Celia Capace - Header - name



When working with slightly broken people for extended periods of time one begins to crack themselves.  For this reason I left the industry more than once, vowing never to return. The drama and stress that came with the job, unfortunately, often affected my Crohn’s.  Once my mental state began to deteriorate my physical state would follow, causing me to cut back on shifts or even to temporarily quit working altogether.  It took me a long time to learn the body is physically, mentally and emotionally connected. Stress has always been a major factor contributing to the deterioration of my physical self. Brothel management isn’t your run-of-the-mill job and managing the crazy sometimes made me cray-cray. 

 Yet, I still mostly enjoyed it. We were a strange and diverse family. Being competitive is part of the sex workers job description yet we were very protective of each other from the outside world, stigma keeping us connected. I felt protective in a motherly way towards the ladies. My protective kindness was not to be taken advantage of though. Those who made the mistake of taking my kindness for weakness soon learned not to push the boundaries with me. 

A young lass with an obvious drug habit constantly made excuses to leave her shift early once she'd earned enough money for her habit. (A full shift was a requirement for all staff, as Lilly had discovered).  It was amazing how many accident -rone family members this particular sex worker had, and even a few relatives at death’s door.  After her mother had died twice in a six month period I'd had enough.  The only reason she'd gotten away with it for so long was that she was a good money earner. 

Legal doesn't always mean fair in the brothel industry.  Owners would often change the rules for those that were popular, as in the example above, letting the favoured come and go as they please which made it hard on managers as, naturally, this didn't go down well with the other sex workers.  I don't have a problem with males owning brothels but I do have a problem when they decide to dip their dick in the workers. This occurred more often than not and sometimes evolving into one favourite.  Without fail these ‘affairs’ would end as abruptly as they commenced with 'the top favourite' losing their position and always replaced. When one has a sexual smorgasbord to choose from one isn’t going to consume the same dish every day.  As is common amongst most workplace affairs, once over the boss is the only one still employed.  More often than not the one that had once held the favourite position now had to find elsewhere to work. 

Once the lass used the same fake excuse of her mother’s death twice to cut her shift short  I’d decided I’d had enough.  “You didn't tell me your mother had become a zombie”, I sarcastically responded. “Or, is she the Second Coming and has the ability to resurrect?”, I continued to jibe.  Her stunned expression had me explain that she'd forgotten she'd already used that excuse and that I was tired of her excuses. I decided the grief with her behaviour wasn't worth it. I told her to leave and not to come back on my shifts.  Although I knew she'd go over my head to complain to the owner I didn't care anymore as I was too exhausted, body and soul. The incident with Sylvie, closely followed by Kat’s disappearance, had depleted me and if it came to a choice I hoped my boss would pick her.  That way the choice would be made for me. 

My shifts were the busiest, Friday and Saturday nights, so those were the ones where she earned the most.  She started a song and dance about the unfairness of life. None of it her fault, of course. She went on and on, hysterical in her pleading of how I didn’t understand how hard her life was and what she had to deal with.  I give her the talk-to-hand gesture, raised like a stop sign in her face.  “I understand perfectly”, I responded.  “Your real problem here is the fact that I don't care”. I dropped my hand and stepped towards her.  My face was in hers, “I just don't care!”.  Again, she is stunned.  Good, as at least this time it shut her up. 

I’d been employed as a manager at the Heroin Brothel for just under two years arriving under the original owner who had the business for over twenty years.  He was a sweetheart whose wife had become gravely ill.  He had decided to retire to spend time looking after her.  The new guy was a whole different story.  He was married with two young children and claimed to be new to the brothel industry.  It was all about the money for him.  I'd even heard on the grapevine he'd supply heroin to some of the sex workers to keep them on shift.  I never caught him at it though I knew he was very capable. 

Anyway, he made the mistake of choosing me but I didn't last much longer as I'd already stayed too long.  I was completely over the constant drama. It was time to step away from work.  My body had taken as much as it could, as I'd pushed it to its limits far too many times.  My body crashed and I was out.  I had been here before with Crohn’s so I knew the tell-tale signs which yearned with me earnestly that it was time to prioritise. The hermit persona emerged seeking time to heal in body, mind and soul.  Thank goodness for the family home.  No need to worry about bills, most importantly those of a medical nature.  I must admit if I had to have a chronic illness I believe Australia is the place to have it due to our healthcare. Being ill is bad enough without the added burden of paying exorbitant costs for that much-needed care. 

Fire (Part Two)


Breathing wasn't to last as my ex stalked me for a year after our breakup.  Though I tried hard to protect and distance myself he punished me for leaving him by raping me at the end of that year.   I never saw him after that, though he'd call occasionally. When I threatened him with my father the calls finally stopped. 

I didn't press charges because of my father.  He was a traditional Southern Italian who adored his family.  His family were everything to him. He had a temper but he never laid a hand on us.  I loved him dearly and knew him well. I knew he would have killed my ex. No, I don't mean hurt him in the Australian colloquial context.  I mean in the most literal sense of the expression. I felt I'd suffered enough and didn't want my father in prison. My ex-partner six foot underground, on the other hand, I had no problem with. 

There is no sex in rape.  It is violence, humiliation and control.  It is being invasively bashed. Why this revelation?  Because I want it to be known that a prostitute can be raped.  There is no sex in rape. 

The main reason I chose to work at The Heroin Brothel was because I knew Sylvie was working there.  She was a health nut, with a heart of gold. A barbie doll lookalike, child of the universe and one of the few staff totally drug-free.  Organics and the gym were Sylvie’s only addictions. Whenever the owner and I would be watching the camera of the intro room he'd pipe up when it was Sylvie. 

“Why does she always want to save them?  She takes forever in the intro”, he'd complain.  Sylvie really was interested in people and it showed. 

The client was young and cocky and trying to bargain the price, of which Sylvie was worth every cent and more.  This I told him. He continued to attempt to haggle while she cajoled him, reminding that he'll enjoy himself. Realising my patience was wearing thin he finally booked. 

The booking time passed and I buzzed the room to indicate their time was up.  After an appropriate time passed, I saw the room was still occupied. I buzzed again.  The third time, I used the intercom. 

“All ok, Sylvie?”, I asked.

“Yes”, was her only response. 

I could hear the shower in the background.  “Please tell him to hurry. We need the room”, I beckoned, knowing he'd hear too. 

I’m walking down the corridor back to the reception area from the laundry room when I saw Sylvie walking towards me, stumbling slightly. I called out enquiring if she was ok?

As I reached her she slumped against the wall and started to slowly slide towards the floor. 

“No.  Not ok.  He raped me”, she uttered. 

“Why didn't you say something while I was on the intercom?”  I could now see how dishevelled she was and I was devastated. 

“Too scared to.  I couldn't reach the alarm.  He had me pinned. I kept saying it didn't have to be this way.  We could have fun, but he just kept hurting me. Once he got off me, I wanted him out.  I was too scared to say anything while he was showering in case he heard”.

My devastation turned to rage.  “Not my sweet Sylvie. No, no, no!”, I thought to myself.  “I'm going to get that son of a bitch. I'm sure he paid by card.  We can trace him”.

I called out to a couple of girls to help Sylvie.  They came running, asking what was up? I told them to ask Sylvie as I need to get to the reception area.  I rush toward my desk and the cash register. As I'm frantically sorting through the credit card payment stubs the doorbell rings.  I call out for someone's to answer the door. Kat answered and I heard her welcome someone in while I was trying to figure out which stub I needed.  As Kat passed by I glance up which causes me to do a double-take. The rapist is back! I don't believe it. Not ten minutes later the son of a bitch is back!

I needed to make sure it was him.  I rushed to the girl's room and got Sylvie so she could look at the camera.  “Oh my god, yes, that's him”, was all I needed to hear. 

Kat was still chatting with him totally unaware of what had taken place.  He asked her what he gets for his money and that he wanted to meet all the girls again to make sure he was getting his money's worth.  “You're a real piece of work”, I thought to myself. I remember well the feeling of my rage intensifying at the time. Seething, I told Kat to stop wasting her time and to move away from him. 

“He hurt Sylvie”, I finished, to which her eyes widened in shock. 

A cold hardness filled my soul.  It filled with a rush of unadulterated pure rage.  “He'd come back for seconds. Good! I'd show him seconds”.  In the interim since my own rape I'd had the good fortune to have had six self-defence lessons from a polite and slightly scary biker.  He taught me how to fight dirty. 

I recall him telling me to use all my weight as a weapon, (though there wasn't much of me), to use whatever was at hand to my advantage, to cause as much damage as possible, and to always remember you're in this situation because someone wanted to hurt you bad first.  Also, to attack was my best defence. 

I'd never needed to use those lessons before now.  He taught me well. They were about to kick in, full bore.  It was nearly fifteen years since my own attack and I was now a whole different person. 

“Use your weight” and I did!  I weighed even less at the time.  I gathered all 55 kilos of my frame and charged.  He was sitting on the corner of the couch. Perfect.  Lucky for me I'm in a pantsuit affording easier manoeuvring.  I jumped on his shoulders, a knee on either shoulder. It was enough weight to keep him in place so I grabbed onto his lovely curly hair.  It was only lovely because it gave me access to hold on tight. Thick curly hair filled my fists as I jerked his head back. Now, he was staring at the ceiling making it easier for my intent and closer to that wall.  Seeing his expression as I proceeded to smash his head against the corner of the wall was an added bonus. WACK!

“How do you like it?”, I yelled at my captēe.

I smashed his head with all my might against the other side of the corner wall. WACK!  “Feels different when you're on the other side, don't it?”

I slammed his head back against the other wall. WACK!  “Are you having fun yet?”

I felt him resisting, trying to get me off of him. He was more than twice my size and I knew that if I stopped for a second he would overpower me.  During my rage I knew this would not happen as I would not relent to give him that chance. I continued to slam his head from side to side, wall to wall, as hard as I could muster, all the while continuing my personal commentary. 

I was enjoying it, which surprised me but that didn't pacify my rage.  My rage was only affected when I felt myself being pulled from him. Hands enveloped me and I was unwillingly forced from him, which made me more furious.  “How dare I'm stopped”, I thought, as I hadn't finished. The dirtbag was still in one piece! 

Life then became stranger than fiction.  I swear it was like it happened in slow motion.  I turned to see who'd had the audacity to interrupt me.  Sylvie is standing behind me, a little to the left, Harriot behind her followed by tiny 4 foot nothing Midge.

I turned back towards the assailant as he was rising himself up from his corner of temporary discomfort. He had his closed fist propelled toward me.  Before I could think he turned slightly. It's then that I realised his intent was not me as his body reaches past me, fist propelled towards Sylvie. Just before his fist connected with Sylvie’s face she was pulled back by Harriot. Thus, he missed, the momentum of his body causing him to stumble forward. 

He's about to fall flat on his face when Midge reached out and grabbed him by the seat of his pants.  She spun him around and booted him out of the room, propelling him towards a waiting open front door. The lady who was holding the front door open gave him another boot on his way out, slamming the door behind him.

