Working Girl 
Caneman 2004

     She had just finished putting on her makeup and a cigarette when the assmebly bell chimed. "Damn, here we go again," she sighed, closing the lid on her makeup case and putting it away. One last look in the full-length mirror revealed a slim figure barely covered in a shiny blue dress, hose, and clear platform heels. "Four years of college, two years of grad school, and look at how I'm paying it all back," Daria sighed, strutting to the line-up for the evening. Wordlessly, she fell in line behind several of her co-workers at the remote Nevada brothel as they waited for the madam to announce them.

     "Gentlemen, I'd like to thank you for visiting our house this evening, and if I may introduce our ladies for the evening?" the older woman said, reciting the same line by rote. There were mumbled replies of assent, and she pulled aside the curtain and the women filed out and stood before the customers in relaxed poses. Daria simultaneously stopped thinking as she assumed a seductive pose, one of her coping mechanisms she'd learned since landing this job. "Maybe tonight I'll be passed over," she thought, knowing that it really didn't matter if she was, because after the first round, there always was another line-up.

     She really didn't look at the customers anymore, another trick she'd learned early on, so as not to be repulsed any more than normal. If they weren't superannuated, they were morbidly obese, or so perverted any 'normal' woman wouldn't give them a second look, which is how she missed noticing Mack seated in one of the couches, along with a couple of what apparently were his friends. The madam had finished her spiel, and now it was the time the men chose their partners. Still looking at the wall, and holding her pose, she was taken aback when she heard his voice say, "I'll take "Melody", please,"

    "Very good, sir, and if you'll allow her to show her to your room..." the woman said with a smile, as he rose and Daria took him by the hand, trying very hard not to blush. He said nothing until after she'd closed the door and latched. "You are the last person I'd expect to see in a place like this. What happened, Daria?" he exclaimed, increduluously. She gave him a dirty look, and not the 'good' kind of dirty look.

    "Nice to see you too, Mack. Look, I'm not in he habit of discussing the hows or whys of why I'm working here, okay? If you want something, here's the menu, otherwise, you'll be paying two hundred bucks to talk about old times. That's the going rate you pay when I close that door, buddy," she sighed, sitting next to him and handing him a laminated sheet. He took it and scanned it quickly, and she saw his eyebrows raise at some on the selections. "And yes, anything goes with me there, too, so knock yourself out," she sighed.

   He set it down and looked at her hard. "Jesus, Daria, you were the smartest one in school, even next to Jodie, I'm just amazed that you'd stoop...Sorry, I mean, I just have to...You know what I'm talking about," he said, a perplexed look on his face. Daria looked him over, and saw he was distressed about this, and she set aside what she thought of as her 'professional demeanor', and laid her hand on his, and managed an honest smile.

    "Michael, it's a long story, and like I said, it's two hundred bucks just coming inside with me. An hour or more runs five hundred, and I'd hate to be lightening you wallet while you wrestle with your conscience, okay? Let's just say that sometimes no matter how smart someone is, they don't always end up following their dreams the way the chose to. Now, shall we at least pretend we're just a prostitute and client, or would you like to choose another one of the ladies here? It wouldn't bother me in the slightest, although I'm sure my boss might have an issue with it," she said flatly.

   He pondered what she said for a moment, and then fixing a stern expression on his face, he nodded once. "Okay, if anyone knows how to 'play the game', it's me. Let's start with this, this, and this," he said, pointing to three choices on the menu. She looked at them and frowned just a bit before replying,

   "It's your dime, but I don't want to break your roll, Mack. An oral, straight up, and a 'round the world' is gonna set you back six hundred. How much you got, before we start?" she said, mentally shifting into work mode. He laughed, and pulled out a money clip, thick with bills and fanned them dramatically.

   "Money's not an issue for a first round draft pick, 'Melody', " he smirked. "I was picked up by the Cardinals last year, but then again, you aren't one to follow the NFL much, are you? Hell, if I wanted to, I could buy everything on the menu and still walk out of here with cash to spare. I hate to put it that way, but that's how it is." Daria looked at the wad of bills, and smiled grimly, her thoughts unreadable, as she rose and began to disrobe.

    "The customer's always right here, sir. Would you like some music, or the lights down, before we begin?" she smiled, although  it looked as if a pained grimace. Mack sighed, and took her by the hands and sat her back down again.

