John D Robinson is a UK based writer and painter: he has published several chapbooks of poetry and three full collections:
His art works regularly feature as book covers:
‘Smoking Herb & Other Stories’ was published by Analog Submission Press: UK in 2020:
‘The Dirty Sacrifice & Other Stories’ is his first full collection of short stories
THE DIRTY SACRIFICE
Sophia awoke in a cold sudden start: she looked around the small room, not looking for anything in particular: she lay there churning over the events of the past three months: things got bad and then worse.
Three months ago, Sophia was let go as a supermarket attendance for continued lateness and frequent episodes of sickness absence. She had pursued half a dozen jobs: she’d prepared herself endlessly for the interviews and on each occasion came away feeling positive only to be informed the next day that she hadn’t been successful: she all but gave up on trying to secure some employment: she didn’t have the energy or motivation: drive, she’d always had drive but maybe somewhere along the line it had been lost or taken from her.
Sometimes, for three or four days, she’d lay on her bed all day, barely moving, allowing the constant chatter and images to stream through her mind. She barely ate or drank on such days. Other days, she would feel lighter, warmer, wanting to engage with the world outside. She’d call friends and relatives and arrange to meet for coffee or for some drinks in the evening.
In three weeks’, time Sophia’s rent would be due: she was already three months behind and knew that if she didn’t pay at least two months’ worth she’d be out on the streets. She sat upright and smiled to herself, she then shook her head, dismissing the idea, but again and again throughout the remainder of that day, the ideas kept returning. She knew of the Red-Light district and had only walked through it during the day, when it was relatively peaceful and calm, she had never ventured there during an evening.
The first night she felt like an intruder in a world where she didn’t belong, a voyeur: she looked at girls sitting behind windows, dressed only in their slinky underwear, pouting and waving at the passers-by, the girls who worked the streets, dressed in cheap and sleazy short skirts, close hugging tops and high heels, faces painted with a permanent smile: she watched as the girls would approach the slow kerb crawling vehicles and see them climb into the back and disappear into the city traffic. Over the next four nights Sophia began to relax and had begun to receive acknowledging smiles or nods of the head from a few the street-girls.
The next night she was approached by a big set man, smartly dressed in a sharp suit, as they were passing, he said, ‘Hi, take this!’ and thrust a business sized card into her hand. Sophie tried to smile but couldn’t and put the card quickly into her handbag and continued with her walk for the evening.
Sophie was looking at herself in the full length wardrobe mirror: she hardly recognised herself: a very tight fitting white top and a bright red mini skirt and high black stiletto shoes, face powdered and subtlety painted, she laughed out loudly at herself and then puckered her lips, she was ready to go.
She walked by a couple of the girls and found herself a place to stand and leaned as seductively as she could up against a street lighting column: within several minutes she was approached by a tall menacing looking guy, dressed in smart street-casual wear, his hands and wrists covered in expensive gold jewellery.
‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?’ he barked at her.
He had startled Sophia and it took a few moments for Sophia to catch her breath, she was about to respond when the man cut in with ‘Who do you work for?’ all the girls here on this street work for me, you understand? There ain’t no fucking freeloaders on this fucking street: I take thirty percent from my girls, I protect them, keep them busy, now I’ll ask you again, who the fuck do you work for!?’
Sophia shook her head, not able to utter a word to this aggressive asshole.
‘Well, look, you wither work for me, or you can fuck-off and if you don’t fuck off, I’ll have you taken off this fucking street! You understand me? I’m not going to fucking repeat myself!’ she spat on the ground and then looked hard at Sophia, who nodded her head silently, turned and walked away.
Back in her room, shaken and a little disturbed by the confrontation, she sat on the edge of her bed and wept quietly: in two weeks’ time she’d be homeless, she wouldn’t be working the streets but living on them: she looked up into the mirror and watched as the thin streaks of mascara slowly trickled down her cheeks: maybe, she pondered, that she should go work for that asshole, but something inside strongly refuted this option: fuck him: she moved from the bed and into the kitchen and pulled a bottle of wine from the fridge, she filled a glass with ice and then poured a drink and sat at the kitchen table, gazing out of the window into the endless night.
After the third glass she felt loose and relaxed and suddenly remembered the business card that passing freak had shoved into her hand, she grabbed her handbag and found the card.
‘Rio’s is a private adult club: exclusive clientele: Female erotic dancers always wanted: call this number and ask for Max’
Sophia’s poured another glass and reread the card: erotic dancing: pole dancing: lap dancing, strip-tease burlesque: she pictured herself dancing suggestively, gyrating and smiling and pouting before the audience of the lonely, the curious, the desperate and perverts, of the sexually frustrated: faces dressed in business suits, glaring and staring at her whilst wild pornographic images saturated their minds. Sophia felt slightly aroused by these thoughts, poured herself another glass and replayed the images: ‘Ask for Max’ she said out aloud and giggled. A club environment would be safer than the streets, and she wouldn’t be sexually sacrificing her body for money, she decided that she’d give Max a call tomorrow.
