WARNING: Explicit Content
She was sitting up at the edge of the bed completely naked. Her legs and arms were crossed, the latter lifting up and squeezing together her insubstantial breast into something closer to substantial. Sagramore was standing right in front of the girl; her head was exactly crotch-level.
“What’s wrong? Do you want me to undress you? It’s ok. Your friends are paying.”
Her soft voice tickled into his ears, and from there sent a ripple down through his entire body, finally pulsing out into his penis. It started perking up a little. Sagramore was at a loss for words…and thoughts. He had never seen a prostitute outside of early 90’s romantic comedies. At no point during his protracted virginal state, had he ever considered employing a lady of the night. At no juncture of the many prolonged dry spells that followed, had he ever considered hiring one. And yet, here in front of him, by the grace of his colleagues the two Kims, was a naked hooker unzipping his pants.
Sagramore was not comfortable with the situation, but he did not understand why. He is not a religious man; in fact, he’d probably be downright atheist if he ever grew the balls to commit to one ideology. Unfortunately, the thought of dying, and merely ceasing to exist, horrifies Sagramore more than any other possible prospect, and so coming to terms with his unbelief in god is problematic. Suffice it to say, Sagramore is not a religious man, and by extension, nor is he a moral man. So what did he find so unsettling about bedding an attractive prostitute? In general, he makes an effort to never pay for that which he can procure for free, but he was not personally paying for tonight’s service. The girl was certainly attractive, and her advances seemed to be having the desired effect, judging by the current size of a certain body part. Could it be that regardless of his moral compass’ loose calibration, a Western upbringing had succeeded in socializing him against paid sex? Was his current discomfort exactly what the pilgrims and puritans had lusted after for their ensuing generations, as they drew upon Plymouth Rock? Perhaps he felt wrong to use a woman as a mere tool for sex. The shorthaired girl seemed perfectly healthy, and he could see well-formed muscles slide beneath her skin as her arms moved back and forth, her hands working on his erect member. She seemed a far cry from some kind of Eastern sex slave, forced to fuck for food, or a drug fix. She seemed OK.
Besides, were any of his previous one-night-stands any more morally defensible? One could easily view the myriad fruit cocktails he had gifted at clubs as down payments for the soon-to-follow sex. And those definitely failed the using-women-as-tools-for-sex test. His mind was in gridlock, but his mouth somehow gathered the resolve to speak.
“Um…ah…n.no. No. No, thank you. OK, that’s enough.”
“Why? I told you, you’re friends are paying. Take as long as you want. But go easy on me; I’m not used to Americans, and you’re bigger than Korean guys.”
WHAT?! Did that just happen? He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. Trying to resist this girl was like trying to get off a boat in Normandy. Her hands migrated north from Sagramore’s crotch, and started unfastening his belt. Her fingertips were bullets raining down on him from above. Her tits were bunkers, and he was still knee-deep in the surf, wading towards the war-ravaged beach. How could Sagramore resist, when he couldn’t even think? Not to mention, the blowjob did feel damn good…wait, what? Blowjob!? When did that start? He clamped both hands down on the top of her hear, and removed his penis from her mouth. A cold chill immediately hit his member, which was begging to go back into the warm comfort of the Karaoke escort’s lips.
“No, look. Really, I am not comfortable with….this. I just don’t know if this is…right?”
The girl looked thoughtful. He had seemingly won some sort of victory; his forces had advanced up the beach to the high dunes. He felt the strength of his righteous conviction flowing through him, buttressing his resolve. But the girl changed tactics, and launched a counterattack for which Sagramore was wholly unprepared. She bent her head down, but turned her eyes up in an adorable little kitty way, and formed her lips into a small frown. The kind of frown an 8 year old displays to her father when she wants a gift just out of her reach.
“What do you mean ‘right?’ It’s fine. I want you to.”