    "And, I can afford to blow a couple hundred bucks just to catch up with an old friend, if I choose. 'The customer's always right', right? And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the first john you've had that just wanted to talk, either," he said, knowingly. "I've spent enough time with jocks from high school on up, and believe me, this ain't the first time I've been in a place like this, Daria. Hell, I'm only here to keep those other rookies from making asses of themselves, to be honest," he sighed.

    "Still baby-sitting the brain-dead, huh?" Daria chuckled, the first time in a long time she felt humor, no matter how dark. "I'm sorry for losing touch with you in college, but, you know how it goes. I'm almost afraid to ask, but do you still talk with Jodie anymore?" she ventured carefully. He laughed, and pulled out his wallet.

     "You could say that, seeing as she's carrying our second right now. And working for her dad on the side, as well. If you'd like, I can tell her I ran into you," he offered. She shook her head vehemently at that, and he nodded. "I understand, I suppose. But still...I could see Brittany here for sure, some of her buddies. Hell, I could even see Jane here, but you..." he trailed off thoughtfully. Daria sighed, and pulled her dress closed again.

    "Yeah, well, they aren't here. I am. Since you evidently don't want any action, it looks like you're ready to pay for talk, huh? Okay, you're on, but I have to charge you two bills and hour, just like everyone else, but I will do something for you I don't do, and that's to say, if you want, when I'm off, we can go and talk more outside of here. You I trust, you know that, Mack? Oops, sorry, Michael..." she replied, suddenly needing another cigarette. "I hope you don't mind. I know it's a filthy habit, but it helps sometimes..." she asked, holding her little case up. He nodded, though the expression on his face said something else.

    "I understand, and yeah, it's bad. But I guess it goes with the territory, huh? Feel free, and don't worry about my nickname, I'm used to it by now," he said, watching her dig one out and light it up with a faint tremble. "Here, here's a grand. I was gonna blow it at the tables after the horndogs I'm chaperoning were done, but this is more important," he said, counting off several hundreds and handing them to her. She took them reluctantly, but slipped them into a slot in the nightstand anyway.

    "That's for those 'just in cases', where the client decides his evening wasn't worth it. Okay, we are now officially engaged in intercourse, of a sorts, so, fire away," she said, throwing a surprisingly fit leg over the other as she sat there. He was silent for a few moments before beginning,

    "Okay, first of all, how the hell did you end up doing this? The last time your name came up, you were writing for some magazine in New York. What happened?" he asked, laying back with his hands behind his head. Daria got up, and flicked an ash off, before slipping out of her shoes.

    "Oddly enough, the magazine was at least partly responsible for it all. Yeah, I was lucky and landed a good job right out of school, with a new literary magazine, Writer's Bloc. The publisher was all gung-ho for hip, edgy stuff, and for the first year, we were the gnat's ass in the publishing world. But..." she took another drag and ground it out. "He was also a jerk of the first order. To start with, he founded it on a shaky premise, up against some of the real heavyweights in the industry, and he also wasn't that smart with his money, either. After the first year, subscriptions and overall readership fell to a 'normal' level, but by then, the whole rag was over extended on it's credit."

    "That's not unusual with any new biz, you know. I learned that getting my MBA, Daria. I heard about the details, but I didn;t think that it's going out of business would have such...repercussions, at least for you," Mack nodded. Daria laughed, humorlessly.

    "No, it shouldn't have, but I made the mistake of hitching my wagon to it, stock options, all that other nonsense, in lieu of pay sometimes. It was stupid, and I should have known better, but for once in my life, I believed in something enough to make a real commitment, and when the bubble burst, I lost it all. At the end, I was living off the company cards until it went into recievership, and unfortunately, I just wasn't able to find anything in the same field. I was down to waitressing before I came out here, you know that?" she said, sitting next to him again.

    "You? A waitress? That I find even less believable that this!" Mack laughed, then stopped when he saw the look on her face. "Sorry. I guess I'd do the same if I were in the same boat, Daria. But that still doesn't explain how you came to all this"

    "Thanks, I was about to mention a certain ice-cream man," she smiled back at him. "Yeah, I was waiting tables for a while in New York, but it was so hard, serving the same people I once called colleagues. No, it doesn't, but I was getting to that. You see, a few months after I started working for the magazine, my editor wanted a hot piece, something that would really bring in the readers, and it was my turn to step up to the plate. It was either this or the Middle East, and I have an aversion to getting shot for a story, so, to make a long story short, I found myself getting a sheriff's card and hiring on at another little bordello to get some background, to go along with a piece on a novel written by a former prostitute." She lit another one, shakily, and he didn't say a thing, seeing as she was a little upset now.

