mad. There is so many of us now.” I reply, taking a drag of my cigarette.

“Yeah it’s kinda funny how there is so many twinks here. I am lucky because I’m basically the only muscle guy.”

“Fuck off.” I say, not even looking at him. I continued to watch the boys through the sliding glass door.

“But it’s true,” he gave a guilty laugh and then continued, “I get the most clients here. I’m not ashamed to admit that. A lot of clients like a muscle top.” I glare at Jake and am about to tell him to fuck off again when he continues, “But, you have got the second most clients out of all the boys here. I’d hate to see you lose clients, you were here before those two so you deserve it.”

I hesitate before saying, “Thanks.”

Jake adds, “That’s why I am going to talk to Pete and try and get rid of them.”

“What?” I respond, “You mean get them fired?”

“Yeah,” Jake says, “Because it’s totally not fair to you or to Nick or anything.” The client bell rings and rejoice floods over the Boy’s Room. Jake says, “Finally,” and goes back inside with me following him.

The client asked to interview all the boys, which took a really long time since there was fifteen of us. Almost half an hour later the interviews were over and Pete went to see which boy has been chosen. Dirty looks shoot across the room as the boys wait in anticipation. A lot of boys had desperation on their face, and I felt bad for them. We all needed money to survive, and some boys had it harder than others. Boys like Jake made thousands of dollars, others barely made anything all all. For most boys, escorting was a last resort, so it was sad to see the desperation on their faces and know that getting a client could mean the difference between going hungry or not. When times were tough and the brothel was slow, boys would look at other boys who got jobs in animosity. Although we knew it was out of our control, we would feel a deep jealousy towards the boys that got too many clients. Some boys even got angry about it.

Pete simultaneously swings open the door and says, “CAAAAAAAAARRRRRL!”

The boys all moan and turn to stare at me. Most of them looked bitter, a few looked angry. I didn’t help the situation by saying, “Who, me?”

“Yes, he wants YOU,” Pete replies, “Hurry up.”

I carefully tip-toe around the boys and make my way to the door. Everyone is relatively quiet as they try and mask their disappointment. In ways it felt good to be picked over everyone else. I quickly glance to the new blondes and think to myself, I’m doing just fine.

Part 23 

Most of the boys had gone by the time I was done with my client. They had grown fed up with waiting and no other clients had walked in the door. Jake was one of the boys whom had left, along with Blake and the two new blondes. Nick had been waiting for me with Brendan and I found them in the back having a fag.

“How was the client?” asked Nick, making room for me to sit beside him on the wooden slats.

I sat down and replied, “Meh, it was alright.”

Brendan spoke up, “I saw you doing the strut up to the door when your name was called.”

I put on a flaming gay voice, “It felt so good,” I put my hand on my heart, “to beat out all you skinny bitches. I wanna thank jesus, my good looks, and…”

Nick cuts in, “Yeah you probably went into the interview and told him you’d do it for free you little slut.” Nick and Brendan laugh.

Brendan adds, “Gave him a little sucky sucky in the interview.”

“Oh you’re just jealous I got him over you guys.” I jokingly bite back.

“Oh yeah, who could be jealous of that?” said Nick.

Brendan basically yells, “He was so disgusting. You can HAVE him!”

We stay and talk for a while before deciding to leave early. Not even the present company could ward off the boredom of waiting for a client. Brendan had a car, so we decided to go to his apartment. I hadn’t been to Brendan’s apartment before, so I was intrigued to see it.

Brendan was an enigma to me. He talked about being a good person but then acted like the biggest bitch of the walk. He was loud, he was stark, and he could be very rude. Despite these flaws he could also be extremely generous, and he could stand up for you when you weren’t able to stand up for yourself. Deep down, under his lost boy persona, there was a very good person that came out once in a while. At the time I considered myself closest to Matt and Nick and furthest from Brendan. The cracks in his tough-guy attitude showed his humanity, which kept me wanting to be his friend, but I tended to keep him at arm’s length.

On the drive over to Brendan’s apartment he was telling us about his racked up debt. I won’t say the amount, only because I can’t remember, but it was definitely on the higher side of five digits. Most of the debt seemed to be from the ridiculous amounts of speeding and parking tickets he would get.