I stood there mortified but not with regrets for him.  None. It still feels good to today, although my hands were sore for days.  Truthfully, even that felt good because of the memories it arose. I was somewhat abashed for losing control while in the position of a manager, especially as I lost it in front of my staff. 

They were jubilant, while I was not.  I was so disappointed in myself for my total loss of self-control, and still am.  Not good for someone, supposedly, in a position of authority. Meanwhile, the ladies were all talking at once.  

“Quiet!” This from me. “I want everyone in the girl's room now. I mean everyone.  I need some time alone, please”.

I was not only trying to reassert my authority but I still needed to calm down.  This force of rage was new to me. I was still under its spell as it abated slowly. 

“What's wrong? You're a hero”, Sylvie said to me.

“I went for him and it's all on camera. There are no cameras in the rooms”. I continued to lament, “I went for him and there's nothing to prove he went for you. I can be in real trouble for this.  Not smart on my part.”

“Yeah, like he’ll go round telling folk he got his ass whipped by a little bitty thing like you”.  This, from Harriot, an American who really spoke that way.  

“I don't feel like a hero right now.  I feel I need space. I want everyone gone from the reception area. Now!” They saw I meant it and reluctantly retreated, talking excitedly amongst themselves.  All but one, Kat, remains. She stood leaning against the wall with arms folded and not moving. 

“Everyone includes you!”, I snapped at her. 

She continued to stare at me.  Silent and motionless. 

“What the hell you staring at?  Go!” I'm not in the mood for myself, let alone anyone else. 

Finally, she spoke.  “I wouldn't fuck with you.  Oh, I'd definitely fuck you but I wouldn't fuck with you.”

I found myself laughing, grudgingly. “Now that's one hell of a pick-up line”.


“Well, what?”, I enquired.

“Is that a yes then?”

“You already know the answer and why”, I retorted.

“Huh, not much of a pick-up line if it don't work”, Kat muttered before she made her way to join the others.


Approximately a week later a couple of police officers come knocking on the door at work.  Though the police were allowed access at all times they had to state exactly why and it had to be of a specific police nature.  Police on the premises tend to cause discomfort in brothels to both sex workers and clients due to the stigma and secrecy that goes with this business.  There are other organisations that dealt with the legalities of running a brothel, and police were not included in these. 

“Can I help you?” I was actually calm and curious. 

“Just a routine check”, from the older of the two standing before me. 

“Ok.  Do you need to check the premises for something?” I asked.

“How's things?  Any trouble of late?”

“Nope.  Not on my shift”,  I lied.

He looked directly at me as  I stared right back. He smiled a genuine smile and it is then that I see it in his eyes.  He knows, and I know he knows I know. 

“Right then.  Enjoy the rest of your evening” he said, and they departed. 

I never saw or heard from them again.  I don't know for sure but maybe he wanted to see for himself “the itty bitty thing that whipped that son of a bitches ass.”

To Breath again (Part One)


My first love was a relationship that lasted nearly five years.  It finally ended when I realised the man I had waited for in those wasted years was never coming back to me. The one I'd fallen in love with, those eight months before we became engaged, would not return for he’d never really existed.  When that realisation finally came, so did the end of the relationship. This happened simultaneously. Considering how volatile our relationship had become I was surprised how our engagement was to end with a whimper and not a bang. 

My emotions were overwhelming me, my mental state taking over.  “I must be strong. There's still time”, dramatic thoughts repeating in my mind.  Twas the night before sending our wedding invitations. He was relaxing on the couch, engrossed by the television. The mood was tranquil, a rare mood of late.  As I looked at him my thoughts asked, “do I love you?” The awful dawning started like a slow-moving wrecking ball. I reached for that emotion inside me, the love I once had for him.  The love one should be feeling for a husband to be. “Do I love you?”, I asked myself again. Can I love someone I don't like? 

As I look at his profile, him continuing to watch the screen, oblivious, it suddenly hits me how much I do dislike him.  That didn't mean I didn't love him, per se.   Like and love didn't have to go together, did they?  That wrecking ball hits. My thoughts explode and the revelation occurs.  I see him now for all he really is and stumble at the realisation of who he always was.  Suddenly, transparent to me my dislike turned to hate. 

As I asked myself, “how did it come to this?”,  I instinctively knew the answer. The one who this could never happen to, the one who couldn't understand how anyone would ever put up with an abuser.  I was now living this reality and understood. Understanding which came at a price.

Abuse comes in many forms.  Mental and emotional abuse are devoid of the typical physical evidence associated with abuse. Mental and emotional abuse leaves victims feeling isolated, and consequently, they further isolate themselves.  For these reasons, I wish he had hit me.

I was smart and strong but very naïve when I met him.  He was my first serious relationship and I was still a virgin when we met.  I wasn't prepared for the reality and the onslaught of the repercussions of his childhood abuse.  His childhood was horrendous as he had suffered so much abuse. I was too young and incompetent to realise he was too broken to fix. Those who claimed to have loved him hurt him.  Those that should have loved him, hurt him. All he knew was to hurt the ones you love, and he did that well. My hatred for him continued to intensify with my realisation that he had evolved into his abusers and that he was proud of what he'd become.  The madness of planning my wedding during the day while I cried myself to sleep at night now made sense to me. 

I had to get off this emotional roller coaster.  I had to jump. I needed to escape now before the rage and fear I  felt swirling inside became the self-doubt I knew well in his presence.  Knowing him now for who he truly was I knew he would not let me go willingly.  “Think, girl, think”. Eventually, I blurted out that I was in desperate need of a six-week break.  He turned towards me from the couch confused and said, “but we are getting married in two months”. 

“I know”, I reply, “but I'm getting stressed about the wedding arrangements. It's making me sicker.  I really need this break from you, from us”. My Crohn’s had been flaring up for months.  

He'd seen for himself how stress didn't help, and as my energy levels depleted I'd end up in pain, exhausted, and not able to function.  He was no comfort to me in those times, though that was the same of him when I was well. He totally ignored me when I was ill except for, on a few occasions, commenting how did he know I wasn't faking my illness for attention?  What would have been the point of relaying to him any update on my ailing health?

“If you're uncomfortable with my illness just shut up and go away”, I'd tell him. “There's your problem solved”.

He knew if I couldn't function I mightn't be well enough for the big white wedding.  With my health deteriorating he'd tried to be more accommodating, although he didn't want any responsibilities in arranging our upcoming nuptials planning only to get drunk on the day, and he was a mean drunk to boot.  Yippee. What a day to look forward to. 

I used the break as an excuse for a means to escape.  He followed me, trying to reason with me why I shouldn't go.  I was no longer listening. My thoughts raced as I collected my necessities.  I remember thinking “I'm not coming back, take what's important”. Therefore, I couldn't take too much as I didn't want him to become suspicious.  His favourite endearment by then was “what would you do without me, baby?”

“Breathe”, would often pop into my head. 

I was still surprised when that thought was to come true.  As I took off in my car toward my parent's place I felt a rush of relief.  My lungs swelling, my breath rushing out. Back in and out. Big beautiful breaths.  It was like I'd been holding my breath for years and was finally able to let go. 

A Lick


Kat and I became close. Eventually, she revealed that her feelings for me were becoming stronger. She'd married twice although she'd always been bisexual. Her sexuality evolved to where she enjoyed sex with males yet was no longer able to get emotionally attached. With females, she slept with those she felt romantically inclined only. With girls, it wasn't just a fuck for her. She was telling me all this one night because she had another revelation for me.  She liked me, lots. 

“You saying you fancy me?”, I said. I was still a little confused. 

“I'm telling you, I think I'm seriously falling for you”. 

Wow. I had no idea.

If it's true one is able to choose their sexuality I'd have turned there and then. I felt honoured. She was this tall, high cheeked busty blonde with amazing green eyes. She was the most fascinating person I'd encountered. The more I'd gotten to know her the more I liked her. I wished I could return her feelings but I already knew it was impossible. I told her all this. 

“Does the thought revolt you?” she asked me. 

“Not at all. I've been hit on by more women than men, practically.  One woman even pushed me up against the wall and went in for the hard kiss.”

“How did that make you feel?”, she probed.

“Really awkward. I felt nothing”, I provided in reply, much to her disappointment.

“You're straight”, she sighed. “If you'd said it scared or revolted you there might have been some repression going on and I'd be in with a chance. If you were bored, I'm fucked. You're straight”. 

“Very straight, I'm afraid. A biker did that to me too, not long into our first encounter. It ended being one of my longest and happiest relationships. 


What can I say, an extreme cis male is my type. Males with a strong personality although not bad boys, for strong doesn't always mean good. I think it's because of my own strong personality as I can overwhelm if not kept in check. 

I need someone who can stand up to me, when warranted, or I can overtake. I'm not talking alpha males. The biker had no problem with his feminine side. What I mean by feminine is by being nurturing, not by dressing up or acting 'girly'.  That added to my attraction, greatly. 

At the start of my relationship with the outlaw (a term used for real bikers, for those not in the know), my illness caused some problems. Men are problem solvers by nature. Many a time male and female relationships suffer in the misunderstanding of women venting to their partner. Ladies, that's what girlfriends are for, not the boys. While we are sprouting what a horrible day we've had, only wanting sympathy and a shoulder, the male wiring focuses upon, “how do I fix this for her?  She must want me to help in some way otherwise why tell me all this?” So, we shouldn't get upset at what we perceive as extreme stupidity when they roll their sleeves up to show determination to rough up your boss, kill or maim perpetrator or perpetrators. “How soon and how much damage, honey?”

Whenever staying with him, the biker would pace if my Crohn’s was playing up. I would soon tell him to amuse himself as his pacing would make me feel guilty for being ill, which was of no help. There was nothing he could do. Sometimes he would sit next to me and rub my back.  He was always ready to comply and I have him to thank to this day as I discovered a back massage helped with some of my discomfort. He went out of his way at times. After waking from a Crohn’s needed nap while staying with him once, I smelled something cooking and told him so.  He enquired from the kitchen if the smell was making me nauseous, as per usual. I was hungry, for a change, and called out from the bedroom that I'd join him once I'd gathered my energy. He brought my meal to bed and proceeded to hand feed me. I was still very tired. He even got me a drink at the end, never letting me move. It was intimate and not at all awkward. I laid down falling back to sleep as he rubbed my back. 

Don't get me wrong, he was an outlaw. The biker in him was strong. We had many an argument though, in his defence, I could be the meaner of the two. I'd never get physical. What was the point? One heals eventually. Words can cause permanent damage and require much less stamina. Maximum results with minimum effort. 

Before I met him I had spent the previous three years voluntarily single due to an abusive relationship which I needed to heal from. I was at ease with him from the start as he made me comfortable about being myself.  The biker healed a lot in me that the previous relationship had damaged. 