   "The piece was okay, and it really wasn't that hard to go through with, at the time. I only worked long enough to get the story, then I quit and came back to New York. Not long after that, cracks started to appear in the hull, so to speak. The editor was busted for insider trading, the publisher got divorced, and the bank started getting ugly when the returns started coming up short. It was the usual story, you know. Most start-ups fail in the industry, and Writer's Bloc was no exception. Advertisers started pulling out, and the new editor tried to remake it a couple times, all to no avail. By the time we finally threw in the towel, we couldn't even afford the printers anymore. The only reason I stayed on to the end was because of my contract and profit sharing. When the profits dried up, so did my take-home. That's when the restaurant industry beckoned me." she continued.

    She got up and went to her closet, and selected a bathrobe. "Hope you don't mind, it get's cold in the desert at night, and most of my outfits won't cover a Barbie doll. "When I lost my apartment, I considered moving back home, but by then Quinn was already back there, with her kid, and I just couldn't imagine dealing with it. I'd been applying to every newspaper and magazine in the country, but nothing was coming in, my loans were piling up, and I had to do something. I still had my license, so I figured, what the hell? I bummed a plane ticket from my parents, and here I am," she said, looking away.

    "Damn. If it could happen to you, it could happen to anyone, I suppose," Mack replied, as he sat back up. "You mean to say that not a single paper would consider you suitable to work for them? That I can't understand one little bit, I mean, hell, Daria, you have to be one of the ten smartest people I know. Any operation would consider you an asset on their staff, I would think," he said, heatedly. She laughed grimly at that, and wrapped the terry robe around her tightly.

    "You would, but they look at more than just ability, you know? Politics play a big part in their hiring practices, along with your work history, and both the publisher and editor managed to piss off the balance of the industry. Also, since I tied in my income so closely with the operation, I was considered part of the management, which doesn't help when you show up begging for a job. They have a surplus of interns willing to work for peanuts being churned out every year, so why bother hiring someone who indirectly pissed you off. It was a Catch-22 kind of situation, and ultimately, I had no choice. To make a long story short, I was blacklisted, and unless I get lucky, that's ended any hopes I have writing for a living," she said.

    "But what about your books? I've read your stuff before, and I'm sure you could sell something!" Mack protested. "Hell, didn't you have some kind of spy thing going...yeah, something Powers? I saw a little of one of 'em a long time ago. What about that?" he asked.

     "You mean Melody? I wish...Mack, you gotta understand just how many people submit ideas to publishers each year? Thousands, if not millions, and the vast majority of them are hackneyed clones of the big writers, as, unfortunately, I am. I still write, but what I was cranking out wasn't up to snuff for the printing houses, I'm afraid. And submitting isn't cheap, either. Just sending in one story can set you back fifty bucks, and after the company card dried up, I simply couldn't afford to keep trying. For a while, I worked at an insurance company, but thanks to my charming personality, that ended badly. I ended up one day faced with either this or Burgerama. What would you do then?" she said, wearily.

    "Damn. And damn again. You could...never mind, I said it already. What I can't see is know..." he said, awkwardly. Daria gave him an odd look, and sashayed over to him, with a sexy wiggle in her hips.

     "Oh, you mean this? Please, Mack, I lost my virginity a long time ago, pal, and frankly, it really isn't all that hard to act the part anymore. Hell, I'm even pretty good at some of this shit now. Want a demonstration?" she asked, with a weird smile. "Remember, I grew up with my sister, and I picked up things by absorption from her and her idiot friends, Michael," she said, kneeling before him and resting her chin on his lap. "After all, you are paying for it, why not find out if it's worth it, hmmm?"

    His eyes widened, and he almost pushed her away. "But me and Jodie...Damn, Daria! I know back in high school, a couple times, I wondered...You know, guys are...thinkin' things like that, uhhhh...." he stammered uncomfortably, as she leaned back and flipped her hair around a bit.

