Whore

Dumb, old Alvin sat on the park bench next to his friend.

“Where you been, Jimmy? You’re not looking so good. I thought maybe you skipped town.”

“I’ve been blue,” Jimmy said. “Real, real blue. Ain’t been eating. Ain’t been sleeping. Ain’t been leaving my room.”

“So what you been so blue about?” Alvin asked. “Same old things? God. Women. Money. All that mess?”

Jimmy was gaunt. He needed a shave and a haircut. He was pail. He smelled, but his shoes were nicely polished and his fingernails, clean and trim.

“Yeah. What I think I need is a woman,” Jimmy said. “I been sitting in my room for weeks, all blue. And I think the reason is, I’m so alone. I’ve always been alone. I’ve always been so lonely.”

“Maybe you need some friends, Jimmy.”

“I’m not good at making friends. Guess all I’m really good at is thinking and suffering.”

“Well, if that’s all you’re good at, makes sense you wouldn’t wanna lose it. We all wanna be good at something.”

“You saying I’m not sincere in my being blue?” Jimmy asked.

Alvin ignored the question.

“You still going to church, Jimmy?”

“I quit going. But I still believe in God.”

Jimmy showed Alvin the golden crucifix around his neck.

“And I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ more than anything. And I still read the Bible every day.”

“But it ain’t helping?”

“No,” Jimmy confessed. “I guess not. Not enough.”

“Well, then, if you need a woman so bad, I suggest getting yourself a whore.”

Jimmy jumped off the bench like a bee had stung his ear. He made fists and glared down at his vile advisor.

“Ain’t no big thing, Jimmy. Whores been around since the beginning of time.”

“A whore?” Jimmy raved. “You heathen. How dare you suggest that when you know I’m a man of God? I’m principled and I hold love in very high esteem. You’d take that away from me, by turning love into nothing but a physical and financial exchange? Love’s a precious thing and you’d turn into something so base? And you’d have me betray God by engaging in something so vulgar? For heaven’s sake, you’re more of an animal than a man.”

Alvin laughed. Jimmy kept his fists clenched.

“What’s so funny? I ought to sock you,” Jimmy threatened. “I’m ashamed that I ever thought you might be a friend.”

“Calm down now,” Alvin said. “Take your seat and try hearing me out without getting so doggone flustered.”

Jimmy sat again, but with a little more distance between them.

“Okay. I’ll try. But I warn you, don’t blaspheme or you’re gonna get one in the teeth. I don’t care how old you are.”

Jimmy tried to relax but his pulse and mind were still racing. He hadn’t held a real conversation with anybody in weeks.

“Try getting yourself a whore, Jimmy. A decent one. One that’ll pretend.”

“Pretend what?”

“Pretend she cares about you.”

“Why’s that matter? Why would I care whether or not she cares? The important thing’s how good she sucks a crank, am I wrong?”

“Cause pretending will make the whole thing – while it lasts – feel better. Otherwise, you might as well go jamming your pecker in any old hole, whether it’s a chicken or a block of wood or a dead bundle of silk. But she can’t be too good. She can’t convince you that she really cares. You can’t go leaving the whorehouse believing she really cares. Don’t be dumb enough to get hooked into that. You’ll know you got yourself a good whore when she don’t even try hooking you into that.”

“Why not?” Jimmy asked. “Why won’t she try?”

“Well, first, you don’t wanna be enough of a mark that she’d even try it with you. Second, cause it’ll be too hard to leave her behind if you go on believing she truly cares. And she needs you to leave her behind cause she’s got another feller lined up behind you to give her another five bills.”

“I dunno,” Jimmy said.

“Isn’t anything to know,” Alvin said. “Get what you need. Then get on out and don’t go home with any of that clobber, thinking she might really care. Believe it in the moment so you get what you need, then put it away. But whatever you do, don’t go holding onto it out here.”

“What if she gets a guy to believing she really cares? That’ll keep him coming back and paying her more, won’t it? It would make sense.”

“A good whore don’t want that. It gets too complicated. She’s gonna give you the full treatment, just enough to make you feel good for a little while. But not so much so’s you believe it’s real once you’re gone.”

“I dunno,” Jimmy said. “Sounds like a whole lot of trickery.”

“What you mean you dunno? You already playing the game.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, I hate to say it, but with all your Bible talk, Jimmy. With all that praying that don’t seem to be helping you none. See, you don’t truly believe in that mess either. You just pretend to. It’s supposed to make things easier in the here and now – in the moment, if you will. Also makes it easier to walk away when your time comes, cause you really knew, all along, most of your life was just pretend. Pretending to believe in things. Pretending you were this and that. Makes the whole thing a lot easier to let go of when it was all just pretend in the first place.”

“Just like a good whore gives you what you want and makes it easy to walk away after you get it?”

“You said it, Jimmy, not me. So don’t go accusing me of being the blasphemer.”

Jimmy felt disgusting. He wondered if his old pal Alvin wasn’t really Satan.

“See, you got it mixed up, Jimmy. You got to believing all that holier than thou mess is real. You take it too much to heart when it ain’t meant to be taken so serious. It’s meant to be used like a whore’s kisses and caresses, but it ain’t meant to be taken as anything more. Her kisses are real but they ain’t real too. You get me? They feel good, but that’s all they’re meant to do. It ain’t no genuine affection, so don’t go kidding yourself too much about it.”

“How can you say I don’t believe in my Savior?” Jimmy asked.

“Cause you’d believe he’s gonna save you from all this blueness. You’d believe it’s all part of the plan. You’d be accepting it instead of looking for ways around it. You’d have faith that what you’re going through is the way it’s meant to be.”

“God gives me the mind and will to solve my own problems.”

“And when you can’t?”

“Then I pray,” Jimmy said.

“And when that don’t work either, sounds to me like you’re fucked.”

Jimmy had nothing else to say.

“I’m sorry, Jimmy, but I don’t think you know what the heck you believe. And that’s why I say, don’t take it too seriously. It ain’t meant to be.”

Jimmy’s lips began to tremble.

“You might get yourself a whore. See how it make you feel.”

“But I want a real woman that loves me. And no good woman’s gonna respect a man that runs with cheap whores.”

“And that same woman ain’t gonna want a man who don’t do nothing but read the Bible and cry to himself all day. She ain’t gonna want a mangy mutt of a man who barely has the money to even pay for a cheap whore.”

“So what do I do?” Jimmy pleaded.

“I dunno,” Alvin said. “Best I can figure is you just gotta do something.”

“Something?”

“Something. Like getting job. Brush your teeth. Learn the fiddle. Something.”

“Or get a whore?” Jimmy asked. “Get myself a whore?”

“Maybe that, if needing a woman’s your biggest problem. I dunno. But it’s on you, Jimmy. Whatever you decide, it’s all on you.”

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