08202017Headline:

Working Girl: If You Want to Hide What You’re Doing… Maybe Stop Doing It.

Just a Regular Working Girl: Moralistic Values Gleaned from My Time in Chicago’s Seedy Underworld

Moral 74: If You Want to Hide What You’re Doing, Maybe You Shouldn’t be Doing It.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.Image by carl102 at Stock.Xchng

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Image by carl102 at Stock.Xchng

I lit the candles first. That way, when the client walked in, my boss Caroline’s apartment would already smell like hazelnuts. Or Yankee Candle’s interpretation of hazelnuts. I didn’t know if the candles actually smelled like hazelnuts. My only experience of how hazelnuts smelled was hazelnut-scented things.

If you’ve actually smelled hazelnuts, tweet me. I don’t think I have smelled the real thing to this day. What can I say? I’ve lived a sheltered life.

Even when I was setting the scene for a 45-minute paid sex rendezvous, I was sheltered. If I’d been a little older than 20, a little more experienced, I wouldn’t have taken a job as a professional escort’s personal assistant.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

Moral 73: Sheltered is a state of mind. I think it’s called “naïve.”

 

As I lit the candles, Caroline got in the shower. We’d gotten our pre-appointment routine down to 20 minutes.

“I want the purple sheets on the bed this time,” Caroline called from the shower. “And fluff the pillows!”

“Got it,” I said, and stripped the black satin sheets off her bed. I had the purple satin fitted sheet in place in record time, and made the bed and fluffed the pillows in three minutes.

“You have the bed made?” Caroline called, turning off the shower.

“Yup,” I called back.

“You have the black sheets off it?”

“I’m taking them down to the laundry now,” I said.

“No wait,” she said. “That top sheet was only used once; it’s perfectly clean. Hang it up over the windows.”

Caroline had a set of big glass sliding doors in her bedroom. They led out to her roof, and gave a great view of Chicago’s skyscape. They also let in a lot of light directly onto her bed.

“. . . Like a curtain?” I said.

“Yeah, it’s the middle of the day! The light’s not very romantic right now. And I’ve seen this guy before, he gets nervous that people are gonna look in. Tie up the sheet so it cascades down like a black waterfall. You know?”

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Great idea.” But I was already uncertain of the logistics of this seemingly simple request.

 

Moral 74: If you feel compelled to hide what you’re doing with a black sheet, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

 

I held the sheet up. It was wrinkled, and still had crease marks from being folded up in the closet. And it wasn’t nearly big enough to cover the glass doors.

“It only stretches to cover two-thirds of the windows,” I said.

“Damn it,” Caroline said. She came out naked to assess the situation, toweling herself dry with harsh frantic movements. “Well, hang it up anyway. Like, hang it from one corner and drape it cross-wise.”

“Right,” I said, although I knew I’d have to hang it up from two corners to make it look decent at all. I guessed I could hang the sheet from the top runner of the blinds (which were broken), but I couldn’t reach up there. “I have to get a stool to stand on.”

This was another seemingly simple venture. But Caroline’s apartment had two stories. The bed was on the second story, which was like a balcony overlooking the first floor. The bar stools were on the first floor. A spiral staircase was the only way up and down.

Have you ever attempted to maneuver a large heavy object up or down a rickety metal spiral staircase while wearing high heels? We had to be careful on those stairs even in flat shoes and with empty arms. I struggled with the heavy barstool, the staircase shaking beneath me, my shoes catching in the metalwork, and the stool’s legs threatening to puncture Caroline’s wall. Caroline wound up coming to help, wearing nothing but hot pink short shorts.

“GODDAMMIT!” she yelled, trying to walk backwards up the staircase and prevent the back of the stool from hitting the wall. “I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DRYING MY HAIR RIGHT NOW! I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO ASSIST YOU; YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO ASSIST ME!”

 

Moral 75: Employer or employee, whore or virgin, mice or men—we’re all in this together.

 

Once we had the stool positioned by the window, I climbed up. As I balanced precariously in my high heels, the corner of the sheet in hand, I encountered another technical issue: securing it to the blinds’ runner. In order to make the corner of the sheet long enough to loop it around and make a knot, I had to twist it up into a long narrow end, which meant it got very thick and bulky and unsexy. All the creases and wrinkles in the sheet were still clearly visible. It did not look like a cascading black waterfall.

“That looks terrible,” Caroline said. Even her bare surgically enhanced breasts seemed to be judging me.

“Well,” I said. “Do you have a better idea?”

“I have to dry my hair and put on a bra,” Caroline said. “You figure this out by the time I get back.” She left me to figure it out and dried her hair.

There was another problem: the sheet was satin.

I tied the first knot and climbed off the stool. I moved the stool so I could tie up a second knot, but as I climbed back on the stool, the first knot came undone and the sheet slithered down.

No matter how tight I tied the knot, it slipped free. It was like the sheet was coated in butter. Butter that hated me and wanted me to suffer.

The hair dryer turned off.

 

Moral 76: Physics has a sense of humor and it is a sadistic bastard.

 

“YOU ARE THE WORST PERSONAL ASSISTANT EVER!” Caroline yelled. “I STILL HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING MYSELF!”

“I’m sorry!” I yelled back. “I’m doing my best!”

“He’s gonna be here in five minutes!” Caroline shouted.

“We should have thought of this sheet thing earlier!”

Caroline sighed. “Damn it, Leslie. Just take the sheets down to the laundry and get the stool back downstairs.”

This was mostly a relief. I threw the sheets over the balcony to the first floor, and picked up the stool. I had a strong desire to just fling the damn thing over the balcony after the sheets. But I took a deep breath of hazelnut-scented air and girded myself for the spiral staircase.

 

Moral 77: Use the right tool for the job. You could rig up any number of things to cover the window. But it would be a hell of a lot easier to just fix the damn blinds.

***

Quick—What’s the second most profitable criminal industry in the US? First guess, then click.
***
L. Marrick is a historical fantasy writer and freelance copywriter. She waxes poetic about swords and the Renaissance Faire at her author blog. She looks all professional-like at her copywriting site. She eats too much chocolate and still doesn’t believe downward dog is supposed to be a restful yoga pose. You can connect with her at either of her websites, and follow her on Twitter @LMarrick.


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