    "Like a married man has never passed through that door, please! And from a professional athlete, no less. Mack, trust me, I've learned precisely how to make sure guys leave here with a smile on their faces. Hell, it ain't all that hard, considering most of 'em can't get it anyway else, so why not? The thought crossed my mind a couple times back then, but I didn't know precisely what to do about it at the time. Come on, if you don't, you'll always wonder, and I wouldn't want you to do that," she said, massaging his shoulders.

    He closed his eyes and felt her small hands expertly finding the knots and bumps incurred during the last training camp, and he didn't protest as she got behind him and massaged his neck and shoulders. "If you like, we can take this to the jacuzzi. I will say you definitely have filled out some since last time I saw you," she remarked, as her hands traced over the thickly corded muscles of his back and neck, gently easing his shirt off. He didn't resist, and shortly, was face-down on her bed as she rubbed his back, sliding his shirt off far easier than he thought possible. "Daria? Uhhh...." he said, nervously.

    "Shhhh, think of it as a just in case my boss peeks in. She does that, especially with me, sometimes. Besides, you're laying out righteous bucks to chat, so you might as well get a little more out of it. I know I would be, if the situation were reversed," she said calmly, finally getting his shirt away from him. "As I was saying..." she began again, but he said,

    "Daria, please, I..I can't. Look, I'm only here to keep those bozos out of trouble, and dammit, I'm married! If Jodie found out I was even here, and you..." he fell speechless, but Daria kept massaging him, and he did nothing to stop her. "But, that does feel pretty damn good...Dammit!" he started forward, but she held on.

    "Dammit yourself, Mack. If you bolt out of here after leaving a freaking grand in my strongbox, my boss will ask some pointed questions, and you've only been her twenty three minutes. Now lean back and relax, dammit, or I'll get some of the weirdo gear that's stashed in here," she threatened, half-seriously. He lay back, with a defeated look, and rolled over so she could straddle his broad back. "Damn, you've filled out since then, haven't you?" she said, in a tone that seemed genuinely sincere. And pleased.

    "Grew three inches and about seventy pounds, and I can do the fifty and hundred two seconds faster. Still fighting for a starter slot, but I'm in as a backup. For the moment that is..." he chuckled, forgetting his trepidation as Daria's small hands found every crevice and bulge of his thick sheath of muscles, tugging and working out the knots and kinks of a hard summer of practice, weight training, and the journey out to the remote bordello. "You could go into business just doing this, or haven't you though about it?" he asked.

     "Yeah, but it gets to be too much like work after awhile. It may sound odd, but this really is one of the easiest jobs I've had to do. With certain exceptions, the customer pretty much handles the heavy lifting," she said, leaning close and letting her hair run over his exposed flesh. He turned his head, and gave her a look which she returned with an enigmatic smile. "Besides, it'd be another license I'd have to get, and then overcoming this wonderful addition to my resume to compete against yet another pack of recent graduates...You get the picture. I don't like this job as much as I hate it, I more prefer to remain static for now until something better comes along. Or I pay off my loan, whichever comes first."

     "I see your point. Do your parents know about this? Or your sister?" he ventured carefully, which made her stop for a moment. "Sorry. Wasn't trying to blow your rhythm," he murmured. She sighed and began again, this time with long, thrusting strokes up and down his back.

      "Three guesses and the first two don't count, Mack. I have my mail forwarded to a remailing service and when I call, it's always from a pre-pay cell so they can't get the area code, and as for Quinn, well...Let's just say we haven't spoken much since she started at Pepperhill. Nothing worse than usual, but the little episode of sisterliness only lasts so long. I think she's still there, but I don't know," she replied without a hint of emotion. "And don't worry about me blowing my rhythm, mister, I've grown up a little bit since we last met," she whispered huskily, as she got him to roll over. Before he knew it, she had his pants open, and starting to come down, and he drew his breath in. "Uh uh..." she whispered, laying her head on his chest and gently kissing him all over, slowly going down farther and farther....

    "Dammit, Daria, stop! Please! You're my friend, and...I'm married, and...It just ain't....Whoaaaaaaa...." he gasped, as her lips found the head of his now hard penis, playing across it's tip as she gently stroked it with her fingertips. Mack's heart was pounding, and he was half crazy with indecision.

    "Dear God! If Jodie found out I was even here, and Daria....Oh man, but it feels...Oh hell...." he said to himself, as she began taking his stiff member into her tiny mouth, sucking on it greedily, as she tickled the hairs on his scrotum gently. "What the hell, if you're dead set on earning that money, who am I to say..." he sighed, and thought he heard a low chuckle coming from below. She slowly sucked him into and out of her mouth farther and farther, until his penis was free, and he felt a warm cloth washing it.