BOOM! A grenade. Sagramore couldn’t feel his legs, or his arms. A ringing noise drowned out all other sounds, and he swayed from side to side weakly, as the ground tumbled out from under him. This girl knew what she was doing. Her defenses were impregnable. His feeble, school-boy moralistic excuses were no match for her practiced counterattacks. This wasn’t some poor prostitute being forced to bed an old creepy guy against her will. She wanted this!- albeit allegedly. But why was she so insistent? Would she get in trouble if she didn’t bed a client? Was it a quality control issue or something? Maybe she really did want his large, American penis! Go U.S.A! She was starting to win Sagramore over, but he still wasn’t very comfortable with everything. There had to be some way to stop this mad, sex-craving Korean. He just had to think; just had to concen—dammit! It was in her mouth again…and then he noticed a mirror. It was hanging on the left wall, and he could make out the whole scene reflected on the glass surface. He saw a drunk businessman in cheap suit, with his pants half falling off, and a young girl, who probably wasn’t out of college yet, hanging off his crotch like a remora leeching off a shark. Sagramore then remembered a high school Biology class lecture. The dumb kid had asked his teacher why the suckerfish never detach from the host. If they do, they’ll be eaten. At that moment, he wondered exactly how many degrees separated him from some old white dude with money cruising Thailand for boy transvestites.
“That’s enough. I’m serious; we’re not doing this.”
The foreigner in the cheap suit gently pushed the girl off of him, and buttoned his pants back up. He then walked over to the left side of the bed and sat down. There were water bottles on the nightstand, next to a Kleenex box and an ashtray. Classy. He opened one of the bottles and drank. He could hear shuffling behind him, the sound of skin sliding across sheets, and he could feel weight shifting on the mattress towards him.
“Are you married?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Do you like…are you…?”
“You’ve managed to give me a raging erection, so probably not.”
She let out a little squeal of a giggle, and tousled his hair, like she had done back in the communal Karaoke room. Something had happened. A barrier had been broken. He was no longer resisting her, nor was she resisting him. Their armies had left Normandy, and they were now 2 people in a small room, sitting on a large bed. An intimacy had immediately sprung up between Sagramore and the girl; it was an intimacy much deeper than that afforded by a blowjob. In fact, it was incompatible with sexual pleasure, which necessitated an adult interaction. What the pair was feeling now was not so different from that felt by two school students, sitting in adjacent playground swings. He kicked off his shoes, and leaned back on to the pillows. The girl kicked the condom tray off the bed, and sat up, next to him. Her bra and underwear had magically reappeared. The tips of her toes almost reached his ankles. They were not painted any color, but were still carefully pedicured. Sagramore studied her feet; he does so with all women he meets. She studied his expression, and smiled mischievously.
“We could just kiss…if you want.”
It was gone. The innocence of the moment had disappeared once the girl had re-sexualized the conversation. They weren’t two children on swings anymore, but were instead two adults on a soiled bed. He thought it funny that innocence could be found in such a place, even if in such a small moment. But it had left, as it always does.
“Not sure how to put this delicately, but 2 minutes ago my dick was in your mouth. So…not really sure I want my lips or tongue in there…”
“Well, I would use the water to rinse my mouth, but it’s already got your germs on it.”
Sagramore smiled. He handed her the half-empty water bottle, and she made a big show of gargling loudly. She finished the water, and tossed the bottle over the edge of the bed, damning it to the same exile as the condom tray. She leaned over a little closer, trying again for a kiss, but he feigned an oblivious attitude to her advances. She wrapped her arms around his left, and leaning over onto her side, casually placed he left leg over his. They talked.
The short-haired girl was one of several siblings, the second or third daughter. He wasn’t really listening. She had studied Japanese in high school and college, and then gone there for a summer working several part time jobs. Her stints as a hostess and a call girl earned the most money, and upon returning to Seoul, discovered it paid even more at home. And so dreams, education, and the rest of her potentialities were put off to the side for the sake of financial expediency. Sagramore had also studied Japanese at university, and upon graduation had taken a job offer with a company he didn’t particularly like, in an industry he didn’t particularly enjoy, for the money and chance to live in Tokyo. And so dreams, education, and the rest of his potentialities were put off to the side for the sake of financial expediency.
