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Feature Story February 10, 2006
Nine Years, Nine Whores, Nine Hours
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

This ninth anniversary issue lead story was supposed to be about something entirely different...and respectable.

I returned to Moscow this past Tuesday from Khanty-Mansiisk, in an exhaustion daze, when Jake broke the news: we had no lead. No feature story for our Ninth Anniversary Issue. What the fuck would we do? Nine years, after all, is something to celebrate. We'd lasted longer than any American president since Roosevelt, and might even outlast Putin.

It was too late to do anything investigative. And I didn't want to do something zany and analytical. For our ninth anniversary, we needed something Big, something that hurt. I knew that there was only one possible story that could be done on a moment's notice, and still be relevant. Yup: a Whore-r story. But not just any Whore-R story. It'd have to be so brutal, so unnecessarily painful, that it'd threaten the very existence of this newspaper. And this editor.

Nine whores. I'd have to fuck nine whores. And I'd have to accomplish this in nine hours. Why do it? There was no time for cheap reflection -- in fact, time was almost running out to fit nine whores in.

Doing nine whores in succession may sound funny, titillating, or vile to you folks out there in ReaderLand. But for me, it was just a shitty assignment. Actually, about the shittiest possible assignment imaginable. The Viagra Challenge story was peanuts compared to this--at least then, I was able to space each pill/whore out over several days' worth of field reporting. This was going to be a sprint. It would mean testing the very limits of my physiology--my unit, that is. And my body's ability to absorb and process large quantities of Viagra.

But doing this story was going to be more than just bad for my health. It's bad for my career too. When I went to America last November to promote Going Postal, a certain national radio station in America cancelled my appearance at the last moment after a producer came across my Whore-R stories... and objected. On moral grounds. Moral grounds that were never explained--as if it was self-evident. I had sex with prostitutes; therefore, I was bad and they could not have me on their program, in spite of the fact that we were both fighting the same enemy, the Republican Right.

In the world of progressives, as with the Religious Right, there is something ipso facto immoral about prostitution. Both hate it equally, both for the same reason. They just use different words to explain their hatred of prostitution, and especially of prostitutes as people. The religious right condemns it as a "sin," while the Liberals condemn it as "exploitation." The Liberals don't exactly say that they think it's really just a sin because deep down they know that the overwhelming majority of prostitutes work "voluntarily" ("voluntarily" in the same way that a Tajik gasterbeiter "voluntarily" chooses to work at a wretched Kaluga construction site, or a divorced 45 year old woman in Lugansk "voluntarily" works in a kiosk for 100 dollars a month...). Prostitution is a shitty job, and people usually deal with their shitty jobs, depending on their character. But this simple, flat, obvious fact is too shocking, too earth-shattering for most Progressives and Religious Righters to accept.

The American Left: exactly as Nietzsche said about the English Socialists: "They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality." But even Christ had his famous Whore-R story. Of course, he had to offer redemption--I don't, because that's a cruel lie. The wretched reality of a whore's life is that it's flat, dull, and vaguely depressing. It's neither urban-gritty like Vollmann or Selby want us to believe, nor is it like life on a slave plantation as the human rightsers want us to believe (with a few obvious exceptions).

Here is the real mean, ugly truth: everyone who is "anti-prostitution" in fact hates prostitutes. They say they want to end prostitution--but what they mean is they don't want prostitutes to exist, because prostitutes offend them.

And they do their best to make them not exist. Even homeless people, many of whom are so insane and filthy as to barely even rank as higher primates, are treated far more humanely, with far more compassion, than prostitutes are. Witness the Western reporting done from Moscow during the two recent brutal coldsnaps. All of the media's sympathy was focused on the plight of the homeless. The fucking homeless! Why? In my eyes, they don't even rank up with stray dogs, not even close. Prostitutes, on the other hand, are struggling, sane, functioning people. And they had to work the tochkas in the brutal cold. Did you see one story about how whores survived the freeze? No. Because prostitutes don't exist. A journalist could have lost his job if he did a piece on the whores in the freeze, treating them with compassion as just people working a difficult job. It was just safer to report on those poor, poor homeless people.