     "Sorry, forgot to warn you. State law, ya gotta get disinfected before we go on, now relax..." she said, snapping open a condom wrapper one-handed and rolling it on with a smooth motion before cradling it in both hands as she rose up and knelt over him. Mack needed no coaching here, and guided his member into her as she settled down. "Mmmmmm, you know what they always say, Mack?" she sighed, slowly rising up and down on him as he held onto her hips.

     "No, what?" he whispered back, thrusting upwards into her harder, as she laid her hands on his taut chest.

      "A good man is hard to find, but a hard man is a good find, and you don't seem so reluctant now, do ya, sport?" she smiled, as he cautiously squeezed her well-formed breast. "Who says a brain can't be a good lay, huh? Mmmmmm," she moaned, as they continued writhing on her bed. Slowly, carefully, and and without breaking contact, she managed to get him on top of her, and he began to thrust harder, and faster. "Oh yeah...Harder....Yeahhhhh...Harder....Mack....Oh, God, Mack....More...." she began to pant as he pounded away, all his fears forgotten, losing himself in that trasncendental daze of primal lust until finally, he came, his fluid filling the rubber with a hot wetness.

    He lay there, panting, and seeing little points of light."Mack? Ya gotta get off me, please....Whoa, you really do deserve the nickname Mack-Daddy, you know that? I've had some of the brothers before, but you are the best..." she cooed, as he regained his senses. He rolled off and she snuggled up close to him. "And that wasn't just the usual bullshit I have to say, I really mean it. You wouldn't know..." she added, her eyes flicking to her watch. "You still have over an hour to kill, why don't we take a break and hit the jacuzzi, okay?" He nodded, his eyes closed, as if to shut something out.

    "Yeah...That'd be great. I can also maybe check on those rookies, too, right? I mean...Coach really just sent me to eyeball them boys, not get my ashes hauled," he replied, in a downbeat tone. With a start, he just realized that sometime during the encounter, Daria had shed her clothing, and she rose gracefully and went to the closet and withdrew a bathrobe.

    "Here. Your stuff will be safe here, Mack. And I'm quite sure your charges are quite occupied, otherwise my boss would've been in here a long time ago. Come on, you'll love it," she said, holding her hand out as he donned the robe and rose. "We actually have four of them, so it's rare to have to wait, but there are other things to occupy the time while we wait," she added, with a little smile. He had been wondering about something, and finally it hit him.

     "What happened to your glasses? I almost didn't recognize you in the line up, but for some reason it didn't occur to me until just now. Weird, huh?" he said, smacking himself in the forehead. " I mean...Well, you know..." She gave him a neutral look, as she casually replied,

     "If you want to think about it that way, yeah. You've seen me without glasses before enough times though, so I wasn't surprised when you recognized me, only when you chose me. I've been waiting for the day when I finally ran into someone I know to come in. I'm glad it was you, you know that?" she said, guiding him down the hall and out side of the prefabricated building into an atrium of sorts, enclosed by the other modules set up on the desert floor. On either side, brooding, alien-looking mountains cradled the sky, where a crescent moon shone down. In the atrium, four outdoor jacuzzis stood, separated by lattices and dividers for privacy, and soft music resonated through the area, mingled with the giggles and moans of the working girls and their clients.

    One was open, and she dropped her robe and ushered him into the hot, bubbling water. "Doesn't that feel great, after being in the cold night air? Some things about this I honestly do like, Mack. Come here," she said, as he settled into the water with a sigh. He sat beside her, and felt a small hand touch his penis. "Just checking to see how it's doing. Gotta be a professional about things like that," she smirked, as he recoiled before sitting back down and letting her stroke him as she continued to talk.

    "Since I now have your undivided attention, I felt I should add a little more about why I chose this over a rewarding career waitressing. Remember what I told you about having my income tied in a little too closely to the magazines? Well, in addition to having to go for a couple months without pay, I'm also listed as a partner, and liable for some of the debts it had. Between that and my loan, frankly, the only other job I could get would have been robbing banks or smuggling drugs," she said flatly, as his dick hardened again.

