It must have been six or seven in the morning when I started calling the whore agencies. A bad hour for phone trawling. As a rule Russian women loathe mornings more than vampires -- if given the chance, they'd stay out late every night and sleep till four in the afternoon. One of the advantages to being a whore is that you can live out that night owl fantasy -- unless you get an unexpected 7 a.m. phone call from an amped-out john like me.
It was Defenders of the Fatherland Day so I figured some whore would cut me slack. None of the eXile's page 23 whore agencies answered their phones in spite of false claims about "any time." I was forced to turn to a rival whore market, The Moscow Times "Introductions." Say what you will about the Times' sellout to the oligarchs, when it comes to peddling sex slaves, The Moscow Times still trafficks the largest selection.
A few groggy-voiced madams slammed their phones on me, but one did her best to please the customer.
"What kind of girl would you like?" she asked, clearing her throat.
"Your youngest and prettiest," I answered, assuming that no matter what I ordered they'd send me someone about 27 years old (which in whore years is about 60) with the kind of face that used to make for slapstick comedy on The Three Stooges.
"I'll call you back with a girl in just a few minutes," the madam said. "Don't call another agency, okay?"
She didn't call back quickly enough. I got antsy, grinding my jaws and pacing my TV room. So I pulled out the Introductions page to call her back...but I forgot which of the Times' whore agencies I'd used. I started from the top again, waking up three or four cranky madams before finding mine. She sweet-talked me into giving her another five minutes.
Incredibly enough, she found her girl. The madam claimed that the whore she was offering me was sixteen -- which I knew to be a lie. Even in the semi-legal world of take-out whores, the "legal" age for prostitutes is 18, two years over the legal age of consent in Russia.
"What's she look like?" I asked.
"She's very pretty. Thin, brunette, very thin."
"She'll be over in 45 minutes. Does that suit you?"
"You're sure--45 minutes?" I asked, knowing how this always works.
"Of course. Forty-five minutes."
An hour and a half and several phone complaints later, my trick arrived. I nearly canceled it when the madam tried to claim that her whore was late was due to traffic -- at 7:30am on a holiday!
Her name was Masha. She was shy -- she kept her head down and smiled uncomfortably, barely making eye contact when I let her in. I tried to get a good look at her face -- was she a winkie or one of those half-Asiatic Russians? She hung up her fake leopard-fur jacket and sat down on my love seat. I offered her something to drink -- she chose juice rather than alcohol or wine.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"I mean where were you born and raised?" It was clear in the light that she was not Russian. She had unmistakable Central Asian features: as petite as a Thai girl yet wider-eyed and hairier-armed than East Asians.
"I'm from Moscow," Masha said, smiling uncomfortably and looking down at her glass of orange juice.
"So you've always lived in Moscow?"
"I live with my mother near Prospekt Vernadskogo."
"So you still live with your mom?"
"Why were you late?"
She hesitated, saying, "Nu... eto...nu, nevazhno..."
At first I thought she was late because it would have been hard explaining to her mother where she was going. But then I realized she was probably just finishing up another trick. Not information the john likes to hear.
She had an accent. Her "kh" was hard. I asked her where her family was from.
"Do you speak Kyrgyz?"