A female colleague – let’s call her Susan - has just left the company I work for to start a better-paid job at an ‘escort agency’.
Not as an actual escort – she’s nearly sixty, was never a ‘looker’ in her youth and would be a cock-wilting disappointment if she turned up at your front door for some coke-fueled anonymous ‘affection’ - more an office-manager sort of thing for the agency.
I ask her if she is not slightly concerned about long-term job security in an industry notorious for falling foul of the law. And about stuff like hygienic working environments and constant contact with people who are at best morally ‘flexible’. Including her new employer.
She is certain that her new employer is at heart a good man. She tells me his story.
He was a man of the cloth – a vicar. His wife died in a car accident, he lost his faith in God and left the clergy. And turned to drink. And gambling. Poker. Which to his astonishment he turned out to be very good at. He cleaned-up and made a fortune from cards. There is a website of a casino in Las Vegas that still lists him as their biggest winner. She’s seen it.
He bought a large, expensive quayside apartment in our city upon his return and tried to lead a blameless life.
One night he heard a terrible commotion in the hallway outside his apartment. A couple of hysterical young girls were banging on his door – they couldn’t get help elsewhere. There was a very drunk, abusive gentleman in their apartment, they couldn’t get rid of him.
The hero of our story dispatches this gentleman, advising him never to return. The girls are grateful. They tell him their own story, what they do for a living, working from their apartment. Our hero is filled with nothing but concern for the well-being of these girls – do they not have any protection, anyone to look after them, he asks.
No, they reply, we are alone and vulnerable. Will you look after us?
Our hero cannot turn his back on these poor waifs, and begins conducting their affairs for them – providing them with much-needed safety. And a steady supply of well-vetted clients. Soon other lost souls hear of this wonderful man, and before long he is taking care of many young women, and starts an agency.
It’s like he has his flock back.
In my opinion, this is an utterly brilliant story of lost faith and redemption in the unlikeliest setting.
And I wonder if even Susan believes a fucking word of it.