• Brothel

    Brothel owner and reality TV star Dennis Hof advances in Nevada election. “Call him a pimp. A brothel owner. A businessman. Now call him the Republican nominee for a Nevada State Assembly seat…Hof, who has billed himself as the “Trump from Pahrump,” nabbed the endorsement of Nye County’s Republicans.”
    David Montero, Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2018


    The “Trump from Pahrump.” A brothel owner.

    As a child, “brothel” was one of the words that fascinated me. I found it in the books my mother stuffed under her bed, the ones I was not supposed to read but did anyway when she was at work. She was at work a lot. I found it in the paperback books I bought at the corner liquor stores, the ones I found on the spinning racks by the magazines. (Remember when liquor stores sold books? The corner liquor store was my first bookstore. This was in the early 1970s.) I favored Tudor romances, Henry the VIII and his doomed wives. I especially liked the court intrigue, the young women on the margins, the virtuous servant girls and meek attendants who caught the eyes of courtiers (another romantic word!), the ones who had fine ankles and slim necks and who could, despite their humble origins, sing a light air, play a lute, or embroider a fine stitch.

    On afternoons when mother returned home from work with some man, she’d give me some tip money from her apron, pockets heavy with quarters and dimes, and tell me to take my little sister and go for a walk. “Come back in two hours,” she’d say. I’d pack the stroller and off we’d go, stopping by the liquor store for a 95-cent paperback, a bag of Rold Gold pretzels and a lemonade. We’d walk to the park if there was one. (This was Torrance, Gardena, Lomita, South Bay cities. I was 11, 12, 13 years old.) If there wasn’t, we’d hang in the liquor store parking lot. My sister (sometimes one, sometimes two), would doze with her bottle. They were good girls always. I’d find some shade and sit on a concrete tire stopper, the stroller beside me, reading about women in brothels, the word a rich mix of broth and breath. A broth of women. Breathing. Even when I didn’t know exactly what it was, I knew what it was. After two hours, I’d go home. There was nowhere else to go. If the door was still locked, I didn’t knock. I turned the stroller back to the sidewalk and kept walking for a while. Sometimes the sun would set. We’d be out there. Walking. Waiting.