In my novella, I mention drug use in the brothel industry on a few occasions. Even though drugs are a part of the sex industry no drugs are allowed on brothel premises by law. On my personal shifts, I allowed sex workers to leave the premises for an hour, maximum, for a break. I can’t stop people from doing drugs if they really have a mind to do so but I can do whatever I need to cover my own arse. If I found them using or dealing on the premises, big trouble for them. I’d come down on them hard as my brothel manger’s license, as well as a hefty fine, was at stake.
There came a time when I left a job I really loved because of drug use. At one particular brothel, the owner was anti-drugs big time. He was also the best boss I’ve ever worked for in any industry. The working conditions were great and the pay was great. I even found myself growing close to him and his partner. His partner, Janet, was also a manager. I really liked Janet and got on great with her. We’d often chat on the phone out of working hours. I didn’t do this with any other manager at that brothel. Also, the other managers were kind of mean to Janet, especially behind her back. I couldn’t understand why and thought it might have to do with their resentment towards her for being the boss's girlfriend.
Many staff members, including sex workers, called Janet names behind her back. The main one being ‘hose nose’ which I found odd as she had a very pretty nose. Boy, was I naïve! That name was in reference to her love of snorting cocaine or any other white line substances. I had no idea and looking back was probably the only one without a clue (other than her partner, my boss). Maybe because we were close people assumed I already knew so I wasn’t told outright about her addiction. Once I found out about Janet I was more worried about the consequences of my boss finding out. As I said, he was seriously anti-drugs and was known to fire anyone on the spot who dabbled or even knew about the dabbling.
I discovered Janet’s addiction when a bout of flu hit the staff, full-on. Everyone was getting sick at once. I have a flu vaccine injection every year due to my autoimmune illness so haven’t had the flu in over 20 years. This precaution held me in good stead as I was practically the only one not infected. I found myself being the only staff member available at one stage, other than Janet who desperately talked me into pulling a 36-hour shift. I even made up a story of a family event that was compulsory attendance to make sure I could leave after doing 36 hours straight.
At long last, that hard stretch came to an end and Janet called me into her office just before I was about to leave saying she just wanted a quick chat. I’m exhausted when I walk in and am shocked to find there’s a white powdery line stretching the length of the desk-top, and this was one big desk. Janet pleaded with me to come back after my ‘family event’ and if I did the line was mine for the taking. Suddenly I had a light bulb moment and all the red flags I failed to realise before were then so clear to me. I realised she was good at manipulating the truth with those close to her, myself a prime example. My mind clicked to “I need to get out, now!” Not only out of the current situation facing me but out of the business completely. I made an excuse that my drug of choice was only of the green smoking variety. I thanked her for the offer anyway and made a hasty retreat. I still liked Janet as a person as we’d become close but her secrecy with her drug habit made me realise I had to remove myself from the situation before all hell broke loose. My boss would lose it big time if he ever found out. He knew we were close and I doubt he’d believe I truly wasn’t aware. Even though he was a great boss I saw him lose it with others and knew I didn’t ever want to be on the receiving end of that.
When the universe spoke I learnt to listen. I found another position as soon as I could and left. I heard on the grapevine a few months later that the shit hit the fan when poor Janet’s drug use was discovered by her partner. He kicked her out of his business and their home. As I said, he was anti-drugs and, to his credit, this wasn’t just a position he held professionally but also personally.