     "Damn...I mean, dammit, that doesn't sound fair at all, Daria...Man..." he moaned, trying to follow her conversation, but the sensations he was feeling wasn't helping. "How much?" he managed to say, his eyes closed as she chuckled again.

     "It wasn't so bad, the credit card bills I ran up, some odds and ends for royalties, in the end about a hundred grand. Believe it or not, I'm almost halfway paid off now, and if I can handle this for another year or so, the student loan's history too," she said, one hand darting into a hidden storage bay in the side of the tub and withdrawing another condom packet. This time he saw it, and watched as she flicked her thumb and forefinger just so, popping it open before dunking her hand below the surface.

     "That really sucks...Ah! Damn, woman! If you had known about this back in Lawndale..." he exclaimed, as she slid down onto his rock-hard shaft, her long, brown hair falling over his face as she slowly bobbed up and down.

      "Now, if I did, what kind of introverted brain would that have made me? Hell," she breathed heavily, as they embraced tightly, "The reason I never dated was the fact boys irritated me. Not because they were male, but because most of them were stupid as...MMmmm yeah...You know what I mean..." she sighed, as they slowly screwed in the water, the dim lights beneath the surface contrasting to the crystalline darkness of the desert night. For a fleeting moment, she wished the moment would never end, the pool, the night, and Mack's darkly gleaming, sculpted form before her, and she smiled.

      "Daria, Dar..." he began, before she shushed him with a finger. "I'm 'Melody', when I'm working, please. I don't want any of the other clients to know my real name, cause trouble," she whispered, and he nodded. "Now, where were we?" she said, with her odd little smile, grinding her hips as he thrust into her. It took a little while, but he came again, and they sat there, motionless for quite awhile before she led him out. "Can't get too silly with the tubs, I'm afraid. Besides, there's other things to do, if you know what I mean..." she winked, leading him back to her room like a child.

    When she closed the door, Mack opened his robe and looked at her, with a wry smile. "Well, I see Mr. Happily Married man has finally gotten over his fears, huh? Does this mean I won't have to lead you by the hand anymore," she asked, cocking her hip. He laughed as he picked her up and carried her to the bed over his shoulder.

   "What do you think?" he said, a note of cockiness in his voice. Gently laying her down, he let his robe fall free as she threw her open again, when there was a knock on the door.

    "Who is it?" Daria said, in her old annoyed tone. A young man's voice answered, tired and strained.

    "Uhhh, sorry, ma'am, but the lady said Mack was in there. Can ya tell him we're all done now, an' wanna go? Please?" She looked at him, and saw the same look he always got when Kevin said something stupid, and he snarled in reply,

    "You're done? What the hell you talking about, you're done? Dammit, you're both players in the N F fuckin' L, don't tell me you're done after two damn hours!" he roared, putting a finger to his lips for Daria. "You're both what, twenty one, twenty-two? And you're done? Bullshit! Both of you get your asses back to that madam and get yourselves another woman, dammit! You ain't done until I tell you you're done, now go!" he added, as they both tried to keep from laughing. Another voice, morose, replied from behind the door.

     "Uhhh, okay, Mack. But we ran outta cash. Coach didn't tell us we needed to bring no cash, man. Just to get our asses on the team plane with you and get over here after camp. What do we say to 'em when they ask?" Mack rolled his eyes and snarled back angrily,

      "Then you fucking well tell them what you are, and if they want, I'l put it on the team card, dammit! Now get outta here before I come out there and kick your asses! Now go!" he barked, and they could heavy footsteps hurrying away. "You see what I have to deal with? It's been like this since high school, Daria. As soon as a coach sees my grades and my lack of a police record, I become the team mommy somehow. Coach has this idea if someone's not playing up to par, it helps to loosen them up a little, I don't know, but we sure do have a lot of damn happy players. Normally, we go up near Vegas, but we only had the little plane this time, and time was short. How long you been working here again?" he asked, his erection gone, and his senses returning.

     "Mack, really, I can't say. Not long as some, but...long enough. Say, before we go off on any tangents, I just wanna let you know time's running. If you want, we can go for two more, at one fifty, sound fair? You know the business," she sighed. Mack snorted, and nodded.

      "Believe me, I do. The coaches always sent me to handle the money, even back in college, because most of those morons couldn't add. Here I am, a professional football player, and I'm chaperoning idiots like Kevin. But hey, seven million makes it bearable, I suppose," he said, offhandedly. Daria gave him a cool look.

