Waiting for Business – Drew Payne

June 1994

Calvin lay back on the sofa and flicked through a copy of Gay Times magazine. This copy was months old and he’d read it when it first came out, but he was bored and there was nothing to do. He hated working the afternoon sessions, business was always slow, but Essex Brian insisted that they all take a turn at it. This afternoon was his turn.

He was in the “lounge”, the room with the window where customers could view them and pick which one they wanted, with Hitch, Spanish Juan, and Pete (Not any of their real names, but then Calvin wasn’t his real name either). The four of them were just lounging around, the television on in the background, but the room was mostly in silence. He didn’t really know the other three, and it seemed the others felt the same, so no one was talking.

When a customer did come in, Essex Brian would ring a bell, all of them would jump into their respective poses and wait. When the customer had made his choice, Essex Brian would call out the “lucky” guy’s name and he’d go off with the customer to one of the private rooms. So far there had only been three customers that afternoon, and only one had wanted Calvin, a businessman in his fifties with bad breath.

The brothel he worked in was in the basement of an Earls Court town house. It was a basic layout; a tiny reception area, with a security camera; the “lounge”; five of the private rooms; a tiny shower room, where they cleaned up after each customer; an equally tiny kitchen that hardly anyone used, and all of it painted in pale blue and cream. It was nothing like the Paris brothels he’d seen in films as a child, but it was a job. The rest of the house was the home of Scots Brian and Essex Brian, the two queens who ran the brothel, though it did mean at least one of them was always around.

When he’d come to London, two years ago, the only work he found was bar work, he wasn’t qualified for anything else. After eighteen months of long hours, rude drinkers, managers who groped him and ones that even expected regular sex just so he could keep his job, he was fed up of it all. It was a one-night-stand that led to his change in career. He’d slept with Carl, a gregarious brunette, two weeks before Carl left London for Australia. Carl had been working in the brothel and told him that he’d be great for it. Calvin reasoned that he probably would: he was young, blonde, attractive, versatile, and a bit of a slut. It couldn’t be any worse than bar work.

His “interview” with Scots Brian had been easy if a little strange. Scots Brian had quizzed him about his sex life and got him to strip naked, which Calvin actually found erotic in such a strange setting, even though Scots Brian didn’t touch him. Once he was dressed again, they discussed his rates of pay and what was expected of him. That was it; he was a sex worker in a male brothel.

Quickly he grew to realise that working in a brothel wasn’t the debauched orgy that the porn he’d seen made it out to be. In reality, it was dull and monotonous work. When the brothel was busy, weekends and evenings, it was a non-stop round of mediocre or bad sex; when the work was slow, like today, it was mind-numbing. The brothel’s owners were just as unpredictable. Scots Brian was friendly and chatty to your face, but bitchy and negative behind your back. He never seemed to have a good word to say about anyone. Essex Brian ran the brothel like he was some tyrannical school teacher, snapping at them and bossing them around like they were still school kids who couldn’t behave.

The worst part was the sex; it was so dull and repetitive. He was short and blonde – “boyish”, Scots Brian called him – and men only seemed to want to fuck him. He’d prided himself on his versatility, not being stuck to only one role like so many men he met, but at the brothel there was none of that. When it was busy he’d seem to spend most of the evening with his face pushed into a pillow, often counting down the moments until it was over. On quiet days the boredom would make him boil with frustration, which was rarely relieved by the few customers. This disillusion with sex was overflowing into his own life; often now he found the sex he had outside of work didn’t fulfill him.

The metallic bell sounded in the room, the warning that there was finally a customer in the brothel. Calvin quickly assumed his usual pose: stretched out on the sofa, his right leg bent and pushing his groin forward in his tight jeans, his right hand lifting up his tee shirt and exposing his flat stomach. He did this every time and then waited for the result. Hopefully the customer would pick him, because even bad sex was better than this boredom.

He’d never have thought, before coming to work here, that being a male whore in a brothel could be so boring.

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I live in London, England, where I work as a nurse. I have been writing prose and drama since I was a teenager, which I have had published, in various publications, with increasing success, year on year, for the last ten years.

I have had work published in the anthologies, Nurses on the Run, Don’t Judge This Book By It’s Cover, Telling Tales and Courage To Love. My essay, “More Then Just Making Beds and Emptying Bedpans”, was published in the 2010 anthology Nurses on the Run. I have had short stories published in the magazines Chroma, Velvet Mafia, ScotsGay, Creative Week, and Moonlicht Nicht plus the website Gay Flash Fiction. I am also a regular contributor to FS Magazine, a National Men’s Health magazine, Nursing Times and Nursing Standard, Britain’s leading nursing publications, and for the Nursing Standard I have three times been a guest editor. At present I am working on a novel, set in the contemporary London, and a fantasy novel also set in the present day.

My website contains examples of my writing.
My Blog

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