Do You Have a Name?

“Oh, mon dieu,” she said, “this is your first time, isn’t it?”

Had it been a question—Is this your first time?—you could have, would have, said no. But it was a statement, a proclamation. C’est ta première fois, she’d said, and you knew you’d been found out.

“Well, in that case,” she said, “let’s make it good.” And she started to unzip her dress. You stopped her. Much as you wanted to see her brown body naked, to feel her naked against you naked, you didn’t have time for good. You had locked the lobby entry, with one lodger still out on the town. If he came back and found it locked, he would bang on the glass, which would certainly wake the bosses, however deaf they might be, and you would be out of a job. Or worse. The hotel’s owners lived on the ground floor; the door to their apartment was behind the very desk that you had left unattended in order to bring this prostitute up to the second-floor laundry room. She’d stopped by, she told you, to thank you for having treated her so courteously these many months, but especially for coming to her rescue during what she called the calamity of last night.

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