This is dedicated to my childhood companion, Mr. Peabody.
"So eight guys walk into a whorehouse..."
"... on Halloween..."
"... and the madam pours them a drink..."
"... on the house..."
"... and they all drink a toast to 'C. P. Swallows'..."
"... and then leave..."
"... without a blowjob, a handjob, or a quick fuck."
I look up from my book at Brooke and Sierra. Both girls have expectant looks on their faces, as if they believe they are entitled to an explanation. In their limited experience, nobody gets a free drink at the Purring Kitten unless they're prepared to take one of the girls upstairs.
I give them a sly grin.
"I told you Halloween was going to be a slow night."
"Slow?" Brooke's lovely face assumes a petulant expression that reminds me that she is still only 22 years old. "It's like a graveyard."
I replace the bookmark and close the book before slowly leaning forward in my chair to put my face in the light of the banker's lamp that illuminates my desk.
"Then perhaps it is an appropriate time to acquaint you two with the story of C. P. Swallows, whose career came to an abrupt and tragic end ten years ago this very night..."
I pause to watch both girls' eyes widen.
"... in the blood-spattered room just above our heads."
"The Teal Room?" Sierra squeaks. "But I love the Teal Room."
"We had to have it repainted," I tell them. "Afterward."
I take a minute to gather my thoughts. It has been quite a while since I have told anyone the story. And yet, I can still see her face, framed by the door of my trailer, just as plainly as if it had happened yesterday.
I had been expecting a new roommate ever since Molly's announcement, the night before, that the Prime Cut had burned to the ground. We were stunned. Even though they were our competition, we all knew at least a few of the girls who worked there, girls who would now be out of work.
"Bud tells me he's gonna rebuild," Molly continued. "But it'll take at least six months. In the meantime, we've got four trailers only half-used, so I've offered positions to four of his girls.
"I wanna tell you, right up front, that one of them is C. P. Swallows. You probably heard that she has a little different arrangement with Bud than any of the other girls and I've offered her the same deal here."
There was some grumbling at that. Word had it that C. P. Swallows gave only 40 percent of her take to the house rather than the standard 60 percent that the rest of us forked over. We knew better than to complain to Molly, though. She always made it clear that it was her business. If we didn't like the way she ran it, we were free to relocate to Cheyenne or Casper.
I was a little pissed, but for entirely selfish reasons. As one of the veteran girls, I was used to having a trailer all to myself. But I dutifully spent the next morning cleaning it up, and by the time I heard the knock on the door, it was at least livable.
"Hi," said my new roommate, sticking out her hand as soon as I opened the door. "Catherine Crane. My friends call me Cat."
It was a disarming opening, to say the least. Nobody shared their real name, except with Molly. My house name was "Honey," both for the johns and the other girls. But here was this one, blithely opening up to a complete stranger. It wasn't her only oddity, either; I couldn't believe that of all the girls at the Prime Cut, Molly hadn't been able to find one more attractive than this "Cat." She wasn't unattractive, of course, but she was hardly the knockout that I was expecting. Years of training, though, allowed me to hide that from her, and I reflexively stuck out my hand.
"Hi, Cat. I'm Cindy."
Shit. Now she had me using my real name.
"So Molly said I'm supposed to be in here?" she asked.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Of course. Come on in. Is this all your stuff?"
I gestured at the suitcase in her hand.
"Fire took everything else." She just shrugged, as if starting over would be no problem.
"Jeez, I'm sorry."
"Yeah. Still, I landed on my feet, huh? So to speak."
It took a while for that to sink in, and then I just started laughing. I was going to like Cat Crane. I just hoped she lasted; I couldn't see a john picking her out of a lineup when he had any other choices, such as, not to be boastful, me.
So nobody was more surprised than I was when, that evening, the very first customer to appear after I went on the clock tentatively stuck his head around the door, took a look at the girls, and then visibly relaxed when he saw Cat sitting there.
"Hey, Ralph." Her greeting was friendly. Not sultry, not sexy, but friendly in a girl-next-door sort of way.
"Hey." Ralph was quite shy, and Cat quickly led him upstairs.
While they were gone, another guy entered, this one a real looker, wearing a well-tailored suit and an expensive watch. The rest of us started preening immediately, but after a quick look around the room, he turned to Molly at the desk.
"C. P. here?" he asked her.
"Upstairs. Have a seat."
