Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a pro-domme at a fetish house but has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
During my almost five-year career as a sex worker, I have experienced work-related fear exactly twice. The first time was at the very beginning of my adventures in the sex industry, when Grant, the gentleman I got my revenge on last week, outed me to my mother.
The second time was two weeks ago when I got arrested.
That’s right, folks, after almost five years of whoring in various legal grey–and even black–areas, it finally happened. Frankly, I’m shocked this was my first arrest. I’ve done significantly more illegal jobs with significantly less protection and screening… and I’ve always been fine. I guess Murphy’s law really has something going for it. If something can go wrong it most certainly will.
The day started like any other; I got to work early, brushed out my pin curls, socialized with the other girls, and was generally having a blast. The day was neither slow nor particularly busy, and everyone seemed to be in good humor. The house slave, Leif, came by and did most of our chores for us. His presence and labor always cheer us up.
Everyone left that evening, leaving myself and another girl, a submissive named “Stephanie.” We both had clients arriving within a half hour of each other, mine was established and hers was new. As I waited for my client to call and ask if it was clear to come up, I met Stephanie’s guy at the door. He was a husky Polish man in his mid-thirties with a thick accent and scruffy hair. He was better-looking than most of our clients, and seemed nervous. Nervousness isn’t uncommon, though. A lot of the younger men who come to see us haven’t experimented with fetish activities very much and have never paid for sexual services. If we were to write off every client who seemed nervous, we’d probably never even break even. Stephanie poured him a shot, which he gulped down gratefully, and led him downstairs.
With fifteen minutes until my client was set to arrive, I went outside to smoke and rub my feet in the dirt so the gentleman would have something to clean off. I was halfway done with my cigarette when Stephanie came outside.
I was immediately concerned, “Don’t you have a session?” I asked.
“Yeah, but he went to get more money.”
“More money?” I asked. This was unheard of. I was pretty sure clients weren’t allowed to leave and come back in, whether or not they intended to return with a greater tribute.
“Yeah,” confirmed Stephanie, “I upsold him to a blowjob.”
Now, some of the girls at my dungeon, mostly the submissives, do perform more overtly sexual services. Extras, all the way up to full service, are built into the price structure, but we’re allowed to set our own limits and decide what we will and will not do. That being said, we have a hard-and-fast rule to avoid upselling new clients, and to never, ever upsell a man who is not both naked and erect. Theoretically, undercover police officers are not allowed to remove their pants while conducting a sting operation, and though it happens, it’s much easier to construct a case for entrapment if the officer is naked and erect.
“Um,” I said, “he was naked and hard, right?”
“Yeah,” Stephanie replied, “and he was fingering me too. He’s cute, right?”
“I guess, but he’s kind of short. Good luck, though”
I was still nervous, but her assurance that her client was not only naked, but also handsy, made me feel better about the situation. I put my shoes back on, threw away my cigarette, and went back inside, just in time to answer my client’s call.
Stephanie’s guy wasn’t back yet when “David” walked up to the door, and I walked him back to the room, wishing I could be there to meet him at the door when he returned. There seemed to be something not totally right about the situation, but I wasn’t sure what.
The feeling of strangeness carried into my session, and I found it very difficult to get into Mistress mode. I ordered David to strip, tied up his genitalia, put a few clothespins on his nipples, and told him to get to work cleaning my feet. He took off my shoes, and got to work sucking my toes and licking the garden dirt off the soles of my feet. When I deemed my feet to be sufficiently clean, I stood up and grabbed a riding crop. David was on all fours, kissing my feet as I smacked him when I heard loud, booted footsteps in the hallway, and shouts of “POLICE, POLICE, THIS IS A RAID!”
At first I didn’t believe it was real. My first thought was that someone was playing a sick, fucked up joke on us, but when the door burst open and four men in boots and vests charged in, it was obvious this was no practical joke. I had time to make eye contact with my client and put my finger to my lips in a gesture of silence before one of the men was yelling at me to drop the “whip.”
“What whip?” I asked, ever the smartass, “I don’t have a whip.”
“The whip you’re holding!” yelled the policeman.
“You mean this riding crop? It’s not a whip, but I can put it down if you like.”
“Drop it, miss. Put your hands up and face the wall.”
I gave the officer my best “you have got to be kidding me” stare, but put down the riding crop and turned to face the wall with my hands on my head.