He told me it was the bitch in me that really attracted him. He wasn't kidding. A big part of my grieving was the rage I held inside from my previous relationship. I would find myself taking it out, unfairly, on my partner in my current relationship. Thus the reason for my voluntary celibacy. The biker was a major force in helping me to heal, in a very round-about way. 

When I'd get mad at him in a reasonable or unreasonable way he'd egg me on because it turned him on.  “There she is. Yeah, give it to me”, he'd sincerely say with a smile. “You know how much I love the attitude. You really look hot when you go all Italian passion on me babe. Such a turn on!” He meant every word. 

Naturally the bitch bit back until I realised it was more evil not to. I'd do whatever it took to calm down. I'd count to a thousand, or read, and refuse to engage verbally unless it was to be passive aggressive. Every carefully chosen word used to wound said very calmly. “That'll teach him!”, I'd muse. 

I never walked away or went home after a quarrel. No fun when unable to see the fruits of one’s labour. Part of my calming was seeing his suffering. Yes, I can be horrible. I admit to it. I didn't realise he was exactly what I needed at the time and the best therapy ever. Once I'd calmed down, if my anger had been unreasonable, I'd feel bad and apologise. I still have a hot temper although I like to think I have more control with calming down due to him. Stress and any illness combined are not good therefore he was a big plus for my Crohn's. Of course make up sex was taken advantage of, though the biker would always lament the unfairness of it all. After all, it was the bitch he was wanting to bed. 


Kat and I grew even closer. She'd flirt with me constantly knowing it could never go further and always making me laugh in the process. My relationship with Kat was to end dramatically though. I arrived at work one day to discover a note from her telling me that things had escalated. I was not to make contact unless I heard from her first. I had some idea what that note meant and I didn't like it one iota. It made me extremely uneasy. I was to learn, rightly so. 

Kat and another sex worker sometimes went halves when buying their heroin as they shared the same dealer.  I never met him. He called himself Cash. Perfect name for a dealer, I figured. I knew the other girl though, who happened to work as a sex worker elsewhere.

There was a silly argument going on between the two over Kat owing fifty dollars.  I even comment to Kat how stupid it was. They were normally such good pals. She explains that what she really owed was a ‘lick’.  When one is out of gear (drugs) and money one can get a tiny amount of much needed drug, a ‘lick’, from a friend so that one can, hopefully, last till they can score again.  This is always returned as either money or gear. 

Every time the other girl was in this position herself, she'd call Kat and demand back the payment or ‘lick’.  It was always at the wrong time. Every time Kat tried to return the favour, the girl could not be found or reached. This was their dilemma. 

One night Kat can be heard cursing from another room. She is furious. She'd just gotten off a phone call from the other girl who was craving, again.  “That fucking junky bitch. Now she's accusing me of taking food out of her kids mouths. She knows me well. She pushed a button you don't push. I'm finishing this once and for all”. We spoke for the rest of the shift.  Kat didn't know what she was going to do. She just knew she was really pissed off. At the end of the night I wished her well and begged her not to do anything stupid. The next I know is what was written on the note. 

A short time passes and I received a text from the girl Kat owed that ‘lick’ to. I'm very wary as she knew how close we were.  Everyone did. The text says she is working in a new brothel and they were looking for managers. I text back that I was relieved to hear from her and I was getting worried (which was true). I tell her my current job wasn't great but better the devil you know. I thank her for thinking of me and wish her well. 

After a while get a sealed envelope left for me at work.  It contains a letter explaining what went down. Long story short, Kat, as well as her housemate, had been taken in for questioning by the police. The note claimed they were only released after 24 hours because they'd used each other as an alibi. The police refused to believe that only one person could do so much damage.  The girl kept claiming outright nobody else was involved and insisting adamantly it was Kat only. The letter contained how the damage was done and to what extent. The police kept insisting it must have been both of them as Kat’s house-mate already had an extensive police record. From the contents of the letter I knew the girl wasn't lying.

Again, I'm not condoning anyone’s behaviour.  The button previously pushed by Kat's friend evolved to where a line was crossed leading to a confrontation.  It's always best to choose one’s battles wisely, and sometimes it's wiser to just walk away from some battles. Foolish, foolish girl, and I'm not referring to Kat. The girl refused to back off even when confronted face-to-face, only resulting in adding fuel to the fire.  The letter ended with instructions to burn. I never heard from Kat again. 

If Kat had done the personal physical damage I'd read in that letter I was right to have been wary of that text sent to me by that girl. Kat thought she'd left a corpse behind though she'd truly not planned for it to go that far.  When she'd heard on the grape-vine the girl had survived she knew she was done for. I realised it would have been impossible for the other girl to currently have been employed and literally not physically capable of texting anyone in the time frame when the text was sent. There was no way she'd been the one to have sent that text. Why had it been sent to me and by whom? And for what purpose?  I have absolutely no idea. I only know, at the time, I was in the dark. I kind of wish I still was. 

I once heard the term “don't ever fuck with fuckers”. I always took it to mean there are certain people you just don't mess with. Though I could not return her affection for me I grew to care for Kat. She never pretended to be anything but who she truly was. I always knew she was the epitome of someone of that calibre. 

The Heroin Brothel (Katrina)


This brothel seemed to attract those who preferred heroin as their choice of drug.  Not all, but a good seventy percent at least, mostly functioning normally. My rules were no drugs allowed on the premises. If they felt unwell or needed to leave they could excuse themselves if they promised to put themselves down on other shifts. If they returned that same day feeling well and wanting to continue working, all good, but only if functional. If heavily under the influence, and it was obvious, then there would be no opportunity of working for the rest of the shift. They could sleep it off in the girls staff room but I wouldn't place them on the floor. 

If I'd been totally vigilant there'd have been hardly any staff at all. This brothel was on a very busy brothel strip and competition was fierce. Who was I to judge? I found heroin addicts not that hard to deal with. I'm not condoning, I'm just talking from experience. They were, normally, too tired to argue and when coming down, sad and pathetic. I never felt threatened by them, unlike with those of the crystal meth persuasion. 

This brothel had many dramas. Characters that made the job, shall I say interesting, for want of a better word. Katrina was the most interesting of all. 

There was the saga of the bank robbery, as told to me by Katrina, or Kat as I came to call her. I knew she'd done time in prison for bank robbery. On a slow night I was to hear of how and why one caper was committed.  She was boasting that she was so tough and that she had once robbed a bank without a weapon and got away with it. I reminded her that she had done time for bank robbery, to which she replied, “Oh that. Well, that's because I got cocky and greedy. I'm talking that first time.”  

I believe Kat had a death wish, which I understood from her telling me about herself. The most amazing person, not only woman, I got to know.  Our introduction wasn't smooth. I'd not long started work at The Heroin Brothel and it was not uncommon for girls to follow managers as they moved employment (more to come about this later). I never encouraged this but I didn't knock them back if they me found me either. 

Not long into a shift I get a call.  “Hi CeeCee, it's Katrina. Carol told me you were now working there. Can I work tonight? I've got a medical certificate”.  (Blood and STI results had to be updated every three months or sex workers were not permitted to work).

“Come in and we'll see”, I respond to her. 

“What do you mean? You know me. We've worked together before”.

“We have?”

“Yes. For one night with Carol. She can vouch for me”.

“Come in and we'll talk, that's the best I can do”, I say, as I'm busy and need to get on with other duties.  I finish off with “see you when you get here”.

She gets to me quickly. An hour later I hear,  “I'm Katrina”.

I look up and breathe a sigh of relief when I see her. 

“If you have your medical certificate, you can start straight away”.

She's surprised. “What was that bullshit on the phone?”

“There are at least a couple hundred of you and only one of me”, I reply.  “Sorry if you're not in my recall. The last lady ‘recommended’ by Carol had no teeth and was covered in sores. I wouldn't be using her as a reference if I was you”. 

“Well, it was only the one night. Way back when…”

I was to spend many nights from then on listening to my new fascinating friend. I was to learn that everyone knew Kat. She was the best raconteur. I'd find myself laughing when I shouldn't. It was like listening to a Tarantino or Guy Ritchie screenplay. 

She'd been in the industry as a sex worker since she was eighteen and it was her twentieth year (give or take eight years in prison). Most of the girls liked and highly respected her. She was one tough broad. The queen bee, yet fair with her authority, she was also a functioning heroin addict. She never robbed from the individual but had no problem with taking from corporations to feed her habit. 

This one night she's telling me about that first bank robbery. Her accomplice is well versed in bank robberies and known to authorities so she volunteers to do the deed alone, but under his guidance as she wasn’t known to police. 

I interrupt her here. “Whatever possessed you to rob a bank?” 

“I don't know. Maybe it was coming off all them pills. On top of everything else!”, she snarls in my face. 

“I'd have handed over my own money with the bank’s”, I respond. 


In the words of Kat, recollected to the best of my memory:

It was the 90’s. We time it for 3.40pm. A city bank, twenty minutes before closing. I'm dressed all dark, a hoodie covering my hair. Sunglasses on. I choose my mark. She's the one. I wait in line. When my turn comes another teller calls next. I hesitate. Long enough for the guy behind to push in. My mark then calls next. I move in quickly.  When I approached the counter I pushed a note toward her. My hand in my pocket, aimed in her direction like a gun. The note reads, “don't touch the $5 notes or I'll shoot (that's where the dye bomb is hidden, this knowledge from her accomplice). Only $10 notes and upwards or I'll shoot. Hands anywhere else and I'll shoot”. The note continues with instructions. The teller looks at the note, then back at me and freezes. I whisper threateningly to give me the bloody money! Nothing. She's frozen to the spot. 

Another teller comes into her cubicle and stops mid sentence when he sees the situation. He looks down at the note then up at me, turns to the girl, back towards me, nudges the girl and suddenly two pair of hands are filling the bag with money. Now that's more like it! I turn towards the front door. It looks so far away. The building is huge and chosen because it was a major bank containing more loot. The wall clock says 4pm. Closing time. I casually walk across the room. A walk that takes forever. 

The guard is standing near the door, the door that needs to open. I don't want to think about it being locked. My hand reaches out, I grasp the knob, it turns for me. The door opens and I step outside. Sunshine and a breeze hit me and I'm in fucking Disneyland! 

I walk fast towards where I know my accomplice is waiting just around the corner, stripping my dark outer clothing as I go to reveal white sportswear. I spot him instantly holding an open gym bag into which I throw my darks. My gym bag contains the money. 

Sirens can be heard in the distance. I panic, he doesn't. He begins to exercise on the spot and instructs me to quickly do the same. We are doing stretching exercises in our lovely sports whites as the cop cars drive by. 

I rang my mum from interstate to give her the good and bad news. Good news, she was coming into some money. Bad news, the girl all over the News was her daughter”.


One thing I hate is being taken for a fool.  Ok, there are a lot of things that tick me off.  Being lied to, and then continuing the lie once confronted, both in the top five.  Lilly was a sex worker who'd forgotten we'd worked together before. 