* * *

I didn't have much money for this. The eXile could barely allocate enough to cover costs of the whores plus taxi. Given my budget for this 9th Anniversary lead, I'd have to find nine prostitutes at $50 a pop, meaning $450 bucks there, plus about another $50-100 for a taxi (what a waste of good cash, huh?!).

You can find 50 dollar whores on the Net--I call them "Cave Whores" because they either work in a "salon" (essentially multi-room apartments packed with multiple whores, these salons are distinguished by their late-Soviet interiors and the inevitable smell of naphthalene) or right out of their apartments, usually in shitty block apartment buildings well outside the Garden Ring. For 50 bucks, you'd get an hour of sex in their apartment, usually just "oral" and "classic" sex.

Now I had to figure out the logistics of this operation. It was already 7pm when I sat down to find my tricks, and I'm located right in the center of Moscow, about a 5 minute walk from Lubyanka, the FSB headquarters. The key was finding enough prostitutes who'd work on a Tuesday night, finding out which ones would work late into the morning, and making sure that I could narrow it down to one region.

It took me hours of net-surfing to come up with a list of prostitutes who were available that night and located in one general region of Moscow--the north-northwest of Moscow--at $50 per. Most prostitutes start at between $70 and $100 per hour, so it wasn't easy. Some had left Moscow. Some were rude on the phone and hung up on me. Some wouldn't go down in price below 4,000 rubles for two girls (my maximum price was 3,000 for 2, which is still a bit above $100 for the two of them). It took me about 3 hours-plus to make sure I had a setlist of girls in a convenient route, starting around the Begovaya area in western Moscow, near the Third Ring, and traversing in an eastward arc towards Prospekt Mira.

My taxi arrived at around 10:30pm. It was a 1977 Mercedes 123, an old beat up classic. That was a good sign. When I lived in Kentucky a few years ago, I drove a 1987 Mercedes 190 which I bought for only $5,000 from nice, bourgeois Iranian immigrant who went by the name "Sean." None of the hicks would buy his car--they all assumed that a raghead would rip them off, even though in reality every hick in Kentucky rips each other off. Sean was leaving Louisville for Los Angeles. "I hear that they're better to Persians out there," he said hopefully. "It is true?" I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth: that all Americans hate Iranians. All except me, that is: I loved driving that Merc around Louisville, being as Elitist as I could possibly be, sneering at the pickup-truck-driving hicks from the comfort of my Mercedes.

We drove to a dark sidestreet not far from Begovaya--one of those dead-ends in the apartment block mazes, with few streetlights, huge lumps of dirty snow piled up, and broken podezd doors.

I was going to meet Vika and her friend Katya for a threesome, figuring I'd start off by killing two whores with one score. I took the elevator up to the 11th floor, popping a 100mg Viagra artillery shell on the ride up, and was met by Vika, who was wearing a leopard-skin nylon komodo-type robe and tapochki. She was oddly cute for a Cave Whore--her fine brown hair was clipped up in the European style, her teeth were straight and white. Her only flaw was her faintly-visibile mustache.

Vika had a high, playful voice. And that's what she did: she played with me, lightly teasing me from the moment I entered. She teased me for not taking off my coat, for not showering, for not washing my hands...for seeming nervous (I was just too amped). She teased me for my accent and for not understanding the teasing things she said. She was very proud of her body when she took off her leopard-skin komodo. When she talked to me, sitting on the bed, she kept looking over my shoulder to the wall mirror, posing, admiring herself and checking herself. What struck me most were her breasts--not only were they full and upright, but her nipples were small, a rare thing among whores.

Katya, on the other hand...she had a rank smile, like Sandra Bernhardt, only with her teeth widely gapped, a couple of front molars missing, ratty hair, and a body that was at once thin and yet saggy. Katya spoke with the flinch of an ugly girl--she couldn't look me in the eye--in fact, her gaze would drift over my scalp, then drunkenly down to my eyes before darting back up when we talked. I thought she might have been brain-damaged.