“Cody, we need to make a stop and pick up some stuff.” Brendan said as he looked back at me in the back seat of his car.

“Ok… what are we getting.” I reply, hoping it’s food.

“You can’t get all crazy, ok?”

“I won’t.”

Brendan exchanged a look with Nick and then said, “We are going to get crack.”

“Why would that make me go crazy?” I asked.

“Because you’re this little goody goody and I don’t want you freaking out about it.”

“I won’t freak out. I don’t care.”

“Ok, because we will probably be doing it tonight.” Nick hits Brendan in the arm and Brendan turns to him and yells, “What? He’s gonna be there anyway! He midaswell know!” He turns back to me, “You can try some if you want.”

“No, I promised myself I wouldn’t do any drugs.”

“Well, I’m not going to force you. But if you wanted to try it now might be a good time. It’s just gonna be you, me, Nick, and two of my other friends at my place tonight. We are all going to be doing it so you’ll be the only sober one.”

Brendan parks on the side of the road and goes up to this apartment block. Nick and I wait in the car, and not even five minutes pass before Brendan is running back.

“Whew!” yells Brendan as he hopped in the car, “We gonna get fucked.”

We arrived not long after to Brendan’s apartment. The apartment was beautiful and expansive. It was two levels, three if you included the stunning rooftop terrace. I didn’t know what I was expecting when I entered the apartment, but I was thoroughly impressed. The apartment was clean with a ‘showroom’ kind of feel. The furniture was basic with clean lines and a modern touch. Brendan’s housemate was technically the leaseholder of the apartment, and he resided on the first floor. Up the stairs was Brendan’s bedroom, two balconies (one accessible through Brendan’s room, the other was accessed through the living room), kitchen, living area and the bathroom. The next flight of stairs took you to the rooftop terrace. The terrace was stunning and looked over a small park. The surrounding area was apartment city, which was a shame because the view would’ve been even more spectacular if it was extended beyond the park.

Brendan immediately took us to his bedroom and shut the door. The walls in his room were bare and he didnt even have a bed frame: his mattress was just lying on the floor. Brendan got me to sit on the mattress while he opened the sliding glass mirror to reveal the closet. There he rummaged through some drawers until he found a small black case. He sat on the bed and carefully opened the case to reveal a glass pipe.

“Is that what you smoke it with?” I asked.

Brendan smiles and says, “Of course.”

I watch as he takes out the small bag from his pocket. It’s a square ziplock bag with a clear substance in it (the ‘crack’, as they called it).

“Can I look at it?” I asked, intrigued by the harmless looking drug.

“Just give me a second,” said Brendan as he carefully unzipped the bag. Nick was sitting behind him pretending not to care too much about the process. Brendan carefully took a small section of drinking straw from the black bag and used it to carefully remove a crystal from the bag and dropped it in the pipe. “Here,” he said and zipped up the bag and threw it at me. I inspected the bag and saw that the ‘crack’ looked like large pieces of salt. They were cubed and opaque. I squeezed the crystals between two fingers and felt how hard they were.

Brendan puts the glass pipe to his mouth and sparks a lighter. He is about to hold the lighter up to the glass pipe when he catches my eye, chuckles and says, “Cody, I can’t do this when you are looking at me all wide eyed. Are you gonna be ok?”

“Yeah,” I said sitting up straight, “Sorry I’m just interested in how this works.”

“Mmmkay,” Brendan responded. He sparks the lighter again and holds the pipe to his mouth. He rolls the pipe side to side under the flame, and soon I noticed the crystals melting into a clear liquid and then dissipating into a white smoke. Brendan starts slowly inhaling, and the smoke stops rising out of the top and quickly falls back through the pipe and into his mouth. He diffuses the lighter and inhales the last smoke for a good few seconds before removing the pipe from his mouth and exhaling. The smoke escaped from his mouth in a thick cascade. The smell of the smoke was like a less intense version of burnt plastic. He repeated the process and handed it to Nick. You could tell Nick wasn’t as confident in the practise as Brendan was.

