Five AM is not what you could call Prime Time for technical support. At least as far as actual revenue-generation is concerned. The West Coast is finally in bed, the East Coast hasn't woken up yet, Alaska and Hawaii can't call us directly, and we don't have a foreign language department. And any poor sucker up at this hour is either too bleary-eyed or too frustrated to read the tiny little sticker that has the tech support number.
Not like we planned it that way, of course. Heh.
Anyway, five is a dead time. It's a really good time to paint your nails, wander around and have philosophical discussions, listen to music, write (ahem), do your homework, cut your hair (your own or someone else's) . . . anything.
One particular night, I was discussing war strategies with a couple guys, and in particular whether 'weapons of mass destruction' were really viable as weapons, or whether they were merely deterrents of no practical use.
You can also discuss national policy at five in the morning.
Anyway, I had just made the point that bio-weapons aren't really developed yet, when another of the perverts started shushing everyone and turned up his radio.
Note, this was five in the morning, or did I mention that already? Anyway, so it was kind of surprising to hear the graveyard DJ talking to some female who claimed to be a Playhouse Playmate. I guess that's what they call bunnies nowadays. Usually only the morning crew gets to meet people like Playmates or porn stars or whatever. In fact, I don't think the graveyard DJ really gets to meet anyone, except maybe the pizza delivery guys or something like that.
And she was claiming that she wanted to go out with a 'nice guy' the next night, because she was tired of rich assholes. "I'd like to be able to say I'm tired of dating rich guys," me and this gay guy said at the same time. The resulting laughter from that drowned out several sentences after that and got me lightly beaten.
"Hey, you should call," someone said to me.
"What, me? She said nice GUY, remember?"
"Aren't all them women bi or something?" asked one, and another (not the brightest bulb in our string) claimed to have seen her eating some other chick's snatch in one 'spread' which started some more laughter. Sad, kind of.
With an over-the-shoulder "Ah, shuddafuckup," I went into the break room to fix a late dinner.
And, THERE was the breakroom phone, hanging on the wall.
Looking at me.
"Stop it!" I snapped at it.
It was still there when I looked back. "QUIT IT!"
The timer beeped and my nuklar-waved dinner - it said that on the door, 'NUKLARWAVR' - was ready.
And that damned phone was still there!
"Alright alright," I sighed, and opened the door to let my dinner cool off and went to the phone.
I dialed, thinking, *What the hell am I doing?* You never get into radio stations when they're offering a free CD, much less some date with a chick-who-gets-naked-for-a-living. So it was kind of hopel-
"Hello KXXX!" [Actual call letters deleted for the lawyers]
"&^@$!" was the first thing out of my mouth. I don't startle gracefully. "Oh, %^# sorry! I got through?" *No duh!* "Um, I was calling for the date thing? With Angelica?" That was her 'name', Angelica.
There was silence, and I thought that the DJ had hung up because of me cursing, and I was going to start cursing again just about the time he mentioned, "You're a girl?"
"Well, yeah," I admitted. "But, I mean..."
Now, here's where I show off the social graces that not all the perverts have. Some of them would have said, 'But we decided that she had to be bi because of that series she did with So-and-so, you know, licking her-' which I knew just HAD to be a bad idea. Saying that, not being bi.
So, what I said was, "I mean, if you limit the contest to just guys, it's discrimination. And, maybe she'd LIKE to go out with a girl. Has she ever gone out with one before?"
There was a flurry of girlish giggles, which made me a bit nauseous, but then she said on the phone line, "No, not like this."
"You're kidding," said the DJ.
"No!" her and I both protested at the same time. "I'm completely serious," I continued. "She's got to be better than my last boyfriend," I added speciously; the last boyfriend wasn't bad, just I wasn't his type or something. Or something.
Both of them started laughing, and I held the phone away from my head so I wouldn't start too, because I can be heard for blocks when I get really amused, and then people would want to know what I was up to, and I didn't want to talk about it.
When the laughter stopped, I put it back to my ear. "Okay, okay," the DJ said, "okay, we'll let you answer the questions." They had come up with three questions to ask callers. Luckily, I can think on my feet, because I hadn't heard the originals on the radio. "Okay, first question."
Angelica asked, me I hoped, "What..." and then she started giggling.
"What what?" I asked back. Scintillating, I tell you. At least she laughed some more.
She cleared her throat, and asked in a rush, "What do you look for in a woman?" before she started to laugh and then it sounded like she fell off a chair or dropped the phone or something.
I waited for a bit, then asked, "Do I wait for her to get back, or answer it now?"