Our first encounter was short and sweet. I only got to know her well because her wallet had been found in our car park, which was returned to her intact. I was shocked to see the date of birth on the first card I pulled out to see who it belonged to. The shock was from how much younger she presented.  She kept mostly to herself spending her down time on shift studying to be a court interpreter.  

Approximately five years later Lilly was the new lady working on my shift at a different brothel.  She is still working as Lilly and looked exactly as I remembered her but now had a whole new persona.  The one who once studied as a court interpreter now didn't speak or understand English too well. Though she was Asian I knew for a fact her English was flawless.  What was with the dumb act? Our second encounter was also short, but definitely not sweet. 

Girls on shifts is essential to this business.  It's all about selection. You could have the most beautiful creature on the planet be the only one available and still get asked “what else have you got?”  One lady rarely sells. Even with only two it can be difficult. Still better than one, naturally.

Most brothels are fair to their sex workers when it comes to shifts.  Ladies could choose to work day or nights working 6 to 8 hour shifts. Longer if they choose.  Although, there are only a certain number of ladies allowed on each shift. Too many to choose from can overwhelm the client.  Too much choice and some sex workers miss out and not make any earnings at all. Not enough sex workers and the client walks and no-one makes money.   A delicate balance, indeed. 

Brothels need the ladies to cooperate also. “Only put yourself down on shift if you're going to show up and stay the whole shift”, words that now come naturally.  Of course, if it is known that one needs to leave early they are generally accommodated. The rules are the same in most brothels. You don't respect the rules, you don't get shifts.  If you constantly show up late, or not at all, you don't get shifts. One is allowed to call in sick, naturally. We then have time to replace you. To call into work sick or because you're running late is a requirement of any job.  In this industry this presents as a major problem for some. 

A huge role of the manager was answering queries of who was working, both by phone, online and in person.  If a client showed up and the expected girl wasn't available it was the manager who copped the frustrated anger.  Rightly so, too. I'd do my best not to let this happen. Another important part of the job was to entice the clients by a quick description of the lovely ladies currently available.  Even though I had only two available that day shift, I was grateful both had completely different looks. I get a query for a threesome. I approach both ladies to ask if they are willing before I take the booking even though he won't be in for a couple of hours. 

Lilly starts sprouting, in her fake broken English, that she only works four hour shifts.  She has an agreement with the owner so she won't be available when the client is due in, she claims.  I call that owner to find no such agreement exists. She continues that she's only ever worked four hours in other brothels.  No problem before. She even turns to the other sex worker for support. 

“Is true some places have four hour shifts, yes?”

“Not on this planet”, the other girl responds. 

Ha!  Although, Lilly is relentless.  She claims she is leaving in an hour when her four hours are up whether I like it or not.  It's too late to replace her. Only two staff had put themselves down for that particular shift.  Her departure would leave me with one. She refuses to listen to reason, still playing dumb, and continuing to insist she was not the person I claimed I already knew. 

I tell her she can leave that very second to never put herself down on my shifts again.  She refuses to leave until her made up four hour shift is over. I proceed to grab her belongings and turf them out the back door towards the car park. 

I stand guard in the doorway watching her collect strewn belongings from the car park ground. All the while she's calmly threatening she is going to make “big trouble” for me with the owner.  I tell her that her disrespect and bullshit created this. That’s when I call her by her real name. I comment how odd it was that Asians kept their age so well till they hit a certain age then seemed to age dramatically, and drastically.  That wallet ID sure came in handy. Racist, obviously, but pleasantries wasn't the mood here. 

“It's like they age overnight.  Just like that”, I say, as I click my fingers.  “I mean, look at you, Mary. No way do you look 58.  I suggest you make the best of it while you still can, girl”.  I shut the door behind me and lock it.  

A short time passes when Petra, the other girl on shift, comes up to me and asks, “what's up with Lilly”?  I'm puzzled by her query. She'd witnessed the whole event. “I mean what happened when you were both outside”? 

She continued, “She's still out there.  I can see her through the window, stamping her feet and shaking her fist at the car park camera, cursing”. 

I hadn't realised and look up at the video.  I smile to myself as I watch her antics on the screen.  I love that knowledge is power. Truth hurts bitch. I knew it was you. 

“Me no understand English”.  My arse. 


Men and women are wired very differently. The sex industry taught me that. Men are creatures that are, mostly, visually stimulated. In the cinema, action, violence and sex is a box office attraction. With males, when they visualise sex or any body part that reminds them of it, they desire sex too. For us females, sex tends to be much more emotional. 

Some of the clients are married, it's just a fact. Don't kill the messenger. I'm talking from experience. I'm not condoning extramarital sexual relationships as a lot were sad fellows whose intimacy had been curtailed. They were happily married but sex had stopped, though usually not by their choosing. If a man has to beg his partner for sex maybe it’s because he ain’t doing it right. Foreplay starts outside of the bedroom for us females. Exhaustion and stress affect one’s mood. Intimacy can start with emotional support and chances are a woman will want to get closer when she feels valued for more than her body.

Sex might not be a big part of a healthy male’s life but it is an important part. They are simply wired that way. Sex is huge in advertising and that shit is everywhere. Seeing sexually charged images puts men in the mood. The urge to have what is denied, but attainable, can be impossible to ignore time and time again and, as a result, self-control is in short supply.

Men are also vain creatures. They need to be desired. There are those that are married with sex available yet still seek sex elsewhere. Most still love their wives, with pictures of wife and kiddies often shown at reception and in rooms reflecting pride for their family. Yet, they're about to book a sex worker. I cannot tell you why he feels the need to stray sexually. I can tell you though, mostly, they all suffer the same condition of ‘cummer's remorse’. One night stands also suffer this condition. Thus, this is often a once-off occurrence. 

Men's mental boxes don't touch. Women, mentally, are different. Our thinking isn't as linear as theirs. Our mental boxes are much more connected. This doesn't mean males are less intelligent. They just process their thinking differently to us females. Our biggest mistake is assuming they are capable of thinking as we do. Most men just don't and can't. 

Men love ‘sex box’ or ‘euphoria world’ as I like to call it. It's one of their favourite mental boxes, second only to their ‘nothing box’. Most men love to think of nothing most. Thus the man cave was invented. The ‘nothing box’ is ‘haven world’ to them. When in ‘euphoria world’ no other state exists to the male. The married male is no longer a family man. Mentally, he's now in a whole different stratosphere. While in lust mode it's just him and the female. A body he sees, feels, smells and touches before him and all his senses are attuned. “Surely this bliss, here and now, is all that matters”, is the thinking of males when aroused. 

Once he's cum he often can't get away quick enough. ‘Cummer's remorse’ has set in. The guy who just an hour earlier acted like I was his new best friend was now a stale breeze that flashed by as the door slammed behind him. 

Sex transpired, not love. Once the lust balloon had burst (he’d cum), it was all in the past. He's not too sure now if it really happened as it's no longer of any importance. Brothels are not places of affairs, ladies. If your partner partakes in such a place he strayed sexually, not emotionally. The disapproval, anger and indignation is still yours to feel. We females feel so scorned for, to us, sex means so much more. It's how we are wired. 

The only time our wires touch or cross is in an important part of our identity. Our vanity. The instinctive human trait of that need to be desired. In this, we do not differ. With males and females that human need is exactly the same. Unfortunately, we really clash in how we feed our desires. 

Of course, married men aren't the only ones that frequent brothels. I was surprised by how many physically disabled also visited such venues. It seems the world’s pre-judgment of these folks also makes it hard for them when it comes to finding intimacy. Those seeking discretion for whatever reasons were also frequent visitors to establishments I have worked.

Others in this predicament are the widowed. A lot of these men still loved and greatly missed their wives. Female companionship with no strings attached was their main motive for seeking us out. A sweet elderly gentleman who'd nursed his wife through many years of illness needed the courage to call and inquire about our services. Luckily I'd been working in the brothel industry for a few years by then. I knew instantly why he was uncomfortable about the decision he was making. Many of his generation had married young and stayed faithful. He was uncomfortable with being with a different woman. He knew his deceased wife would understand, yet still felt guilty. 

Australia is a sporting nation. My hometown of Melbourne catered to this. Many well-known sporting celebrities were clients. Celebrations into the night might include feeling the need to celebrate with others. With us, it wasn't going to be public knowledge the next day. Discretion in our profession was essential (hopefully). We are a safe place for them - no kiss and tell. Of course, this went for other celebrities too. We also make it safe for the female population in general. Being a place where a bunch of horny guys have somewhere to go, on that boys night out, instead of trawling the streets looking for action, decreased risks of violent and sexual assaults and hassling the non-interested. 

Our most common client, from my personal experience, was the single/separated/divorced client. Early on in my career, as a brothel manager, I was rostered to work Christmas Day.  I was surprised to find business booming that day and commented to a sex worker on what kind of loser spends Christmas in a brothel. She educated me to the fact that a lot of these guy’s loved ones weren't part of their Christmas that year. Maybe it was their first Christmas after a breakup or maybe they just didn't want to be alone today, of all days.  Mother's Day was the only day of the year where business was dead. I'm talking seriously dead. I guess the visuals on that day is a real mood killer. Rightly so, too. As it should be. 


In brothels, it's all only about sex. No affairs are happening. Well, not with the non-delusional clients anyway (which are very much in the majority, thank goodness). Without payment, most clients wouldn't have a chance. Knights on white horses were frowned upon. There is no saviour needed.  For the majority, in Australia, this job is a chosen occupation. No one needs saving. Clients are making wrong assumptions and judging by believing otherwise. Thank you, but it is not reality.

Simone was a slim 26-year-old brunette. A natural beauty that worked day shift to supplement her career in a very competitive field where jobs were scarce as a ballerina. So, she moonlighted as a sex worker to make ends meet. French by birth, Simone had spent most of her life in Australia. In every other way though, she was still French. 

Simone was very picky. Many a time a client would comment on how one of the ladies had been rude after meeting each sex worker one on one. Ladies were allowed to refuse a client if they felt uncomfortable spending time alone with them. 

It must have been slightly daunting and puzzling to be enticed by each lady bestowing what her services entailed when amongst them, one who's one and only answer upon greeting them was the French word for no. Her finger pointed upwards, quickly waved from side to side, and then followed by a retreat. “Well, she is French” would be my only response when a complaint was made. I always knew it was Simone they were referring to. 

Often clients would demand to speak to her again. I'd tell them not a problem, but I'd warn she'd only remind of her right to refuse. Guy, was a regular client of Simone’s. He travelled back and forth from South Africa to Australia for business. The business was his and it was apparently successful. He dressed well, was intelligent, good looking and in his mid-thirties. His South African accent added to his charm. 

I was therefore puzzled when I had to intervene between him and Simone one day. She came into work expressing that Guy was no longer welcome as her client. He could choose another girl as she was no longer available to him. 

