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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

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Vanessa Morsse

Sometimes, whoring myself out gets old. Standing on the street corner, half a block away from the other skanks, I can hear them snickering and smacking their Juicy Fruit gum loudly. They sniff the air as if itís their last breath. They need to feed their nostrils coke before their bodies shrivel up and die altogether. They hop in the first cars that stop.

Iím not like them. Iím selective.

My clothes smell Downy fresh. Theyíre not ripped, nor are they from the second-hand stores circa 1989. I wear my old winter coat from two years ago, but only so no one will recognize me. My new coat is black faux fur and flashy. The perverts at the office say I look like an old-time movie star. I ask if they mean Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn. They say no, like that blonde bombshell. I have red hair. I humor them and ask if they mean Marilyn Monroe. They say no, like that blonde bombshell who only did B movies. I ask them if they ever get laid. They do not say anything. They are intimidated by my power over them. I can cut their paychecks and, although they are not aware, I am pretty sure I could mount them and crack my whip on their inner thighs without an utterance of protest on their behalf.

When the skanks laugh, they sound like circus clowns honking on their toy horns. With their shiny red noses, they could be clowns. Except they wear dangerously sharp stilettos instead of floppy clown shoes.

I wear sensible, knee-high boots. I am a very anal dominatrix. Reallyómy whip is coiled just so and sits at the bottom of my right coat pocket. My handcuffs rest neatly at the bottom of left coat pocket. If I donít keep the two separated, I am off-balance and my coat tilts one way more than the other. That does not do.

In the office, I keep my desk balanced. Thereís a fruit bowl on one side and a phone and pen cup full of pencils on the other. The two objects even out the other one because the fruit bowl is a massive accessory. I keep it filled with apples. The pussies who work for me are always stopping to ask if I would like some bananas in my bowl. I donít. I only like apples.

I turn down ten, sometimes twenty, cars a night. If a man is too thin or his nostrils too hairy, I turn him away. I wait for the right one to come along. I like them to be large and meaty. Sometimes, a good deal of hair on their backs is fun for me to grab onto and yank. Just as long as their nostrils arenít hairy. That shows a lack of motivation. It is not that hard to trim nasal hair. Some nights, I get disappointed by the lack of choicy candidates and walk home, my fingers angrily clenching my handcuffs and whip in their respective pockets. When I get home, I caress myself with the whip and pretend I have a hairy back. Then I do the laundry.

But tonight, that wonít do. I know someone will come along who will be up to my speed. Maybe he will look like one of the perverts from the office. Maybe he will be one of the perverts from the office. I will attach him to the refrigerator with my handcuffs and open the door. I will push him against the milk carton and leftover spaghetti until his buttocks feel the cold and flinch in retreat. Then, I will force him to turn around and face the cold full-frontal as I climb on his back with my knee-high boots still on, holding onto his long hairs for support. As he cries out in pain and ecstasy, Iíll pull out my whip and send it flying.

If heís really good, maybe Iíll get out my faux fur winter coat and pretend Iím a blonde bombshell from a B movie. When he leaves sweaty currency in my palm at the end of the night, I will pretend it was the admission charge to watch my film. The money is welcome. I need more apples for my fruit bowl.