"Um, you can answer it now," said the DJ, who sounded a little breathless himself.
"Well, what I look for in a woman... fun to talk to for hours," I decided quickly. "Everything else is secondary." Especially when you carefully defined 'fun', but I didn't mention that on the air; there's too many ways to take that statement, many of which would not reflect well on me at all.
"That's cool," Angelica gasped. Back on the air. "Um, and, and the second question was, is I mean, is, what would you get me for a present?"
I chuckled. "I'm poor, lady. Is this 'What WOULD I get you?' or 'What would I LIKE to get you if I had the money?'"
She made a really unattractive 'yurp' noise and fell off the phone again. The DJ snorted for a few moments, then said, "Both." You could hear Angelica having hysterics in the background before he shut his own microphone off.
"Ur. What I'd LIKE to get Angelica..." *Think, stupid!* My shoulder hurt, and that provided the spark. "...Is one of those full body spa treatments; the massage, the facial, a manicure and pedicure, foot massage, the works. But like I said, I'm poor, and can't afford that for her..." Or me. Damnit. "...So what I would actually end up getting her..." I'd done this once for a girl and it went over well, but she broke up with me so I figured it was ethical enough to re-use the same idea now. "...Is a really nice silk rose, so she could keep it and remember a fun time for as long as she wanted to keep the rose and remember it."
Momma must've kissed the Blarney Stone or something. Or maybe it was having to talk to lusers all night long, I dunno.
"Wow," Angelica said, "That's really sweet!"
'Hot ^#$&^ you think so?' I almost said. But this would be a bad time to say something. Especially that.
"Sooooo...." Angelica continued, "What would you do on the date?"
"Ah. You're new to town, aren't you?" I confirmed.
"Yeah," she admitted.
"Well, in that case, there's a couple of good-" and then I caught a Big Clue. "Oooh, no. We'd get a pizza from [perfectly awesome pizza place I shan't mention either], you like pizza right?" I hoped so; some image professionals didn't eat normal food.
"Oh, yeah," she admitted, and giggled some more.
"And then," before I could fall off whatever track of BS I was following, "we could go to a nice park, there's a nice one on the lake, and watch the sun set, and just talk a lot, 'cause I bet you have a lot of cool things to say," I said, smiling to myself. Privately, I thought that she'd probably be limited to "Wow!" and "Cool!" and other monosyllabic utterances, but that's one of those 'tact' things I'd learned, not to mention when I thought that. This job had done wonders for my social skills, even if it didn't improve my opinion of the general mass of humanity any.
"Oh, smooth," commented the DJ, and I wanted to snap something nasty at him, but I bit my Broca's area, virtually speaking, and managed to not think of anything to say long enough to not say anything.
"Um, that would be nice," Angelica managed to get out before starting to giggle again.
"So, we'll, uh," the DJ snorted or chuckled or made some kind of noise indicating stifled merriment, "uh, we'll take a few more callers, and then she'll pick which one she wants to go out with, so stay on the line, okay?"
"Sure," I said; as if I was going to hang up now.
The phone clicked, and clicked, and I waited to hear a dial tone, but I got lucky or the DJ missed or something, because I never did get one.
The cord was long, so I could go over and pull my dinner out and start stuffing my face with it, which is exactly the reason there was a long cord on the handset. I was pretty sure I wasn't gonna win, and it took a long time, and I almost gave up and hung up, but I figured that at least it was keeping me away from 'real work' so I'd stick with it. One pervert came in to see what I was doing, and I made hushing motions over the phone and told him, "I'm busy, okay?" and he left.
One other thing you learn, working on the phones all day; any time you don't have to talk or listen, is good time on the phone. I'll happily wait on hold while at work for hours, if necessary. It's not my nickel then, and if I'm on a call, I can't be forced to take another one.
As long as I don't have to go to the bathroom, which I did not.
I'd finished my dinner and was reading yesterday's paper when the phone clicked again.
"Hello?" I said, hoping it wasn't Call Waiting.
"Hi," Angelica said nervously, and started to giggle.
"Hi Angelica," I said back, rolling my eyes. "What's up?" *Got the wrong button, didn't you?* I thought.
"Um, you won.." she got out before she got the giggles and dropped the phone again.
"FaaaaaaanTAStic!" I shouted, in case they were recording this for the rest of the radio bit. *Oh, shit, how do I get out of work tomorrow?* I was thinking. "That is so cool-"
The DJ pattered, "Alright, so stay on the line for a minute, okay?And what station keeps you going all night long?"
