Statistically, escorts would have many clients who were HIV positive. I never had a client fully come forward and tell me that he was positive, but in a city where the HIV rate among gay men was 1 in every 10 I assumed that a few of them were.
Dean was still working at the brothel at the time of Scott’s return. Although I hadn’t heard from Blaire in a few weeks I knew that she was still hanging out with him. Dean wouldn’t come in and work shifts, he was strictly booking only so I never saw him hanging around the brothel.
One slow day at Knight Call I managed to get only one client. He was Asian, wore glasses and had a skinny frame. He was very awkward at first, but once I gave him a massage I felt his body relax and he engaged in conversation.
“Have you ever heard of Dean?” He asked me lying naked on his back. I lay beside him looking up at the ceiling.
“Yeah, I know him. The kiwi guy, right?”
“Yeah, him. I had him last week.”
I rolled over to face the client. I loved gossiping about other escorts with my clients, it helped me learn what they liked and disliked, “And how was he?”
“Well, he’s very good looking, which is a shame because he was shit in bed.”
I chuckled, “Really? Why was he shit?”
“He didn’t want to do anything with me. He only wanted to give a massage and to get me to suck him off. He refused to touch me or do anything to me. What a waste of money.”
“I’ve had someone tell me that before, I think it’s because he’s straight.”
“Yeah, maybe. But is he really straight?”
“Probably not.” I laughed.
“And he said something to me at the end. Something very odd.” He paused as if hesitating to say what it was.
“What did he say?” I egged him on.
“Well, at the end of the session he told me that… he told me that I shouldn’t bother booking anyone else here.”
It didn’t surprise me. Dean was cut-throat and would do anything to keep a client as a regular. But what the client said next really took me aback.
“He said that you were all dirty and diseased.”
I shot up into a sitting position, “He said what?”
“He said that most of the boys here didn’t use condoms and that most of you had HIV or other STD’s.”
“That little…” I wanted to say cunt but I didn’t want to offend the client, “poop.” The client seemed to enjoy that I was flustered, I continued a rant. “Who does he think he is? Going around say all that… stuff. No wonder he gets so many clients. I wonder how many people he has told this to? Did he say any specific names?”
“No, he said just all of you.”
“That crazy…” I couldn’t hold it in, “…fuck.”
After the client had left I took no time running into the boy’s room to announce it to everyone. Word got around to Pete the owner, and when Pete confronted Dean about it Dean blatantly denied saying it. I was called into the office by Pete one night.
“Carl, please sit.” Pete usually used my escort name in place of my real name. I sat in the office chair opposite of him. “You must not go around spreading these rumours about Dean any longer. I have banned that client from ever coming here again, he obviously was looking to start drama.”
“But I think he was telling the truth.”
“Carl, I have known Dean for a long time. I trust his word.”
That was the end of that conversation.
As the days passed I noticed a change in my body. What started as a tingling feeling in my nether regions turned into a painful burn every time I peed. I was scared and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I let it go on for two days, hoping that the pain would go away on it’s own. I started getting a thick yellow discharge and the pain became so unbearable that I was scared of peeing altogether.
I went to the free clinic for prostitutes the next day by myself. I told Nick to wait for me at work.
The nurse ran through all the tests, doing blood work, anal swabs, a very uncomfortable penis swab (which entails sticking a cotton swab up the urethra), and a urine sample. When she inspected my penis she almost immediately said she was certain it was gonorrhea. She had the Doctor to come in and look at it and he concurred.
“Now, it will take about a week for the test results to come back to prove whether or not it actually is gonorrhoea,” the Doctor said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, “But we are going to give you the medication today as a precautionary. You are an escort, correct?”
‘Yes I am.” I said quietly while swallowing back tears.
“You won’t be able to do escort work for a week from today,” He leaned back in his chair, “The reason being that gonorrhoea can raise your risk of getting other diseases such as HIV significantly, so it’s safer to take a week’s break.” He noticed I looked upset and said, “Don’t worry, gonorrhoea isn’t too bad. It’ll clear up in a week and you’ll be, umm, back to normal.”
The treatment for gonorrhoea included a week’s worth of large white pills you need to take daily, and a one-time needle in the butt.
I mistakenly thought the needle wouldn’t hurt that bad, but after it was done I could hardly walk on the leg that was attached to that butt cheek.
I walked with a pimp limp, head down in shame, to Knight Call. Luckily it was Dave who was manager that day so I told him the truth about why I couldn’t work the roster that week and he said he’d keep my secret. I went into the boy’s room sheepishly and told Nick to come outside for a cigarette with me.
Nick laughed when I told him, “OH MY GOD! That’s so funny! Even I haven’t got any STI’s yet! Who did you get it from?”
“I have no idea.”
“Wait, you’ve been using condoms, right?”
“Of course I am!”
“Well then how the fuck did you get it?” He took a drag of his cigarette.
“The doctor said that if someone has gonorrhoea in the throat they can give it to you when they give you a blowjob.” I paused, wondering how to word the next question, “You let clients suck you off without a condom too, right?”
“Yeah of course. Everyone does.” Nick swished his cigarette through the air.
I bit my lip, “But, do you sometimes suck clients off without a condom?”
“It depends on who they are.”
I slowly nodded and looked down at the ground. It was a cloudy day so I didn’t cast a shadow. I took the last drag of my cigarette and flicked it into the ash tray.
Since there was no point in staying at Knight Call I decided to head home. Scott was awake when I went into the room to check on him. He yelped in pain as he struggled to sit up. I sat on the bed next to him.
“I thought you were at work, darling?” Scott asked drearily. I could tell his eyes were having a hard time focussing.
“I am unable to work for the next week.” I replied with a mock frown.
“Oh no. What happened?” Scott looked at me as if he knew the answer.
I let out an almost guilty smile, “I found out today that I have gonorrhoea.”
“Oh that’s awful. From who?” His voice was uneven.
“I don’t know,” I realised I hadn’t had sex with anyone but clientele for the last month so I added, “A client.”
“Are you ok? Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, I think I’m alright. I’m a little bummed out about it but the doctor explained everything to me and it should clear up soon.”
Scott was quiet, and then he said with a cheeky smile, “You’re a dirty bitch.” Then he tried to chuckle but each laugh sent pain through his body so instead he ended up wincing and moaning in pain. Scott fell quiet and sunk down into the bed. “I need to rest.” He said it with a pang of defeat.
I left him alone and went down into my room. I suddenly realised that, for the past two and a half months since I started working in the brothel, work was my whole life. I worked almost every single day and partied almost every single night. I could still do the partying for the next week, but I was at a loss of what to do for an entire week without the brothel.
I messaged Nick: What are we doing tonight?
Nick replied: I heard the threesome (Chris, Ben, and Jay) wanted to get together tonight for some. (Meaning a night on crystal meth)
Me: I’m in.