Max sounded warm and friendly, if not a little smarmy and arrangements were made for Sophia to visit his office and discuss her interest further in working for the club: The office was within a seedy two storey building, hidden in the back-streets, surrounded by factories and warehouses.
‘Have you ever done this kind of work before?’ asked Max as they sat at a coffee stained table.
‘No, I haven’t’ replied Sophia.
Max was a man of short stature, clean shaven and suited, but his head looked out of proportion to the rest of his body, giving him an almost cartoon like appearance: ‘That’s not a problem’ said Max : ‘This a private club, the membership is very expensive, any number of public figures will be in attendance on any given night, the customers are strictly prohibited from physically touching the dancers. Any business between a dancer and a customer must be outside of the club, I couldn’t give a fuck, but any such shit inside the club and its an instant dismissal. You’ll get paid $150:00 per night, that is giving two performances of about 15 minutes each: you’ll work about three nights of the week. A great deal of money can be thrown onto the stage and the club gets fifty percent of this, if there is any suspicion that you’re deep-tanking any of this money, its instant dismissal, is that all clear?’ Max asked looking at Sophia.
‘Yes, I think so’ said Sophia, nodding her head.
‘Have you any questions?’ Max asked.
‘When can I start?’ Sophia asked quickly.
‘Okay, I’ve got too see what I’m hiring, strip down to your underwear, leave your shoes on’ said Max coldly.
Sophia stood up, she was prepared for this, she slowly unbuttoned her blouse and draped the garment over the back of a chair and then slipped out of her mini skirt, a black lacy bra and a tight pair of black thongs.
‘Turn around’ said Max and Sophia did so and that feeling of arousal began to rise again.
‘Okay, Okay’ Max said enthusiastically, ‘You can get dressed now. You have two days to learn the moves, the routines, the rules of do and don’ts, for these two days you’ll receive half-pay, how does that sound?’ Max said, grinning.
As Sophia reached for her blouse and mini skirt and began dressing, she said ‘That sounds fine’
‘Good okay, be at the club at eleven o’clock tomorrow morning, good evening’ said Max.
‘Eleven o’clock’ said Sophia ‘Okay, goodnight’
As Sophia exited the building she felt jubilant, successful, she’d be earning money and the potential to make a lot of money in a relatively short space of time: she could literally see her world turning around, she again felt light and flowed with an energy and a vibrancy that she had almost forgotten and she floated home with a future in front of her.
Sophia found the dance routines easy to master, along with the various stimulated sex acts that permeated the routines, the other girls remarked that she was natural, but they probably said that to all the new girls.
Quite naturally Sophia was somewhat nervous and anxious that first night: she looked around the small dressing room to see some of the girls snorting cocaine, she looked away at up at the wall clock, any moment now. The cheers and applause too Sophia by surprise as she stepped onto the stage but she overcame this quickly and settled into the seductive, provocative, sensuous routine: she could sense the burning eyes, the anticipation building behind those eyes, she could sense the excitement, tense, strange and somehow magnetic, infectious, something she couldn’t ignore and was captured by it: when she removed her bra, cupping her ample breasts in her hands, the room fell almost silent, a pulsating quietness that exploded when Sophia exposed her breasts and removed her skimpy panties and slowly walked across the stage and then returned to the centre and turned around, her back to the customers, and bent over, touching her toes and parting her legs a little: the onlookers went wild: all around her on the floor came crumpled notes and a thundering round of clapping and cheering and whooping: She turned around once more to face the audience and finish her time: she saw two guys sitting side by side, masturbating and sat two rows behind them, she saw the ugly fuck-face of her creepo landlord, who was punching the air and screaming out her name:
As she walked from the stage, the security guards gathered up the money that had been thrown onto the stage. Seeing her landlord had unsettled Sophia a little, she didn’t know why, it was none of his fucking business what she did to earn a wage and it reinforced her sense and perception she had of him. This was all quickly forgotten as Sophia entered the dressing room: ‘Well done! Well done!!’ the other girls cried.
Sophia had two hours before her next stage appearance, she sat quietly for a short while but there was too much activity and noise within the dressing room to think and reflect clearly: she decide to take a stroll around the block, grab some fresh city air and clear her head.
Sophia stepped out of the club’s back exit/entrance: it was a beautiful clear night, a lazy half-moon hung from the heavens: she felt good, right now, the world was a good place, not cold or distant, but within her hands: As Sophia rounded a corner, she saw a vaguely familiar figure walking briskly towards her, her urge was to turn around or cross the road but she kept on walking:
‘That was a great performance Ms Parsons! Said her landlord, a squat overweight bald man in his early sixties.
