Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Brothel Idea

The Brothel Idea

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Sometimes I wish that as lady of the house, I could be even more in charge of what goes on around here, because if I could, sometimes I think I’d turn my house into a brothel. It would be nice to see men happy and relaxed, gently caressing the naked arms of women in various stages of undress. It would be nice to see the women, all shapes and sizes, proud of their offerings and secret abilities. My favorite customer would be the 60-year-old widowed rancher who came in every Saturday night to see the same girl; he would buy them both just a couple of drinks, and then I would show them their room. My favorite employee would be the 40-year-old recovered alcoholic who we surreptitiously gave Cokes instead of rum and Cokes, grape juice instead of wine, who suffered the fumbling young men whose first choice was her, who wore her long hair up most of the time and little makeup on a face that somehow hadn’t aged. In my brothel, the rancher and 40-year-old would eventually fall in love, kind of like Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. Off they would go to work the land and live decent lives, leaving me behind to keep on pimping.

This mindset comes, perhaps, from the fact that most people who currently come to my house are men. The exterminator, the roofing contractor, the bottled water truck driver, the landscaper—all men. Sometimes it feels like there’s a parade of men coming and going through my house, all here to take my money, so I think it would be nifty if—once in awhile—men showed up and gave me money, hence the brothel idea.

I didn’t say it was a good one.

I was home yesterday, waiting for yet another man: a Home Depot representative who would return my repaired, re-strung, custom-made $300 Hunter-Douglas wood blinds to me and my naked window through which God and everyone could have been peeping for the last month. I knew this man’s name was Theo because I had met him when I hauled the broken blinds into Home Depot weeks ago. At the time he had struck me as a taller, gentler version of Homer Simpson.

Dissatisfied by the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. window of time that Theo had apparently assumed I’d set aside for his services, I called Home Depot in the morning in hopes of setting a more exact appointment, something in the early afternoon. This worked; Theo would arrive right after lunch. He showed up with my blinds in a long cardboard tube and immediately started work unpacking them. I asked if he would be needing my help with anything, and he said no, so I excused myself to continue my brothel-planning in the other room.

After not hearing much for about thirty minutes—no cussing, no mumbling, no frustrated phone calls for assistance—I returned to the scene of the blinds. There they hung in my picture window. I watched while Theo snapped the valance into place.

“They look good,” I said.

“Yes, they do,” Theo replied, bending down to pick up two additional wood slats off the floor. “And Hunter-Douglas was kind enough to include two extra pieces!”

I stepped closer to inspect the kindness of a window treatment company. “That one’s cracked,” I said, pointing to the splinters. “And so is the other one.”

Theo frowned. “You’re right,” he said. “Maybe they’re from your blinds.”

I held my tongue regarding what I wanted to say about a company that returned trash to its customers. Instead, I walked to the window to get a closer look. “I hate to say this, but the strings are all twisted,” I said. “Just like they were when I returned them. That’s why they wouldn’t go up and down.”

“They’re supposed to be like that,” Theo said.

I raised my eyebrows in surprise instead of going directly into my don’t-frick-with-me look. I continued: “The little groove in the slats where the strings are supposed to be isn’t catching the string. Look. The slats move all over the place.”

Theo looked. “Those are called ‘floating” slats,” he said. “They catch the groove when they need to.”

When they need to, my ass. At that point, I definitely felt that I was being fricked with.

“What about the space at the bottom?” I said, pointing to the one-inch gap between the window sill and the bottom rail of the blinds. “That was never there before. Maybe Hunter-Douglas broke those ‘extra’ slats.”

“No,” said Theo. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be. They must have been too long before.”

“Theo,” I said, my hands on my hips, “lemme tell ya somethin’. These might not be broken right now as we speak, but I can guarantee you they’ll be broken not long after you walk out of this house. The strings are twisted, the slats are all over the place, and the sheer weight of them,”—I paused to pull on the cord, using both hands and throwing all my weight into raising the blinds, which bowed in the middle on their way up, ending in a mocking smile at the top—“the sheer weight of this thing prevents it from working correctly. Do you see that? They shouldn’t even make wood blinds this long.”

“I’m just the head installer,” Theo replied as I lost my grip on the cord and went flying towards the ceiling. “That’s all I do,” he called out. “Install! I don’t work for Hunter-Douglas; I work for Home Depot, and my boss is out today! But I’ll definitely tell him of your concerns!”

I climbed down from the ceiling, using the wood slats as steps. “Thanks, I’d appreciate that,” I said, and shook Theo’s hand. “Say,” I added as he started to pick up the packaging and broken slats. “I noticed that your belt has the words 'Scout Law' on it.” I hoped that my being polite enough to ask about his hand-tooled belt, combined with my listening to the gripping Boy Scout hiking story that my inquiry elicited, combined with my verbal restraint earlier in regards to his B.S. about Hunter Douglas (clearly the greatest company on earth next to Chick-fil-A)—I hoped that all of this would work together to make Theo sympathetic to my desires as lady of the house.

I walked him and his long empty tube to the door, much like a madam might escort a customer to the front gates of her establishment.

I felt oddly satisfied.

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