"My friend Tanya isn't here, so I'm presenting my friend Katya instead," Vika told me, pointing dismissively at Katya. "Do you want her to join us?"

This isn't about "wanting," honey. This is about work. As the angry husband says to Jerry Lundergaard in Fargo, "Where's my checkbook! Let's get this over with!"

Vika asked me to pay the 3000 rubles, about $110, up-front. Then she teased me for being "zhadny" or cheap, as she left the room with the money. She returned, and Katya left to take a shower.

"Where are you from, Vika?" I asked.

"From Tula. You know it?"

"Yes." One of the most depressing cities I've been to, in fact. Unredeemable, even as many provincial Russian cities are starting to show some signs of revival.

"There's nothing there," Vika said, smiling. "Moscow has everything."

"What's the best thing about Moscow?"

"Red Square," Vika answered.

"And the worst?"

"The people. They're cruel."

Vika took charge. "Well, what are we waiting for," she said, pulling out a white jar of jelly-cream and some condoms.

The nicest part about being with two girls is not the power of fucking them both or of having a dyke-show, which for me is an erection-inverter. No, the nicest part is when they both stroke your body. They pet you, as one would pet something one admires. It's an amazing feeling, being attended to like that, getting stroked--like Ash after he first escapes from the Pit, gnawing on turkey drumsticks and sucking down wine...

Vika applied the condom with her mouth and started sucking. It took awhile to get my unit up, in spite of the Viagra OD. For about ten minutes, it was touch and go whether I'd manage to get hard. I started worrying that the lead might not happen--then tried to banish that worry from my mind. "Think positive, Ames...books on tape, books on tape...I think I can/I think I can..."

And then the unit woke up, and the next thing I know, Vika's on top of me riding away, while Katya's carressing my legs. After awhile, I turned on top of Vika. It was surprisingly good sex, almost intimate. She kissed my neck and cheek and even managed to kiss my lips a couple of times, something I don't like. As Chopper spits to his hooker girlfriend, "Get that mouth away from me, it tastes of wog's cock." Vika was incredibly gentle, and I could feel the lubricating gel giving way to genuine vaginal fluids. Then I got paranoid because my coat with all my money was on the floor at the foot of the bed--I thought that Vika was fucking me well to distract me while Katya was sorting through my coat pockets.

But Katya had other, equally sinister plans. She started rubbing my balls...and then jammed her fingers into my 'taint. I've said time and again that I'm not a fan of The Finger--maybe I should wear something on my wrist, like a diabetic or someone with a rare blood type, warning whores, "Thank You For Not Putting Your Finger In My Ass."

Fact is, I wouldn't subject anyone, not even an illegal combatant, to my ass. Especially on that day. I'd been blowing mud all afternoon, due to an earlier feast on raw, frozen reindeer meat with some Khanty natives.

The sex with Vika became more genuine, and I nearly came. I pulled out and saw a small pool of white in the condom nipple. I couldn't let that happen--if I came now, I'd never make it beyond another whore. Vika was upset--why didn't I want to cum? A shitty jazzy song came on the radio, so I suddenly thought of Sting, and I told her, "I'm practicing my tantric sex."

As I switched condoms, Katya asked for her turn. She actually said, "I can't wait any longer, it's too much." But Vika somehow stole me away from her, pulled me on top of her and had me fucking her again with a new, fresh condom. She stole me to assert her authority--indeed, that night I learned that there is such a thing as an "Alpha Whore" in groups of two or more whores, and Vika was the Alpha of this apartment.

I managed to not cum--I lasted the hour, and felt pretty good. Oddly good--I didn't expect that. Vika was sweet, interesting, pretty and intimate, and even impressive. As I was dressing, I asked Vika what she does at night, where she goes. "I don't go anywhere," she said. "I just got to Moscow. Where am I going to go?" I tried to find out how she wound up in Moscow, as a whore. She answered with phrases I couldn't quite grasp: they were coquettish, somewhat caustic riddles. One I caught was when she said, "Da ladno, you're living in a tank."