The exhilaration drained instantly as she looked at him, she didn’t know what to say but managed ‘Oh, thank you’ and then began to side-step him and continue her walk: he blocked her pathway, perspiration rolling down the sides of his head:
‘Perhaps, not the right time to mention your rent arrears, but, there are other ways you can settle the debt, you have my number’ he laughed nervously and stepped back to allow Sophia to pass. The thought was initially, utterly repulsive, hideous and an insult but as she walked she toyed with the idea: it certainly wouldn’t last long whatever he had in mind: she’d be shedding the debt and saving her home for the time being, a small but dirty sacrifice, something that she knew wouldn’t stay with her for too long.
Sophia made her way back to the club: she gave a second performance that bettered the previous: the stage, the paying onlookers, were all hers, this time and place belonged to her and despite seeing her asshole landlord in the audience again, she felt a sense of power and liberation, like she was invincible, she felt like a giant and she began to feel aroused: here she was at home, on stage, the spotlight of attention: as she was finishing the crumpled notes began to fall all around her:
Max came into the dressing room with a wide grin: ‘Sophia, you are something! I’ve never known a first night like it!! With your wage and what was thrown onto the stage you’ve made four hundred dollars, he extended a hand holding a wad of notes: ‘I’ve taken my cut of course’ he said: ‘You’ll come back in three night’s time?’ Max asked.
With a slightly trembling hand she took the money: she’d never earnt so much money in such a short space of time:
‘Yes’ answered Sophia, placing the cash into her purse. That was easy sleazy money she thought as she waited for a cab to take her home: if she could make a similar amount of money in three day’s time, her financial crisis would be over.
Sophia was a little troubled, unable to relax when she got home: she could hear the cheers and applause, she could see the two men masturbating, she could see the money falling like big snow flakes on the stage, it was an experience that she had nothing to compare it to: she had enjoyed it, she undressed, lay on her bed and pleasured herself before finally falling asleep.
Although Sophia had no grounds to make judgements about her landlord, he had always made her feel uneasy when is his presence, nothing sinister, but his over friendliness and flirtatious mannerisms gave Sophia the impression that he was a lonely lecherous old man, albeit, a wealthy one.
The following morning, Sophia made the phone call, she could hear the surprise and excitement in her landlord’s voice: he gave her his address and plans were made for Sophia to visit early afternoon…
It was a large imposing two storey property with a long driveway and was surrounded by well kept lawns and gardens: he answered the door in a dressing gown and welcomed her inside: he was unusually quiet as Sophia followed him upstairs to one of the bedrooms: Sophia wanted this dirty sacrifice to be over as soon as possible so she could get the fuck out of there.
‘I’m not going to hurt you, in fact, I’m not even going to touch you’ he said sitting on the side of the bed: Sophia stood before him, breathing lightly and looking around the beautifully and tastefully decorated room, scattered and adorned with expensive objects and paintings:
‘Okay’ said Sophia frowning and feeling a little puzzled as to what was happening here and then she remember the rent statement card in her handbag and with an air of confidence said ‘Okay, before we go any further, I’d like you to sign the three outstanding months I owe’ she handed him the card and a pen and with a shaking hand he signed the document: ‘What would you like me to do?’ asked Sophia:
He looked at Sophia before saying: ‘I want you to lift your skirt and masturbate over the top of your panties, after you’ve climaxed, I want you to stuff your wet panties into my mouth, I’ll then, give you something to read aloud, I’ll be lying here on the bed’
Sophia nodded her head, almost smiling, as she placed the rent card into her handbag: she lifted her skirt and began stimulating herself, she closed her eyes tightly and let her imagination take over and within two or three minutes she climaxed: she slipped off the panties.
‘Here, take this’ he said, handing Sophia a very old hand written letter and then she pushed her panties into his mouth as he lay back on the bed and then she began to real aloud the letter: it was a beautiful heart-rendering, heart-breaking letter written over forty years ago: as she read the letter she could hear him breathing hard and writhing quietly around the bed: the letter written by a young lady, tells of her torment that she must emigrate with her family, she knows that they will never see each other again and that she will carry this pain forever, such love never really dies, she requests that he move forwards and finds himself a happy life: on a couple of occasions , Sophia’s voice broke and cracked at the emotions, the sentimentality and the heart felt warmth of the words, it was quite beautiful.
Once she had finished reading the letter , she placed it upon a bedside cabinet: he lay still, sweating, her panties still in his mouth: she turned away and walked out of the bedroom, down the flight of stairs and out into the world: the fresh air was sweet to taste: the world, was once more, in her hands as she walked the streets with steps of exuberance and promise.