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I’d only been home a few minutes when the phone rang.

“Okay, honey, I’ve got you booked with Ron.”

“With whom?”

“With Ron.  You know, the boss.”

The boss?  The guy from behind the desk? Okay, this was bizarre.  Was this one of those “you-gotta-fuck-the­-boss-to-keep-the-job” situations?

“Oh.  Ron,” was all I said.

She could tell I was completely confused.

“It’s just like a regular session, sugar.  He’s bored, he wants some company.  Just hang out with him for a while.”

Right. A “regular session.” Was that a real “regular” session? Or just a “session” of “companionship”? So far, all my clients had wanted a very intimate kind of companionship, which meant that a “regular session” should just mean more of the same.

“Okay,” I told her. What else could I say?

“I think he’s going to want you for a couple hours.”

For a couple hours, huh?  I wondered if I’d be getting paid for this time or if this was a required, and unpaid, part of the job.

“Okay, but I’m busy after 5:30.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.  I told him not to take you, that I wanted to book you with a client, but he insisted.  Hopefully he won’t take too long, and I can book you after he’s gone.”

“What’s the address?”

“Well, here’s the thing.  You can either go out to Queens, to his apartment, or he can come to yours.  If you go out to Queens, he’ll come pick you up.”

Queens?  I didn’t feel like spending the time traveling there and back. It would be much more convenient for him to come to my tiny apartment, as hopelessly unsophisticated and cramped as it might was.

“My apartment might be easier,” I said out of desperation.

“That’s easier for me, too, honey.  He’ll be there in ten minutes.”

Ten minutes?! I had just barely enough time to sweep all my things into the closet and under the bed. I was sure my little apartment was far below what Ron was accustomed to, but I didn’t have much of a choice.  I certainly hadn’t expected to be having in-house calls.

Ten minutes later, Ron arrived, and it was the guy behind the desk, as I had suspected.  He came in, lay down on my bed, and we made awkward but pleasant conversation for almost two hours.  It definitely felt weird to have him in my house, on my bed, but thank god, there was no making out at all.  His coat didn’t even come off.  I guess he really just wanted companionship and conversation?

I felt like a total dork, with my unglamorous light blue bedspread and my teeny room with the yellow walls.  My apartment was only a short-term sublet—and I was planning on moving as soon as I could afford a real place—so I’d never decorated properly. There were my plants in the corner, my cd collection, my stuffed koala.  I felt like such a little girl. I hoped he wouldn’t judge me. But he didn’t seem to care, and, after a few hours, we left to grab some food, also stopping by the car repair place to have his speakers looked at on the way.

And then he gave me nine hundred dollars and dropped me back off at home.  I couldn’t believe it.  NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS for three hours of awkward but pleasant conversation? I couldn’t imagine that the agency would ask for the usual split—that wouldn’t make any sense—but I brought the money with me when I went to drop off their share of the money from my appointment with Norman, to see if they would ask for it.

They didn’t—it was all mine. Nine hundred dollars.