"KXXX!" I snapped off, really REALLY hoping I was remembering the right station call letters. Apparently I was, because he didn't scream or anything, and then some other voice, one I hadn't heard yet, came on and asked me a lot of stuff like my name and my age and my driver's license number and so on and so forth. Whoever it was didn't have a sense of humor either, which was kind of sad. Maybe he left it in his locker or something.
I swallowed my usual civil liberties speech and answered all of the questions, and then he told me that Angelica would be at the radio station at 7 PM the next day would that be acceptable.
It took me a moment to realize he was asking me a question.
"Uh, yeah, that's fine... listen, is this for real? I mean, did I really win and am I going on a date with her?"
"Yes," he sneered at me, "what did you think?"
"Sorry, I've never won anything on the radio before, much less a date," I said back, deliberately going for an apologetic tone. Weasel. *Feel REAL guilty, weasel boy...*
"Oh, well, yes, you really won," he said, sounding a little more human. "Do you know where the station is located?" I said no, and he gave me directions, and reminded me to be there at 7 PM. And then he hung up.
I came out of the break room shaking my head, wondering what the hell I was going to wear.
And the rest of the perverts, damn them, gave me a standing ovation. The #&$^&ers had been listening to me on the radio!
It took me quite a while to forgive them, and I ended up sulking outside first because the amount of screaming and cursing I needed to do to get my blood pressure back down would have interfered with what little business we had. And scared the mundanes, of course, but they deserved it.
Anyway. It took me about twenty minutes, and then I realized that I was going to go on a date with a (I guessed) fairly rich and image conscious woman tomorrow night, and I had NO FUCKING IDEA what I was supposed to wear.
I wanted to throw up at the cliche of it, myself. That didn't help matters any.
So what I did, was I went inside, bodily removed my gay bud from his desk where he was faking diligence, told his phone he was powdering his nose, and carried him outside.
We said ill tempered things to each other until we got tired, and then he asked me what I wanted. I told him clothing advice, and - I knew this was going to happen - waited for him to finish laughing his ass off before I said, "No I'm serious!"
"You should have thought of that before you called!" he snapped back.
"#$&^& your ^^$&^#," I told him. "Now what should I wear, you &^&^# fudgepacker?!"
I've been called 'earthy in my speech,' which is a nice way of saying that I use strings of four letter words for emphasis, sort of like underlining. And I use them a lot when I get irritated. I've managed to instill a mental block on doing that on the phone, mostly. Although it's still not safe to ask me 'How's it going?' on a bad night.
He laughed some more, and I wondered if he was actually going to die laughing. That would be sort of amusing all by itself, until I realized I'd have to fill out some kind of damned paperwork for killing him. I know that's what they would make me do, is fill out about three hundred forms, longhand, until I killed myself. It's the American Way.
So when he got done THIS time, he said, "Well, you might as well act like it's a real date, so uh..." And then we discussed some of the nice stuff I'd worn to work. We didn't have a dress code, at least not over on the perverts' side, so I'd dress up for Fridays sometimes. When I felt like it. And didn't sleep too late in the evening. And had something clean, and so on and so forth.
Anyway, he had some idea of what I'd worn, and what I had in the way of clothing, so we settled on a classic little black dress, classic black jacket, classic heels, and other suchlike classics. Well, he told me what to wear, and I bitched and whined and moaned and failed to have any other ideas so I told him I would. Then he said he wanted pictures, and I said I didn't think he was into that sort of thing, and he made a nasty face, and then he said if he wanted to look at fur tacos, and it went on from there as we went back inside.
I was glad for the help, though.
The next couple of hours were hell, though, because I kept trying to look her up, and the damned site was pay-only, and I couldn't find any pirate-pix sites with her before the damned day shift started filtering in. Some of the sites I found were not for their delicate eyes - most of the day shifters were mundane to the core - so I had tojust sit on my anxieties and look up fashion tips. Those didn't help a bit, of course; they just made me feel really horrible and want to set fire to my closet.
I'm thirty years old; I should know better than to go look at fashion magazine type stuff by now, especially before something important where I want to look good. Some things you never grow out of, though.
I managed to get the next night off; I had to threaten to announce where I worked and everyone's name on my next call to the radio station before someone chickened out and said they'd trade a Saturday for next Friday. I wanted to bite them all at this point but agreed, and then I got to drive home in relative sanity since it was Saturday morning.
Four large glasses of milk when I got home, and I was OUT.
Eventually, I rolled over and looked at the clock, which said "4:34" long enough for me to make sense of it. Then I was screaming for the shower, flinging my clothes off as I went. This caused some amusement in the house, as Maggie my roommate was apparently having a pre-dinner gathering in the living room, but I did not have time to kill her and all her friends, and she knew it. If I'd had time, I wouldn't have been screaming and dashing for the bathroom like I was.
