Working Girl: People Appreciate It when You Don’t Force Them to Confess to Crimes

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

Moral 66: People Appreciate It when You Don’t Force Them to Confess to Crimes

Sexy just comes naturally... right?

Sexy just comes naturally… right?

The cell phone in my pocket rang, and my heart went into overdrive. My palms began sweating. I put down the full case of Reddi-Wip that I’d bought from the corner store, and fished the phone out of my pocket.

I pressed the glowing green button.

“This is Kira’s assistant,” I said. “Can you please hold for one moment?”

“Uh . . . sure?” said the guy on the other end.

“Thank you,” I said, hoping I sounded calm and sexy. I held the phone away from my face and tried to figure out how to put it on hold. I couldn’t, so I just pressed my thumb over the speaker part.

I needed a moment to get myself together. This was the first appointment I would be making for my boss, who’s name was Caroline, not Kira, and who would be having sex with the guy on the other end of the phone if I managed to book this call correctly.

Caroline was an escort. I was her personal assistant. While it made sense for a personal assistant to book her boss’s appointments, I didn’t feel that I had the necessary frame of reference to decide who my boss would be shagging later in the week.

This was very stressful for me. But Caroline seemed kind of blasé about the whole arrangement. She basically gave me one of her cell phones and said, “You’re booking my appointments now. Book me good ones.”


Moral 64: For some people, it’s really not a big deal. Others freak out.

(This applies to a lot of things. Like rollercoasters, eating sushi, and paid sex.)


There was no manual for this kind of thing. In the absence of such a manual, I had attempted to create a de facto checklist of points a john must meet in order to book an appointment.

Caroline found this checklist hysterical.


Moral 65: Whatever you’re looking to acquire in life, it helps to have a set of guidelines for recognizing it.


My inspiration for knowing the good ones from the bad ones.

(This girl’s name is Caroline. Is it a coincidence, or is there a god?)


I flipped hastily to the checklist in my journal, and geared up to talk to the john again. I just had to approach this like my last secretarial job–when I’d answered phones for the fiction writing department of my college. And I had to sound sexy. Caroline had been very clear on that point.

But I felt more ridiculous than sexy. The best I could do was mimic Alotta Fagina from Austin Powers. “Thank you for holding,” I said.

“Uh, no problem, I guess. I’m uh, calling about, uh . . . the ad on–”

“Yes, the ad,” I said, deciding it was best to prevent any possible mention of prostitution, or where Caroline’s ad had appeared. As Caroline had told me . . . They know why they’re calling. Don’t discuss any services directly. Control the conversation and don’t let anyone say anything illegal.


Moral 66: People appreciate it when you don’t force them to confess to crimes.


“The ad’s been very populaar this week,” I said. Alotta Fagina sexy talk tip: Draw out all your adjectives in a suggestive way. “Were you considering booking an appointment sooon?”

“Yeah,” said the guy.

“Grreeaat!” Holy crap. “Have you seen Kira before?”

“Uh, no,” said the guy. He sounded nervous.

“Ohhh, so you’ll have a grreeaat time getting to know each other,” I said. “When were you wanting an appointment?”

“Uh, Thursday. Anytime Thursday.”

“Okay, Thursday, that sounds grreeaat. How about 4pm?”

“Uh yeah, sounds good.”

It was clear this guy wanted to get off the phone. So did I. But I couldn’t let either of us off the hook yet. I had to “screen him.” Make sure he wasn’t a cop and . . . stuff. I turned to my checklist.

I had to try to relax him, too. As Caroline said . . . They’re calling me for pleasure. That means no stress. You have to make them feel comfortable.

How could I do that when I was uncomfortable as hell? I tried to conjure my inner sexy Asian woman in a hot tub. Anything but a nervous white girl in an apartment lobby with sweaty palms and a case of Reddi-Wip at her feet.

“I know Kira’s going to be looking forward to seeing you,” I heard myself say. “Tell me a little about yourself? Where do you work?”

“Uh, Barnes and Noble,” he said.

“Oh, that sounds fuun. I love to read.”

“Me too,” said the guy.

“So does Kira. Maybe you could tell her about your faavorite new releases. She’ll be glad to get some recommendations from someone with expeerience.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said the guy. “Um, I mean. Whatever she wants, you know.”

I asked his name and how long he’d worked there. He said Barry, and four years. I asked whether he worked on the floor, or was in management. He was a store manager. I asked whether he lived in Chicago or came from out of town.

“Of course I live in Chicago,” he said. “I work at a store in Chicago.”


“Very true,” I said, trying to sound sexy despite the stupid. But I just couldn’t keep up the adjectives thing after that. “So the appointment’s going to be $450. Is that within your . . . price range?”

“Yeah,” the guy said. “Yeah that’s good.”

“Great,” I said. “I’m just going to need the best number to reach you at.”

He rattled off a number and I tried to write it down while squeezing the phone between my shoulder and ear and continuing to talk sexy. When I had the number I was so grateful that I forgot about the checklist and ended the call.


Moral 67: Get to the point, then get off the phone.


When I was stocking the Reddi-Wip in the fridge, I told Caroline about the appointment.

“Barnes and Noble!” Caroline said, and burst into laughter. “Leslie! What the hell were you thinking?”

“What do you mean?”

“He works at Barnes & Noble? Can he even afford me?”

“He said he could.”

Caroline sighed and looked at me like I was some cute but misshapen zoo creature. At least she was laughing instead of yelling. “Whatever. Call him back and tell him to bring some beer.”

Barry had the cash, and he brought the beer. But Caroline still took me off appointment booking duty.


Moral 68: If it wasn’t in the job description, don’t be shocked when your employee can’t do it.

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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