"What do you mean?" I asked. "You mean I don't understand what you're saying?"

"Yes, but it's not only that. It also means that you don't care, you're just pretending."

She walked me to the door and smiled with her eyes large, her head pointed somewhat down, and her tongue pressed coquettishly against the back of her teeth.

* * *

I know the reason why I chose the next prostitute: she lived on the other side of the Begovaya area, next to the Hippodrome, just five minutes from Vika and Katya's cave. But still, I should have taken a better look at that photo.

Natasha was 40 years old, according to her anketa. Her podezd door wasn't broken--I had to type in a code to get inside, took the elevator up to the fourth floor and met her in the dreary greenish corridor. I gasped when she appeared in the light: her face was caked in a white makeup base, with heavy paint on the eyes and eyebrows and lips, like something out of a Cold War caricature of a Soviet middle-aged woman. Her stiff hair was dyed neon orange, like a Soviet Heat Miser--but with the white-caked face, she looked more like the tricycle-riding mannequin in Saw.

I followed her into her dark little apartment, with a Soviet double bed in the middle of the room, and a small table in the corner where we sat. She offered me tea and opened up a tin of imported cookies. And then she talked. And I mean she talked.

"I'm from Kyrgyzstan," she said. "From Bishkek. Of course, no, I'm not Kyrgyz myself. Just look at me!" She had large black eyes and a flat pug nose --I didn't see why she couldn't be Kyrgyz, but to her it was obvious. "In fact, it's interesting, but I'm part Ukrainian, part Russian, and part Bessarabian. Do you know what Bessarabia is? Yes, it's now what they call Moldova. What happened was my grandfather, his family name was Snegoric, a Romanian name as you know. When Moldova split away from Romania and joined with, uh, us, my grandfather found himself stuck in Moldova. There, he met my grandmother, whose last name was Moroza. Can you imagine that? Snegurichka married Ded Moroz. Ha-ha! So then, they moved north to Leningrad, and of course there were wars, the Civil War... My father was born... Then they moved east, to Siberia. But my father was called to the Front during the War. The Great Fatherland War, I mean. Everyone was called to the Front, all of Siberia. In 1946--excuse me, no, 1945, the war ended in 1945 of course, and my father returned home to Siberia. But there was nothing--famine everywhere, no work. So someone told my father that in Bishkek, you had orchards, food, everything grew on its own. So he took my mother and said, 'We're moving to Bishkek!' And that's how I wound up being born there. It's a lovely place, the people are very kind there in Bishkek. It was full of Russians. Oh, so many! We had a good life. But then when the Soviet Union fell apart most of the Russians left."

"Were they forced out?" I asked.

"No, not at all," she said melodramatically. "It's just, Russians thought, 'I don't want to be stuck in a strange country, as a minority. After all, the Kyrgyz are a different people, Asiatic, Muslim.' So they left and moved to Russia. But many of them wound up coming back to Kyrgyzstan, many! Here's one thing they don't talk about much. When the Russians moved to Russia, they were treated horribly. Yes, it's true, if Russians move back from Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan to Russia, the people in their new town don't call them 'Russians' or treat them as fellow kin. They treat them as foreigners, call them 'Kazakhs' or 'Kyrgyz.' Very unwelcoming. Ekh! Our Russian people."

I remembered, as she talked, fights I'd had with some lit profs back in my university days over Dostoevsky and Gogol. They'd say that Dostoevsky was "grotesque" or "unrealistic" because he'd have characters monologuing energetically for 1-2 pages. Since Americans are incapable of carrying on like that, it was assumed to be unreal. And so it was unreal: Dostoevsky and Gogol were merely "grotesque," while Tolstoy and Chekhov, whose characters seemed so recognizably civilized and New Yorker-y, were "realistic." I just want to set the record straight here: DOSTOEVSKY WAS A REALIST! I've thought this at these times, often listening to Russians talk in lengths that measure 1-2 pages. Why was it so important for my professors to believe that Dostoevsky and Gogol were merely grotesque writers? Because the realities they depicted threatened these little professors' quiet, subtle, New Yorker-y lives.