He calls later that very day wanting to book Simone. I tell him I am not able to comply. He says he will pay her $300 extra for a half hour booking. His constant pleading has me relenting. I respond that I'll try as I figure there would be no harm in asking. Simone rolled her eyes and huffed and puffed. She decides to accept on the condition I am available if needed. I enquire if he's trouble. She responds he's harmless, just stupid and doesn't listen. 

Within minutes of Guy's half-hour booking with Simone the alarm goes off for her room, room number 5. I'm up those stairs like a shot not knowing what to expect. As the door of room 5 was open I could hear raised voices as I hit the top floor.  

“So, it's all about the money?”, Guy can be heard saying.

“Yeees!” This from Simone. 

“Stop it! You're acting like a prostitute”.

“It's because I AM a prostitute”.

I've entered by now. I turn to Guy. He wasn't dumb by any means. How could he be so delusional? 

“Guy, you do realise her name isn't really Simone? That she doesn't live in this brothel or room 5, don't you? She's not real. She's just a fantasy”, I tell him. 

“You're wasting your breath”, from Simone. “Give him back his money. Booking is cancelled”, she ends. 

Poor delusional, Guy. Again, pun intended.

The Glass Ceiling

He came to me with some paperwork, mad that business hadn't improved much.  In fact, it was the same as this time the year before. When I'd applied for the position of head manager we'd agreed that I was on probation until I proved myself worthy.  It appeared my worth may be in question.

We were currently under renovations and had been for some months, working with five rooms only.  A year ago there were eleven rooms available. “Didn't that mean we'd more than doubled in profit?”  Nothing from him but a silent retreat. Maybe if I was a bloke I might have gotten a pat on the back,  or a hardy, happy handshake. 

His incompetence as an owner of any business, let alone a brothel, continued.  He did very little while I was there. The pay was good though, unfortunately, it was in a really bad part of town.  I spent more time as a bouncer than a manager. Don't be mistaken that my bouncer skills were specifically directed to clients.

Annie had just returned from a stint interstate and asked if she could go out to dinner during shift.  She promised to be back in an hour and as she was always respectful and could be trusted to return it wasn't an issue.  She ended up returning three hours later a little tipsy, or so I thought. “No real harm done”, and I think to myself that she'd sober up quickly. Being a Friday night, I needed the staff. 

The night progresses.  It's not long before I hear a commotion coming from the girl's lounge.  I investigate to see Annie at the coffee machine. All the other sex workers are on the other side of the room screaming foul how Annie went for Savannah, a younger version of Annie, without provocation.  I turn towards Annie, who protests her innocence. She's standing, without a cup, at the coffee machine making herself a coffee by pressing for coffee and sugar and calmly watching it hit the floor. Strange, and about to get stranger.  I still need a couple of minutes behind my desk at reception. I plead with the ladies to give me a quick minute and promise to return. Big mistake. 

I had just stepped behind my desk when commotion can be heard again.  I return to see Roxy, a tall, slim redhead, standing over Annie and threatening her. 

“Go for me, bitch. Do it!”, Roxy dares. 

I stand between the two, my back to Annie, facing Roxy. 

“She keeps going for Savannah”, Roxy explains. 

“Ok.  Give me a chance to talk to her.  Let me take her away. See what this is all about”, I respond.

I see a flash of red past my left and feel an instant breeze very close to my face.  It takes a moment to realise that Roxy has ‘kickboxed’ over my left shoulder and made contact with Annie behind me.  I'm shocked how quickly the deed was done. She was wearing red silk pants and that red breeze was my only clue otherwise I'd not have figured it out.  I turn to see a stunned Annie, to my surprise, still standing and rocking a little. 

I grab her while she's getting her bearings and tell the girls we’ll be in the staff room and not to disturb us unless it was for clients or the phone.  Roxy had boasted about her martial arts previously. She had boasted about so much I'd taken it all with a grain of salt. Looks like I was wrong. 

I had Annie all to myself.  “What's up?” I ask. “You're one of the good ones. Low maintenance. This isn't like you”.  I don't have long to wait for an answer. She starts to trash the room before me, throwing lockers her height and twice her weight like they're lightweights to her and scattering condoms, makeup, garments and magazines all over the staff room.  She is on a rampage while the whole time begging me to believe her of her innocence. She's pleading with me while seemingly having no idea she's wrecking the room. Her face turned towards me the whole time as the rest of her body smashed and trampled.  She was both scary and pitiful at the same time. I managed to secure her in the room and call the police. Thankfully they arrive quickly. It takes all of their over six-foot frames to get her off the premises. She was screaming for her bag the whole time, which she was carrying.  I told them not to arrest her and just to make sure she got home safe. 

Peace was short-lived.  The police must have released her once they'd gotten her off the premises.  Not what I'd asked of them. A couple of sex workers run towards my desk to inform me, “you better check out the car park camera. Annie's back!”

She sure was.  There she was ramming my car with hers, over and over.  I had a VW beetle and even made of metal it was sustaining considerable damage.  I called the police again, only this time I tell them to arrest her. Damn her. 

She spent the night in the hospital.  Seems you can do a lot of damage to your steering wheel with your own face when not wearing a seatbelt.  When she awoke she had no memory of the events except for coming into work after dinner. Whatever drug that was, the rest was a blank.  When she woke up with her face all banged up she came to the conclusion that we had bashed her. She trudges in with the police the very next day sprouting this fallacy.  The look on her face when video shows otherwise has her apologising profusely. Promising to pay for all damages she is mortified. So mortified she disappears the next day.  Phone off, never heard from again. I wish her no ill will. Before that night she'd never posed any problems.  

My boss paid for my car repairs.  He had no choice. I drove his car until I had mine back.  I drove off with his while he was still arguing the point.  I said at the beginning he was useless. That's what you get when you're too cheap to hire security.

Some Serious Shit

Sex workers and clients. Supply and demand.  It's a business perspective. Whatever your feelings about the sex industry, it exists and always will.  There is that dark element that exists due to legalities or illegalities, whichever the case may be. I had no idea, nor wanted to know, about prostitution until I stumbled into the industry. Personally, I could not do it myself nor could I understand how others could. That may be judgemental on my part. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate sex workers.  I just didn't know any and I had never needed to think about it before. 

I was to spend 12 years on and off as a brothel manager.  Getting to know sex workers I grew to understand and care for a few. I met the best and worst of society.  I got to know some toxic narcissistic scum. Sociopaths and predators, although not all, were owners of these establishments.  Of course, some of the staff and clients also possessed these qualities but not in the abundance as I personally experienced with the owners. 

Human trafficking or exploitation of any creature should not exist.  The inhumanity of humans has always puzzled me. I hope it always continues to as I never want to become desensitised to it.  I've learnt humans don't learn from history’s atrocities. As long as power, avarice and a sense of superiority exist so will exploitation and slave-like practices.  Be it forced servitude, labour, or other forms of subjugation to quench the sense of entitlement and need for power that exists in human nature, we want what we can't have. We desire what society deems we are not allowed. We absolve our morality by justifying our deservedness with our sense of entitlement.

I learnt from working in the brothel industry that legislation makes sex work safer.  Prohibition failed miserably in America’s 1920s and only resulted in an oxymoron crime wave. When legalised the majority of the criminal elements were removed. The so-called ‘War On Drugs’ was a complete fiasco. I'm not justifying the occurrence, just stating the facts. 

In Australia, prostitution is legal in half of the continent and decriminalised for most elsewhere. Basically, the owner has most rights when decriminalised and the sex worker gains a better deal when legalised, yet sex trafficking still continues unabated.  I heard from Asian sex workers on this myself. In my part of the world, they seemed the only ones practising it with money appearing the greatest motive. These poor girls were subjected to long hours and meagre pay if any. They were in a strange country, they didn't know their rights and they were vulnerable as their passports and documents were held until they had paid off some improbable debt. 

One night at work there was a News report on the exposure of such a place on the television in the girl's lounge. Kitty, a popular Asian sex worker, pipes up angrily, “It's not Australians! It's Thai doing to Thai. That was done to me by my people!” 

Everyone looked at her in shock. 

“My husband was my client. He pay $40,000 so I can leave.” 

Everyone is now talking at once. 

Kitty waves them down.  “Is ok. I love him. He idiot but look after children good. I like job. I want to do”.

Strangely, this might be the one job women earn good money in some cultures. I'd never call it easy money although I'd definitely call it quick.  Two other Asians step forward. They'd also been rescued, but not in the way they'd expected. They had voluntarily come to Australia as sex workers. They didn't expect the horrible conditions they were subjected to upon arrival, agreeing they'd also been swindled by their fellow countrymen. The place had been raided and the authorities had released them.  They come to find out there is some confusion with their rescuers. That might have been because it was the mentality of the Salvation Army and social workers whose responsibility they'd become. The girls didn't have a problem with the job, just the working conditions. 

“They wouldn't help us find jobs as sex workers. They didn't understand”, one complained, “they think we brainwashed”.

“They be the one brainwashed”, another Asian girl added, laughingly. 

I work and associate with many Asians. We are close on the world map and we visit each other often. Most of these workers came from Buddhist countries and felt that as long as they weren't causing harm their profession wasn't an issue. Many supported families who knew about their source of income and were not subjected to discrimination and stigma as seen in most Western cultures.  A lot of sex workers are created by the society they are a part of. I'd say a good eighty percent, if not more, were abused in some way and receive little if any ongoing support or assistance with their needs. With quite a few sex work was all they knew for it had started at an early age. 

On a slow night whilst managing at The Crappy Cave Brothel (an alias earned due to it’s dark and cheap decor) I scan the staff roster. I'm overjoyed to see Moira starting that very night. That made us an even dozen on shift. Eleven ladies and me as the manager. I was jumping up and down when I saw her walk in.  “I saw your name on shift with ‘new girl’ written beside it, so I was hoping it was you”. New girl written next to a girl’s name usually meant the first time that lady was to work at that particular brothel and not that she was new to the work. 

“I knew you were now working here and working tonight. That's why I put myself on this shift.” She smiles at me.  We'd become close when we met. She'd worked at that first brothel I started at in my home town after I'd returned from my holiday, a trip I now refer to as my New Zealand New Career Discovery Tour.  It was a well-known brothel in the city so from now on it will be known as Big City Brothel. 


Big City Brothel

Big City Brothel was run by a tiny and very attractive Thai woman who was always impeccably dressed. She had two assistants. One of them by her side at all times.  When she spoke all my ears heard was gibberish. She would mix her English with Thai so my ears would hear something like, “CeeCee, I need you to whag ern oni wah so do now, please. Also myni toi um ba. Ok?”

My response to her was always a silent smile followed by a call to one of her assistants to translate once she was out of ear-shot. Alas, this was to work only for a short time as she happened to respond to her assistant’s phone one day when I called asking for a translation as usual.  Next thing I know boss lady comes storming towards me down those stairs yelling at the top of her voice. More gibberish although I comprehended that she was really pissed off at me. All I really understood was when she ended with, “why you no understand English”, practically spitting in my face. 