I washed my hair, which is always a project by itself, and then I gelled the living bejesus out of it and razed the rest of my body with various implements and condiments until my hair was stiffening and I didn't have any leg hair any more, and then I got out.
The living room was clear, so I recuperated on the couch whilst eating a 'small' nerve-calming snack of a quarter-pound of chocolate and some Dew. This was going to cause my stomach to have the fizzies, but I thought I needed the endorphin boost as well as the caffeine.
This was worse than Prom Night, it was! Of course, I knew what my Prom date looked like before the event, too.
Back to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth with sulfuric acid - I should use H2SO4, it'd probably hurt less than UltraMint whatever - and brush the brown out from my teeth. "Wouldn't want her thinking I was management," I told myself in the mirror, and chuckled. I did my makeup next, because I was putting off putting on clothing as long as possible, since I was overheated already from the looooong ordeal in the shower, and I didn't need to be dripping with sweat when I showed up.
"OH #^&& I DIDN'T GET THE FLOWER!!!!" I reminded myself, far too late for my peace of mind, so I ended up ruining three pairs of pantyhose, scaring the cat into the other roommate's closet, and almost ripping the front door off its hinges.
The trip to the florist was pretty much a blank. Nobody sued me later, nor did the cops bust me, so I guess I did alright driving there, but I was more worried about other things.
A few minutes of hyper-adrenalized search found exactly the pink rose I wanted to find, and it was only - hah! - eight bucks, so I paid and got the hell out. Next stop-
I'd forgotten the directions to the radio station at the house, of course.
I said a whole lot of things after that, and belched a lot, while I was driving almost by psychometry, and by golly if I didn't pull into the parking lot with the station's logo on it at 7:03.
"Well, science and rational thought triumph once again over ignorance and superstition," I said to myself, as I always do when I get somewhere and have absolutely no idea of how I navigated there. One of my less obnoxious habits.
I got out of my car, and only then really registered that I'd dodged a small crowd and a white limousine whilst parking my car. "%$^# &^$%!" I commented, and one guy looked up and yelled out, "Ellen?"
"Yeah??" I said back. I was feeling extremely nervous at this point; limos made me anxious - at least it wasn't black - and so did people recognizing me when I didn't recognize them.
"Come over here," he said, which is sort of like saying in a Western, 'Let's take this outside.' I casually brushed my skirt, which reassured me that I had my knives in place at the same time it dried my hands off, and went over to the guy. "Ellen," he said, "this is Jim, our program manager," he introduced some other guy. I shook hands with him. "And I'm Greg, the station manager."
"Nice to meet you," I lied politely. I'm never happy to meet a manager of any sort. They excite my psychoses.
"Well," Greg-the-station-brownnoser said, "Come over here and meet Angelica, Ellen." I made my face into something socially acceptable - mostly putting my lips back over my teeth - and followed his lead.
Angelica was... well. She was a looker. Blonde hair, blue eyes that were not recessed and pig-like (always a bad sign), no obvious feature flaws, makeup not overly done, a body thinner than I had been since I hit double digits, wrapped in a white strapless formal, tall white pumps encasing little feet, white-white teeth, boobs-
I was startled; the breasts didn't look that large.
"Hi," she said, in a voice which sounded exactly like the one I'd heard on the phone. Mundane twit.
"Oh, uh, hi," I said back - model of poise and grace, that's me - and stuck out my hand. She took it and shook it, and someone took a picture of the moment. Angelica smiled, I tensed.
She was shorter than I was - no surprise there - but rather tall for a woman, being taller in heels than Greg-the-Brownnosed. I guess that was sort of standard. She had a standard sort of smile which she turned on the camera at that point.
Someone said something I didn't catch, and Angelica nodded and looked expectantly at me. "Huh?" At least I still had my conversational wit.
"Could you two hug for the camera?" some guy asked.
I almost said no. I hadn't really wanted, nor anticipated, being a photo prop, and I resented being dropped into it.
On the other hand, Angelica did look soft. And I would probably need photographic evidence to convince the perverts that I had actually met this woman. I sighed, swallowed my principles, and nodded.
She was soft, but she didn't seem quite there as I hugged her. I was not surprised. Doing what she did, she had to be used to fake displays of affection and romance, and she'd almost certainly learned to conserve her self during those times. I couldn't blame her, really, but it was like hugging a CPR dummy. Whee fun not. I'd have had more fun kissing a cat.
When the flashes stopped and she pushed away from me, I asked her, "So what's the plan?"