She had slept with many men before, mostly Korean, but also a few Japanese, and even a handful of Westerners. Sagramore took a mental note of her earlier fib. Lies, though not always malicious, are never accidental, and when one is identified, others usually lurk in the vicinity. Of all the men by whom her services had been acquired, only 4 had failed to close the deal, excluding “early-comers,” of course. All 4 were unable to muster the required motivation, probably due to liquor. He had been the only one to outright decline her—allegedly. Sagramore knew there were more lies carefully spread throughout her story, but couldn’t understand why they were necessary. He didn’t understand why the girl continued the charade, continued to play the part and fluff his feathers. Pockets of sweat had developed on his left arm and leg, over the parts of his body where the two touched, making him uncomfortable. It seemed to him as though his skin had secreted some natural barrier, rejecting the girl’s touch. He looked down at his watch, it had been 30 or 40 minutes since they had left the others, and he suggested they go back. The girl slid off the bed and put her clothes back on. They left the room, and as they walked back towards the VIP Karaoke lounge, she gave Sagramore a piece of paper. He knew what it contained, but he could not understand why it had been given.
Sagramore stepped into the Karaoke room, greeted by jeers lampooning his poor stamina. He was glad to be back. Being in the company of the two Kims, and the other girls, seemed to bolster the legitimacy of the evening. After all, right now, it was just karaoke with a few hostesses. They continued to talk, and sing, for about another hour. The shorthaired girl acted exactly the same as she had before their misadventure, giving no visible hint as to what had transpired. Everyone sang a few more songs, and drank a few more drinks. Afterwards, the women waved goodbye, and the men went home. Somewhere along the way, Sagramore crumpled up the piece of paper the girl had given him and let it fall away.
He was back in his hotel, standing in front of the large window, facing out onto a field of lights, interrupted by a streak of black. It was some river of other, flowing across the outskirts of Seoul. The city lights spread out and up into a distant hill, and then blended into the starlit sky. He had just taken a shower, and was wearing only a white towel, barely hanging onto his hips. It was almost 4am. Sagramore could see the contours of his reflection on the glass; he was immaterial, a giant ghost haunting the city nightscape. That was why he was unable to touch the girl earlier; he wasn’t real here; he was just a faint outline. Sagramore was displaced in Seoul, in Tokyo. He was a phantom hovering over the orient, imposing upon its natural inhabitants. How could he touch anything, when everything slipped through his fingers? He refocused his eyes onto his body, bringing it back into physical existence. The city was now a spirit, and he real. Why couldn’t they coexist on the same plane? He looked at himself, and thought about the night. Should he have been a man, and fucked the girl? Should he have taken her number? Should he have done more to help her? Did she even need help? And if so, why was it his responsibility? He leaned closer to the glass, and looked into his eyes, but there were no answers there; they held no knowledge, only the lethargic gaze of liquor. It had been two years since he had graduated college. It had been two years of living on his own, as an adult. How much of that time had been spent drinking? He cursed the emo-depressing train of thought. He was on the 35th floor of a luxury hotel across the world form where he had grown up. Not many people would be dissatisfied with half as much, and yet he stood there at the window sulking, simmering in an angsty tantrum of which even a teenager would feel ashamed. He continued to look for answers within, but his eyes were ever empty and sluggish. He had just showered, but he wasn’t clean. His skin was, but his stomach roiled with too much liquor and food. He felt corrupted and soiled. His head was already beginning to ache after all the whiskey.
He focused on the city again. Sagramore looked back out towards all the lights below him. His reflection was almost invisible upon the glass now, even his status as a phantom had dissipated. He simply did not exist. He was not in that city, and so he could never interact with it. It was a familiar feeling, having spent years living abroad in lands whole languages he barely comprehended, and whose people he never would. Like a ghost, he would flicker in and out of existence when a necessary interaction would bring him to someone’s attention, but a lasting connection was impossible. He had nothing to anchor him. Who thought of him when he was not around? How much longer until the relationships he had back home would fade way, until schoolmates would stop checking in by email? He was fading, just as his reflection in the window had. Just like the reflection, his life will have made no sound; his existence will have been silent. Sagramore had wanted to make waves, but so far he had failed to even create a ripple. He let out a horrifically obscene belch, which didn’t make his stomach feel any less bloated. He looked into his eyes again. They scanned a receding hairline, a small gut forming over his abdomen, creases on his face, and a polluted body that ever less resembles what its creator had intended.