I looked at her and thought, “I'm done here”, “I've lost my job for sure”, “so much for my new career”, and “that didn't last long”.  Thinking I had nothing to lose I decided to stand my ground. “Of course I understand English”, I respond.  

I proceed to imitate as best I could her recent rant at me, ending with spitting back in her face.  “Sorry, NOT English! You hon wah suh CeeCee? Not…ENGLISH!” Her eyes widened followed by her mouth, both open agape. For a moment we stood facing each other, frozen to the spot.  Finally, she turned and walked away. Fair call. No point responding if it's going to need a translation. 

What was to follow I still can't comprehend.  I waited till the end of my shift for some reprisal.  Nothing. I waited till the end of my work week. Still nothing.  I get a call from one of her assistants on my first day off to advise from now on I'm to be doing day shift.  “Ok”, is my only response. I'd wanted day shift all along and as strange as this was it was also acceptable. From then on boss lady mostly communicated with me via one of her assistants,

Not long into my new day shift, I was informed by one of her assistants that I had a new duty. Once a week I was to drive boss lady to her manicurist. I was then to otherwise occupy myself for an hour, as there was no parking nearby, and then to pick her up.  “Ok”, was, again, my only response. 

So, at the same time and day each week I drove boss lady to her manicurist while she chatted on her mobile phone. I dropped her off after a short ten-minute trip then proceeded to roam around my beautiful hometown of Melbourne.  So pretty both night and day. No, I'm not biased. She is one classy city. While the sun was shining I'd whiz around in that red sport convertible of hers like nobody's business. As I checked out the scenery I'd often think to myself, “seeing as I get paid for this I'd call it a promotion”. 


Getting back to Moira; I was looking forward to working with her again.  She was a tall, gorgeous, naturally red-haired curvy gal who came from a huge Irish family with somewhere near a hundred siblings.  She also worked as a nurse. (Quite a few sex workers came from nursing and I'm not sure why). She was a sweetheart and very professional therefore I was surprised when she jumped over the four foot high thick wooden desk at Big City Brothel one night. 

“What the hell”, I muttered as I turned to the sound of Moira hitting the floor.  Sex workers behind the reception area at Big City Brothel was a big no-no. 

“My oldest brother”, Moira whispers in a panic up to me. Now she is crouched down behind the desk.  She describes him to me and asks me to tell her when he's looking away. I do. She pops her head up, takes a quick assessment, then pops down again.   “He's with my sister’s fiancé too”, she laments. 

Continuing to hide under the desk her brother and future brother-in-law approach and stand on the other side.  They proceed to book a lady each and disappear upstairs. Upon this Moira decides she can't work for the rest of the night and, grumbling the whole time, leaves.  I wasn’t sure if she was upset at loss of income or seeing her family, or both. Small world is all I'll say, now. A few short years later here we are reunited in a different brothel.  A slow night enables for a decent catch-up. Our talk soon turns to the night of her brother's visit to Big City Brothel.  

“I don’t know why I was so surprised. I just always thought it would be my father who'd I'd have the misfortune to run into”, she says.  Her words continue into a revelation of sexual abuse by that very father and of self-sacrifice for her younger sisters. Being the eldest her thoughts went to, “as long as there's me he'd leave the others alone”. 

“I'd try to make sure it was only me. He's a drunk. Attends church every Sunday and put his hands on me every chance he could.  I hate him so but do love the rest. After that night I now can't stop wondering if my brothers took after father. Maybe I didn't keep anyone safe”.  I'm listening to this when another lady steps forward. She reveals her story of sexual abuse. Then a third. Followed by another. I'm in shock.  

“Bloody hell! Hands up all those that weren't sexually abused as a child?” I blurt out stupidly.  I raise my hand, quickly realising my lame sarcastic joke is no longer a joke as I look around all eleven women.  No one speaks. Most eyes are downcast. No one else has raised their hand. I'm the only one. The horror dawns upon me how unfunny my remark is, my frozen arm still raised. 

All of you?” I'm dumbfounded. Yes, all eleven of them.  Yet these ladies weren't victims. They now spoke confidently amongst themselves and comfortable shared their experiences.  I sat back and just listened, the realisation of how blessed my childhood had been. My innocence had never been disrupted that way.  My adulthood was a whole different story. 

They were broken yet this industry seemed to have fixed them a little.  It seemed that the damage done had evolved into these beings who now felt comfortable in a role that had become reversed. As one lass explained “we’re not the naked, vulnerable ones in that room. We choose how it's going to go”.  Maybe that's why it attracted so many. It's hard to explain.  

Some took drugs.  This was, mostly, to dull the emotional pain as the sexual act didn't faze them.  It was like any other job. Some days were good, others not so great. Good or bad, it didn't last for more than an hour at a time, often less, and it paid well.  Some tried other work yet most returned. The stigma was often the only reason most tried elsewhere. 

The point I'm trying to make is, in my personal opinion, the industry needs to be made legal worldwide.  The oldest profession in the world isn't going anywhere. Just maybe, to help stamp out human trafficking, we meet supply with demand.   There are those who choose this way of life.  

It's prevalent in all facets of our society, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.  Victims of abuse are damaged by that abuse. Society then continues to punish victims by victim blaming.  A significant amount of victims of abuse have transformed their horror into a tool that works for them. I'm not condoning anything except live and let live.  Some humans want the whore life. Let them. Then those that don't want to live that way won't be forced to with no rights or choices…just saying.

Prices and Services

In my time as a brothel manager between 2004 to 2016 prices averaged $150 for a half hour service and $250 for the hour.  This was inner city prices only. The further out from the CBD, the cheaper the price. This price included massage, oral and sex.  Anything else was up to the sex worker. Her price for those extras was negotiated with the client. Kissing was a service that needed to be negotiated.  Some charged for kissing, some didn't. Others refused kissing outright. Kissing below the neck was normally not charged for and generally accepted as part of the service. 

One young lass was a little confused when it came to being a sex worker.  She had just started working at our establishment and claimed she'd worked elsewhere before.  Not long into her first booking, I'm surprised to find her client standing before me at reception.  This was only a few minutes into his booking. 

It seems he'd paid top dollar for all the extras yet was unable to enjoy them. Rules that hadn't been previously specified came with those extras.  When he told me those rules I thought he must have misunderstood. They didn't make sense. I buzz the girl, who's still in the room, to tell her I'll be in with the client.  She responds, “fine, but he's not getting his money back”. "Strange response", I thought to myself, considering we had yet to discuss what the issue was and the booking had just begun. 

Upon entering I find she's freshening up and getting dressed.  Seems she's charged the guy all the extras but that didn't include touching what wasn't paid for. He could only play with her boobs and pink bits, nothing else.  Whatever was she on about? 

“How is he supposed to fuck without being able to get close to you?”, I ask, truly puzzled. “You're not even giving him a basic service and charging for extras? Explain your reasoning”, I continued.

She couldn't.  Her logic was that he had paid for access to her breasts and vagina only.  He could kiss those while accessing, thus the extra charge. Anywhere else on her body was a no-touch zone for those parts had not been paid for.  She seriously didn't see a problem. I tell her only a contortionist could perform the way she explained and expected and a blow-up doll could offer more, and cost less.  I tell her to give him his money back if she wasn't going to do the service paid for. She claimed time had already started, he'd seen her naked and therefore he was not getting a refund. 

“Now I get it”, I respond sarcastically.  “You're in the wrong building. You're lost. You must be a stripper if you think you deserve to be paid for 5 minutes of you naked.  This is a brothel. That means prostitutes work here, babe. That's a whole different service. Give him his money back, so he can book another lady who knows where she is”.  She didn't want to but I gave her no choice about it. She hadn't done anything, brothel wise, to have earned it. She wouldn't drop it till I gave her $20 of my own money. That's all she was getting for 5 minutes of anything.  Well worth the price just to get her to shut up. Needless to say, she didn't last long. 

A guy tried to get some of his money back because he hadn't climaxed in the time allotted.  The hour booking allowed sex twice if the guy was up for going again in the allotted hour at no extra charge.  He didn't want to pay for an extension (an extension is when the client wants to continue his time with the current booking).  Money first is the first rule in the sex industry, always. An extension was never granted without upfront payment. No booking was.  The guy didn't get any amount of a refund back. I educated him to the fact that if he'd got his dick in, he'd had sex. Just because he'd not orgasmed in the time allotted didn't mean he'd not received the service paid for.  Orgasming was not always a guarantee with sex. Ask any human female on this planet. 

The Huge Luxurious Brothel charged the most at $190 for the half hour and $260 for the hour.  As I've said, K C was a smart businessman who treated his staff well. He charged this way so clients were lured into booking the better hour deal.  The girls got an extra $20 in their cut with that deal so they'd try to entice the longer hour booking. In the brothel industry the expression, 'time is money', is an understatement.  Most brothel’s cut was 30 percent of the basic booking price. Any extra charges were kept by the sex worker. Extra charges happened when the client wanted something other than what was offered in the usual service of massage, oral and sex.  The house percentage went towards room rental, clean linen for every booking, condoms, lube and such. 

As I've also stated, the farther away from the city centre the cheaper sex becomes.  Suburban females tend to feel less attractive than they are. In a competitive field, confidence is essential no matter what you look like.   This didn't mean business was slow. Horny men are generally not picky. This I got from the country sex workers who'd ventured into the city to work.  The ladies could make much more money per booking in the city, though a lot of the country lasses didn't feel as confident or in the same league as their city sisters when starting. 

On one very busy night at Huge Luxurious Brothel, I quickly scan the staff roster as I start my shift.  I see a name I don't recognise, Wendy, and enquire about her. She's pointed out to me as the lady on the far end of the reception counter filling out an application form.  I go over to her to quickly introduce myself. I apologise that I've only got time for a quick ‘get to know you’ chat. I ask if she's worked before. She responds only in the country and that she's feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering if she has made a mistake venturing into the city to work. 

I reassure her she's gorgeous and has nothing to worry about.  She'll be making money in no time. I really need to get back to reception and tell her I'll get back to her during the night to see how's she going. 

It's surprising how many sex workers are shy or introverted.  Behind closed doors in the room with a client, not a problem. They are comfortable behind those doors.  Outside that room, some find it hard to sell themselves. This is where managers and hostesses come in handy.  Hostesses are assistants to the managers whose roles consist of liaison between clients and sex workers. The hostesses' main job was to deal with minor issues to leave the manager free to deal with doors, phones, bookings, online enquiries and the dramas which unfold on a regular basis.  Hostesses also help with laundry, for linen is a major factor in all brothels. Health regulations dictate that clean sheets, pillowcases and towels must be supplied for every booking. 

On that busy night at the Huge Luxurious Brothel while I'm doing a quick lounge room floor check I see Wendy sitting alone looking a little lost in the corner.  As I walk towards her I'm stopped by a guy asking for assistance. He feels a little nervous about approaching a lady as he's new to this. I ask him if he has a type.  “Preferably young”, is all he replies. I immediately point to Wendy. 