     "Seven million, huh? I'm glad for you, Mack, really I am, but unfortunately, I'm about to really become what I am now and ask, why not go for the whole night? Two grand gets you the run of the house, and your choice of beds to end up in. Of course, everything goes," she sighed, looking away, but her eyes flicked back at him. He whistled low.

     "Damn, Da...Melody, you have expanded your world, but I understand. I have to get those bozos back on the plane by two, I'm afraid, but I do believe you're gonna be getting a hell of a tip," he said, leaning in close and kissing her, which surprised her.

     "You know," she said, in a low, sultry voice. "Technically, that cost you five bucks, but I'll let it slide. Actually, I was kind of hoping you would, not for the money, but just so I don't have to do another line up. It's the part about this I loathe the most, being paraded like a piece of cattle. The only thing that's missing are the eartags. But you, you're a gentleman, Mack. Tonight was really a pleasure for me, and I do mean that. Will you be coming back soon?" she said. He paused a moment, and looked thoughtful.

     "Maybe. Like I said, the coach usually sends the guys off to the ones near Vegas, in the big team plane. We just had the little one, since it was just the three of us this trip, but I'm definitely gonna make sure this place is visited again, you can tell your boss that," he smiled, giving her a kiss on the forehead. "And...I think I will be seeing you again real soon. Maybe not for this, but just to visit an old friend, is that okay?" he said, quietly.

     "I'd like that, Mack. I'd like you to tell Jodie I said hi, but you can't. I don't want her or anyone else to know where I am or what I'm doing, but...." she reached into the nightstand and pulled out a business card. "If you need to get hold of me, here's my cell number and the address I can be reached through. Just in case," she said, flatly. "Mack, I have to get ready for the mext line up, so..." she said, apologetically. He nodded, and gave her a hug as well.

     "I know. I'm gonna go collect my boys and get back to the airport so we can get some sleep before afternoon drills, but we will be coming back. This place is nice and quiet, good to keep from news of the coach's 'practices' out of the news. See you later, Daria," he said, pulling off a thick wad of bills and handing them to her. "Consider this a tip, okay? Take care..."

    She walked him to the sitting room and left him there, where he inquired as to how long his charges would be. The madam spoke with him for a few moments as Daria went back to her room to get into a new outfit. A few minutes later, she knocked on her door. "Melody? A few words please?" the woman asked quietly.

    Opening the door, Daria sighed, "Yes, ma'am? I'll be ready in a few minutes," as she let her in. The woman, at least as old as her mother, came in and gave her a rare smile.

     "I was surprised you managed a multi-hour session, honey. And with a pro ball player, too. I hope he'll be back?" she asked, suggestively. Daria nodded. "One question, though. It was obvious you two knew each other. You didn't give it away, but I saw the look on his face and how urgent he was in choosing you. We're not going to have any problems, are we?" Daria explained their relationship, and why he and his fellows were there, and what Mack had said before leaving, which made the woman grin from ear to ear. "I'm impressed! Since he's a friend of yours, I'm giving you a percentage of any business he brings our way, and he also had some nice things to say about you. Why don't you take the rest of the night off, hon? You've about made the night for us between the three of them, and what he said to those two earlier was priceless! See you tomorrow," she said gaily.

    It was a few weeks later, and summer was turning into fall. Daria had started to follow the football schedule, to determine when Mack may be coming, but he didn't show, although several times, players from the team would come to partake of the fruits available. She was coming out of the post office with her mail, and she opened the manila envelope from the remailer. In addition to the letters from her lawyers, creditors, and the state, there was a plainly marked envelope, with the return address reading simply "Mack". She tore it open, and almost fell over.

    The note was cryptically short, detailing the birth of his and Jodie's son, but the other article was what floored her. She looked at the cashier's check numbly, counting the zero's over and over. "Mack, you magnificent son of a bitch..." she said, clutching the check tightly, as if it might evaporate in her hands. "One hundred thousand dollars...Oh, Mack, I owe you big time..." she thought, guilt, joy, and relief cascading over her as she walked unsteadily to her car

The End

Author's Note: Daria belongs to MTV, the Arizona Cardninals property of the NFL, used without permission, and hopefully without harming their good name in this work of fiction. Apologies to professional sex workers in the State of Nevada if I got any facts wrong :)