I asked both of them a series of questions about ‘crack’. They tell me that the high is really hard to explain: It’s not hallucinatory, nor does it make your brain fuzzy. They said it was like sleeping for 12 hours and then drinking a large coffee; you feel normal and on the top of your game.

It’s a good hour before Brendan asks me, “Are you sure you don’t want to do any?”

I am silent for a second, “I don’t think I should.”

“There is nothing to be afraid of. You won’t really feel any different. But it’s totally up to you.”

I am completely silent, Nick and Brendan watch me in anticipation.

In the end I feel like it was inevitable. The draw to it seemed unreal. All my life I had the mentality where I wanted to try all, see all, and do all. I had told myself since a young age that I would never do any drugs (except weed), but even then I always felt it was a false promise. I did want to see what it was like. I had the perfect opportunity to try it with a friend I trusted and an environment I felt comfortable. If Nick did it, then it couldn’t be that bad.

“Fine,” I say, “I’ll try it.”

 

The Truth: Part 20

I didn’t sign up for this, I thought to myself as I throw food into Deniro’s food dish and quickly run away. I didn’t sign up to take care of that house or that dog. It was just my luck for such large responsibility to be thrown at me out of no where. I debated going home, abandoning the house and the dog and leaving it for Scott to take care of. For selfish reasons I was upset. I went to Australia to have a good time and travel, not be stuck wondering when my housemate was going to be out of hospital. Scott woke out of his coma and, through the large amounts of painkillers he was on, managed to tell me to remember to walk Deniro every day. I didn’t. I couldn’t. It affected my work and party schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to do it every day. But here and there I would miss a day or two. I didn’t care for the demon dog, even though Deniro seemed to be warming up to me. To be honest, after the growling incident, Deniro scared me. Despite all this, I powered on. My good side got the best of me and I decided to help out this man I hardly knew.

Everyone at the brothel found out about Scott’s hospitalisation and they were all buzzing about it. Wild rumours were floating around, and all the talk was making me uncomfortable. Jake, the muscular guy I had a crush on, was in the boy’s room parading around being a cocky asshole. Sometimes he remained invisible in the corner and sometimes he demanded the room’s attention. For a good looking guy he had low self-esteem, a common pattern with the boys. Below his plastic shell there was a good guy, which is why I liked him. But on this particular night he really pissed me off. He was parading around, being nosy and loud, and he turns to me with a cocked smile and says, “So how’s Scott doing?”

“He’s doing ok, I guess.” I am hungover from the night before and laying on the couch.

He responds cheekily, “Now how the fuck did he get himself hit by a truck? It makes no sense!”

“I don’t know! Scott said it was nighttime and that the driver purposefully drove off the road to hit him and then drove away.”

“How fucking stupid is that? He should’ve jumped out of the way. If you are stupid enough to get hit by a truck then you deserve to be hit by a truck,” Jake laughs. The blood in my body starts to boil and I can feel my cheeks going red with anger.

“Just shut the fuck up, Jake,” I yell, sitting up.

“Look, you don’t have to get all bent out of shape. I am just saying it sounds pretty stupid to me.” Jake tries to hold back a devilish smile, obviously happy with my reaction. He now had the room’s attention and it was obvious he was enjoying it.

I angrily stand up and huff to the back of the room, slide open the sliding glass door and slam it behind me. I sit on the wooden slats in the smoking area and light a cigarette. I was shaking with anger, my cigarette trembling in my hands. For some reason I found myself searching the Internet on my phone for hit and run news stories in Cairns. My search results come up with nothing. I didn’t think much of it, I thought maybe the news outlets just didn’t cover the story.

That night I had an outcall way out in the suburbs. It was a $45 taxi ride out there, but Brendan promised to pick me up personally when I was done in exchange for the other $40 taxi-fare. Sometimes the boys with cars would drive you to your outcall in exchange for the amount you would’ve paid for a taxi. It was a good way for the boys to make extra cash, car permitting.

The man’s house was awkwardly bare. Nothing hung on the walls, the room was sparsely decorated. He was a nice client, but he made me uncomfortable with how much he talked about his kids. I gave him an hour long massage and my hands were really sore when it was done.