“How about that cute brunette. She's 22”.

“Yes, please”, he responds.

“You need to talk to her before the booking.  Once the booking is confirmed, come back to reception and we'll set it up for you”.

I tell him I'll fetch the girl.  When I reach Wendy I tell her that the guy across the room wants to book her and to set it up with him if she's interested.  She's very interested and grateful. It was to be her first booking. I tell her to say she's 22 if he asks. She looks at me stricken. 

“But I'm 31”.  Her eyes are wide. 

“Not for the next hour you're not”.  I smile at her. “You can pull off that fantasy, no problem”.

I had a product to sell.  Often that product became what she needed to be for that sale.  After all the product, herself, added to the illusion by changing her name and her look with wigs differing from her own personal style.  Many sex workers looked very different at work to how they presented themselves to the outside world. This was also due to the stigma. Another way of not being recognised. 

Whilst the client is at reception with Wendy arranging the booking with me I give the guy the spiel, being his first time.  I tell him the booking time doesn't start, till the service starts and, for health regulations, he needed to shower first. Once he was done the sex worker will do a quick external check of any sign or suspicion of an STI.  If all clear then the booking was verified and she would leave the room to quickly prepare for the booking. 

This was so that the lady could prepare herself and collect what was needed.  Condoms, lube, talc powder, moisturiser, and disposable gloves were always handed to a sex worker before every booking, or already available in the room.  Once she returned into the room she'd buzz reception. Only then did the booking time start. I end the spiel with, “five minutes before the end of the booking the room will be buzzed.  No need to jump off the girl in panic but best finish off. The second buzz means please move it unless you're wanting to extend your time. We’re always happy to have you staying longer but payment must be made first”.

Even though the sex worker took only five to ten minutes, on average, to prepare herself and return to the room and client, many a time half-naked guys approached my desk asking about a missing lass.  What had happened to her? What about his service? I'd remind them of my spiel. The clock wasn't on yet. She was getting ready and coming back. Even she would have mentioned that I'm sure. Or they'd buzz reception from the room, inquiring about her whereabouts.  I'd often think why I'd bother with the spiel. Dick up, deaf too it seems. 

One lass told me she'd have a joke with the guys while doing the health check.  She'd hold their penis like a microphone, then pretend to do a sound check, tapping very lightly on the tip.   

“Testing. One, two, three. Testing”,  mimicking as she's telling me. She said this helped to relax them…mostly. 

K C was also smart with his merchandise.  There were strict rules that came with working at the brothel where sex workers got paid the most.  If clients were paying top price, the sex worker needed to look the part. Sex workers were inspected before they were allowed to sell their wares on the floor upon starting a shift.  We advertised as only having the best, and by the best we meant ‘high-class ladies’. Tattoos were to be covered up when not in a booking, hair, nails and makeup inspected. No trousers or jeans allowed.  Dresses or skirts only and never above the knees. A split was allowed up to a certain length only. If a client wanted to see more he was to pay for it. 

Whilst in the laundry catching a much-needed break from reception one night I spy a sex worker passing through.  I was out of her vision so she jumped when I called out to her as she tried to sneak onto the lounge floor the back way through the laundry and behind the bar. It was obvious why she was avoiding the usual way through reception and me.  She had a mini skirt on that left nothing to the imagination. It was totally see through.  She might as well have worn just the g-string I could see her obviously sporting. 

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. No way! You know the rules”, I admonished. 

“Is not fair!” She stamps her foot. “I have no boobies”, she continued in her Eastern European accent. “My bum is big seller”.

“I can see why.  So can the rest of the world.  You already know no freebies allowed.  They need to pay to see that bum. Same rules for everyone.  No choice, sorry. Change, or go work at all the many other brothels that would permit free viewing of that phenomenal bum”.

I could see her point.  I might be straight but I know a work of art when I see it.

Still In The Beginning

When I received the call that someone else had gotten the position I was truly relieved.  I seriously didn't want it after collapsing in a heap on the couch after my last shift. I literally hadn't moved for three days, except for bathroom breaks, and I knew my body wouldn't survive long in the job. I knew from previous experience living with Crohn's there was no point working hard for a living if it killed me.

Instead, I received a different offer from my caller. Thirty hours a week and it would be day shift. I'm surprised to find myself pondering this offer, not thinking of the rigours of the position.  My thoughts go straight to the reality that less hours would provide opportunity for me to recover and still do the tourist thing. It's not like I’d signed a contract and if I couldn't cope I could leave.

Day and night shift in a brothel can be as different as night is to day. Clients of the night shifts, especially on weekends, tended to be a different clientele to day shift, with alcohol and other drugs a huge factor in their behaviour.  Normally, booking times weren't limited with party time mentality kicking in. Understandable, but not always an attractive look or easy to deal with as a bystander.

Day shift were mostly guys popping in due to having some spare time during their usual daily routine. We were a place to escape for some quick, fun relief.  Business wasn't as busy as nights shifts though. Most hadn't imbibed a drug (I include alcohol in the term drug). Anyone who doesn't believe alcohol is a drug is delusional as I found it a close second to methylamphetamine (crystal meth) when it came to dealing with individuals.

I've experienced that some drunks love to argue and I learnt quickly there was no point trying to reason with them. They don't want that as there was no fun in that for them. They wanted combat and when I refused to join them in a fight a few would get angrier.  If they hit this level it was their loss as there was no way I was going to allow someone in that condition alone in a room with a sex worker. They just didn't get past me to meet anyone. Security then took over.

I get that drugs and lust are a powerful combination. It's a beneficial factor in the brothel business. Boy's nights out are common in the brothel world and we have no problem with that. We are happy to be your ‘fun house’, although that doesn't mean do as you please.  For some reason, there's always one loud, rude, drunk, horny and stupid reveller within groups. You don't respect the sex worker, your choice, but our choice is to refuse entry.

Whenever I was confronted with this scenario I'd not acknowledge the drunk. I would explain to all and sundry that they were welcome, and what was available after explaining, for the safety of our workers, why their mouthy friend was restricted from our establishment. Once they took care of that problem, all good, otherwise no go for anyone.  Usually the inebriated would be shouted down or told to piss off. If they did calm down, and I trusted them, I'd offer a second chance. I've seriously never regretted it and a few even apologised at the end of their stay. Maybe it was release of their lust that did it. Others remained dicks, but were no longer threatening or verbally abusive, not to my face anyway.  If a drunk continued with abusive ranting, he was taken care of. After all, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one dick. Pun intended.

If guys thought to waste our time with derogatory abuse after a drunken, now broke, night out they were soon outnumbered and out shouted. When outnumbered and abused the pack mentality retreats, tails hanging low between their legs.  Conversation in a brothel is normally subdued. The decor and ambience calls for it and raised voices was a red flag that was instantly reacted to, to our advantage. We may be low-life whores to you yet you came to us, you're here, knowing you must pay to spend time with that whore. Whores that, by your obvious behaviour, now can't afford. By your own standards, that makes you lower.

From the start, day shift was a whole different experience. Helen, the day shift receptionist, was a pleasure to work with and who was the only one to explain what my new position entailed. There were less ladies to deal with and far fewer drunks too.  My 30 hour week consisted of three 10 hour shifts in a row, from Tuesday through to Thursday. This also worked for my Crohn's. Pulling three shifts in a row wasn't easy but it did leave four days to recover. I’d even get in some sightseeing. I had a 10am start, meaning I had more time in the mornings for my Crohn’s to settle and I didn't have to deal with peak hour traffic. Mornings and my Crohn's don’t mix well, stress and Crohn's, not compatible either. All in all I found I was enjoying myself, which was the original idea in the first place.

The only real drama that came my way there happened early on. My second week in I was stocking the upstairs storage cupboard during a period of lull at the bar.  Suddenly, I heard commotion coming from the corridor and am surprised by how loud it had become. My inspection reveals in the hallway a naked man rolled into a tight ball and a tiny woman kicking the living daylights out of him. I mean, she was tiny even in the eight inch high ‘come-fuck-me’ heels, her only attire, she was consecutively booting him with.

'Great! What do I do now?', I think to myself.  I run to the nearby intercom phone and buzz reception.

“Helen, I need help. Upstairs corridor. Now!” I utter, slamming the receiver back down.  

I had no time to explain as I figured she'd see for herself when she got here. It would take her only a minute to get to me but I didn't believe I had that long. I should say, HE didn't.  The girl wasn't relenting, jumping on him and literally digging her heels in. He wasn't going to last another ten seconds. From her cursing I'd derived that he'd removed the condom during sex without her consent or knowledge.  I knew I could just grab her and pick her up off him, she was that small. Her state of nakedness was my obstacle. How does one bodily pick up a naked person, especially a woman? Where does one put their hands? I had little time to think, just to act.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't taking sides. My first thought was the job at hand; to separate.  I step behind the lady so she's unaware and as I get in close I shut my eyes and envelope her in my arms, grabbing what I can.  I get a good grip and lift. She is now kicking in mid air while in my arms. First crisis averted!

Thankfully, Helen arrives quickly.  I'm still trying, with all my might, to hold onto the struggling girl, for she was committed to her kill.  I yell for Helen to get him away, as far as possible, and to deal with him as I tried to placate the wild woman of the bordello.  No explanation was necessary, her unabated cursing telling her story. He never uttered a word the whole time. Not even as Helen led him away from us.

Long story short I was sorry, truly sorry, there was nothing more I could do as her manager other than offer an ear and a shoulder to cry on.  As I was assigned to tending the bar this was the only other perk I could offer, and she took advantage of it for the day. She couldn't press charges without her profession being disclosed and she didn't want the repercussions which would come from such a course of action.  Sometimes being a victim is reinforced by stigma associated with the sex industry.


K C looked like a friendly garden gnome when I first set eyes on him.  Not in the sense that he wore brightly coloured hats, big shoes and hung around gardens. I mean he was very petite in stature, with a shock of white hair and the brightest animated eyes I'd ever encountered. I had to stop myself from patting him on the head on our first introduction. Yes, patronising can be a flaw of mine.  

This exterior of the man belied the interior of a canny businessman. An entrepreneur who was fair to his employees, took no nonsense from anyone, and knew what he was doing when it came to running a happy, healthy, successful business. When K C made money everyone made money.  He paid the highest salaries in the brothel industry and bonuses were reasonable and easy to reach. He was one of the best bosses I had the pleasure to work for in the 12 years I worked as a brothel manager.

K C owned Huge Luxurious Brothel, not it's real name, but the decor suited the one I have chosen. All brothels and characters mentioned will be under another alias to protect the guilty, including me. The stigma that comes attached is felt by all associated with brothels. I soon learnt justifying my job to the clueless was futile.

Huge Luxurious Brothel was approximately ten minutes drive from the city of Melbourne. We always knew to prepare for major events such as Grand Prix, international acts, sporting events or any other major event, when seven staff members would hit the ground running. Not that business was bad during the down times either.