Natasha pulled out a small picture album. That was a first: a whore showing me her family photos. "I'd like to show you my daughter," she said. "And pictures of me in Dubai. I worked there in tourism for 7 years." The first pictures were these low-quality stills of her in cheap lingerie and heavy makeup: the kind of photos Borat shows to his American hosts. She proudly let me see the intim photos before flipping to photos of her daughter.

I wish I didn't see those. Her daughter was about 14 years old, cute and plain, dark wavy hair and gangly, beaming with the kind of hope you rarely see in photos of teenagers in this part of the world. She wore a green and pink sweatsuit that had the word "Rockets" embroidered across the chest in baseball-cursive. It was heartbreaking to see.

"She's very talented," Natasha said. "My daughter sings like me--oh yes, I'm a trained singer!--she dances, gets all 5's in school. Very smart. She lives with her grandmother in Bishkek while I'm here, making money."

Natasha was very proud of her daughter. But she'd left Natasha in Bishkek for most of her life, whether working in Dubai or Moscow. Then we came across a photo of Natasha with some Arab men. One had been her boyfriend. "Everything was fine at first. We'd get drunk, dance, have sex. Then I moved in with him and everything changed. He made me stay inside, locked the door when he left, put me in a veil. It's not a way to live. Everyone watched me, the neighbors, making sure I never left. Then he wanted to take me back to Egypt. I said no, no, no. I'm not a Muslim. I'm Orthodox Christian. The way these Muslims treat their's not for me."

She told me about an elderly Italian man whom she dated for two years and nearly married. "He had money, he was good to me," she said. "He had a villa outside of Milan. He wanted to take me back but I didn't want to. He was old, a pensioner, much older than me. I was probably stupid. But our sex--in two years, we never once copulated. Can you imagine? It was always oral sex. Now, I like oral sex too, but I need a man inside of me. Two years! It wasn't because he was impotent. He just never did it. He'd have me do oral, and he'd cum every time within seconds. Seconds, really! I'd say to him, 'Please, I want you inside of me.' And he'd say, 'Okay, Natasha, but first, "minyet."' He knew that word 'minyet,' in Russian I mean. And he'd cum immediately every time. Two years, no copulation! So I left him. I shouldn't have though."

Natasha flipped the album to a black-and-white photo of a rather handsome, dark man with long hair and a stylish mustache. "This is Natasha's father. He's very good looking, isn't he? She looks like him, not like me. We were never married. Well, he was married to someone else when he got me pregnant. He's not much of a father. He has his own family. But Natasha is fine with her grandmother, and I come back and visit..."

I literally had to tell her to stop. I wanted to get the fucking out of the way. I took off my clothes and lay on the tacky bedspread. She stripped down to her black and dark-red lingerie, pulled her underwear off, revealing a double-layer shelf of fat over her beltline. She took a gob of lubricant, lifted up the shelf of fat as if it was rubber, as if not her own flesh, and smeared it on her vagina. My stomach started to spasm. That was one of those scenes--sort of like seeing the first dead body in a road accident--that burns itself into your eyelids for a long time...

Natasha wiped some of the paint off of her eyes and lips, leaving only the white-caked face. Now she looked like Milton Berle. This was bad--I knew it would be funny to other people, later on, in the retelling of this story...but this was b-a-d for m-e. Then she opened up a paketa and pulled out a large pinkish jellied dildo and a beige butt-plug, and stood them on top of the dresser.

"Do you want these?" she asked casually, preparing them.

"No-no-no!" I said, backing up and covering my ass with my hands.

She shrugged. "Okay. I only ask because most Russian men want this. You wouldn't believe how perverted Russian men are. They all want me to shove these into their asses. Really, all of them. So nothing shocks me. You can be open." She meant it too.