“I don’t understand why you can’t leave me and this gentleman in peace,” I said as I stared at the wall, listening to the police go through the drawers in the room, most of which were full of dildos of various sizes, “we’re not doing anything illegal. This is ridiculous.”
“There was an offer of prostitution made in this house!” yelled the police officer who had mistaken the riding crop for a whip earlier. He seemed to be the leader, and what’s more he seemed very distressed at the goings on of the establishment. I silently speculated about his lack of sexual prowess.
“Who cares that there was an offer of prostitution?” I asked, “I didn’t make one! I’m just consensually beating this man and we were having a blast until you showed up.”
“This is a house of ill fame now,” replied the officer, “it’s illegal for you to be operating out of here.”
“Ill fame? What is this, the 1900s?! Besides, we aren’t really of any fame. We’re very discreet.”
“That’s it,” snapped the lead officer, “You need to go with this female officer and get your clothes.”
Apparently while I was facing the wall, a female officer had come in. She led me out of the room, where I saw Stephanie standing in the hallway. She looked small and scared.
“Are you mad at me?” she asked.
“No honey,” I replied, “I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at this situation, though.”
The policewoman shepherded us into the main area where our clothes were stashed in cabinets. There were police everywhere. Some of them were rifling through our drawers, others were looking at our call log, and two men were questioning my client, who looked frightened and ashamed.
The policewoman led Stephanie and me into the side bathroom that we all used as a sort of dressing room and watched us dress in our street clothes. I continued to protest about the ridiculousness of the situation as I put on my coat and dress, and when we were brought back out into the main area I began to ask every officer in my vicinity if they had a warrant. They didn’t need a warrant, they told me, a crime had been committed and an officer had witnessed it. When I asked if that gave them license to go through our drawers, they ignored me.
Stephanie asked me if we should call Cecilia, our boss, and I told her no. Overhearing our conversation, the head officer first said there would be no calls made until we got to the station, and then changed his mind.
“Go ahead,” he said, “call Mimi. We’ll arrest her too.”
For the purposes of this column, “Mimi” is my boss’ real name. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been shocking that the police knew who she was, but hearing her actual name come from the lips of this unpleasant man did come as a surprise to me. I tried not to show how discomfited I was by this revelation, but I’m not sure I was successful.
The police were doing their level best to keep my client away from me, as if he might be infected by uncooperative whore cooties. I wanted to apologize to him for the unfortunate circumstances, but didn’t get a chance to. They gave him a ticket and sent him on his way.
I kept asking if I could go home, no one answered me. I asked if I could get my purse, and was told I could. The moment I picked it up, however, a police officer asked me who told me I could move. I pointed out the officer who had told me I could get my purse, and he denied having said any such thing.
“That’s it,” said one of the officers, a huge, heavyset man with glasses, “you’re under arrest.”
I obediently put my hands behind my back, but continued to protest as they put me in handcuffs.
“But officers,” I asked, “what did I DO?”
“You’re present in a house of ill fame,” they said, over and over.
I sat, handcuffed and seething, in one of the chairs at the kitchen island. I watched the police tear apart my place of work, search through the cubbyholes where my friends and I kept our things, and tear apart my boss’ desk. The fact that they were violating my neat, ordered workspace and touching my friends’ and my belongings, was almost as bad as the fact that they were raiding my place of work. I considered crying. That’s what people do in these situations, right?
But I knew tears were not an option. Tears are universal sign language for weakness, and goddammit I was not weak. I would be strong for myself and for Stephanie and defiant for every hooker who had ever gotten arrested for her profession. I watch film noir. I know how to play the hard-boiled, wisecracking dame.
And so, as I sat handcuffed at the kitchen island in the main area of my work, I cracked jokes and acted like I didn’t give a damn what they did.
Finally the police decided we had sat there long enough. They told us it was time to go, and the man who had burst into my room lead me outside. I secretly hoped people were watching. I wanted everyone to see that not all criminals were crack whores and I hoped the billowing red lining of my coat would signal to them that I was a whore. Maybe it would lead them to think new thoughts about criminals and criminalized sex workers! It was stupid, I knew on some level, but hope springs eternal.
The officer opened the car door for me, but didn’t help me to get in. It’s more difficult than you’d think to get into a car with your hands are tied behind your back, but I managed. I waited in the car until another officer brought Stephanie out. No-one helped her into the car either, and she sort of flopped in. The second officer got into the passenger seat, and we drove off to the lockup.
Part II: next week. Stay tuned.