He sat down beside me, and very politely asked me how I was. I made chitchat with him, all the while thinking that I was finally going to get to meet the legendary C. P. Swallows. It was 1997, and nobody swallowed. Too many of these fuckers were walking around with HIV or herpes, or some other STD. Molly kept the rooms well stocked with condoms, and damn straight we all used them. But this C. P. Swallows, according to all the rumors I'd heard, earned her nickname every night.
I looked up when I heard footsteps on the stairs, but quickly looked back down when I saw that it was only Cat, returning with Ralph. I could hear her murmur goodbye, and then close the door behind him.
"Hey, Bob," she said, in exactly the same tone of voice she'd greeted Ralph.
Her answer came from next to me.
"How are you, C. P?" he inquired politely.
She nodded him up the stairs and followed, giving me a big wink. A few minutes later, I snagged a not hideously ugly guy who wanted a standard suck-and-fuck, and later that evening made good money with a "World Tour." But I didn't come close to Cat's business, even if all she was giving were blowjobs.
"C. P.?" I asked the next morning over coffee. She had been asleep when I got back last night, and I had resisted the temptation to wake her up.
"Catherine Patricia Crane. I think Mom wanted me to become a nun. Didn't work out."
"So you honestly swallow?"
"How do you swallow?"
"Bitch." I threw a pillow at her. "How can you risk it?"
"You know those certificates you have to get, for the Health Department?"
"Sure." We all had to be tested at least every other month.
"I tell a guy if he wants a blowjob, he's gotta have one, too. No less than a week old. And if I don't like the way he looks, I send him packing."
"Oh, come on," she smiled. "With this face?"
"You've got a decent body," I pointed out.
"Decent," she scoffed. "It's downright icky."
"It is not icky!" I protested. "It's —"
"It's got all the right padding," she interrupted me. "Just in the wrong places. Too much in the ass, too much in the tummy, and nowhere near enough in the tits. Icky."
"So work out some," I said.
"I do pretty well without it, ya know?"
That was true, and she proved it over and over again throughout the summer. Men trooped in from all around the country for one of Cat's blowjobs, all clutching their little certificates proclaiming them disease-free. Molly, it turned out, had done the right thing after all.
Occasionally, after one of the guys had gotten his knob waxed, he'd stick around for a second round with one of us. We had bonded quickly, and that meant that, more often than not, she shared her leftovers with me. And I didn't mind a bit. If a guy was a little squirrelly, she'd tip one of the other girls, usually one of the ones she'd been with at the Prime Cut. But she saved the best pieces for me, and I had some great fucks that summer, and made a pile of money on top of it.
One evening, in fact, she stunned her former colleagues by offering two businessmen, who had both come in looking for her, a foursome with me. She would blow them, and get 'em ready for round two, and I would fuck them. The price: a cool $3,000.
They were both good-looking guys, and the real bonus was it gave me a chance to watch Cat in action. The one question I hadn't been able to ask her was what made her blowjobs so good. I mean, sure — she swallowed. And that meant skin, rather than condoms. But it must be more than that. So as she started in on the first guy, and I began giving the second guy a slow handjob to prime him for her, I cast a few surreptitious glances over to see what she was doing.
She caught me, of course; my glances were nowhere near as surreptitious as I'd thought. She winked, and pulled her lips back ever so slightly to let me see her teeth around the head of the guy's cock. After a waggle of her eyebrows at me, she once again sealed her lips around the guy's shaft. She could deep throat — hell, we could all deep throat — but when it was finally time for the guy to cum, with a prolonged groan of pleasure that I'd never heard before, she once again was holding the guy's glans between her lips. I watched her swallow it, taking gulp after gulp from the guy's dick. And then, with a quick lick of her lips, she went to work on the other guy. Watching his friend was all it took for the first guy to get ready again.
She did her job, I did mine, and the two guys left us with big tips on top of the three thousand bucks. And even better was that since they were Cat's clients, we both got to take advantage of Cat's percentage.
Still, seeing Cat had only whetted my thirst to find out what the hell it was she was doing.
"So you bite them?" I asked her the following day. Even as I said it, I realized that I was breaking a taboo, asking another girl about her techniques. Cat, though, didn't seem to mind at all.
"Sort of," she said with a smile. "You know the stage of ejaculatory inevitability?"
"The point right before ejaculation, when a guy senses he's about to come?"
"Honestly, Cat, I have no idea what you're talking about."
She gave me a patient smile, and then a quick lesson on the stages of the male sexual response.
"Do you research this in your spare time?" I was trying hard to keep the incredulity out of my voice.
"With this face?" she asked. "And this bod?"
"Yeah, I know. You think it's icky. But..."