I mentioned that I am a published writer in my massage website profile. I felt this bit of information gave depth to my bio and could serve as an icebreaker and conversation topic during the massage. For the talkative and literate clientele this bit of information did exactly that.
And then there was Ronald.
When he called he initially expressed interest in a Swedish-style massage.
"Hi. May I please speak with C.J?"
"This is him."
"Hello C.J. This is Ronald speaking. It is my understanding that you do outcall massage."
"Wonderful. I could use a little muscle work but I must tell you that I am quite a bit overweight. Oh … and could you wear boxer shorts during the massage?"
"That's fine. I have clients of all shapes and sizes. And yes, I can wear boxers."
The conversation then took an unexpected turn. In my line of work, that happens a lot.
"You have a very nice voice. Melodious even." He extended the O syllable of melodious for miles, then wrapped up the last two syllables quickly, turning them upward and extending the S as if he were Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series.
" … Thank you."
We set up an appointment for ten o'clock the next morning.
At 9:55 pm, I was knocking on the heavy door of an immaculate Gold Coast townhouse. When Ronald opened the door he was much larger than a bit overweight. He was about forty years old with curly brown hair that framed a kind, cherubic face with brown eyes. He was wearing a maroon and tan paisley smoking jacket that could have doubled as an economy-sized car cover. He invited me in and led me into the library. In the center of the library lay two enormous floor pillows. He saw me looking at them, then stated that I wouldn't need the table. I asked why while leaning it against a wall of books.
"Well, since you have such a wonderful reading voice, I've decided I'd like you read to me instead. You'll be on one pillow in your boxer shorts while I lay on the other pillow, fully clothed, with my head in your lap. Also, I'll pay you double, as I understand that reading to clientele is not your usual occupation."
I considered the additional two hundred bucks and agreed, knowing full well he had planned this all along. After all, I read aloud for years in school. The only difference was about four hundred pounds.
"And what would you like me to read today?" I asked while stripping down to my boxer shorts.
"Well, I'm thinking either the Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson or A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens."
"Dickens," I replied immediately.
There was no way I was reading lesbian poetry to a whale in a smoking jacket with his head on my lap. Anyway, I had always been a fan of Charles Dickens. He handed me a thick, leather bound copy of A Tale of Two Cities, and I sat down on my pillow as he lay down on his, positioning his rather heavy head in my lap. I opened to the first page thinking that Charles Dickens must be spinning like a turbine in his grave over this scenario.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …"