Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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WARNING: This entry contains explicit language. Please keep your own counsel.

As our last episode drew to a close, Opium, Suzie and myself were racing up to Oshawa (formerly “Home of GM Canada”) for a one-hour call. Adding some real ass-kickin’ insult to injury, Ralph the brain-dead dispatcher, insists the girls both go to the door so the ‘client’ can choose which one he wants. As all three of us had screamed at Ralph, it’s bad business practice, giving the trick the impression the women aren’t all busy, that they’re begging for trade.

So we get to Boondockville and I turn out the lights as we pull up to the house. It’s a shitty looking frame bungalow. Though the giant front window, we can see some assembly-line jack-off sitting in his living room, sucking on a brew, the hockey game TV glow bouncing off his fat, white face.

Opium shakes her head and mutters, “Fuck…”
“Doubt it,” says Suzie. “This loser’s blow job all the way. He’ll want it while he keeps watching the game, tell ya to keep your head out of the way.”
They drag their asses out of the car and up to the geek’s door. When the girls press the buzzer, his heads perk up like an alerted yard dog. He hauls himself out of the easy chair, pulls a hand through his hair and makes a half-assed attempt at tucking in his shirt.

He opens the door and the girls stand there, both slumped, purses slung low. I can practically hear Opium’s gum clack from across the street. After a few moments, she goes in and Suzie comes back to the car. She looks around at the dark houses, the mowed lawns, the pickup trucks in the driveways. “Christ,” she gripes. “How do people live in these fucking places…”

Within a couple minutes, the door of the john’s house flings open and Opium comes charging out, swearing at fairly high volume. There’s no sign of the guy. For a moment I think she’s killed him or something but then he appears at the big picture window, hands on hips, slugging on his beer, blanked faced and staring out into the dark.

Opium gets in back and slams the door. “That fucking asshole Ralph totally fucked it up!”
“How?!” me and Suzie yell.
“I go in there and he tells me he’s only got a hundred bucks! So I tell him, ‘no way’, it’s one-fifty for an hour. He gets on the phone with Ralph and then Ralph tells me to do it since I’m out here anyway!”
My phone rings. It’s Ralph, of course. “Where the fuck is Opium?!” he screams.
“What the FUCK is wrong with you?!” I howl back. “She can’t fuck the guy for a hundred bucks! That leaves her with like fifty dollars after you and me get our cut and I’m not doing this for free!”
“Don’t be so stupid!” he screams. “It’s still better than nothing!”
I hang up on him. “This guy has totally lost it. He’s so worried about getting canned, he’s lining up johns for next to nothing. What a fucking useless piece of shit!”

Ralph calls back, a bit calmer but not much. I put it on speaker. “Okay, okay,” he gruffs. “I got a call for Suzie - a regular.”
“Yeah. He’s at Waterdown and the 403. It’s a half-hour call but he tips good.”
Me and the girls gawk at each other. Just as they both draw long breaths to begin shrieking at the top of their lungs, I shout at Ralph: “FUCK YOU! WE ALL QUIT!” and hang up again.

Opium and Suzie are in a screeching lather. Waterdown is at the opposite end of the endless Golden Horseshit sprawl, an hour and a half away - for an eighty dollar call. I’d be spending twice my cut just in gas to get there.
“Turn off your ringers,” I tell the girls. “We’ll make that cocksucker pay through the ass.”
“He’s gonna freak,” Suzie snickers.
“Good,” Opium nods. “He’s forgetting who puts out here. Okay, that’s it,” she decides. “Let’s get back to the city and go score, then we’ll go for a drink some place. Fuck this.”

The sense of freedom is immediate and heady, like a good high. We’re not making money but at least we’re not being tossed to and fro by some brainless shit-heel either.
“Johnny’d better replace that idiot or this business is finished,” Opium says.
“Totally,” Suzie agrees. “It’s already on the skids. We gotta start looking for somewhere else to work. This asshole Ralph doesn’t know shit about taking calls or running the girls.”
Our phones keep flashing with unanswered urgent calls and texts. “Look at him go!” laughs Suzie.

Returning to civilization, we all score our preferred drugs and the girls decide we should hit the Brass Rail. They want to check out the strippers, see if they know anybody working tonight.

“There’s this Chinese chick who dances at the Rail sometimes,” grins Opium. “She’s fucking hot. I’d love to get her alone.”
“You are such a little pussy slut,” Suzie giggles.
“Am I ever!” shouts Opium, the weight of the fucking world lifted from her back, at least for a couple hours.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Basil Papademos

Basil Papademos is the author of MOUNT ROYAL: There's Nothing Harder Than Love, published in the spring of 2012 by Tightrope Books, also available as an ebook in all formats from all digital retailers. His earlier novel, The Hook of it is, was published by Emergency Press. His upcoming novel, How To **** Your Psychiatrist, will be published in the fall of 2013.

Go to Basil Papademos’s Author Page