She turned to one of the guys, who spoke up, "Well, she's making an appearance at a party tonight..."
*Oh, and isn't THAT just fucking wonderful,* I thought angrily. Nobody had bothered to mention this little tidbit either. Maggie and I argue about whether I know what introversion really is, but I have my share, and being on display when I didn't really want to be and (I felt) didn't have a choice about it really rankled.
However, I managed to activate that new part of my brain which censored my emotive displays, and put a bland look on my face.
"Ready?" someone asked, and Angelica and I both nodded. Some anonymous guy opened the limo door for us, and I let Angelica get in first. That wasn't entirely manners; I'd never been in one, so I wanted to observe what she did. It wasn't that hard, so I slipped in behind her and turned to shut the door. I managed to get my fingers out of the way before whoever it was outside slammed it, and then it was just the two of us.
And two other guys in suits, facing us.
*Danger!* shrieked my reptilian brain complex. And it always knew, and I tried to listen to it. "Uh," I commented and pointed, not having quite disengaged the Customer Relations area of my brain yet. Otherwise it would have come out a lot earthier.
"We're Miz Dawson's bodyguards," said one suit. The other one just watched me.
"They're pretty nice," Angelica commented from the side.
They have guns and I'm locked in a car with them, I didn't say. I just took a deep breath and forcibly relaxed back into the seat.
"So-" Angelica and I both said at the same time. I chuckled, she smiled. "Tell me about yourself," I got out before she could. "How old are you anyway? Am I allowed to go out with you?"
She giggled at that. "I'm twenty-two," she said.
"Oh lord a baby," fell out of my mouth. Ever since I hit twenty-five, and I realized the next positive birthday-related thing I had to look forward to was getting a senior's discount, I've been slowly metastasizing into an old crusty bitch. Well, sort of jerkily.
"I'm not!" she protested in this little-girl voice. Creepy, it was. I wanted to ask her for some ID, but then she wouldn't have been a nude-picture-subject if she wasn't at least 18, right?
I sure hoped so.
"How old are you?" she continued.
"Um. Old," I admitted.
"You can't be that old," she disputed.
I nodded back at her. "Yes I can, it's allowed. And," I continued before she could argue, "I'm twenty eight. And no, it's not 'again' so don't even think it. How old do I look?"
Great, just as smart as I'd guessed. "How old do I look?"
"Ohhhhh," she said, staring at my face. "About twenty eight, I guess," she smiled. Yeah, right. Most people guess mid-thirties. I'm not sure why that is; I don't have gray hair - I'd enshrine it if I did- nor do I have wrinkles. In fact, I still pop zits and do the other adolescent face-maintenance stuff. You'd think that I'd look younger, based on that, but informal studies show that I don't. I figured it was something about my '@$&*you' attitude, that younger women tended not to have.
"Where did you go to high school?" I asked, and to save some time, I'll put her bio down instead of replaying the reporter-like 'conversation' we had on the way to the party.
Angelica Dawson was not her real name, and I wasn't surprised by this. She'd gotten into the 'adult' business by dancing in San Diego to make some college money, and had been offered a contract last year, so she was exploiting it while it lasted, and then she planned to go back to college with the money she saved. *Yeah, right,* I thought, but didn't say that.
I've been told I'd make a better reporter than tech support, but I remember from my journalism classes that starting reporters make substantially less than poverty level, and that wasn't my idea of a fun career. I LIKE eating, and a roof over my head, and my own bathroom, and the other perks of living in society. Some of them.
Anyway, she'd gone to some public high school in Idaho - the potatoes must have done her some good; she looked healthy - and been a cheerleader - ooh, surprise there not - when she wasn't on the volleyball team - ditto - and in general been a B student but really bored. *B's?* I wondered, then chalked it up to the usual degradation of education you find in public schools. I've been an intellectual snob since before I could pronounce the words.
She'd gone to UC San Diego without a real major in mind, and gone with a friend to a club, and found out how easy it was to make money titty dancing, and thus and such and here she was. She made quite a good bit of money posing nude, which I guess was good for her.
I know the official feminist party line is that such things are degrading to women, but I can't really believe that selling images of your body is any different than selling your intellectual production to put under someone else's name or label. And anything that gives women, some of them not the brightest intellectual lights in the world, thousands of dollars and doesn't involve either venereal disease OR constant body-destroying exercise (pro sports), was a good thing in my mind. I resented a bit the constant societal/media expectation that I as a woman would base my life and self-esteem on trying to look like one of these, but that was a different kettle of crabs.
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece
Poor Mojo's Tip Jar: