(dedicated to all the prostitutes working before and during AIDS crisis)

l. In the morning I count my prophylactics:

One bluejay blue lubricated TROJAN,
One gold see-thru superdelux extra-sensitivity TROJAN,
One black and white hospital tested GUARDIAN.

Enough. I like the gold ones best,
but variety excites me.

I don't have to stop at the drugstore today.
Good. The druggists know what I use them for.

I should be buying them in twelves like eggs,
But I can't seem to make that commitment.
Instead I buy them in small quantities,
With guilt and satisfaction like cigarettes.

In the morning I count my prophylactics.
In the evening I'll count twenty dollar bills.

2. I work from 12 to 6 in the afternoon.

I wanna get laid. How much will you pay me?
How much is it? I like to get eighty.
I don't have eighty. How much do you have?
How's forty? That's not enough. But I can handle sixty.
Okay. Good.

Customer #1 hands me three twenties. I choose the TROJAN blue.

I want everything. Perfect. I'm glad. How much?
How much is it? Tell me what you wanna spend and I'll tell you what I'll do.
I only have forty. That's enough for French.
You clean? I don't know. Are you?
You got a rubber? A rubber for French. Great. I used to try to do every French with a rubber but I got too many complaints.
I like to be careful. Mi wife. Good for you.

Customer #2 hands me two twenties.
I pull out my hospital tested GUARDIAN.

I wanna have sex. Good. Me too. I like to get eighty.
What s that? A prophylactic. What do you think?
I can't get off with that. Too bad I have to use it.
Oh, please C'mon, please. please, please You'll catch a disease.
Oh, yeah? No, not really, but I could catch one.
Oh, c'mon, I'm clean. Look, I'm not a loose woman.
Hey, I tell you I'm clean. Shit, okay. One more twenty.

Customer #'3 hands me five twenties.
Gold superdelux extra-sensitivity goes back in my purse.

3. Wow. What a day!

Two prophylactics used. Recalling how they popped from my purse, Like perfect toast.

My go]d superdelux extra-sensitivity remains tucked in my purse,

like a lid of grass,
like a dietetic candy bar,
like a free pass to the movies,
like five yellow valium that I wish I had but I avoid.

In the morning I count my prophylactics.
In the evening, twenty dollar bills.

One two three four five six seven eight nine ten.

Recalling how they slipped in my purse,
Movie stars into satin sheets.

Ten twenties. No police.

Autobiography of a Whore: Table of Contents

Prostitutes' Education Network