"You can put it into yourself," I said, thinking that so long as the dildo was busy in another hole, it wouldn't find mine.

And she did, right next to my face. She positioned herself with her legs open right next to my head, pulled up her rolls of flesh, and shoved the pink gelatinous dildo inside. Folks, I saw it happen. May you never have to see what I saw.

"I'm being punished," I thought. "This is Yahweh's retribution for all the Jew jokes I've made. The shit written about in Ezekial."

I was not going to fuck Natasha. I'd done my job--that was enough pain. She was a good sport about it. She blew me first with a condom, then without, doing her absolute deep-throat best to make me cum. At one point she said, "You can come on my face or in my mouth. Davai!" This is a john's dream. But I knew that if I came, I'd be through. End of assignment. Suicide. The photo album had made my mood heavy, especially the photo of her sweet looking daughter, trying to be a good daughter, trying to live a daughter's life, with a mother who has spent her life as an overseas whore, and a father who was merely a philandering prick, and who had likely been trapped by Natasha in the savage hope that she could win him away from his family. None of these people were evil, but their fates were. I couldn't bear this all-too-close-up view of Schopenhauer's vision. It was neither funny nor epic.

After I left, I tried to imagine, for the first time, what was going on in Natasha's mind. If a camera was filming her, what would it capture? In the indy film version, she is cold, crying, smoking a cigarette, staring at a picture of her daughter and hating herself. But in the version I believe, not much went on. She got ready for bed while playing some crappy Russian "chanson" radio. She thought, "That went pretty well." She was proud of speaking a few words of English with me. And then she went to sleep.

* * *

I'd called Sveta earlier in the evening to make sure I could visit her and her friend right after Natasha. It was already nearly 3am, and Sveta was a good 20 minutes away, at least. Time was flying fast! I had only fucked three prostitutes so far.

On the way towards Savelevskaya Metro, I tried asking myself what the significance of the story was, as it was developing. What would it say? How would it be explained? But all I felt was this vague sadness and exhaustion. I started wondering if people would find it as "funny" or even "cruel" as I first thought they would. It didn't seem that way to me--just sad. At my age... I had a penchant for humiliating myself for entertainment. Why? I'm tall, after all. That was one of those strange revelations that hit me when I wrote Going Postal in 2004: I'm tall, so why do I lower myself?

Then I realized, what kind of moron only realizes he's tall at age 38, or roughly 22 years after he shot up to six-feet-four-inches?

Conclusion: I deserve this.

Sveta lived near the Dmitrovskaya metro, in the north. The apartment block wasn't far from the Third Ring, but it was in another of these dark dead-ends to the apartment-block mazes, where the city's irrational planning finally curls back on itself.

The podyezd door was broken and open; she lived on the fourth floor in a block with no elevator. At the top of the stairwell a group of four teenage guys and a girl lingered, gabbing and drinking beer. I tried to figure out which apartment was Sveta's. I looked left and right at both broken hallway door entrances, trying to find the right number, when one of the teenagers snickered, "It's to the left." As I walked away, the whole group cackled and commented.

Sveta was 24, thin and brunette, wearing a kind of see-through chiffon dancer's outfit. She had a dark salon tan and small breasts and small hips. She was very business-like, bringing me into the first room on the left, with its double-bed, gauche bedspread, and dresser table with the inevitable hairspray collection.

I saw two other girls sheepishly enter and leave: one, a redhead with large breasts, but a face kind of like Eric Stoltz's in Mask; and the other, a glum, hunched brunette with large breasts and a dumpy body.

That's when I came upon an idea to help me out of this impasse.

"Can I have all three of you?" I asked Sveta.

"It's possible, but it will be 5000 rubles," she said. "2000 for me, and 1500 for each of the girls. I'm more expensive." This was a matter of pride for Sveta. "I would not recommend taking the two of them for lesbis. They are too inexperienced, they don't really know what they're doing. I would do it but my usual girlfriend is not here now."