I waited outside for Brendan for 30 mins. He was supposed to meet me outside my clients’ apartment at 2 am when I was done, but after I called him to ask him where he was he said he was gonna be late and that Nick was with him. I could hear Nick cackling in the background as Brendan tried to hold his composure and tell me that he was gonna be 10 minutes late.

Half an hour later when Brendan finally arrived Nick unrolled the window and screamed, “Get in bitch!”

“Oh lord Jesus girl get in the car we going shopping!” Brendan yells.

I hop in the backseat and immediately feel the energy pouring off Nick and Brendan. Nick whips around in his seat with crazy enthusiasm and yells, “Security! This bitch has got to go!”

Brendan echoes, “He has got to go! Oh lord baby Jesus have mercy!” They both throw their heads back and howl in laughter. Once Brendan composes himself he starts driving and asks, “How was it?”

“It was good. Really easy, just mainly wanted a massage.”

“I’ve had him before. Isn’t his house so creepy? There is nothing in it. Bitch needs a painting or statue or something.”

“Really?” Nick asks with saucer eyes. Both of their enthusiasm seemed weird to me, it was something I hadn’t seen before.

“Yeah. And when I try to stick my dick in him he moves his hips around too much. It’s like, hello bitch just stand still, ok!?”

We all laugh, and I jokingly ask, “Oh my god what are you guys on?”

Nick quickly responds, “We aren’t on anything.”

Brendan adds, “You’re crazy babe.”

“Have you ever done drugs?” I ask, wondering why I had never asked before.

Nick and Brendan exchange glances. Nick says in response, “Umm yeah like every once in a while I will take a pill.”

“Oh lord Jesus!” Brendan yells out of no where.

Nick repeats louder, “OH LORD JESUS!” They both start laughing.

“Just don’t freak out about it,” Brendan tells me.

“Why would I freak out about you doing pills every now and then?”

Brendan is hesitant, but then says with a guilty smirk, “Because you’re a goody goody.”

“Oh lord Jesus!” Nick screams.

“Oh lord baby Jesus!” Brendan screams back.

And that’s how the rest of the drive goes until we get back to Nicks apartment and start drinking.

Partying became a full time endeavour. Every night after work Nick, Brendan, Matt and I would meet at someones apartment, pre-drink until 2 or 3 am, and then go out clubbing until the sun rose. It was now a ritual. One particular night we were pre-drinking at Nick’s apartment and I noticed something odd. I’d seen it before but not at this frequency. About every half an hour Nick and Brendan would go into Nick’s room for 15 minutes. I never normally paid attention to it because I thought they were going in there to fix their hair or to apply more makeup. Matt, who was sitting beside me, was obviously bothered by it. Matt yelled at them from the living room, “We all know what you are doing in there! We aren’t that stupid!”

I pondered what he meant, and I thought that maybe they were going in there to make out. I didn’t think that Nick and Brendan liked each other before, but it would explain why they would spend so long in there. It seemed desperate to me and foolish that they would try and hide it like that. They knew that Matt and I wouldn’t care. I would be happy for them to be together.

Matt broke my deep thought, “You do know what they are doing in there, right?”

“I… I think so.” I say, starting to feel foolish.

Matt says bluntly, “They are smoking crack.”

“Really?”

“Why else do you think they go in there alone so often?”

“I thought maybe they were doing their hair.”

Matt laughed mockingly at my hilarious innocence, “Oh my god! I know they do their hair a lot but that’s just dumb.”

“Well how was I supposed to know?”

“Yeah, you are pretty innocent.”

“How do you do crack?” I asked.

“You smoke it. Don’t tell me you want to try it.” Matt gazes at me with a dumbfounded expression.

“No I don’t, but I would like to watch Nick and Brendan do it. I’ve never seen how it’s done before.”

“That’s just weird. I would never do something as stupid as crack.”

Later that night Matt spends $400 on the pokies (slot machines). In one way or another everyone had their vices. Matt craved risk. Brendan craved adventure. Nick craved numbness. I craved the unknown. These mental cravings were manifesting themselves into physical ones. I thought mine had manifested in the form of becoming an escort, but little did I know I had a lot more coming.