K C had put Huge Luxurious Brothel on the stock exchange making sure he maintained the majority of shares. This resulted in Huge Luxurious Brothel becoming world renowned. K C had, pretty much, advertised to the world that an 18 room luxury brothel existed legally. A few fellows even arrived on our doorstep directly from the airport, luggage still in hand, not bothering to have checked into accommodation first.

On those busy nights we seven staff consisted of two managers, two hostesses, laundry employee, security guy and bar employee. In the state of Victoria, Australia no alcohol was allowed on brothel premises. Therefore, bar employee was a loose term for someone who served free coffees, water, soft drink and an imitation beer that we’ll call “Tastes Like Piss” since that was what was most commonly uttered once one took a sip.

On weekends and predicted busy nights we had up to 30 or more femme fatales on shift yet we could still be understaffed due to booking extensions and escorting. Once the madness came to an end, usually the weekend drawing to a close, K C, if in town,  would gather us to convey his thanks with a celebratory drink of his favourite rum. It was after hours and behind closed doors for, as previously stated, no alcohol was really permitted. Each employee was given two fingers full, if that, and no money was exchanged. I'm not a big drinker and detest the taste of rum. Not wanting to offend or to dampen the high spirits of all, I now apologise profusely to that plant that died a slow death of alcohol poisoning.

I was fortunate to have spent my time as a manager at Huge Luxurious Brothel in 2005 when the brothel industry was still in its heyday. The internet was still new and mysterious, however, we knew then that the internet would eventually affect the brothel industry. Little did we know to what degree. What use was a place to go to for sex when it could now come to you?

In the beginning

How does one become a brothel manager? In my case, I stumbled across this career path while on a three week holiday in New Zealand visiting a much missed close friend. He’d returned from Australia a few years earlier to once again live in his native homeland.

Also known as ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’, the beauty of New Zealand and it’s friendly inhabitants will always have a place in my heart.  Many years before a New Zealand native I was dating told me, “When God created the Earth, He was left with its surplus in His hands. He scattered them to the grounds. Thus New Zealand was born”.  True words, I came to realise. To my absolute surprise and delight it had everything. A breathtaking landscape of beautiful snow capped mountains, deserts, volcanoes, hot springs and an abundance of waterfalls.  I was to learn a few of these small water wonders were hidden amongst the suburbs and only fifteen minutes drive from where I was staying in Auckland with my friend.

My three week holiday was to conclude with a catch up with another well travelled friend to share some tourist tales.  This friend was the person who had convinced me to take the journey to New Zealand in the first place. He'd travelled to Asia the week before I'd left for New Zealand. Making me a part of his travel itinerary he was joining me for my last three days in New Zealand, our time concluding in a return flight home together.

This same travelling companion must have become weary of hearing how much I wished I could prolong my stay. He suddenly turns to the server, who was clearing our empty plates, and asked to speak to the manager of the quaint establishment we'd chosen to repast while doing the tourist thing the day before our departure.

“I'm the manager here”, the server responds.

“You in need of any staff?” This from my friend.

“You looking?”

“Nope, she is”. my friend continued, casually indicating towards me.

“Could do with another waitress. When can she start?”

The manager continued, conversing with my travelling companion only without any acknowledgement of my current existence in the room.  Somehow my stunned paralysis and silent open mouth had me morphed into the surrounding decor. My existence in presence only ended with me starting the next night on a week’s probation.

I finally came to life as we stumbled out of the pub. My mouthy mate trying, in vain, to calm a bewildered, hysterical me.  “Calm down” my friend attempted… ‘Yeah, right!’ This brave man continued, “You've got a place to stay, a country you still want to explore. Now, a job to do that for a while. Think about it, what are you in a rush to get back to anyway?”

In the shock of the moment, I thought about it.  I mean, I really thought about it. He was right. Damn it. I had not long come out of a long painful Crohn's disease session. It had lasted for a few years on and off. I was lucky that I was responsible to no one but myself, as in no husband or children.

Crohn's disease hit me at 21 years of age. The ensuing 2 years it took to diagnose caused some internal bowel damage. No one was to blame for the long time it took to figure out. I was told they knew my body was in distress by my blood tests, they just didn't know the cause, or where to look.  In 1985 Crohn's disease was still not well known and was found mostly in children and the elderly. At that time it was uncommon in someone my age, so I was told.  It had me lose jobs through the years. Again, no blame, it is what it is.  Logically an employer needs someone who is physically and mentally able to perform. Brain fog and fatigue, only other invisible chronic condition sufferers can comprehend, severely affect our performance. If we perform at all.

No matter how hard we try, just putting one foot in front of the other takes every bit of strength we can muster some days. It's not as if we're pre-warned either. We can never, willingly, choose to push it for our bodies always punish us when we do.  We may look fine. We are not. Our bodies punish every time we pretend. Push ourselves to be part of life. Push ourselves to just survive. Push ourselves to earn a living. Most of our hard earned wages end up spent on treatments to get us medically better. Our down time constantly spent recovering.  Don't start me on the judging, suspicion of our severity, ridicule and guilt felt from being burdens, and the constant need to validate ourselves to others who can't begin to comprehend our suffering, only adding to our suffering. As I've said. I was lucky, I had some support. As an unmarried Italian child, I could always rely on the family home to convalesce.

My reward to myself for finally enjoying some remission was to take advantage of these ‘functioning’ days and to spend time with one of my favourite people before I returned to my ‘healthy’ world again. There was a job waiting at the family’s wood fire pizza restaurant when I was better and an idiot that owned one of the local hairdressers, I had just started to see and quickly losing interest in. That was what was waiting for me back home.

Hmm, I was about to turn forty in three months. I was currently living with my parents and about to work for my sister and brother-in-law. I was grateful for both but still feeling the need to spread my wings a little. (Not forgetting whose arms I wasn't missing).

The situation snowballed. As fate would have it. My New Zealand native friend’s sister-in-law worked for the airline I had chosen. A nominal amount of money was exchanged and my return ticket was extended for at least three months. Fine by me.

“My working holiday begins”, I thought to myself.

I remember it well. It was the week Ian Thorpe won a gold medal in the 400m Freestyle event where all of Australia (and I think New Zealand) held their breath. I remember standing, holding two empty plates midair, as all eyes, mine included, were on the big screen. For those few minutes there was total silence in that crowded pub. The silence erupting into a happy vibe once he finished.

Sadly, it was to be the only good memory of my week there. I don't mind busting my arse but my pay rate, I discovered at the end of that week, was NZ$8 an hour. Tipping is uncommon in the Southern Hemisphere so that was literally it.

My new housemates, dear friend, and his mother were surprised at my disappointment. That was the norm, more or less, for New Zealand wages. This was to be my first lesson on the plight of why the inhabitants leave their shores for Australia. As a tourist I was puzzled as to why so many would leave such a paradise. I'd observed that the cost of living was the same as Australia, though rent was a little steep compared to back home.

My puzzlement turned into a sad realisation.  Though the cost of goods were the same as Australia wages were half of what I was used to. I couldn't see much left over after paying my rent and the rest of life's basics.

My free accommodation holiday fairly consisted of sharing a bedroom with my host. The other two bedrooms were occupied by his mother and an exchange student.  The exchange student’s lease was about to end and he was returning home, thus perfect for my longer stay. I'd already started to move some of my belongings into that room, thinking my new job would pay my way. Not on $8 an hour it wouldn't averaging twenty hours per week. I knew $160 per week wasn't going to cover my arse in rent and the rest.  There was no way I could afford to stay now, not by my calculations.

My landlady came up with a suggestion. She'd been a sex worker in her younger days and suggested I try asking for work as a bartender in one of these establishments (yes, we're talking brothel).  Her logic, I'd just be serving drinks in a “different kind of night club” and for that reason it might pay more. When in Rome...! There would have been no way I'd have set foot in such a place back home, but I wasn't home and I still wanted, so much, to get to know more of this wonderland that New Zealand had become to me.

Ironically, on my way to that first job the bus route passed an opulent building well known for being such a place. I gather my courage and decide there's no harm in trying. So, the next day I'm talking to the owner about bar work. I am again put on a week’s trial, starting that very night. This time the pay is $15 an hour, nearly twice the wage of my previous employment. Now that's more like it. What the son-a-bitch failed to tell me was that my trial week consisted of six fourteen hour shifts in a row!  This was my ‘hell week’, I non-fondly recollect. Never have I worked somewhere where you're thrown in the deep end with no training and absolutely no idea. What the son-of-a-bitch owner also failed to tell me was the bar manager managed the sex workers and the receptionist took care of clients and bookings. Manage them? I was terrified of them.

The first couple of nights I kept my eyes downcast.  Tending bar and concentrating only on the task at hand I'd already decided I didn't want the job.  I thought “persevere through the week, take the money, and run”. That would give me some financial security till I found something else.

Personally, I believe alcohol and brothels don't mix. That's all I'll say, on that, for now. It happened the third night when the ‘manager’ part of the job became required. A huge guy, who looked part Neanderthal, asked me who I'd recommend.

Though the question was directed at me, I knew all had heard. Spattered conversations silenced and only music could be heard. Most eyes had turned towards me by now. I realised the ladies had been waiting for this; my reaction. None had approached me previously except for drinks as they were good at selling themselves nothing more had been asked or expected of me.  I look at the ‘gentleman’ and think to myself spending time alone with him would be the last thing I'd want, ever. I scan the waiting crowd literally thinking to myself,“Who do I sacrifice?”

After what seemed like an eternity one of the sex workers pulled me aside and gave me the best advice I was to learn in the business although it would still take me over a year to fully appreciate and understand it.  She goes on to show me her hand, cupped upwards and tells me, “when we go home and that's full, it doesn't matter how we got it, as long as we have it. If we go home and it's empty”, still showing me her fist, but now fully closed, “that's when it gets to us”.

“We are here to be picked. We want to be picked. Now pick one”. It took this wide eyed blonde a moment to realise she was talking money, not penis.  Well, we were in a brothel.

“You.” I manage to croak.

She smiles. “You can't pick me. They'll think that's why I pulled you aside. You'll have to choose another worker.  Pick a girl, just do it”. Ok, now I am in sales it seems. I enquire if he has a type. He doesn't understand the question.  

“Blonde, brunette, red head?  Curvy, slim, tall or short?”, I ramblingly continue.

“One who's good at it”, he says.

“How about the lovely lady holding on to your arm?”, I suggest as a practical option.

“She is good then?”, he continues.

Without missing a beat I reply, “can say, with total honesty, I'm yet to hear of any complaints.”

“Done deal”, he toothlessly grins.

I felt bad for the woman chosen and felt uneasy for the rest of the night.  Some of the ladies now introduced themselves, their way of saying they approved.  I had just passed my first muster with the staff although all I could think about was that poor woman and that the job was definitely not for me.  Boy, was I deluded then, unknowing that this was just the beginning of a whole new bizarre career.