"I'll take all three of you then," I said, pulling out a wad of 10 500r notes. I tried to pss them to Sveta's hand, but she ordered me to put the money on the bed. "At night, you don't hand people money to their hands. You put it down, and they take it," she explained. "It's a Russian thing."

The red-head entered the room curiously and sat down beside me. Her name was Masha, and she was from Marx, a town about 40km outside of Saratov. "It used to be a German town," she said. "It was all Germans. But they all left about ten years ago. There are none left."

"How many people live in Marx?" I asked.

"We have six schools," Masha answered. "We count the size of a town by how many schools it has."

Anya, the slouchy one, came in and unhappily stroked my leg. She too was from Marx--she arrived in Moscow a month earlier with Masha.

Sveta, on the other hand, was from Lubertsy, known as the roughest town in these parts. I once wanted to live there for a couple of months, just to see if I'd get the shit beaten out of me or not.

"What was Marx named before, when it was German?" I asked.

"Katherinenstadt," Masha said, smiling. Her Eric Stoltz face hovered over me. She seemed kind, and her breasts were big and pillowy, which took the edge off her Mask-factor.

"Are the German homes any different?" I asked. "Do they look different at all?"

"They have higher ceilings. And they last longer. As a rule, the Germans are better builders than we Russians."

It was a revealing observation--nothing was noted about the German buildings' exteriors, just the interiors and the quality of the construction, i.e., their durability. The ugly nihilism of the repetitive Queens-like project settlements aren't seen as depressing; they're not even seen. They're neutral. What is recorded is whether one's apartment falls apart or not.

Sveta turned me onto my stomach, got out some Johnson's Baby Oil, and gave me an amazing 15 minute massage while the two Marx girls stroked my legs. It was a wonderful feeling. The sadness left me. Then Sveta turned me over, and orally-applied a condom to my unit, slurping it up to life. I was amazed that it could still stand up. Sveta let the girls know that she was going to be first in line--she was the Alpha Whore in this group. She sat on my cock and rode it increasingly hard and fast...her back started to break out into a sweat and she yelped. It was impressive. Masha kissed me and watched, while rubbing my head and shoulders. Anya got up and left the room.

Most guys in this situation would probably be thinking, "Ah, shit dude, you shoulda had those chicks munch each other out. Dude!" All I can say is, "Why?" I had them stroking my legs and treating me like Ash. Why would I want them to pay less attention to me? Only the baloney-headed dipshits of this world maintain those jock fantasies.

Sveta worked herself up to a sweat, then dropped onto me. Out of curiousity, I asked her if she came.

"You're a man, you should know the answer to that," she said, pulling herself off of me.

After Sveta pretended to cum, I was given a new condom. I got on top of Masha. But her vagina was too dry and the sex was bad. Masha was uncomfortable. I have a feeling it might have been her first or second day on the job.

I lasted about 5 minutes with Masha, then asked for Anya. She dragged herself in with that slouch, staring at me glumly. I'm not sure if Sveta read the situation or controlled it, but all I know is that Anya was brusquely ordered to leave the room again. Sveta climbed onto the bed, bent herself up against the wall-carpet and asked me to fuck her from behind. Her pussy was warm and responsive, and she liked it when I pulled her hair and hit her small ass. It was good enough that I finally abandoned the Sting tantra sex thing and came, rather loudly and intensely. Now the question was, could I go on? For the sake of my readers...

After showering, I tried to say goodbye to the girls from Marx. But Masha was already with another client in another room on the other side of the hall, the door slightly ajar, and Sveta was shooing me out the door, telling me to be quiet. "We have another client," she explained. She closed the door. The stairwell was empty. The sneering teenagers had gone back to their homes.

* * *

It was nearly 4:30am, and I still had three whores to go. The problem was, all I had on my list were single girls. That meant three visits. It didn't seem possible, not after cumming.

We drove eastbound towards Prospekt Mira, to Ulitsa Gilyarovskogo. I was supposed to hook up with a girl named Kira, who looked like a cute, petite platinum blond. Instead, I was met by Yulia, a doughy, dark-haired girl with a sharp nose. I thought she was the mamochka, and waited for her to bring me Kira. Then she dropped her towel right in front of me, and it was as if her floppy breasts dropped on cue with the towel. She said, "So, let's get started!" I realized then I'd been duped, baited-and-switched. Then I realized that I was actually kind of lucky that night, excepting the Natasha incident, which was all my fault...

Yulia walked me to the shower, and from the hallway I saw two more glum looking whores sitting in the kitchen, probably in their early 20s, tired and eager to be left alone. I tried to make smalltalk, but they didn't answer. They sipped at their tea and smoked cigarettes.

Yulia and I got off to a slow start. The sex was empty even by empty-sex standards. The kind where the lubricating goo seems to stick listlessly to the inner vaginal walls--nothing is excited, even at the molecular level. My dick was getting Indian burns at this point. But I was impressed that the Viagra was able to get me hard again--granted, it took about 15 minutes, but it worked. God I love American ingenuity. Everything really can be solved with a pill! And why shouldn't it? Americans deny themselves so much. Belief in pills is the Frenchest thing about America, and one of our most admirable characteristics.

The sex was awful enough that I finally stopped after 10 wretched minutes, but the main thing was, I'd completed number 7. Yulia and I lay down for awhile to chat. She came from Lugansk in Ukraine. She had a cheerful way about her--she reeked of cheap hard alcohol, and half-slurred her words. She was large and soft, shaped kind of like a manatee. It was strange holding her, actually trying to wrap my arm around her. It didn't necessarily turn me off, just was strange. I really expected her to have paddles and a tail, not legs. I'd been with so many different bodies that night...and still, the one I thought about was the first, Vika. She had a pride you don't meet often. And she was beautiful. With each girl this became more apparent, and made me vaguely long for her. That desire to save her, which hits you intensely at some moment, then disappears forever.

I started to stroke and caress Yulia's body, and this led to a kind of mutual-masturbation that went on for 20 minutes. Then she rolled onto her back and said, "You can get on top of me." She said it with some significance, but I didn't understand it at first. Then she opened her legs and pulled me on top. I stopped her and said, "Where's the condom?" Thank God--that's what the now-me is saying: Thank God I didn't put it in!

But I did cum this time. It was big, again. I was thinking of Vika when I came. And I stopped thinking about her afterwards.

I limped downstairs, out of the elevator cage, down the dark steps, and out into the freezing cold. My dick was burning red at this point, and so were my eyes. It was already 6am, or rather, almost 6:30am. I couldn't go on. I made two phone calls but the girls didn't answer, to my relief. The night was done. I'd fucked 7 whores. That was enough.

* * *

On the drive back home, I got hit by a powerful post-exhaustion rush that kept me from sleeping for four more hours. Originally I had an idea about how to frame this story, to give it some resonance. I thought that I would tell a small story about a year at the eXile connected each of the nine whores. I thought, too, that by fate, each whore would somehow correspond to some essence of each year with the eXile.

But it didn't work that way. Vika, the best, would be year one--but that year was a blur, done blindly, recklessly. It wasn't consciously blissful at the eXile yet. I only became aware of the bliss in Year Two, around spring/summer of 1998. In the fall of 1998, the first time my former partner Taibbi quit the newspaper, I had to save the eXile from post-crisis doom almost on my own, with only Krazy Kevin providing backup...that, and monstrous piles of shitty Estonian speed and smack helped us survive. It was a glorious autumn, the most sensitized three-month stretch of my entire life. And we saved the eXile from destruction, even as thousands of eXpats fled for home in despair.

I ran on those chemical fumes until the end of the Kosovo War in mid-1999, when suddenly I collapsed, mentally, metabolically, physically, for about two years. Those years are gone. Those two years lost could be seen as the two whores I never got to fuck that night. But I'm not sure where the rest fit in. And it seems stupid and crude to even try.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal, published by Soft Skull Press.

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